Poppyseed

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*NOTE:  This was originally written in early December 2016

Heaven and Mother Earth… there’s only one place where I feel connected to you and thats the majestic island of Maui. I don’t know if its the sound of the ocean, the tropical weather or the sand between my toes. However, I do know that it is a very magical place for my family. The last time my husband and I were there, our precious baby boy Aiden worked his super powers to make us feel close and connected with him.  Although he’s in heaven, he is able to make his presence known to us in so many ways.  This last time we were there, Aiden expressed so much excitement and enthusiasm in being a big brother.  Nestled deep in my belly I could feel Aiden comforting me and our little Poppyseed.  For the first time,  I was embracing the thought of being a mom of two beautiful babies; I felt so very proud.

It was my husband’s birthday when we found out our little Poppyseed was going to be!  It was a very special moment for us, all three of us. We were no longer the 3 peas in a pod, we were now 4 peas in a pod. Being grieving parents, we were bombarded with a range of different emotions. A combination of fear, anxiety, sadness, and excitement were among the emotions following us on a daily basis.  That all being said I did have some trouble trying to connect with Poppyseed once we came home from Maui. Being at home really makes me feel closer to Aiden. The connection with Aiden is so innate, so spiritual, so kind and so real. The way he’d look at me when I walked passed him, the way he responds to me with a smile that could light up the whole universe, his sweet little voice, his smell…..it all just hits me when I’m home. I thought…..how am I possibly going to be a grieving mother and yet be a mother to a living child at the same time? These feelings were overwhelming me….I just felt like I didn’t fit into the mold.

I had started my Angels Ark Project website before our second trip to Maui.  It’s a website where I’m able to connect with grieving parents by creating a card commemorating their little Angel.  Connecting with others suddenly didn’t feel right because Poppy was going to be living while Aiden and all these other children were not.  As time passed, this became super conflicting for me.  Aiden helped me with connecting better with Poppyseed. Some days, I felt Poppyseed encouraging me to make the cards because he/she liked her big brother’s angel friends.

At this point, it seemed like there was a lot of stuff going on.  I was eating right, exercising (teaching my Zumba classes), taking Yoga and practicing my breathing techniques….and of course continuing my work with the Angels Ark Project.  And out of nowhere, it was time to go to our first pre-natal visit.  Maybe I wasn’t ready, but things took a steep decline from there.

Our first prenatal appointment was traumatic. We waited in an office for 4 hours while the same questions were being asked of us over and over and over again. At the end of the monotony, we realized…they really did not do anything….no sonogram, no listen to the heartbeat, no advice, no future appointments, no information on where I would be delivering, no nothing!  Everything you expect at that first visit was seriously out the window…it was a huge angry exclamation point.

After that appointment, I knew that we needed to make a change.  So I contacted some doulas, changed primary care physyicainas, and kept persistent in making sure we would get the medical care we deserved.

Finally, the time came for our second prenatal appointment, and I was so excited. I knew that we would finally hear Poppyseed’s heart beat, get our questions answered and maybe even get a glimpse of what Poppyseed looked like.

I remember everything about that day, I packed some yummy fruit, sliced some cheese and crackers and I eagerly waited for my husband to pick me up at the Hotel we stayed at when we got married.  I remember feeling that magical daze from Christmas ornaments and the lights that had just gone up at the Hyatt.  I wore my scoop neck black dress with my pumpkin orange cardigan and leopard flats. I thought it was the perfect fall outfit for a pregnant woman like myself that was just starting to show a little bit. I prayed to Aiden and God that this appointment would be better than the last and to please stay close to me and Poppyseed.  For the first time in a while I was excited with anticipation.

As I write this next part, I can’t help but take off my red glasses because I’m anticipating the waterworks to be over flowing. I remember finally being called in and feeling at ease when we were in the office. The first thing the NP did was an ultrasound…my favorite part!  I couldn’t help but get a little excited because we were about to see our little Poppyseed……until….we saw nothing.  A bit of panic set in but we remained calm while the NP did an internal Ultrasound…..and still….nothing.  No heartbeat, no sign of movement….there was nothing.  There was nothing but the gestational sac which was empty at this point and the NP had then expressed her concern for miscarriage.

Hearing the words of concern that I could be actively miscarrying will haunt me forever.  I tried so hard to seem like I was holding it together….but it was unbearable….I broke down.

At this point, everything was happening super quickly.  I was sent to radiology because they wanted a formal ultrasound done to ensure that the pregnancy was not ectopic. I had to once again surrender my everything to God.  Each minute that went by was like 100 more knives stabbing my heart…it was horrible.  Finally, I was assured that the pregnancy was not ectopic and we were give the green light to go home.  To say the least, it was the longest ride home ever.

Over the next few days the bleeding began to flow.  Seeing the evidence of a miscarriage is the worst heartache you can imagine. Every time you go to bathroom you think a piece of your unborn child is leaving your body…it’s a feeling you’re forced to accept.  The acceptance was the hardest part for me.  Accepting that my stomach was getting smaller and smaller on a daily basis.  Bleeding out more and more day after day was agonizing.  I prayed that I would bleed to death and end this miserable existence and just be with my babies. I was pissed at my body for not doing it’s job in holding my baby and keeping him/her safe so I starved myself at some point and went on without eating or drinking water. When I did eat, I just filled my body with crap. I suddenly didn’t care what I put in my body because my body was useless. Feeling depressed was an understatement. Things I enjoyed doing messed me up. I stopped writing letters to Aiden. I stopped making cards. I stopped teaching Zumba. I want to say I stopped living. I just…stopped.

Once again I was saved by the magic of JK Rowling.  “Fantastic beasts and where to Find Them” had just come out and the endless world of mystery, magic and countless possibilities took my heart again.  A short-lived moment of relief in her work so subtly took me away again, but the lingering pain still haunts me.  As it wore off, the pain (both literal and physical) would continue taking it’s toll on me on a daily basis.  I was malnourished, had constant suicidal thoughts, and needing my children more than ever….but they were nowhere to be found.  How can I continue?

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Jealous

I hate that word. In the bible it says love is not jealous… “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous.” It’s so odd. Right now, I am jealous. Actually, I’ve been jealous of every mother and father that gets to keep their children here on earth with them.

I honestly thought I was over that phase. But no, I thought wrong. I see pictures and posts of so many people talking about their child’s first day of school and it sucks for me and other parents living in this world without their child or children to take care of. They get to witness their child’s first everything. I witnessed my baby’s first breath, first diaper, first swaddle, first meal, first story time, first song, first touch, first story he told, first beach trip, first song he enjoyed, first kiss, first bath. But I also got to witness my baby suffer. I witnessed his first and last trip to the aquarium, last trip to the doctor, first and last trip to Disneyland, last kiss, last songs he heard, last day, last night.

I am so lucky that I even have all those memories of my baby. I’m blessed. However, I am still in pain, I am still jealous. I love my son to infinity and beyond and more than that. Here, I feel like love and jealousy come hand in hand. So … I get an excuse to be jealous, right? If the bible says love isn’t jealous, what does that mean for me? I’m so confused.

Isn’t jealousy supposed to be a normal human inevitable emotion? Why are these rules put upon us if we’re just being set up to fail?

Whatever, sorry for the blabbing and questioning. I had no where else to go to express myself. I’m tired of the back to school stuff. I’m jealous of parents who get to experience that and I don’t. What is it they have or did to get to keep their kids? What did I do wrong?

All I want is for me and my husband to be with our baby again. That’s all.

Dear Borders Bookstore

imageDear Borders,

5 years has gone by and I’m once again having withdrawal symptoms of not having you in my life.

I miss the smell of you, I miss the unlimited amount of books that are just waiting to entertain and educate my mind, I miss your warmth, I miss my whipped cream iced mochas I’d have to help ease my body and soul after a day of working with hyper kids, I miss those big brown comfy chairs…most of all I miss the comfort.

I spent so much time here as a teenager and young adult. Whether I’d be meeting a date, looking for prom and dance magazines, skipping school, or just trying to escape reality for a while.

A lot has happened in my life since I’ve been comforted by your welcoming doors. I bet if my husband could have proposed here, he would have. I can imagine a pregnant me spending lots of time here just waiting for my husband to get off of work. I see myself reading “pout-pout fish,” “Mr. Brown can moo, can you?” and “chicka-chicka boom boom” to my attentive and wide eyed baby boy, I can see myself sobbing in a corner of the grief section. Oh, borders how I miss you so much. If only you knew how much safety and protection you brought to me in such a critical time in my life. I only wish you were still around to comfort and protect me.

San Francisco has changed since the last time I was with you… It’s congested and hot and there’s so much gentrification. I have to settle for Barnes and noble at tanforan and its nothing compared to you, except for the memories I have with reading to my baby there.

I hope and wish that God has you in His kingdom and there I know you will be waiting to welcome your fans home.

Love,

Your Secret (or not so secret) Admirer

Home Is Closer Than We Think

Looking out the window seeing clouds pass by, peeking down and realizing how high up you are. Looking at the beautiful ocean and mountains, feeling like you’re on top of the world…yes, I’m talking about flying. Usually, I feel excitement knowing I’m leaving home. Going some place that’s new; it’s an adventure! But lately, it’s been feeling a lot more like the opposite.

There’s something about flying that reaches deep inside vulnerable people and brings out their feelings of sadness. Home is where I have spent a lot of my time with Aiden. Being away from home for me is like taking Linus’s blue blanket away from him. Home is where I feel closest to Aiden. Its where he slept, played and where I changed his diaper and sorted our laundry. I did everything with Aiden in our home even if it was going for a little walk or just taking a look outside in our backyard. So leaving home for six nights, gives me this uneasy feeling of being uncomfortable to a point where I just want to jump off the plane! I start to breathe heavily and think of all of Aiden’s things and leaving them behind. It drives me crazy. Being in an airplane that’s going somewhere far away is no longer exciting for me, but instead it’s frightening. Little did I know that this tiny island would bring me what I need most… comfort and support.

Everything in Maui is beautiful. Because of its beauty, I felt guilty for experiencing Maui when Aiden (the most beautiful thing that has happened in my life) was not experiencing it the way I’d like him to…with us. The first night we got there, my husband and I got massages at Spa Grande. The experience was so calming and aromatic. But before reaching that state, we of course had to shower. I was unaware that hitting the shower would be so emotional for me. It was a moment where I finally got to be alone. It was just me, the shower and my thoughts that both Jesus and Aiden were able to hear. An opportunity where I was able to express myself without anybody judging me. I missed my baby and just wanted him with me. There’s nothing more I want than to be with him. And my way of expressing that is through crying; so I wept. After finally pulling myself together, I sat in one of the warm and soothing bathes.  Once I took some deep breathes and gained a clear mind, I instantly heard Jesus and Aiden telling me that they were there with me…its  magical.

From then on, we saw and felt Aiden throughout our entire trip. Rainbows, turtles, herbivore dinosaur magnets and humpback whales were some of the beautiful ways that Aiden let us know that he was with us. Both positive and understanding energy radiated towards us from that exotic island; energy which one can truly experience with that of an open heart and mind. The first person we opened up to about Aiden was at the Luau. He was making little handmade souvenirs for people out of bare palm tree leaves. After telling him a little bit about Aiden, he made us a beautiful cross and little bird from the leaves. The leaves were so symbolic, so personal, and so beautiful; and we instantly felt Aiden’s excitement for them. Anther local that I opened up to was at the spa. She gave me this wonderful body scrub and asked me who I came to Maui with. I told her my husband and son, and she immediately asked about Aiden. I instantly felt this nurturing, motherly connection with her. She was amazed at how common it is that women have to live with something so life changing. At that moment, I felt a little less lonely. Again, this little island continued to show us love and support.

The last night in Maui, I had this beautiful dream. It was of me, Kyle and Aiden by the beach at our hotel. The sky was a beautiful faint color of orange, purple and pink…think sunset colors. I felt the warm ocean water between my toes. Embraced in my arms was someone soft and warm. I was holding my beautiful baby Aiden in my big cozy arms with his face closest to where my heart is. He wasn’t asleep but very relaxed. And Kyle said, “Look how comfortable he is in your arms.” All three of us seemed relaxed and comfortable. We walked along the beach with our feet gently splashing in the water while the sun cradled us…it was perfect…the most perfect dream I have ever had. I know Aiden wanted me to have that dream to tell me that he was with us. I think he was also giving me reassurance that we will all have that moment again when Kyle and I go to heaven.

Maybe looking out the window watching the clouds pass by, looking down and seeing how high up you are; looking at the beautiful ocean and mountains is hard not because we are leaving home, but because we feel closer to our loved ones that are in heaven. Maybe its because our real home is closer than we think. We just can’t see it yet.IMG_1752

Letters to Heaven: For Tatay

Written 12/2/2015 @ 12:30pm

Dearest Tatay,

I’m so sorry I have been disconnected from you. I know now that the problems I have with my mom has nothing to do with you. It’s just she blames me. But I’m glad you don’t. You’ve always loved me the way a grandpa should love their grandchildren and I am truly lucky that YOU are my grandpa. Please forgive me for being do distant from you lately. I’m glad you always believed in me. I know you saw sides of me that others didn’t… you know that means a lot.

I also know that Aiden was always an angel. Even before he was conceived. I think about the dream Auntie Thelma had before I knew I was pregnant. It was the dream where she saw you walking in the hallway holding a baby. When I heard that dream back then, deep deep down I knew that was my baby even though I had no idea I was pregnant. And then there was Charlene’s dream of you playing peek-a-boo with Aiden on the couch.  This is all meant to happen. For some reason, I know that you were always with Aiden on his journey back home. Thank you. It shows how much you love and respect my family. I miss you so much Tatay.

I know I have been having some issues lately. But I am proud of where I come from. Im not proud of the choices that some people have made. But I am truly proud to be me. Im grateful and proud that you are a hardworking grandpa. I love your garlic fried rice and bread with butter and sugar. I miss being a little girl and waking up in the morning to see that you brought doughnuts for breakfast. I miss seeing your face at Nanay’s house… which always seemed to make me feel comforted and at ease. I know you don’t have favorites but theres something about being YOUR first grandchild. I know you love me and continue to believe in me with no judgement. Thank you for that and loving and accepting me and the family I created. But most of all, thank you for teaching my baby how to fly.

Love,

Che

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Separation Anxiety?

The day Aiden was diagnosed with deoxyguanasine kinase deficiency, was the day that one of my nieces experienced her fist day of preschool. I saw adorable pictures of her on Instagram from being excited to that look of anger and fear at the same time as if she’s about to cry. I dreamed of what Aiden’s first day at preschool would be like and how I am that type of mom that would cry and Kyle would have to comfort me in the car and tell me it’s ok and to trust the teachers. I knew that both Aiden and I would have separation anxiety. But I know that mine would be worse. I’d go home and wouldn’t know what to do with myself without Aiden for that short 3-4 hours. Little did I know that 3-4 hours doesn’t compare to not seeing my baby at all. I mean until I get to see him again and I seriously can not wait until that day comes. It’s not coming soon enough!

Before he would start preschool though, I envisioned how Kyle and I would always talk about what preschool would be like so Aiden knew that going to school was coming. So he would know what to expect like circle time and meeting new friends and sharing and sticking up for himself. We would tell him that it’s ok to cry and it’s ok to miss us. But we would always always remind him that mama and daddy are always going to come back and pick him up to take him home.

I knew that day meeting with the GI and genetics Doctor was different and would be a big day for us. Is a liver transplant going to happen? How much time can we let go by before things get worse? Is our baby ok? When they told us he didn’t need a transplant because it could make his condition worse and only had at the most two years, of course I cried. How could this happen?! Two years?! At the most!!! I wouldn’t be able to see Aiden walk. I wouldn’t be able to watch Kyle and Aiden play at the park. I wouldn’t see his beautiful art. I wouldn’t be able to schedule play dates. I wouldn’t ever make his lunch for school. Kyle and I wouldn’t get to experience his first day of preschool. Then I heard Kyle ask, “Well could we take him on trips?” And at that moment, I realized Aiden is here right now… lets make the most of the time we all have together. (Thanks babe for not just being my rock, but snapping me out of my downward spiral of ongoing crazy thoughts and questions). I also thought, with God on our side, miracles can happen.

Separation anxiety got me real real bad. Maybe it’s called depression, I don’t know. Whatever it is… Grief is more like it, I didn’t see it coming. I was in a funk at certain times of the day for a couple days when Aiden was diagnosed but quickly got out of it because I know I needed to be there for Aiden and continued to do the things that he enjoyed (as you all know that’s story time, music time and play time, bath time… Maybe even nap time). But we did a lot more. We decided a bucket list for Aiden was appropriate and created a go find me page. We showed Aiden things that we didn’t think we would be able to do until 2-5 years out like take him to the aquarium, watch Joel Osteen and even took him to Disneyland! All the while showing him how much we love him. God performed His miracle after Aiden experienced a day of being in Disneyland. He flew across Neverland and visited the mermaid lagoon and flew on dumbo with us before going back home where he’s really able to fly with dragons and slide down his bracciasaurus’s back. God’s miracle is truly beautiful and Aiden is perfect and belongs with Him. 2 Timothy 1:10 “Jesus has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Being physically separated from Aiden is really painful and I know it’s more than separation anxiety. It is lonely, it is hopeless, it is grief, it is guilt, it is denial, it is sadness, it is depression, it is empty. Missing him is an understatement. I wish I can FaceTime him or write letters and buy him clothes and books and toys and give them to an owl to send to him. But I’ve have conversations with Aiden and God all the time and he’s is very well and has everything he needs. Despite my daily feelings of, “why do they get to keep theirs and I don’t?” Or feeling like I didn’t do enough, Aiden is happy and celebrating everyday just as he should. If I see a onesie that I would buy Aiden, I tell both Aiden and God and it’s somehow made for him if he feels comfortable wearing it. And with everything going on in the world today, I can’t help but feel so blessed that my baby is safe and doesn’t have to witness all this hate and violence going on in the world. Thank you God for keeping my baby close to you.

I may not be able to see Aiden walk and play at the park with his dad or schedule plays dates with his friends and I might not be able to pack his lunch or take him to preschool right now. I do however know that everything Aiden is doing up there is t being documented by their special camera or iPhone 700 or something. My grandpa, Tatay is documenting Aiden’s life for me up there. Aiden knows that daddy and I don’t want to miss a thing and even though it feels like we’re missing a lot, we’re not. Soon enough we will be able to take walks and play with him at the playground and do art and I’ll be able to pack his luncIMG_0422h and take him to angel preschool. I have the worst kind of separation anxiety there is, but it’s okay because Aiden is with me every day. Just as how it should be. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

2 months

As the world around me continues to go on, my world is shaIMG_0696ttered… broken into little pieces. My heart is barely in tact. There’s this feeling of emptiness inside. A big chunk of it seems to be missing, but I know it’s missing because part of my heart has gone away with my beautiful son, Aiden. Although, I will never be able to feel whole again, it brings me so much comfort knowing that a big piece of my heart is up in heaven with my baby. The part that is left is just enough for me to care for myself and Kyle. Actually, I take that back. There really isn’t a whole lot left of me to want to do anything. I don’t want to do anything and when I do, it’s because I hear Aiden’s voice and feel him encouraging me to get up and dance or bake cookies or read him a story or sing to him or cook dinner for daddy. Other times, I really just don’t want to do much but look at his pictures, watch his videos, write him tons of letters or print pictures and make his scrap non that I’m still not done with. And doing all that can either make me really happy or really sad at any given moment.

It’s November now and Halloween was really hard for me. I wasn’t able to dress up my baby or walk around our neighborhood and take him trick or treating. We weren’t able to take family pictures at a pumpkin patch and pick out pumpkins the way I always imagined. (In my opinion, he would make the the best looking pumpkin! That face is just very pumpkin like! He would also make the perfect lion!) At some point, when I was with a very dear friend looking for Halloween costumes, I got very sad with all these kids and babies around. Internally, I was a wreck! And then I heard Aiden tell me has lots of costumes in heaven and that day he was dressed as Daniel tiger and that his grandma made him an owl costume that he’s going to wear the next day. The day before Halloween (which was the day he turned 9 months) he told me he was dressed up as a rocket ship! And I think it’s because he knew I was getting tatted up and that I was getting a rocketship with his name on my forearm. Halloween morning when I was writing and drawing him a picture, he told me, “Mom, I’m a pumpkin today!” It’s amazing that he can turn some of my everyday life from horrible to a beautiful experience because I heard his voice. And I continue to be so amazed at how sweet and considerate that baby is! If only I knew… If only I knew he was going to get his winds back and fly to heaven so soon, I would have had Halloween, thanksgiving and Christmas and a birthday party all in a couple weeks. I would have gone to neighbors and gave them candy to give out to us so Aiden would be able to dress up and we can take him trick or treating. I would have bought a fake Christmas tree and got out all our lights and ornaments and hung stockings and played Christmas music. Even though those ideas were in my head, I honestly thought Aiden was going to be on this earth with us until after his first birthday. It saddens me so much that I didnt just go ahead and do that. And with the Holidays coming, I know it will be even harder. One thing is for sure though, Tatay (my grandpa) always decorated the Christmas tree at their house and I know Aiden will be helping him decorate all the Christmas trees they will have up there in heaven!

Something that I continuously struggle with is wondering whether or not God is punishing me. Did God take Aiden away because I ratted out my dad? Or is it because I stole a smoothie for my friend or stole a book from Barnes and noble in HS for another friend? Or is he punishing me for using my voice? Is he punishing me because I didn’t pursue dance as a career just like how my mom wanted me to? Is it because I eat too much? Or is it because I’m a horrible daughter? Is it because Im insecure? I go back and forth with these thoughts and on a better day I feel a little more positive.

I do know that God does not punish us. My faith in God and relationship with God has never been better. I’m closer to Him more than any other time in my life. I know I am not perfect especially if I stole a smoothie and a book, but if you really think about it… God created us to make mistakes and that makes each and every one of us not just special… But perfect. It’s difficult to sometimes accept that God accepts every part of us, the good and the bad. When we found out Aiden had at the most two years to live, at night I asked God to take my life instead and I know Kyle would be able to provide for Aiden and tell him how much I love him. I wished so much that Aiden would stay here and wouldn’t die. He did not take Aiden away from the is earth to punish Kyle and I. He took Aiden because he truly was needed up in Heaven. And Aiden is not dead, his soul and spirit are very much alive and continues to communicate with us.

When I was pregnant, I really wanted the best and safest environment for Aiden. And it’s pretty amazing because that’s what he got. He got the safest, most beautiful, magical and most loving place ever. I also used to say that Aiden deserves the world and more… And he got it. He got heaven. Where he really is able to fly with dragons and slide down a bracciasaurus’s back, swim with narwhals, and just soar through the clouds, and beautiful night sky with stars all around and the crescent moon.

Unfortunately, Kyle and I have to continue to live in this very complex world all the while our hearts will continue to hurt and ache and feel empty and broken. At least Aiden has the best parts of Kyle and I’s hearts. I know that Aiden and our faith will continue to try to show us the beauty that life and this world has to offer. Until then, we can’t wait to see how beautiful heaven is especially because our son Aiden helps make heaven a lot more beautiful.