The years after Lillian was born were a whirlwind and now that she is nearly ten years old, I can hardly remember many of the details. Jason and I jumped into parenthood together like it was natural. Watching him with Lillian at night, swaying with her in our bedroom when she was a newborn and kissing her forehead melted my heart. His love for me grew even stronger after she was born.  He demonstrated that love in the beautiful ways. He would show his appreciation for me in the songs he would play while strumming his guitar and glancing at me with a smile that would make my heart dance. I knew then, that I could never love another man. He was for me; he was my soulmate. Yet, I still could not seem to grasp what was wrong with me. I still felt so empty. Darkness seemed to surround the love, and it was a constant battle. The black shadows seemed to creep up alongside of my heart reminding me that I was ashamed and didn’t deserve love.  I would find myself battling the anxiety as well, constantly exhausted even after Lillian slept through the night. I felt …lost. I did what I needed to do, but I was lost.  One day we both realized that it was time to step away from each other.

I was not able to be the wife he needed at the time and my heart was still so damaged and closed. I did not know who I was inside; my higher self was hidden beneath the darkness, peaking out at the love that seemed to be bursting to get out. Jason’s incredible strength and confidence allowed me to have this time alone. We separated and it was heart wrenching. I knew it would affect our daughter, in fact to this day she still asks me questions about it, as she is just trying to make sense of it. I know what it is like to have parents separate; I was that child too as my parents divorced when I was thirteen. I also knew she would be MUCH worse off with a mother who was so spiritually dead and lost that there would be no room for me to grow as a mother and take care of her the way she needed.

In the year and a half that I was away from Jason, I grew in many ways. I lived in a little apartment and became more confident and independent than ever before. Jason now knows that if God called him home, I would be able to stand on my own two feet and raise our children without falling apart. During this time, I discovered my passions for helping people and began the first steps of creating what is now my company, Healthy Mom Happy Baby LLC. I also began to take more care of myself and didn’t feel quite so lost.  I made my health one of my highest priorities, both mentally and physically. I worked hard to become physically strong and mentally clear. I had spent hours with various counselors to help my emotions heal which helped with all my confusion. Yet, I sensed there was still something missing: …my soul. Spiritually, I still felt separated from something greater than myself that I instinctively knew I needed.  Call it God, Divine Love, call it whatever…  it was bigger than me.

In 2010, Jason and I decided to try to make it work again and we began to work toward that after a year and a half apart.  Though we felt we were never truly apart in our hearts, the intention of coming together as a couple began. We are soulmates and the separation confirmed that. Three years later, on July 3, 2013 we remarried and that continued our bond in marriage and journey together. Very soon after the wedding, Joseph Michael Gibson was conceived.  We planned for this to happen and I was FINALLY able and so ready to have my next baby.

Five days after I found out we were expecting, and busy reading every new baby book, I became very ill.  At first I thought it was normal morning sickness.  I had read about that in all the books.  But when it became relentless, sending me to the bathroom around the clock, I got scared.   Five weeks into the pregnancy, I found that I practically lived in the bathroom with non-stop vomiting. As the days turned into weeks, I began to grow weak, but fought valiantly to be brave. I could not leave the bathroom at all. My mom helped every day, begging me to call the doctor again, as she felt this was not normal morning sickness. I was embarrassed to do so until one day I began to vomit blood…okay, that got my attention!  It was time to call the Doctor. I was given the ‘diagnosis’: Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Suddenly, I went from a happy event to fear.   Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a condition that is almost impossible to explain.  Heck, even my word spell check didn’t know how it was spelled.  It’s a rare condition affecting 2% of all pregnant women.   Besides my mother and Jason, I found that no one else really understood my condition.  It was hard for me to wrap my mind around it.  Even doctors don’t understand it and I found that my own doctor thought most of it was “psychological”.  She said, “it will go away by 12 weeks”.    So I waited, with an IV pole as my only company much of the time.  I had never felt so alone in my entire life.

“Don’t worry, after we get through this we will travel all over the place to make up for this,” my husband said to me one night, while he held my weak body as I hovered over a trash can all at once. A scene that was becoming more normal day by day. I laughed. I thought, ‘just going to the bathroom was a struggle. Traveling?  Yeah, right.

The days turned to weeks, then into months. Months. When was this going to end? I could hardly take one more minute of this relentless nausea and vomiting.  I wasn’t even gaining weight.  I looked at other pregnant moms walking around, shopping, exercising and eating normally.  And I was jealous.  All I wanted was to just enjoy this pregnancy. At my 20- week ultrasound we found out the baby was a boy. I cried with tears of joy as pure love filled my heart.  My husband stared at the screen, frozen and silent with his eyes becoming increasingly damp with tears. He kissed my hand and leaned in to touch our foreheads and looked into my eyes, “You are so incredible baby.” That gave me strength, I looked back at the screen and told myself, I can and I WILL do this! We’re having a BOY!

Then the morning of November 12th came. I was in bed and in that phase of light sleep where you wake up, half dozing in and out before you finally decide to wake up.  I call it twilight sleep.  I was in a dreamlike state, ignoring the nausea that was also waking up with me.  I kept myself that way as long as I could because it was the only relief I had every day.  It was then that I heard a voice whispering loudly and clearly, “Mommy…” I snapped awake. Who was that? I felt my son kick as my stomach rolled with anger. I looked over at the ultrasound picture sitting on my bedside stand of my son waving from the week before. I had not looked at it since we had gotten home that day. I smiled at it. My son kicked again and I laughed. “You know Mommy was looking at your picture don’t you sweet boy?”

Little did I know that would be the last kick I felt and the last time we spoke together on this earth. It was the last day I would be able to cradle him in my womb, mother and son, safe from harm. Looking back, it was as if he was trying to tell me that.

Later that morning I felt a gush and thought my water was broken. My doctor had me come in right away and on the way there I laughed, thinking it was probably just urine. The doctor came into the room and turned on the ultrasound machine, checking the fluid levels. All looked good. Then I saw her face fall still, her eyebrows scrunched. She moved the wand repeatedly over my belly. She paused and her eyes closed as she took a really big breath. That was the moment my life changed forever…

Joseph Michael Gibson had passed and I knew, his spirit had already left my womb. He was called back home to heaven. My son had died.  The searing pain in my emotions at that moment is indescribable.  I shouted out to God, “Why?”  But there was no answer…