Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

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The Weathered Soul Is Beautiful

This last weekend was a bit touch-and-go for me, emotionally. After a lovely 2 weeks of spring break, I’d had a long week full of jobs and tasks and things. I was tired. But I was looking forward to going to my good friend’s first baby shower on Friday night.

The babe was born nearly 2 weeks ago, and he’s pretty much my new favourite person. The fact that he might have hung out and done baby stuff with my could-have-been 8 week old child was merely a bittersweet thought that I didn’t entertain too much.

Friday was fun – I took care of the twin boys I nanny and marvelled at the Hawaiian tan that was putting their Mexican babysitter to shame. Afterwards I went into town to await the baby shower.

And that’s when the panic started, for absolutely no reason.

I had no present to give the baby, for starters. I couldn’t show up to a baby shower without a gift. And I had no idea what he even needed.

And then I started thinking about All The People Who Would Be There. Yes, they were my friends. But they obviously would all bring gifts and rave about how cute each other’s gifts were, and obviously the baby would love them more. And I would have to smile and pretend like my heart wasn’t breaking that MY baby wasn’t here with us.

What would I do if I got to hold the baby? What would I do if I DIDN’T get to hold the baby? Cry, probably. And who wants a crier at a party?

So I started cry-driving all the way home, deciding that this baby shower was not for me and I was not the right person for this baby shower.

The hot bubble bath became my escape.

The next day, feeling pretty dumb, I woke up and *needed* to do something good.

And so, I did something I’d never done before: I started a chalk paint project.

I’ve had a ratty old night stand for a few years, and it’s literally sat empty since we moved up last fall. There’s no room for it in our house, and it’s only purpose thus far has to been to hide our spare key in the mud room. It was covered in chips and divets and fading varnish. Yet I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw it away.

I had no idea how long it would take me to finish; I already predicted that I would probably fail to follow through and it would sit unfinished, just like my knitting and my doula training and my book.

But that day, I had to try.

So, I did a little bit of research, and remembered Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. All about being easy, quick-drying and restoring crappy old things to look like vintage old things.

After a few hours and a few dollars, I was at the point where I totally looked like I knew what I was doing.

There’s always a little bit of adrenaline-laden excitement that hits my blood when I open a paint can and dare to dip the brush in. And then have the audacity to take that dripping brush and apply it to whatever I’m trying to change. Rubber meets the road, sink or swim, I’m actually doing this.

The day was perfect. Warm sun, with a slight breeze. God was in the air.

One hour and 4 coats of Old White later, I had a completely new nightstand. Every divet and crack and fade was bathed with light.

I could have left it that way. It would be beautiful, pure, new. But as soon as anything happens to it, you notice. The purity, the innocence is fragmented. The depth is challenged, the eye is caught, the story expands. So you either shelter it, never let it breathe, or…

You go all in.

While I had been “purifying” the wood, Steve had been puttering around the yard with spring cleaning. Sensing I needed the space to calm my own seas after the previous night’s storms.

But he came to check on me and was taken aback by what I had accomplished.

“Wow! Just letting it dry now?”
“It’s already dry.” I smiled.
He knew I wasn’t done yet. “So what’s next?”
“The Wax of Distress.”
“Can I see?”

And so, for the next hour, we became a team. He would dip the brush into the molasses-like wax, splotch it across the white, and I would take a cloth and rub rub rub it away. The remains left the golden brown sheen of a new story being told in holy, purposeful silence.

I believe we all start out shiny and new. As we grow and change, life has a way of marking us with chips and divets and cracks that leave us broken. My last 12 months have been particularly of that nature.

But I’m still here, with a purpose that’s yet unknown but earnestly sought after. Maybe you are too.

And now we choose.

Stay in the cold mudroom, empty and broken? Or allow a transformation that makes us new while yet weathered?

I don’t want to hide my life, or my story with a glossy new coat of paint and sleight of hand. I don’t need to be falsely shined and freshly manufactured from IKEA.

Just let me come inside, be re-purposed, true to the state of my weathered soul. The damage tells a story, and I’m not gonna let it make me bitter and broken anymore. I am restored, I am a new creation, I am beautiful.

Oh, and I held that baby the next day. He let me know he wasn’t impressed with my absence at his party for just a few moments, and then my charms rocked him to sleep. Because we’re fine. We’re gonna be just fine.

  

Sorry Mate, The Beatles Lied

 

I can see you clutching your pearls at my blasphemy now. But I stand firm in this realization, and will proceed to tell you why. 

All you need is love. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s utter bullshit. 

There are a lot of head-scratching Beatles songs.  And some of those were brought to amazing cinematic life via a little movie called Across the Universe.

 But those boys really sucked the blunt when they wrote All You Need Is Love. 

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done…

Yeah. 

Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung…

Okay, I can roll with that.

Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…

Mm-hmm. 

It’s easy…

LIES!

It isn’t easy. Life is NOT easy, and love is NOT all you need to navigate it successfully. 

  

And MONEY. 

Maybe I’m making things too complicated. Maybe I’m not being spiritual enough. But the last six months have been kind of the worst, and I’m tired of not admitting that. 

Before we made the 14 hour drive moving back to my hometown, life was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect – I mean, I would have liked a bathtub and a double sink to wash dishes in and a regular job, but hey #firstworldproblems. My husband had a great job laying floors with his dad, and I was finding enough work to get by. We always had enough. 

And then, things sorta crashed and burned. We lost our baby. I couldn’t take the city and its crowded loneliness anymore, so I persuaded Steve to leave the only home he’s known for mine. 

I got a job at Starbucks and lived in a friend’s basement while Steve packed up our bungalow and looked for places to live. That’s how little we planned our move. People said we were crazy, that we were running away from our problems, that we wouldn’t succeed. But we took a note from t-Swift about it, and shook those hay-hay-haters off. 

I was enjoying Starbucks immensely, and after 3 weeks of being separated, Steve and I moved into our new little home, complete with bathtub and double sink. And second bedroom. And closets, oh my.

 We were living the dream. We had plans; I would support us until Steve found work as a floor layer, we would pursue our music, we would heal from our wounds. 

It almost worked, too. 

Then a couple of weeks before Christmas, I unceremoniously lost my job. 

New Years rolled around, and we each made beautiful resolutions to start fresh, keep pounding the pavement for work, investing in our relationships with friends, family, each other. 

Less than a week later, Steve came down with the chicken pox. 

You heard me: my 36 year old husband caught the motherf’ing chicken pox. For 6 weeks. 

  

For 6 weeks, I waited hand and foot upon this man, 24/7. Getting him better was my job. With each day that passed, our money dwindled. And we became a tad…tetchy. 

Because, yes, we were in love. Yes, we had taken the leap of faith to make our dreams happen. Yes, we had enough to eat. We didn’t look broke. But the rent was due, and living 30 minutes out of town was burning fumes in our pockets. We hardly spoke or touched; when we did, we were ridged with tension. Dishes were tossed, doors were slammed. 

Had our haters been right?

One day, the landlord came over to plough our driveway, and I literally hid in the bathroom for 20 minutes so that he wouldn’t possibly be able to see that I was home instead of working. 

Every time I looked at our bank account, I saw the word homeless on our horizon. I embraced the panic and the shame of our failure. I doubted every decision we’d made. I blamed myself, because if I hadn’t been so weak, would we have made these decisions to begin with?

I began to reach out to people; I couldn’t help myself. It’s the most awkward thing in the world, sharing money problems. Being broke is relative, and how do you share your struggle without making your friends feel like you’re subtly asking for a handout? Which, you’re not, but you’re  at a totally vulnerable enough place where it wouldn’t even slightly rankle your pride to accept one?

People can say money is the root of all evil, that money doesn’t buy happiness, that it only corrupts. But it’s a lot easier to believe that when you have enough money. 

Through facebook and friends’ inquiries, I started picking up nannying jobs around town. Steve was getting stronger, and had become able to function on his own. 

And then, a miracle happened. 

We remembered our music. 

Because of our “down time”, we were able to start singing and playing instruments together again. People started asking us to play sets of 9 or 10 songs at art galleries and cafes around town. We might even play a big festival this summer. 

We are living the broke musician life, and while it’s not glamorous, it is fulfilling. 

Every single set, we include this particular song. It is our anthem. 

Because, while living an “all you need is love” kind of life would be nice, it’s not real. 

This? Most definitely, assuredly, and heartbreakingly is.

We made this video 2 years ago, just barely out of the marriage gate, having no idea some of the obstacles we would overcome. 

Carly & Steve: Living On A Prayer

Today, the snow is melting, the sun is shining, I’m a full-time nanny, and Steve has a brand new job starting tomorrow morning. (Send him a good thought, would you?)

Take my hand; we’ll make it, I swear. 

Small But Not Insignificant

When this Butler and that Hutton got married, we became the Buttons. 

When we were pregnant, we called it Baby Button.

When you think about it, buttons are small but not insignificant. They’re actually pretty important for holding stuff together. 

Even though Baby Button is no longer with us, I believe we will be held together; without love, we are nothing. 

Today was a good day. 



Without Compassion, We’re All Lost Babes #1000Speak

Today – February 20th, 2015 – is my due date.

As a birth doula, I know that due dates are not really a reliable standard of time. When I’m hired and given a due date, I consider myself on-call with my bag packed for the whole month surrounding it. Anything could happen.

But I’m here, I made it to February 20th in one piece.

I can just imagine it now, my precious little surprise greeting me and the rest of the world. Gracing us with their innocence and wisdom and poop and neediness. Seeing his or her eyes for the first time, as they realize that they’ve known me their whole life – they just didn’t know it until today.

I can just imagine it.

But only just.

Because today is my due date, and I am not pregnant.

**Trigger Warning**

I started bleeding 3 weeks after the tests had confirmed that we were going to be parents, 1 week after we told all of our friends and family.

To lose a baby is very common, I know, as if that eases anything.
Not as common, however, is the way in which we lost our baby.

It wasn’t really a baby to begin with. Hold on, hackles, technically it’s true. My body experienced a “blighted ovum”, which means that the egg and sperm never fully met up properly, although it traveled into my uterus and convinced my hormones that things were clicking along quite nicely. I felt everything a woman feels in the first trimester, all the while an empty sac of tissue was floating around inside of me like a lava lamp, without a care in the world.

My body was so convinced it was pregnant that it would not miscarry. My traitorous, confused body would keep changing and growing unless it was convinced otherwise. And chances were, if I let it continue, I might not be able to get pregnant in the future.

I was forced to choose between a surgery and a drug called Misoprostol. I’ll never forget the doctor who gave us this choice. She was a smaller, older woman – I figure she’s been a doctor for a long time, probably been the bearer of bad news for countless people.
Yet, she had tears in her eyes as she hugged us and tucked the envelope of pills into my hand that she’d smuggled out of the lab because she knew we couldn’t pay for them.

Nothing like the doctor who confirmed my pregnancy at the beginning, whose clipboard-scanning first words were, “And do you want to keep it?”

Compassion.

I chose the drug out of fear and familiarity: I have never had surgery before, and I know how to take pills.

Within half an hour of swallowing them, I vomited them and my sandwich into a bucket in the living room.

I grimaced when I realized the only other option left to me. I took the 4 remaining pills out of the envelope and awkwardly pushed each one inside my cervix, hoping that they wouldn’t get lost somewhere. (I never took Biology, and vaginas are so mysterious.)

Steve held my other hand and kept his red-veined eyes on my face the entire time.

Compassion.

How ironic, I thought, that the way this “pregnancy” started is similar to how it will end.

I didn’t know if or when the pills would start to take affect, so I put a pad on, and we cuddled on the couch watching TV, petting the cat. Anything to ward off the thoughts of Death and the Unknown that were facing us.

We went to bed, and I felt okay. Maybe I’d done it wrong.

Hours later, I was awakened by the greatest pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. My whole body shook as I made a hunching crawl down the stairs to our bathroom. I felt like an atom that was about to split in half; I had no control.

For the next hour, the bathroom was my home. I kicked Steve out; I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want him to see how I was being melted down in an offering to a cruel god that was only appeased by blood, sweat, tears, shit and vomit.

In a haze, I remembered the other pills. The Tylenol-3’s. I reached out for them like a life raft, barely taking a moment to read the instructions. An eternity of 20 minutes passed, and finally I felt a tinge of sweet relief. I was able to gather the strength to take some toilet paper and reach down between my legs.

The pink tissue of my not-baby had to be collected and taken to the hospital for analysis. Something cold and hard and clinical came over me, and I stopped crying as I stared at the mass that had been propelled from me so violently.

Do what has to be done. And try not to be a crybaby about it, would you, please?

I put the pieces of myself into a pad and a ziploc bag. Took a shower. Stared at my face in the mirror. There was nothing in my eyes. I had just ended my very wanted pregnancy. Shouldn’t I be falling apart?

Compassion.

We’d been assured that the whole “process” would take 24 hours or less. My body continued to shake, rattle, roll and bleed out for 3 weeks.

After going to the same doctor in desperation, she welcomed and treated us even though we weren’t technically her patients. After using a clamp the size of bigger-than-my-pelvis (Steve faithfully holding my hand without even a swoon), she found the source of the problem: the sac had gotten stuck, of all things, inside my cervix – causing my uterus to contract and bleed nonstop in attempts to get it out.

I wish I had chosen the surgery.

I hated my body. I grit curses in my teeth against it daily; first ya can’t hold onto a pregnancy, and now ya can’t get rid of it? Friendship over.

Tylenol Codeine was never not in my system. When I ran out of pills, I tried not to buy more. The following 3 days of fever, aches, shakes and self-loathing persuaded me that maybe I SHOULDN’T buy more.

In the midst of all this, Laurie Works dropped everything in her life to come be with us for a weekend. Work, new boyfriend, long flights – didn’t matter. It was time for poutine, Parks & Recreation, laughing and crying about the shittyness of it all.

Compassion.

When we fell into each other’s arms at the airport, we didn’t let go for a solid 60 seconds. When we came up for air, there was a man and a woman standing near us with their hands raised and fingers spread.

“That’s a 10! 10 out of 10 greeting right there.”

It made me think of that end scene of Love Actually. Airport Arrivals truly are one of humanity’s finer ideas.

What a beautiful weekend. There was no pressure on me to do anything, and the one thing I really wanted to do was have a funeral at the beach.

So we did. We found the perfect balloon, tied some love notes to it, and then waded out into the water to let it go.

I watched and watched and watched that balloon sail away until I could watch no more. Sometimes I feel like I’m still watching, still waiting – but for what, I don’t know.

Compassion.

After Laurie returned home, my life became a series of goodbyes.

Monday: deleting the pregnancy apps and resetting the Period Tracker app on my phone.
Tuesday: calling the the local midwifery clinic and letting them know I would no longer be needing their services.
Wednesday: packing the maternity clothes and newborn onesies away.
Thursday-Sunday: getting lost in Netflix and my bed, trying to forgive ignorant people who said, “Well, you’re young, you can always try again!”

Steve could no longer take any more time off work. His first day back, he came home, laid down on the living room rug and cried into the fibers. I laid next to him, all out of tears for the day. I whispered to him that I’d gotten the call from Starbucks in Smithers; our prayers had been answered, I’d gotten hired, and it was time to move back to my hometown.

And now here we are. Not exactly the way we thought we’d be, but we’re still here. I am so grateful.

Next week, I’m getting a tattoo that commemorates our loss. As always, he’ll be there, holding my hand and watching.

Next month, I’m going to start donating my time and food once a week to a program called Meals For Moms. It will help me to know that I’m helping feed exhausted families with new babies, and in turn, helping those new babies.

Being the village.

A Help Boomerang.

Amen.

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This New Year

On this day in 1999, I was fearing for my life.

Before The Walking Dead or Katniss Everdeen had even been thought of, I was preparing for my world to become apocalyptic. I was 12.

15 years later, Y2K still hasn’t happened. The Mayan calendar didn’t really mean much either. However, we face our own little apocalypses each year, don’t we? They have nothing to do with ancient prophecy or computer malfunction. They just happen without warning, and change us forever. But if you’re reading this, you’re still here. You’re a God-blessed survivor even if you don’t feel like one.

I’ll be honest, 2014 was a rough one. Misunderstandings, loneliness, lost jobs and a lost babe, confusion and clarity alternating like a roller coaster ride.

Occasionally, the darkness cracked and some light peered in. It’s why I’m still here too.

Can I tell you about them? Can I give you some hope? Will my thoughts mean anything to you?

Tell you what. Keep reading, and when you get to the bottom, you’ll see a link to my best friend’s site, where she’ll also be reminiscing about the positive things that happened in her life this year.  I am so thankful for her. Best friends for at least 20 years now – the kind of friends that drop everything and get on a plane to go be with each other when there’s a crisis.
We are women forged by fire, but rather than sacrificing ourselves to be burned up, we’re going to allow our hearts and minds to flow and curve like water, quenching the heat, refreshing our souls, going forward.

Don’t let your hearts remain stagnant or burnt. Winter is here, but Spring is coming. Join us. Tell us your stories of 2014, and what your dreams are for 2015. Alone we are enough, but together we are stronger.

~

This year, I witnessed another precious little girl-soul come into this world. She took her first breath in the glowing light of an early July morning, in her own nursery at her parents house. A holy moment.

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Soon, my goal will be accomplished through a little piece of paper that says “Carly Hutton, Certified Birth Doula” so that I can keep drinking in those holy moments, keep helping those other women forged by fire become mothers – even if I never become one myself.

~

In September, I was a bridesmaid for the first time. It was easier than I thought it would be. I put on a purple dress, did my makeup, and ripped only 2 pairs of panty hose while someone else far more capable did my hair.
My former roommate and bride of the day gave me a pearl necklace and earrings that she made herself. Treasure, only gained by letting a granule of sand itch the shit out of you until you’re pure.

joanna wedding 3

I witnessed 2 of my best friends commit their lives to each other. They sang their vows and yet they still wanted ME to sing a song for them. So I did. It was called “Dancing in the Minefields” because that’s not only what marriage is, but life itself.

joanna wedding

That day was the most I’ve smiled since I lost our baby. I mean, I kinda legally had to for photogenic reasons, but it was the first time I WANTED to.

joanna wedding 2~

I passed my 4-year anniversary of blogging, and at least half of my 200 followers are real people.

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And finally, we moved back to the town where I grew up. I did enjoy most of the Vancouver experience, but home it was not. Too much water; my fire almost went out.

home

Here in Smithers, I am known. By the people, by the snow-capped mountain, by the back roads and the river wild.

And? My new house has a bathtub.

~

It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s only a matter of one day’s difference, and yet, it holds so much shiny promise. All the shit we’ve gone through recently, we can finally say, “That happened last year.”

I used to be the kind to make resolutions. Not anymore. But for the sake of being traditional:

In 2015, I resolve to lose weight.

The weight of condemnation and shame and guilt of decisions past. The weight of trying to be liked by all and keep everyone happy. The weight of perfection. I want to lose it. And if, in doing so, it prompts me to live a healthier life that actually affects scale, then so be it.

And in 2015, I resolve to be the 7-11 in Smithers on Christmas Eve.

It was the only place open and serving food past 6pm when my husband, my mom and I were starving. Hot dogs never tasted so good.

No matter what store it is, though, I always feel a spark of hope rise whenever I see a glowing red OPEN sign. Knowing that I’ll be able to get what I came for, what I need, today.

That’s how I want others to feel when they see me. Open. Mind, heart and arms, ready to do messy, beautiful business at any given time. Never turned away.

As this year ends, I have high hopes for 2015.

Hopes that suddenly, everyone will have an a-ha moment. An a-ha that realizes we need something else. Something different. An a-ha that knows we are meant for more than what we have been content with living.

Hopes that, this new year, shooting up schools and shooting up veins will no longer be the go-to solution for long unanswered cries for help and understanding.

Hopes that, this new year, the Battle of the Sexes will run out of ammunition.

Hopes that, this new year, we will see through skin colours, to the hearts and minds that brew underneath. Every culture and race has its heroes and assholes; let’s stand up and recognize. I repeat: PEOPLE ARE MORE THAN THEIR SKIN AND REPUTATION AND STEREOTYPE. CHECK. YOURSELF.

Hopes that, this new year, toddlers and teenagers on the brink of dreams and inspiration – adults burned low on chips and bills – elderly melting on the ice floes of their last lives – will all be valued and held accountable and loved for who they are.

Hopes that, this new year, the corrupt will be exposed and the honourable will be exalted.

Hopes that, this new year, these words will ring true:

“And in despair, I hung my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men….’
Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Let it be so.

:: A Year in my BFF’s Life ::

Carly the Barista & the Blustery Day

Level Of Desperation To Blog: Sitting At A Laundromat.

You guys. SO MUCH has happened in the past 2 weeks.

I became a certified barista, and even had an apron pin to prove it until it got chewed up in the washer.

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(Bonus: I think, in general, people like me.)

I joined Zumba and Spin classes, and hiked a mountain and didn’t die.

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Crater Lake!

I was a bridesmaid for the first time.

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Team Bride, partyin’ round the walls of “Jerica!” (Joanna & Eric’s celebrity couple name…needs work…)

I celebrated being married myself for 2 years.

2nd anniversary

And last, but certainly not least – I found us a place to live, and last weekend, we moved in. It’s utter chaos right now, and it’s awesome.

new place

Being adorable and excited.

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This is our backyard.

We have been so busy and so blessed and so tired. But with it comes a peace and happiness that we have not known for quite some time. When we wake up in the morning, we make coffee to sit and gaze lovingly at our backyard out the living room window.
Smithereens are a little incredulous that we’ve actually chosen to live a little ways out of town – 20 minutes to be exact. We just laugh and reassure them that we used to drive that far for the ocean or the skytrain or the local movie theatre – and in a sea of traffic, no less. 20 minutes of highway miles, autumnal colours and wildlife is NOT hard on our gas tank or eyes AT ALL. We breathe in relief and exhale “thank you” on a regular basis in this place.

But as with any transition, there comes a little upheaval and paperwork. We still have to change the hydro bill into our names, hook up Internets and Cable – and I’m at said laundromat because our well needs to be transformed from “egg fart” water into “nice clean drinky bathy water.”

That’s okay. It will come.

In the meantime, I realized today that WIND has been a theme in my life lately, and I don’t know what that means. I’m not talking about the Winds of Change – like, literal wind.

Blustery Event  #1:

I had my first, all-on-my-own, “closing shift” at Starbucks last week. I was a little nervous, but I had a clear to-do list to help me remember all the important tasks. I was supposed to “clock out” and be done by 9:15pm, with Safeway closing at 10pm.

I was getting to the end of the evening, and it had been pretty quiet for most of the night, so I figured I was pretty safe to start cleaning espresso machinery 10 minutes before I closed.

8 minutes before I closed, six people showed up ALL needing espresso-related drinks.

Whatever, I could clean it again.

But I couldn’t find any of the tools used to scrape encrusted milk and coffee droplets from what was supposed to be shiny metal.

Eh, I can wipe that down pretty spic and span for now.

The finish line was in sight – all I needed to do was clean the sinks, and vacuum the counters of any remaining bits of coffee grinds. I had been told the vacuum cleaner resided in the back of the store, in a place called “Starbucks Storage Room.” I had been there before; it wasn’t very big, so I had no doubt I would find a vacuum-like object pretty easily.

So I did what we do: I loaded up a grocery cart with full trash bags to take back to the disposal, intending to bring the vacuum with me on the return trip.

When I got into the storage room, it was like a cardboard box maze. And the only apparatus I could see that had a long nozzle, a handle and an electrical cord was way in the back. I did my best to suck in my cheeks (nope, not those ones) so I could squeeze my way through. Yes! Victory! *Must grab vacuum cleaner, squeeze cheeks once more and get through the maze.* Home run approaching.

I unwound the electrical cord, plugged it in and WWWWHHHHHIIIIRRRRRR.

The expected noise of a vacuum cleaner, no?

NO.

A mushroom cloud of dirt, hair, leaves and dust bunnies exploded FROM the nozzle. My pristine counters and displays and floors were no more.

What fresh hell is this? I thought as I angrily yanked the electrical cord from its socket. I peered at the dirty offender very closely….sure enough, in tiny black lettering, it said: electric leaf blower AKA boom sucka.

And so I did not “clock out” until the actual Safeway store started shutting their lights off.

I still have absolutely no idea what an effing LEAF BLOWER was doing in a Starbucks Storage Room.


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Blustery Incident #2:

Steven left for Langley again this morning, to take his dad back home, who had graciously given up his week to help us move. In return, I was given a to-do list to help me remember all the important tasks…again. One of those things was to get a post office box. (I thought about mentioning here that Steven put his own name on the to-do list, but then I thought, “Mmm, better not.”)

I knew I would get off work at 3pm today, with plenty of time to take our rental agreement to the post office and get a mailbox. But it ended up being incredibly busy, so I stayed until 3:30pm. On my way out of town, I filled up at the gas station. I was done and ready to drive away – but then a gust of wind THRUST my debit card away from me and UNDERNEATH the gas fill-up station. There was a car waiting to drive in after me, but I got down on my hands and knees; I could see my card, but after a few tries, I knew that it was *just* beyond my fingertips. Plus side: at least no one else in heaven or earth would have access to it either.

So I made an unplanned trek to the Credit Union to get a new card. By the time I ACTUALLY got out of town to open up a mail box, it was almost 4:30pm.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the post office was still open! (Hey, it was almost 5 on a Tuesday – you never know! #smalltownlife)

And now I’m happy to announce that:

AGENT BUTTON HAS A MAIL BOX!!! I AM BIGGER THAN BLUSTERY DAY!!!

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When I finally got to the laundromat 2 hours later, feeling like I’d just run a marathon, I had to laugh. How could I not appreciate the pure drama of this scene? Winter be like “Games of Thrones was right…I’m COMING for you, boys and girls!”

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Welcome to Autumn in the North, mutha lovah.

Blustery Incident #3:

It hasn’t actually happened yet. But I feel like…tomorrow….it just *could*. I learned today that my boss’s boss’s BOSS is arriving to inspect and survey the entire store + employees.

And so today has been like


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Blustery night, barista’s delight?

Bring it, boss’s boss’s BOSS!!! I have a Facebook wall full of happy customers, and now I know the difference between a leaf blower and a vacuum cleaner AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT.

Pray for us.

Behbeh Love Part 4

Part One   Part Two  Part Three

** Trigger Warning: Miscarriage and grief. **

The past 24 hours have been one of the best and worst days of my life, simultaneously.

I may not have a lot to say, or I might have waterfalls of words. I’m not sure yet. I thought I would need more like a whole week to process this and write about it, rather than a day, but I’m just going with it for now.

It started at 1am on Wednesday. I was called out to go assist with my very second birth as a doula. I was very excited because I’d spent some time getting to know this new “client” and they had become friends. They were planning an at-home water birth (another first for me!), so I safely raced to their house. I told them that if she was still labouring around noon, I would unfortunately need to leave for about an hour for my own ultrasound – but I would be back no matter what.

I needn’t have worried. I witnessed a beautiful, healthy baby girl come out of the water and into her parents arms by 9:30am. I’m not totally sure what I think about good vibes or energy or juju, but I thought that my morning certainly couldn’t be a bad way to go into my next appointment.

Steve was there with me this time. We knew that this ultrasound would be the make-or-break-it, and he wanted to be there. He expected to be brought into the ultrasound room later to hear a heartbeat if there was one.

Instead, I left the clinic and took him out with me. I waited until I reached the bottom of the stairs where I knew there was a bench we could sit on. And there, I told him.

There is no Baby Button. Technically, there never was. I experienced what is (terribly) called a “blighted ovum,” which means that our fertilized egg never quite made it to embryo stage. However, it stayed inside my uterus and formed a protective sac around it, as it would normally.

This was enough to keep my blood hormones skyrocketing, my breasts growing, my heart certain that everything was okay.

It was probably already over by the time I took that pregnancy test on Father’s Day weekend.

I’m sorry, but if you’ll allow me to speak freely…

I fucking hate my body right now. Sure, it did its job and didn’t keep a non-healthy embryo growing. But to lie to me about it? To trick me for the past 5 weeks? That’s just bullshit. Trust the hormones, we said. Trust the growing boobs, we said. Sure.

Do you know what I have to do now? I have to take a bunch of pills that will make my uterus cramp and contort like I’m in labour. Over the span of 24 hours (hopefully) I will most likely be doubled over in pain while my body expels the tissue of a sac, a placenta and a defunct egg. And THEN I have to fucking collect it in a Ziploc or a Tupperware or whatever, and take it back to the hospital so they can examine it to make sure that nothing got left behind to try and infect me. Because as long as that godforsaken sac is there, my body will continue to believe that it is pregnant – and it will also prevent me from becoming pregnant again, should I try.

This changes everything. I was starting to buy maternity clothes, and getting rid of old clothes I knew wouldn’t fit me anymore. I quit my job. I wrote a pregnancy diary. I shared my hopes and dreams with my husband, my friends and family.

And now, I don’t even want to see or talk to anyone. I just want to be alone and watch Netflix all day, but know that my people are still there should I change my mind.

I’m scared out of my mind. I’m still tired from the birth the other night. Throughout the day, I roller coaster between staring numbness and unstoppable tears.

I still feel pregnant. That’s the whole problem.

And Steve…Steve is my broken hearted rockstar of a man. He has been unreal throughout this whole ordeal. He’s letting me do whatever I want/need to, and making sure I still eat, still sleep. Part of me wishes he wouldn’t, because then I could start wasting away to ghost level; then everyone could know how I feel inside. He said he didn’t realize how attached he was to Baby already, until yesterday. Neither did I, really.

Thankfully, every doctor and assistant at the Maternity Clinic in the hospital has been like a grief counselor. Giving free pills, and hugs, and sympathetic looks. Calling it a loss, and not just telling us to get over it and move on. Encouraging us to do something together that will create closure for us.

I’m thinking about getting a tattoo.

And…that’s it. In a nutshell. I don’t know what else to say. Thank you for reading.

 

 

Behbeh Love Part 3

**Trigger Warning: talk about possible miscarriage, and all the feelings within that.**

Sohry aboot that cliffhanger, eh?

Part One    Part Two

Last Wednesday, I parked at Valley Imaging Clinic, 10 minutes before I was supposed to check in for my ultrasound. I sat in my car. I waited, I listened to music, I cried. I had been bleeding off and on for 5 days now, and I was still waiting for my blood hormone results, and I just…I needed to know if my baby was okay. Every minute felt like an eternity.

…I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours, and you are mine…

So why was everything so quiet?

I laid on the table in a dimly lit room, trying to just keep breathing, trying to keep the cushion from sliding out underneath my hips while the stone-faced tech ran a wand over my jellied belly. Searching, searching, searching…

She said I had a very full bladder. A little too full, perhaps. She told me to go empty it so that she could do a vaginal ultrasound. I was prepared for this possibility. I saw Jennifer Lopez’s The Back-up Plan. Whatever would give me that heartbeat.

More cold gel…an aching probe…this will be worth it, this will be worth it, this will be worth it…

So why was everything so quiet?

“When’s your estimated due date again?”

“February 20th. I should be almost 8 weeks now.”

“You’ll need to go back and confer with your doctor. What I’m seeing does not indicate 8 weeks.”

I tried to keep the tears back. “Okay? So..nothing’s wrong, though? It could just be too early to get a heartbeat, right?”

“Just make sure you talk to your doctor. You can clean yourself up now.”

…Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me…

It took 7 minutes. To go in and come out. Really, though, it was 7 years.

I sat in my car again, and decided to call the walk-in clinic, hoping they would have my blood hormone results.

“Your first test showed your hormones at around 13,000. Now they’re over 18,000, so everything looks good. Dr. Aspinall will be in at 1:30pm today if you’d like to talk to him.”

I nearly cried again with relief. “Thank you. I’ll be in at 1:30.”

For the next 2 hours, I distracted myself with food and the superfluous lives of celebrities in magazines at the Library. I gave a brief update on Facebook, then answered the flood of caring texts and comments.

I arrived at the walk-in clinic exactly at 1:30. The clinic was empty, and I rejoiced. When Dr. Aspinall heard that my blood hormones were still going up, he rejoiced.


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 Not even kidding. He did the double-fist pump. I officially loved him after that.

He had the ultrasound report faxed over (yes, faxed) and we looked at it together.

Not only had there not been a heartbeat, there hadn’t even really been a baby to see. They base it by seeing what they call a “yolk sac” and “fetal pole”, which is kind of a fancy word for the spine. Therefore, it could not be called a “viable fetus” yet. Either something was wrong, and I would miscarry – or it was simply too early to tell.

Dr. Aspinall gave me another requisition to take back to Valley so that I could book another ultrasound in a couple of weeks, as well as a Bio Med form to have more blood taken later in the week.

It was 4pm by the time I got home. Steve got home not long after that, and we collapsed into a hug for awhile. The kind with no words, only touch and requited feeling.

Steve: “We’ll keep trusting the blood and the size of your boobs. Cause, honey, those things are still growing.”

 

 

People have been amazing. Texts, calls, private messages, stopping by the house to chat. Laurie even went so far as to order me cupcakes from my favourite shop. Oh yeah, and she’s approximately 2,000 miles away from me. So she’s pretty amazing.

2014-07-10 12.44.19

 

Days passed. I stopped bleeding and started puking. Hope returned, and every time a wave of nausea washed over me, I smiled. Baby Button is still here, and they want me to know it.

My in-laws opened their swimming pool, like an oasis in the desert. I used to give the Israelites a hard time for all their Old Testament complaining, but now I know better. I’m not even IN desert heat, I have food and water at my disposal constantly, and now I have a swimming pool. I would have been the bitchiest bitch of all those Israelites. Like, open-up-the-earth-and-swallow-me-whole-God-cause-at-least-it’ll-be-cooler-down-there-thanks.

2014-07-12 15.26.22

Not that you really wanted to know, but swimming really helps with my bowel movements.

 

Yesterday, Steve and I went to the hospital for my very first Maternity Clinic appointment. All of my walk-in clinic and blood hormone and ultrasound info had been sent over to them, so they wanted to create a Health History on the both of us. It went pretty well. Dr. Hansen told me to get my blood hormone done again that day, and that he’d get me an ultrasound earlier than the 31st. It all sounded awesome to me.

Until.

“Receptionist So-and-So, can you call over to Valley and tell them to get us an ultrasound this week? Chance of miscarriage is very high with her.”

“Of course, Doctor.” *beep boop beep* “Okay, Carly, you now have an ultrasound on Wednesday. Take your blood test today, and call us on Friday with all your results.”

Something in me went numb after that.

I had my blood taken, and was told I could check my online results that evening.

I went home and slept for 3 1/2 hours. I didn’t realize it then, but I was done. Giving up. Letting it get to me. I was back in the wilderness of my earlier years, the mindset of hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst. I forgot to trust the blood and the boobs like Steve told me to.

Even reading my results later didn’t phase me. Oh awesome, my hormones are up from 18,000 to over 28,000. Doesn’t matter. I must have done something wrong; now it’s over.

 

Last night, we lay in bed and talked. Well, more like I had a breakdown and Steve held me. Then we talked. I poured out all my fears, not even realizing that I was talking about this miscarriage as though it was a “when,” not an “if.”

What if I’m home alone when it happens? What if I can see our baby? What do you DO with a miscarried baby? I’m scared of the pain, but I’m even more scared of the After. I’m scared I’ll just fall apart and never get out of bed again. You deserve more than that. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I want to be strong. I want to be brave. But holding it in makes me dissolve, and what if holding that stress in is bad for the baby? But what if letting it out like this is bad for the baby too? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

And then he cried, and spoke, and I was shaken out of my fearful stupor.

“I’m not even thinking that way right now. Our baby is still alive and growing in there, and I still believe in it! Do YOU? Whatever happens, you are loved and we WILL get through this TOGETHER. You will NEVER be a burden or a disappointment to me, got it?” He rubbed and kissed my belly over and over, whispering prayers into our child’s unformed ears.

 

Tomorrow is my next ultrasound. I feel like a broken record. But I’m STILL not bleeding, and my hormones are STILL going up, and my stripper cans are STILL getting bigger every day. And my Father has a plan that I WILL be able to walk in.

When I look into your eyes, it’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise – well, there’s so much they hold.
And just like them old stars, I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are; How old is your soul?

Well, I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough,
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up.

And when you’re needing your space to do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting to see what you find.

Cause even the stars, they burn
Some even fall to the earth;
We’ve got a lot to learn, God knows we’re worth it.

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make.
Our differences do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah we got a lot at stake.
And in the end, you’re still my friend
At least we did intend for us to work,
We didn’t break, we didn’t burn, we had to learn
How to bend without the world caving in.
I had to learn what I’ve got and what I’m not and who I am.

I won’t give up on us, God knows I’m tough enough.
We’ve got a lot to learn, God knows we’re worth it.
No, I won’t give up. I’m still looking up.

(Jason Mraz, I Won’t Give Up On Us)

 

 Part Four