The world keeps turning 

It has been a little over five months since our daughter passed away and our lives were turned upside down. Last year was a rough one and our family was hoping 2016 would be filled with nothing but good things. Ha, it’s almost comical how much more you can happen right when you think you can’t possibly handle anything else. Last week Tony had surgery to have a big chunk taken out of his back. They think it is skin cancer but they are not sure. We hope it isn’t and that will hopefully be one  less thing to worry about.

Life threw another horrible curve ball into our and most importantly one of our best friend’s lives. My friend Mel’s husband passed away in a car accident on his way to work three weeks ago. This has flipped our world upside down again. We have a hard time trying to come to terms with a such a devistating loss. Mel, Seth and Olis were one of the families that we were truly happy for. I know that is bad to admit but, it’s hard to be happy for people right now. This will hopefully go away soon because, the guilt that I feel for feeling this way is ripping me apart.

Seth was an amazing person. There are not too many men in this world like him. Strong, loving, hard working, loved the simple things in life and he would do anything for his family. His wife Mel has been friends with Tony and I since we were 15 years old. She has been there for me through out the loss of Berkley. She always was checking in to make sure we were ok. She is a loyal, funny, kindhearted person that is a friend I love endlessly. Mel and Seth have a beautiful son Olis. He is nine months old and is the only baby I have been around since we lost our daughter. He is amazing and brings happiness to everyone around him. He is probably one of the cutest babies out there but, I am a little biased since he has been flirting up a storm with me lately.

Petron Family Go Fund Me

Tony and I are having a hard time wrapping our heads around the horrible things that happen in this world. We don’t understand how a loving husband would be ripped away from his beautiful family in an instant.

This has compounded our loss. We are not only grieving for our daughter but, our friend and their family. I feel myself growing darker and full of sadness.

It’s so hard to relate or interact with anyone. We are so sick of bad news and sadness yet we feel trapped. When you have conversations with anyone that tries to make small talk I find my self miles away. Conversations are usually full of problems that are real to them but to me I would give almost anything to have, “those problems instead”.

I know it is our situation and that is why I feel this way but, I am sick of feeling like this. I understand the reasons why. It’s like my head and heart are on two separate pages. I can’t wait to just be happy again. I will never take that for granted again. I am still fighting everyday to climb out of this hole but, it’s not easy. I do have happy moments and people have commented that they have seen glimpses of the old me but, I just want feel like myself again.

The art of grieving

There are 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages of grief are fueled by intense emotions and irrational thoughts. For the me the stages bounce all around. I can tell I am healing and moving in the right direction but, I still move through all 5 of them.

There are more good days than bad now but, she is always on our minds. No matter where or what we are doing. There she is. We are always thinking about what our life would be like with her and what she would be like. She would be four months old now and would have grown so much. I know that we are in the acceptance stage but are lingering in the depression and anger stages also.

Right now it feels like our theme song is “Paint it, black” by the Rolling Stones. You wish everyone could feel your pain, but in the same sentence you wish no one would ever know this pain. The anger is so irrational. Just seeing a pregnant women is annoying. I can be having a good day and it can change everything. Something that I thought was so precious is now aggravating. I know why I feel this way and that emotion is fueled by the pain of our loss. This is not a feeling that is constant and it is showing itself less than it was but, it’s still my greatest hurdle to overcome.

I know that we are starting to step into the acceptance stage. We are making great strides in the healing process. We are letting some of the guilt, denial, and bargaining go. I am taking the little accomplishments as they come. I went and spent time with one of friends that I really missed. This is a dear friend that I treasure. She is one of the friends I was pregnant with. She had a son and he is several months older than Berkley. I went to her house planning on staying for a little while and ended up staying most of the day. I held her son. I spent the day with her and her baby. I shockingly felt good about it. I wasn’t sad and was genuinely happy about spending time with both of them. I know I couldn’t have done this a month ago.

We are facing every emotion as it comes. Whether the emotion makes sense or not we just accept them. If I want to be mad at the world or cry. I am and I do. After I get though those emotions I usually feel better. I am hoping the days keep getting “easier” and we continue to move through the grieving process. It feels like you are stuck in these strange feelings and are being controlled by an irrational thinking process. It’s a mess and there is no art to it. We are just doing what we can, when we can. I sometimes look at pictures of me before I knew this pain and think “I miss that person.” I wonder if I will ever be that person again or will everything be a compromise. I will probably be truly happy one day but, I wonder if it will always be followed by “I wish our daughter was here too.”


Searching for Answers

When we found out that our daughter had passed away there were so many questions racing through our heads. We were wondering how this could happen and why it would happen. She was due in just a few days. How could she pass away so suddenly after such a healthy pregnancy? My doctor called my pregnancy a “text book” pregnancy. The morning sickness in the first trimester was horrible, then just heartburn, and pregnancy induced carpel tunnel. Besides that I felt great. I remember thinking how great I felt and I couldn’t believe how active I still was even during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I was even joking with my doctor about great I felt at my last appointment on that Monday before we lost Berkley.

We were hoping that we would get some answers why our daughter passed away once she was born. After being thrown into this reality we have learned so much. Stillbirths still happen and some women never get an answer why their child passed away. Right after Berkley was born our doctor could see what happened.

Berkley had a velamentous cord insertion. That is where her umbilical cord inserted on the edge of the placental plate instead of in the center. So it was connected to a weaker spot and the connection ruptured. This is just a random occurrence. Nothing genetic or anything that could have been prevented while she was developing. The frustrating part about this diagnosis is that it is something that they look for at the 20 week anatomy scan. Berkley’s scan came back normal. Umbilical cord insertion was marked as normal. When it wasn’t. If it would have been seen she would have been monitored more. We will never know what the out come would have been if it was seen.

In the beginning this pissed me off more than you could imagine. I couldn’t get over the “What if” and “how did this get missed”. I started researching the diagnosis and the more information I found the more angry I would get. It is something that has a very high survival rate if it is caught and it is highly detectable on an ultrasound. The anger and what if game was consuming me.

I had to let those thoughts go. The answers that I found were not the ones that I wanted. That wasn’t my situation and we can’t bring our daughter back. What happened just happened and it is what it is. We cannot change things that have already happened and we just have to learn to live with the loss of our daughter. Her life was short and it is hard to come to terms with that fact. I am so grateful though, we were able to have our daughter for those 9 months. We grew to love her and will love her until the day we die. Knowing that love is one of the greatest gifts in this life and I will not let her death over shadow the beauty of her life.

The choice

We have to make a choice every morning. I knew that I didn’t want my daughter’s life to be the reason why I would lose control. I knew that I had to change.

I slowly went back to work. I started going out into the public again. Going to places that I go on a regular basis. I am fortunate that my family/coworkers told a lot of the people that we see on a regular basis that I lost my daughter, so I didn’t have to explain. When I started going to the places we would go to for lunch in the small town. Several women’s eyes would fill with tears when the first saw me, they would hug me and tell me they were sorry for my loss. I started to go grocery shopping by myself. These are fast trips and are still very hard for me to do.

My anxiety was out of control and I was carrying around baby weight without a baby. I decided I needed to start going to the gym again. I would sometimes cry all the way to the gym because I was having a bad day but, I made myself go. I am going 4 or 5 days a week to try to calm my mind and get back into shape.

My relationship with my husband is the most important thing to me also. I am so grateful that he is such an amazing person. I knew he was in extreme pain also but, he still would get up every day go to work and make sure I was ok. We knew we had to communicate our emotions with each other and try to understand each other’s grieving process. He would hold me when I was crying uncontrollably and he wasn’t afraid to cry in front of me either. Seeing my husband cry, made me love him even more. Losing our daughter has made our love even stronger.

We started going to counseling together. We wanted to make sure that we were moving forward in our grieving process. I am reading books, talking to other bereaved mothers in online groups, reading articles and blogs from other mothers. Talking to other mothers that know exactly what it feels likes helps me a lot and so does reading their blogs.

In a world full of people that haven’t experienced this pain there is a club of parents that didn’t chose this life but, are living it. Their words give me strength. They understand the intense emotions, the strange triggers, the healing process and that we will not get over this tragedy. We learn to live with the pain and hope the intensity goes down with time.

We made choice. We make a choice every day. Our daughter’s death will not destroy us. We will live for her. I can feel the change within me already. I am still a very broken person but, I am a stronger person. I am braver and I don’t care what others think about me as much. I hope we continue to grow for the better.

I do not believe in Karma. Everything doesn’t happen for a reason. We just live in a broken world. Full of tragedy, things that don’t make sense and things we cannot control. We just have a choice to make about how we respond to the tragedies in the world. We chose to fight, love, and grow from the pain we are experiencing.

Losing my mind

As the initial shock wore off with time I began to lose my mind. I couldn’t function like I used to, I was so lost, broken, and didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t understand how we were supposed to go on living a normal life again. After spending the last year planning for a baby, finding out we were going to be parents, and then falling in love with our daughter. She was gone and it was just us again.

We didn’t want to be around anyone or talk to people. There were only a couple people that we would talk to besides our parents. We were in hiding. Tony took a week off of work and I took five weeks off. I was still showering, cleaning, and cooking. So I considered that a win. The rest of the time I was crying, searching for answers, reading, or coloring in a color book. I couldn’t do anything else.

I had to learning how to exist in a world full of reminders of our reality. There were so many triggers that would send us off the deep end. Watching TV, seeing commercials or babies would send me into an uncontrollable crying spell. I had to go to the stores where I would run into a pregnant women, baby or even worse a new born. I would hear a baby crying and my whole body would tense up, pain in my chest would start and I had to do everything in my power to try not to start crying.

I was losing my mind. I felt like a little child and was so broken. I was so angry at world. I had crazy anxiety. Why would this happen to us? Then I thought. Maybe I deserved this pain. We couldn’t do anything anymore. Even going to see our friends felt so pointless. I didn’t care about anything anymore. All I wanted was my husband and my daughter. I didn’t care about anything else.

I started forming some pretty unhealthy habits. I was so afraid to not be able to sleep and  the nightmare would replay in my mind every night. I was drinking Nyquil every night for the first couple months. I was eating horrible. I didn’t even eat junk food like that when I was pregnant. I started drinking every night. I just wanted a break from the pain. I couldn’t take feeling the intense pain that physically hurt me. I remember driving home sometimes not caring If I made it there. I was in such a dark place. Living in the depths of despair. I couldn’t even imagine the pain before I had experienced it myself.

I could see the look on my husband’s face when he looked at me. He was scared. He thought he was never going to see the women he used to love again. My parents told me they were worried too. I was not trying to act this way. I knew it wasn’t healthy. I knew when I drank so much that I was sick twice within two weeks that I was walking a fine line. Addiction runs in both sides of my family so I know it is something I shouldn’t mess with.

I knew I had to pull it together. Losing our daughter was the last thing I could ever imagine happen to us. It destroyed us but we had a choice. To fight for our lives or live in the darkness. We decided to fight.

Going home

imageSunday morning we were allowed to leave the hospital. We had to walk out those same emergency room doors that we came in that early Friday morning. Only this time, we didn’t have our daughter with us. The nurse Rachel walked us to our vehicles. She gave me a huge hug and tears ran down both of our cheeks. Tony insisted that I rode home with his mom and not in my car. We had the car seat set up in my car for a few weeks before we lost her. That drive home was so surreal. I remember just looking out the window and seeing the world moving so fast and everyone was just living another day.

We decided to stay at Tony’s parents house for a couple days. We didn’t want to come home to see her clothes hanging up and her crib, empty. Azure had packed up most of Berkley’s things that were in every room of the house. We asked her to leave the stuff in her room so we could pack that way when we felt ready.

When we got to Tony’s parents house I went downstairs to the guest room. That was the first time I had been alone since I heard that our daughter had died. As soon as I was at the bottom of the stairs I started crying, gasping for air, and my legs gave out as I was trying to walk to the end of the hallway. My whole chest was tight and felt like my heart tore in two. I was still in shock. I could feel the pain of losing her, immense pain, but still a little numb.

The pain would come in waves. It was almost like my body would only let me feel so much physical pain and then my body/mind would just turn on auto pilot. I remember for the first couple weeks feeling like an out of body experience when I wasn’t breaking down. I was just there. We still had things we had to do.

We had to go the funeral home and make arrangements for our daughter. We went there with both of our moms. We decided to have her cremated and keep her close to us. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that our daughter was cremated on her due date. We didn’t have a service for her. We didn’t think we could handle it. Having to be around people while we were so broken would have been torture.

We finally went home after a couple days. Seeing all her stuff waiting for her arrival was heartbreaking. It’s hard to explain but, I also didn’t want it to put away either. We loved her so much. They were her things and It was all that we had left of her.


Living with the plague

Suffering such a heartbreaking tragedy is very isolating. You know that people feel sorry for you and are thinking about you. Life and relationships have changed. Trying to exist in a small community is hard enough. After something so shocking happens to you, it gets even harder.

Some of our closest friends and family do not know what to say. So they stay away. Everyone is afraid to offend us or they don’t know how to interact with us.

Going out in public is very hard too. I was in the grocery store the other day. A girl I  went to high school with came around the corner into the aisle I was in. I could see the look of shock on her face. She was visibly startled to see me and looked like she saw a ghost. I took off as fast as I could because, I could tell she was uncomfortable. Again, people don’t know what to say.

Then on the other side there are people that are not afraid to ask questions. I went into a local bar that is about three miles away from our house to pick up pizza. The bartender asked, “Did you ever find out why it happened?” I stopped in there again on Tony’s birthday and she asked me, “Are you going to try again?” I barely know this person and she is just so blunt and curious. To be honest, I would rather have someone ask me a question. Instead of treating me like I have the plague.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand trying to talk to us might be hard. Even knowing about what happened to us is hard. Especially if you are pregnant. I remember when women would post in the birth groups when they had a loss. I would be so upset and wondered why are they sharing that. Don’t they know that they are scaring me? Now I understand. They are just trying to heal.

One of the hardest things about losing a child is that you are trying to exist in a world full of pregnancy, newborns, babies, and families. They are harsh realities of my life right now. I was pregnant with several of my close friends. I still have a few people close to me that are currently pregnant. I miss our relationships so much. Right now I am just not strong enough to be around them. I don’t mind talking to them but, I just can’t see them right now. I am still very happy for them.

Please just be patient with us. We are still in here, somewhere. If you wouldn’t say anything thing to me before this happened. You don’t need to and please don’t feel like you need to. Just remember we don’t have the plague and we won’t take you down with us.

The Beauty of Berkley

The beginning of the pregnancy was a blur of emotions. We were so happy and scared at the same time. I was so scared to have a miscarriage early on in the pregnancy. I knew so many women had experienced them and my heart broke for them. Every night I would repeat a saying in my head, “Happy, Healthy baby” over and over until I fell asleep.I found this calculator that would show you the risk of a miscarriage calculated based on my due date. I found comfort in a statistic of how low the odds were after I got out of that 12 week window. But I am that 1 in 160 pregnancies that end in stillbirth.

Once the morning sickness was gone it was getting close to the time to find out the gender. We went down to a place in the cities when she was 16 weeks along to find out what gender our child was. We were sitting in the waiting room. There was a wild little boy screaming and jumping off everything. Tony said that in that moment he started hoping for a girl. I thought early in my pregnancy it was a boy. Then about two weeks before we went to find out I felt like it was a girl.

As we entered the room to see our child for the first time we were so nervous. I didn’t have a bump yet but, there she was swimming all over the screen. The minute we saw her we were in love. She was moving her arms and legs so fast. We sat there so quietly waiting for him to tell us what the gender was. Finally he said, “It’s a girl.”

We couldn’t agree on a name for a few weeks. I thought of the name Berkley when I was watching parenthood a few years back and added it to a list I had of “future baby names.” It’s also is a brand of fishing stuff. I always thought our children would have traditional names but we just loved the name Berkley. We finally agreed we would name her Berkley Lorraine Bistodeau. She is also named after her Great Grandmother Lorraine Harris. She is my grandma and one of my favorite people in this world. She is 80 years old, has bright blonde hair, loves to shop, always there to talk when I need her, feisty, and funny as hell!

The nine months Berkley spent with us was the happiest I have ever been in my whole life. I never knew that I could love someone so much and I hadn’t even met her yet. I was always talking to her, rubbing her back/butt and dreaming about our future together. For the months leading up to her due date we spent them preparing to become parents. Finding everything she needed, going to hospital appointments, baby showers, installing the car seat and setting the crib up for her arrival. Those are the months that I will cherish for the rest of my life. They were full of excitement and love.IMG_6102.PNG