Tuesday, April 21, 2020

My Pregnancy Journey

It has been a while since I’ve written in my blog. Since we have more time these days I thought I would share what’s been happening in my life.
As most of you know I found out early August that I was pregnant with our second baby. It was definitely an unexpected surprise. My Aunty Bear was the one who called it. As I briefly mentioned to her at my cousin's daughter's birthday party how unusually hungry and nauseous I was all the time. When I got home from the birthday party I decided to take a pregnancy test. Two lines showed up within minutes. I was so excited. Chad was walking Marley, so I told Aidan. He was excited too, although I’m not really sure if he actually understood. 


When Chad got home I told him. My pregnancy went by pretty fast, some of my cravings were milk, coke, yogurt, apples with cinnamon, Mr. Noodles, and popsicles. I was definitely more tired this pregnancy but I didn’t let it stop me. I still did my best to volunteer at Aidan's school, attend swimming lessons, worked until 28 weeks, I packed/unpacked boxes, and painted a bedroom. 
I had 3 sinus infections during this pregnancy, being sick while pregnant and caring for a 5 year old was definitely a challenge. You definitely take it for granted when you're able to take medication. I had to tough it out, and be creative on how to lessen the symptoms. Towards the end of my pregnancy we had discovered I was having preeclampsia symptoms. My legs and feet would swell up and turn purple especially at night, I would get vision spots, and my blood pressure was high every time I had a doctors appointment. 

On the evening of March 4th, I went to bed with a horrible headache. It was different from a migraine. The pain I had was something I’ll never be able to explain and hope to never go through again. I didn’t get any sleep, and nothing was helping. I could feel the pulsing in my ears and the pain down my neck. 

On March 5, after dropping Aidan off at school I decided to go to the hospital. I had a non stress test, the baby was still active and happy. After the test I went upstairs to labour and delivery. They were able to give me something for the headache but in the late afternoon the drugs had worn off and the same pain I had before was coming back. That’s when the OB decided that we should go ahead with the C-section as my blood pressure was still high and now the headaches were getting worse. 
It was definitely unexpected, lots of last minute plans needed to be made within hospital and family. Chad called my mum, and she lives an hour away. We were both so surprised that she was there so quickly. It was great to have her support before the surgery. I was really anxious and I don’t do well with last minute changes especially when it’s not in my control but I knew I needed to trust the doctors and nurses. 

When I went into the operating room the anesthesiologist was so cool, he asked if I wanted to listen to music. I chose to listen to the Backstreet Boys as their music has been a huge part of my life. Once I was settled, they allowed Chad to come in. At 5:11pm Alanna was born and healthy. The surgery took a lot longer then usual. 
We spent 5 days in hospital. It took me 2.5 days to have feeling back in my left leg. I started to worry if I would ever be able to walk as my left leg was still numb from the surgery. I was very anxious to get up and walk but it didn’t happen until day 3. 

We had lots of friends and family stop by. It was so different to have Alanna in our room as Aidan was in the NICU for the first 8 days of his life. The recovery this time was a lot harder on me, mentally, emotionally and physically. The surgery was very difficult according to my OB. Getting Alanna out was a challenge, she was transverse but I knew that before the surgery. None of my organs were in the right place, my bladder was knicked so I had to have a catheter for 20 days. 
I had lots of scar tissue from previous surgeries and possibly an infection brewing within my stomach, my OB said it was the most difficult C section she had ever performed. I am very thankful for the OB, surgeons, doctors and nurses. They were so good to me and my family. It was definitely a journey and one I won’t forget for a long time. They tried very hard to make my hospital stay as comfortable as possible. 
At the end of the day, I have a beautiful baby girl named Alanna and so thankful she is healthy. Our family is complete. Aidan is already a great big brother. Chad and I can’t wait til they can play together. I want to thank all of my friends and family for coming to visit me in the hospital. It was definitely a hard time for me, but having visitors everyday made it a little easier.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

It's Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Some of you may be shocked or saddened to hear of everything I have been through lately.  But don't worry I am now getting the much needed help, and this time I need to do it right and stay on track with the help of friends, family, doctors and counselors. 

Most of you who know me probably see me as a happy, funny, fun-loving, bubbly kind of person who loves life.  That's who I used to be, and that's what I hope to get back to one day.  To be honest, it is really hard to pin-point when I really fell into depression/anxiety and why it even started.  I know after having my son Aidan, I definitely had Post-Partum Depression which led me to finding support through friends and counseling.  I did this for a couple of years until I felt better, or so I thought. 

I have had my ups and downs since then.  In the winter months it has always been a struggle for me, as I never enjoy being cold and seeing how dreary it is outside makes me feel even more depressed and excited for spring/summer.  I love the sun, flowers, birds singing and the daylight in the evening hours.  Even if I don't go outside, it just makes me feel better naturally. 

Last summer was the best as far as feeling really good goes, so I decided to go off the medication.  Not really talking to anyone about it, but thinking that I didn't need it anymore.  To be honest I hate taking medication for anything, I only like to take it as a last resort, since I know some of my family members have battled drug addiction.  I am absolutely terrified of falling down this path.  Even though my husband promises he will make sure that will never happen, and the doctors reassure me as well. 

I started a new job in the summer working in an office.  I was so excited considering I had always wanted to work in an office, but didn't have any prior education.  I had a feeling this was where I was meant to be and do for the rest of my life.  It didn't matter if it was for a cleaning company. 

The first few months went by like a blur, I had learned so much and took as many notes as possible.  After my probation period I realized things were starting to change.  I no longer felt like part of the team, no one ever asked me how I was doing anymore, or involved me in any of their work discussions.  But I still went and did my job. 

I noticed the relationship change between a co-worker and I. She had started treating me differently.  Always with rude remarks, belittling, humiliating me in front of other co-workers or trying to start arguments.  This started as once in a while, into happening every single day.  Throwing jabs at everything I did or said.  I felt like I couldn't do anything right.  It was getting so bad she would start asking about my home life, and trying to dictate how I should spend my money or make it seem like I was a horrible mom for going away for a couple days to visit friends. 

I explained to her that this was something I really enjoyed.  I started counting down the hours of work being over so I could run upstairs into my bedroom and either sleep or cry over the horrible day I just had.  My bed/bedroom started to become a safe haven where I could run away and isolate myself but then feeling guilty for not spending time with my family downstairs.  This went on for a few months, and I kept saying I wanted to get out of this rut but I wasn't sure how or what to do and why was I feeling this way. 

Towards the end of February I went away to Chicago for a couple days for an event, but really it was to hang out with my friends.  It was so much fun, we stayed in a haunted hotel called The Congress.  As a side trip we went to check out "The Bean" that you may have seen in movies.  It was definitely the highlight for me.  We had so many laughs, and good times even though it was short.  I was sad it had ended, but knew I would see them again in a month. 

When I came home I didn't have that depression slump like I normally did, which I thought was weird but maybe it was because I knew I had another event to look forward to.  I went back to work on Tuesday.  My co-workers asked how it went and I said it was fine.  Not really wanting to talk about it, because I was worried about them twisting my words, or just asking too much information so I kept quiet about it. 

Later that morning I had a panic attack. It came on so fast and sudden.  I haven't had a panic attack since my dad died, but I knew what it was as soon as it happened.  It felt like the walls were crumbling around me, and I was so depressed and scared.  I wanted to die, I kept thinking I need to run away and die.  This life is too hard for me, I can't do this anymore. 

One of my co-workers asked me what was wrong, I told him everything I had been going through at work, and how I was sick and tired of being depressed and I hated feeling the way I felt.  Meanwhile he had no idea I just cut myself several times on my arms.  It felt so good to cut, it was like a relief of the pain I had endured for so long, but after the relief went away I could feel the pain set in on my arms. 

As soon as Chad picked me up from work we went over to the hospital. As I walked up to the Psychiatric Ward which is called Archie Courtnall, I said to myself I'm not supposed to be here, this isn't for me.  How did I let myself get to this point? Were the doctors really going to help me? I was still dressed in my work clothes so they probably saw this person who looks well dressed in an odd place. 

I was interviewed by so many people throughout the day: a social worker, several doctors and psychiatrists.  They wanted me to stay overnight but I asked them if I could go home. They agreed as long as Chad was home with me.  I agreed to that as I didn't really trust myself. 

The next day was hard. I had no motivation or desire to get out of bed and I still had the same thoughts of not wanting to live or be around anymore.  I kept looking outside from my bed wondering how does the world keep revolving regardless of how I was feeling.  I don't really know what I would expect it to do otherwise, but it was a thought I had several times.  Like looking outside and seeing people driving in their cars, or going for walks talking and laughing.  How come I couldn't be like them?

On Thursday I ended up back in hospital again. This time I was hoping would be the last time.  It was much quieter this time. For some reason I felt safer being in hospital.  I had to go through the same ordeal as the first time, but this time was different. We had a better plan in place. 

The last few weeks have definitely pushed my limits. I went through a few weeks of not wanting to talk to anyone, still isolating myself, I had no desire for watching tv, playing computer games, household chores or going for walks so I had to start pushing myself. I decided to start small and socialize, then the next day go for a walk, or visit a friend for coffee.  The steps were hard to take, because all I could think about was my bed and sleeping all day. 

It has been several weeks now and even though it is still early, I am proud of myself for the small accomplishments I try to achieve everyday.  Thanks to my counselor who has me doing a checklist each day, I feel like it has been a good motivator.  Trying to talk myself into saying I can, instead of the negative thoughts.  Also deciding to go back on medication for my own good.  These are steps that may seem small to someone else, but these are big steps for me. 

I honestly got so tired of not being the "real" me putting on a face, showing I'm happy on the outside, but not on the inside.  That will take some time to heal and re-learn but I believe I will get there.  My hope is to be the "real" me with anyone and everyone.  Stand up for myself when I know something is wrong regardless of who it is and stop living in fear of what if. 

I am learning to not care about who likes/dislikes me.  I want to just love myself again.  I want to love looking at the mirror and being proud of myself and feeling good within myself.  I want people to know that if you are struggling with depression/anxiety I can totally relate and understand what you're feeling and going through.  It doesn't matter how old you are, where you're from, or how good of a job you have.  It can happen to anyone, at any time. 

The good news is there is help, but you have to seek it and have the support system behind you.  I can't thank my friends/family enough for everything they have done for me.  Whether it is sending me flowers, cards, cookies, and messages.  It has helped me see that it is worth living and I will come back from this stronger and healthier mentally and psychically.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Beginning...

I still can't believe how fast my 9 months of pregnancy went.  Those of you who know me, know how badly I wanted to be a mum.  Chad and I had been trying off and on for the past 7 years.  It was really frustrating at times, trying to figure out why I could not get pregnant when all of my other friends were able to without any difficulties.  I had countless tests, blood work, saw several doctors and tried fertility drugs but still nothing was working. Even the doctors were confused as my body was doing everything it was supposed to. 

There were many times throughout the 7 years where I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe I'm not meant to be a mum?" I would often ask myself, "what other plans did god have for me?"  I had been around so many babies throughout my life. 

When I was 5 years old I held my nephew Jarvist when he was just a few hours old.  I instantly loved looking after him and helping him with what I could at that age.  When I was 9 years old I started babysitting him and then as soon as I was 13 I started babysitting all of the kids around the neighborhood after obtaining my babysitting certificate and first aid.  I absolutely loved it.  I looked after babies and children of all ages.  Even though I was being paid, it was a lot of fun and sometimes challenging.  So when it came time for me to think of having a family, I just couldn't understand why it was so difficult for me.   

Even though I was happy to have friends and family being able to get pregnant, I often felt jealous and upset.  I would put a smile on my face while at the event, but as soon as I got home I would feel sad that it wasn't my baby shower.  Over the years as I got older, I was starting to panic because I wanted to be a young mum so that I could still keep up with my own child when he/she was a toddler since I knew how much energy it takes to keep up. 

While we were going through the tests and fertility treatments, this was a great opportunity for Chad and I to get to know each other as a married couple, travel, and enjoy each other's company.  I also reunited with my birth family during this time.

I remember telling my brother how many times I wanted to be a mum, and he often said that I would be a great mum and a natural.  We always talked about life, our dreams and what we wanted to do.  Sadly, on August 30, 2013 my youngest brother Justin was taken away from us and then not even two weeks later my sister Krisandra was taken away from us on Sept 12, 2013.  Both of my siblings knew that I wanted to be a mum and have a baby, I didn't care if I would have a boy or a girl.  I just wanted to have a baby of my own to love, protect and support. 

I had been going through so much over the last month, trying to come to terms as to why my siblings were taken away at such a young age.  It wasn't fair to anyone in the family or to their friends.  I couldn't eat, I wasn't sleeping, I was losing weight, I was sad all the time and sometimes angry.  It was a lot to take in.  I had missed my cycle, which was not unusal for me as my menstraul cycles were always messed up especially when I was stressed out. 

In October, I had restless legs which I had never had before, lots of headaches, and always tired and hungry.  I remember Chad googling all the time trying to figure out why I was experiencing this as it was totally random and nothing I had ever been through before.  He kept saying that I must be pregnant because some of the symptoms I had were very similiar to pregnancy.  I brushed him off saying that it wasn't possible. 

As the month of October went on, I was still experiencing the same symptoms.  I was starting to take several naps a day and eating everything I could find.  Those that know me know that I don't normally eat very much.  Chad went out and bought a pregnancy test.  When he came home I took the test.  I saw the two lines, but it didn't even phase me.  I got into the bath and carried on with my day. 

When I was getting out of the bath, Chad asked me about the test and I said he could look at it.  So he did.  He said it was showing positive, but I brushed it off and said it must be broken.  So he went out again and bought several more pregnancy tests.  I took the pregnancy test, and this time it was a clear blue so I knew it would show either a positive or a negative. 

When the result came back it said positive 3+.  I stared at it for a long time...I didn't know if that meant 3+ weeks or months?  I didn't feel pregnant, I wasn't showing, and aside from being tired I felt fine.  I didn't jump up and down right away like I'm sure most women do.  I think I was more in shock?  I told Chad, and he was immediately happy.  I was too but I just couldn't believe it.  I said over and over that I couldn't believe it. 

A few days later, I went to the doctors just to confirm that I was pregnant.  I did a urine test and a blood test.  Both came up positive.  It took awhile for it to sink in, don't get me wrong I was very excited for us to be parents but I guess after trying for so many years and even the doctors confused I was thinking maybe it just wasn't meant to be. 

We decided to tell everyone right away even though I knew there was a risk of miscarriage.  Honestly, I figured if I was pregnant then it was definitely meant to be and there was no point in waiting to tell, and besides I am horrible at keeping secrets!  By the time I had my 12 week ultrasound and seeing the baby and heartbeat on the screen, that is when I knew that I was definitely pregnant, and that I was definitely ready to be a mum!

Friday, November 29, 2013

In Loving Memory of Justin and Krisandra

It has been a long time since I have written a blog.  I know what I have been wanting to write about, but I wasn't fully sure if I was ready to share.  I still have good days and bad days, but I like to think I have more good days, and brighter days to come ahead.  Maybe your reading my blog, slightly confused as to what I'm trying to get at.

A couple of months ago I lost two of my siblings on my birth's family side.  My brother Justin, who I was really close to passed away on August 30, 2013.  I can remember that day crystal clear.  It was a weird day all around, but now it sort of makes sense. 

It was Prep day at work and while it was a day off looking after the children, we were still working and spending the day cleaning, painting, organizing for the new year to start.  Originally I was so excited to work this day, since I had hoped to get to know my co-workers better and I love cleaning especially when it is not my own home.  But that morning I woke up, and I was feeling down, and when I got to work I still wasn't any better.  I didn't feel like talking to anyone, and I just wanted to focus on the tasks that I was given for the day. 

After work I went home, and Chad and I had plans to go out that night as a close friend of ours was having a good bye dinner since she was moving to Vancouver.  Even though I was sad she was moving, I didn't feel like going to the dinner or even getting dressed for the event.  I told Chad, I wanted to just stay home and watch TV.  But he insisted, so I got dressed and ready to go out for dinner.  We decided to take the bus, since it is such a pain parking downtown and we figured we would probably have a few drinks at dinner.

Once we were downtown and had met up with my friends, I started to feel a bit better and I was glad that Chad encouraged me to go out.  We had some good laughs, and took some pictures.  As dinner arrived we started eating, and again I just had a bad gut feeling but I didn't understand why as everything in my life seemed to be going great.  The only thing I could think of was how much I was going to miss my friend, but I knew it wasn't just that. 

While I was eating my dinner I got a Facebook message from my cousin.  I rarely hear from him, at first I thought it wasn't him or maybe his account was hacked but when I responded to him, he wrote back to me and that's when everything changed for the worst.  I was speechless, at first I thought he was joking, then I thought maybe he was talking about someone else, I just couldn't believe it.  I felt completely numb, like I was untouchable, the whole world stopped the same feeling I had when I first heard about my dad when he passed away. 

Chad and I left the restaurant right away as I obviously wasn't in the right state of mind to continue my meal with friends and I needed to be with family as soon as possible.  The cab ride home felt like forever, and at that point I felt extremely frustrated because I know we would've been home sooner if we had taken our own car. 

I still have days where I can't believe my baby brother is no longer here with us.  We talked about everything and anything that was on our minds.  I know we had drifted apart within the last year, and I know he had some struggles but I had no idea how bad it was and I figured he was just going through a rough patch like many of us do sometimes.  We would stay up until the wee hours of the morning talking about life, what we hoped for, what we wanted, and how much we loved and missed our dads. 

We always talked about what we would say if we could just see them again.  We had a lot of fun times together.  He was the baby brother that I had always wanted while growing up.  I love him so much, and still to this day I wished there was something more that I could have done, or paid more attention to.  But he was always so happy to see me, and would start joking around.  His laugh was extremely contagious.  I can still hear it to this day.  I hope I never lose that. 

Shortly after he passed away, a couple of people who were close to him said that he had thought so highly of me, and that I meant a lot to him.  Justin told them that I always said how I believed in him so much, and had a lot of life to live, and that he could do anything he wanted if he put his mind to it.  It was true, I really did say that, and thought that.

Justin was one of the wisest people I had ever met in my entire life.  He taught me so much, he made me realize that there is a lot more to just us, in this world and that there is life elsewhere in this world.  He was talking about Aliens, at first I thought he was joking but after watching hours of UFO Hunters with him, I decided to be more open-minded and he always said they live out there we just can't seem them, but we can believe in them.

At the Celebration of Life, my sister Krisandra came.  At first I wasn't sure if she was going to make it, as I am sure it wasn't going to be easy for her.  But I was glad that she came.  I went up to her, and gave her a hug.  When she was in the hospital earlier this year, I visited her often.  I saw her around the house, and drove her to work a few times but we never had the chance to become as close as I had hoped.  I will never forget what she said at the Celebration of Life. 

I found out about her passing 12 days after my brother Justin.  I was away, and I remember hearing the news and I went back and forth all night trying to decide if I should stay or go home.  Regardless, I didn't get much sleep.  The next day we were attending St. Albans in Virginia.  I had been looking forward to this event for several months and I was looking forward to see my friends. 

Even though I was away from home, all I could think about was my family at home.  I was distracted.  I was just thankful that I had Chad at the event with me, and seeing my friends did help as they had been my biggest support through everything I had just recently been through.  I had good days and bad days, just like I did at home.  But my friends were the ones who truly cheered me up  I had a chance to talk to one of my friends, he knew what I had been through and I had asked him if I was going to have brighter days again, and how do I get past the darkness.  He reassured me that times are tough, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

 Once we came home from our trip, I was still struggling with daily life.  I had isolated myself from everyone, some days I didn't even get out of bed, or even bother to eat or drink.  I know I didn't grow up with my brother or sister, but it still shattered my world.  I had always wanted younger siblings, and visioned I would grow up with them, have families, raise our children, go on with daily life and catch up with what I had missed. 

This whole process has been extremely painful, and I still have days where I just want to give up, throw in the towel because it seems like everyone who I become close to and put my whole heart into loving are always taken away from me.  My friends have been my biggest supporters, always willing to listen or hear my anger and frustrations of what I have been through and how I am going to move past this, I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.  Chad has also been there for me, he took some time off of work, just to stay by my side even on the good days, he still stayed home. 

I went to counseling a few times, and the lady I had was so helpful.  I loved how I could just talk without being in fear of being shut out, or telling me to get a grip, or telling me to just move on with my life.  Unfortunately some people haven't been so supportive and I did have to hear those words.  I clammed up completely, I started cutting, and didn't tell anyone not even my counselor, I didn't share anything for along time.  I was scared to, I once again isolated myself, those words hurt so much, I don't know how anyone could be so cruel.  That's like me saying that back at them, after losing loved ones.  I couldn't and wouldn't ever dream of saying such hurtful words.  All I can say is counseling has been my break through, and trying to find normalcy in life again, feeling happy with myself and life around me.

For the longest time, I kept thinking it was all just a bad dream and that they were still here with us.  I still have a hard time believing that I will no longer see them again except in my dreams.  I hate not being able to see Justin, or having hugs from Krisandra.  I miss them so much.  I can't wait to see them again, when my time comes. I always think of what they would want me to be doing.  Living life for them, and taking in every minute with my friends and family. 

They will always be remembered, and never too far from my mind.  I know they are watching all of their loved ones from above, and now our guardian angels.  Hoping we will continue to live our lives for them and that they are also walking along the path even though we can't see them.  They are there.  Love you Justin and Krisandra.  Rest in Peace and see you again my beautiful siblings! 

Through this experience I have once again realized how precious life is, and to love your friends and family.  Even if you don't always get along, tell them you love them any ways, listen to them, and be there for them.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Adventures of PRS Camp Paranormal March 1-7

It has been a while since I have sat down and written a blog.  The last few months have been super busy with working everyday, writing stories for my Paranormal Creative Writing class, and making plans to go back to school.  I thought I would share some of my adventures that I had at the beginning of March when I had an amazing time going to visit a friend in San Francisco and then making our way to North Carolina for PRS Camp Paranormal.

My adventures started on February 27th.  Chad was able to take some time off work to drive me to the airport.  I was so excited to be spending the evening with my friend Ginnie at her home in San Francisco and then traveling together the next day to North Carolina. 

The flights went well, the layover in Seattle was 3 hours long but as usual I got through it, thanks to my phone keeping me occupied, and listening to music. 

Once I got into Oakland, I got into a taxi.  At first the Taxi driver had no idea where I was going, and of course I wasn't much help since I had never been to the area where Ginnie lives, so I just assumed he would know since he was the driver.  We took a few wrong turns, and then he finally pulled over.  You know when you watch too much CSI, when you think...why is he pulling over and stopping the car.  I panicked for a few minutes but then he re-entered the address and then he soon realized that he had put in a wrong city.  LOL! We had a good laugh about it, and then soon we were on our way.  The initial drive should've only taken 15 minutes instead of almost an hour.  But in the end it worked out, and soon I saw Ginnie standing by the side of the road ready to greet me. 

I got out of the car, and we gave each other a hug and then we went into her home where I was able get more organized and put my suitcase in her room.  Then we decided we would go for a walk and find somewhere to eat.  It was such a nice day in Alameda and I couldn't believe how warm it was, considering at home I had left the rain and cold.  

We talked about everything and anything we could think about.   It was so good to catch up, even though we talk to each other everyday.  Soon we found what appeared to be a small Pizza Cafe, we went in and ordered a pepperoni pizza, but instead the server gave us something completely different.  LOL! Neither one of us cared since we were so hungry and it tasted good.

After eating, we headed back to Ginnie's house, watched TV and went to bed.  Although neither one of us got much sleep since we were up until 4am laughing about random stuff.  The next morning Ginnie's mom told me that we had kept her up all night, but she didn't care because it was good to hear us laughing and we were obviously having fun.  I quickly apologized and thanked her for having me.

We met up with Deeanna at the airport, checked our bags and then headed to the gate.  I was so excited to be flying Southwest since it meant we could pick our seats, have as many snacks as we want and the flight attendants are always so friendly.  The first flight was 4 hours to Chicago and our second flight was about an hour and a half to Raleigh.  We literally went from one plane to the next as they were already boarding.

When we got to Raleigh we took a short shuttle over to the hotel and went to bed.  It was a long day, we were all exhausted but very excited for camp the next day.

The next morning a friend picked us up and we went to meet our other fellow campers at the airport.  The road trip was another awesome adventure.  Since there weren't enough seats due to all of our luggage we had to make things work.  Let's just say, for those of us who were there and experienced it,  it will always be an adventure that I will never forget and that it was a lot of fun.  Plenty of inside jokes were made and shared while at camp...LOL!

We all cheered once we made it to Rockfish Camp.  The location was beautiful, lots of space and being able to look over the lake was just amazing.  We went into the main lodge and registered and quickly reunited with old friends and met new friends.  We were greeted by Chris and Sergey who gave us hugs, and our packages of which house we will be in for however long we were staying for.  Once we knew which Cabin we were going to be in, we all took our suitcases and seperated.  I was in the GSD group, and Chris Edwards was my leader for the week.  I loved the lay out of the cabins as it was all one room, with many bunk beds to choose from.  Some of my cabin mates were already there, and had set up so we quickly introduced ourselves.

Later on in the day we played ice breaker games and then we all met at the Dining hall for our first meal together.  I loved how the meals were family style.  The food and drinks would be placed in the middle of the table and we would all pass it around and share.  The staff did an amazing job making sure there was enough to go around, and if we needed more they were happy to serve us.

In the evenings we would all separate into our groups that we had been assigned to and our group leaders would meet us in our cabins.  On the first night, Chris had us interview each other, and would ask us questions about the person we are interviewing.  If we didn't know something, he would ask us questions about what our thoughts were to dig deeper to find out more. 

The second night we shared our own personal paranormal stories, and the third night we played a board game that Chris and Eilfie had worked so hard on creating.  It was mainly for us to find out what it's like to work in the field and how much it costs to do certain things like holding events, raising Buell bucks for investigations and equipment that you may need for a clients home or business.  Playing the board game is when I felt like all of our cabin mates really bonded.  We had to interview each other, come up with stories to solve cases, work with the equipment that we had, plan our events, and come up with ways to save Buell bucks.  It was so much fun, we all communicated really well, lots of laughs, jokes and so tired because we had played for 4 hours and still didn't get to the second part of the game.  LOL!

I definitely learned a lot by being in the GSD group, not just about working in the paranormal field, but also finding out in which areas I would work best in by truly discovering my personality and interests.  Chris definitely challenged me in all areas that he could and that is something that I really enjoy because it does push me out of my comfort zone, and also helps me realize that I can do it.  I also think I learned more about building self-confidence.

It was cool to have Chris there to talk to as well.  He took the time to get to know everyone, and listen to what everyone had to say.  I was actually surprised that he knew me better than I thought he did.  I really admired that.  I have met Chris on several PRS events, but having him as my GSD leader I definitely felt like I got to know him well.

When we were all together as a group we also had bonfires, played games, watched X-Files, watched movies, investigated in the woods, dining hall, and cabins.  Those who didn't want to investigate could still participate by listening to audio that we recorded during the investigations.  I have investigated before, but by the end of the week I felt more confident and comfortable.  We all did a lot of investigating some of us got interesting pictures, audios and had experiences while some of us didn't and despite the cold we all had a good time, and it was just another way to bond with each other.

 Every morning before lunch we would have meditation with Sergey. We learned how to meditate, what some of the ways we can meditate and what method works for everyone.  It was a great way to start a busy day, and to calm our minds.  I always looked forward to it, not only mentally but also for learning purposes.  

During the day there were a lot of activities that you could take part in.  The camp offers archery, canoeing, ziplining, BB guns, rock climbing, etc.  I enjoyed my time going for walks everyday.  There were a lot of trails to choose from.  On my walks I came upon tree houses, porta-potty, and the yurts.  When I wasn't walking I enjoyed sitting down by the lake, listening to music and enjoying the scenery around me.  I can't wait to go back in June and hopefully have the chance to go swimming.

We also had several lectures throughout the day.  I would have to say my favorite lectures were Good vs. Evil by Adam Sedlock, Analyzing EVP, Photos and video evidence and Modern Tech of Paranormal Investigation by Sergey Poberezhny, Historical Research, and Divination by Eilfie Music, and Intro to Cryptzoology by Chris Edwards.  Overall the lectures were very informative and I took many notes during these lectures.

While at camp we also celebrated Sergey and Chris's birthday early since both of their birthdays were at the end of March.  We had two birthday cakes, sang happy birthday and then we watched X-Files.  It was a lot of fun, and the cake was really good.

On the last day of camp it was definitely bittersweet and emotional for some of us as so many of us had become very close and gotten to know each other very well.  We all said our goodbyes, gave each other hugs, took pictures and reassured each other that we would all be back together again at another future event.

The next morning we all got up, packed up our suitcases and headed out of the camp grounds.  I took one look back and thought to myself, I hope they do more future events here as the location was just absolutely breath taking and I loved every minute of camp, the trails, activities etc.  It was so perfect and comfortable.  I could have stayed another week. 

Once I got home I was so glad to hear that PRS had already planned another Camp Paranormal for June.  I didn't hesitate and I bought a ticket right away.  I can't wait to go back, reunite and meet new friends, go more in depth with the paranormal lectures, ask more questions, go on more investigations, hopefully challenge myself even further, enjoy more camp meals together, and get to learn more about myself. 

Not only was it about learning about the paranormal, it was also about rediscovering yourself and being challenged by others as well as challenging yourself in ways that may be uncomfortable but at the end of the day accomplishing something bigger and better than you ever thought you could do.  I think many of us also accomplished the challenge of having to be out in the cold everyday, and heating up by the fire when we could.  I wouldn't change anything about this experience.  I had an awesome time and I can't wait to go back in June.  I also can't wait for warmer weather.

I hope to see you at Camp Paranormal 2 in June.  Don't worry if you come alone.  I have been to many events on my own.  Gettysburg Field Trip 13 was my first PRS event on my own and since then I have been to many events and I always made friends within seconds/minutes so I can guarantee that if you do come to camp that it will be the same for you.  We truly are a unique, fun-loving, interesting group of people who like to welcome new and old friends to come along with us on the journey and to seek the unknowns of the paranormal.    

To find out more information on Camp Paranormal 2 in June click here: http://cp2.eventbrite.com/#



Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year Of 2012

I can't believe how fast this year has flown by. Here we are ending 2012 which was an interesting year with many ups and downs, lots of great memories, and a lot of new friends that I am truly grateful.

The year started off a bit rocky since my mum had a mini-heart attack and was in the hospital for a week, but thankfully she made a remarkable recovery.  The day that she was coming out of the hospital was the same day we had a bad snowstorm in Victoria.  I was at work and Chad had a very important job interview at a place called Smart Dolphins.  Even though driving to his interview was out of the question, he took a big step by walking there in about a foot of snow.  I'm so glad that he did because now he is working full-time at Smart Dolphins and seems to really enjoy his job.

We also had a family member pass away at the beginning of the year.  He already knew ahead of time that he only had a few months left, so we did our best to make sure to visit him as much as we could.  It was definitely a hard time for all of us, but especially for my mother-in-law since she was his primary care-giver and his common law partner.  Its hard to believe that it is almost one year since he has passed away.  I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to get to know him, and I have definitely missed him over the last year.  But we will always think of him and remember all of the great times we had as a family.

Over the last few months, my mother-in-law and I have built a better, and healthy relationship.  I no longer feel like I have to hold back my feelings of what its been like losing my dad, and we seem to understand each other on a more personal level.  I have definitely become a lot closer to her and I know that this will continue for us for many years to come.  

By the time March came around, things started to look up for us.  Chad had now been working in his new job for a while and was really enjoying it.  I was so happy for him since I knew this would make a lot of changes for us financially and it was the best thing that had happened to him since he had finished his schooling.

Later in the month Chad and I went to San Francisco for PRS Field Trip 14.  That was a lot of fun. I met some amazing people who have become some of my closest friends.  Going on the USS Hornet and doing investigations throughout the night was incredible, and being able to stay overnight on the Hornet was a lot of fun too. We had a lot of great laughs and created some life time memories.

Then we went to Alcatraz, Chad and I were really excited about this, and we enjoyed the walking tour around Alcatraz while listening through the headset.  I would still have liked to have stayed overnight and investigated but at least I can say that I have been there, and it was something else that I could check off on my bucket list.
I really enjoyed the EE sessions that we attended, and a few of my friends (Mercy, Robin, Irene and Jeni) and I won a dinner auction with Ryan and Sergey.  It was so funny that during the auction all of us weren't on the same page as to who was going to bid and we were all trying to outbid each other and then finally one of us said, I thought we were all in this together LOL! Going to the right restaurant for dinner turned out to be another adventure for us.  We started out in the hotel restaurant, we all sat down, looked at the menus and then we realized that we didn't want to eat there anymore so we all randomly got up and walked out.  LOL! Then we started to walk around San Francisco to find another place to eat. We stopped at a few restaurants, some were busy, some were pricey, and nobody could really decide what they felt like eating.  I felt like we were walking all over San Francisco but then Ryan found the perfect Italian restaurant.  We all sat down and had some good discussions.  The food was really good and just having some of my closest friends there was so awesome.

In the evenings, Chad and I hosted a couple of hotel parties in room 1126.  Amazing how I still remember my hotel room, LOL! We played games, socialized, had snacks, and plenty of drinks to go around.  Overall, Field Trip 14 was definitely one of the best events that I have ever been to, and it was really nice that Chad and I were able to go together since he usually has to stay behind to work.

This was my second year working at Zellers, being a part-time Cashier.  For the most part I didn't mind my job, but a lot of changes were being made in the store and I wasn't as happy as I used to be.  I liked most of the people that I worked with, so that usually made my days go by a little easier.

Then an opportunity came up to apply for a new clothing store coming to Victoria, Banana Republic.  I was hoping that this would be a good change, since I was tired of always being behind the counter and I wanted to help customers on the floor.  I went to the interview and I did get the job so I ended up quitting Zellers.  Unfortunately working for Banana Republic didn't turn out the way I would've liked.  It caused me a lot of stress, frustration and anger in a lot of ways, but one of the reasons was I was never paid on time.  I definitely learned a lot about myself during this time. No matter how unhappy you may have been in your previous job you need to look on the bright side. For example, the people you work with, being scheduled to work, and always being paid on time.  I also learned to stand up for myself. As much as I don't like to bug people I realized that in order for things to change sometimes you need to get up, go in, and bug them until you are satisfied with the outcome.  As I'm sure most of you have guessed by now, I decided to leave my job at Banana Republic and find something else.

Even though Zellers is now closed, I still stay in touch with most of the people I worked with who have also become my friends.  We like to go clubbing, watch movies, go to the beach, and play games.  I hope that it will continue for us in 2013.

By now it was almost summer time, and even though I wasn't really working a steady job, I was getting some on-call work for childcare centres.  It was nice to have a break from retail and not have a set schedule so I could still do the things that I wanted to do.  Around this time, I also donated my hair to BC Childrens Hospital for children who have cancer or a certain type of disease that prevents them to grow their own hair.  I did this in honor of a few family members and a friend who have or had cancer.

In July, I decided to fly down to LA and spend a few days with a dear friend of mine, Irene who I met at Field Trip 14.  Over the last few months we had become really close, and I was really excited to spend a few days with her before heading off to the first PRS Bureau retreat with Robin.  During the few days I spent with Irene, we went to Disneyland and met up with a couple of other girls that we had met online within the Para-community, but this was the first time we were meeting them in person.  We went to Hollywood, did some shopping, walked around and went on one of the Hollywood Tours that took us to the sign, around the homes and downtown.  Robin came over one night and we had Chinese.  Before we knew it, the days were up and it was time for me to meet up with Robin and head over to the PA PRS Bureau retreat.

The PRS Bureau retreat was another great event.  It all started off with Holly's awesome road trip to the retreat location, LOL! We had a special birthday celebration for Ryan with cake and gifts and Mercy, Holly, Robin, Ginnie and I performed a Lady Marmalade special for Ryan that we had worked on over the last few months.

Even though Ginnie and I had met briefly at Field trip 14 and even ate at the same dinner table at the Hornet, we never really got to know each other until this event.  We definitely got to know each other a lot more. I still laugh at the Boat Shenanigans that happened at the pond, LOL!

Our friendship sort of started off in an argument because she said the boat was sinking and I insisted that it wasn't so I got in the boat anyway and start paddling away and then I look back and see the water coming in very quickly and start yelling at Ginnie, "okay, you were right, the boat has a hole in it" LOL! Luckly, I wasn't too far out so I was able to get the boat back to the edge of the pond and Ginnie helped me get out.  Describing this in words doesn't do it justice, you just had to be there!

Of course with the many shenanigans we had at this retreat, Ginnie and I have become best friends.  It is a little scary how we can read each others minds, and think the same thing before saying anything to each other. I also met a lot of other great people who I have become friends with and still keep in touch with today.  I'm so grateful for the PRS Bureau for this reason.  This retreat, along with the Binaural Beats that Sergey introduced us to, helped me let go of some of the frustration I had with previous things in my life.  I'm not really an outdoor person, but I really did enjoy the scenery, the ponds, and going out for walks everyday through the trails.

In September, which is also my birth month, I turned 27.  I had a couple of birthday dinners with family and friends.  Then at the end of the month I went to Orlando with some friends.  We went to Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Horror Nights, Senor Frogs, Fun Spot Attractions, Cassadaga Spiritual camp, and Barnes and Noble. Some of us went to the Mystery dinner, went shopping, hung out by the swimming pool, participated in the NOH8 Photoshoot, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning on the hotel rooftop.

I came home for a few weeks and then at the end of October I went to North Carolina for the PRS Halloween Retreat! I'm sure for many of us this was one of the best times we had in a long time.  It was really interesting being there the whole time while Hurricane Sandy was happening; it was very windy with lots of rain.  It was neat to see a group of people reunite and meet for the first time and feel like family.  We all took part in decorating the hall for what turned out to be an awesome Halloween Party.  Many of us dressed up in costumes and won prizes.  We watched some scary movies, X-Files, played board games, went for a walk in the woods, decorated our own cabins, and socialized with each other.

When I got home from North Carolina, I started to get a lot more on-call childcare work and it was time to start thinking about Christmas.  It came up so fast for us this year. We almost didn't have enough time to finish our shopping.  Unfortunately, the holidays wasn't that great for a lot of people since many of us seemed to be getting a cold or a flu one after the next. 

Here we are on the last day of 2012.  Even though there were some ups and downs, I am very grateful that I have met some new friends, had some awesome adventures, learned more about myself, had some great times with Chad and I can't wait to see what 2013 will bring for all of us!! I wish each and every one of you all the best in 2013.  For those of you who have hopes, dreams and accomplishments to be fulfilled I hope 2013 will be your year :) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Gift Ever!

I can't believe we are only a few days away from Christmas, one of my favorite holidays that I always look forward to every year.  This year will be different since there have been so many tragedies that have happened within the last few days in December, so as a huge favor I would love for all of us to take a few minutes to ourselves and remember those families who have lost their loved ones.

Christmas was something I looked forward to every year when I was a kid.  My parents had a family tradition of going to midnight mass, relatives visiting, watching my mum decorating the tree to a certain theme while counting all of the decorations as she placed them, socializing, playing games, baking, making gingerbread houses, cooking a big turkey dinner, wrapping presents, and watching movies.  In the morning I was usually the last one out of bed. I know that seems crazy to some of you since most children are up so early, eagerly waiting to open their gifts.  I have a Christmas video to prove this.  My mum would have to wake me up several times before I actually got out of bed. As an adult I still have a hard time getting out of bed.  LOL!  My dad would make us tea, and then all of us would gather around the tree in our pyjamas or comfy clothes and open presents.

I know some families with children don't get a lot of gifts at Christmas time, but my parents always did their best to help those in need by donating food, clothing or toys to a shelter, church or someone that they knew could use some help.  We were very lucky that my parents were able to support us.  After our presents were open we would have brunch and my mum usually made waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and then for the rest of the day she would be prepping dinner.

 About four years ago, sadly this all changed.  My dad who I was extremely close to, passed away.  It was a huge shock to the family, friends and community who knew him and I never realized it until now, but he was the one that held everyone together.  He was the one that would do anything for anyone before himself.  I feel bad that I didn't realize this until after he had passed away, or maybe I did but I didn't realize it until now.  The Christmas traditions stopped. My mum no longer felt like celebrating anymore, which is completely understandable.  I remember the first year having to go through all of the holidays without my dad being there was really tough.  I haven't seen some of the family members in the last few years, because we are not as tight as we used to be.  I miss that.  But, I discovered there is nothing much we can do except try to be grateful for what we have in front of us and not give up hope.

A few years ago my life changed again but this time a prayer was answered.  I finally found my birth mom and family, which I had been searching for for 5 years.  My parents told me from a young age that I was adopted, but I didn't really understand what they meant until I was in my teens.  They would remind me all the time that my birth mom loved me, and that she even gave me the name Je t'aime, which means "I love you" in French.  I thought this was a pretty cool name, and I still do.

I started searching for my family as soon as I was legally able to which was at the age of 19.  I never gave up hope, and I didn't tell many people that I was looking in case things didn't work out the way I had planned.  I wrote ads in the paper and did a passive search through the Adoption Reunion Registry, but every attempt came up as a dead end.  Life went on.

In between searching I got married to my best friend/soul mate Chad, went to school, moved out on my own, and started working and saving up money.  Once I had the money to continue searching, I did just that.  I filed for my original birth certificate which would give me a crucial piece of evidence that would eventually end my search: my mom's middle name.

I would check the mailbox daily.  After several months had passed my birth certificate finally arrived in the mail.  I was so excited and was about to look into what the next step would be to find my mom.  But then something inside of me was telling me to check Facebook, since most people had been using the social website for a couple of years and I figured, whats the worst that could happen? If she doesn't have Facebook, I will just continue on.

I went on the computer, logged into my Facebook account and entered the name that was written on the birth certificate.  A picture came up with the name.  I clicked on it, and was looking at it thinking to myself, is this her? I got really excited, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too high just in case it wasn't.  I immediately asked Chad to come over to see for himself and passed on the picture to other family members to get their opinions.  They all agreed that she looked just like me.

I sent her a message over Facebook, but I could tell that she wasn't very active so I decided to send messages to other people on her friends list and hoped that someone would let me know or let her know.  Chad also helped me with this, and he was the one that got the call that yes in fact she was my mom.  I remember he called me at home, and I just happened to be home from work since I was sick that day and I answered the phone and he told me the news.  It is hard to describe how I felt. I just had all of these emotions hit me and I couldn't wait to meet her and find out if I had more family members out there.  Later on that day, I called her and we talked on the phone for hours as if we had known each other for years.  

Found Birth mom on Facebook - Interview with Chek News

We met in person on Mother's Day of 2010. I met my mom along with her common law husband, my Aunty and cousin.  I was so overjoyed and excited that I had never given up on my search.  It was so awesome to have both of my moms in the same room.

A few weeks later, I met the rest of the family.  They all knew that I had been adopted and it was for certain reasons but they all said the same thing, that they hoped I would find them one day, kind of like finding the missing piece of the puzzle and now the puzzle is complete.  Looking back on this I know my dad had something to do with this. He knew that I wanted to find them, he knew that I wanted answers, and to be a part of my birth family.  They have all welcomed me with open arms, and now I am very much involved in a lot of the family functions that take place.  It was definitely an exciting, overwhelming and emotional time and to this day I am still very grateful.

First time meeting my birth family.  Mom on the left, cousin Kyle and Aunty Diane on the right.

Christmas started to become an exciting time for me again. Having family dinners, celebrating Christmas, playing silly games and even though it may not be the usual family tradition that I grew up with, I know deep down that my dad knew that I wanted and needed my birth family in my life.  To not only find myself and have all of my questions answered but for them as well since I was the missing piece of the puzzle.  I can't wait to see what else lies ahead for us as a family. 

Christmas with my birth family:)

I hope this blog gives you an insight into what my journey has been like. I hope everyone has a great Christmas and when you are with your family, look around and be grateful for what you have.  Christmas is not just about getting gifts under the tree, it can also be the gift of a lifetime that can forever change for the better.  

Some of the family gathering for Aunty Grace's wedding!