Thank You. (Originally posted 11-11-11

Here I am, another military spouse, writing another post about Veteran's Day on my little old blog. There are a million things I could say, a couple dozen videos I could post, and quotes coming out the wazoo that I could share with you. Instead, I'll keep it fairly simple. 

This Veteran's Day, I am even more grateful than usual that my very own veteran husband is home safe and sound on American soil.

No one can really, truly understand the sacrifices of veterans, except for them. I try my best as a wife to do what I can do, and that is show my gratitude. Honestly, that is the best thing in the world ANYONE can do.

No matter what your political affiliations and regardless of what your views on this decade long war are, the truth remains the same. You are here in America, able to align with the political party of your choice, maintain your points of view on issues, and support whatever and whomever you'd like, BECAUSE of veterans. You are able to sit at home, drive your car, read what you'd like, and watch what you'd like, BECAUSE of veterans. You are able to pierce and tattoo your body, cut and color your hair, and wear whatever clothes you choose, BECAUSE of veterans. You are able to protest on behalf of whichever cause you'd like and yell, kick, and scream to get people's attention for whatever reason, BECAUSE of veterans.

Veterans serve this country faithfully, unfailingly, and without complaint. They CHOOSE to serve because they know it has to be done and they step up. Veterans make everything we have, everything we do, and everything about this country POSSIBLE.

Its Veteran's Day so for this one day, why don't we do what we can do, and give them the thing that means most?

Our gratitude and thanks. 

Regardless of their age, when they served, or how long they served, they sacrificed for you, me, and millions of others they don't know. Many of these selfless individuals paid for our freedom with their lives. 

So say thank you. And trust me when k say that it means more than we can imagine. 

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." ---Cynthia Ozick


I Am So Glad I Live In A World With Octobers (L.M. Montgomery)

October is a tough month for me. It's 31 days of such immense bittersweetness and is an intricate balancing act of enjoying the wonderful, while also allowing myself to feel the pain and grief it all holds. 

Eight years ago, I married the man who saved me. It wasn't a perfect day but it was the start to our lives together and for that, I'm inexplicably grateful

Six years ago, I was trying desperately to keep my head above water and figure out how to live life every second after being brutally sexually assaulted. I didn't really believe it was possible and yet, here I still am

Five years ago, I was days away from testifying against the person who raped me in an Article 32 Hearing. My husband was 8,000 miles away in Afghanistan and every single day, I lived for those few minutes that I got to see his pixelized face and hear his voice through the static. I didn't care about how imperfect or unclear it all was because in those few minutes, I wasn't having to pretend I was happy or okay, I actually, genuinely was.

Two years ago, on this exact day, I was not only dealing with the regular ups and downs that the month of October holds for me, I was mourning the loss of our fourth Angel Baby whose due date had been October 15th, 2013. They never made it into my arms and I was bitter but I was alive to feel that bitterness, which is a wonderful thing

One year ago, I was with the love of my life, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, visiting and exploring some of our favorite beaches. We went completely unplugged for the bulk of the day, enjoyed the radio silence, and gave credence and respect to the day in the most beautiful, peaceful, acknowledging way we could. One month prior, we had lost our baby girl Kay, our fifth Angel Baby who had Trisomy 21. It was our hardest loss yet but we had each other

Even through all of the loss and sadness, October still holds a spark of magic for me. There always has been. It's all much more than any words are able to do the feeling justice. The wind brings a newness to the air. It's crisp and sharp but also calming and gentle. Somehow, all of the falling leaves and dying foliage smell sweet and spark the feeling of being alive. These 31 days hold so much nostalgia and wonderment from my childhood and as I've gotten older, have grown to hold a lot of harsh, unexpected cruelty. It seems odd to long for this time of year when I know exactly what memories and emotions I'll be flooded with and yet, every single year, I do just that. It's irreconcilable but also, not

I don't believe October will ever become easy for me nor will it ever lose its magic. It's something that like all other things in life, will always require balance. There is no good without bad, no joy without sadness and no strength without pain and suffering. Without experiencing terrible loss and loneliness and isolation, it wouldn't be possible for me to feel the Heaven that is the love in my life.

Every October there is one day set apart from all the others where I feel the bereavement more keenly while at the same time, feeling more bolstered and supported. It's another balancing act that is hard to get a firm understanding of but nevertheless, is.

I miss every single one of my babies with all that I am. There isn't a second that ticks by that I don't long for them and feel the immeasurable emptiness each one of them has left in my heart. Each day, I wonder about who they would have been and every day, I love them with my Mama's broken heart. Every October 15th, I feel and experience and exist in this reality on a deeper level than any other day. Why? I don't quite know. Perhaps it's the fact that there are countless others feeling, experiencing, and existing in this same reality on this same deeper level, and ACKNOWLEDGING it.

Another year has dragged on and flown by. Once again, it's National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Please take a moment to send up a prayer and put out some light for every Baby lost too soon, every Father who didn't get to see their child grow up, and every Mother who has lost a piece of her heart. You may think it doesn't affect you or that it doesn't matter but you'd be wrong. 1 in 4 women have suffered through this horror, a lot of them in silence. That means that 25% of the women surrounding you, know all too intimately the excruciating pain of losing a child.

It does matter.

1 in 4 isn't just a statistic though.

1 in 4 is the WOMAN next to you in line.
1 in 4 is your AUNT.
1 in 4 is your COWORKER.
1 in 4 is your NEIGHBOR.
1 in 4 is your SISTER.
1 in 4 is ME.



Six years ago, I found myself in a situation that no person ever thinks as something that would or even could happen to them. 

I was choked
I was hit
I was scratched
I was nearly killed
I was raped

Six years ago, I became a different person. I had something stolen from me that eternally changed the very essence of who I was. Through violence, terror, and humiliation I was transformed. 

Six years ago, the bleak emptiness that I was left with, seemed impenetrable and my annihilation from any sort of normal existence, inevitable. 

Six years ago, I had no idea that life went on. 

Six years ago, I was a victim. 

Today, I'm a survivor. 


The Day With No Cake.


It's messy and exhausting. It's undeniably scary and painful and absolutely inevitable. There's something in knowing the hideous inevitability of life that makes us want to stand up, heads held high, with our heels dug in while at the same time, running to duck for cover with our eyes wide shut. Most of the time, we're okay with all of the shitty sides of life because often, it's all counterbalanced by beauty and love and exhilarating opportunities. Often, but not always

God! Us humans are such fickle, selfish, and yes, vulnerable, ignorant creatures. Always wanting to be given more for doing less. It's easier to make brash assumptions about random strangers instead of taking a few minutes out of our lives to get to know someone new. Putting out negativity seems to come more naturally than spreading positivity. We are all so stubbornly hellbent when it comes to our hopes and dreams and what we view as the only path that leads to success. We plan and we plan and no matter how many times our plans fail, we never learn. In our minds, no one knows better than us who swim in our own preconceived notions of what our lives are supposed to be like. 

I'm 27 years old. I've lived in 4 states and 11 residences since 2007. I've lost 4 jobs  and undergone over half a dozen surgeries. I've had 3 organs removed and 5 tumors discovered. I received treatment for those tumors and though it was a success, I now only have about 50% functionality in both of my kidneys combined. I've been brutally raped and nearly killed. I have had to witness my attacker being fully acquitted and all records expunged not once, but twice. I've had my marriage tested so thoroughly that I didn't see how we could possibly make it out with our love intact. We have encountered infertility and also lost 5 babies. 


I've been contemplating talking about this almost since Day 1 but I never could quite get myself to follow through. Following through meant cutting already open wounds even further, pouring in salt, and then scrubbing them with steel wool. It meant thinking and feeling and acknowledging excruciating pain. The closer today got, March 26th, the more I felt the need to let it all spill out and the less I was able to shroud and drown everything that's lived inside of me since last September. 

In July when I first began feeling the aches and pains, it was a teensy thought at the back of the furthest reaches of my mind. The longer it went on, the more that teensy thought grew. I only had my husband pick up the tests as a throw away solution that would get those voices and thoughts to shut up. When I sat down to pee on that stick, it never once crossed my mind it would be anything but negative. Before I could rip the toilet paper off of the roll and not even 10 seconds later, there was a bright pink and undeniably present line. 


Throat closed up, mouth went dry, eyes welled, head spun. 

The first three words out of my mouth were not something endearingly sweet that I'd share with my children when they were grown. They were sharp, shocked, only 4 letters long and completely unladylike. I shakily called Mr. Superman's name and when he rounded the corner, I immediately choked out a sob. 

Him: Are you serious?
Me: (Arms outstretched and stumbling my way to him.) I can't do this again! I can't! 

Within a week, I'd already had my first ER visit that resulted in us finally seeing a tiny little sack inside of me. Over the next few weeks, I got sicker and things got scarier. I threw up blood and passed out daily. I drove up to the University hospital every morning where I got hooked up to the machines and received 2 liters of fluid. We held hands so tightly every time they checked for our baby on the ultrasound screen. The love of my life cried when we first saw the heartbeat racing in that babes chest. We soon found ourselves living quite comfortably in our new reality and were excitedly preparing for the baby we'd been dying to have for the last 7 years. I grew plumper and loved to look at my belly in the mirror. Every single second of pain and sickness made me happy. It all meant that a miracle was still living inside of me. 

One day in September, I woke up feeling a palpable, heavy presence that I could not shake. I told Mr. Superman I had a bad feeling. I couldn't put my finger on it but something was wrong with that day. He kept telling me to stay positive and have nothing but good juju flowing through me. "The baby will come out with a bad attitude if you don't", he joked. A couple of hours later, I passed out and hit my belly on the corner of our ottoman on my way down. The pain that followed was pretty intense which meant driving back up to the hospital to get checked out. 

NINE HOURS LATER, we were being told that there was no more movement coming from our baby. She wasn't kicking or dancing like she usually did. There was no heartbeat drumming away in her tiny chest. We were left in the room so we could have some privacy and also to discuss how I wanted to 'evacuate the fetus'. Evacuate. Like a damn firedrill. 

TWENTY FOUR HOURS LATER, I was being awoken from surgery and soon thereafter, wheeled out to my car and sent home. 


It wasn't long after losing her that results came back showing she had been Trisomy 21. Downs Syndrome. Ironically (and I wholeheartedly believe divinely), the middle name we had planned on giving her was Kay. She was going to be named after my Aunt Kay who had been a beautiful, loving Downs Syndrome individual. 

Hours turned to days turned to weeks and I had been in a constant downward spiral heading into the deepest, darkest, and heaviest of abysses. I wanted to die. I had been so thoroughly broken it's hard to see how my heart kept working. It seems impossible and yet, here I still am. 

In December, I was rushed to the hospital where upon arrival, no vitals could be found. I had been hemorrhaging off and on since our baby girl had been taken from my body and in the last week, I had lost 5 units of blood. I received a transfusion and spent a week in the hospital where I had surgery to clamp off the two main arteries inside of my uterus that were freely bleeding. We were told it was likely this bleed is what had actually caused the death of our baby girl, not the fact that she was Trisomy 21. 

Anger, sadness, confusion... 

Why? I mean seriously, why?! I don't care if she had been low functioning, all I wanted was her. I'd give anything, do anything if I could just have her back. 

The thing about life is that it's not fair. It's wholly unpredictable and uncontrollable. No matter how many times this truth gets slammed in our faces, we never learn. 

Because we're stupid humans. 

I had a plan. It was to get married, go to school, have babies, be happy. Never in a million years did it cross my mind I wouldn't get exactly that. Nobody ever thinks they are going to struggle with infertility let alone lose FIVE babies. It's unimaginable. Unconscionable. 

Another thing we humans do is put a label on everything. Every single thing life dishes out is sorted and crammed into cubbies that make everything look prettier and feel cleaner. The damaging thing about this way of thinking is that it separates and alienates us from one another. Those who are going through hell and struggling with life's most recent derailment find themselves feeling heartbreakingly alone and misunderstood. 

Miscarriage is one of those things that doesn't fit into a cubby hole. For those who never experience it, it's impossible to understand the grief and pain behind it. Things are said thoughtlessly, carelessly, and ignorantly. Being brushed under the rug is par for the course because who the hell wants to talk about dead babies? Trust me, we get it. We're living it. 

March 26th, 2015. The birthday she will never have.  

The hardest thing about being someone who loves easily and fiercely and unabashedly is being someone who loves easily and fiercely and unabashedly. The best part? Precisely the same thing. Even though somewhere deep inside I know this is true, right now it's all I can do to not shatter into a million little pieces.

I guess instead, I'll just hit the 'Publish' button.