{Road Trip} To Montana You Go!

Back in November my Dad was ran over by a car while walking through a grocery store parking lot. My heart sank when we got the news that his left knee was shattered and that there was a chance he wouldn’t fully recover. It’s been seven months since the accident and he is slowly getting better. He now has a healthy fear of parking lots and a bum leg. Slow and steady is how we move in our new normal. A normal that still contains road trips.

In the past he would follow me anywhere. It didn’t matter how far or how high, he was always there right by my side. This trip was different. I had to think about walking distances and terrain. I had to ask myself “can dad walk to this? Can he climb these stairs? Can we drive up to it or…..” Those thoughts echoed over and over in my head as we drove closer to Montana. I wanted to make this trip accessible for him and not have him wonder if he could do something.

There were many times where I went ahead as he took his time or sat on a bench awaiting my return. My heart broke a little each time I walked away from him. A daughter should never have to leave her father behind. This is our reality now, he is never going to be the same crazy active 67 year old that he was. In this season in life I will enjoy the Dad that I still have and be thankful to God for what he can do.

The internet told me that dinosaurs once existed in Montana. So naturally I put on my dinosaur t-shirt and headed west. We stoped in at the Glendive Dinosaur Museum in Glendive MT. The museum is small yet well executed. The staff is knowledgeable and extremely friendly. Now I should warn you this museum isn’t for everyone due to its religious undertones. The founders of the museum do not believe in evolution and they believe that Noah brought baby dinosaurs on the arch (pretty cool theory if you ask me). The theory of Creation is sprinkled through our the museum in a very tasteful way.

We said goodbye to the dinosaurs and continued westward. Destination: The Battle of Little Bighorn Battlefield. I have watched numerous documentaries on the Battle of Little Bighorn and to see it in person just takes your breath away. As the wind swirls around you, you can start to imagine the battle on the land before you. As you look around you start to wonder “why this land? Look at all of these hills, no wonder the union troops lost.” A single stone with a black shield sticks out among the small white stones. This stone, isn’t a stone for a regular soldier, this stone is Custard’s. As you travel through the grounds you will notice clusters of stones through out the fields. A white stone marks the place of where a union soldier fell. There are also red stones but those are few, the red stones mark where a warrior fell in battle.

The park closes at 6PM each night and with that we decided to mosey on to our next stop. Google told me about Pictograph Cave Park and I was excited to see it in person. If you are an out of state resident $6 gets in to the park. The trail to the cave is a little steep but paved. There are cameras everywhere along with signs telling you vandalism is a crime. Not to mention a sign warning you of rattle snakes.

The Cave was bigger than I thought it was going to be and it was beautiful. If you take a moment to readjust your eyes the pictographs start to pop out at you. Red warriors painted to the left, along with guns, Buffalo, and a funny looking guy with a shield. This land was sacred to them and they forever left their mark that withstood the test of time.

The beartooth pass is something I googled and googled and googled again. I stalked the MTD’s website for any updates about the roads opening for the season. Per the website the planned 2019 opening was Memorial Day weekend and I could wait! I even watched videos of MTD clearing the snow from the pass.

Lucky for us the pass was OPEN! But only halfway open! We didn’t care so long as we got to go. This road is a white knuckle you better pee before you get on it road. And just incase you are wondering my Prius did just fine on the pass. I have no words for how beautiful this road is. Snow capped mountains and vistas that go on for days! My dad even threw a snowball or two, thankfully it didn’t hit any cars below.

From the pass we drove to Yellowstone National Park….. this is where our adventure came to an abrupt end. The below photo is the only thing we saw in Yellowstone. As soon as we paid our $35 fee to get into the park, my rear breaks went out and we had to limp it back to Billings. In which by the grace of God I happened to catch a mechanic on Saturday night and he took pity on us and agreed to fix my car. Top Tech Automotive in Billings MT was amazing and I am so grateful that the owner Darren gave up his Sunday to help us out.

With new rear breaks installed we hit the road and started heading back east. We stopped off at Pompey’s Pillar and I climbed up the steps to look at Clark’s signature. Lewis & Clark stopped at the pillar and named it after an Indian guide named Pompey. The Indians also used the pillar as a bat signal. They would go to the top and send smoke signals to warn near by tribes that the whites were coming.

The walk up the pillar is easy. There are wooden steps that take you to two different viewpoints. There is a park ranger stationed at the signature to make sure no one damages it.

From here we continued on our journey back east and we made a quick stop at Theodore Rosevelt Park, ND Badlands.

Jamestown is home to the sacred white buffalo and the National American Buffalo Museum. The museum was closed on Memorial Day so we strolled through the frontier village which has goats!

We said goodbye to ND and continued east to home sweet home, Minnesota, this trip wasn’t what we expected but even in chaos we found adventure. My dad was excited about taking his first Uber ride and we discovered that MT is filled with a lot of kind folks who take putty on weary travelers.

{Lucia} Happy 9th Birthday

It’s hard for me to believe that you would be nine this year. It doesn’t seem like nine years have past since you’ve left this earth. My heart sings your song daily and I forever wonder who you’d be today.

My love for you has never ceased, my son you will always be. You Lucia made me a mother. A mother to a child I never got to hold. A child I never got to raise. I’ve been cheated out of hearing the sound of your laughter, your first words or watching you take your first steps. I wonder if you would have loved dinosaurs as much as I do or if you’d be reserved like your father. If you would have my curls or your dad’s dark brown eyes. These things will always be a mystery to me. Your life although short changed mine forever. You may be gone form this earth but your light shines bright. Your spirit is strong and you my son are with me always.

Your death consumed more than just me and your dad, it includes your big brother too. You Luica made Nylan a big brother. He was so excited for you and he desperately wanted to name you Kevin. My heart broke into a thousand pieces on the day that I told him you died. Watching the hope and love drain from Nylan’s little body cut through me like a knife. No child should have to learn that not all babies come home. He was yours and you are his. His little brother you will always be.

You had the role of little brother for five years until Baby E promoted you to big brother. I can only imagine what that day looked like in heaven. I bet you are an amazing big brother who looks out for his siblings. That you my sweet son showed Baby E the way and that the two of you welcomed Emmett. That the three of you are as thick as thieves causing shenanigans in Heaven. You will always be my first, my first son who gave me the strength to try over and over again for a living child. You are and will always be the hope that carries me for all of my days.

You my son grew my heart so big that I was able to give three pieces of it back to God. One day I will give the last final piece to Instant kid. Lucia your death did not make me weak, it made me strong. Your death did not break my heart, it made it grow ten sizes to big. Because of you Lucia I live this life. For I know you did not get to live an earthly life. Instead you got eternity before your feet even hit the ground.

Happy 9th Birthday my sweet son❤️

Alucious Gregory Beaulieu Cohen

Born sleeping 5/13/2010

{Infertile Me} Instant Kid

Last Sunday I left for Iowa full of hope. Hope that our mini IVF cycle was going to be our ticket to parenthood. My first scan on Monday revealed six mighty follicles and I was excited. A phone call that afternoon took the wind out of my sails. My estrogen only went from 32 to 41 which means the follicles were most likely empty. Dr. Y gave me the choice to throw in the towel or continue on.

I choose to continue my cycle with a recheck on Wednesday. Cullen and I made the best of our stay in Iowa and enjoyed the warm weather. Wednesday came and I walked in to the scan so full of hope. Hope that somehow some way this was going to work out. My six mighty follicles were still growing and I had one lead at 20mm. I left the office with a mix of hope and fear.

Winter sent her last bast to the Midwest and my 3.5 hour drive turned into 6. The clinic called with my results, my estrogen only went up to 101 and Dr. Y canceled my cycle. I was heart broken. I wanted to give this cycle everything I had and I begged for them to let me go to retrieval. The answer was no. No because my estrogen should be in the thousands and not at 101. The likelihood of us actually getting any eggs was slim to none. In less than two years my egg quality went from great to poor. Poor eggs do not grow to healthy embryos that lead to take home babies.

In my heart I knew it was time to move on to frozen donor eggs. I called the clinic asking about cycle pricing and what it would all entail. Dr. Y recommended that we use a surrogate and denied my request to transfer the embryos to me. He said that with my age and medical history a surrogate was the best way to get our baby. I was heart broken. This man was willing to transfer my own embryos back to me, but when it came to donor egg embryos he said surrogate only. Dr. Banfield laid everything on the table (strain on my body, age, history of repeat loss, and clotting history) and second Dr. Y’s recommendation. In that moment I felt defeated.

All of the hope I had left my body and all I wanted to do was shrivel up and wish the world away. My heart was broken. My body failed me and because of that my chance at motherhood of a living child slipped through my fingers. Sure, I could search for another clinic and go forward with donor eggs. But deep down in my gut I knew I was done. I have exhausted all avenues with my own body and it’s time to move on.

Move on to an instant kid. I have always felt called to adoption. To raise a child that wasn’t of my own flesh and blood. A child that needs a home filled with love and adventure. When I was little I was obsessed with cabbage patch dolls. I loved that they came with names and adoption certificates. Edith May and Thelma Louise are safely tucked on a shelf in my childhood closet. My parents kept them for me. They had hope that one day I would hand them down to my daughter. That hope is still there and in my heart I know that our child is out there just waiting for us to bring him or her home. Jay and I are moving forward with foster to adopt.

{Infertile Me} Age With A Side of Eggs

We started February’s cycle filled with hope. A hope that was quickly dashed when I heard the words “Dr. Y thinks it’s best to cancel this cycle and start over.” My body which is now two years older than before was not responding to the meds. After four days of stims I only had two lead follicles and Dr. Y didn’t like those odds. The nurse told me that Dr. Y wanted to try a different approach on my next cycle. We trusted his decision and appreciated the fact that he called it instead of having us go through a retrieval that could have resulted in zero eggs.

Hearing the word “canceled” made for a long drive back to Minneapolis. In my heart I felt defeated and in that moment I lost hope. Tears fell as the miles ticked by. I was angry at my body and I felt like I failed Jay. This was suppose to be our turn; our Hail Mary and it fucking failed. Somewhere between Iowa and the MN boarder the tears stopped and hope bubbled through. I was down; but I was not out. We still had options and I let my heart turn to donor eggs.

When I got home I of course cried some more and then I ate some Tasty Tacos with Jay. We discussed the what if’s and I muttered the words “donor eggs” to him. I wanted to ask the doctor if it was the right fit for us and find out the cost. Jay and I were in agreement that it didn’t hurt to ask. We both realized that we want a life with a child who will come visit us when we are old. So if donor eggs got us that life then that is what we would do.

When I asked Dr. Y about donor eggs he was upfront and said “we are not there yet.” He went on to explain that my age caught up to me and that older women respond better to less meds. Which seemed strange to me but I trust his over thirty years of expertise and so less meds it is. I will be on a mix of Femora and Menopur with a little Cetrotide to prevent me from ovulating on my own. And of course my old pal Lovenox will be involved in this party. Even though I am on less meds the risk for blood clots is still there and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take on. Hopefully this combo will lead us to many follicles that will contain mature eggs.

It’s a crap shoot that’s for sure; but we are not ready to give up. If this protocol doesn’t work we will then move on to donor eggs. Which for some it isn’t the right option; however for us it maybe our only option for parenthood. I have given it a lot of thought and I am at a place where I can accept that our baby will not genetically be mine. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make for our take home baby. For now in this place it doesn’t matter what egg the baby comes form so long as it’s born alive and healthy. We just want a good egg that will turn into an embryo that leads to our take home baby.

{Emmett James} Asleep in Heavenly Peace

In my heart I knew this day was coming. I watched the days tick by as the months moved forward on the calendar. March 5, 2018 you were born into this world sleeping and my heart was broken once more. Emmett James you left this world with more love than your soul could ever handle. You were wanted. You were needed; yet God our God needed you more.

My heart still wonders who you would have been. Would you look like your mama with a head full of curls or would you have your dad’s eyes. Would you giggle at your muppet like dog or would you frown when Dexter’s tail crossed your face. Would you have your Grandmas wrapped around your finger or would you be toddling after your Papa with eyes filled with wonder. I dream of the outfits you never got to wear and the steps you never got to take.

I dream of the life you never got to live. Emmett my dear you were cheated and so were we. We were cheated out of a lifetime together and because of that our hearts will be forever broken. Your life though short taught us to have faith and to believe in miracles. You my son were the child that we had prayed for and you were worth the struggle. Our baby you will always be.

Emmett’s turtles were thrown in Lake Superior

I walk this earth with a broken heart; because three piece of it rest in heaven. Apart of me was jealous when you left. Jealous because you got to meet your brothers before I did. I have no doubt that Lucia and Baby E were waiting for you and now you are the big three causing trouble in heaven. I can only imagine what you three are up to. This life I live is for you and I will carry you with me for all of my days. My babies you will always be.

Emmett’s beach

If I had to do this all over again; we would always choose you Emmett James. You are ours and we are forever yours. Our baby you will always be.

{Infertile Me} and so it begins, again

If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would be heading to Iowa to make a baby, I would have called you bluff. Yet here I am clocking the miles on the Prius driving back and forth between Des Moines and Minneapolis. It’s a three and a half hour drive that I’ve actually come to love. Most of the time I am solo on the drive. So I’ve come up with a system to make the miles of corn fields go by faster, audio books and multiple stops. My 1st stop is Clear Lake; 2nd stop is the “Flying J” outside of Ames; and before I know it I’m in Des Moines eating Tasty Tacos (I might be addicted).

I should point out that Iowa was my Hail Mary. Before going to Mid-Iowa I was turned down by 11 clinics (yes you read that right 11 clinics) and had little hope left. Dr. Y had done what no one else did, not even Dr. B did this, he actually read my medical records and formulated a plan. A plan that would lead us to transferring our final CCRM embryo in December. A transfer that would result in a negative beta that sent us back to the drawing board.

In early January we had the hard conversation of discussing whether or not another retrieval cycle was in the cards. Dr. Y is blunt and kind, he explained that yes I could do another retrieval but this would be my last. In that moment as those words settled in the air I became angry, not at him, but at the Nuvaring. Each time I go through a cycle my clotting risk goes up and I am reminded that Lovenox is not a guarantee. To add salt to my already wounded soul he brought up a surrogate.

I knew what that word meant and where he was headed, yet it hurt. Hurt in away I never thought it could. I explained “I am type A, I could never use a surrogate. I’d have to chain her to me so I knew exactly what she was doing and when.” He understood and we moved on to discussing genetic testing of the embryos. This time around we are spending the money and testing our embryos before transferring them back to me. This will some how give us a leg up and reduce our chances of loss.

Of course the first step in this process is eggs. Just like before I have to break it down in steps: Step 1 eggs; Step 2 embryos; Step 3 genetic testing; Step 4 transfer. If I do not break it down it becomes to overwhelming and I am pretty sure I’d talk myself out of it. This round is truly our last chance at a bio baby and that is something I do not take lightly. Even in the moment of loss I am filled with hope.

Hope that we will get a few genetically normal embryos that will grow into our take home baby.

In this season of life; we pray

My dad has asked me over and over again “why did this have to happen to me?” I looked up form our puzzle and said “a wise man once told me we don’t ask why; instead we ask why not me!?” He just stared at me and then smiled. I myself have looked up towards the sky and asked the question; “why my Dad?” In my heart I know we are incredibly lucky, the accident could have been so much worse. Yet my heart wants to ask the lady from Alma “why the fuck weren’t you paying attention? You were in a busy grocery store parking lot. How the fuck didn’t you see Santa Clause walking in front of you. Like how the fuck didn’t you see him!?” These questions will go unanswered. To her my dad is just the “thump” she heard that day.

She got to drive home that day. She got to spend Thanksgiving in her home with her family while my dad spent it in a care center. She gets to Christmas shop and walk this earth freely. She has freedom of movement. She gets to be an active 78 year old woman who goes about her day; while my dad sits and wonders “why did she hit me.” A question he will never get an answer to. Because of the lady from Alma, I heard my dad scream in pain. I had to witness seeing my dad unable to stand and unable to walk. She took my active 66 year old father away from me. She took a piece of my father away that he is fighting tooth and nail to get back.

Every time I go home and turn right on to West Avenue I am reminded of my father. We have to drive by the grocery store in order to get to my parent’s house. The last day my Dad drove was on November 9, 2018. The last time my dad walked freely was on November 9, 2018. Since then he has been wheelchair bound and is struggling to walk. He is struggling to get a piece of his self back, but ya know what, he’s not giving up. No matter how painful it gets he still keeps on trying to walk and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that he refuses to give up. He may be down but he is not out and I have faith that one day I will have my Dad back. That one day we will be hitting the road and exploring new places just like we have done many times before.

Part of me hopes that the lady from Alma thinks about my dad and wonders how he’s doing. I wonder if she feels sorry for running him over. I wonder if she pays more attention in parking lots now or maybe just maybe her family took her keys away. Red Wing is 46 miles from Alma WI and I pray with every fiber of my being that she took those 46 miles to think about what she did.

The lady from Alma changed his life forever and for that I can never forgive her. I can show her grace, but I will never forgive her for the pain she caused.

{Love} Four years

After Charlie died I thought I was jinxed. I thought that I’d didn’t deserve love or to be happy. I dated a lot, but nothing stuck. It was always the same old boring date with no follow up calls. Some nights I’d just go on a date to get out of the house with the intention of not calling them back. I was lonely. I was beautifully broken and for most I was to much to handle.

They say love finds you when you least expect it. For me it came in the form of an email. An email that lead to a date at Pizza Luce that lead to my happy ever after. On our third date Jay said to me “you don’t know it yet, but I am going to marry you.” I was a little taken back by this comment and wondered “WTF!” Jay was right, eight months later he asked me to marry him in a Wisconsin Dells pool. I said yes and gave up my uptown life for two cats in the suburbs.

Our first year wasn’t easy. On Mother’s Day I took a test and called Jay to utter the words “I’m pregnant.” I was scared out of my mind and Jay was excited. My fears were realized during our first ultrasound when only an empty sac appeared on the screen. Our baby wasn’t meant to be. We experienced our first loss together and some how managed to make it through to the other side. We found out that our little one had to many chromosomes. Two sperm fertilized one egg, hence why we call him two sperm. A child that I like to believe is half human, half velociraptor that chews on red legos and now purple crayons too.

Jay says that my ability to find the good in every situation and my ability to use humor is what he loves most about me. It’s true, even in darkness I look for the light. Some days my imagination is what gets us through. Our cats have secret lives in which I relay to Jay on the daily. Laughter is plentiful in our house. Jay will tell you “she can crack her own self up in an instant.” Jay also makes me laugh, like full on belly I can’t breathe type of laughter. I always tell my friends “find someone who will make you laugh until it hurts.”

Hurt is what I can see in Jay’s eyes when I am in pain. He tries to do everything in his power to make me feel better, even if it means trying to make me laugh in the ER. Yes, the ER we end up there a few times a year, my body isn’t what it used to be. A part of me wishes that Jay got to experience AJ before she was broken. The AJ that had lung capacity and the one who could actually do things without begging for air. Then again Jay tells me that he is glad that he got the broken version of me, he thinks it’s the best one.

IVF proved to be a lesson in strength for the both of us. Jay had to be strong when he gave me the shots. I think the shots hurt him more than they did me and I’m the one who got stuck. I could see the anger in his eyes when we walked out of our botched transfer attempt. He didn’t want me to do it at CCRM. But I persisted and so we did. He kept me strong when I was ready to break. He held my hand and rubbed my head as I was wheeled off to surgery and held on tight when the embryos finally made it back to me. He spoke to my belly when we found out it worked, this baby that we prayed for was finally ours.

Snow pea is what he named our baby. The ultrasound photos brought tears to his eyes because the baby that we had struggled for was finally ours. He squeezed me tight as I ugly cried into his shoulder on the day we found out that snow pea wasn’t meant to be ours. He helped me fulfill a bucket list of things I wanted to do with snow pea before we said our final goodbyes. Stone turtles were thrown into the mighty lake as we held each other tight. We would learn that our snow pea was a boy, a boy that we named Emmett James. Our son he will always be.

When the sadness fades joy takes shape. Joy is something our home is full of. Our hearts they are broken yet they are joyful because we are the parents of two children in heaven and Lucia too. We make this life worth living because our son’s never got the chance too. Weekend travel and day trips fill our weekends, adventure is always just around the bend. It’s funny no matter where we go I always find something that reminds me of our sons. They are always with us and they will always be ours.

Four years is a long time in today’s world. Four years ago I walked into Pizza Luce and never looked back. If you would have asked me then I wouldn’t have imagined this life. This life that we live is better than any fairy tail. In quiet moments I realize that I have what people spend their lives searching for. I have a man who loves every fiber of my being and never gives up on me. Even in my stubborn moments, he never gives up. He tells me “you are like a little bull dog, you just keep smashing yourself against walls until you get through.” He’s right, I do, I never give up and I never look back. With this man that I love at my side anything is possible.

{Survivorhood} Year Nine

Nine.

I can still remember exactly what I was wearing on the day my world broke. Gray cardigan, white button down peasant top, jeans, and cranberry ballet flats. The shoes, I still have them. They are worn and raggedy, I just can’t let them go. Those shoes carried me in the ER and they walked me out days later. Those shoes are a symbol that I survived the worst day possible.

Every day I am reminded that four had to die so I could be the one out of five who walked away. I live each day for those who no longer can. I live each day for the women who lost their lives to the Nuvaring. Those women are my battle cry and I will not rest until there are none. Those women have given me more strength than I ever thought possible.

I survived because God, he wasn’t done with me. God knew my strength before I did. God gave me a second chance and I have cherished each day to the fullest. Fate, she’s a funny one and I know that everything I have lived through was apart of her plan. That this plan isn’t mine and only Fate knows where I am going. I cling to every drop of borrowed time and thank God for every day I rise. For I know this second life of mine is an incredible gift.

On October 22, 2009 I made a choice. A choice to not be a victim. A choice to thrive and live a life worth telling. I want a life filled with incredible experiences and stories that will keep me company when I’m old. I made a choice to stand up and be a voice against the darkness. A voice to bring awareness to a cause and educate those around me about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives. My voice will not be silenced until there are none. I have work to do and I will not rest until there are none. One day there will be none and on that day I will take off my white hat and rest.

This past year was filled with heartache and joy. I became a mama to my 3rd sleeping son. Emmett James left this world before his feet ever touched my hands. I am grateful for the experience and I am thankful to be his mom. When sadness fades to joy life begins. I got to watch Sophia and Jack turn one year older. There faces bring joy to the darkness of the night. I am grateful that I survived and get to hear their little voices say “Auntie! Auntie! Auntie!” They are my world and I am there’s.

I spent my weekends traveling form place to place with my dad at my side. No matter the destination he was game. We went to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Mackinac Island; The Badlands; Mount Rushmore; Crazy Horse; Wyoming; Jeffer’s Petroglyphs; Milwaukee; Racine; Hayward; Effigy Mounds National Monument; Crowing Wing State Park; Door County; Washington Island; and the North Shore. This summer we traveled more than most people do in a lifetime. Much wine and booze was bought and we have memories to last us until the end of time.

My dad isn’t the only one who got in on the road trip fun. I traded my dad in for Jay! We made our usual pilgrimage to WI Dells and we ventured west to South Dakota and Wyoming. This year was the year of travel and my heart is happy. I am the trip planner in our family. I plan and Jay just comes along for the ride. That is what I love about him, he’s up for anything as long as I’m involved.

My heart she is thankful. Thankful that I got a second chance at this thing called life. This second chance taught me to live in the moment. Fate has taught me to let the little things slide and stand up for the big things. I have more hope and faith than most people. For I’ve seen God work. Long ago I stopped asking “why me,” instead I stand up and ask “why not me.” I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and God knows what he’s doing. Research, saved my life and it will continue to save the lives of others. We need to believe in research and fund research so that others can have my outcome. So that they too can have a chance at living in a beautiful disaster.

YEAR #9:

For the past nine years I’ve asked for motherhood. This year I am just asking to be HAPPY. Happy with myself. Happy with my work and life. I want to feel joy and give joy. I want to be that person whose happiness is addictive and strengthening. That beacon we flock to on a bad day and the one we laugh with on a good day. I simply want to be happy.

{Infertile Me} Wave of Light

This is my battle cry “I AM A PARENT!” And no one can ever take that away from me. My womb has been a place of life and a silent tomb. Three babies I have carried, their hearts beat in the same rhythm as mine, and when their hearts fell silent, a part of mine died too.

I walk this earth with a broken heart. On May 13, 2010, I gave one piece back to God, his name was Alucious Gregory. On July 7, 2015, I gave a second piece back to God, his name is Baby E. On March 5, 2018, I gave a third piece back to God, his name is Emmett James. I myself wonder how I can still stand, how I can still move, and mostly how my heart still beats. I have one piece left and she beats on, for her sons need her to be strong.

Strong for the moments when she tears up and utters “there should be five,” as she watches Sophia and Jack climb hay bails. Strong for the moment when she walks through the orchard and utters “this should be Emmett’s first trip.” For the moment when she utters “Emmett’s first Halloween costume could have been Dr. Brown.” They need her to be strong when she proudly hangs Emmett’s ornament next to Lucia and Baby E’s on the tree. They need her to be strong so that she can live a life of what could be instead of a life of what ifs.

Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett need their mama to be strong for they believe that she can. Their deaths cannot be in vain, they to believe that their mama deserves a living breathing baby to spoil and love. A baby that will take the breath that they never got to breathe. A baby that will get to lay eyes upon the women they never got to call mom. A baby that will nuzzle into her neck and dream a lifetime of dreams that they never got the chance to dream.

Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are the tiny voice that whispers, just one more step on silent nights. They are her fuel, her fuel to not give up on this dream called MOTHERHOOD. Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are her battle cry! She is a parent to three boys, her sons they will always be. Their mother she will always be. She will light three candles, one for each of her sons, and a forth to remind her that as long as she is breathing, Hope is still alive. A reminder that she most always follow the light until she reaches the ends of time and never give up for her sons need her.