What most of you do not know because I have not yet shared is that we recently experienced a loss. Back over the summer in August I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. It was a whirlwind and exciting news. I was extremely nervous and anxious when I first found out as it happened so fast but gradually I started getting more excited. We told our immediate family members and I told people at work (mainly because I was feeling winded and extremely tired). Right before my daughter turned 2 in September I started bleeding. About 6 weeks into the pregnancy I lost it. It was devastating. We were planning on telling the rest of the family that weekend at Bree's party about the pregnancy but we never had to as I lost it before that.
I ended up going to the hospital because of the bleeding and because I couldn't wait 2 days to repeat blood tests to confirm what I already expected. I couldn't make it through the wonder and anxiety about what was going on. I had some bleeding with Bree but everything was fine. Doctor called it implantation bleeding but this was different. The ER doctor thinks that I lost the baby way before I even started bleeding based on the HCG levels in my blood test.
I always planned on sharing this story with people but never knew the right time. Now that October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I felt now is the perfect time to share. See I haven't wanted to talk about it because it gets me sad. After this happened I was not the same and at times still don't feel like the same. Everything has been a trigger for my anxiety; the people I work with, certain places, certain times of day. My grief will hit sometimes out of nowhere and I would just cry. For a while like clockwork I was crying on my way home from work. My anxiety has been, and at times still is so bad that I can't breathe. I work for a hospice so I know about grief. I also work with people that know about grief and they were all so kind and wanted to check in on me and showed they cared. The problem was that all the attention, questions about how I was feeling, the "I'm sorry's" made me feel sadder and made me quieter and put up a bigger wall. I didn't know how to talk to people. I should also mention that the hospice I work for is associated with a couple hospitals in the area and one of those hospitals was the one I went to so whenever I pass it or have to go inside, it is a trigger. I didn't know what to do except wait for the feelings to subside until a nurse at work told me she had a miscarriage in the past and she had a very hard time. She said she found a support group and it really helped her. So I looked into going to options....
See not only did I never expect to experience this but I never expected to feel the way I did. I never understood how someone going through a miscarriage can grieve so badly. How can you be sad over a baby you never had, that you never met, that never lived outside of you. In my case I barely had the baby at all. How could it effect me this much? It does though. I am sure part of it is just the complete shock to my body with the change in hormones. My emotions were up and down. I was anxious about having the baby and then as soon as I come to terms and get excited it gets taken from me. And, also, I felt the baby. No, I did not feel it kicking or moving around but I felt the symptoms. I felt pregnant and felt everything that comes with it. I just knew.....
I also knew that if I couldn't relate to this feeling until having experienced one that the people around me couldn't relate or fully understand either. I felt isolated and alone. I ended up finding a support group at the hospital near me and the group is called SHARE. I have only gone to one so far because they meet 2x/month but I felt a sense of relief after my first session. I found others going through this. I found a safe place I could be heard and fully understood. I had a sense of hope that this isn't the end of the road for me and our attempts at another baby it was just a road block. My anxiety, although still prevalent at times, has really gotten better. My anxiety is no longer about this loss but just something I am prone to experience at times and have experienced prior to this loss. We are still trying for another baby. As I sit and write this I have received my period and it did not happen for us this month, but you know what I am ok with it. I didn't feel pregnant like I did last month (call me crazy if you want but I knew with Bree and I knew this last time) so I wasn't as anxious this month about whether I am or am not. I am trying to let go and let whatever will be, be.
I am writing this because I want others to know they are not alone. I want others who are experiencing this right now, who experienced this recently like me, or experienced it a long time ago that it is heartbreaking. I am here. We are a community. Sometimes this happens and there isn't a reason, although we may really want one. Also know there are support groups and maybe you can find some help and peace in one like I am experiencing now. If you need help finding one by you, let me know. I am a social worker by trade so this is what I do. I have learned to be resourceful. The SHARE group is a nationwide group. The hospitals I work with have their SHARE groups and that is where I attend. They have a walk coming up this month as well. There are people out there for you and have a story as well. Don't be afraid to reach out to me if you need it.
On Saturday, we decided to take Bree to the pumpkin patch. We took her last year to one of my favorite places, however she was too little and just learning to walk so the kid activities were still too old for her. This year I knew would be different and be able to find enjoyment in what was around her. One thing I liked was that there was no fee to enter. It is hit or miss with some of the farms. Some charge to enter and some don't but charge you for all the activities. This place was the latter. The food was all cash only so BRING CASH. In order to enjoy the attractions you had to buy tickets. They had delicious pumpkin and apple cider donuts which is one of my favorite parts of the fall farm experiences. Their apple cider donuts were AMAZING. They were soft, warm, and had a hint of apple flavor. Their pumpkin donuts were ok but they had icing and sprinkles which Bree loved.
One thing that I did not like about this place is that they do not have the pumpkin patches or apple orchards for you to go on the hay ride to the farms and pick your own stuff. They had a hay ride but I thought it was a bit expensive. It was 4 tickets per person and each ticket is $1. We also had our in-laws with us so that is $20 alone just to take a ride on the tractor. We declined this one. We were also going to get Bree's face painted but it is 7 tickets for this. I thought $7 to paint something on her face was a bit much. We also declined this.
The first thing we did with Bree was take her in the kid zone. It was only a few tickets and only the kids had to pay. They had a lot of fun activities for the wee little kids like some slides (which bree loves), a giant chair, little house, and some scary tunnels that Bree refused to go in because it was just too scary for her (haha). It was well worth the few tickets to go in there and let her run around and play. She went down the slide way too many times to count. This is perfect for those toddler aged kids. This was a win!
Next we took Bree to the area that was set up more like a carnival. There were regular rides, pony rides, and a feeding zoo with goats, sheep, and chickens. There were also bunnies to look at but not touch because they bite. Bree loved feeding the animals. You did not have to pay to enter this section and the feed was 25cents for a handful of ground corn. Bree loved this!! Even I loved this!! The animals are so cute and come right up to eat out of your hand. Bree is so in love with animals so this was a great experience. This was a big win!!
Next we went on the rides. They had alot of options: a camel ride, a train, a giant slide, twisty rides, dumbo rides, and pony ride, and a car ride. Most of the rides were only a few tickets so we had to do the pony ride. They are all so adorable!! We gave her choices between the car ride, train ride, or dumbo ride and she wanted the car ride. I had to stand with her on the pony ride and walk along because she couldn't hold on tight enough to not fall off. This was difficult and took alot of exertion trying to hold her, walk along (it seemed faster than it looked) and avoid stepping in horse poop and pee. Bree had a great time and loved it. She also was super excited with going on the car ride. She chooses red for everything! Her popsicle, her vitamin, and even the car is always red. I'm not sure if it was her favorite color or just her favorite flavor but she always says red. I had to sit in the back of the red car because she wanted mommy to go too. I did it because whatever makes her happy....
There are also great things to do for the older kids. There is a haunted house and a dizzy house as well. Bree is way too scared to do any of it. She was scared of the Halloween decor around the farm. We tried to take a picture in front of a scarecrow but she was too scared. There is a booth where they sell small and bigger pumpkins already painted and of course there are pumpkins everywhere in various sizes that can be purchased. They also have gourds, pie pumpkins, fall decor like corn stalks and indian corn, scarecrows, and a small store with food items. I had to bring home pumpkin butter. I love it on toast. Some things are made on site and some are brought in from local places. Overall, it was a successful day. We left the stroller at home and used her wagon which Bree seems to sit better in and worked well to carry our pumpkins and bags. It was a fun day for all and one we can look back on and remember as a family. It is also a dog friendly place so there were pups all over! Bree loves dogs so she got excited everytime she saw one.
If you are in the West Chicago area or looking for a fun, family friendly place for kids then I would recommend it. I'm not sure if if is necessarily worth a very long drive to get to since you can't go do your own picking and it is relatively small compared to other places I have been to, but it is great for any local people. Thank You Sonny Acres Farm!
I am going to start this with saying something obvious...being a parent is HARD. It is so hard. You have this little human that you love with all your heart that it hurts, but these sweet faces also know how to press your buttons. They will hug you one minute and scream at you the next. They don't want to listen. This is mostly due to the fact that they are trying to find their own independence and learning boundaries and the thought of being told no gets them upset. Time management is hard. Organization is damn near impossible. A clean house? Well maybe it can stay clean for an hour if you are lucky. It is exhausting. Who would have thought that in my 30's I would be having screaming matches with a 2 yr old, having to bribe and barter with a toddler. It is anxiety provoking. I freak out inside everytime she goes up and down the stairs for fear that she will fall yet have to put on a calm presence and praise her when she accomplishes the task. It can be overwhelming. I really have no control.
You are the parent, you make the rules and your kids have to abide by them. Yea, that is probably the common idea amongst non parents, but good luck putting that into action. Yea I set the rules. Yea I try to enforce them. My kid tries to break them and in the end I usually cave just a bit. When they are little they do not yet know the rules, are learning them and do not always like them. There is no rationale developed and they are emotional latchkeys.
I have no control over my time. It is hard to schedule anything because Bree may need to take a nap at that or maybe she should be taking a nap but decided she is just going to fight us the whole time. Bree is hungry when she is hungry and not when I tell her she should be. Bree has to be changed when she goes to the bathroom and it is not always at the most convenient times. You are not in control just because you are the adult.
As the kids get older then you start giving them more independence and they are better able to understand what the rules are. They are also old enough to break them on purpose and know better. They are better able to lie and be deceitful. You are still not in control.
Your house becomes a wreck. Their rooms will look the way the want it to look. They will leave their clothes everywhere. They will play the music you hate and decorate it in a way you would never choose. Where is your control? When they are young your house is a mess of toys. We try to get Bree to clean up at the end of the night, but at 2 she cannot do it by herself and her attention span is subpar so it is usually us parents having to pick everything up. Sometimes it is only us because Bree wants to kick and scream. Where is our control? Bree is in control.
Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade being a parent for the world All the headaches and chaos is worth every single smile they make. It is worth it with every hug, every kiss, every I love you. Every cuddle session brings as much as joy winning the lottery. That intense love that you feel for this little person is worth every headache, every tear, every time you feel like giving up, every hair you pull out of your head, every anxiety pill you need to inhale, every sore throat from a screaming match, and every sleepless night. Being a mom is my favorite job in the world and nothing could make me want to give it up.
Now let me show you what my house looks like in a typical day. This was the inspiration behind this post.
Good luck to all you parents out there.