Monday, November 19, 2012


One of the hardest things about dealing with a miscarriage is that everything outside tells you to just get over it and move on. For a while, I had a huge conflict in my head between feeling the most profound grief I'd ever felt, and a weird feeling that I wasn't supposed to feel that way.

The world keeps turning. No one knew the baby but me, so no one grieved him quite like I did. There was no funeral, and few people even knew about the pregnancy in the first place. When someone (not in the know) says hi and casually asks, "How are you?" - how do you tell them in one moment that a whole life has passed by?

Indeed, in hindsight, it went by so quickly. Some days, I wonder if it was all just a dream.

Comforting words and advice from well-meaning loved ones can really sting, especially when they strike up that same conflict in my head. 

"It was probably very sick so it's better this way." 
"Don't think about it, you need to move on."

On a good day, I can rationalize to myself that they mean well. On a bad day, it's really hard to hear, "Don't feel the way you feel."

Feelings are feelings. They're just there. You can't help them, and you can't make them go away... at least, not without replacing them with something else. Like guilt for feeling so sad in the first place.

The best piece of advice I received from a dear friend was: 

Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you need to feel. 

I have. And I just wanted to put this out there, in case you, or anyone you know, need to hear it too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Prayers and angels

Lately, a lot of my friends and family have been asking for prayer.

For big things. Hurricanes, heart surgeries, tragic accidents.

For smaller things. Patience to get through a bad day. Guidance on a job situation.

I’ve been feeling especially inclined to offer prayers lately. Because I personally know a little special someone up there.

I think that maybe God felt that I needed an angel. And I am so blessed to have one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Family Yearbook

I was a yearbook editor for many years in high school and university, so when someone gave me the idea of putting together a "family yearbook", I dove right in.

Now, I used to do it all from scratch in Adobe Pagemaker (dating myself a little bit), but there are so many websites that have easy software and cute templates now. So I hung up my yearbook hat and went with Shutterfly. I first used Shutterfly to put together a guest book for my wedding three years ago, and have done lots of event and vacation scrapbooks since. I'm a fan of Blurb as well - their software is closer to the desktop publishing software I used to use, with the ability to customize - but I find that Shutterfly is a little more intuitive (the tradeoff for customization opportunities).

I'm also very impressed by the fun new templates they've been coming out with, especially the ones with specific themes. They even gave me the option of adding a clear pouch to stick in the back, which can hold small pieces of memorabilia. Clearly, they've been paying attention to their target market!

There was no defined method to this. Some people like to stick to a specific number of allocated pages per month, but I tend to define things in terms of events. As I did in my yearbook days, I gave most events at least two pages, because I like to look at my book in spreads. I ended up with 32 pages, which consisted of:

  • Title and end pages (1 each)
  • Pregnancy photos (4 pages)
  • Vacation (2 pages)
  • Graduation (2 pages)
  • Moving (2 pages)
  • A friend's wedding (1 page)
  • Our cat (1 page)
  • Darian's baptism (1 page)
  • Halloween (1 page)
  • Christmas (2 pages)
  • Other various baby photos, including his monthly "birthday" photos (about half the book - ha!)

Anyway, here is our 2011 yearbook. I call it "the crazy year" because it was the year everything changed for us.

It should arrive just in time for me to start working on 2012 :)

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Friday, November 9, 2012

The world is awesome

A few days after the miscarriage, I took a much needed day off. It was the best thing that I've done in a long time.

It was a rare warm day for late October. My plan was to see where my heart would take me, camera in hand, and also throw in lunch with a friend and a relaxing massage in the afternoon.

The morning started off foggy. I took the opportunity to sit in a coffee shop and slowly sip a cup of tea - a rare treat when you've got a toddler.

Mid-morning, the fog lifted. And then everything, I mean EVERYTHING, just looked... beautiful to me.

I met up with my friend Alyson and her adorable little girl for lunch. After our original plans failed, we ended up at By The Way Cafe. Alyson told me the story of why she and her husband call this their "victory cafe" - after going through a really tough time moving to Toronto, the stars aligned one day and things settled. And they celebrated at this very same cafe.

It seemed a fitting sentiment for my day too. Things are going to get better.

My little angel must have been with me all day. Showing me how awesome our world is. Whispering to me, "Don't worry mommy... I can see it from here." And that thought warms my soul.

So when I'm feeling down, I look up, look around, and find beauty in something. I think that's what my baby would have wanted me to do.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Because it's November, a lot of my American friends have been talking about things to be thankful for. And difficult as it has been, this experience has given me so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful that my body reacted quickly, and dealt with the miscarriage on its own.

I am thankful for doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators who work so hard.

I am thankful for amazing friends, who have been unbelievably supportive to me through this. Especially my online mommy group, most of whom have never even met me in person.

I am thankful for my awesome husband, who always gives the most comforting hugs.

I am thankful for my beautiful child. It's been hard not to smile with him around.

I am thankful for a great job, and a great boss who has been completely understanding, and given me the flexibility to go to all of my appointments and also take a much-needed day off for some me time.

I am thankful that I had a wonderful day off, to recharge my soul and remember that the world is actually a pretty awesome place. (More on that later.)

Most of all, I am thankful to have learned how deeply I was capable of loving someone that I never even knew. My baby taught me that. For someone who only lived inside me for six weeks, that's a pretty amazing accomplishment.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


My computer is nearing the end of its life, so I've been going through old photos, backing them up and pruning them in an effort to clear some space on my hard drive.

I'm usually the one behind the camera, so there aren't very many photos of myself. The most recent ones I found were from Darian's birthday, back in July.

Two months before the BFP. Three months before the miscarriage.

I couldn't help but reflect on what my life looked like just those three short months ago. I realized that this was the smile of someone who had never experienced a loss.

But it was also the smile of someone who didn't realize how much she could love a child she had never known.

For the first few days, I thought I was only grieving the loss of the hopes and dreams of what this baby could have become. I mean, I had never known the baby as a person; I hadn't even felt pregnant.

But then, a couple of days later, I started talking to him. "I'm sorry that I couldn't carry you," I said. "I'm sorry that you never even got have to heartbeat." I ached for my child, who would never get to know his big brother, or see daylight, or learn to walk. I ached for him, because I loved him, and I missed him.

I honestly did not know I was capable of this. I don't know if it makes me sound like a terrible mother. But how can you really know how you feel about someone you've never met?

This has been a terribly painful experience so far, but I think/hope that I will emerge a better person for it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A loss

On September 19, I had one of the biggest surprises of my life when I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. That week, I happened to be at home with my son who was sick, so I had the fun opportunity of getting him a "Big brother" shirt and dressing him up to surprise daddy that evening.

Daddy was shocked, to say the least.

We hadn't planned for two under two, but after a few days went by, we started getting excited and envisioning our new lives as parents of two.

The pregnancy progressed very smoothly. Maybe too smoothly. I commented many times how strange it was that I felt no symptoms, as I had been nauseated, fatigued, and terribly run down while pregnant with Darian. But I told myself that every pregnancy was different, and to count my blessings that I was feeling so great.

On October 17, I had a dating ultrasound. Early ultrasounds aren't standard for low-risk pregnancies, but I had requested one for peace of mind because of the lack of symptoms. Thus started a rollercoaster of emotions that we've been riding for the past week.

The ultrasound showed what looked like a 5.5 week pregnancy. I should have been close to 8 weeks. No heartbeat. Nothing was diagnosed; I was ordered to do bloodwork, and a follow-up ultrasound in a week. I was not optimistic.

Two days later, the bleeding started. I cried at the sight. I didn't know whether I would cry, given that I knew it was inevitable. But it felt good to start letting it out after holding my breath for the past two days. In hindsight, I'm grateful and amazed that it started so quickly, on its own.

By God's grace, I hope that our baby is now in heaven, and has a good spot to sit and watch over us. Over the past week, I have been slowly trying to move on. I find that there is something new to think about, something new to grieve, every day. But that feels like progress, I think progress is good. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secrets of parenthood

There are a few things about parenthood that people don't usually talk about.

You might not fall in love with your baby right away.

Your relationship with your spouse will probably change, and maybe not for the better at first.

You won't forget pre-baby life. You may even remember it fondly.

Sometimes, you won't like your baby.

Sometimes, you'll wonder if it was worth it.

But even if you have doubts about whether you'll like parenting, you will love your child more than anything. And it will all fall into place from there. One day at a time.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wall art from a collection

This was such a simple project, but I've gotten so many compliments on it that I thought I'd post it.

We all have a collection of something. No matter when or how it started, it probably means more and more to you as it grows.

For several years, I've had a collection of programs from musicals, plays, and operas that I've seen. This collection has been living in a shoe box for several years.

(Sorry, I didn't take pictures of the process, but I'm sure you can imagine how I did this just by looking.)

Anyway, now that I have lots of empty walls to fill, I thought I'd do something with these. The programs were all the same format, slightly larger than 5x7. So, I picked 18 of my favourite, and cropped the covers to 5x7.

I arranged them in 3 rows of 6 pictures = 3x7in down and 6x5in across (or 21x30 in total in case you forgot your multiplication tables :) ) I taped these together at the back.

Then, I found a 24x36in poster frame from Michael's that was slightly bigger. It even came with a backing poster that had black borders, so I cheated and used that as a makeshift mat. I stuck the whole thing in the centre of the mat and popped it into the poster frame.

What I love about it is that it's a conversation starter. When people come over, they ask about such-and-such show that they see pictured in the frame, and that often starts a conversation about theatre, which I obviously love.

There you have it! If you have a collection that's sitting in a shoebox, go dig it up and show it off!