Josh. Cali. McKallister. Oakland. Quincy. Camden. Murphy.

God blessed the broken road...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sunday morning was a dream. I sat at the table, listening to Oakland and Cam giggling at each other while Josh made breakfast...In the background Rascal Flatts was singing "Bless the Broken Road..." I was in awe as I realized how God led me to each of my children through a very broken road, in my eyes. There have been many moments when Josh and I have reflected back on situations dealt to us and realized that without everything that happened, we would not have each of our children. How can I not be grateful for that?

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. Maybe the magic of the season brings me closer to the spirit, which in turn makes me feel closer to my two angel babies? It might be watching the other two enjoy the enchantment of it all that makes me yearn to see those babes I miss so much? I always feel that emptiness and wonder how I can honor them each holiday. I have a longing to show them how much I love them. All that magic and enchantment is always marked by elements of sadness.

But then days like Sunday happen and I realize, I can't do this but I'm doing it anyway. I am legitimately content. There are hard times and moments when I cry huge mommy tears for the losses I have suffered. But my eyes have been opened to the good things in life that I probably would not have paid attention to before. Mac and Quincy would want me to be happy and love life, regardless of their death. My Heavenly Father has blessed my life, every road I have taken, the detours, the rocky roads, directed me which fork to take, and helped me climb every hill.

So I am going to face their absence this season with; smiling when Cam throws ornaments like baseballs, hide that stinkin elf on the shelf, sing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs, eat all the yummy treats that make it into my house, smile as much as humanly possible, spread some Christmas cheer, maybe even build a snowman with the kids (despite my "love" for snow)... And all of you? Give your kids a big hug for me on Christmas, I am really missing mine. And please be safe (if and when it actually snows!!)

Do we thrive off the crazy?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I always heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest.  The honeymoon period starts to fade, you are trying to develop a lifestyle together, and learn the art of negotiation. This may be comparable to the first year after having a baby. You are both exhausted, finances change and your attention shifts from each other to that of a new cuddly baby. Maybe it's the second year when reality has set in or not going as you imagined. Or the fifth?

Josh and I have been married for almost 8 years and it's possible that this year has challenged our relationshp in new ways and may just be our hard year. Weird right?

Year 1: Josh was traveling for baseball and distance made the heart grow fonder. The entire year was bliss.
Year 2: I was pregnant with Mac and could not have been happier, after we had him our relationship grew more than I can explain. We attached to each other and Josh was the reason I got through most of my days. We had lost a baby together and relied on each other to work out those tough feelings. He doted on me every moment, knowing the emotions I was going through and I had his constant attention.
Year 3: I was pregnant with Oakland and after having her, felt like we were in heaven. Knowing what it felt like to not be able to bring a baby home; we cherished the nights we were up with her, every diaper change and were grateful for the time we got to be together as a family. While dealing with blood clots, Josh stepped up to the plate and waited on me hand and foot. There was never a moment where he wasn't asking how I was doing, what he could do for me, reassuring me everything would be alright.
Year 4: We were in heaven with Oakland, the 3 of us bonded above any normal first child circumstance and Josh and I even battled over it being our turn on some of the hard first child moments. We bought our first house, Josh got his first (real) job, and we were on cloud nine living this perfect new baby, new house (we even got a dog), two income life.
Year 5: Josh was called to the bishopric of our ward. It reminded us how lucky we are to have each other around because he was gone more than usual. We prayed a lot together regarding the hard decision to get pregnant again and listening to all the medical and high risks of the pregnancy forced us to talk about some really emotional decisions that pushed us together.
Year 6: I was pregnant with Quincy and Josh turned in to the nicest nurse you could ask for. He gave me daily shots in my stomach (blood thinner) and was more than sympathetic to my every day needs. When we had the scare of miscarrying Quincy early on in the pregnancy he once again was at my side for anything and everything I needed. When I suffered the AFE... he saved my life. Nothing will bring you closer to a person than the moment you almost lose everything you have with them. He had to be my everything and physically take care of my needs. It made me so appreciative for him and because we almost lost each other, we were twitterpated all over again. I was so smitten, that I couldn't look at him without smiling. With Quincy gone too, Josh walked on egg shells around me. Always making sure I was comfortable and happy. Asking how I wanted to handle every situation, afraid of my emotional state.
Year 7: We went through the adoption process with each other and got Camden. It was the most magical thing to experience and made us realize how incredibly much we were meant for each other and how our kids were meant for us.

Now let's talk about this year... There have been no high pressure situations. No tragedies or dramatic action. No high anxiety situations. Nothing crazy taking place. Not much of anything taking place. I feel beyond exceptionally lucky to not have our minds on constant alert... but we are having to learn the art of communication outside of highly intense settings. Now don't get me wrong, Josh and I have an amazing relationship and something I find quite special but we are having to find reasons to dote on each other- and not because the other is sad or confined due to illnesses. We sometimes have to take time to be with each other because work and kids and life have just become busy.

I am realizing that the best years of marriage are the ones where you don’t let said life come in between you. We are learning the art of having a relationship off of the ordinary. We are attaining goals with each other on plain days of life rather than some of the hard days we have seen. Our life is devoid of tension so I'm having to acquire the skill of showing Josh fondness, to compliment him and tell him all the things I love about him. To praise him for the hard work he does so I can stay home with the kids. Whether your moments are currently crazy or uneventful, don't let life get in the way and LOVE that man or women you share it with. Remember all the times they rescued you from a bad day or comforted you when no one else could. Life is definitely all about learning... I'm still taking it one step at a time.

Speaking is kinda awesome!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sorry it has been so quiet on my blog lately... I have been buuusy! We have had 3 nasty illnesses floating around this joint, we put our house up for sale so I have been cleaning and organizing like crazy, I took on another baby to babysit (so now have 6 throughout the week), visited Cam's birth family, took a trip up to Idaho and then I have spoken at 3 different young women in excellence/ relief society activities. So in my spare time, I am living it up with my littles.
I wanted to express the gratitude I feel for being able to share some of my life experiences with youth around Utah and other women through my church. And I can tell you this. It is blessing my life far more than anyone else.

Oakland started noticing me studying, taking notes, watching movies and stories to help with the presentations that I wanted to do. And it shocked me that she wanted to join in... I have always studied while the kids have been asleep because I get the most out of it, but wow! Little kids pay attention. She gets out her Book of Mormon, ask questions about why I am speaking and what I share. It's been a great opportunity for me to share my testimony with her when SHE is asking and curious...
Then there are the youth... The very first time I spoke outside of my own ward, I was in tears majority of the time. Every time since it has been the same story. And it wasn't due to the message I was sharing- it was the spirit and the LOVE I felt from our Heavenly Father for each one of those special girls. I catch glimpses of their personality and remembering what I struggled with at their age, I know how much stronger they have to be. The love He has for them is never changing, never ending and one of the most powerful feelings I have ever felt.
My second Young Women in Excellence, it dawned on me that I have the greatest support system in this whole entire world. My Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother in Law and Grandma have come to listen and what touched me the most was to realize that they have felt the hard times with me and let it strengthen their testimonies. They remember the wall of love that surrounded Mac, and the feelings of the thousands of prayers and fasting offered on my behalf while going through my AFE. They know I'll be with my two boys again and they remember their spirits.

The more I attended, the more I saw talented, hardworking, humble young women. Some prepared the theme, decorations, desserts, and program themselves. Others went out of their way to make every single girls feel included. Most are earing their Young Womanhood Recognition medallion, multiple are even going for their Honor Bee. But most of all, they are strengthening their testimonies and talents. They are learning skills that will help them be future Moms and Leaders of this church.

I have made some serious friends. I have met athletes, girls on the color guard, cooks, straight A students and others who are quirky and love themselves! And love each other. No matter how different we all are, no matter how different each of our trials and adversities are, the church unifies us! These girls are kind to those who seem different, they have made friends through the Young Women program that they probably wouldn't have through school. They are all so friendly and lovely and I know that they are loved beyond measure by a Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who want them to succeed.

Talking to everyone after I speak has been something I look forward to. Some share their struggles, others their thoughts on what I say. They tell me about trials that they have made it through and assure me that I will too, miracles they have seen in their lives. I have even had some amazing books recommended to me. It is so humbling to see others cry on my behalf and thank me for saying just the right thing when they don't know the impact they have had on me from a short conversation. There are some amazing women who have had brain tumors, divorced parents, been bullied, lost loved ones, moved around their entire lives... and they are there. They know who they are and who they want to be. The reason I would speak every single night if I could? Meeting all of them...

Each one that I have been to, has been packed with decorations, months of preparation, food and the spirit. It has made me want to fulfill my calling in the church 100 times more because I see the dedication these leaders have. I can feel the love coming off of them as they speak to their young women and fellow sisters. I see how each night is directed to those in the room, how our Heavenly Father assists to make that evening help someone keep going. And how prayer and contemplation was present in every single event.
Knowing the service that was offered my family over years of trails plays a huge role in who I am today.  I will forever be grateful for those who have filled the gap in my memory when I lost Quincy. I feel a connection in my heart to those who have cried for the loss of my boys, or prayed for the comfort I have felt.
I know that each one of us have felt abandoned, heartbroken, alone. But I also KNOW that Jesus Christ understands our sufferings because he experienced them. Christ suffered more than any of us, and he knows the intensity of our afflictions. That is why He understands and can help us. I have learned through everything how to draw on the powers of the atonement, and have felt encompassed by my Heavenly Fathers peace.
I desire every day to be more like Christ and let his light shine through me. The experiences that I have gone through in my life so far have refined me and made me want to be a more dedicated daughter. And not because he spared my life but because I have made covenants with him that I want to follow and serve him.
Jesus Christ is our savior, our Redeemer. I admire the powerful and overwhelming way he has communicated love to me in my life. I pray every day that I can continue to allow him to direct my life. He knows my sacrifices.
Don’t give up on the Lord- his promises and blessings are eternal.

Pregnant and Infant Loss Awareness

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October is one of the months that plays with my emotions. There are some days and some times that I just really miss those two boys of mine. October 11, 2012 was the date my Dr. was going to induce me with Quincy. October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day and the entire month is set up to remember those who have lost babies and children way too soon. Days and months like this, I hurt for those Mom's that have been through similar situations and wonder how they are holding up. And I always think, "what would Mac and Quincy look like" "what would they be doing now"....

This year my prayers were answered in a round about way with Quincy. I am LDS and so I hold a calling in my ward, Nursery Leader. About midway through the year, the Primary Presidency moved some of the younger Nursery kids up to my class (we have 3 nurseries because there are so many kids ages 18 months to 3 years!). One holds a really special place in my heart because her Mom and I were pregnant at the same time, due the same month. Little Miss Saylor always comes and sits on my lap first thing. She hugs me throughout the class and always seems to know just what I need from a little friend Quincy's age. She'll hold my hand and tell me funny things that makes her nose crinkle. I am lucky to be able to watch her grow up and have a small taste of what Quincy would be doing... There are two other boys that also celebrate their birthdays in October and I watch them every Sunday in wonder! Saylor likes the books and bubbles, Rafe likes cars and ring-around-the-rosie, Noah loves to run and get his hands on any toy! Would Quincy wrestle with the boys? Would he want to sit on my lap the whole time? Would he share his snacks with the other kids? Would he be naughty? :) I am grateful for a Bishopric who didn't know this need of mine, but followed the spirit and I was placed in this calling at the perfect time!
Happy 2nd Birthday Saylor, Noah, Rafe and Quincy!!
On Quincy's due date, the 11th, I just made sure we were hanging out as a family. We went shopping in the mall (which is really fun with Oakland but not so fun with Josh and Camden. Haha) then went to Texas Road House with my parents and Brother for dinner. Spending time with loved ones on those hard days is the only thing that gets me through them. I am always tempted to stay home and watch tv all day but once I get out and moving, the days always turn out to be the best!

On October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day, I was having a really emotional day. I was aching for women I had met who had lost children, three just this year. I was realizing the holidays were coming and I wouldn't have Mac and Quincy there. I was kind of putting myself in a rut of pity. And then two of my best friends saved me from some simple texts that meant the world to me and reminded me that I wasn't alone...


I have been blessed with who the Lord placed in my life in every situation I have gone through. Friends and family members who have played significant roles in getting me through the hard times with a smile on my face. I love that about our Heavenly Father. He gives us trials and hardships to overcome but he also gives us resources to help push us through. Man, am I grateful to know the separation from my boys is temporary and the fact that I am able to hug and love on Oakland and Camden every single day. To cap off a hard couple of weeks, I had a girls night out with some of the most caring, hilarious, talented, compassionate, thoughtful, crazy ladies you will ever lay eyes on!!
Missed those of you who couldn't make it, let's do this again soon!!!


This little light of mine...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

....I've gotta let her shine.

Oakland wasn't born yet when we had Mac, she was 2 1/2 when we had Quincy, and 3 1/2 when we got Camden. For a long time she was really confused about pregnancies, babies, adoption, why some got to stay and others didn't. I remember having multiple conversations where we would cry together. She would ask every pregnant women if their baby was going to heaven with Mac. Then she would randomly tell strangers that two of her brothers were dead, most of whom would look at me with big questioning eyes. She had conversations with women, asking if they were going to give us their baby. I'm sure people wondered what I was teaching her. I wondered if it was the right thing to be teaching her about.

But then I realized something... Mac plays a huge role in our family so we talk about him a lot, we visit Mac's park, we know other families who have lost babies. She was present when I had my AFE, she watched Josh perform CPR on me, she understood that Quincy passed away like Mac. She suffered the failed adoption with us, she thought she had a sister, she held her and loved her. Then Oak witnessed the miracle of adoption. She sees my scars and knows that "Mom's tummy is broken", she wonders when we will "get" another baby. I blame myself that she had to grow up way too fast.

And then that realization makes me realize something else... She has portions of the gospel of Jesus Christ rooted in her. Her relationship with our Heavenly Father at this age is amazing. She believes she will be with her Brothers again and asks me all the time when Jesus will come again so she can be with them. She has learned a lot about agency and that everyone gets to make choices of their own and sometimes it effects others. She got to enter in the temple with us when we were sealed to Camden and I love that she got to feel such a strong confirming spirit at her age. She is learning to stay strong and positive in the face of trials. Her ability to know when I am having a hard day is inspiring but even more so is her constant want to serve those who are suffering. She listened to all four sessions of Conference this weekend because she wanted to know what the Prophet needed her to do so that she can see her Brothers and be with us forever.

The other night she said the prayer for our family and the first words out of her mouth were, "Please bless Mom to always be healthy and not miss Mac and Quincy so much".  Later she told me how much she missed them. We went to a pumpkin patch and she said that she wished more than anything that Mac could be there with her. And it dawned on me, she has learned to pray for others. While she misses them and wants to have them here, she also knows that I do and asked our Heavenly Father to bless ME!
I talk about her spunk and confidence often, she is loud and playful, she helps around the house, but more than that...she SHINES! This girl is going to accomplish amazing things in her life and I hope she touches many as she does so...she already has inspired me.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My friend, Cassie, recently shared with me a part of the Sunday I'll never remember but can't forget.
  "I sat by you in sacrament. Do you remember? It's ok if you don't. It's so insignificant for you that day, but I'll always remember. We kept laughing at Josh for some reason. Maybe cause he was making funny faces at the speakers or something. I remember how healthy and beautiful and happy you looked."

I don't remember any of that, but not because it was insignificant like she mentioned- but because of the medication I was given before transport on the helicopter. Before she told me this, I liked to think that I was kind to those I saw at church that day, said hello to friends I passed in the hall, felt the spirit, participated in the lesson maybe? I know on Saturday I loved the lake with my family, we enjoyed dinner together, we talked we laughed.

My parents used to have a rule that whenever they or one of us were fighting, we were not allowed to get in the car and leave. They always told us that you would never want to have something happen on that note, or let the other person suffer through the last thing they said in a fight if you got in a car accident.

So the most important thing Cassie said was that I looked happy and I laughed with her. If that would have been my last day, then that literally would have been within my last few hours- I'm so glad it was! I'm grateful that while everyone has some regrets or things they wish they would have done differently, I was currently in LOVE with life and my family and my friends. And I'm even more grateful that I have my second chance to try and improve myself and love this life even more every day!

We don't know what is going to happen to us tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old. That is one thing that I can give evidence to! I know how precious life is. So, what if today was the last day you had on this earth? Will people remember you being happy, positive, kind, helping them, smiling, radiant? Or will they remember that you yelled at them, or weren't grateful, or were unkind to a stranger?

Please, for my sake, hug and kiss your loved ones goodbye and then pull them back for another hug and kiss. Spend time with your friends. Laugh at jokes. Prepare yourself to return to God's presence. Hold your hubbies hand. Have a conversation with an old friend. Serve someone. Dote on your kids. Say all your I love you's, sorries, thank you's, forgive me's now!!

And have an incredibly awesome October!
Cam was far more interested in the pumpkins and trying to stay awake than smiling for me!

Everyday angels on earth...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 3 I met some very important angels on earth, the rest of my set. These 5 people started off the miracle that saved my life. And those two lil babes have kept me going after...

After the story regarding my Amniotic Fluid Embolism was published in the AirRescue Magazine, Amanda and Windi wanted to make sure the 911 dispatchers received a copy because they were such a huge part of it. They decided to meet up with them and then show them the presentation that My Girls have given at the AMTC for the last two years and we were invited!

Last year, I listened to the 911 call Josh made to the dispatchers. I have lost 5 days of memory during that time so this was the first thing that made it real for me. My heart felt like it was going to burst open when I heard Josh pleadingly say my name. It was torn when I heard Oakland crying in the background. I was hurt and confused when I heard myself making a prolonged, low, inarticulate sound that could only be from intense physical suffering. But more than that, I was in awe of how Josh held his composure together. How he thanked the operator multiple times throughout the call. How she kept him calm, distracted but focused, and guided him through CPR.
Amanda and Windi, (above) and whom I refer to as My Girls most the time, were the ladies that life flighted me to the hospital. They got up and thanked everyone in the room. Sheriffs, officers, 911 operators, my pilot, etc. and pointed out Courtney. As I turned to see who she was, my eyes filled with tears and it felt like my heart was going to jump right out of my mouth. I couldn't focus so turned back around to try and compose myself. Then I turned to see her again, and when she looked at me, all I could do was mouth, "Thank you." How can you properly thank someone for such an impactful moment in your life? All day, everyday, she is painting a picture for those first responders arriving at scenes all over Tooele. She is listening to horrific calls, sometimes not knowing the outcome, and she is doing all this to help others. Or in my case, start the process of saving a life.

After the presentation, they played the 911 tape again. Josh and my Mom won't/can't listen to it so took the kids out of the room. And a typical example of my relationship with Windi took place. Her protecting me. Sitting and comforting me while I listened to the call again. This picture captures the way I view our relationship so wonderfully...perhaps I will have it framed. :)

Now, what none of us expected was the news and media to be there! Some of these pictures are blurry but I had to add them still because of how crazy that day was. The emotions were running high, we were trying to keep ourselves composed, all while talking about how amazing each other were/are.

As a side note, I really loved this camera man, Winston. He was rad.
Then my family was able to tour where the magic happens, Courtney walked us through an example call. The system they have is amazing. It gives them questions to ask, which moves them to the next question, which prompts them to say or start something else. When trying to determine if my breathing was normal, it gave her the power to enter in each breath I take to the system to help her. I never knew that so much took place in those calls.
The camera man pictured above (I don't remember his name!) talked to me after for a minute and told me, "I listen to a lot of 911 calls for my job and meet a lot of families, but not all of them have the same effect that today has brought on me. It took a lot for me to keep my emotions in check while listening to your call, Josh and Courtney are amazing."
I agree, Josh and Courtney are amazing. Yvonne is amazing. Windi and Amanda are amazing. My Dr's and Nurses are amazing. My family is amazing. My friends are amazing. My life is amazing.

And of course, I have to thank my Mom who drove to Tooele to meet these fabulous people, only to keep Camden happy, watch Oakland and take pictures for me. She's kind of like Superwomen.

Pregnancy and child birth is the most common miracle…

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Growing up I had this dream of how my life would play out. I would marry the love of my life young, we would immediately start having kids and I’d be a stay at home Mom. We’d live in a big house with a huge porch and a white picket fence. And of course, I would have at least 10 kids by the time I was 30.

Now some of this came true, I was married by age 19 to the man that fits perfectly in my dreams. We got pregnant 7 months after we were hitched, so were well on our way to having our own football team of kids. Obviously we are still not in that huge house, I don’t even have a porch but all of that seems to be an obtainable goal in the future. What no one ever prepares a girl for is this…
You cannot get pregnant.

I did not realize the enormous extent of this statement. I knew people that adopted, I knew couples that “waited” until they were older to have children, and I know some that have never had children. But do you realize how often this is the case?! When I first found out that I would never be able to have kids again, it was a footnote to the rest of what I was living through at the time. As those things have passed, I am more aware of the want I have to become pregnant again. But that is where I am lucky. I can say "again". I know so many that have never been able to experience this thing called pregnancy. And the weight that I carry in my heart is multiplied by 10 for those ladies that I love so much.
I have never experienced a "normal" pregnancy. My first was stillborn. I got blood clots after my second. I survived an AFE with my third, and lost him. And now I am 27 and have had a hysterectomy since the age of 24. I feel like there is so much that I could feel sorry for myself about. But then I remember, I had the privilege of announcing to my family 3 pregnancies and 3 genders. I can describe what it feels like to have a baby kick inside of me. And I can testify to the miracle of growing a child.
And that is just what it is... pregnancy is the most common miracle. You see it every day. Some of us live it multiple times. But of the 7 kids on Josh's side of the family, 3 of us have biological kids, 3 of us have adopted, 4 of us have never been pregnant and 4 have struggled with infertility issues. It gets easy to ask "why" and say "if only" but I want to testify that I know God does not make mistakes and will always be with us.
In every trial and difficult moment that I faced came the real test, my ability to endure. I love the quote by President Thomas S Monson regarding this, "...A fundamental question remains to be answered by each of us: Shall I falter or shall I finish?" I have to ask myself this question almost every single day. And the conclusion that I come to most days? God knows I am tough enough. The separation from my children is temporary, the sealing power has made that possible and is the knowledge that sustains me. And if I remain consistent in being prayerful, full of patience, diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times, faithful, and have hope and charity- He will bless me. He will rejoice with me. And He will never abandon me.
So for those of you that have biological kids, for those of you who have had the opportunity to get pregnant or still have that- do not take one minute of that for granted. Listen to our Heavenly Father regarding your family and trust what he tells you. And those of us who can not have kids?... same advise. Listen to our Heavenly Father. For those of you suffering a loss, illness, adversity, just hard times, I'll leave you with this...
Dark times and trials are important. Trials show us the beauty of God's comfort. It's through the comfort we receive from God during our difficult times that we learn how to comfort others. Sometimes the process of growing closer to our Heavenly Father comes along the path of heartache and pain.
Allow Him to direct your lives.

Why do the hardest days seem to last the longest? And the difficult weeks never end?

Friday, September 5, 2014

The past 2 weeks my emotions have been literally thrown all over the scale...

Panic. Helplessness. I watched a dear friend go through the devastation of losing her baby at 16 weeks gestation. A little boy, named Sky. When I first found out, I could still hear the echoes from the days I lost both of mine. It was overwhelming to want to help her so intensely but know she may want the space. I wanted to hold her and sob but then I needed to show strength. I know that you don't ever recover, you just survive so my heart was breaking for her. I wanted to take it all away. I didn't want her to suffer, or have to feel the want of a baby. There is still so much I want to tell her, mostly about my testimony. Our Heavenly Father knows that we are touch enough. And that little boy is lucky to have her as his Mom because she is exceptional.

Anxious. Then Oakland started preschool. I have to admit that I rely way too much on her 4 year old self. She has pulled me through my hardest days and given me the comforting words I've needed when I have been down. She has allowed me to cry on her shoulder while assuring me that everything would be ok. It is hard for me to let her go for those 7 1/2 hours a week because she is my best little friend and my emotional stability. Can I get through those hours without her?

Sad. Another dear friends, friend lost her 15 month old daughter. I don't know them personally but ache for them. I want to donate all the money in the world to help with medical and funeral costs to help ease the stress, however, know that will not free them from the pain in the hearts. #bubblesforellie

Excited. Grateful. I met the dispatchers that took part in saving my life. Have you ever had someone actually be the reason you are alive today? It is an overpowering feeling. And I had almost every single one in the same room as me this past week. Josh, who was home, called 911 and did CPR. Courtney, who walked Josh through CPR, ensuring the lack of neurological damage I have today. Yvonne, who immediately requested air support, guaranteeing my Girls the time they needed to get me the appropriate medical help. Amanda, who's quick decision to intubate me secured my quick transport to the hospital and again kept my brain in tact. Windi, who used her knowledge to suggest an AFE and then save me emotionally, to this day. This week, I will write a detailed post about that day, but it was beyond anything you could imagine. And very emotional.

Scared. Another friend has been holding her breath the past 15 weeks about her pregnancy. My mind has been going crazy with fear until this past week where she learned that her 1 in 4 chance of losing her baby was leaning towards the happy outcome. She has already lost two little ones that hold a very special place in my heart because of what their Mama has taught me and the friendship we sparked because of them.

Happy. Every moment was worth it because I have people who genuinely care about me and who I would do anything for. I know we will be with our families again. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and will always be there during my hard times. I know that no matter the emotional roller coaster we are on, our Savior understands and will help us through it. Helen Keller once said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming it." These weeks have proven that to me- there are some strong families and women in our midst.

AirRescue Magazine!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My case was published internationally by AirRescue Magazine this past month! It was exquisitely written by one of my girls, Amanda with Windi pictured. Every time I read it, I get super emotional. And probably not for the reason you think. I still don't believe it is about me! This story; how quickly 911 dispatched everyone, the treatment planning, my girls presence at the scene, everyone's expertise, how they worked together... this? This is their story about how they saved a life.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Since the loss of Mac and Quincy, I have received 6 phone calls telling me of others who have suffered the loss of a child. Mostly friends or family wanting some insight on how to help...

Now I must say that everyone's situation is different, everyone's feelings are different, because everyone's baby is a special individual. And every one of those sweet spirits are important in this world in their own way. They touch our hearts in the most tender ways. When seeing pictures, holding their adored bodies and meeting their parents it brings back floods of memories.

When called, I mostly give advise for the day of, days to come, funeral and immediate feelings the parents will deal with, as far as I have experienced. But my birthday was this past week so in connection with that, I want to share my thoughts on having someone close to you lose a loved one- especially children.

Both of my boys birthdays are in June, so when that month rolls around I am pretty much considered useless to the human race. Their birthdays are hard for me to deal with, I re-live the worst moments of my life. I replay the looks on my families faces as they each enter the room. Emotions fill my heart and make it hard to breath at times. But what is worse than that are the days leading up to their birthdays. The anxiety I feel about one specific topic is unbearable....

I am terrified that no one will remember.

These two boys left such an enormous impact on my life, they are my kids and there are limited memories that I have of each of them. I feel guilty for expecting others to remember their birthdays, or Quincy's due date but I honestly am horrified of the day that rolls around and no one texts to tell me they are thinking of them, or that I will be alone in my feelings of want for them. I don't want others to feel it as an obligation, I just honestly pray that they will never be forgotten. I cherish them and I think like all Mom's, we want others to adore our kids as well. I'll never be able to post their accomplishments or new haircuts. I'll never be able to have others admire their kindness or success in sports. All I have is their birthdays.

Now some of their birthdays have gone by without a hitch or were planned in advance. On Quincy's first birthday, we were bringing Camden home from the hospital. On Mac's fourth birthday, I was just out of the hospital and my family threw me a surprise party at his grave. On Mac's second birthday, I spent it with both sides of my family at the lake enjoying the sun. But on some birthdays, I know nothing is planned and inner turmoil takes over.

But along with every birthday, I have been blessed with someone who followed the spirit. There is simply no other explanation for it. This year was no different. The day before my AFE anniversary my friend, Stacie, called and left me a message. "I know you probably already have plans but in case you don't, we should go on a hike!" What she doesn't know is that I hadn't answered the phone because I was having a full on break down. She saved me that day.

We hiked Ensign Peak, which was Stacie's idea, so that we could overlook the hospital that saved my life. What I didn't even realize is that it would also show the path the helicopter took to get to my house!

Kim, Stacie, Sarah and the kids seriously took my mind off of the hardships of that day. We laughed while we hiked (ok some of us tried really hard to just control our breathing- ME!), they all sacrificed their day, others went along with something they wickedly hate to do, and one may have injured their face. But for me, it was a memorable anniversary to add to my list with people that I truly LOVE!

We may have looked insane, hiking with 9 kids under 5!

After we got to the top, Stacie pulls out this tribute and by the end we were all in tears. Every time I read it, I end up in tears. It pretty much speaks for itself....
I will never be able to thank them all properly for that day, but I hope that they will always know the enormous place in my heart they will remain forever. The day may have been just another day for them, but the emotions I feel about it can not be described in a simple post. They are my friends. Good people through and through.
 The following day, Quincy's birthday, my Mom and I went to Liberty Park with the kids to do something fun. Something Quincy probably would have enjoyed.

 Being with my family is a choice way I will always want to spend the boys birthdays. And we have a tradition on their birthdays to go on a big ferris wheel to sing Happy Birthday to them when we get to the top! And then take a goofy picture.

McKallister's birthday rolled around and first thing in the morning was a knock at the door. I am sure flower delivery ladies get all sorts of reactions when they drop off a beautiful bouquet of flowers but I do not think she was prepared for the flow of tears that greeted her!
Our long time friends Jory and Lace have done this more than once, but every time it hits an emotional nerve. The flowers, to me, are more for Mac then they are for Josh and I and they prove me wrong- someone will always remember Mac! This was just what I needed to jump start my day and somehow these amazingly kind hearted friends knew that. And then the texts, messages, calls flooded in. And I was reminded how lucky I am to have certain people in my life.
Mac shares a birthday with an extraordinary friend's little boy, who was born a year after. So on that day I got to hang out with more friends and Oakland got to "celebrate Mac's birthday", Mickey Mouse style.

Mac's death was personal for Sarah, so I know she never minds but man does it show me how good people are that she allows Oakland and I to be there on her son's birthday and knowing that she doesn't care that Oak believes part of the celebration is for Mac, makes her astonishingly great.
I have been blessed beyond words for my family and with the friends that I have- some as close as family. So instead of some very harsh and sad days haunting my future, I will be comforted by these very tremendous people in my life and the memories they created for two very cherished boys.
So back to my advise... just be the person that remembers. Send them a text or call them to make sure they aren't alone that day. And not just in this situation, but in all situations. Just be a friend. Be the friend that you want for yourself on hard, lonely, crazy days. Be a friend they will remember for the rest of their life.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I have never seen a tornado in person. I am sure that I don't understand the intensity of those even seen on movies or TV. You can read about them and know that they are nature's most violent storm but there are family, friends, other amazing people who have actually had to live through such a heartbreaking ordeal. They cause fatalities. They devastate neighborhoods in seconds.

Now think of your own devastating tornadoes. The tornadoes of life. It may be divorce, loss of a loved one, sickness, a car accident, losing a job, cancer. It could even be breaking up with a boyfriend, not being able to keep up on the housework, failing a class. There are so many different degrees of tornadoes; F0-F5 and they can have a halting effect on each individual person.

But in life there is not a national weather service to determine where your tornado fits on the scale. Maybe it would be easier if there was a report stating that you are currently going through an F4 tornado. But life isn't that simple. We could both experience that same tornado but I walked away with minimum damage and your home got destroyed. Every single trial, mishap and hardship is like this.

I have met some amazing women and families that have lost children; as a stillborn, after living a few hours or even well into their childhood. And every single one of us deal with it differently. It's torn apart relationships, it has brought others together. I am part of a support group for those that have experienced an AFE in their life. It's shattering. Our storms range from both Mother and child surviving to families losing both to permanent neurological damage to children suffering as a result. Going through the adoption process; I have met many that have had failed adoptions, successful adoptions, or even waited years.

Four enormous things that I have learned through these events and am currently trying to do....

1. We never know what storms someone else is going through.
    The thing about trials, is that not all of them are outwardly noticeable like a tornado cutting through your neighborhood. There have been times when friends of mine have been going through the hardest times of their lives and I did not even know. We all have stories of when we really didn't think we'd make it to the next day and someone dropped off a plate of cookies or sent you a text just because. Now I can attest that life is busy. There are days that my kids don't even make it out of their pajamas. But everyone can do something. I want to be that person that lightens someone's day, even just a little bit. I want to be that person that is kind to everyone, no matter how kind (or not) they are. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I want to smile at a stranger every single day.

2. Happiness is a choice.
     Now I'll tell you what... it is not an easy choice. There are days that I could stay inside all day. In my bed. But I notice the days that I serve my littles or the people in my life, are days that I'm not all that depressed. As we lose ourselves by serving others, we discover our own happiness. We see the joy that we bring to those who are in need and that joy can't help but bounce back on us. Now there may be some times that it goes unnoticed, anonymous or even the people we intended it for won't be grateful. But just the act of turning away from our own internal battles and turning towards someone else can help us truly feel joy.

     I have a distinctly different point of view than most because I have lost two very precious souls in my life and escaped death. There is not a day that goes by that I can't count my blessings. I've been given the gift to see the world as such a beautiful place. I can't take things for granted because I almost lost it all and I cherish my kids on earth because I have two in Heaven. Now, obviously, I am no where near perfect and I'm not saying the days aren't hard sometimes but I am grateful for the knowledge I have to repent and try again to be kind the next day or influence someone on a positive note. And I can truly say that I am happy.

3. Know your limits but stretch them.
    I still feel like there are times that my body is just not where it should be after my AFE. I'm still recovering physically and emotionally from losing my boys. So I do have to set limits for myself. I know how hard I can push myself every day but I never overdo it. I have learned to say no when necessary and then make up for that 10 fold on the good days. However, I now love to try new things and stretch myself outside of my comfort zone.

    For instance, if you knew me when Josh and I first got married you would probably describe me as quiet, kind but someone who stays in the background. Josh and I taught a marriage and family prep class for our church and I'm pretty sure I said two words the entire time- and that was when Josh was out of town on a baseball trip. I just didn't like putting myself out there, it made me very anxious. I didn't go out of my way to make new friends, or welcome new members. I tried to stay in as much as possible. Now I realize how short life is. How I only survived some days because of my neighbors and friends. One smile would change my entire day. A new face would remind me that there are so many good people in this world where tornadoes happen. Honestly, I stretch myself every day to be a constant happy, welcoming person. And it's making me a better, happier person.

4. Love your body.
  I'm sure you have all heard the saying that you are a tiger and have earned your stripes? AMEN! Love everything about yourself- your scars, layers, structure, feet. I love reading different articles that have come out on this subject. Our bodies are some seriously exquisite things. Mine has grown 3 beautiful kids. Mine fought to keep me alive. Mine manages the pain of blood clots. Mine has scars and extra skin and love handles and veiny legs.

But I am grateful for it because I am here today. Those lovely love handles remind me that I have amazingly gorgeous kids. The scars remind me every day that I survived, I am a warrior. And most of all, my Heavenly Father loves me and trusts me with this body. He wants us to be happy in all our uniqueness. He is proud of what our bodies do and look like. And he loves us, he wants us to love ourselves!

Everyday there are hundreds, thousands of tornadoes in your life, family and neighborhood alone. Be conscious about those around you, choose to be happy, stretch yourself to be a better person every day and LOVE the way you look and who you are! This world is great. Today is great. You are alive and beautiful!!!

13 days of hospital

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What happened next? I slowly started to recover. My memory is really scattered around this time frame. I remember things but am not sure if it's my actual memory or people telling me the stories and me seeing pictures. I remember so many CT scans, MRI's, moving from room to room and a lot of Dr's and nurses and yet I don't remember them at all. Since I had been in the ICU or surgery, I hadn't been able to see Oakland. She had been with family members...and I actually don't even know who? (Maybe one of you could tell me about that time frame some time?) I just knew that she was safe and being loved.

 The first time I saw her was after I had one of my MRI's or tests that had taken me out of my room. I don't remember that test but I remember the gentlemen that pushed my bed and him telling me in such a calm voice that if it was ok with me, he would swing me by to see my daughter. She was waiting at the end of a hall and I wanted this guy to run so I could get to her faster but then I realized that would hurt so I didn't ask. She looked so different to me (older?) and this was the first time my heart ached to see family- realizing that I would be able to raise her and see them all grow. I noticed that someone had done her hair and I longed to be able to do that again. I still didn't comprehend the situation, didn't realize that if one thing had changed during the process I would not be alive but I felt overwhelmed to see her. I think Josh cried, I know I did.

Directly after all my surgeries, I still couldn't drink any water but my mouth was so dry. Like, I know what it would be like to live in a desert for a few days dry. There was a small sponge on the end of a stick that my Mom would dip in water and then put on my lips and tongue to give me a little relief. The first time she did it, I remembered it! It shocked me to remember something that I had never used before, only to learn that they had done this while I was in the MICU while I was still intubated. Something that small should not have made me so happy but man did it relieve that source of distress for me.
I believe the first room I was moved to after the ICU was on a maternity floor. Now this is my memory of this room, it could be totally wrong but here is an account of what I thought and felt during that time. My Mom sat next to me on the bed because I had a headache- one of the worst I have ever had. It hurt more when she touched me but I thought if she kept rubbing, it would go away and I really wanted it to go away because there were so many other places in pain too. I was so uncomfortable but they were doing everything they could to make me comfortable. Josh and my Dad were there and my Dad's parents. I remember my Grandma talking but I couldn't listen- it was too much to try and concentrate. My Mom was mad or irritated and then I noticed that my Dad seemed to be too but he just looked too tired to let any other emotion show but exhaustion. Josh just watched me but I didn't know why, he hadn't looked at me that smitten since we were engaged. :)
I asked my Mom to stop rubbing my head- I think I may have pushed her hand away because I just wanted the pain to stop and she left crying. Had I done that? Why was she crying? She went out to the hall and talked to a nurse, was she telling on me? She looked mad. (Since I was on a maternity floor, there was a baby basinet in my room and they could hear babies crying. She was begging this nurse to move me because once I realized what was going on around me, she knew it would break my heart to hear those sounds after losing Quincy. And it was already too hard for my family).
Then two nurses came in and I knew immediately that we liked them. I could tell by how everyone reacted but I couldn't place them. I don't think I had met them but Josh knew who they were and he loved them. He thought they were cool too- I could tell by how he treated them. They were really happy to see him and they all hugged and introductions were made. Windi and Amanda. I remember someone telling me that these ladies were my heros, had literally saved my life. Ok, I didn't know what that meant. My head still really hurt but these ladies were really nice and excited to see me. They explained that they were the ones who worked on me when I was on the helicopter. Someone suggested that they took a picture with Josh and I thought it was nice that they said yes. Little did I know that this would be my favorite picture and has a lot of meaning to me. Without these three, I would not be alive today. Windi said that she would come check on me again and I felt really safe and protected when she was around. I liked that. After they left, they took me to another room.
I still can't recall the conversation where Josh told me I had lost Quincy or they had to do a hysterectomy. I just knew it. He said that he had told me over and over. Every time I woke up, I wouldn't remember and he would have to tell me again. Live through it again. Watch my reaction again. He had so much patience and love during this time- regardless of the emotional pain he was going through. The next few days are all clumped together. I slept a lot so I never knew what time of day it was.

What I do remember most was the pain. I ached from the surgeries. I couldn't sit up, roll over or really move because of the emergency hysterectomy which left a stapled shut incision from my belly button down. (I'll spare you from looking at those pictures) There was a dull persistent pain in my lower back from just laying on the bed. My throat was mostly always on fire. Maybe from being intubated, maybe from not having a drink of water for days, could have been from being on oxygen- which made my nose dry. I was covered in bruises; IV's and the blood pressure cuff made my arms look like I had been hit multiple times- by a bus.

My family was there. A lot! I was never left alone and there were some days where Josh really needed to be with Oakland so my parents were stuck with me. I would tell them they could go but secretly prayed that they wouldn't leave me alone. If others were there talking, eating, laughing, I wouldn't have to let my brain go where it wanted to... thinking about Quincy and not being able to have anymore kids. At least every hour for the first few days a specialist was in my room to evaluate and re-evaluate where I was and what they needed to do to keep me moving forward.
On day 6 of the hospital I started to develop a fever and low blood pressure. Every little change would terrify me. I think my family was numb, even over the worry and being scared by this point but the days of my recovery were the scariest for me. After a very intense workup of CT scans and MRI's, they located a septic ovarian vein thrombus (blood clots in my ovaries). To keep the clot from potentially traveling to my lungs, they placed an inferior venacaval (IVC) filter and I would have to get back on blood thinner. Shots in my stomach. 
Before doing this surgery, they explained to me what would happen. With what I had been through, and what was ahead, I think they believed this was minor but I was a mess. A radiologist would use images to guide the filter into place in a large vein in the abdomen that returns blood from the lower body to the heart. Blood clots that develop in the veins of the leg or pelvis can occasionally break up and large pieces of the clot can travel to the lungs. The IVC filter traps large clot fragments and prevents them from traveling through the veins to the heart and lungs.
As with all surgeries, someone comes and grabs you and wheels you away from your family. I started having a panic attack and remember waiting in the hall as they cleaned the room I would be going in. A nice young man waited with me and as people entered and exited he tried to joke with me. But the nurse that prepped me for surgery could tell this was not easy for me and promised she would hold my hand the entire time. That room seemed so incredibly bright to me. I had had surgeries before but was always knocked out before entering the surgical room. I watched as everyone got ready, scrubbed up, but like she promised- she stayed put. Holding my hand and rubbing it with her thumb. She must be a Mom.
I don't think they put me all the way under for this surgery cause I remember the pressure of them inserting the filter and the Dr. talking through each step he did but I don't remember if she was actually holding my hand or feeling scared anymore so I'm not sure. When I became aware of my surroundings, she was there though to make sure I was ok. She even stayed with me until I was escorted back to my family. She didn't have to do that, but I can still see her smiling face when I think about her and remember feeling extremely loved during that moment, despite the fear that was in my heart. She is definitely a great professional but an even better women.

I didn't realize that I had this central line in my neck. I knew that they pumped medication in there and they had used it for the surgery but it never registered what it was. It probably would have freaked me out to know there was an IV hooked by my throat! I still have the smallest scar where it was but actually like it. As with any IV, when it's removed you don't realize how constricted that area of your body was. I remember getting the best nights sleep that night because I had one fewer place being held together by tubes, wires and needles.

When a fever would spike, blood pressure would drop, or heart rate would elevate again it felt like the end of my world. They wanted to do a CT scan at one point and wanted me to drink something to help identify what they wanted to look at. It was the foulest tasting drink ever and I still wasn't even eating so it pushed me over the edge- fast! My Mom was with me and took me for a walk to help distract what I was putting in my stomach. I remember getting back to the room and just sobbing. Begging her to not make me drink anymore and pleading for her to make the nurse say I had had enough. I felt like a little kid. I was going to throw it all back up and I remember just feeling like this was the worst thing that could ever happen. That stinkin' little drink.

Every day still I would get a little better, but sometimes would feel worse. I remember at one point it was just my Dad and I. I felt like my body had just had it. Not to mention my emotional state. I felt like I had to tell him to take care of Josh in case I died. Being so young, I hadn't ever voiced that to anyone (without it being a joke) so when my Dad came back into the room I begged him in a breaking voice, "Dad, if I don't make it will you please make sure Josh dates again and eventually marries for him and Oakland?" He smiled but could tell I was serious, and like every great Dad he reassured me that I would be ok. I had made it through the worst parts of this trial and I had been spared to be with Josh a little longer and raise Oakland until she was old. I think my meds kicked in then because everything faded out and I don't remember how the conversation ended.

It must have been at least a week since I'd been in the hospital and I was to the point that I could sit up pretty good....ok if I moved the bed it would sit me up pretty good. :) But the nurse came in and asked if I would like to go for a walk in the wheel chair. Josh, my parents and little brother Alex were there. It always took me a really long time to get from the bed to anywhere else but everyone was patient. Not only because of the surgeries but my legs and arms were just extremely week. I was also still on a lot of pain medication so was dizzy and sometimes not all the way there. I don't remember how it came about but they gave my family permission to take me out on the deck, outside! I had definitely forgotten that it was June and remember when the sun hit my face it was like magic. My body had adjusted to the cool hospital rooms so the warmth shocked me. I couldn't believe how great it felt on my skin and I missed it and realized that I longed for it. My family pointed out the platform that the helicopter landed on, showed me where they were standing waiting for me to arrive, we looked out over the beautiful valley and I didn't want to leave this magical place ever. I had such a different perspective already about this earth I was allowed to stay on.

From that point on I had ups and downs. Obviously they had to remove the IVC filter when it got closer to me going home. But they also had me up and walking with Physical Therapists every day. They eventually took out my catheter so I had to start getting up and trying to make my way to the bathroom.

The physical therapists showed me how to sit without putting too much reliance on my stomach muscles (that were non- existent), by rolling on to my side and then using my arm to push the rest of my body up. Now before I could do any of this to get out of bed, I had to unhook myself. I had pressure cuffs hooked to both of my legs to help prevent blood clots. In the beginning I wasn't able to undo those by myself because I just couldn't bend that far forward. I had to take the stand that held my fluids and medicine, hooked to me through all the IV's, so that had to come apart from the wall. It took me a good 10 minutes to actually get prepared to get out of bed, then quite a bit longer to hoist myself up (they didn't want anyone helping me so I got my strength back) and then make my way to the restroom.
My Dad had gone to grab a drink and I realized that I had to go really bad! Obviously I had to wait for him or hit the call nurse button but thought he would be back soon. Once he returned I told him he had to help me to the bathroom and by the time we unhooked me from the bed, I could not hold it any longer. Because I didn't have the muscles needed, about half way to the bathroom I just started going. Right there. On the ground. And all over my DAD! Now anyone that knows my Dad, knows that he is a gagger. Immediately I thought he was going to throw up. I started apologizing like crazy and between gags he was able to say, "Gag, no honey gag it's GAG fine. It gag happens, hahaha let's just get you GAG to the restroom... GAAAG." When I was finished, they were almost done cleaning up (Oh I feel SO bad!) and my Dad and I just sat there giggling for the next hour! We would get on another topic and he would just blurt out, "I can't believe you just peed on me!" and we would start laughing all over again. When telling everyone else about it (they didn't believe us) he would giggle and say, "At least you are alive. You can pee on me anytime."
Oakland was very intimidated by all the IV's and oxygen I was on so wouldn't get near me too often until all those things were removed. I remember the first time she snuggled in the bed with me... Every time I think about it I get so teary eyed. I put this little girl through so much when she was only 2 1/2. She was so strong and kept a smile on her face for me the entire time. I can honestly say that she is my best little friend and helped me get through this very hard time. When I ask her about this time frame, she always just says, "Oh yeah, when Papa Joe bought me my cow". (From the gift shop, one day he took her shopping). Sometimes she'll remember other pieces and ask me about them but for the most part, that cow was her lifeline.
I hadn't been able to shower this entire time (I'm sure I smelled lovely and hospital-ly) so when the time came for a shower, it must have been the greatest thing to happen to me EVER! My Sister, Amy, had brought a sponge and some amazing scrub. My Mom said that she would help because I still had a hard time doing small tasks alone and got lightheaded easily. I sat there just letting the water run over me. I'm pretty sure this was heaven. My Mom helped me wash my hair and did a pretty good job at keeping herself dry... just kidding. The women was fully clothed and soaked! But she knew this was such a big deal to me so didn't complain once. She washed my whole body and scrubbed/rubbed my back and toes. We scrubbed off goop from monitors and dye from surgeries. I felt like a new person after this.
Eventually they said that I was ready to start introducing food back into my body. I hadn't eaten in days but I wasn't hungry at all. In fact, food sounded quite repulsing. They let me select the options from the menu but I would wait until Josh was around so he would say what sounded good. I knew if he thought it sounded good I could sneak a suspicious amount to him while no one was watching and he wouldn't pay attention to how much he ate. :) I would take maybe one or two bites and feel stuffed! But would eat enough to keep my parents and Josh happy.
Josh's birthday came while I was still in the hospital. I remember feeling so bad that I didn't get him anything. I didn't really have rational feelings while in the hospital... but his parents got him a very good looking hoodie and I was extremely grateful that he got a gift. He kept telling me that the fact that I was alive was gift enough... such a nice boy.
Besides Josh and my parents, Ike and Amy were at the hospital the most. I remember waking up to them most of the time or hearing them out in the hall. I know Josh was grateful for it and I was happy to always have people around- especially them because they took care of my family while they were there. They lived near the hospital so I believe Josh ate most of his meals with them. A nurse had told us that we could go for a walk if we wanted and not just on that floor, but Josh could take me around the hospital to get me out of the area. We watched Oakland and Ike ride the escalators a hundred times and I could have watched them more, it made her so happy.
They raced through the skywalk and I remember Oakland telling me that Ike was her best friend. I was so glad that she was feeling loved, that he took the time to play with her and entertain her so that she wouldn't remember this time as sad or hard and I knew this was happening with whoever she was with.
It was so weird for me to see others just carrying on with their lives. Obviously being in the hospital they were there for a sick family member. Maybe a new baby being born or a surgery. But so many people were just walking around or sitting in the halls. Eating lunch or chatting with friends. I had been so sheltered in my room that this was so different for me and I realized that if the hospital was like this, then the rest of the world was literally still moving. We went to one of the hospital cafeterias and ate and then I just remember needing to sleep for hours after because it had taken all of my energy to be pushed in the wheel chair. :)

Nights were the hardest for me. Josh would normally stay late but then we would both agree that he should go be with Oakland. I was always relieved when one of my parents would stay. Even though I knew how extremely uncomfortable they must be. They weren't getting sleep but they would tell me that they slept better there then at home because if they were there they wouldn't worry. At home, they would just wonder if I was doing ok. I required sleeping pills to sleep at nights because my mind would just wonder and I would start to have major panic attacks or bad dreams once I did fall asleep.
I remember one time at night, Windi came to visit me (my airmed nurse). It was probably around 8 pm but I loved seeing her. She had become someone that I wanted to have around. She visited a lot and had given Josh her number in case we needed anything and to keep updated on us. Besides my family, I felt the most comfort when she was around and I realized that she would be one of my greatest friends forever. Even to this day, when I'm feeling scared or unsure- she is one person that I just want to have around because she has such a calming spirit about her. My Mom must have felt the same way because she never slept when I was awake and all of the sudden, Windi and I hear this abrupt fog horn sound coming from my Mom. :) She had fallen asleep. Fast and very soundly. I was put at ease to know that she could sleep soundly. Maybe for the first time in a couple weeks.
In the last few days of my stay, my parents would feel ok with going home during the day and letting others stay with me so they could catch up on sleep or shower or sit on a couch that wasn't hospital issued. I remember at one point having my Grandma come to sit with me. I didn't want to fall asleep because she was taking time out of her day to be with me but then I realized that she didn't care. She as content with just sitting in the room with me, watching TV or reading a book. I would doze in and out. Always feeling her love when I woke up. Seeing her smile at me or ask what she could do to take care of me. I kept thinking that I should be taking care of her instead of me ordering her around. I'm lucky to have my Grandparents still alive and will always cherish the one on one time with them- even under those circumstances.
Visitors came and went, some I can remember and others will tell me they were there and I don't remember the conversations we had together. It is a really weird feeling to just not remember parts of your days, especially since I was awake and communicating with them! I would fall asleep while some people were there and wake up to a new group of visitors. There were lots of flowers, one that stuck out to me were some fake flowers my friends, Shay and Aaron, brought. I remember seeing them lots and it was because they don't allow real flowers in the ICU so for those first couple of days, those were the flowers I was able to admire while in and out of the coma.

Friends from work came and told me that they were so worried when they first heard, that they all rushed to the hospital. The staff actually let them in to see me in the ICU! (At that point they didn't think I was going to make it so I think were way more lenient on letting people visit) I can't even imagine looking at a friend like that so will forever be grateful that they came to comfort me. I guess I grabbed one of their hands and wouldn't let go so we all laughed about that. I remember they told me how good I looked (which I probably did vs. the ICU with a tube down my throat) but I thought they were joking because I had seen myself in the mirror!

My friends Sarah and Stacie came, but all I remember is that Sarah told me she would braid my hair for me (this was special to me because she had braided my hair for me when I was in the hospital after having Oakland) and that she brought me a bright blanket so that I had some color in my dull room.

Aunts and Uncles came, the younger cousins would always look at me a little iffy. I'm sure their parents had told them to not bug me or talk quiet because everyone was always so careful with me. It probably had to do with the fact that I was covered in bruises, pale skin, and sounded hoarse when I spoke too. Oh and that I should have died. I remember when my uncle, Shaun, came. He is a occupational therapist. I was convinced he was going to make me do some sort of leg stretch or jumping jacks across the room but he was just as kind as ever, which made me realize that I must be in bad shape if he didn't want to push me around. Lol.

Josh's sister, Taylor had come up from Cedar City. I remember thinking what a long drive that was and I felt so bad that she made that trip all the way for me. It proved to me how much she cared about my family and I admired and loved her for that.

My Mom told me that our neighbor President Johnson and his wife Jill came to visit me but I don't remember that at all. I guess during that time I was focused on a social worker that kept hovering over my room. She needed Josh to fill out and sign some papers so kept checking in on him but I didn't know so just thought she was a creepy lady stalking me. I called her the vulture lady and I remember her quite well!

When I could move around by myself, I was on my way back from the restroom. You know how attractive the hospital gowns are...? And how revealing...? Well when I was on my own, I had a hard time keeping the back portion of this wonderful outfit closed. And who should come walking in to see my entire back end!? That's right... my Stake President. He was so gracious to come and visit me, make sure I was ok and ask if there was anything he could do for me. So... I didn't even care. :)

Josh started getting super antsy by about day 10 of the hospital. He wanted me to come home so bad and they were all starting to get sick of the hospital. I wanted to go home too but felt so secure in the hospital, it scared me to leave. Besides that, I had to accomplish doing two tasks before I was able to come home and both were not on my list of items I felt like doing anytime in this life! 1. Getting the staples taken out of my incision. 2. Going number 2 in the restroom (sorry lots of information on that one).

The nurse came in to take the staples out and told me that it doesn't hurt too bad. Mostly the skin is numb around where they cut so I shouldn't feel much. Josh wasn't there and I'm deathly afraid of needles (great for what I had been through huh?) so the fact of them pulling staples out of my stomach made my insides turn. I convinced her to wait until Josh got there- I needed his comfort and to hold his hand. You know when you are younger and they tell you to squeeze someone's hand if it hurts? I'm pretty sure that is psychological but man does it work for me!

They literally have an instrument that looks like your average paper staple remover. She had to get between the skin and staple, clamp down to open the staple and then pull it out. Doesn't sound too bad right?... WRONG!!! OWWWW! I believe that is what it feels like to get stabbed in the gut! And only 30 more to go! I have a pretty high pain tolerance but blech. I was almost due for some pain medication so they gave me that and she said she'd come back in about half an hour. Super nice but that half an hour just gave my mind time to mull over that awful pain and plan on more. It was very miserable to say the least but actually felt very nice to have those out!

Now last but not least. Using the bathroom. It had been 12 days of being stopped up. Probably because of the surgeries, definitely because of the medication and possibly because doing any sort of pushing felt like my stomach was going to burst clean open. I had been on a lot of laxatives, pills, milk of magnesia, everything combined and nothing was moving. But that was the one thing holding me back so of course the hubby was very into asking me about that every two seconds. The night before I went home... I was so proud of myself! I called and texted my entire family and they were all very supportive in offering the correct amount of excitement for this task I had just completed! Now they could start the paperwork to get me home.

I couldn't be by myself, so we arranged for me to stay with my parents while Josh was at work. So they weren't having to move me a bunch we agreed that I would just live there for the next few weeks and Josh would go back and forth between taking care of our home and sleeping with me. Oh it felt amazing to sign that last piece of paper, say goodbye to all the nurses (I was actually really sad to say goodbye, they had taken the very best care of me) and get every last IV taken out. They gave me a brace to wear to hopefully help hold my stomach muscles for me and Josh and my Mom wheeled me, flowers and about 12 bags worth of stuff we had accumulated at the hospital out to the car.

And just like that, I was going home. My discharge diagnoses included several that are only seen on death certificates; suspected amniotic fluid embolism, cardiopulmonary failure, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, intra- abdominal hemorrhage after uterine rupture, emergent abdominal hysterectomy, septic ovarian thrombus, factor V heterozygote, and IVC filter placement and removal. It all seemed so bizarre. Having gone through something like that, my emotions were obviously the thing I had to focus on now. My life had been turned upside down. I still had a long way to go to heal, my body was exhausted most of the time and I wouldn't have 3 nurses by my side constantly. I was nervous and anxious but ecstatic to finally be home.

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