{Lucia} Back To School

Over the past week my Facebook feed has been flooded with back to school photos. Normally I click like and move on my merry way. This year the “today is my first day of first grade photos” are hitting me harder than I’d like. The photos of smiling first graders with carefully packed backpacks are tugging at my heart strings causing me to hit like as I fight back tears. This year is hard, my son his photo is missing in my feed. My Lucia is seven and he should be holding a sign grinning back at me as we wait for the bus to arrive.

There will be no bus pulling into our street. There will be no backpack and schools supplies to purchase. No shopping for clothes and the perfect pair of tennis shoes. No lunchbox to fill and no child to send off to school. My son he died, 7 years ago he died and all of the firsts died with him. Lucia got cheated out of a life time of firsts and moments in the sun.

Part of me wonders if Lucia would have been like me, brilliant with the worlds shortest attention span. ADD is a label I’ve been sporting since I was 7, yes 7 is when I was diagnosed. I have to believe that if Lucia did have it his elementary years would be better than mine. That his teachers would not shy away from teaching him, that they would see and harness his potential. Maybe he would learn cursive, lord knows I couldn’t help him practice because I was never taught. His brilliance is lost to this world, only God knows how bright he is and I pray that one day I’ll find out too.

The other day I watched Sophia and Jack barrel down the sidewalk on their bike/trike and thought “Lucia is missing.” In my mind I could picture Lucia racing Sophia down the street on his batman bike as Jack struggled to keep up shouting “Sissy! Lucia! I see you.” Jack would be the third wheel as Sophia & Lucia raced around the neighborhood. I thought about how Sophia and Jack have no idea that they are missing a cousin and that they got cheated out of a lifetime of fun. When they are older I’ll tell them why Auntie really has four paw prints tattooed on her foot, and that Auntie has two babies in heaven, for now they don’t need to know that babies die.

Babies die. Its a hard and lonely fact. I learned this not once but twice. I got cheated out of a lifetime of firsts with Lucia and Baby E. My babies died before they even got a chance to make an impact on this world. One thing is for certain even though the world will never know them, they changed my world forever and a piece of me will always be in heaven.

{Baby E} My baby, you will always be 

Two years ago today it was Mother’s Day and I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor starring at a plus sign in disbelief. For years I was told that getting pregnant would be a small feat and one I’d most likely never achieve. Yet there I was sitting on the brown tile floor starring down a test with a plus sign. In that moment the impossible became possible and I was going to be a mom again. 

Having lost a child before I was skeptical, nervous, and scared that something would go wrong again. I was excited, but not to excited. I didn’t want to get attached to this little one until I saw the flicker on the 6 week ultrasound. A flicker is all I needed to see to reassure that this one was real and that I was going to be a mom again. I counted down the days until our perinatal appointment. Jay was excited and nervous, he had started to look at baby gear online and we had picked out names. We were going to have a baby. 

All it took was one swoosh of an ultrasound wand to dash our hopes and dreams. An empty sac showed on the screen. I was 8 weeks and some odd days, we should have seen a yolk, a fetal pole, and that elusive flicker of a heart beat. Instead we saw a cold empty sac. We were quickly sent down the hall to meet with the doctor, she kept on saying “let’s give it another week.” I knew deep down that this baby wasn’t meant to be ours and I didn’t want to entertain another ultrasound. 

My gut was right. A few weeks later we had another ultrasound and just like before the sac was empty. A surgical consult was scheduled and a plan was made to ensure that the horror show of the 2010 D&C did not occur again. A girl’s uterus and cervix can only be punctured so many times. The procedure was completed on 07/07/2015 and the pathology reports revealed that the little empty sac was more than a sac. I had a partial molar pregnancy, our baby had to many chromosomes, two sperm fertilized one egg, and Baby E, just wasn’t meant to be ours. 

It’s been two years since I saw that plus sign, my rainbow it eludes me. I have tracked my cycles like a boss, peed on more sticks than I can count and have seen zero plus signs. In October I put my big girl pants on and sat down with a reproductive endocrinologist, secondary infertility is the label I received. She walked me through our options and explained which ones were safe for me. Its been a journey, we’ve had 3 failed medicated IUIs and now our only hope is mini-IVF. 

There are days where I want to throw in the towel and call it. But this tiny voice reminds me “you are already a mother to angels, you can do this one more time.” Fertility treatments are exhausting, you have ultrasounds, meds to take, IUIs to schedule, injections and so on. It’s literally a second job. For now we are taking a break and on the 22nd we have a consult with a new clinic and I am praying that they will 1. Approve me for mini-IVF and that 2. This will be my time to catch that rainbow. I have faith that my turn is coming, it’s just taking awhile for that darn bottle to point to me. One day, we will get our take home baby. 

In the mean time I rest easy knowing that my babies are together in heaven just like they would be on earth. Lucia went first and Baby E followed 5 years later. They will always be apart of me, they are the reason I walk this earth with a broken heart and they are my strength for a better day,  a day where I too will get a take home baby. 

{Lucia} Happy Birthday Baby 

Lucia it has been seven years since you graced this earth. My heart is happy because you have spent those seven years in heaven. My son you were to beautiful for earth, so the angel closed the book of life and sent you to heaven. You got your wings before you got a chance to touch the soil. Your life though short fucking mattered. You existed Lucia and you will continue to exist until the last breath I take. 

Child loss, I never signed up for it however God chose me. He chose me to walk this earth with a piece of my soul in heaven. It takes a strong woman to love a child in heaven. My heart is forever broken, it broke the day I said goodbye to my son. I trust that Lucia is in good hands and that he is entertaining Baby E, that one day we will meet again. 

His birthday rolls in quietly. There is no fan fair, party or cake. It simply comes and goes. I celebrate my son by blowing out a candle on a cupcake while saying a silent prayer for Lucia’s safe keeping. I pause and wonder what he would look like at 7. Would he be a curly top freckled blue eyed child like me or would he have the Jewish features of his father. I try to imagine what his voice and laughter would sound like. Would he be a wild child or a wall flower? In that moment I find comfort in the land of wonder and what if. 

This year Lucia would be old enough to attend Y Camp Pepin. He and I would be making the drive down to Stockholm WI and I would drop him off for a week of fun. I loved camp as a child and I have no doubt Lucia would have too. Maybe he would take to sailing and windsurfing like his mama or spend time in the arts and craft room. Maybe he would have a camp crush and pick her flowers or just maybe he’d miss me so much he’d beg me to come get him. This I’ll never know for the opportunity to send him was taken too soon. 

Lucia is missing out on weekends with his grandparents. He never got the chance to sleep in a log cabin. To run through the field catching frogs, toads, snakes, and salamanders like his mama did. My father should be teaching Lucia how to fish and after they’re done going to the Cenex in Elmwood for ice cream. Lucia should be playing in my mom’s garden and watching her tend to the camp stove and asking her “when is dinner done!?” Those things never came to fruition because God had other plans. My parents got cheated out of their first grandchild. A child that they deeply wanted. 

Seven years without Lucia honestly feels like a lifetime. Time, it carries on. Some days it moves rapidly, others it creeps along, the months tick by and my son turns another year older in heaven. I rest easy knowing that he is not alone, that somehow he found Cora, then Charlie, and his sibling Baby E. I am certain that he is being an excellent big brother and letting Baby E chew on his red legos. That together they will have a grand birthday party in Heaven and he will look down and see his mama blowing out his candle. 

Lucia is always with me. He is and will always be my son, my baby he will always be. Happy Birthay my sweet precious Angel. Mama loves you from earth to heaven. 

{Lucia & Baby E} Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month 

October is many things. For me it’s my birthday month and more importantly it’s where my second story began. I get lost in the details, counting days, writing posts, and reflecting on the year before me. No one ever said survivorhood would be easy. No one ever said “not all babies get to come home.” 

That is something we keep from little girls. We never tell them that not all babies come home and that not all women get to be mommies. That some women have to fight harder for motherhood than others. We keep the darkness out of their eyes and fill them with hope, hope that one day they will hold a baby of their own. 

For me I wish someone had told me “not all babies come home.” That would have prepared me for the worst. We know it’s possible, but our hearts never wonder to that place of “what if.” Instead we live in the land of preparation and anticipation. You get so wrapped up in that land, that when you hear six little words they cut through you like a knife. No woman wants to hear “I’m sorry there is no heart beat.” Those words are a sentence to a life time of wonder and what ifs.

You are left wondering “could I have done it differently?” Followed by why me. You struggle with your faith and become jealous of the swelling bumps around you. Yet somewhere along the way you realize “you never get over the death of a child, you just learn how to live with it.” It’s been six years since I’ve said goodbye to Lucia and I can tell you that a day does not go by where I do not think of him. The same goes for Baby E. A piece of me will always be in heaven and I have to live the best possible life, because they never got a chance to live theirs.

After you lose a child life goes on. People will tell you “oh you will have another one.” Those words are spoken easier than done. No one ever tells you that “some women struggle.” I fall into the category. I am struggling to catch my rainbow. In the quiet of the night I pray that my turn will come. Fertility clinics are expensive, yet our reward will be worth it. I have faith that my third time and Jay’s second will be the one that sticks. I want so very much to bring a baby home, to hold them, and love on them for the rest of their lives. 

For my heart knows what it’s like to let go and she is ready, she is ready for a baby that can stay. 

{Infertility} The Ugly Truth about Chasing Rainbows

When  a woman has a misscarriage or a still birth people often say “oh you can try again. You will have another one, don’t worry.” They do not realize that those words or even the thought of trying again cuts through her soul. She wanted THAT baby. She did not plan for a future baby, she had planned on brining THAT baby home. 

My journey to motherhood has had more potholes than smooth pavement. I watch friends fall pregnant on a whim. I for some reason do not have access to the baby water or whatever magical dust is flying around. Five years. Five years stood between Lucia and Baby E. Both my children were not planned, yet they were desperately wanted and now the desire to mother someone is strong.

Before Baby E I had made peace with the fact that I would never carry a child. Adoption, was going to be my best option. Doctors told me that my uterus was to broken to carry a child and mostly it was a risky endeavor. Girls with a history of blood clots and stroke, well it’s not recommended that you become pregnant. I felt cheated and robbed, one decision affected my whole fertile life. All my friends who went on the NuvaRing got babies, I got a blood clot. This was the hand I was delt and with time I learned to live with it. 

That is until a blue plus sign showed up. I was scared, no not scared, I was fucking terrified. I had been pregnant before and it didn’t turn out so well. I went home with empty arms. I was cautiously  getting attached to the group of cells I was carrying, the only thing that stood between me and my child was a viability scan. Every high risk pregnant woman dreads this scan. The scan is completed at 6/7weeks gestation, if there isn’t a heart beat, game over. Jay was excited for the ultrasound, as soon as an empty sac flashed on the screen, I knew in my heart it was over. God didn’t give me a second chance to be a mom. He brought me so close to motherhood, yet pushed me one step back. This rainbow was not meant to be ours. The chase was back on.

The world of baby making is not pretty. It’s pretty much a second job. There are charts to be charted, temps to be checked, sex dates on calendars, ovulation test to pee on and then there is the two week wait. The wait to see if all of your hard work (literally) and charting paid off. Month after month went by without a blue plus sign. Something in my gut said “lady you are a little off.” 

A year went by with no luck. Down the fertility rabbit hole we went, I’ve had more blood test and scans (the ultrasound wand and I are on a first name basis) than I can count. My body and I are not on good terms right now. My egg reserve is good, yet something is a miss. Luteal phase failure, progesterone and I are not on speaking terms. She is suppose to be my girl and rise to the baby maintaining occasion. Bitch is sitting in her seat exchanging gossip and not paying attention to her job at hand. Getting her to step up is tricky, yet she is my only hope. I need her otherwise I’ll never catch our rainbow.

Talking about infertility makes me feel like I failed as a woman. I’ve got one job and that is to birth babies. I think in away women judge each other. Having fertility help is like the new c-section vs vaginal birth debate.  Yes it’s true only a small percentage of the population needs fertility assistance, yet it doesn’t make me any different than fertile myrtle from down the lane. Maybe in away it makes me more of a woman because I have to endure a shit ton of testing and scans and needles to get my prize? Probably not, but I just want to throw that out there. 

The getting pregnant process doesn’t scare me. The pregnant part is what scares me. Carrying a child scares me. Not knowing what the next scan will show is what scares me. My therapist assures me that my fears are healthy and normal. That as time goes on they will ease. But for now in this moment they are very real and it’s scary. I desperately want to be a mom, yet 9 months of pregnancy terrifies me. Jay does his best to ease my fears and calms me down. He knows what I’ve gone through, it’s a lot for one soul to carry. Jay tells me that  I am strong and that I am capable of carrying our child, we just need to catch our damn rainbow and never let go, well when they are 18 will let go. 

There is a five year gap between Lucia and Baby E. Which is not normal, it’s not normal to have a five year gap or to loose two babies in a row. Which the term loose is still strange to me, I know where they are and they are not lost. The fore mentioned is the ugly truth of fertility. Some ladies have what it takes and then there are those of us who desperately want to be fertile. 

When someone asks me “do you have children?” I should be able to say “yes, but they died,” without fear of being judged or the awkward look of pity. Just like infertile women, women of dead babies get swept under the rug. It’s like we are societies dirty little secret, like we live in a fairytale land where every woman is fertile and every baby lives. 

Truth: that land does not exist and life, it’s ugly and hard. I learned this the hard way. Yet I like many women still hold onto a glimmer of hope that my next pregnancy will be successful and that it will result in a live birth. While you are doing summer things, I will be getting poked, prodded and scanned to make sure my lady bits are in working order, because this, this is going to be the year we catch our rainbow! 

{Lucia} A Lifetime of Wonder 

Dearest Lucia,

Today Friday May 13th marks your 6th Angel Birthday. It’s hard for mommy to believe that I have spent 6 years without you. There isn’t a day that goes by where mommy doesn’t think of you. Long ago I stopped asking God “why Lucia? Why did God need you more than I did and what did I do to deserve this?”I realized Lucia that God knew that I was stronger than I realized. For it takes a strong woman to be the mother of an Angel. God knew I was up for the task, so he picked you love to join his heavenly skies. 

In the quiet moments I wonder what you would look like. If you would have mommy’s curly hair and blue eyes or the Jewish features of your father. Would you be a fearless little chatter box or a silent observer. I wonder if you would share my love of dinosaurs and gazing at the star filled skies. Maybe you’d be like your father, spending your moments playing video games and counting down the days till football starts. Who you were meant to be will always be a mystery to me. 

Your death remains a mystery. With all of the science in this world doctors were not able to put a why behind your leaving. One moment you were inside my protective womb in the next you were gracing God’s arms. Mama wasn’t ready to lose a child at 27, yet somehow I put one foot in front of the other and learned to live this life without you. It hasn’t been easy, there are good days and then there are not so good days. But for you Lucia Mommy continues on, I want you to be proud of the life I’ve made. Lucia you are in every step I take, every decision I make, and every beat of my heart, you are with me always. 

I have faith that mommy will see you again. Until that day comes a piece of me will always be in heaven. 

{Mother’s Day} STILL A Mother, My Babies You Will Always Be 

I walked past the shelves of neatly organized Mother’s Day cards and past banners  reminding me that it was on May 8th. Commercials on the radio quickly tell me I need to hurry in and by my Mother a gift, it seems mothers like strands of pearls not fancy brunch dates. Or so that is what the owner of a jewelry store thinks. I change the radio every time the ads come on and I look to the ground as I bust past the cards, for Mother’s Day is not for me. 

Mother’s Day brings on a slew of emotions and serves as a reminder that my babies are not will me. Last year on Mother’s Day a bright blue plus sign told me I was pregnant. Excitement was replaced with an unsettled fear and I tried to show joy, it was hard. I had been on this road before and my heart it did not want to get attached to the life that was inside. My heart she was right, the ultrasound revealed an empty sac, two sperm fertilized one egg they said. To many chromosomes and we said goodbye to Baby E on 7/7/15. 

As a Mother I have faith that some how Baby E found his/her big brother in heaven. That Lucia and Baby E are together causing trouble and watching over me. Lucia would be six this year and Baby E would have been almost four months old. My heart aches for my children, I got cheated out of my son and who Baby E was meant to be. 

Right now I would have a first grader on my hands, I wonder what he would look like, would he have my blue eyes and curly hair or would he have the Jewish features of his father? Mostly I  wonder what his voice and laughter would sound like. If he would come running to me yelling “mommy mommy mommy” with a bug in his hands all covered in dirt. Or if he would be the unadventurous type who quietly watched the world around him. One day I will see my son, faith tells me that I will and when I do his voice will be the sweetest sound my soul has ever heard.

Baby E would have been almost 4 months. I wonder if Baby E would have been a girl or a boy. Jay and I were secretly hoping for a girl, we really wanted a daughter, we would have gladly taken a boy too. I wonder if Baby E would have slept through the night or kept us awake, what his/her gummy smile would look like, and if they would have had a lot of hair or been a baldy. If they would have been a good eater or a finicky one. I wonder if he/she would have felt heavy in my arms and the softness of their body against my chest. One day I will see Baby E and hold him or her in my arms.

My babies you will always be. There are no cards for Mothers like me. We as a society do not like to talk about Mothers who have lost children. It’s like we are a dirty little secret and we are looked upon as inadequate. We are STILL mothers. We did not chose to loose our children, God, he made that choice for us. Maybe God knows it takes one hell of a woman to be the mother of an angel. My children died, plain and simple they are gone, and that fact does not take away my Motherhood card. My heart aches and it wonders, it looks on at you and thinks “one day that will be me, one day that WILL be me.” 

Rainbows are special, they elude us, but if you are lucky and you manage to catch one hold on to it tightly. For there are many women who would gladly chase that rainbow until it lays heavy in her arms. 

{Baby E} Un-Due Date

We should be counting down the days, the days until you arrive. I should be injecting myself for the last time and giving myself a pep talk for the impending c-section. We should be excitedly expecting a CoraLeigh or Olivier. Jay and I should be double checking the woodland themed nursery, the car seat, hospital bags, making sure we have enough dinosaurs and welcoming family as they excitedly arrive. “Do we have enough diapers and wipes and blankets and clothes? Did we baby proof the house enough? Oh God! Did we prepare the cats and muppet like dog for the arrival of their human sibling?” Those are the things we should be asking.

Those things are not being asked and checked. Our dream lost its steam on July 7, 2015, Baby E was never meant to be ours. Only a sac developed, it stood empty on the screen, no fetal pole or yolk took up residence, it was the little sac that couldn’t. But our sac held answers, the Doctor says that two sperm fertilized one egg, and that a human only needs 46 chromosomes, not 69. Our baby was a perfect genetic accident, it was just never meant to be ours.

If you know me well, then you know I have a mad love for dinosaurs. This was to be Baby E’s going home outfit with a cardigan and pants of course.

Baby E was an easier pill to swallow, because I had a why behind the “I’m sorry.” With Lucia there was no why or how, he was just gone. His little light went out before it even got a chance to pierce the darkness, Baby E’s light never got a chance to start. My love for them pierces the heavenly skies and paints the colors of the sunrise. My babies they will always be.

I like to believe that Baby E found Lucia in heaven. That my babies are together, playing and waiting for their parents to arrive. That God has a soft spot for babies with to many chromosomes and that Lucia is breaking in his big brother shoes and watching over Baby E. Those two, thou small made a huge impact on this world. They are loved and cherished beyond measure. Lucia is my parent’s first grand child and Baby E is the forth. My parents are looking forward to a fifth, for they are eagerly waiting for us to catch a rainbow.

Baby E is Jay’s first, I have to believe that my third time and Jay’s second time will be the charm. That Jay and I will catch our rainbow and bring a baby home. I’ve picked up a few baby items here and there, I want to make it known to the universe that we would like a baby to put into the clothes and swaddle in the blankets. The stork can drop one off on our doorstep any day now, we are not picky, well even take a freckle face ginger child.

We have hope that one day we will have a viable pregnancy. Jay and I have picked out names for our future child. Our girl name is CoraLeigh Rae and our boy name Olivier James. I know what you are thinking ” knowing AJ, there has to be a story behind these names!?” There is and there are stories.


Ms. Cora M. Linderman 1897 – 1994

One day if God grants us the chance to have a daughter CoraLeigh Rae will be named after three people she will never meet. Cora is in honor of the oldest woman I ever knew. She died at 97, 3 years short of her goal to live to 100. Frankly Cora was the best friend a litter girl could ever ask for. Ms. Cora Linderman was a Swedish immigrant, she was the first telephone operator to give instructions for CPR over the phone, she taught me how to play dominos and spent hours entertaining me with her stories, she was mine and I was simply hers. Leigh, is in honor of my Dad’s sister Cherrie Leigh, a woman with a large heart who died to young. An finally her middle name Rae comes from a wild attorney named Charlie Rae, a man whose dream ended far to soon. I want my future daughter to be named after strong individuals because her name will carry their legacy.

I’ve carried a boy and his name is Alucious Gregory, we simply call him Lucia. That name is unique and it is perfectly his. This time I went with an older name, one with strength and meaning. My family started in France, voyagers who crossed the sea, so Olivier was the perfect fit and spelling. Yes I went with the French spelling of the name Oliver. Plus ya know I have a deep dark secret desire of yelling “Olly Olly Oxen Free” at my future son. We’ll call him Olly for short. James comes from my father it is his middle name. It made sense because Lucia’s middle name is my dad’s first name, so if it isn’t broke just continue the tradition on.

My three children togther. The Blue star is for Lucia and the Purple is for Baby E

Jay and I make a point to talk about “when we have a baby,” it helps ease the pain and gives us something to look forward to. I have to believe that God isn’t cruel and that he would not deny me motherhood. I have faith that our rainbow is just on the horizon. One day I will have a due date. One day nine months of blood thinner injection, scans, and constant doctor visits will be worth it. One day I will have a c-section and we will cross the finish line with a baby in our arms as Lucia and Baby E watch over us from heaven.

{I Am A Mother} To An Angel is NOT supportive of all Moms

  After we lost baby E, I was searching for a connection with other angel mommies and a friend suggested I follow the “I am a mother to an Angel” Facebook page. I took up her suggestion and hit like, I also joined the private group “Awaiting Rainbows: TTC after a loss.” The  ladies in this group were lovely and it let me know I wasn’t the only one struggling to catch a rainbow. 

Five years ago I was treading the waters of grief on my own, none of my friends had lost babies before and no one understood my journey. You never get over the death of a child, you just learn how to live with it. My heart has a hole and his name is Lucia, it became bigger on the day Baby E joined him in heaven. Never in a million years did I think I would have two children in heaven, their deaths were decided the moment I was born, it was written in the cards and fate she is the only one who knows what my hand holds. I no longer question their departure and I will play my hand until the last card is on the table. Each day I face the sun with gratitude and a peaceful heart. 

So many young women are just starting out on the road called grief. Many question and shout why me, why my baby. Those women need to be told that it will be ok and sometimes we don’t have an answer. They need to hear it from a mother who has walked this path before, they need to know she survived, and mostly that she caught her rainbow. In the Awaiting Rainbows group I was an old sage, offering internet hugs and  quietly typing “it’s ok, you never get over the death of a child, you just learn how to live with it” into the comments of their posts. We got excited when someone announced they were pregnant and answered each others questions on TTC. 

Every now and then you’d see a member disappear, “she got banned” someone said. The group Admins watch the page like a hawk and without warning if they do not like your tone or your posts or your comments you are out of there. The creator of “I am a mother to an Angel” claims that all of her groups are inclusive and supportive of its members. If this were true then Admins would not be banning members for their tone, comments or for merely reporting a member for being repetitive and offensive. 

If you ask me the ladies of “Awaiting Rainbows/I am a mother” are selective, she is creating the type of group she wants, one where everything is sparkles and sunshine, and not the group women need. Grief is not perfect. Not all trying to conceive journies are perfect or end up with a live birth. Life is messy, grief is messy, and sometimes trying to catch a rainbow is messy too. 

One day you will realize that the women you banned are the women who needed your support the most and you turned your back on them.  

If you are in need of support please visit:

Hannah’s Heart and Love
Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
Grieve Out Loud
Missing Grace Foundation

{Nuva Ring} She Had to Break, Before She Could Shine


One email told me that my settlement check had been cut and mailed out. I knew that the post office closed at 5PM, so today wasn’t going to be my ending. I got home at 5:10, breezed past my Birchbox and opened the mail box to find the all important “we missed you card.” The back of the card said the post office was open til 5:30 PM, it was 5:10, I knew I could make it and I did with 8 minutes to spare. Damn it door is locked, I show the man looking out the window my card. He opens it a crack to tell me they are closed, I explained “sir the back of the card says 5:30.” He points to the hours on the door, the door says Close 5:00 PM and 3:30 PM on Saturdays, again I pointed to what the card said. He explained he was the supervisor and they were closed. I had come so close, yet so far from being done.

I could feel the tears fighting through, I looked at the man and said “Sir, I have been waiting six years for this letter, I know waiting one more day won’t hurt, but you see Sir that letter is my closure, its a settlement check, a check I’ve been waiting six years to see. He started to notice the tear rolling down my cheek, he said “here let me look at that, I don’t normally make exceptions, just wait here ok. He closed the door and disappeared inside, he emerged a few minutes later and told me to come in. In his hand was the letter with a logo I have seen dozens of times, but today it meant it was all over, I just needed to sign and closure would finally be mine. I tearfully thanked him for making the exception, explaining he has no idea what his kindness meant to me.

The tears began to fall, I sat in the drivers seat holding the envelope in my hands, quickly realizing that my tears were staining the envelope, I figured I should probably open it. I did, never in a million years did I think I would see this day. Never in a million years did I think I would see a check. It was just this distant far away untouchable thing, that was never meant to be mine. Yet, there it was in my hands, my name was spelled correctly, its mine and mine alone. I was never in this for the money, I am humbled by what I received. The check doesn’t take away what happened or undo the past six years or bring back my son, but in some way it validates that what happened to me was wrong. Merck never had to admit wrong doing, they will not be held accountable for the deaths or thousands of injuries that the Nuva Ring caused, they simply just had to payout and walk away to operate another day.

I never signed up to get rich, I wanted to stand up for myself and to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Having your life change in seconds scars you, it changes you in ways words cannot begin to describe. If I would have known that this little plastic ring would bring me to the brink of death, I would have left it on the prescription pad and asked my doctor for something else. We as humans cannot see into the future nor can we relive the past, we are in this haze called the here and now, it holds us and comforts us, in away it protects us from the journey ahead. Because if we knew our road was going to be lined with pot holes, tears, and fear, we would stop traveling and stay just as we are. October 22, 2009 taught me more lessons than I could ever begin to explain, it taught me to fight for myself and to always listen to my body, because she will never steer me wrong. It taught me to love my friends like sisters, to cherish my family, to dance on the good days and to fight on the bad. Faith is something I always have, as long as she is at my back, I will face the wind and sail the angry seas.

Survival is a funny thing, you go through phases and it is an ever changing sea, no wave nor current is the same. There are moments where I feel guilty because I lived and someone else’s daughter died. One out of five people will survive a pulmonary embolism with infarction, one out of five is a shitty equation if you ask me. I feel guilty that I have no long term physical or cognitive side affects from my Stroke. I see other stroke survivors struggling and my heart breaks, I know why my out come was different than there’s and it kills me inside to know that if they had received TPA there outcome most likely would have been like mine. I am forever in debt to my Woodwinds care team, One question saved me, if the doctor never paused to ask “are you on a birth control,” my mom would have picked out my urn instead of my 27th Halloween themed birthday cake. Woodwinds will always have a place in my heart, because its where my second story began.

Blog 1

Looking back my second story has been a beautiful disaster. A disaster that is mine and mine alone, I would not trade this journey for anything in the world. On October 22, 2009 I had no idea that one moment would lead me to give a speech on the capital steps in front of members of congress. I had no idea that I would be come a You’re the Cure Advocate and lobby in Washington D.C., I had no idea that I would be a voice that would help get the MN Stroke System of Care passed and funded. I had no Idea that I would be a Go Red Spokeswoman who shined on billboards and a public service announcement. Money doesn’t matter, using your story to make a difference is how you fight back, fighting back is what matters. Merck may never have to admit their wrong doing, but I can tell the world what happened to me, through my story I can save another woman’s life. I can get her to think about her heart health, her risks, and get her to ask her doctor questions, questions that will lead to answers that will improve her quality of care and ultimately her quality of life.

I am who I am because of Merck and the Nuva Ring, they will always be apart of me. In one moment of disaster I found my purpose and I am never leaving my soap box. But the thing is behind every thriving survivor is an amazing village of supporters. I am so grateful to have the worlds greatest best friends, Sherri, Jilliann, Lisa, and Tara never left my side, on the bad days they picked me up and pushed me to go a little bit further. My parents, they are the rock in which I build my house upon, they gave me strength when I had none. My Mama always looked over my INR numbers and medication lists to make sure the doctors were treating me correctly. My Dad and I are like two little old men sitting on a porch discussing chest pain and the days gone by where we could run and fight to live another day. Now we just sit in our rockers and watch the world go by, running is for the young folks and well neither of us would win a fight. My dad has rescued me from more tight spots than I can count, he’s never seen the ocean, he made damn sure that I traveled the globe not once but twice, so I am paying it forward, I am taking my Dad to the seashore, I want him to feel the mist and to stand on the edge of the world.

I got a chance to be the Auntie that I was always meant to be. Sophia and Jack could be learning about me from old photos and their mama’s memories. Because of early intervention and research their Auntie was saved, they get to hold her hand. The day I became an Auntie is the day my heart healed, Sophia and I have been bonded since day one, little Jack is learning all about super Auntie. Those two have my heart and there will always be a surprise for them in my purse. Sophia and Jack are why, there tomorrows are what I am fighting for. Both of them deserve to grow up in a world free of heart disease and stroke.

Blog 2

Second Chances are far from perfect. Lucia was to be the sun after my storm. Instead God had other plans and just as before the winds of change blew through and I had to sail the waves of grief. Losing Lucia allowed me to put myself first, I called it quits and walked out of my loveless marriage. Divorce was not an end, it was merely a beginning. I traded the ex-husband in for a little muppet like dog, which is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. You can never go wrong with a dog. On a hot August day a small white dog with a big gray nose rescued a human and he never looked back. Cullen became the glue that kept me together, as long as I had him at my side, I was never alone. Together we took on uptown, strolled through the parks and picked up glass on the beach. Cullen has provided me with endless laughter, he makes the bad days brighter and life is more fun with a muppet like dog at my side. Cullen was the love that my heart needed.


Love found its way in, Charlie will always be apart of me, I think that in away Charlie knew that he was not my forever, only a mere moment. He allowed me to be, to heal, and to find myself. Charlie allowed me to believe in love again and when he died, my heart broke. Yet I knew Charlie wanted me to carry on with living and not be stuck in the land of what if. I had to break before I could shine. Jay fell into my in box at the perfect time, my heart it was ready to love again. Jay’s love was the glue that my heart needed. With each date I began to fall for him. In Jay I found home, he has my heart and I have his. Jay joined me on the tail end of the Nuva Ring law suit journey, I am glad that he is at the end, because together we can turn the page and walk away to start a new chapter. Because this is only the beginning the best is yet to come.

Blog 3

There were moments where I wanted to throw in the towel and give up this fight. But then I looked in the mirror, I faced a woman who lived through the worst day possible. She never thought the birth control she took would almost take her life. She was weary and weathered, yet she still faced the sun. Her womb carried children she never met, yet she still has faith that one day she will hold a baby in her arms. Her heart was broken and jaded, yet she still manages to love. Little did she know, she just had to break before I could shine. I am living on borrowed time, my life it is a beautiful disaster and each day I am standing above ground means that the best is yet to come.

Merck you may have won this battle, but the war, it rages on. I will not give up until there are none, because no woman deserves to fight alone.