Turning Pain Into Something Beautiful

I have been sharing my life on Facebook for over 4 years now. For 3.5 years I did a really good job of showing you all the high light real. I did a really good job of sharing with you all how I have created a life of success out of nothing. Granted, I did do that… my life has not always been unicorns and butterflies. I have shared some hard things with you all recently (Losing my son), but there is something else in my life that is equally as hard to talk about and to deal with and that is my Father. This weekend we drove 5.5 hours to visit my Father and my Grand Mother. Two weeks ago my Grand Father passed away. Every time i visit Vincennes Indiana my heart breaks. I actually spent 5 years avoiding that city so that a I didn’t have to face that hurt ever again. As I have grown more mature, I have realized I cannot run away anymore, I absolutely have to grow brave and face the reality. 

13817248_10210017804383143_1993960303_n.jpgWhen I was 6 years old my Father was diagnosed with a multitude of mental disorders. Schizophrenia, Depressive Delusional Disorder, and as a side affect Dementia. As a little girl I never quite understood what was going on with my Father. All I knew was Daddy slept a lot. I recall multiple visits to the VA clinic to see my Father hunched over and miserable. As the years progressed my Father was able to cope with his disorders and be there for me, but there came a time when he could no longer cope. He refused to take his medication because he believed he did not need them anymore. That is when things really took a turn for the worst. I was 11 years old when I first saw my Father come completely un done. I watched him sleep for weeks, I watched him stop taking care of himself, he stopped showering, he wet and pooped the bed. He started to write on the walls, and create frightening conspiracies.  He stopped washing his clothes, he started to talk to himself, and he stopped being in touch with reality. He gained massive amounts of weight, stopped smiling, and cried often. For a little girl to watch all of this was traumatic. 

This tore me apart. My Best Friend, My Dad, my Rock, my strength was taken from me in what seemed like over night. I was so scared and so heart broken. My parents were divorced when I was 8 years old and so I only saw my Father during the Summers. Every time I visited he just got worse and worse, and eventually I was no longer able to see my Father. We spoke on the phone here and there, but it got to be to painful. He began writing letters that made no sense, he began talking to me about things that just didn’t add up, and finally I made the decision to decrease how much I was interacting with my Father because he refused to be medicated. This was a tough decision that was made out of fear. I was terrified of him and I was also terrified that this could be my reality as well. 

It has been a year since I went to visit my Father. Friday we made the journey to Vincennes. I was terrified. I knew that I would hurt seeing him, I knew that I would need to go through pain upon visiting him. I have dealt with Depression and anxiety off and on for about 7 years now and since losing Jack is has reared its ugly head. I was terrified to see my Father because I did not want my own Anxiety to increase. Watching my Father deteriorate over the years has been a major part of why I struggle with Depression and Anxiety and selfishly I wanted to protect myself from getting worse. 

Has my Father’s condition improved? No, in fact it has only gotten worse. He weights 400 LBS, can barely walk, has black feet and legs, he can barely breath due to smoking two packs a day, and has heart disease.  Every time I see him or talk to him it seems as though he is deteriorating. Is there a happy ending to this story? Yes… it may not seem like it but check this out… 

My father has Faith. He believes in Jesus and loves Jesus very much. Through all of my Fathers pain and suffering he was able to tell me this weekend that the only thing that has kept him alive has been the promises from Jesus. The only thing that has kept him alive is LOVE from God. I could not believe my ears. I have recently been through some seriously painful stuff, but nothing compared to my Father. I struggled so heavily with Faith because I just couldn’t understand why God would want me to struggle… but my Dad… he has Faith, Love and Peace from Jesus. How incredible is that? I am not proclaiming to be the strongest Christian, or have a ton of Faith… but I just found it so inspiring that my Father finds strength in a higher power. Even with all of the pain from heart disease, hypoglycemia, diabetes and dementia… he has found a way to look forward to every day. Because Jesus died on the cross and promised eternal life and salvation my Father pulls through each day. Because God sacrificed his only son to show us that we will eventually be without pain and suffering my Father has strength in the every day. 

The other part of the Happy Ending, I finally got my Father to agree to transfer to a Nursing Home in Michigan so that we could be closer to him and help him through his care and just be there for him. I want so badly to make up for the lost years. The years where I was not strong enough to be a part of his life. My fear kept me away. I won’t let that happen again. I found strength this weekend to be with my Father, and I have to believe that strength came from God. I have to believe the prayers I did this weekend carried me through. I am 30 years old now. I am no longer that scared 18 year old who didn’t know what to do in the face of adversity and pain. I am a Woman who can do hard things. I came away from seeing my Dad without deep sadness and fear but rather I came away with hope. I have hope that we can make up for the lost time and finally have a relationship again, as much as his mental health will allow. 

One Day at A Time

Workout complete, and today it was especially more challenging than usual.
 
Through my experience with previous bouts of Depression and Anxiety I have learned that the key is to fake it until you make it. It sounds impossible, and it sounds really challenging because it almost is. When I go through something like this I make a plan for myself. I make sure my next day is planned. I sit down with my computer and I map out my day. When going through depression none of that sounds appealing, especially the things that you have planned our for your day, but you must do it anyway. It beats the heck out of laying in your bed and hiding.
 
Getting around other people as much as you can, working out, starting a new project, plugging into support, plugging into as much work as you can will carry you through until the clouds part. It may take days, it may take months, it may take years, but trust your Doctors as they make the proper adjustments for you in your medication, and while that is happening FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.
 
Depression is real. Anxiety is real. It is a real chemical inbalance of the brain. It is a real disorder and millions of people suffer from it daily. Those who are not educated, those who do not understand that they are dealing with a disorder fall into a danger zone. That is why I try to speak out about Depression as much as I can. It helps me to cope and if I can help someone else it brings me some hope.
 
So if you are dealing with Depression or anxiety take it one day at a time, take it one breath at a time. Talk to you Doctor about medications for the short term or even the long term, and sit down with someone who loves you and make a game plan for you day.
 
For me…
 
Read
Workout
Plant a garden
talk to a friend
work my business
Volunteer to work with teens with Down Syndrome (we are playing tennis together today )
Trust me, when in the throws of depression those things do not sound appealing. They in fact give you anxiety and sound over whelming, but oh well… you just need to throw yourself into it and do it. Don’t let it overwhelm you to much. If you need to take a break and just mellow out, that is fine to, but keep getting up and trying again and again. Set the example to others who are fighting this disorder every day.
 
If you are not someone who struggles with depression this is a great message to send to a friend in need.
 
You may not know it but someone very close to you could be struggling … be a friend. Show that you care. Show that you love them.13775567_10209981358312014_2437782565376061175_n

The Gift of Therapy

Today I gave my self the gift of therapy. I must admit, I am one of those Women who believe they have got it all under control. I am one of those Women who believe that they can do it all on their own. This weekend I decided that I needed help. The frustration, anger, sadness, and grief became to much. I felt like I was drowning in confusion, anxiety and ultimately depression. It got to be to much for me to handle on my own, and I am thankful that today I reached out for help. It has been nearly 2 months since I lost my son. I thought that through that time it would get easier. I assumed that grief was linear and that I would just gradually ease out of the pain.

I am learning that isn’t the case. I am learning that grief is a zig zag of lines. Grief is an absolute mess of emotions and experiences. I am no expert, but grief really sucks. I have been very quiet on my social media lately because I am really at a loss of what to say. I miss him so much, and I am so sad that I lost him, but my sadness has transferred its self to other aspects of my life. My over all out look on life has completely changed. Once I noticed that I was struggling to write, and I was struggling to find the joy in the simple things… I knew I was dealing with depression.

So here I am on this healing mission. Two steps forward, and 3 steps back… but one day I will make it.

Therapy was exactly what I needed today. I just needed to talk and I needed to cry, and I needed to be angry, and I needed someone to just say “you’re going to be okay. We are going to make sure you are okay.” I needed an advocate. For once I needed someone else to catch me and advocate for me.

If you are struggling with Depression or Anxiety please know that there are so many resources out there to help you get back to healthy again. There are so many people out there that will advocate for you and will help you heal. You just need to ask! Have the courage to just say HELP. You aren’t being weak… you are being brave. Asking for help is simply BRAVE. Depression does not mean you are giving up, depression means you are fighting one heck of a battle and you are a warrior.

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The Mom Guilt Files

“I am a Mommy who loves to play toys with her kid. I love to get down on the ground and play dollies and choo choo trains. I love to do crafts, and make up fun projects.”

NOOOOOT!!!!

How many times have you heard a Mommy say that and in your mind you feel guilt because you know that is not you. How many of you Mommies out there get down to play with dolls and your mind wonders in 100 different directions and all you can do it pretend that playing toys is your priority. I know have been ashamed of this fact about me for years now, but I am coming out to all of you and in search of other Mom’s who feel the same?

When I hear “Mommy please come play dolls with me.” My little Mom heart says “awe okay.” My busy working Mom heart who just wrapped up a day with work says “Oh but I could clean, oh but I could put away laundry, oh but I could take this call.”

Yes feeling like this totally stinks. I mean we all want to be that amazing Mommy who loves to play toys, and do crafts and spend all day raising their kids, but I have come to accept that just isn’t who I am. There are one off occasions where yes, I do feel excited and in love with the idea of playing play doh, but most of the time… nope! So I am on a mission to stop the distractions from life, stop feeling like there are better things to be doing, and focus on play time, even if I would rather pluck my eye brows. I am on a mission to savor these years and appreciate these sweet moments, because when she is 15 she wont be asking me for help. She wont be asking me to play and that is sort of heart breaking don’t ya think?

I would like to know, what do you do to get into the mood of being a toddler with your toddler. Scarlett is an only child, so when its play time, I know that it’s Mommies play time. No use being miserable or board.

NO I am not ashamed to admit this and I am opening the floor up for any closet “I would rather be’s” to come out and share! Where you at!?”160_MironFamilySession

Remembering Jack Pt 3.

BabyJack-0115bwHe should have been breathing. He looked so beautiful. I could not take my eyes off of him, only to wipe my tears away. As we sat there in silence together, Mother and Son I felt so much love and sadness all at once. I wanted to kiss his lips, and his cheeks but I was to afraid. His skin had already started to deteriorate off of his hands and his neck. We could tell that he had been deceased for at least a full day. His lips were a dark shade of purple. He was so delicate and so fragile. I was afraid I would break him when holding him. I studied his eyes and the shape of his head and could see in fact that he did have Trisomy 21. I could see that he did have Downs Syndrome. After a few more minutes of staring in shock at his beautiful face my Mid wife held up his umbilical cord to show me a “True Knot”. The knot was so tight you could have missed it. We believe this knot was the cause of his death. When I saw that Knot I was furious. What a tragic tragic thing to happen. What a horrific accident.

I looked around the room and everyone was silent and most of every had left. I gave him to Eric to hold on to and I watched my Husband’s heart break. It is a rarity to see Eric cry. When I did see his face covered in tears I knew this was taring him apart. He sat down on the couch next to his Mother and cried. “This isn’t fair. This isn’t right.”  In that moment Eric and I shared an un bearable pain. We were sad for Jack, but also sad for one another.

 

Stephanie our sweet Nurse put Jack in this adorable hat and suit. He just looked so handsome in it. I wish I had kept that suit!

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It was to much to handle. My brain could not wrap around the fact that this baby was gone. We were all gathered around a beautiful baby boy who was gone. The room should have been filled with love, filled with joy, filled with Laughter. I remember the day we welcomed Scarlett into the world. It was the happiest day of my life. It was day and night what we were experiencing. This was not joy at all. This was a cruel joke.

 

I remember dozing off. I was so out of it. I was so intoxicated with sadness and exhaustion from labor. I eventually passed out. When I woke up the nurses were trying to feed me and bring Jack back to the room. I was so tired from being upset and crying over him, I asked them to give me time. This decision is something I regret. Looking back I wish I had held on to him as long as I could. I wish I could have snuggled his body as long as I could, but I was tired, and there was only so much my heart could take. Holding your dead baby wipes you of everything you have inside of you. I was tired. I was sad. I was inconsolable. I wouldn’t eat, I wouldn’t drink much. I just laid there lifeless on the bed staring at the ceiling. Eric kept trying to get me to eat but that was impossible. I felt sick to my stomach. My Son was not alive to eat, so why should I eat?

My Family began to trickle in to say good bye. Everyone was headed home. I was afraid of this because I knew that I would have to be alone. I would have to be alone with my feelings and there would be no distraction. I started to feel anxiety and fear once they left. Fear of life, fear of my life, fear of the future. Once my Family had completely left my Nurse Stephanie came in to say her good byes as well. Her shift was over and she was headed home. Stephanie was with me for the entire delivery and never left my side. She took care of me and made sure I was bathed, and fed. She was there for me emotionally as well. Whenever I felt weak or scared she was right there talking me through it. If there are Angel’s … I think Stephanie might have been one. She was incredible. She hugged me and leaned in, looked me in the eyes and said “You are going to have more babies, you are going to be okay. You have that 4 year old to live for and to be strong for.” And she left the room. I told her Thank you over and over again. I was sad to see her leave. She was so attentive and loving. I hope our paths cross in another life. Perhaps she will be there for my rainbow baby!

The sadness came rushing in and out of my body throughout the evening. Eric and I ate dinner and we went to bed early. As we sat together in the hospital we had a few moments of laughter and a few smiles. I am not sure how it is possible but Eric and the nurses cheered me up and I was able to eat a decent meal before going to bed. We were in a very happy place (delivery floor of a hospital) experiencing a really terrible thing. Glimmers of hope showed up here and there.

The next day I awoke to those terrible emotions of heart ache and fear. I could not believe what I was experiencing was my reality. I could not believe that this was real life. I woke up Eric with my sobbing. I cried all morning. I screamed into my pillow and I held onto my belly willing my baby to return to my body. I did not want to hug on or snuggle his lifeless body anymore, I just wanted him back. For the 8 months he was in my body I fell in love with that boy. I anticipated his arrival day in and day out. My life revolved around his arrival. My world was Baby Jack. Every morning I would play handsy footsy with him. I would push my belly and he would kick back. I would giggle quietly in my bed and hug my belly thinking about the joy that he is going to bring to my life. This baby was my silent world. When no one was looking, he and I had out little moments together.

Every night before I would fall asleep I would sing “Twinkle Tinkle Little Star” to him. Every single night. I did this hoping that he would remember when he was born and would feel comforted by the sounds of the song. On this day I would sing to my boy for the very last time. We were told that it was time to go home and it was time to say our final Good byes to Jack. I fell apart and cried. I had to leave my baby in the hospital. I had to be removed from his body completely to never ever see him again. I would have to hold him one last time and know that for the rest of my life that was it. After we packed our bags Jack was brought to our room. The nurse said “Okay here he is. I know you will want to say your Good byes so I will leave the room.”

There are no words to describe the agony I felt when he lay in my arms. His lips were black. His face was so cold. I sat there and I stared at him for what seemed like an hour. I tried my hardest to memorize every single inch of his face. I tried my hardest to remember the exact color of his hair, the length of his fingers, the size of his toes. I brushed my lips against his for head and tried to memorize what that ice cold feeling felt like. And then I sang. I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to him and hugged him as tight as I could. My tears splashed his face and my voice was muffled by the hard lump in my throat. I rocked him back and forth and told him that Mommy will always love him. I promised him that I would never forget our time together. I promised him that I have always loved him. I told him how sorry I was that Mommy could not save him. I told him that I was sorry that Mommy could not bring him back to life. And that was it. The nurse came in and he was taken away. My last words were “I am so so sorry.”

 

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My final moment with Jack.

Here we are 6 weeks later and I dream of that final moment with Jack. I imagine living in that moment forever. I long to feel that cold skin on my lips. I’d love to be able to tell him in person that I love him so much. It pains me so much to know that I will never see him again in this life. I want so badly to believe that I will see him in another life, but I struggle to have any Faith in these days. Everyone says to me “Oh you will see him again.” “Oh God had different plans for him.” I struggle to believe that. I want to believe that, but its not in me. There was a time in my life that I truly believed in Heaven, and an after life, but that believe has left my body. There was a time that I believed God would always have my back as long as I prayed. That has become very hard to believe in these days.

I am in the healing process every single day. Some days are better than others! Today … today is a hard today. Tomorrow may be completely different. All I know is that I miss him, and writing about him helps me to feel what I felt for him on the day I got to hold him and that is priceless. So thank you for reading this and allowing me to heal out loud.

 

July 12th: Jack’s Due Date.

I am trying very hard to stay distracted, I am trying hard to stay strong, but tomorrow is going to be hard. Tomorrow is going to be one of the harder days of my life. I know a due date is just a prediction, but it was a date that was special to me. Any Mother can relate. This was the date I looked forward to for 9 months. Tomorrow is officially 40 weeks. Tomorrow is 9 months.

I think about my son every single day, and every single day leading up to this date I imagine what could have been if he had survived. What life would be like if I were to have had him. I should be bathing him, putting his to sleep, spending endless hours nursing him, singing him songs, telling him how much I love him, sharing precious moments with Eric and Scarlett surrounding this new member of our family.

I thought I would be very sad leading up to tomorrow, but rather I am angry. I feel like something very important has been stolen from me. It isn’t fair. Lately have not written much on my blog or my Facebook because I have really lacked the words to describe how I feel. There is a lot of confusion, anger and resentment.

Tomorrow I am going to allow myself to feel crazy, angry, sad, whatever I need to just get through the day. I have dreaded this day every day since Jack passed and here it is so quickly.

I miss you baby boy. Our time together was way to short. I will always love you and I will always remember you. You were and always will be my special angel.

‪#‎strongforjack‬
‪#‎strongforscarlett‬

TIE Represents Downs Syndrome Awareness.

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The day I found out Jack was to have Down Syndrome, I admit I was devastated. I felt terrified and I was not sure I could handle the task of being a Mother to a special needs child. My heart broke …. but then I dug into my research, then I started to meet other children with Downs Syndrome, and I realized… sure they have special needs but whats more pronounced is that they are JUST SPECIAL ingeneral. My heart would always flutter around these children. They have the ability to make you feel welcomed, loved, warm, and important. They have a gift most people do not have and that is blind compassion and warmth. I never once felt judgement or mis understanding around these children or adults.

I quickly fell in love with this community and I grew excited for my job as Jack’s Mommy. I felt like I was called to be his Mommy and I could not wait to welcome him into the world. I wanted to show other Mommies through my Social Media following that children with Downs Syndrome are wonderful and not something to be terrified about. Sadly most pregnancies with Downs Syndrome are in fact terminated due to fear of the unknown. I wanted to help other Mommies see that this did not have to happen.

Alas, I did not get that privilege. I did not get to become Jack’s Mommy. In 2 Days (JULY 12th) I was supposed to take on this new role and have this special child in my arms. My heart breaks when I think that I will never get to live that reality. Losing Jack does not take away that special place in my heart for Children with Downs Syndrome. To honor my son I do intend to become active in the Downs Syndrome community and give back in any way that I can.

Each year my Team Beachbody Team gets dressed up for one of our special events and gets a team photo together. This year we have well over 100 Coaches on the team coming to Summit in JULY. Being that it is Jack’s due month, I decided to ask my team to wear blue and yellow for our team photo for Downs Syndrome awareness! I am so so lucky because… THEY HAPILY AGREED!!!

I am so excited to get this photo and if you are a Coach coming to summit and want to participate in this photo please feel free to rock yellow and blue and come on down after the Saturday evening Celebration to help us represent Downs Syndrome Awareness!!!