Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jolly Jumper

I know, I know... it's so unlike me to post 2 days in a row! I just couldn't help it today. We've had a jolly jumper kicking around our place for a few weeks now. I put Caleb in it a while back and he didn't last more than 10 seconds before crying. Today, I thought I'd give it another try and he loved it! He's been wanting to stand for weeks now, so this was perfect for him. For over half an hour Caleb just kicked his little legs and danced around in that silly harness! I thought I'd share some of his cuteness with you all this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What just happened?

So I'm feeding Caleb his morning bottle today, and go to burp him. All of a sudden I feel a growing "warmth" spreading all over me. I look down and find his entire 6 oz bottle, all over me, all over him, all over the couch. I thought he'd be upset, but no. He just smiled and laughed as I got my camera. What a goof. Lucky kid got a bath first thing this morning.

And now, since pictures are long overdue, here's a few shots taken over the past month or two.
Here's Caleb very intently watching the TV.

Trying on his new toque for our trip to Saskatchewan. Coming up in a week!

Grandpa and Grandma Foth playing with their grandson. Very entertaining.

Caleb with his mom (and great-grandpa snoozing in the background). Ignore my chubby cheeks (having all 4 wisdom teeth pulled will do that to you).

Here's my big boy practicing his sitting. All cleaned up from a crazy morning!

That's it for now! More pictures to come soon.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Big News...

Last night my little sister Angie called and told me something very exciting... she's getting married! Her boyfried Tyler popped the question and she said yes! Doug and I are super excited for the two of them. We love you both and can't wait to see you at Christmas!

You better watch out Ang, because the next time I see you I'll be hugging you like this! (and you're next Tyler!)

Monday, November 19, 2007

A few pictures...

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement and prayers. Sometimes it's not easy being open and honest! Now, on a lighter note, here's a few pictures I snapped of Caleb this morning. He was patiently waiting for our friend Andrienne to pick us up for a day of shopping!

I know what he's thinking in these pictures... do I really have to spend the entire day shopping?
(it wasn't really that hard on him, he got to sleep most of the time!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Can't Sleep...

Sleep doesn't come easily these days. Tonight I lay awake, tossing and turning because:
A. My body can't rest. I can't seem to find a comfortable way to sleep with my shoulder. It always feels uncomfortable and painful when I try to sleep.
B. My mind can't rest. As much as I try to avoid it, at night my mind seems to wander to thoughts of the accident, and play over and over again the terrible moments of those days and weeks.
C. My heart can't find rest. It still feels like it's breaking every day.
Dozens of times a week people ask me how I'm doing, and to be honest I don't even know how to answer that. Even though the accident was almost 4 months ago, it still feels so fresh. Every night I still cry over what's happened. It's hard to see the world moving on and time passing, when I still feel like I'm stuck in the same place, in that one moment that changed everything. I usually love counting down to the Christmas season but this year, the ads on TV and decorations in the stores make me feel sick to my stomach. How can people be so happy at a time like this?
I told Doug tonight that I feel like I don't know who I am anymore. I feel like I'm the empty shell of the person I used to be. Actually, even the outside shell of me isn't the same anymore! It feels like there are so many different things to deal with right now. Every day I still can't help but feel like the world is so empty without Nate in it. One moment I was sitting right behind him, and the next thing I know, I'm waking up to find out that he's gone. I can't wrap my mind around that. It's especially hard to process this and grieve, when I feel like I didn't get the chance to say goodbye with everyone else. I was trapped in the hospital while everyone else had the opportunity to mourn together. Also, as much as Caleb is a positive distraction at a time like this, I feel sick when I think about the events of his birth and how I'm going to tell him the story of his birth one day. The other night I stood over his crib and wept as I thought about the weekend he was born-- it was the worst one of my life. Honestly, no one was excited about his arrival at that time. Doug wasn't. I wasn't. We were in too much shock and pain, along with everyone else. I actually don't even remember his birth. Several weeks after the accident, I had to get Doug to tell me the story of our son's birth because I had no idea what happened those days. And also, I'm still trying to figure out how to get through life with a very different body. I can't believe that I was so concerned about stretch marks before Caleb was born! How silly that sounds to me! Now, hundreds of times I can't help but think about how ugly my shoulder looks. I will probably never wear a sleeveless top again in public, ever. I'm scared that people would see it and be grossed out. I know that I am at times when I look in the mirror. I also feel sick at physio sometimes, because they aren't talking about how we're going to "fix" my shoulder anymore, instead they talk about how we're going to have to find new ways for me to do the things I once did. I don't want to settle for anything less than what it once was! I'm sorry, but learning how to throw a ball with your opposite hand (the one that is not dominant) is not exactly easy or natural!
This all sounds pretty negative, and I hate to complain, but I thought I should be honest about how things are right now. I sometimes struggle with what to post on this blog. It would be easy to paint a pretty picture, that everything is better. Unfortunately that's not reality. I know that one day the pain and trauma will dull, and I will feel like life can be "normal" (a different normal) again, but that feels like a distant dream.
Hopefully getting some of my thoughts and feelings out into the open will help me sleep tonight, because Caleb will be waking up in a few hours! Thanks for bearing with me as I vent a little bit about life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fall Pictures

Last Sunday Doug, Caleb, and I went to the park across the street with Erik, Jamie, & family to snap some fall pics. We took some shots of their family and they got a few good ones of us! Here are some of my favorites from the day.

Here's Grandma with her three Grandchildren.

Such cuties. Aren't I a lucky auntie?

I think this is my favorite picture from the afternoon. What a sad face!

Here's my little man!

Well, it's week 2 of Doug being back at work. It feels a little strange to be at home with Caleb all by myself! How's it been going? Good! Caleb is such a happy and content baby. He's already sleeping through the night (most of the time), naps well during the day, and rarely fusses or cries. He's starting to smile and laugh, especially for Doug. Before the accident, I remember feeling worried about being at home taking care of a baby. I assumed it would be the most exhausting thing I'd do in my day. However, now I feel that taking care of Caleb and being a mom is easy! It's more mentally exhausting to take care of myself as I try to do things that should be simple-- like taking a shower (washing your hair with 1 hand is not easy, let me tell you), trying to do my hair one-handed, unloading the dishwasher 1 plate at a time, getting dressed... the list goes on. Oh well. You get creative and find ways get things done! I had an interesting Doctor's appointment last week. For the last few weeks I felt like there was something lodged far into my ear. One night I tried to get "it" out with my pinkie and realized that it was probably a piece of glass (it's my left ear, the one that would have been closest to the window that broke over me in the accident). I told the Doctor about it, and sure enough, he removed a pea sized piece of glass from my ear! It's crazy to think it's been in there for 3 months. I think I also found another piece that's starting to make it's way to the surface on my arm. The Doctors told me that I could have glass coming out of my arm and hands for years to come. Gross.
Well, Caleb's down for a nap, so I should probably take a shower before he wakes up! Hope you all enjoy the pictures.

Monday, October 22, 2007

One Busy Weekend...

After a busy weekend of Starbucks, breakfast at White Spot, watching Daddy play volleyball, making thai food, movie watching, playing with my cousins, hanging out with my Aunties and Uncle, I'm tired! (says Caleb) That's why I'm spending the day napping!

Monday, October 08, 2007


Usually Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing season, a time to celebrate with family & friends, the food, and of course the chance to reflect on God's many blessings. This was a bit of a tough weekend however, even though my sisters were out from Saskatchewan to visit us. They were a wonderful distraction, but Doug and I really struggled with thankfulness in light of everything that's happened. It's hard to be in a season of life where every joyful moment is somehow tainted by overwhelming sadness and heartache. I visited Nate's grave for the first time today. What a day.

I'm sure many of you are wondering about my shoulder and many other ailments. About 2 weeks ago I visited an orthopedic surgeon who told me I would definitely be needing more surgery on my shoulder. The X-rays he saw led him to believe that it was dislocated with several broken bones. He ordered a CT scan, which I had the following day, and then this past week I went in to see him. Surprisingly, he told me that my shoulder was no longer dislocated! Also, many of the bones that were fractured had already healed-- only one fracture has yet to heal. A miracle. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Prayers are being answered.

I know I should be happy about this-- and don't get me wrong-- I'm so relieved that I won't be needing surgery anytime soon. However, out of all the doctors I've seen this guy was the most realistic with me. He told me that I may never be able to raise my right arm above shoulder height ever again. All I could think about was how different life is going to look. No more volleyball, basketball, playing squash with Doug. I won't be able to throw a ball or play catch with Caleb. As I had thought about the possibility of having more surgery done on my shoulder before meeting with the doctor, I had the hope that they would be able to fix it to look a bit more like a normal shoulder. Now I just feel like I'm going to have to settle with what I've got right now. It's hard to look in the mirror and see how disfigured I look. In some ways I was okay with surgery because I thought they would be able to fix it-- it's appearance, and it's mobility. Now I just feel like my shoulder is the best it's going to be. So it's back to physio for me.

This Thanksgiving and over the past few weeks I've heard this line a few times: "Things could have been a lot worse. Be thankful that (fill in the blank) didn't happen." I know that people mean well when they say that, and I myself often think about what could have happened and thank God that it didn't, but honestly, I hate that line of reasoning. It downplays this experience and makes me feel like somehow I shouldn't be feeling so upset about Nate's death and frustrated by my injuries. In all honesty, life feels pretty terrible. I can't forget about what's going on in my life at this moment and be grateful about everything. What I have learned lately, is that God can accept me as I am right now. Sometimes, all I can do is say His name and breathe a "thank-you" as I hold Caleb, and that's okay. It's a strange place to be in and a difficult road to walk, but this weekend I learned that suffering and thankfulness are not mutally exclusive. They can coexist with one another. Here's how:

Caleb and his Auntie Trish.

Hanging out with Auntie Angie.

Out for a fun dinner at the Mongolie Grill.

Getting sleepy in the car on our shopping trip in Vancouver.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm Free!

That's right. As of yesterday morning, my jaw was finally unwired. For the most part, it was an okay experience. It felt a bit strange to be put to sleep again-- the nurse started an IV, attached me to all sorts of machines, and hooked my up to the oxygen again-- it brought me back to those days in the hospital. The dentist came in and we started chatting and the next thing I remember is walking up the stairs of our building to our second floor apartment. According to Doug, I was awake in the room when he was called back in there to talk to the doctor. Apparently I even tried to be part of the conversation, although they didn't understand a thing I was trying to say (I had a lot of gauze in my mouth at that time). Somehow, I walked out of the office, down the stairs, and to the car and don't remember a thing. A little creepy, if you ask me.
It sounds like the doctor is pretty optimistic about how things went. While I was asleep he tested the strength of my jaw and found that it was healing well. My bite lined up well too, so he's thinking that I will not need to have any more work done if I don't want it. We'll see him again next week, but it feels like a small answer to prayer. Yesterday Doug and I decided that we were going to celebrate this small step of progress in the journey of recovery. Even though it's difficult to put the painful thoughts and memories aside for a while, it was nice to just be encouraged and focus on the positive for a few hours.
If there is anything I've learned from this experience, it's to not take the small things in life for granted. Eating every meal though a straw for 6 weeks certainly teaches you this lesson, and there have been so many other realizations of how much we take our health and independence for granted every day. I remember so clearly how important those small steps have been to me throughout the past few weeks. Drinking my first glass of water after 3 days of no food or drink was glorious (I asked for it in the helicopter and was told to wait until we reached the Calgary hospital-- little did I know that it would be days before I'd be allowed to drink it!). I wept during my first shower in the hospital-- after 10 days of having someone else bathe you, taking a hot shower on your own is incredible. I can still remember how remarkabe it was to pick up my baby for the first time on my own without having to wait for someone to lay him in my arms-- finally I felt like a mom. The first time I was actually able to dress myself without help I ran into the kitchen to show Doug my accomplishment like a toddler anxious to show their parent their latest trick. Yesterday I actually shed a few tears the first time I realized I could lick my lips without having teeth in the way! Small steps often feel the most significant during the journey.
Thank you everyone for praying for me and my broken jaw. I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am to have this part of the healing process almost over.
For those of you who are curious, the first thing I ate was a piece of toast. Not too exciting, I know, but I sent Doug to McDonalds for me not long after. (Don't tell my oral surgeon).

Why not throw a few pictures of the little guy in? These were taken just this morning. He's irresistibly cute while sleeping.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Long Awaited Update

Finally! Some pictures of Caleb for you all. I snapped these a week or two ago as he was waking up from a nap. I couldn't resist... he looked so cute. Caleb has been at home with us for about a month now, and he's turned out to be quite a happy and content baby. I would say that out of the three of us, he's probably doing the best.

Here he is looking sleepy...

A little smile...

Back to sleep...

And now for an update on me... since so many of you have been asking. As most of you know I was in the hospital in Calgary for just over 2 weeks. I don't remember a thing about the accident-- total memory loss of that event, so I can't give any details about that. As I was being airlifted from the scene of the accident to Calgary I started to wake up a little bit. My first clear memories were in the ICU in Calgary signing consent for surgery-- even though at the time I had no idea what it was for. That first surgery they removed all of the glass from my arm, left shoulder, head, and hands. When I woke up they assured me that the baby was doing fine, and that he was in stable condition. I was told that he would be staying put for the time being. I was also made aware of all my injuries. Let me set the record straight of what was wrong with me: a good part of my left shoulder was missing-- skin, tissue, muscle, it was a hole about 6x3 inches. My left arm, right hand and scalp was shredded by flying glass. My T4 (a vertebrae) was fractured, there was some bleeding in my brain, and my jaw was broken. About 3-4 hours after the first surgery Caleb's heartrate started dropping. The nurses started running around the room and began to ask me if I was having contractions. I said no-- on morphine and still woozy from surgery I had no idea what was going on. Within a few minutes they had me in surgery for an emergency C-section. Doug wasn't allowed in the room since it was a risky surgery-- At that point they were not sure if my spine was stable-- so they had 3 teams of surgeons on hand: 1 performing the C-section, 1 team for Caleb, and 1 to operate on my spine if something went wrong. It went well, and within 12 hours I had already completed surgery number 2. That's the story of Caleb's birth. Not exactly as we had planned.
This began my stay in the hospital. In total I had 5 surgeries... some more pleasant than others. They ended up operating on my shoulder 4 times. I never saw what it looked like originally, but it already looks so much better 6 weeks later. The plastic surgeons ended up taking skin from my hip and grafted it onto my shoulder to cover the hole. It's going to leave a terrible scar, but at least I still have a shoulder. They also wired my jaw shut to allow it to heal. That's made for an interesting few weeks eating every meal from a straw.
For the most part I've tried to be postive about my physical injuries... knowing that my body would eventually heal. However, there's been some bad news in the past few weeks. The oral surgeon I've been seeing here in Abbotsford told me that my jaw had been set wrong by the doctors in Calgary. As a result, there's been some nerve damage-- my chin and a part of my lip is numb, and will most likely always be like numb, and there's a chance that my bite might be off. I had 2 options-- to leave it wired shut for the remainder of the 6 weeks, hope it heals okay even though it wasn't set correctly in the first place, and learn to live with the numbness. Or they could redo the surgery, and try to reconnect the nerves and wire me shut for another 6 weeks. I chose the first option, and on Wednesday my jaw will be unwired. Pray that my jaw has healed correctly, despite it being set incorrectly. Another surgery and 6 weeks of the blender is hard to take in.
Today brought more disappointment. Last week Doug and I asked one of my doctors about the placement of my shoulder. There is a large lump protruding in the front of my shoulder that looks so out of place. He sent us for x-rays immediately, since he agreed that it look a bit strange. The results came in today-- my shoulder is dislocated and one of the bones (can't remember which one) was broken in several places or "shattered" as the doctor put it. This came as quite a shock since not one of my doctors in Calgary ever said anything about my shoulder being out of place or anything being fractured. It's a complicated issue, since they are going to have to put it back into place and fix the damage while dealing with the skin graft and major damage to the muscles and tissue around the bones. I can't describe how disappointed and frustrated I've been today. I've been working so hard going to physio to try to regain use of my shoulder, only to find out that I'm starting back at square one. We will most likely be seeing a shoulder specialist in the next few days, so hopefully we will have some answers soon.
That's the update on how I've been recovering physically. I wish I could give you a run down on how I've been healing emotionally/mentally, but unfortunately you can't see or measure how that process is coming along. Simply put, I miss Nate, and I can't believe he's not here. So many times over the past few weeks I've thought about a converstation the 4 of us had in the car the morning of the accident. We started to think about the past 5 years and began to share about what our plans for the future had been 5 years ago. We all acknowleged that we had ended up in different places than expected. Nate then suggested that we each share about our plans for the next 5 years of life. We all had remarkably similar goals and aspirations-- kids, ministry, missions. It was exciting to think and dream of the future. If we had only known how quickly those plans would change. To be honest, I don't think my heart understands that Nate is gone for good. I didn't really have the chance to say goodbye to him, since I was stuck in the hospital in Calgary during the funeral. It almost feels like I came home and he's just been missing temporarily. Everyone had a chance to say goodbye except for me. How does one grieve? I have no idea how to do this or what this process is like. All I know is that I miss him, and I hurt every time I think about Doug without his brother, Rosanna without her husband, Doug's parents without their son.
Never before have I had so many questions for God, and so few answers. I'm overwhelmed with emotions of anger and thankfulness at the same time. I'm thankful that God chose to spare my son, that I can walk and talk after being close to losing both of those abilities, and that Doug is still here beside me. And yet I'm angry at times, and question why this had to happen. Doesn't God know that we needed Nate here?
All I know at this time is that God love me and that understands my pain. There were several sleepless nights that I lay in my hospital bed feeling so alone, scared about the surgery I was facing the next morning, and like life was totally out of control. In the middle of the night I would pull out the Ipod I was borrowing and would listen to this song by Casting Crowns again and again in the dark.

I was sure by now that You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen" and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls I barely hear
You whisper through the rain "I'm with you"
And as your mercy falls I raise my hand and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I'll praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
Every tear I've cried You hold in your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry, You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone, how can I carry on
If I can't find You?
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

The words describe exactly how I've felt over these past few weeks. I don't know why this has happened to us, I don't understand it and probably never will, but I still choose to praise God and trust that he will see us through this storm.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's A Boy...

Caleb Nathan Toews
Born July 21, 2007
5 lbs 5 ounces, 18 inches long

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Our Trip in Pictures

WARNING: the following post contains a lot of pictures with not a lot of writing.

As many of you know, Doug and I took a little vacation this past weekend to good old Waldheim, Saskatchewan. Here's what we did and saw!

Flying Westjet was wonderful (except for the time with the turbulance, the falling flight attendant, and, oh yeah, other passengers getting sick on the plane). Other than one rough flight, it was so nice to fly and not drive all the way there!

Doug and I managed to make it out to the wedding ceremony of some friends of ours, Tim and Erica. It was a beautiful ceremony (Erica-- you were gorgeous! I loved your dress!!!) and we were pretty surprised to see so many of our Bethany friends! Here's a few shots of the lovely couple.

Since we were so nicely dressed up from the wedding, Doug and I snapped a few pictures on my parent's front porch. Here's a family of 2, soon to be 3!

And of course, what's a photo session without a pregnancy picture! Here I am at 30 weeks! (For all you pregnant ladies out there, I recommend looking at Superstore if you need a maternity dress-- I found mine for 11.97, and I liked it a whole lot better than any of those tents they sell at Thyme!)

The highlight of the trip was spending time with my 2 beautiful sisters, Trisha (in the pink) and Angela (the white). They are so excited about the baby, and can't wait to be aunties. Of course we had to take a picture of the Aunties with the belly.

Here's Joel, my little brother (or not so little anymore) getting in on the action.

Here's one with the puppy trying to sneak into the picture!

What's a trip to the farm without a trip out to the barn? While we were there, these two little twin lambs were born, lambs #201 and 202! They sure are cute, but they can be pretty noisy when they're all bah-ing at the same time.

A couple of days before we got there, my parents got a new puppy for the farm! He was so shy on Friday when we got there, but by the end of the weekend, he couldn't wait for someone to come outside and play with him. What a cute little puppy. I sure was tempted to bring him home with me!

Well, that's it folks. It fun to see everyone, but it could have been longer. Isn't it always that way? It's crazy to think that the next time we head out to Waldheim to visit my family, we'll have a baby! Excuse me while I have a panic session.