A Word To The Mom Who Will Never Hold Their Baby

A Note To My Past Self

I still remember the day my world came to a screeching halt for what seemed like an eternity. I was happily pregnant with my fourth child. I had three high risk but healthy babies so I didn’t think twice about sharing the news to everyone the day those pregnancy tests turned positive. I saw those positive tests and a smile slowly came across my lips as I fell in love instantly with that baby. I was nervous about going from 3 to 4 like any mother would be but I was happy and in love.

We’re Pregnant

I remember how I felt tired during those first few weeks. I remember how I craved Mexican food like I have never craved it before and haven’t since. I remember my need for Reese’s peanut butter cups like I never needed them before. I remember how I was so emotional so early and how our dog began to get extremely protective of me and followed me everywhere. I also remember how at just a few weeks my belly was already starting to bump out a bit to make room.

Pregnancy Craving Meme

We were all so happy. The kids were happy. My husband and I were happy. The grandparents were happy and our friends were happy for us. Then one day quite suddenly a family member was rushed to the hospital and things didn’t look good. When it was requested we be there with the kids we didn’t hesitate to pack up quickly late at night and make the drive to be there for this beloved family member.

Emotions were high. Everyone was stressed and things were tense. Not everyone understood the request for our kids to be there by the person in the hospital, but despite misunderstandings, the kids and I stayed. One particular tense night I began having intense stomach pain that kept me up most of the night. I brushed this pain off as some bad gas, but the spotting I had in the morning should have told me differently.

Image from The NY Times

Looking back I know now that’s the day I lost you. It is the day you left us and joined the family that already left this life for the next. I look back and wish I had listened to the signs. I wish I had given myself the opportunity to wrap my arms around my stomach in your last moments and say goodbye. I wish my husband had gotten to say goodbye. I wish my kids could have told you goodbye as well. We loved and still love you so much.

So when I went for my 9-week prenatal appointment just a few weeks later I was still happy. I thought you were healthy, growing, and still on your way. I told the doctor about the light spotting and he had the ultrasound technician squeeze me in to make sure everything was still okay. Another sign I should have seen, but I still thought everything was fine.

It wasn’t till the ultrasound technician suddenly got quiet that I began to realize something was wrong. It was when I saw the ultrasound student suddenly have a heartbroken look in her eyes that I knew something was wrong. When I heard the doctor ask if there was any movement and the ultrasound technician tried to say no so I couldn’t hear then I knew something was wrong. The doctor just looked at the screen and silently nodded before leaving the room. The technician cleaned me up, put away her equipment, and told me to go ahead and get dressed again and the doctor would be in in a few minutes to “talk” with me.

Miscarriage

I got dressed and thought about how this had been the first time I hadn’t dragged my husband along to my prenatal appointment. That this was the first time I had been confident enough to go alone. I now feel like this was foolish confidence and I wish I had dragged him along after all. Those moments of waiting seemed to stretch out for eternity and the buzz from the lights in those moments seemed like a deafening roar.

When the doctor came in he shut the door behind him. He sat next to me and began to explain to me what had happened. I don’t remember exactly what was said but I remember he did a good job explaining something so heartbreaking in a heartfelt way. I remember him explaining that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and my first thought at this fact was that it must have been my turn.

I remember him explaining my options. I could wait it out a few weeks and hope things progressed naturally or I could opt for a D & C. He explained the procedure and a few times caught himself from almost saying the word abortion. He tried very hard to avoid that word as he knew that would make the hurt even worse. He remarked how I seemed to be taking the news pretty well.

The thing was I wasn’t taking it well. I was using every ounce of strength to hold back the tears that were trying to get out. I knew if I broke down now that I wouldn’t be able to leave that office on my own two feet that day and I had come alone. I needed to get myself home.

I barely made it out of that office and to our van before breaking down. The damn of emotion broke in that van. Soon I realized I was too upset to drive. So I somehow managed to text my husband and soon himself, the kids, and the church secretary was on their way to pick me up. My husband drove me home in our old green van and the secretary drove the kids behind us.

The rest of that day is a blur. I do remember that our house came to a quiet stillness that could have sapped away the joy of anyone who came in. I remember I spent the rest of that day in bed crying and when I wasn’t crying I was passed out from the exhaustion of crying.

Saying Goodbye Poem-Miscarriage

I remember how a week later my body was still trying to nurture my dead child and how I felt like a walking tomb. I had been through a lot in life but this was too much. So I called the doctor and asked for the D&C because I was breaking and I needed to save what was left of me for my other three kids.

Beauty From Pain-Superchick

If I could go back and talk to myself at that moment in a time when I felt so broken there are a few things I would say:

It’s okay to hurt and not be okay.

It’s okay to mourn your baby even if the world wants you to get over it.

Give your baby a name. It will help you say goodbye.

Go ahead and see a therapist. She’ll help you find the pieces again.

Social media will be hard for a while because Facebook still thinks your pregnant. You will be bombarded with pregnancy ads and posts and each one will break you, but you will be okay.

You will suddenly hate the abortion debate. Both sides will suddenly seem cruel and callous. One side will hear you had a D&C and call you a murderer and the other will try to convince you that your baby’s life didn’t matter. They are both wrong and it’s okay to say something.

This wasn’t your fault. I will say it again this wasn’t your fault.

To make sure you get it…one more time…THIS WASN’T YOUR FAULT.

Thinking of your grandparents holding and caring for your baby will help you through the hard days. It helps to know the baby is in loving arms so picture that every-time you feel like you are going to break into pieces.

Finally, it may seem impossible right now but one day you will feel happy again. You won’t forget your baby, but you will be happy again. It’s just going to take time and that is okay.

To the mom who just had a miscarriage-Kristina Kuzmic

Dreaming of a School That…

As a child going to school was something I dreaded. So much so that I actually felt ill every morning as I got ready to go. School made me feel stupid. I just was not good and still am not good at memorizing information word for word and then regurgitating it for some test. However I am able to learn information in my life and use it, but ask me to give a detailed review of a chapter in the textbook using correct definitions and direct examples from the book and I will likely fail.

My mind has never worked that way. Instead, my mind has always taken the information and transformed it in a way I could use in my life. For example, when learning about a time in history my brain will take that info and find a way to apply it to life today and extract a lesson I should use to avoid making the same mistakes from long ago. I may never memorize the details of a battle, the exact dates from an event, or the life details of some historical figure but I will remember the lessons that stood out and allowed me to apply them to my own life.

I Sued The School System-Prince EA

So I have very real issues with the way our schools exist today. They are outdated and have not kept up with the times. They may have worked a couple of hundred years ago but if we want to have a school system that helps children from all backgrounds to thrive then things have to change and the following is what I dream school would be.

1. I Dream of a School That is Safe.

I remember when I was a teenager and the tragic shooting at Columbine High School unfolded. As a teen, I had no way of knowing or understanding that this wasn’t just a one-time tragedy, but instead the beginning of a heartbreaking chain of pointless and tragic death. If you had told me then that kids would continue to be shot while going to school I would have looked at you and asked why nothing was done to stop it. It’s a question I still struggle with. Why have we done nothing? While we bicker about solutions…kids die, people die and that is one of our greatest sins as a country. One that I too am guilty of.

So I dream of schools where active shooter drills are not a thing. Where we don’t need to have off duty police officers patrol the hallways. Where we don’t need metal detectors at all the entrances. Where we don’t have to lock the entrances while school is in session. Where we don’t need to buzz parents in to read a story to their child’s kindergarten class. I dream of schools that are so safe that the worst things that happen are unexpected medical emergencies such as seizures during class or the occasional fight between students because kids are still learning to manage their feelings and how to work things out without inflicting harm, but no children die because of a senseless act of violence.

2. I Dream of Schools That Prepare Our Kids for Independence…

There was a time when the current curriculum our schools taught helped prepare our children for the future. There was a time when parents all were able to easily teach their kids necessary life skills like how to sew and cook, but sadly not all parents are able to pass along these life skills because they themselves never learned them. Parents can only teach what they themselves have been taught or learned themselves.

6 Problems with Our School System

There was also a time when wood-shop, home economics, art, and other classes were all commonly taught at schools. For funding reasons, these subjects have fallen by the wayside in many schools and because of this many now adults didn’t learn many skills that were once commonplace.

So why aren’t our schools helping to teach our kids things that they will really need when they reach college age. Why aren’t they taught about finances, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and what decisions they will need to make to live on their own? Why don’t they have a class about opening a bank account, doing your taxes, and what all those things are that come out of your check from work? Why aren’t they taught about ways to finance college or other options to college like trade schools for example? Why do we assume that if we just teach some mundane facts that they will be fine? Why do we assume that all parents have the skills to pass on to their children. Many parents were at a disadvantage and only have enough skills to barely keep a roof over their heads. Why do we assume all kids need to learn advanced algebra when many may end up in professions where they only need basic math skills?

Should High School Students Be Taught Life Skills?

Once we accept that we all do better by caring for each other and helping each other out the better our society will be. Once we accept that education may need to differ depending on the child and their career goals the more effective their schooling would be.

3. I Dream of Schools That Teach Self Care…

Sadly many adults never learned to properly take care of themselves and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that our children struggle with this concept as well. We have a serious mental health problem in this country as rates of depression are spiraling out of control. People of all ages are overweight and heart problems have continued to increase as a result. Stress levels are high as adults and teens struggle to find a proper balance in life.

Mental Health Statistics in America

Imagine how much smoother things might just go in everyone’s lives if we had been taught in school how to care for ourselves mentally and emotionally. Imagine if you had been taught different ways to manage your time and how to set tangible goals you can achieve. Imagine if you had learned how to eat healthy and balanced and to see through a diet fad and choose the healthier option instead. Imagine if you had been taught different ways of exercising so that everyone could find a way to work out that’s enjoyable.

A Self Care Action Plan

If we were taught these things in a class like health class or even changed physical education a bit so it wasn’t sports based but instead showed you all kinds of fitness how might your life be different? How might our culture be different? Would there be fewer suicides and mass shootings because we were taught how to handle tough emotions? Would obesity still be a problem? Would people have more balanced and relaxed lives because that was taught as something to value and strive for? How much better would our lives be if we weren’t left to figure these things out ourselves? Do we really want our children to face the same struggle we have in trying to figure these things out?

4. I Dream of Schools That Prioritize The Health of Our Children…

While schools have been forced to make some changes for the upcoming school year because of the current pandemic that’s not quite what I mean. This one ties into my dream for self-care being taught in schools. What I mean is I dream of schools that each has at least 2 school nurses on duty every school day. Instead, it’s not unusual for several schools to share one nurse. That doesn’t sound like we are prioritizing our kid’s health to me.

Can Schools Prevent Suicides?

I also dream of schools that have mental health counselors for any student or even staff members present to unload on safely. While many schools do have counselors its rare if they actually get to do any counseling. I am talking about people with counseling or a psychology degree that are there solely to be a safe place to talk, help kids come up with reasonable plans to deal with whatever their struggling with, and to be there to intervene when kids are in a dangerous situation or are a danger to themselves or those around them. Imagine if these counselors were utilized properly? How many children could be helped? How many kids could have the person to listen and help instead of feeling alone and lashing out later?

What’s The Job of A School Nurse?

We say our kid’s health is a priority, but how our schools handle mental health and the lack of nurses in schools sends a different message. The fact we penalize students for getting sick too much sends a different message. Let’s start acting like we mean what we say and actually make children’s health in schools a top priority and not a hazard.

Our schools haven’t really been updated in over 100 years. I’d say we are overdue for an overhaul. What changes do you dream of for schools?

5 Reasons My Nana Was A Badass

Every kid growing up looks up to someone, a hero so to speak. For me, that person was my nana. She was a small, petite Korean woman who married an American soldier during the Korean war and made a home here in America. Her name was Deuksoon “Carol” Simmons and when she met my pap he called her Carol. (If you are unsure exactly what the Korean War is check out the video below and what the video doesn’t mention is that many in Korea do not consider the war over.) She may not have looked like much at first glance but looks can fool and anyone in my family who knew her would probably agree my nana was a bad-ass. So here are 5 reasons my nana was a total badass.

The Korean War

1. She escaped Japanese soldiers with her crippled mom and younger brother.

One of the many stories I would eagerly listen to her tell at her kitchen table while she prepared us food was the story of what happened during the Japanese Occupation in Korea. My nana was in china and had to sneak back into Korea. She first snuck back into Korea using her dead sister’s birth certificate. Using that she was able to get back into Korea, but her journey was long and hard.

During her trip, she had to carry her crippled mother on her back and bring her younger brother along as well. At one point they reached a bridge where all travelers trying to cross were shot. She didn’t know what to do. This is where she says a young boy offered to help them get across the bridge. He went and talked to the soldiers for a minute, came back, and told her to cross but not to look back. She, her crippled mother, and younger brother were the only ones to get across that day. She believed the boy was an angel. Did I mention she was probably like 12 or 13 at the time?

Japanese Occupation of Korea

2. She Stood Up To Her Aunt

Here in the US, it may not seem like a big deal to stand up to your Aunt, but context helps. First, in Korea, there is a large amount of respect for your elders and second, my nana’s family was very traditional in those days. This was with a full-blown head of the family and if one of your elders told you were going to do something you did it.

Why do Buddhist Nuns shave their head?

Apparently my nana had been training at her Aunt’s Buddhist temple to become a priestess. (My Great Aunt was pretty amazing too, but she’s another story). My nana had long beautiful hair that she really took care of. So when the day came for her to shave her head to become a priestess my nana said no. She flat out told her Aunt she would not cut her hair.

Well, that didn’t go over well with her Aunt. Her aunt threw her out on the street. Thankfully, she was taken in by some catholic missionaries and she soon after gave her life to Christ.

3. She Responded To Racism With Love and Grace

When my nana married my pap they decided to make a life for themselves in America. My nana knew her son, my father, wouldn’t be accepted in Korea because he was half American. So she went with her husband to America to give her children their best chance. Wondering about Korean War Brides? Check out the link to learn more!

It wasn’t all roses and peaches when she got there. Unfortunately, racism wasn’t just a thing she had to face, but the family she married into had trouble seeing past color. They were furious their son married an Asian woman.

Fight Racism with Love
Martin Luther King Jr. on Racism and Love

Most people might have responded with equal anger or rage. They might have thrown around some hurtful words, but nana didn’t do that. While I am sure she was hurt she treated her in-laws with the love and grace they probably didn’t deserve. Years later before my great grandmother died she did admit she was mistaken to judge my nana like that. That she had been a wonderful daughter in law and she was thankful for her. She taught her children by example how to deal with those hateful attitudes and I can tell you my father is grateful for that lesson.

4. She Was The Head of Her Korean Family

Here in America how families are thought of and come together are vastly different from the family makeup in Korea. Here in America we value independence and push our children to become self-sufficient and independent and if they grow up and leave the nest we’ve done something right. In Korea, children are indebted to their parents. They try and honor their parents at all times and when their parents grow older they are expected to care for them. This usually falls on the eldest. By care for them, they would have their parent live with them. They would not be put in an assisted living or nursing home.

Differences Between American & Korean Parents Parody Video

My nana’s family was very traditional (although this could have changed I can’t be sure). The head of the family had to approve of many decisions. If you wanted to get married the head of the family had to approve. You couldn’t buy or sell a house without approval. You also were expected to bow to the head of the family, maybe even give gifts. You also were expected to follow any instruction the head of the family gave you.

Thing is a head of the family is usually male. So for my nana to become head of the family was a huge thing. She told her family that they couldn’t sell a certain property because land ownership was hard to come by in Korea. She also approved marriages and when she visited with her daughter even her daughter had to bow, but when she visited with my father her eldest son they also bowed to him.

The two sides of my Korean family don’t always get along but when she ordered them to all get together for her visits they put aside their differences and came together. So many years have passed and while I was able to visit them briefly I cannot be sure if they are still this traditional. Since my nana died I am unsure who the new head would be. My guess would be her younger brother if he is alive, but I can’t be sure.

5. She Bought A House Selling Levi’s

My nana always had a good sense of business and making a buck. My pap wasn’t half bad either. In order to pay for a house here in America for their family, they made trips back to Korea and sold Levi jeans and American cigarettes on the black market. Apparently, Levi jeans were hugely popular back then and hard to come by. They made enough money doing this to buy a house.

It still boggles my mind they managed to make enough money doing this to buy a house. It also makes me grateful they were never caught and never got in any trouble.

Conclusion

I honestly could write a whole book about this woman and her life would probably make an awesome movie, but all I have room for here is a blog post. In short, my nana was a bad-ass woman that didn’t take any crap, went for her dreams, didn’t let anyone tell her what to do, and did it all with a smile and love in her heart. I wish my children could have met her.

Why The George Floyd Protests Make Me Cry

After the horrible death of George Floyd, protests erupted in the streets with a clear message of enough is enough. After what seems like an endless stream of murdered African Americans by police or some form of security. The lack of justice yet again finally boiled over for many Americans everywhere and people took to the streets despite the threat of COVID-19 looming over our heads. Many understood that life is valuable and what was the point in staying in our homes to safeguard life when many of our own were being brutally beaten and killed by those we have trusted to protect us.

Bk

These times have been confusing and I don’t think anyone would argue with the notion that the year 2020 has sucked. A lot of bad has happened and it seems just when we are adjusting something else inevitably happens. In fact, it seems for the past few years each year has just gotten progressively crappier as time went on. So much so that I was starting to give up hope on the America I loved and I truly thought the America I grew up in just might be dead…that is until the recent Black Lives Matter protests started.

I cried because what seemed like a people broken beyond repair were now coming together. I saw people from all walks of life, color, political belief, and religious beliefs coming together to fight for our fellow black Americans. I cried because the America I thought was long gone suddenly was back. People rallying together to fight what was wrong with our country and trying their best to make themselves heard. To force change to happen now so our children can live in a better future.

Suddenly it no longer mattered where on the political spectrum you fell because people of all sides could agree that the brutality that people of color face is wrong. That there was no excuse for this behavior. You fell into one of two groups. This is racist, hateful, wrong and this MUST stop NOW or the people who are afraid to admit to themselves racism might still be a problem today. The people who argue it was just a few bad apples or that all lives matter. The people who can’t admit to themselves that they just might be racist.

Are You Subconsciously Racist?

I cried because yet another person of color was unfairly treated, begged to just be able to breathe, to be heard, and whose life was cruelly snuffed out while people stood by and begged for mercy for him. The cruelty was laid bare before the world as video of this horrible act swept like wildfire across the web making everyone confront the uncomfortable truth. Not only was racism alive but we hadn’t done anything to stop this. It lit a fire under us and woke us up to the cruelty we have been allowing to take place every day.

I cried because I couldn’t understand how a person who swore to protect the people could kneel on a person’s neck as they pleaded to be able to breathe. As they cried out I can’t breathe over and over and for that man to continue to rob this man of the air he needed to live. How can someone casually take life so cruelly and think they did nothing wrong?

I cried because our justice system has been broken for a long time and this time I am hoping real change will take place. Better training and stricter screening to weed out those with hateful beliefs that might make them a threat to the American people. By American people, I mean people of all colors, creeds, religion, sexuality, and disabilities.

I cried because there is a part of me that is afraid that this to will eventually be swept under the rug. That the change many are hoping, praying, and fighting for won’t come. That our voices will once again ring hollow and fall on deaf ears.

Black Lives Matter

I cried because of the many lives that also were lost because of this senseless brutality and only now are so many saying enough is enough. A part of me wonders why this didn’t happen so many lives ago.

I cried because I have hope. I cried because I am afraid. I cried because life has been lost. I cried because despite the horribleness just maybe something good can come from it.

I cried because so many are finally listening to their fellow Black Americans and helping them fight for the rights they should have had all along. The right to be treated like a human being. The right to be treated with dignity and respect. The right to justice and a fair trial without racism standing in the way of it all. The right to walk alongside us as equals.

I cried because no amount of apologies for the cruelties committed by people with my skin color will ever make this right. All I can hope for is that everyone crying for change is heard. That change happens and that together we can heal and make a better future.

White Privilege

Epilepsy And COVID-19

First I want to preface this post by telling you I am not a medical professional. The information in this post was found researching The Epilepsy Foundation’s website. They are keeping a page devoted to Epilepsy and COVID-19 that is updated regularly. Please keep an eye on their page for up to date information.

Are Epileptics At A Higher Risk for Developing COVID-19?

The answer to this depends from person to person. If your epilepsy is easily controlled with medication or you only have occasional seizures with no other health conditions then you are not more likely than average Joe to develop COVID-19 or severe complications because of COVID-19.

However, if you are taking medications that compromise your immune system or you have other neurological problems that affect your immune system then you could be at higher risk for COVID-19. If you have other underlying health conditions such as problems with aspiration, heart or lung problems than you could also be at higher risk for COVID-19.

Can COVID-19 Increase Seizures?

Preliminary information from other countries seems to tell us that most people with epilepsy are at low risk for increased seizures with COVID-19.

However, as with an illness, in general, there is always some risk of increased seizures. If the illness causes fever than you could be at risk for increased seizures. Physical and emotional stress caused by an illness can also cause an increase in seizure activity. Other triggers may include: not being able to eat or drink regularly, not being able to take medication regularly, not sleeping regularly, and lastly worry and anxiety over COVID-19 and seizures may affect you as well.

What if I have COVID-19 and seizures increase?

Please call your epilepsy healthcare provider and your primary care provider. If possible please call them instead of going in as in many cases COVID-19 can be managed from home. Here is a video on how to manage COVID-19 at home from the CDC:

10 Things To Do To Manage COVID-19 at Home

COVID-19 Prevention

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ay4u7OYOhA
COVID-19 Prevention

Conclusion

In most cases having epilepsy should not put in an increased risk for COVID-19 and most likely shouldn’t cause an increase in seizures. For more information please visit:

CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019

The Epilepsy Foundation: Epilepsy and COVID-19

Also please continue to take precautions against COVID-19 and practice social distancing until the authorities say it is safe to do otherwise. If you have any concerns about this COVID-19 and your epilepsy please visit the CDC website, The Epilepsy Foundation website with the links above, or call your healthcare provider.