She was there.

I feel so happy.

I’ve just had a three-day visit with Shannon, one of my very best friends.  She flew from Calgary, just for the weekend; a quick little getaway to use up some airline points and get in some girl time.  She left her husband and two young boys at home, and when she left my place yesterday afternoon, she said to my kids,

“Thank you for sharing your mom with me.”

Such an interesting comment, and so applicable to this stage in our lives.  You see, the last time she visited Burlington was in the Spring of 2009, when I was a brand new, first-time mother.  On that visit, she had her husband and 18-month-old son with her, and they came specifically to meet my newborn.  I was still trying to figure out the new version of me, and the balancing act that comes with parenthood.  My memories of that visit are scarce, muddled amongst sleepless nights, non-stop nursing, and piles of laundry.  But she was there.

Her visit before that, in Spring 2006, is also foggy for me, but for a different reason: my bachelorette party.  Shannon and my friend Sarah flew in to surprise me in Toronto, only a few months before my wedding.  And as a control freak and a planner, let me tell you that I cannot be easily surprised.  But they pulled it off, and whisked me through the TO club scene with a crown on my head and a bachelorette sash around my neck.  She was there again.

Shannon and I have been friends for nearly 20 years now.  We met in l997, at the University of Calgary, when we lived on the same floor in student residence.  We were both raised in small-town, rural Alberta, and had a shared love of sports and boys, with some Type A stubbornness and ambition thrown into the mix.  When we went back to our respective hometowns for our first mid-University Summer, we cried like we were going off to war, and when we returned back to school in the Fall, we celebrated like the Uni students we were.  We’ve been through breakups and heartaches, cross-country moves and graduate school, weddings and babies, mistakes and accomplishments.  We’ve travelled to Milk River and Sundre, Red Deer and Edmonton, New York City and Toronto, Vancouver and Vegas.

“Thank you for sharing your mom with me,” she said, and my heart was full.  Because she gets it.  She gets that my primary role around here, and to those little people, is mom.  She also gets that my other roles are wife and chiropractor and friend.  She knows the back-story that wrote my story and the blocks that built my life.  She’s a part of my foundation, my memories, my past, my future.  When the big stuff happens, she’s there.  And when the little stuff happens, the stuff she doesn’t see because we live so far apart, she books a trip East to see for herself.  “What do you want to do while you’re here?” I asked her when she booked her flight.  “I want to see your life,” she said.  So I showed her: she saw bedtimes and school drop-offs and CrossFit and downtown walks and hot tubs.

She was there.  Just like she’s always been.


Tagged , , , , , , ,

Game 4

If you follow my blog, or know me personally, you will know that I am a Toronto Blue Jays fan.  I grew up in a very sporty family, and even got to go to a game (all the way from lil’ ol’ rural Alberta) in 1993, when the last wave of Blue Jay fever was gripping Canadians.

I met my Jays-loving husband in 2004, and we have been to a game or two every year since, and started taking our children to games every Summer since they were tiny babes.  This year, we’ve upped our fanship significantly; we’ve probably watched 50 games on TV and been to five regular season games up close and personal.  Our children both have Blue Jays posters on their bedroom walls, my son can name every player, number, and position, and my four-year-old daughter will happily tell you every pitcher on the roster and how Osuna is mommy’s favourite.  We play backyard baseball in rain or shine, argue over the strike zone at our local ball diamond, and talk Blue Jays over breakfast nearly every day.  Am I painting a picture for you?  You see, we’re all in.

That’s why today is such a special day.

We’re taking our kids to the ALCS Game 4 this afternoon.  And the best part is, they don’t even know it yet; it’s a complete surprise.

It’s quite a surprise to me too, as the possibility of going to this game wasn’t even on our radar until yesterday.  But I don’t work on Tuesday afternoons, and a 4:08pm first pitch works well for families.  “This is our chance to take them to a playoff game,” I texted my husband.  “Let’s do it,” he said.

So, with falling prices on StubHub and a slightly early school pickup, we’ll be there this afternoon.  We’re raising sports fans, and this experience won’t be forgotten by any of us anytime soon.

This is #OurMoment.


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

On October 15th:

It’s October 15th in a few days.  October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day.  This is a day that’s close to my heart, as I had a devastating miscarriage in 2011.  Prior to that point, miscarriage wasn’t something that had crossed my mind, but I soon learned that it’s very common, very emotional, and very taboo.

I originally wrote ‘Break the Silence‘ in October 2012, and I re-post it annually.  I pour my heart out around this time of year; the purpose being to try to lessen the stigma of miscarriage and the awfulness that surrounds it.  And every year, I have women email me to share their stories of grief and loss.  Sometimes these women are complete strangers who found me through my blog.  Sometimes these women are patients who haven’t told me about their experiences.  Sometimes these women are friends, sometimes good friends….. and most times I have no idea they’ve been through this pain until I receive their email.  This tells me that there is still stigma, there is still silence, there is still suffering, and there is still work to do.

This is my story:

(*originally published on October 9th, 2012)

I struggled to write this post. Really struggled. Not just with the emotion of it all, but with the feelings of vulnerability and complete exposure that this topic brings out in me. But that’s why it needs to be written… break the silence, prevent the stigma, and end the taboo surrounding miscarriage.

I had a miscarriage last year. We lost our baby on April 6th, 2011, at 11 weeks and 6 days gestation. One day shy of the magic ’12-weeks-pregnant’ mark where the stats on miscarriage decrease dramatically. I was wrapped up with the excitement of another baby, and we were already envisioning life as a family-of-four. In a cruel twist of irony, we had signed the papers for our bigger-with-an-extra-bedroom-house the weekend prior. I had told friends and family of my pregnancy, even casually mentioned it to acquaintances, and sorted through bins of my maternity clothes. And then it all ended. My miscarriage was very sudden, very graphic, and very traumatic. There was no doubt what was happening to our baby as we rushed to the ER, and as I laid on a triage bed next to my heartbroken husband, the loss overwhelmed me.

Those next few weeks are a haze of tears and despair. My mom flew out to support us, and helped me get through the physical and emotional struggle of the first few days. I ended up with a D&C surgery two weeks later, as I was deemed to have experienced an ‘incomplete miscarriage’. The day following my surgery, I flew to New York City to spend the weekend with my two best friends. And as I reflect on that difficult time in my life, I can see that’s where my heart began to heal. Sister-like friends have that power.

That baby would’ve been due on October 27th, 2011. I was dreading that day on the calendar, which had already been circled in a big red heart when we initially found out I was pregnant. But as October 27th approached, I found myself blessed with another pregnancy; my beloved Casey was born on March 2nd, 2012, only 11 months after the miscarriage. My gratitude for her is exponentially greater after feeling the hopelessness of loss.

There are three things that helped me get through this:

1. A memorial. We carved a cross on a big tree in our favorite walking trails in remembrance of our lost baby. That tree is a source of comfort for me, and a place we visit as a family several times a year. My 3.5-year-old calls it our ‘special tree’. I like to think of it as our ‘healing tree’.

2. Time. While the grief and pain from this experience is not gone, it has lessened. Time heals. And my heart has healed a lot in 18 months.

3. Talking about it. When this happened, I told the details to all of my family and friends. I told my parents and my in-laws. I told my sister-in-laws. I told my girlfriends. Talking about it helped me to process things, but it also helped to break down the stigma. Miscarriage is still a taboo topic, and people don’t know what to say when it happens to someone they know. It will happen to someone you know. Up to 25% of known pregnancies result in miscarriage, 80% of those occurring in the first trimester. Don’t say nothing. Acknowledge the loss. Because saying nothing only perpetuates the silence.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. On October 15th at 7pm, I will be joining many other people around the world in lighting a candle to remember the babies we’ve lost. And I will be hugging the babies I have, thankful beyond measure.


Tagged , , , , , ,