Friday, December 28, 2018

It Started With A Twitch...

December 28th, 2017. A day I will never forget. To most it was just another day in the midst of the holiday season, but for me it was the day that changed me as a person and a day that changed me as a Mommy. I had spent the day with my two little boys, enjoying the new presents after the fun little Christmas we had together. With a two and a half year old and a nine month old who was very attached to his mommy, life could get chaotic.  But, I was in love and I was happy and I was ready to bring on the year 2018.

And then that twitch happened. 

We had just finished giving the boys a bath and getting warm jammies on, ready to settle in for the night. As I was nursing Brecken to sleep I noticed his arm start moving. It was like a very rhythmic shoulder shrug in his right arm. And the first thing that my mommy gut (and maybe a RN background) thought was... its a seizure. The second thing I did was call my mom. After panic set in I called the nurse line. And when I lost control 911.

The paramedics came to our house to take a look at Brecken and gave us what felt was the worst advice in the world. "Just monitor it." Something did not feel right but I was outnumbered three to one and decided to just let it go and watch him overnight. Which now I realize I should have listened to my own instinct. Arrrrggggghhhhh. They left and we all fell back to sleep. A couple hours later I woke up and tried to wake Brecken up. The twitching had gone from his arm to his shoulder, back, other arm, and very quickly became his whole body.

And so we called 911 again. And the two EMT's that showed up the first time were at our house again. As much as I want to say they were helpful, they were not, and it was quite frankly the worst medical encounter of my life. When your world is turning upside down and your baby is not acting "normal" it would have been nice to have your feelings validated... but another day another story. Since we had a two year old sleeping at home, Brecken (and myself) took what seemed to be the longest ambulance ride ever to Children's Hospital in St. Paul. Watching my sweet little tiny boy seizing, strapped into the stretcher, knowing I couldn't hold him or help him was so hard. And I had NO idea what really was in store for him, me, and our family. 

The second we walked into the hospital, I swear there were angels around, they were disguised with nursing scrubs. The second one of the nurses laid eyes on my little boy, without hesitation, had me immediately pick him up and bring him to a room where they started work on him. Mommy gut was 100% right, he was having a seizure, and FINALLY I was being heard. They were starting IV's, taking labs, and giving medications. He was having full body seizures and they couldn't stop them. He got a CT scan and an MRI, and within just a few hours of being admitted, was in the PICU at Children's hospital, intubated (on a breathing tube), and extremely sedated. And I couldn't even hold him. 

I can vividly remember every second of this night like it was yesterday. It turned into being a horrible night and little did I know it was only the beginning. That day is when this crazy, emotional roller coaster of a new life started. This is why I am here now, the person I am today, sharing my story, and why this blog happened. Today, one year ago, is the first day of the many "firsts". And the first hardest day of the rest of my life. 

**For those of you that have been on this journey since day one, here we go again. For those of you who have joined along the way. Welcome, I am glad your here. Your my village. 
*Photo Credit : My awesome cousin Amy Knutson :)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Grieving Through the Holidays

I was not looking forward to the holidays. I was dreading it since the day I lost my little boy. And after the unexpected death of my dad, I really didn't want to celebrate anything at all. I was thinking all the stress and hype leading up to the days and events would be the worst of it. Having to encounter all the Christmas cheer, the holly jolly songs, the decorations and light displays. Last year I was so excited to start traditions with my boys. They loved Christmas. And I enjoyed watching them open gifts, decorating the tree, and watching the magic they brought to the season.

We had four different family celebrations to attend this year. I thought maybe since we would be doing so much traveling I would be too busy to get upset. I was trying to keep myself occupied by crafting the perfect gifts, making food, wrapping presents, and well just trying to remember my sanity. I was determined to make this holiday the best it could be for Easton. Because after all that is why we still went to go pick out a tree, made lots of delicious cookies, and visited Santa. To make this time magical for him. And I think it is safe to say that he was filled with joy this holiday season.

But as Christmas was wrapping up and the holiday was coming to an end. The grief and pain wrapped around me and put me in a choke hold. And I was done. My grief comes in waves. And often times, something so little can trigger feelings so ginormous. And all of a sudden I felt empty, and so alone. As I watched family get gifts they loved and enjoyed, I was reminded that the one thing I wanted most was the one thing I cant have. And that was my sweet baby boy.

Christmas will never be the same. And not a moment will go by where I wont think about my baby boy and how he should be here with me. How he could ever so simply fill my arms and bring back that missing joy. I am sure that over time, the holidays will get easier. But the hole in my heart will always be there, and so will that stocking for Brecken by the fireplace.

This year I just didn't feel the joy. And well, that's OK with me.

Photography Credit : Casie Carow Photography

Sunday, December 16, 2018

My TWO Angels, We Miss You

On July 18 I lost my baby boy. And on November 18 I lost my dad. Losing your dad and your baby in four short months is extremely hard. But having to explain to your three year old that he lost his baby brother AND his Papa in just four months is unimaginably painful. I am pretty sure, somehow, I have convinced myself that I am dreaming. I am STILL waiting for that moment when my dad walks down the stairs with my sweet 21 month old boy and I WAKE UP.  I wake the @#&*% UP and stop living in a nightmare. 

Unfortunately, I am also fully aware that I wont wake up from this nightmare. This is my unfortunate reality. I am living, breathing, alive and trying to survive a nightmare. Something I absolutely hate to admit. Your body has this incredible way of putting yourself in "shock fog" after something so traumatic. I often find myself just going through the motions. Wake up, get dressed, eat, sleep, repeat. If only it could be that simple. Its not. Just when you think you might be able to start picking up the pieces, a tornado comes barreling in. This really really sucks. I can't sugar coat it, I can't tell you its anything else. It is unfair and it is unreal. My heart hurts so bad, it stings, and it's just so broken. The worst part about death and heartbreak, its irreversible.

Grieving is complicated. And it gets really complicated when you are blasted with two very close losses together. I often find myself grieving not only for myself but for my three year old, Easton. I am sad and angry for what he does or does not understand. I hate that my three year old wants to visit heaven. I get very sad when he asks where the stairs to heaven are. I do not like that he fears getting sick because sick people die and go to heaven. I do not like that he is so in tune to a funeral on TV and asking about the "special box" that is on display. And I am devastated for him that in four short months, he has had to say goodbye to two incredibly special people in his life.

I am not sure how much he really grasps at a three year old level. I have been truthful and real with him. I allowed him to say goodbye to his baby brother and his Papa, we talk about them often, and I answer the many, many questions that will pop up at random times of the day. I already miss the many days or yard work they had left to do, the numerous sky high Lego towers they needed to build together, the many little brotherly fights I am yearning to break up, and the messes they should be making together. I miss my dad, but what I miss more is Easton's Papa. I miss my baby boy, but I really miss Easton's little playmate. A little bit of me thinks that Brecken had a bigger part of my dads heart, that maybe they needed each other a little more than we could ever know. I hope they are mowing the heavenly lawns together. Building super tall Lego towers together. My dad snuggling his sweet grandson as he rocks in his rocking chair, giving those chubby cheeks and toesie bosies lots of kisses for me.

We may have two beautiful angels, but we miss these two here on earth an indescribable amount.
Love you Brecken boy. Love you Daddy.