Friday 18 September 2015

19 months with us, 19 months gone, in our hearts forever

Well I've been thinking about this day for a little while and cannot believe Stella has been gone now 19 months. Surprisingly 19 months with Stella seems so much longer than 19 months without her. I constantly think about what our life would and should be like with our girl.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Hudson: 10 months

I had hoped to update everyone on life as a 9 month old but I was so busy I didn't get a chance until now. The biggest news this month is that I graduated to wearing my helmet for 23 hours a day to only while I sleep! My appointment went very well but I still have a bit of head growth to go. I am told my head is looking nice and round though!

Hudson: 9 months

I'm 9 months old now. I've been extremely busy crawling and cruising in the house and anywhere I can. I've become a very strong and fast crawler! I even stood up by pushing off the ground a few times. I love all these new physical activities I'm doing.

Monday 10 August 2015

Hudson: Helmet Update 3.5 months

Look at that noggin!! The exciting news is that our last appointment which was nearly a month ago now, sorry I'm so delayed, Hudson met the cephalic ratio goal of 91%!! We were so close to all of the goal numbers I went into the appointment having already decided that I wanted to graduate to sleep wear only.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Hudson: Helmet Update 3 months

It's been a little while since I blogged about Hudson's helmet journey, so here goes. We are now about 12 weeks wearing the helmet and had two appointments since my last blog. Hudson is slowly  moving in the right direction and we are very happy with the results!

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Hudson: 8 months old

It's been another busy month, so busy that I wasn't able to send out an update! To start it off, I still have my helmet. I don't mind it at all and get a lot of attention when I we go out, it may be my smiley face not the helmet! My head is rounding out and slowly but surely growing nicely!

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Hudson: 2-week Helmet Checkup

Well we survived the first two weeks with the helmet. Both Hudson and myself, don't seem to be bothered by the helmet. The hardest part about the helmet was probably putting it on and taking it off as our little guy is an active one and won't sit still!

Sunday 19 April 2015

Stella : The Cherub in our Garden of Life

Well I can't seem to shake the 18th of the month (this one being 14 months since her passing), I don't think I ever will but since Stella one-year angel anniversary I had decided to stop my monthly posts, just as I did with her growth and development updates. After one year I did quarterly updates. I now move forward with my blog and perhaps I will be more haphazard about my once structured posts. 

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Hudson: Helmet Journey Begins

Having a new baby after the passing of another baby is very stressful. We were so happy to welcome Hudson to our family but it has been a very worrisome journey. We are very aware of everything he does, especially at night during his sleep. The back to sleep campaign has been something we have always abide by but in Hudson's case, sleeping on his back caused his head to be misshaped.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Hudson: 6 months old

It's my half year birthday, what a half year I have had. Mommy and I are keeping busy, we tried a Mommy and baby yoga class and a sensory activity where I got to play with colourful spaghetti. I was apprehensive to touch it but enjoyed watching the other babies play. We also go to playdates with Momstown and grocery shopping with my friend James and his Mommy. 

Stella: 5 months gone and 2 years old

2 years ago at 4:31am was the best moment of my life, Stella Eve was born and little did we know what effect she would have on all of us nor would we know what was to come. I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant, at home relaxing when my body decided it was time for Stella to join this world - 3 weeks early.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Stella : 4 months gone

Facebook post from June 18, 2014

Our Stella would be 23 months old yesterday now that she has been gone 4 months today. It's amazing how much used to happen when Stella was around. I realize this when I re-read her monthly updates. Life is definitely different and I probably think about her as much as she used to fill my day while here with us. We are getting more excited for our move in 20 days and now that I am past 6 months pregnant but its just not the same without Stella here by our side. We've kept busy packing and getting ready for our move and our baby boys arrival but wishing she could be part of it although are trying to cherish the times we did have with her but its just not good enough. We hope to refocus this energy on helping the SUDC cause and cure and plan to start thinking of how we will fundraise in the coming years in Stella's memory.

Stella's 4 month update

Hi Family and Friends,
I wanted to let you all know I am now 4 months old! I have been so busy the past month! Mommy and I go to Mother Goose class where we sing songs with other babies. I love to sing along with the songs, even when no other babies do. We also go to Mom and Baby Zumba. Mommy and I dance to all sorts of songs while I sit in my carrier and sometimes I fall asleep during class. The sleep training worked as I now sleep through the night. I get much more rest and wake up happy in the morning after 12 hours in my crib. I decided to roll over this month as well. I've only done it 5 times but I love to be on my tummy. I still love to stand and I can do it quite well with only be held by my hands..I prefer to stand than sit most of the time. I can hold toys with both of my hands and I can also put my own pacifier in my mouth and put it back in when it falls out close to me. My tummy is ticklish now too! I haven't quite started to giggle yet but I sure do love to smile, even to strangers who stop to stare at me at the mall!

I now play in my activity jumper! I don't quite touch the floor yet but I keep myself busy and entertained with the music and toys. I still go to cheerleading practice. I lay on my blanket and watch the girls then I have something to eat and go to bed in my carseat while Mommy coaches. The girls always love to see me! Our family got outdoor professional photos taken this month. We hope to get them soon. I have started to drool like crazy, my tops get all wet. I dressed up for my first Halloween, I was a cupcake. We went to the mall, walked Downtown and visited my neighbours homes for Halloween fun. I also gave out candy to the kids at the door. I've attended a few birthdays but I go to sleep early on other peoples beds..I don't mind if its loud, I sleep anyway. Our family took a trip this weekend to visit Uncle J's new home. I played with Auntie J's doggies and got to know Uncle J and Auntie J much better. I also went to the Santa Clause Parade yesterday and heard about Santa..I slept through the parade and missed Santa, but that's ok, I'm sure I will see him again. 

Halloween 2013

Mommy and I get together with our soccer friends once a month and the neighbours on Friday mornings. I normally just hang and play on my own..I'm quite content playing on my own. One of the older babies James will come up to me and give me hugs and kisses while I play on the playmat. His Mommy is worried he will hurt me but I don't mind, I just let him hug and kiss me.
Mommy thinks my eyes look like her now, especially in the picture called "Stella 4 mos 8". Mommy also has been busy making crafts..she made my headband and my Halloween costume.
Well that's it for this month. I better go as its my nap time at 9:30am...

Love Stella

Our Story: What happened to Stella?

Our Stella was born three weeks before her due date. She was 7 pounds 4 ounces and ready to meet her family and take on the world! Stella was a bright blue eyed curious baby, who would look around at her surroundings before making her move. She was strong, sitting up at 4 months and taking her first steps holding our hands at 6 months and walking by 9 months. She slept through the night at 3.5 months and continued always sleeping through, although I will say now, Stella slept too well.

Stella started daycare in August 2013 at nearly 13 months of age in the toddler room. She was a strong walker and could keep up with the older kids easily and loved going to school. Of course along with those adventures are the typical viruses that come with it. It was Thanksgiving weekend, early October, Stella awoke from her nap and I noticed she had bright red cheeks and was burning up.  Quickly I took her temperature, called my Mom for support and went downstairs to give her tylenol.  As I was holding her bare diaper cladded body trying to cool her with a wet washcloth, Stella had a seizure in my arms. I thought at first she was shivering with cold. Her eyes rolled back into her head and her body was lifeless. Panicked, not knowing what to do, we ran outside to rush her to the hospital, yelling in the streets for help. Our neighbours quickly came to our rescue and told us Stella was breathing and held her and comforted her. We called the ambulance and Stella was taken to the hospital. Stella had a febrile seizure and had a mild case of pneumonia.

I had a febrile seizure at 2 years old and was told it can be hereditary.  We were told Stella could have more and that they are normal.  Most children outgrow them by age 5.

Stella had a few colds after that, with one cough that lingered a little while. We took her to many visits to the doctor's office and into the hospital if she had a fever, for our own peace of mind. We were prescribed puffers but we told she didn't need them. We celebrated our second Christmas and returned back to work and daycare after a great break together. A week later as I was leaving work, I got a call from Stella's daycare, the worst happened.  Stella's teacher thought Stella was having another seizure but this time she wasn't shaking but stiff with her arms to her side. I ask her teacher to call an ambulance and my husband would be on his way. It was a snow storm that day and I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic only a few kilometers from the hospital. A parents worse nightmare, not being able reach your child. I wanted to yell and tell the cars to move so I could get to my baby faster.

Stella was resting calmly with her Daddy when I reached the hospital and later was moving about entertaining others in the hospital hallways and watching her favourite dvd's on our portable player that her Daddy went home to get for her. Stella had tests done that came back with no answers, she wasn't sick, it was only a fever that quickly elevated. Stella had a fever for a few days and was back to her old self. A few weeks later, Stella had her 18 month vaccinations. Although I was told it was normal (and I believe that to be true) Stella had a huge egg size lump in her thigh from the shots. Poor baby.

February came along and we found out we were expecting our second baby and shared this news with Stella. We had been invited to a friends baby shower about 1 hour away from our house. Stella had a great time dressed in her full chambray skirt with the few curls in her golden hair. She wasn't herself as she had some diarrhea, I took her temperature. It was low grade so I gave her some tylenol and we decided to go home. By the time we got home, after Stella napped for the car ride, we went into our home to greet our friends for our annual Superbowl party but Stella had a fever. I took her temperature and realized it was 39 degrees. I took her upstairs with my husband and my Mom to cool her down and give her medication and shortly afterwards after Stella was moaning Mama while I held her in my arms she had another seizure. We did the usual, called the ambulance and off to the hospital we went.

Stella had all sorts of tests taken again and rested peacefully sleeping on top of me on the hospital bed. We were told she had pneumonia again. Stella had no symptoms! She was eating and drinking so we were sent home. With the help of my Mom, my best friend and her Mom, Stella's loving Daddy and myself we stayed home with Stella for 1.5 weeks. We followed up with a pediatrician after 1 week and were told it was still there a bit but by the next week she was ready to return to daycare.

We decided after the second febrile seizure we would educate Stella's daycare about febrile seizures and put an action plan into works. The booklet I put together described why she had the seizures, what she would do and look like, what to do and what not to do. I listed what temperatures to give her meds or to cool her down and call me. We felt we would be educate everyone so it wouldn't be such a scary thing.

That Friday was Valentine's Day. I prepared Valentine's for everyone in Stella's class.  I made candy kabobs and Valentine's messages from Stella to spread her love with her classmates. That morning I was surprised with a diamond eternity band to match my wedding band - the one I had wanted for a few years. I went to work happy knowing it was a long weekend and I would be off work early. I listened to a favourite song happily on my way to work. I got off work at 3pm excited to be able to pick Stella up from daycare as I normally wasn't able to. Her daycare called me and said she had a low grade fever that day and they gave her some tylenol. 

We got home and enjoyed watching Stella play with the baby doll we gave her for Valentine's Day that morning. She fed her baby her special Valentine candies and gave her some milk. We video taped her in amazement as she hugged her dolly. She was going to be a great big sister.

The next night I had my girlfriends over for a few drinks. Stella played quietly while I prepared for our friends to arrive. Stella got to see all of my friends briefly before heading to bed. I checked her often, as usual, worrying about the fever returning. The next morning we rushed to get ready to attend Stella's second session of swimming lessons.  Although only being better a few weeks I decided to take her and not put her head under water. Stella was asked to jump into my arms in the water, this was something very advanced for our new "swimmer". Stella eventually stepped off the ledge into my arms.

Later that evening, we visited my Mom and Stepdad and planned to share our exciting baby news. I prepared a note for Stella to give her Grandma that read "I am being promoted to Big Sister October 2014".  Stella shared the news with our family happily. We spent the evening together and had a nice dinner.

The next day was the Family Day holiday. We planned to stay home and take it easy. Stella put her finger in her ear and I knew it must be an ear infection, a common thing she got. She wasn't running a fever nor acted out of the ordinary so we decided we would go to the doctor the next day after daycare. We stayed in our pj's all day and Stella played at home with us. She had so much fun playing in her kitchen. She cooked food in the microwave, added spices and drank from a cup while we sat video taping her in amazement at our big girl and how she played. We were so proud of Stella. We made crafts as Stella was crafty like me but that was stopped when she decided to put her markers in her mouth and all over her face. Time for a shower to remove the marker and an early bedtime! In bed by 6:30pm.

Stella woke at 9pm asking for Dada so we went downstairs as it was a Monday night and I was watching the Bachelor which Sean couldn't stand. Stella got a cuddle from Daddy and he took her back up to bed. We went to bed at 10pm and Stella woke briefly sitting up and said "poopoo", laid back down to sleep again. Sean woke up to Stella stirring at 1am, checking on her, she was getting comfortable holding onto her pink bunny.

I normally wake at 6am, get ready then wake Stella at 6:30am for the day. That morning Sean woke and checked on Stella while I showered. It's not very clear to me anymore exactly what happened or what I heard but I remember hearing stomping sounds and Sean ran into the bathroom and I think he said Stella was gone. I jumped out of the shower as he ran back and forth from her bedroom to ours. I called 911 but Sean said it was too late. I didn't believe it and called. He was instructed to do CPR on Stella and he asked me to stay out of the room. I ran downstairs and waited for the ambulance. It had snowed a lot that night and the roads had a foot of snow. The ambulance took forever. I called again and was told it was on its way. The ambulance arrived and only attended to Stella in her room for a few minutes. She was already gone a few hours and there was nothing that could be done.

We waited in shock in our kitchen while the police entered our home to investigate. We couldn't believe what had happened. Our sweet baby passed away in the dark of the morning in her crib on her own without us knowing what was going on. The police were there by 6:30am and didn't leave until after 1pm. We spoke with the police and coroner and told them our story. I had called my Mom moments after Sean told me what happened. That call haunts me as I told my Mom Stella was gone and they rushed to our home. My Mom wasn't able to come into the house to comfort us.

As the day went on, I had calls from my bestfriends who heard the news. They didn't believe what happened and immediately came to us from near and far. Some ran out of meetings and others took cabs from Toronto. That day was the worst day of my life having to greet our friends and tell them what happened.

A few days later the Coroner told us they did the initial look at Stella and saw that she had a minor ear infection (as I thought) and a dry cough, as I knew. Everything else looked fine. The police took all of Stella's bedding, bunny and clothing to investigate and later returned it to us and told us that they could tell that we are amazing parents and did everything we could for Stella.  They could see it by our home as soon as they walked in. It was so comforting to hear this from the people who respectfully investigated our home.

It wasn't until recently that we were told Stella's autopsy report was finalized and her cause of death is unexplained. There was nothing wrong with Stella to cause her to die.  Although her history of febrile seizures we are told did not attribute to her death, I cannot help but remember what we went through health wise.  As we had thought, Stella's death was like SIDS but for babies older than 12 months old called SUDC - Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.  Research is being undertaken on the link between febrile seizures and SUDC.  Until more research is done, we have no cause, no reasons and no answers.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Welcome! A little about me and why I'm here!

With the suggestion of family, I've decided to transform my thoughts on Facebook into a blog.  I'm sure many of my far reaching Facebook acquaintances will be relieved and those interested in hearing more can find me. So here I am, new to this whole blogging world, never really following any blogs myself, a true newbie.

About Me

I am a mid-thirties, GTA Mom of two children, wife to husband Sean and I work professionally as an Urban Planner. Most of the things I enjoy in life revolve around my family, from crafting baby items, sewing baby decor, socializing with other Mommies, travelling with my family and simply hanging with my fam! My thoughts and life drivers have changed greatly over the past few years, hence the reason I'm here - to share them and hopefully help impact others lives while also trying to navigate my own in the process.

A bit more about me, before I get into the nitty gritty. I grew up in the West GTA in a loving, hard-working and adventurous family of four, taking my position as the baby, only 19 months younger than my Brother. We spent many wonderful family times at our cottage and travelling, even spending an extended period of time in Australia. I had a pretty good high school experience busy with volleyball and especially competitive cheerleading. I graduated and attended the University of Waterloo.

I worked in Toronto which later took me abroad. Spending 4 years away, I decided it was time to return to Canada and get on with my life having lived some wonderful experiences. Shortly after returning I met my now husband through an online dating website mid 2008. We've been busy simply living life since!

We were engaged in 2010 and married in 2011, shortly after being married and caring for my father who became terminally ill with stomach and esophageal cancer, my Dad passed away and we were also expecting our first baby. Stella Eve was born July 2012, a blond, blue-eyed, cherub like little darling. We spent 18 months as a family of 3, then were excited to be expecting our second baby! The excitement was halted when our world was turned upside down. On the morning of February 18, 2014, the day after family day, we woke to find our sweet Stella had passed away quietly earlier that morning at the age of 19 months and 1 day.

We shared our 7 week new, baby #2 news haphazardly while grieving the shock of losing Stella. I quickly returned to work and a few months later, we found our new home we had been searching for and decided to make the move - leaving many many wonderful memories and a few ginormous tragic ones. We took our Stella memories with us to our new home to create fresh ones with our expanding family. We were blessed with our rainbow baby Hudson James, born October 2014. 

In Stella's memory and my way of remembering Stella and to cope with our loss, I wrote monthly updates reminiscent of my monthly baby development updates.The updates showed how much Stella grew and developed and to remind us of what went on in one months time and how we miss her. I would like to continue writing my thoughts as I'm told they have inspired some of you out there. My forced strength isn't something anyone ever imagines developing or having to use from your back pocket, where its kept. 

With today being March 18th, 1 year and 1 month since Stella passed, I hereby post my first blog. There are many sad times I go through but many memorable times I would like to share with whoever will listen or to simply get them out of my own head.  We have lots to look back on but a ton to look forward to while continuing to remember our baby girl.

Our Wedding Sept 2011

My Papa and I, 6 weeks before he passed

Enjoying our honeymoon

Stella is born!

Our family, Stella 15 mos

Stella's empty room and memorial flowers

Hudson is born!

Our family with Stella's place marker baby Stella doll

What I plan to do

It's been just over one year since Stella's passing and I have decided to transform my thoughts into this blog.  I anticipate "Little Cotton Socks" blog to include:

  • Past and future baby updates for both Stella and our son Hudson;
  • My monthly Stella memorial updates;
  • Some information on SUDC;
  • What keeps me busy creatively;
  • Fundraiser plans for Stella and SUDC, and;
  • The daily and hourly ups and downs of my life.

To Finish

After all is said and done, I am still a mid thirties Mom to two beautiful children, a wife, a hard worker, a crafter and a griever.  Some say I am strong but I am doing what I have to do having being dealt a situation I never expected.  I hope to help other grievers and parents who experienced the loss of a child while also helping myself by getting it on paper, remembering Stella and celebrating my family.  

Bless their little cotton socks....

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Stella : 1 year gone

Well I can’t believe a year has gone by. It’s both gone by slowly as it feels like Stella is still here when I look at the photos of the past memories, and fast as so much has happened and this horrible day is upon us again. Our little girl was suddenly taken this morning a year ago today and united with my Dad who has always wanted a grandchild. I still can’t believe she’s gone despite writing about her for the past year month by month.
I greatly appreciate everyone’s thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement and being there for me this past year either in person and over social media. I realize my posts got longer and longer as the months go on, which makes sense as I miss Stella more and more. I write these posts to get some of my thoughts onto paper as I often don’t have conversations about these thoughts but mainly I do the posts for Stella. She deserves to be thought of (as I know many of you do on a daily basis) and for my feelings for her and what we’ve gone through to be out in the open. I never want her to be forgotten and writing about her on a monthly basis ensures she is not, in my mind. I plan to continue to write about Stella and hope to start a blog that anyone who wishes to follow can. My intention of these posts isn’t to solicit additional support – I am so grateful to everyone who has provided the support I have received in so many different ways, but I get to live on and Stella doesn't. I will be okay but our poor girl was taken too soon for no reason at all.
We finally received word that Stella’s autopsy was completed. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to review the report, her death was ruled as unexplained. There was nothing found that would have caused Stella’s death. The thought of receiving this news has been on my mind for months. It’s something that I cannot change nor choose. If they had determined there was something wrong with Stella, we might have felt we could have helped her. The fact that there was nothing wrong with her is also upsetting because its not fair that she could be taken for no plausible reason. And in this world of technology and medical intelligence, this doesn’t seem right. How could there be no cause, reason or cure? She was here one minute and gone the next, without a sound or a goodbye.
I think about how Stella may have felt at that moment. Its something that is very hard for me as her mother. Always wanting to protect my children and be there for them, I was not able to help her. We are told her death was likely quick and painless, but we will never know. A friend said she likes to think that when Stella was taken she was having a wonderful dream. I like that thought. It’s the part of death we will never fully understand. I’m not a religious person but I definitely like the spirituality of religion and the thought that Stella is in a better place, that she is an angel.
The term angel has taken a different meaning to me since February 18, 2014. People used to say Stella looked like a cherub, I agree. She had golden blond wavy hair, soft and pudgy skin. What you would imagine a cherub to look like. Now the term is used to describe children, out of true honesty, I find very very difficult to hear. No one should want an angel as a child. I have a hard time when others use this term as I feel it is a special title for her (and other deceased children and ofcourse adults) now that she is gone. I feel protective and selfish over this title. There are so many situations that are difficult now but I try to get by as positively as I can.
A second word I have had a hard time with this past year is saying that Stella died or is dead. I cannot seem to be able to use this harsh description. To me, Stella has passed away. She is not dead, her spirit and memory is very alive and I hope it always will be. I hope to be able to continually speak of her as I hope her younger siblings will feel as though they know their sister. I hope new friends feel they know Stella. Stella is special being my first born as she made me a mother and brought me into motherhood. A whole new world I had always dreamed of. As a mother, as most mothers are, I was instantly constantly worried about Stella, her health, her wellbeing, her growth, and ofcourse her happiness. All of these things were put to the test on many occasions but I always followed my gut and did what made me feel comfortable as her guardian. As I’ve said to many friends, we are the only ones that can advocate for our children and protect them. If you let something go by that bothers you, you will be the only person that you will have to explain to. You will be challenged when those say “it’s normal”, “it’s not that bad”, or compare to their own situations. No one knows your situation but you. I felt my title as Mother was tested after Stella passed away. Our street was lined with police cars, all doing their jobs, to investigate our home and my baby as she layed helpless in her crib. We were confined to our kitchen with a police social worker, a stranger who was thrust into my home at my most vulnerable time. It was extremely reassuring when the investigator returned to our home to return Stella’s bedding, her bunny and the jammies she wore and said the nicest thing anyone could have said in his position at that time. He told us that he could tell how we were such great parents and that we did everything we could do for Stella. He told me we went over and above what most parents would do when Stella had been sick or had seizures and could tell by our home how well Stella was taken care of and our love for her. I am so grateful for those words and will never forget them.
As most parents do, we planned ahead and thought about Stella’s future. We planned financially for her education and helped prepare her for what was ahead by purchasing word books and French language books, only weeks before her passing. We planned to potty train Stella Easter weekend and had purchased big girl panties and did the reading to prepare myself for the potty training. I purchased clothes for the upcoming seasons and planned to take Stella on vacation and finally a visit to Seattle. Stella had birthday and Christmas presents she had yet to wear. Although we planned ahead, I know we lived every day to the fullest but it is hard to not experience these things we planned for.
As we have just experienced Valentine’s day and Stella’s last weekend again, I can say that Stella had the best last weekend with our family and friends. Stella knew she was going to be a big sister and got a baby doll for Valentine’s day that she played with all weekend long. Stella gave her school friends individualized valentines and candy kabobs, despite not being old enough to really eat candy, I didn't care. She showed her classmates with some love before not knowingly having to leave. Stella got to see all of my friends that weekend and got to tell her grandparents she was going to be a big sister. She got to go swimming and take a big plunge into her self-confidence when asked to jump into the pool into my arms. The same baby only a year ago who clung to my shoulders when we got into the pool, slowly gained the confidence to jump into my arms that Sunday. We enjoyed Family Day as a family in our home where she was watched by her proud parents in amazement as she played in her kitchen for an extended period of time. She showed us how she would watch us and all that we did when she used the microwave, put spices on her food and played house. We couldn’t believe we made this little person and how she was growing! I remember having thoughts, what a great family day, even if it was our last. Am I psychic? It's scary that some of my thoughts came true.
The next day was the worst day of my life. It’s a bit of a blur as it was so shocking and upsetting. It was exhausting and left us feeling empty and hopeless without our girl. I know that nothing can be as bad as that one day and it can only get better which has helped me get through today despite having flashbacks of that night not knowing what was to come in the morning and the heartbreak that followed. Our hearts are still broken for Stella but they are growing bigger with love for our baby Hudson and always talking about Stella and our love for her. Stella will never be forgotten or replaced but we definitely have some challenges ahead to keep her memory alive in our family and helping our kids get to know their sister they never will in fact meet.
In order to help keep her memory alive and help positively towards finding a reason and cure for this unknown condition/cause of death, we plan on doing a number of things that we hope to get everyone’s support and involvement.

  1. Fundraising in Stella’s memory and for the SUDC program – I’ve already started to think of some fundraising ideas that I hope to bring to fruition this year. I’d love anyone with expertise in the following areas to help if you’d like, including fundraising planning, advertising, graphic design, web design – if you have any ideas or can help with coming up a name for our charity and or events, please contact me. I will contact the SUDC program for their expertise as well.
  2. Along with the fundraising, if anyone’s employer sponsors events or can provide expert help or items/product donations for fundraising, please let me know.
  3. Blog – if anyone has any expertise on getting a blog started, I’d love to hear from you.
  4. Children’s Story – There are all sorts of stories about death out there but I’d like to write one to help children who have lost siblings in such an unexplained way. I don’t want children to fear going to bed at night and I’d like them to understand the love we have for all children in the family those here and those not. There’s a few of you out there that I know could be of some know who you are!
Well I will sign off for now as I normally do. Missing Stella more than ever today and hoping she knows how much we love her and always will. Wishing she was here with us physically to enjoy her life. Always wondering what she would be saying and doing and imagining her growth and the little girl she would be turning into at age 2.5. 

Grief never ends...but it changes. It's a passage...not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of is the price of love. -Author Unkown.

 Stella's 1 year update

Well it's been a while since I have been in touch with you all. We were all so busy after my first birthday, I just didn't get a chance to sit down at the computer.
So much has happened. I had the most fun first birthday ever! Mommy and Daddy had a pancake bar birthday party for me. Mommy made it a ruffle theme, I had a ruffle tiered birthday cake and one for me to smash as well. It was so much fun to see all of my friends and family at my birthday parties!
Mommy ended up finding a new job in August and had to find me daycare quick. We both had our first days on August 12th. I go to a Montessori school in the toddler program with the older kids. I am getting better now at sleeping on a cot for only 1 nap time as opposed to the two I had at home with Mommy. I love going to "school". Over the past 3 months since I last wrote, I have learned so many things, especially since being at school these past two months. I put pom poms into bottles, toothpicks into holes, pipe cleaners into holes too. I love to paint and draw as well. I am learning songs and poems at school. I also learn day to day things that help me be more independent!
I love to help out around the house (check out the last video!). I put my toys away and put little bits of garbage in the bin all by myself without anyone asking! I like to copy Mommy and sweep the floor, windex the floor (when she does the table), put clips in my hair (which I don't keep in anymore), put belts and necklaces on...I try and put my socks and shoes on but its hard. I am able to put Daddy's shoes on his feet though. I leave a trail of mess everywhere I go....
I understand most things that Mommy and Daddy ask but I am a very determined girl and don't always want to give things away. I always have to have something in my hand, let it be while walking up the stairs, or in my car seat..wherever (you will notice my snack cup and water cup a lot in my photos). I do know how to switch from hand to hand so I can get dressed or in the car seat while holding on. I am dancing some pretty crazy moves lately, anytime I hear music I "get low" like Jack does but I have also developed some spinning moves and other groovy moves I will teach Jack next time I see him!
We got to spend a week in August with Uncle Darron, Auntie Colette, Jack, Grandma and Grandpa at the cottage. We had a BLAST, as usual. Jack and I kept eachother busy the entire time playing together. Jack gives love but I give then Jack gave me hugs every 10 mins. We fall to the ground hugging. I love my cousin!
I don't cry anymore when Mommy drops me at daycare. I come home very tired and very dirty, with sand everywhere! I love the sand box and even go down the slide on my own. My teacher told Mommy that I am "the boss" at daycare. I know when its time to go outside and go get my shoes even before the teacher says so. I wave and say bye to the kids when I leave. I LOVE saying hi all the time even when I have been home a while.
My hair is growing like crazy and getting curly! I have 8 teeth now. What 3 months can bring! I love to use a fork and spoon and feed myself. I say hi, bye, Mama, Dada..I sign "more" and "milk" and say mmmm when I want milk. I nod yes and no. I was pointing at my yoghurt while making noises the other morning, Mommy asked me would you like some yoghurt? I answered by nodding my head! Mommy keeps saying how helpful I am around the house!
I now RUN all of the time. I was walking really well shortly after my last update. I get told to slow down as I am such a busy body running with my arms swinging. You can see me run in some videos.
Other fun events this past few months...going to the cottage with Friend T and Friend K, going to K's, S's, M's and T's 1st birthday parties, sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's for M&D's anniversary in Sept, a trip to the emergency room by ambulance (I'm ok! chest infection), going to the outdoor pool in July, getting another ear infection (not fun event), Thanksgiving, Mountsberg with M&D, walking by stroller and going to the playground after daycare with Mommy and Daddy, lastly getting professional photos done today!
Sorry for such a long update but so much has happened. I am as happy as ever and sooo giggly! I hope you all are too!
Love Stella

Sunday 18 January 2015

Stella : 11 months since our life changed

It's been 11 months since our life changed. Every month when I re read Stella's monthly update I am amazed at all the development she had and then I think about everything that has happened the past 11 months since Stella left. Last year around this time we were enjoying watching our little girl play with her Christmas presents and point out the pictures in her books. Stella would be 2.5 years old yesterday and I'm sure by now she would be talking our ears off or better yet, I'd take a crazy tantrum or two if she could just be here with us. I would take the worst toddler behaviour, I wouldn't mind. I'd love to be exhausted looking after a newborn and running after a toddler!
We were able to get through Christmas mainly by being extremely busy. It's hard not to think about how life would be while also being greatly appreciative for what we do have and all that is to come for our family. We will always think of Stella..I can't count how many times I think of her daily. I'm still not past all of the emotions we are left with and the flashbacks to that day. I'm so glad I didn't have to tell many of my close friends or family but think of my frantic call moments after our life changed to my Mom. It's upsetting to think about that morning and the shock of our horrible discovery and the words that I can't fully remember saying over the phone line. It wasn't a conversation that I eased into. And the phone call from my best friend
asking if it was true. It was and always will be. It is true that we had the imaginable happen. It is true that we are a family who lost a child. It is true that she is gone. It is true that Stella was the brightest little star in our life and she forever changed it for the good. It is true that she rests in peace and that we will never forget her. It is true that we speak of her often with smiles on our face. It is true that I will always consider her as part of our family and that I have two children. Amongst all of the truths, it is not true that she was brought here for a specific reason or that everything happens for a reason - I've never believed that.
With one more month until Stella's Angel Anniversary, I remember all of the events that were to come last year with no idea that it would be our lasts. We always lived life to the fullest, like it was our last. I know that many of the coming days will be tough but I try to remember that no day can be any tougher than 1 second of the horror from February 18th 2014. So I move forward trying to focus on the million of wonderful moments that came before that one worst moment...cherish them, speak of them often and openly with anyone who will listen and go from there as best we can!
Missing you dearly my dear sweet girl.

 Stella's 11 month update

I am 11 months already! This past month went by so quickly as I was so busy learning and keeping Mommy (and Daddy) busy!
I now walk over 15 steps between Mommy and Daddy...over and over again, its so much fun. I walk on grass, carpet, up hill, around objects, stop to pick something up and continue on but don't like to go on my own. I also walk between my toys and the couch but I love to hold Mommy's finger to walk instead so she follows me around a lot with just the light grasp of one of her fingers. I think I am getting spoiled and just prefer to walk with Mommy. Mommy tries to encourage me to go on my own but I just cry and sit down.
I am still growing but mostly development wise. When Mommy brushes her hair I take the brush and help her brush it. I know what to do with the nail scrub brush in the bath, I put it u to my foot. I stack my water cups in the bath and actually do them in the right order! I also can point to the polar bears nose and starting to learn where the nose, eyes and ears are. I wave goodbye without even getting prompted by my parents and I love to share my food on my tray. I put it in Daddy's mouth but sometimes I pull it away and put it in mine and laugh - I like to tease! I also keep busy picking things up and putting them down and don't make such a mess with my toys anymore as I put the blocks back in their box.
Mommy keeps thinking another tooth will poke through as I had all of the symptoms, cranky, slight fever, chewing everything I can get my hands on, touching my ears...maybe another tooth is on its way but not for this update.
I just spent 11 nights at the cottage and boy did the blackflies and huge mosquitos love me. I have bites all over my face, back, neck, hands and head! I scratch the ones on the back of my head but otherwise I'm okay with it. But I have been quite fussy lately...I'm so busy I get so tired! I laugh a lot more than I have the past 10 months.
My birthday party will be on Saturday July 20th, I can't wait (mark your calendars!). Here are my photos this month!
Love Stella