Next Time

At this time last year, I was four days late. My breasts were sore, my appetite had changed; something new was going on.

My husband and I welcomed our first pregnancy with shock and awe. We hadn’t planned for it, we weren’t ready – but really, can you ever be?

6 weeks later, our baby was gone. We hadn’t planned for it, we weren’t ready – but really, can you ever be?

I still can’t believe it’s been almost a year. A year of walking through a strange fog of grief that only someone else who’s experienced it can understand.

We haven’t tried again. We’re afraid. We want to be secure in finances and housing and knowledge about child-rearing – but really, can you ever be?

Ever the optimist, I have hope that one day soon, our life will hear the sounds of a newborn cry morphing into the pitter patter of little feet running down our floor.

And once it does, this is what I want to do.

1. Next time, I want to tell my husband the news a little more creatively.

As much as he loved the news, I’m sure he will appreciate being told in a way that doesn’t involve being woken at 6:30 on a weekend to have a pee-covered stick shaken in his bleary face.

2. Next time, I want to tell more people in person.

Technology is great for sharing news, but there’s just something extra special in seeing a loved one’s face explode with joy in #realtime.

3. Next time, I want to tell people early-ish.

We announced our pregnancy to our world just shy of 8 weeks in. A foolish thing, some might say, but I believe something unexpectedly bad can happen to a pregnancy at any time. I’m not jinxing anything if I share early. It was a life saver for me to be able to use my blog and Facebook as a platform to document every high and low of my 9-week pregnancy and the weeks that followed. Every time I made an update, I knew I had people waiting to support me with comments, prayers or even just silent heart emoticons. Friends appeared out of the woodwork with their own stories of loss, that I might have never known otherwise, and I value that more than keeping secrets for taboo’s sake.

4. Next time, I want to ignore my phone a little more.

“Hi! Welcome to the MyPregnancy App! Today, your precious baby is the size of a raspberry. Make sure you avoid soft cheese and raw fish. Watch this video of computer-generated genitals emerging from your cartoon baby’s abdomen!”

*An hour later*

“Sweetie, your baby is *still* the size of a raspberry, and probably will be tomorrow as well. You know how at sometimes you keep checking the fridge in hopes that new food has magically appeared? Same concept here. Go take a nap.” – what MyPregnancy App should have said.

5. Next time, I want to finally become a fashionista.

I am not fashion-conscious. At all. I am the reigning queen of hand-me-downs and thrift store bargains. There’s nothing wrong with that. But my queendom has been established for more than 10 years. I’ve been out of high school for only 8 years. Yes, if you do the math, that’s a problem. But not one that I can justify changing until I literally cannot fit into those clothes anymore. And there’s never been a cuter time to be pregnant, Pinterest will tell you that right now. Hang in there, holey wardrobe. Your time is coming.

6. Next time, I want all the photos.

One of my good friends took my wedding photos almost 3 years ago. I booked her that same day to take all my family’s photos for all time ever. But before that, I want baby shower photos, I want maternity photos, I want labour & birth (YES, birth) photos, and I want newborn photos.

This will be my “rainbow” baby, and I want to soak myself in their presence, just once, before I’m too tired to function and staring at a tiny stranger who’s changed my whole life.
I want to revel in every glorious inch of those days before and after because I’m making up for lost time.

I know that the world is already flooded with baby photos that everyone else is sick of, but you don’t understand. It’s my turn. You don’t have to look at the pictures, but don’t you dare deny me the joy of sharing them, just like I’ve shared every single other difficult step it took to get me here.

7. And finally, next time…

…even if I don’t accomplish everything on this list, my baby will still be here, and I will still be a good mom. Because Love conquers Lists and Fashion and Pregnancy Apps and Photography.

And I’ve got Love in spades.


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.


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?”


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.



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.

2014-07-16 20.35.39

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.


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.


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 ::

Come To The Light Side ; Sometimes, We Have Cookies.

I’ll never forget the first day I was allowed to bake cookies by myself. I was close to 9 years old, with an apron that went around me twice and a flour-splashed countertop in front of me.

I was ecstatically waiting for them to emerge from the oven, gooey and painfully delicious to the lips. Moments later, however, I would experience the bitter disappointment of too much baking soda.

My mom had mentioned that baking involved math and the use of proper fractions, but I had been sure that this rule could be bent. How could something so fun require something else so terrible?

Nearly 20 years have passed since then, and I know how to bake cookies now. About once a month, I get the urge to leave a lovely disaster of flour and broken egg shells on my countertop, despite the math involved. A small part of me even loves the math; it’s reliable, grounded and gets the results I want.

2013-08-14 15.56.45

On June 14th, 2014, I learned that I was taking on a different kind of baking venture: the ultimate bun in the oven, a baby.

As a birth doula, it’s already part of my job to know things about pregnancy and birth and infants. But I was determined to do this right.

So I read and googled and stopped lifting heavy things and eating sushi, and started drinking more water, and quit my job when it became apparent that it was too physical (and possibly dangerous) for the first trimester, and read and googled some more.

If this cookie was going to successfully bake for the next 8 months and emerge from my oven all gooey and painfully delicious to the lips (and my heart), then I was willing to do the math, sacrificially take care of my body, and follow the recipe to make it happen.

On July 20th, 2014, a mere month ago, the cookie emerged from the oven. All gooey and painful, nothing delicious.


Sure, it was my first go-round, but I had followed the recipe, hadn’t I?

Why had my precious little egg fertilized and then…never grown? My husband and I were both young and fairly healthy.

Why had my body still produced hormones that made my breasts ache and belly expand, when my pregnancy was over before it even really started? I’d never taken birth control or had any extreme hormonal imbalances before.

What had I done? What had I not done? This recipe does not add up.

And then I realized that I’ve been operating my entire life this way, at an If/Then Pendulum.

If I’m nice to people, then they will be nice to me.

If I pray and go to church regularly, then God will be happy with me.

If I work hard, then I will be rewarded.

If I’m healthy and hardly drink and take care of myself, then there’s no reason on earth why I shouldn’t have a perfectly healthy and happy baby from the very first moment I ask for one.

It’s just not true.

Sure, recipes can be followed in the kitchen, and formulas should most definitely be followed in the chemistry lab or math department. But Life is the master of Maybe and No Guarantees.

The truth is, we are in an unrequited relationship with Life. We are head-over-heels in love, and we want to spend every possible minute with it, maybe see the world together.

Meanwhile, Life doesn’t really give a shit about us.

Is it supposed to?

Does a manual exist somewhere that says if you’re a good, kind person, then nothing bad will ever happen to you? That if you only eat organic food and don’t cuss people out in traffic, then you’ll get a Golden Star of Immunity?

Do we think we’re entitled to a suffering-free existence?

Because you can do all the right things. Pay your bills on time, love your in-laws, serve your country. And one day, you may still find yourself losing everything that you thought made you a person.

It’s not that Life hates you. It’s almost worse, in that it’s nothing personal. Life is Switzerland, completely neutral – throwing a pebble in your pond and walking away, having no idea what it just destroyed or created. No one to blame, no one to exact street justice upon, no deals or bargains, no if/then.

What is the point? Right now, I’m not completely sure.

An ancient King said it pretty well:

“I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them…I amassed gold and silver for myself…I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before…I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labour, and this was the reward for my toil.
Yet everything was meaningless. So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun is grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chase after the wind…so my heart began to despair…what do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labour under the sun?…grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest.”


In the past, whenever a personal event has taken my breath away and torn my clothes in grief, I always notice that the world continues on. Even though my world has stopped, most people keep going about their daily lives as though nothing has happened. But for me, everything has changed, and I wish that, for just one second, that the rest of the world would stop with mine and acknowledge my pain. To know that it’s worth stopping for, that I’m not just making it up.


The week that my baby died, planes started dropping out of the skies. Most of my province caught on fire. In the weeks that followed, war in the Middle East escalated, Ebola reared its ugly head, America-the-land-of-the-free-and-the-home-of-the-brave became a little less free and a little less brave, Robin Williams’ light left our atmosphere.

For the first time that I can remember, my world has stopped…and so has everyone else’s. And it sucks.

Again we ask, why?

The same King who doubted his life’s meaning wrote this beautiful passage a little later on, and it has become my hope:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace…
God has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Maybe you don’t believe in God right now or at all.

Then believe in the seasons, how you’ve seen them change year after year without fail.

Believe in the words of Mumford & Sons,

| But if your strife strikes at your sleep, remember Spring swaps snow for leaves.|

Believe in the sun that has kept its promise every single damn day for the past eternity, after hours of enclosing darkness. Always.

Believe that, when you’ve been battling your enemies in the mud and the rain for 4 nights in a row, Gandalf is going to come to your aid in the light of the 5th day, just like he said he would.

Believe in whatever keeps you here, keeps you fighting, keeps you floating above the water’s embrace. Believe that your Phoenix will rise from the ashes, if you let it disintegrate into the death it’s meant for.

No, there are no formulas or recipes or guarantees of anything in this life, but we DO have a time for everything, good and bad. We may not know why, but we know we are not alone. Death may hurt like hell, but we know that new life will always come from it. We may not know when it will be over, but all things do end, and our story will ring out that “YES! There IS a light at the end of this tunnel, I KNEW it!” and others may not be in the same part of the tunnel as you are and they may not believe you, but you can reassure them to keep walking, it’s coming it’s coming it’s coming, don’t give up.

This is what I will teach my children. Yes, MY children, because I have no doubt that they will come to me when they are ready. And we will make cookies together, and I’ll tell them about their older brother or sister who couldn’t stay, and what I was taught by their leaving.

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
when grief sits with you, its tropical heat,
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a  body withstand this?
then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes I will take you,
I will love you again.

–Ellen Bass—


Behbeh Love Part 4.5

[If you’re just joining me…]

Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

The past 10 days have been something out of a horror movie.

I’m still in it. Physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.

Thank God that I’m 3 sleeps away from going on vacation to my hometown of Smithers. Most of my friend & family ties are in that area, and I have not seen them in over a year.

So, before I’m able to churn out a Part 5 that actually regales you with my honest experience in miscarrying a child, I’m going to disappear for a week. Maybe two. I need to go where nothing is required of me except to be, and be held, and fed and drank and loved.

If I haven’t replied to any of your previous comments yet, I am sorry. I read them. I feel them. I love them. I’m just too drained to think of anything to say other than Thank You right now.

I do want to tell you, though, that I just finished spending the last 3 short days with my best friend Laurie. She flew approximately 1,350 miles just to be with me and my husband as we grieved.

We ate poutine and fro-yo and stayed up until 4am and made a gloriously sketchy vlog (coming soon!) and had a very special photo shoot down by the beach.

The idea came to me almost in a dream: to take a balloon down to the Pier, somehow attach 2 love notes from myself and Steven, and then send it up to our Baby In The Sky as a memorial of sorts.

Steve worried that this was not environmentally friendly. I didn’t care.

So, we went to a really dodgy retail store, and found the perfect balloon. THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY PERFECT BALLOON.

The rest…was pure, bittersweet magic.

2014-07-27 16.06.19

baby button balloon

baby button balloon 2


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2014-07-27 16.36.55

It was a good day.

But, since grief is a fickle bitch, we are in a low valley once again. We’ll retreat. We’ll climb out. And we will be ourselves again.

Thank you for staying with 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.


 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.


“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