Learning To Appreciate Life All Over Again

Learning To Appreciate Life All Over Again

Both Tim and I can’t be any happier with the recent news!

It feels different to be pregnant again. A mixture of feelings- happy but fearful at the same time. I would like to document our entire pregnancy journey to encourage mummies to continue to overcome pregnancy after loss. Hang in there, mummies!

Week 7 (2nd Sep’16)

To give this new pregnancy journey a pleasant start, we decided to change our gynea this time around. There’s nothing wrong with the previous gynea but the change in environment helps get away those negative memories.

We went to the clinic a week after I found out I am pregnant. Pardon the ‘kancheong’ spirit here, the gynea could only spot the little seed (Nathan’s sibling) and to confirm the pregnancy.

(2 weeks passed)

This week, we went to the clinic for the second time. It is supposed to be an important scan- heartbeat has to be formed by now. It was too early for gynea to detect the little sibling during the previous visit. I’ve never felt so nervous with the scans- it has always been smooth sailing during little N’s time.

At first, it took a while for gynea to spot the little sibling. We saw the sac and he was searching for the little sibling. I held my breath for that few short minutes, praying hard at the back of my mind- “God, please let Nathan’s sibling grow well and stay healthy.”

And within a few minutes, he found the sibling! Gynea turned on the audio to let us hear that awesome heartbeat! We haven’t felt so happy for a long long time!

I know it’s gonna be a long pregnancy journey- living each day so cautiously like walking on broken glasses or if you prefer the biblical way of saying “walking on water with faith”.

I’m very thankful to have the constant support from Tim, my mom, close friends and new friends I’ve met at the pregnancy loss group. Most importantly, I know that God is looking out for us no matter what happens. I thank God for giving us this light of hope. Though we will never know the outcome- the only way to overcome the evil fear is to keep reminding ourselves that God is in control of everything.

To Tim:

Thanks for being the sturdy tree for the family. We’ve been through tough times but let’s not forget the good times. Let’s fight the fear and enjoy the journey with little sibling. Whatever happens, at least we know that sibling has a brother in heaven who will be there to look out for him. I’ll complain lesser and start learning to appreciate pregnancy life all over again.

To little sibling:

You are our rainbow of hope and God’s blessed child. Stay strong and healthy- always remember that God loves us no matter what.

P/S Your amazing heartbeat tells me how much you yearn to fight together with daddy and mummy. Be brave and keep fighting!

Love,

Dee

There Are Some Questions In Life, We Do Not Have Answers To (At Least, Not Easy Ones)

There Are Some Questions In Life, We Do Not Have Answers To (At Least, Not Easy Ones)

Over the past few months, Dee and I have been extremely grateful to have met quite a few people. People, whom we did not know, sharing their own personal experiences with us.

All of the stories that were shared with us were incredibly heartbreaking. No words (at least not what I can think of) can describe the type of unimaginable pain all of these parents felt – and possibly, still feel till today.

Little curious questions pop into our minds every now and then. How would Nathan looked like today if he was still around? Would he looked like his dad, or bear some resemblance with his cousins? Would he have been a left-hander (Dee) or a right-hander (Tim). How much hair would he have today (he had nice curly hair when he came out)? What blood type would he have been? The questions continue…

We Don’t Forget, But We Move On…

I believe all parents that lost little ones will have these thoughts from time to time, when we think about the moments which did not happen and how our child (or children) would have been today, if they were still around.

It’s hard for me to ever forget about Nathan. Perhaps that might happen one day when I lose the sharpness of my mind. Perhaps not.

For Dee and I, there is no doubt in our minds that Nathan has and would always be an important part of our family. He is our first child, and the memories of him growing up in his mother’s womb would always be in our hearts, and in the hearts of our family.

More often that not, we don’t get answers because we are not asking the right questions. And while, I don’t have the answer (yet) to why Nathan had to leave us, I do know that in God’s plan, Nathan’s life (though shorter than we hoped for) was meant to impact both the lives of Dee & I, those of our family members, and the people whom we have connected with.

Dee have shared her stories about Nathan to multiple strangers whom we did not know before. They too, have shared their own stories with her, and she, with me.

And I believe, in an amazing way, that all this is just the start of something special.

A Sermon Worth Listening To

We heard this sermon from John MacArthur after losing Nathan. This sermon was preached about 15 years ago in 2001. The fact that it is still relevant to anyone today, and in future generations to come, is a testament to just how unchanging the word of God is.

If you are on this blog because you have encountered a similar loss, I would like to encourage for you to listen to this sermon. It’s my prayer that it will minister and comfort you in the same way it has ministered and comforted us.

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-242/the-salvation-of-babies-who-die-part-1

 

 

I Will Walk With You No Matter How Long It Takes

I Will Walk With You No Matter How Long It Takes

Nathaniel would have been 5 months old today.

It’s hard to believe that we lost Nathaniel just 5 months ago. When it happened, it was sudden, and painful, a grief beyond anything I have ever felt.

Nothing prepares you for the unexpected loss of a baby that you were already anticipating. During week 37 of pregnancy, Dee started having the common Braxton Hicks contractions. We were all waiting for him. Dee was home-based while I had my phone on standby ready to head home when the call came. Nathaniel’s bag was all packed in the car.

And then we lost him, just like that.

The pain amplifies when what was a bundle of joy in our lives turned into a deep loss, all in an instance.

What makes it even harder was knowing the girl I love most was experiencing all these, dealing with pain greater than my own.

I told Dee. I love Nathaniel and I am so upset he is no longer with us. What makes the pain even harder is knowing that it’s not just my loss, but hers as well. When I see her sad, it makes the pain worse.

To Dee, always remember, there was a time when it was the three of us. Me, you, and baby Nate. It wasn’t as long as we wished, but that doesn’t make it any less real. We had our moments, and we will keep it in our hearts.

In God’s own purpose, he allowed our family of three to become two. Nate was the odd man (or baby) out. So that leaves us with one another. And I will treasure the moments, the good and the bad, for as long as we live.

We will never know why it had to be our Nathan. It’s a question that we will not get an answer to, at least not on this side of the world.

I am sorry for your (our) loss. I know it’s tough, and still is. But I promise you, I will walk with you through this, no matter how long it takes. I will journey with you till the day we can look at babies, think of little Nathan, and smile at the perfect memories we have of him.

Still Missing You…

Still Missing You…

It’s been more than 4 months since we lost Nathaniel. Today, I thought of him out of the blue while I was at the office.

For those of you who know me personally, I write a lot at work. Before N was born, I wrote a lot about how parents can plan the finances for their kids.  Since we lost N, I have stop writing those articles – for obvious reasons.

This afternoon, I was writing  an article about life’s journey and I covered a portion about starting a family and “expecting the unexpected”. Both of these hit me. It reminded me about the loss that we have experienced.

Dee asked me just a couple of days ago if I still think about N. I told her the truth, and that was, I try not to think about it too much.

I thought about N today while I was in office. I thought about how I wish I could have just spent a little more time with him while he was in Dee’s womb. I wished I talked to him more, especially during the later stage of the pregnancy when he would react to sound.

Seeing Nathan made it all real. It reminded us that life, while fragile, is created by God. It reminded me that even as parents, we are only temporary guardians of our little ones while we (or them) are on this earth. Last but not least, it reminded me that every little being, be it a child, a toddler, a newborn, a stillborn or a miscarriage baby is still a precious child of God, regardless of what society “terms” them.

Dee and I promised one another that if another pregnancy comes in the future, we would treasure the time we have with our baby as much as possible, even while him or her is still in the womb.

I don’t cry much over him these days, except when I am writing or talking about him. But I really miss him so much. And I am sure I speak for Dee as well.

Nathan'sGift

Why You Sometimes Don’t Recover From Losses. And Why That’s Okay

Why You Sometimes Don’t Recover From Losses. And Why That’s Okay

Over the past week, I have been reading a book call “A Grace Disguised” written by Jerry Sittser. It’s a book that talks about grieve, loss and grace through the author’s perspective. The author lost his mother, wife and daughter in a single accident.

Every Loss Is Painful…And Personal

One of the key things that the author shared was just how every loss in this world is personal in it’s own way. Some losses appear more tragic than others from the outside, but only the people going through them know the real pain of what they are experiencing. Every loss is personal to someone.

You Don’t Recover From Some Losses

It’s nice to think that time could heal all wounds. Growing up, we learn that a bad breakup with a long-time ex would take us some time to get over it. When we flunk our exams, we are disappointed. When we fail to get a job, we try again. We do our best to recover from these things.

However, they’re some losses in life that you simply don’t recover from. For example, while you can recover from a broken limb, you don’t recover from an amputation. We don’t go up to an amputee and wish him or her speedy recovery, because what does recovery really look like for the person?

Over the past years, I had a couple of long-time friends who lost their moms. And I am starting to get a really really small glimpse on just how useless it is to be asking someone to recover from such a loss. Because none of us really know how they feel, or what is it that they are dealing with. We can only be there for them when we know they need us.

Moving On And Living With It

I remember the first hour after Dee & I found our that Nathaniel had left us. We were waiting outside the clinic for the hospital bed to be ready. We had just made the calls to our parents to tell them of the news. We also knew the next few days, weeks and months would be difficult. My mind was all in shock. I remember telling Dee just how excruciating and unbelievably painful this is.

I was scared too. Scared of what’s going to happen. Just then, I knew that our lives were never going to be the same again.

Before Dee went for the delivery of Nathaniel, I asked God to keep her safe. I wanted, maybe even needed, to move on in life with her beside me.

Be Brave

Sometimes, life throw at us shocking and unexpected tragic twists. It could be something that came without reason or warning, like what happened to our baby. It could be the deteriorating health of a loved one due to terminal illness. And having to watch the person struggle with things that we all used to take for granted. It could be a horrible relationship betrayal.

Most of these times, none of these things are our own doing. We did nothing wrong. And we ask ourselves, why is life just so freaking unfair to me? Why can’t I have what other “normal” people?

I don’t have a great answer to that question.

But what I do have is a response. And that respond is to Be Brave. Face up to what life has thrown to you. Do your best to move on to the next chapter of your life not because you need to, but because you want to.

My wife told me this a week after we lost Nathaniel. “Happiness is a choice.” It always has been.

 

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Will A Mom Ever Stop Being A Mother?

Will A Mom Ever Stop Being A Mother?

Mother’s Day this year took on a slightly different meaning for us.

Personally, I have never really been a fan of all these celebratory days (i.e. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day). The reason is simple, I don’t think we need a special day to celebrate with our loved ones. This is of course, a personal opinion.

Why You Become A Mom The Day Your Child Conceive

Dee carried little N for a total of 39 weeks in her womb. Having went through this 39 weeks with them, it is difficult not to accept the fact that a woman becomes a mom the day her baby was conceived.

The growth of little N through all these months, the caring of the body for the two of them during the period, the expansion of the tummy, putting on 7-8 kg during pregnancy, outgrowing all your clothes, developing the stretch marks and rashes. You can’t deny it even if you want to. Pregnancy takes a toll on the body.

But beneath the physical toll hides what this actually is – A bond. A bond between mom & child. N lived his (short) life in Dee’s body. And while we didn’t get to witness him breathing or crying through our own eyes, it doesn’t take away the fact that he lived his life with us for that period in our lives, and that he was loved and cared for. And yes, we still love and remember him today.

Because of what happened, I don’t like the term “expecting mom”. It gives the impression that a pregnant lady is not yet a mother, and that the baby in her womb is somehow…not yet her child, which of course, is not true. We can stick to the term, pregnant woman. Not the coolest term ever but much more accurate in my opinion.

I still remember the days during the latter part of the pregnancy when little N kicks could be felt. The two of us would get up in the morning and I will ask Dee if little N has woke up. The answer would usually be a “yes”, since I pretty much slept through the night, while little N would be giving those random kicks to mommy during the night and disrupting her sleep.

For that period of 9+ months, little N was with mommy wherever she went. He went to the office with her, was with her during all her meals, was with us when we went to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when we watched the San Antonio Spurs with Tim Duncan playing in the NBA (we got him a father-son jersey). He was with us when we went to church. We even joked about how he was trying to get the attention of the pastors whenever they asked “who is joining us for the first time today” during service. He had a habit of sleeping through the sermon though…

He was with us in this end-of-year photo we took at a church event. TIM & DEE & NATE

That pair of suspender I am wearing was bought for our wedding. I still have it. 

The day we finally saw little N was also the day we said our goodbyes to him. My eyes welled with tears whenever I think about the day we found out he has left us, and the people we had to break the news to, particularly our parents (Nathaniel’s grandparents). People advised us not to worry about others, but it pains us knowing how heartbroken our parents were, and maybe, still am. They are afterall still our parents, we feel for them.

Happy Mother’s Day To Dee

We woke up in Seoul today, about 5,000km away from Singapore. It’s a trip that we booked after losing N. I woke up and said “Happy Mother’s Day” to Dee. I said it because I think Mother’s Day shouldn’t just be celebrated by those who currently have children, but also for all the moms who have went through the journey of motherhood – the joy and the pain.

Dee

Just 3 months after having been through a 9 months pregnancy, and having gone through what she had went through, this amazing girl hiked up with me a 1900m mountain in Jeju which took us about 9 hours in total (19.2km). Those are clouds in the background. 

Dear D, thanks for being such an awesome mom to our little boy.

PS: To both our moms in Singapore, Happy Mother’s Day! We love you 🙂

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A confinement that’s different from others

A confinement that’s different from others

The toughest moment has passed and I’m truly thankful for having wonderful people around us. And it’s also through God’s everlasting love that has been shielding us as we grieve over the loss of our little Nathaniel.

Doing confinement wasn’t easy for both Tim and I. The initial excitement about taking turns to look after the baby and Tim volunteering to be my confinement ‘nanny’- it just didn’t feel so fun now.

While every other mothers are happily getting busy with breastfeeding their newborns during confinement period and parents coming over to make confinement food, mine was a terribly lonely one.

With no baby to look after, the confinement was just solely focusing on my physical recovery. No baby cries, no midnight feeding either.

It was truly the toughest moment we’ve ever had. So much for having everything all planned for Nathaniel’s arrival. I remembered those sleepless nights (while Tim on the other hand suffered from some mental exhaustion). Thankfully after sharing my insomnia issue with our close friends, they suggested a few good christian books to read before bed time. It helps. Dabbing a few drops of lavender aroma oil on my pillow helps too.

P/S Drop us a message if you need some book recommendations. 

The mental recovery wouldn’t be smooth without the honest sharing with one another too. It help us understand each other better and knowing what’s going through our mind whenever we think about the loss our little boy.

I am truly grateful for having Tim around with me through this difficult time.

To Tim, thank you for nursing me so well when I was at my weakest. I wouldn’t be able to go through all these alone without having you beside me. Thank you for staying awake through my sleepless nights and making sure that I share all my thoughts with you. Truly, I have never once regretted bearing Nathaniel, our son. It has been a wonderful journey for us three in the past 10 months. Though it was short, but it is a meaningful one. Lets continue to create more wonderful memories together. Love you always.

To moms who are going through the same phase of life as us, you are not alone in this. Join our private Facebook Group to share and give support to one another. Your invaluable sharing may help others in overcoming their loss as well.