Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1st birthday

i have sat down and tried to write this post many times. i just couldn't get the words out to express how i feel and if i even wanted to share them.

 ivory's birthday was August 5th. i was extremely emotional. (over) a whole year has passed and that baffles me. it's hard to come here to write sometimes but here i am, for the hundredth time, finally (sort of) ready to write about her.  i remember after she had passed away, i wanted so badly for everyone to understand how i felt. i could really connect emotionally with a few special people, but for the most part, it was hard to have others understand my pain. and now i understand and respect that. at first it made me mad. i felt like they didn't care as much as i needed them to. i justified who was truly my friend and who i wanted to keep in my life. it was selfish and unless you have truly grieved before, you probably wouldn't totally understand. you just start to realize what is important. and what isn't. i have found myself already getting caught up in the mundane worldly things but they don't suck me in like they used to.

i have found myself being much more content with my current life than i was before. before, a part of me was never satisfied. that's embarrassing to admit, because, i've been really blessed to say the least. i always wanted more than i had.. and even if i had it, i wanted what that other person had.. it was childish. whether is was beauty, clothes, a house, a job… i found myself being envious. (i blame social media!) i truly do not feel that way anymore. i can't think of the last time i felt jealous of someone.. and that is a relief. i can truly be happy for them and what they have. and i am truly happy with what i have. i owe it all to ivory. i think i'm a happier person than i was before. i think i can soak in moments better than i did before. it hit me like a bus that life can end without notice. just like that, our lives can change and i don't want to waste it on silly things.

what i can't believe is how many people i talk to are not satisfied with their situation. i mean, they are  like 80% okay, but i feel like there is always something they want. in my eyes, some of these people have it all, and it shocks me when they complain about it. but i guess it's engrained it us.. there is always something bigger, better. my goal is to always be grateful for what i have. okay, rant over.

what we went through a year and a few months ago was challenging and not a day goes by that i don't think about some part of it. i know i've expressed this before but it was the hardest and most spiritual thing i've ever gone through. i remember laying on the hospital bed, being in so much pain, throwing up constantly, and the thought occurred to me "i could totally do this again, if i had to." at that point, i thought i was leaving with a baby. although that didn't happen, i could totally go through that again, if that meant having another child.

i went in for a routine check up when i was 16 weeks. i knew tanner and a few others from proof were going to india to open an eye clinic and i didn't want to miss out. after hearing ivory's heartbeat i slowly starting asking my doctor about how he felt about his patients traveling. he said he doesn't really like them leaving too far after 6 months and at 7 months, he wants them to stay as close to home as possible. i chimed in and said i was thinking about going on a trip with my husband but i would be approaching 6 months pregnant.. he asked me where.. i said india. without even breathing he said no! absolutely not!  i was really surprised at this reaction because he had been pretty lenient about a lot of things like eating hot dogs and cheese haha. he went on and on about the possibility of diseases and how uncomfortable i would be and their health care.. i didn't even question him, i just said, okay, i'm not going.

fast forward to my three week post delivery check up. i didn't expect to get anxiety going into the doctors office since it was completely separate from the hospital. but my head started spinning as i walked up the stairs to my appointment. my eyes were burning as i opened the door and i fought hard to keep back my tears as i checked in with the receptionist. she gave me her condolences and i could tell they don't deal with this often. i got called to the back and did my usual weigh in and i asked if i needed to pee in a cup (that's what i had to do at every other appointment, duh..) and they said no, it wasn't needed. i was still in such a shock that i didn't have a baby in me. i changed into my gown and sat on the tissue covered seat. my doctor walked in and we just had a heart to heart. i love my doctor. i know that he made the right decisions. i slightly joked about the possibility that i could have been in india when i went into labor. my doctor looked me straight in the eye and he said he had the strongest prompting to tell me not to go. and it all makes sense now. i can't even think about if i decided i would have been fine to travel..

i feel like i have done well being happy for others who have gotten pregnant. i've had a few friends, and family who have had babies or have gotten pregnant during the time we have been trying. and yes, we have been trying for a year now.. it's been daunting and frustrating. my close friends and family have been sensitive to me and i appreciate that. as much as i'd like to be pregnant, i'm so happy for them. i had a friend from high school visit me after ivory passed away and she told me about her miscarriage. she thought it was strange that her friends would almost apologize for them being pregnant or for holding their newborn in front of them. my friend said "i wasn't jealous or hurt because i didn't want their baby, i wanted my own baby" and i totally get what she meant. i can be happy for you, because i don't want your baby haha. i have however hit the wall of frustration about not getting pregnant yet. i felt like i have kept my optimism and positivity for a long time and now, every month, i get really sad. and i over analyze ev-er-y-thing. what does that cramp mean? is this gas or a baby? tender boobs? change in discharge? hormones or PMSing? is this a pregnant zit? i am on dr. google a couple times a week tying to find answers of hopefully being pregnant before my monthly lady friend visits me. it's just all a waiting game.

so, how did i feel on ivorys birthday? sad.. so so sad. sad it had been a year. sad i wasn't pregnant yet. for the first time i was sad that i had missed so many "milestones" she would have had at that point. i have refrained from thinking about what she "would have" been doing at 3 months, 6 months, and a year, because to me, she is just a very sweet, special, teeny tiny baby. there was so much innocence about her being so small and helpless. there was something so cute and delicate about her being under 3 pounds. it's hard to explain, but i remember when the doctor told me i was having my baby and he told me before she was born that she would be around 3 pounds. i just thought that it was adorable. i loved the thought of having a tiny little girl. i had absolutely NO clue what a premature baby entailed. i didn't understand there were risks involved and that there was even a possibility of her passing away. i was completely in the dark and ended up taking it a day at a time. actually, more like a minute at a time. everything changed so quickly.

i remember after ivory had her surgery, how torn apart i was and in denial that her life was at risk. i just did my best to do what i needed to do as if she was perfectly okay. while she was in surgery i went to the mothers room to pump. tanner came in before i was finished and he said ivory was out of surgery. i said okay, i will be there in five minutes. he looked at me like i was crazy and said we needed to go, now. in my mind i needed to pump, because ivory needed to eat. so we just left everything and i still kept thinking about how i needed to go get my milk and put it in the fridge and clean my mess up. i was in a daze. then we got the news that they took 3/4ths of her small intestine and that they weren't optimistic about the surgery. so i asked what that meant for her future. i just knew this would change her life and her diet. the doctor told us that she would have permanent diarrhea, have a permanent pic line in her chest to feed her daily nutrients and her immune system would be weak. i remember feeling like i got punched in the stomach. no one expects that their child is going to have problems. for 6 months i was growing and thinking about this perfect little baby in my stomach and now she wasn't perfect anymore. and it was going to be a hard road to deal with. what i would give to be giving her nutrients everyday and to be constantly changing her blow outs and nurture her when she wasn't feeling well.

i had family ask me if i wanted to get together for ivory's birthday. and in all honesty, i didn't. i just wanted to be with tanner and they respected that. we went to the temple the morning of her birthday. it was peaceful and where we needed to be. i dropped tanner off of at work after and the second i pulled away, i lost it. i sobbed and sobbed on the drive home. i continued to cry all day. i finally left to pick tanner up because i couldn't be by myself. i needed him. as i left the house, i saw something on our porch so i jumped out of the car to see what it was. we had been heart attacked by someone and hearts were all over our porch with notes saying "we love you ivory" and "happy birthday." there were several gifts left by anonymous people and many texts and emails that day. friends on mine sent me videos of their kids sending balloons to ivory. tanner and i spent the rest of the day together and went to look at headstones for the first time.  we went to the cemetery and her site had been decorated by dear friends and family. there were flowers and pictures and even a cupcake. that little girl is so loved and i love and appreciate everyone who took time to celebrate her. we didn't spend as much time as the cemetery as i would have liked, but it was crazy windy and cold for that time of year. we went dinner and just had a nice evening together.

not too long ago i saw a video on Facebook about a family who was told at their 20 week appointment that their baby wasn't going to live. i don't remember the extent of their babies illness but all odds were against him. they were christian and believed in prayer and in god's miracles. the video was heart wrenching and my heart just ached watching it. but in the end, the baby lived and everything that was found at the 20 week appointment was gone. it truly was a miracle and a blessing. but, my own reaction to the ending shocked me. i was mad. for the first time ever, i was so mad that my baby was gone, and other people got miraculous miracles. i bawled and threw my phone and just asked why??! i had the answer come clear as day to my mind.. "it wasn't ivory's plan." i stopped crying and just knew. i have always known it wasn't her plan to stay. even while i was pregnant i would shake the thought away, because, who thinks like that? but we had our first check up at 8 weeks and they couldn't find a heartbeat. then i was paranoid to the point of not announcing our pregnancy until 20 weeks. then i had a scare at 21 weeks where i thought i was miscarrying. then i went into labor at 28 weeks….

i was scared of not ever feeling joy again. i knew i was still happy, but there were months where my joy was absent. i have had extra good days, and extra bad days, and recently, i finally felt joy to the fullest. boise got hit with a snow storm and this is where i felt my joy. i was able to be in my cozy home, while it snowed. and snowed. and snowed. i turned the fireplace on, had christmas music playing, and stayed in my sweats. i can't even explain how happy i was. it was so peaceful to watch, so beautiful, and i just soaked it in. my house was bright and cheery and even at night, there was a glow that i love. when i was ten, we had a huge snow storm. i played outside all day, and well into the night. it was probably around 10:30 at night and i was still outside playing and i remember falling on my back and i just laying there, looking up at the snow falling. it was quiet and and i felt warm. all i could hear was my breathing. i watched these huge flakes fall from the sky and i felt joy. i absolutely love a good snow storm.

our heavenly father has a plan for each and every one of us. i have had countless experiences where i knew he was with me and helped me through it. he is always, always with us. i am so grateful to have ivory. i'm grateful for the person i have become. i am grateful for the strong friendships and relationships i have made because of her. i am grateful i am happy.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

the philippines // day 4

^we went to a 'secret beach' that you could only get to by swimming through this hole. it was THEE coolest experience. i wish i had a water camera to have been able to get pictures inside. 

^we were in the sun all day and within an hour i started looking red, even after lathering on sunscreen. after melanoma, i try not to take any chances. so a white long sleeved shirt it is! 

 i know i am not a good writer. i wish i could dig deep in my brain to sound profound and paint a picture of the experience but, it's not my specialty. i even get annoyed when i read my own writing so i apologize. 
we went island hopping and spent the whole day on a boat taking us around to different islands. i was thankful that i never got sea sick and got to enjoy everything. we did a lot of snorkeling and swimming. we swam in some gorgeous lagoons. i mentioned it before, but the water was so warm and never got cold no matter how long you were in it. i loved that. we saw two large sea turtles and ate an incredible lunch. besides swimming in the lagoons, my favorite part was seeing the amazing blue water. some parts were crystal clear with so many different shades of blues and greens. absolutely beautiful. i crashed at about 8:30 that night. there is nothing better than being exhausted from having too much fun. 
i've honestly missed the philippines a lot. it was dreamy. i hope so badly that something brings us back there again one day. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

the philippines // day 3

^our abode.

^dog whisperer. 3 seconds later i almost had a heart attack when they ran at me full speed. tanner said i looked terrified but one time in costa rica, i was on the beach watching tanner surf and a mutt attacked me and freaked me out. it was honestly just wanting to play but it was aggressive and bit me and ripped my towel. stray dogs break my heart, but scare me to death now. 

^a little taste of heaven. fresh mango shake. 

^the best thing about island life is the slow pace. i think we spent 2 hours at breakfast this day. we just sat and looked out at the ocean. i saw a few turtles poking their heads out of the water but it became a joke because no one else would see them. i would see one and hurry to tell everyone to look but they would slip back under the water before anyone else saw. we sipped fresh fruit shakes and ate leftover pork sautéed in peppers and just enjoyed conversation with one another.

 ^our crew. (left to right) tanner, me, klea, jim, rambo, nenyow, jim, kristen

^it ended up raining all afternoon but it was quite romantic. this whole trip was romantic. i don't like using that word but i've never been in such 'la la land.' while it was raining, the couples from our group went out in to the ocean because it was still warm. we looked around and started laughing because every couple on the beach was in the water being all romantic. in between swimming, we vegged and hung out. we had an awesome crab feast for lunch. it was so good and so messy. it stopped raining and cleared up enough to bless us with an incredible sunset. i wish pictures did it justice but it just doesn't. that night we took a boat over to a french couples house who invited us all over for a bbq. we had met them the day before and next thing we knew, they were hosting us with one of the best meals i've ever had. their set up was rad. they had the place lit up with tiki torches and brought us up to their balcony to watch the final minutes of the sunset. the french guy was a dj and had good beats playing. the mood was perfect. we spent a few hours there then had a boat take us back to our cottage. tanner and i took a dip in the ocean before bed... heh heh. it was a great day.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

the philippines // day 2

 ^we woke up to a beautiful sunny day. i thought the island was pretty with clouds, but a bluebird day was something else. the colors on the island were so vibrant. we went on a morning run, saw some rice fields, lots of adorable kids going to school, got all sweaty, then ran into the ocean to cool off. i loved the feeling of going into warm water and being able to stay in it without ever getting cold. it was a nice change from boise's freezing rivers and lakes. we had another delicious breakfast and then tanner and i walked around the island for a little bit before we left to our next destination. i was sad to leave so quickly but i didn't know what was in store next. 

^this is el nido. it was incredible. i think all of our mouths dropped when we arrived. it was dusk and the water was calm. the mood was so zen.. which was nice because to get there was a 4 hour drive of winding roads and bumps.. i had to lay down for most of it which was unfortunate because what i did see, was gorgeous. we were treated to a dinner of a roasted pig and rice. the hospitality of the philippines was unreal. with a belly full of pork, i crashed in our beach cottage. 

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