Quite the Year for Our Family

Quite the Year for Our Family

We know that we haven’t been around lately, and while we’ve missed everyone, life has dealt us some tough blows that we’ve needed to deal with as a family.

2017 has been one heck of a year. It seems that life just gets harder as time wears on, and while we never expected it to get any easier (we have three young kids after all!), we did expect it to level off some since our year from hell back in 2015. What you’re about to read is deeply personal and probably not what you were expecting from our blog. In all honesty, however, I’m hoping that by writing this, it will help the healing process if nothing else.

Some Background

When I was pregnant with our third, I swore that this was going to be our last child. Pregnancy and the births of our children got harder and scarier with each one. I wanted to quit while we were ahead. We loved having babies, but we decided it was time to move on to another stage of life.

Getting the Itch

Gaby started to get the itch for another when Hunter was about 5 months old. Four children had been our plan from the beginning, and it felt like our family still wasn’t complete. We were just starting to plan our move to Manitoba and I knew that we were going to have a stress filled and busy second half of 2016. Just the thought of being pregnant again threw me into a state of anxiety. It was a definite no.  I was happy where we were. I was starting to get my life back, everyone was sleeping through the night, and we were in a good place together in our marriage.

When Gaby came home for good last November, things started to change. With him home, life together with our kids was fantastic. I was putting some of Hunter’s baby clothes away just before Christmas, and it dawned on me. Was this really it, was Hunter really our last child? Could I put these clothes away and know that they would never again be worn by another of our children?

The conversation we had that night was quick. We were excited at the prospect of adding another to our brood, and a month later I was pregnant with baby number 4. True to form, the illness, depression and anxiety kicked in at 5 ½ weeks, and it was the worst it had ever been. It was all I could do to just keep living day by day, knowing that this wouldn’t last forever and that the 12-week mark was just around the corner.

Confirming Our Worst Fears

My first OBGYN appointment came, and it was then that I heard the words that I’d been dreading. In my heart of hearts, I knew all along that something wasn’t quite right, but just chalked it up to anxiety and this being my first pregnancy in Manitoba, where the health system was quite different than what I was used to back in Calgary. “I’m so sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.” Those words were burned into my brain that day. After an emergency ultrasound to confirm the doctor’s suspicions, we found out that our little angel had stopped growing at 11 ½ weeks.

Decisions to Make

As previously mentioned, our birth experiences tended to be scary, so knowing that we opted to do surgery instead of waiting for the miscarriage to happen naturally. At the hospital the next morning we learned that if we so chose, our baby’s remains could be cremated and laid to rest with all of the other lost little ones at the hospital’s memorial. We attended the ceremony last May, and it was such a lovely way to be able to say goodbye to our little angel.

Our Family’s Healing

Before we found out that our little one was gone, we had already sworn that this would absolutely be the last pregnancy. We would not put our family through this again. However, after my body had healed, and our hearts, some time to grieve, we began to feel that we had been cheated. We had made plans, there was supposed to be a baby. So, I started to do some research, and learned that for most women who have had a miscarriage, it’s a one-time experience. Fertility is up after a miscarriage, and though the chances of a loss are still there, chances are greater that the next pregnancy will result in a healthy baby.

So, with those statistics in mind, we thought, let’s give it one more go. I didn’t want to be having babies after 37, so it had to be now. Amazingly, we got pregnant again right away. This was the first time that I was going through a first trimester in the late spring/early summer, and I found that the depression and anxiety stayed away with all the extra warmth and sunshine I was able to take in. With those gone, I found that the sickness was a lot easier to deal with. 9 weeks came along, and my OBGYN sent me for an early ultrasound. Our little rainbow baby had a heartbeat! We were so exited – the chance of a miscarriage goes down significantly if there’s a heartbeat at 9 weeks.

Getting to the Second Trimester

Everything was going according to plan. My pregnancy symptoms hadn’t diminished, so that meant that the hormones keeping our little one alive were still going strong. 12 weeks came, and two days later, I had another ultrasound to check up on how baby was doing. I knew that something was wrong as soon as I looked at the picture on the monitor. There was no flickering where the heart should be. I closed my eyes and waited for the bad news from the technician. A couple of minutes later I heard the words that I never thought I’d have to hear again. “I’m so sorry, but it looks like the baby has died.” It measured 11 weeks, 5 days.

Reliving a Bad Dream

The staff at the hospital who took care of our first little angel were the same to work with us with our second loss. We opted for surgery again, and said good bye to our little baby on July 29, 2017. The ceremony and funeral through the hospital is scheduled for September.

Feeling Lost

Our life has not turned out like we had planned. I don’t think anyone’s ever really does, but I never imagined that our plan would fall apart twice in so short a time. We’re grieving, and I’m feeling lost. All I’ve ever wanted to be is a mother, and I feel like that purpose is gone. (I do realize how ridiculous that sounds. With three kids ranging in ages from 1 to 5 years, my job as a mother is far from over.) God has answered our question as to whether our family should be expanded. As much as I pray that God will have other plans, it just doesn’t seem to be a possibility.

Thank you to our family and friends who have supported us on this rough ride. I am hopeful that the second half of the year will be one of healing, that we can move past this sorrowful time in our lives, and that we can find peace in our family as we are.

Until then, and on a bit of a lighter note… maybe it’s time we get a puppy?


Check back for weekly posts on a wide variety of topics, including country living, gardening, sustainability, homesteading, family, recipes, and more. We can’t wait to share our lives with you, hear your stories, and gain friends along the way.

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Urban Garden on Our Country Plot

Urban Gardening on Our Country Plot

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and taco shells”, and pretty maids all in a row.” One of our kids’ favorite nursery rhymes, and I love how they add their own Mexican flair to it!

Seriously, though, let’s talk about raising your own food.

Growing up, I HATED tending our vegetable patch. Planting, weeding, bugs, dirt, heat, I detested it all. I was so happy when my parents built their business and workshop on what used to be our garden – it meant freedom! Now that I’ve matured however, I realize what an asset a garden really is. There are so many benefits! There’s knowing where your food is coming from. There’s the taste, homegrown is just so much tastier and fresher than the grocery store. There’s saving money when you’re at the market. There’s exercise that comes into play when tending the garden. And one of the most valuable benefits – teaching our children what it means to be self sustaining.

Our Suburban Garden

The first opportunity we had to grow our own food was when we bought our home in Calgary. We were so proud of our little suburban garden! Not only did we grow veggies, but furthermore, Gaby built me the most beautiful raised flower bed! I also planted many bloom-filled containers around our little yard.

Filling the Container Garden with Dirt

I dreamed of all the food I would grow, to preserve and provide for our family. Well… our garden did grow, but only ever enough to nibble on throughout the summer. For the most part we grew lettuce, carrots, peas, beets and green onions. Oh, and rhubarb, oh do I love rhubarb! I was forever running out before the end of summer, no matter how much it grew, I always had a recipe for it, ready to go.

The Country Plot

It was a dream come true to be able to move to our new home with all of its land and possibilities. You can imagine my disappointment when we came to the decision that we wouldn’t plant a garden this year. Instead, we would spend our time getting the dirt ready, adding compost, manure and peat moss, working it all into the soil, creating nutritious growing ground for the following spring. It was a good decision, but still frustrating.

Cucumber PlantsNot one to give in to my discouragement, I decided I could still provide my family with fresh food this year. It wouldn’t be a lot, but at least it would be from my own hands. Thus, our “pot” garden. (No, not that kind of pot!) It took some begging and pleading, but I was able to get my hands on seven large containers thanks to my sister and stepmom. I had originally planned to fill them with dirt from our newly cut garden, mixed with a little peat moss, but decided that it was still too chunky and heavy to make for good growing soil (hence why we’re working it for a year). So, I bit the bullet and bought a huge bale of potting mix.

The Planting Process
  1. First, I filled each pot with soil. Then, it was time to get my hands dirty. I got in there and loosened up all the lumps and clumps, making the loam nice and soft. I added some water, and massaged the dirt again so it was moist.
  2. Next came the planting. Boy, were the kids excited to help! They weren’t as gentle as I would have been, and we did lose a few leaves in the process, but we got the tomatoes and cucumbers in without too many issues. We also planted from seed: carrots and beets (I didn’t know you could plant root vegetables in a container, but was really excited to learn otherwise!), as well as lettuce, radishes and green onions.
  3. Finally, it was time to water. The kids really wanted to help with this job as well, but I didn’t want them drowning the seeds we had just planted. So, I took care of it this time, though I did have to promise that they would be able to help me out with the watering once the veggies are established.

For those of you curious about varieties, we planted the following:

  • Better Bush Tomatoes
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Orange Zinger Cherry Tomatoes
  • Early Burpless Slicing Cucumbers
  • Little Finger Carrots
  • Ruby Queen Beets
  • Cherry Belle Radishes
  • Multiplier Green Onions
  • Mesclun Greens Lettuce Mixture (includes Arugula, Endive, Red Kale, Red and Green Romaine, Salad Bowl and Lolla Rossa lettuces)
Tomato PlantWhat About Canning and Preserving?

Because of our limited growing space for this year, I’ll be heading to my local farmers market to get everything I need for canning, including more tomatoes and beets, as well as onions, peppers, and strawberries. I plan on making salsa, stewed tomatoes, pickled beets and jam this year. All I need now is patience for our newly transplanted rhubarb to grow (generously given to us by people in our community). We received so many shoots that we just planted a whole 28-foot-long section along the side of our house!


Check back for weekly posts on a wide variety of topics, including country living, gardening, sustainability, homesteading, family, recipes, and more. We can’t wait to share our lives with you, hear your stories, and gain friends along the way.

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to our blog by adding your email address to the form on the right. You’ll be the first to hear about weekly updates! Have questions or comments? Leave us a message in the comments section, and we’ll be sure to get back to you. We can’t wait to hear what you think! And as always, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by clicking the links on the right.