Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Week Old!

I swore during my pregnancy that I was not going to be one of those mamas that talked, bragged, and doted constantly about their babies. It was not that I did not like hearing/reading about others' babies. It was that I was aware that there was several people out there that simply did not give a hoot and may end up being annoyed to hear all about babies. They think there's more to life than babies. It is true--there is more to life than just about your baby. However, once a baby is born from you, that baby becomes your life, and he/she means the world to you. You want to shout from the mountain top how precious your little one is. So you will see blog posts about my son. If you find that tedious then feel free to skip that post and wait for either It's the Deaf Thing or other posts that are unrelated to my baby. 

Forrest is now one week old. I am in awe of how fast time has flown since the day I gave birth to him. Every day I wake up to see a new day with Forrest, I find that he has grown fatter, and bigger. My heart swells at the sight of him. It has been an eventful week for Russ family.

What We Have Learned In A Week 

I get mushy and gushy every time when I read something touching like this:

A Day Before You Were Born (Anonymous

A day before you were born, I could feel you move.
You kicked and punched and danced to your very own groove.

Three months before you were born, I saw your tiny face. 
Sucking your thumb, curled up, in a tiny dark space.

Five months before you were born, I learned you were a boy. 
We painted your nursery blue and bought your very first toy. 

Seven months before you were born, we brainstormed your sweet name,
I couldn't feel you or see you yet, but you were there all the same. 

Eight months before you were born, I stared at a pink plus sign,
knowing that at that moment, I was pregnant with a child of mine. 

You started off so small--tinier than a pea,
but all along you were the same sweet boy who now plays in front of me. 

It is sometimes hard to decipher where our lives truly begin,
but we all started in the same sweet place--hidden and tiny within. 

Forrest made it through 50 minutes car drive home! He was a bit fussy in the beginning and ended up being a champ by sleeping through the entire drive. 

I think he must have been used to driving motion from my pregnancy (I drove a lot while I was pregnant). 

First two nights were the hardest. Forrest was fussy especially so between 2 am to 5:30 am. I watched the sun come up, completely exhausted yet so blessed to have finally a content happy boy sleeping in my arms. 

No matter what time it is during the day or night, I look at my son and fall in love with him all over again. 

Grandmas are the best. Seriously. My mom has been a tremendous help for first few days and continues to be.

Sleep while Forrest is sleeping is the key!

Forrest hates all types of pacifier except Nuk (1st picture has that type of pacifier). I find it funny
because it is so big on him! 

Layla, our dog, is absolutely fascinated by Forrest. She is concerned every time he cries, and checks him out when she can. It puts my heart at ease knowing that our dog is fabulous with our baby. 

Always cover Forrest's boy parts or I'll get hosed. I had to learn it in a hard way....three times. And I still
get sprayed if I did not cover his fire hose in time.

Going to a simple place like Target has become a major event. It is never in and out anymore.
I don't leave house in 5 minutes...now I leave the house within half hour.

Before having Forrest, I never felt natural at holding a baby. Now I'm an old pro at it!

My heart is full of contradictions. It breaks a little that my little man is a week old today and is
outgrowing his newborn clothes (already) yet my heart rejoices at knowing that he is a
healthy growing boy!

Forrest has lost a half of inch. He's now 20 and half inches long thanks to the swelling on his head
going down!

Forrest's smile causes my heart to swell triple-fold.

I no longer shower every day.

My hair is always messy.

I get between 2 hours of sleep in intervals every night.

I have seen more sunrises now than I used to.

Coffee and I are best friends. Without that, I'd be a walking dead.

I am covered in either pee, spit up, or milk. I no longer have clean shirt these days.
And I really don't care as long as my little boy is happy.

Even though I am a bit hormonal and cry occasionally, this has been a fun ride to be Forrest's mama! 

Even though I don't think it is possible, I fall deeper in love with Stuart every time I see him
holding our son. 

I feel complete. 


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Forrest Gray Russ: My Birth Story

While my son is sleeping on me, I am going to grab an opportunity to type about his birth story, and cherish this forever in my memory. Being pregnant and giving birth are on top of my five best things that have ever happened to me in my life. 

Stu and I arrived at Bellin Hospital for our scheduled induction at 7 am. I was full of nervous energy, not knowing what to expect, and feeling anxious to meet our son. I had thousand of emotions coursing through my mind. This was no turning back. Stu mirrored my emotions with every step of our way into the lobby. We met with my ASL interpreter, C, and went straight to the maternity floor. We were ushered to room #304 where I was going to be delivering my son and recovering from the birth. We met with our first nurse, Melissa, and she had me to change into a gown. I stared at my pregnant belly for one very last time and teared up right there. Soon or later, I was going to meet my baby. I went to the bed to be hooked up with two external monitors to monitor my son's heartbeats and intensity of my contractions. Prior to my induction; I had contractions all weekend that remained inconsistent and unproductive, and because of that, I had to be monitored. My contractions immediately showed up on the piece of feeding paper as soon as I was hooked up to the external monitor. Melissa questioned Stu and I for our family histories of health. Mom and Aunt Ro showed up during this time. 

After questioning and explaining about induction process, Melissa checked me and found I was 100% effaced, but still at 2 cm. Then I had an IV inserted into my forearm for saline water and the drug pitocin at 8 am. Bobbie showed up at this time and I encouraged Stu to go and grab something to eat with Bobbie since we were not sure when Dr. Mbah was going to show up. Sure enough, Dr. Mbah did show up while they were eating brunch. She confirmed what Melissa had said and decided to break my water. At this point; I was getting rather nervous to have my water breaking so early in my labor because I worried that if I had not progressed enough then I was going to have a c-section. Dr. Mbah went ahead and broke my water. It was the strangest sensation to have my water breaking, and it hit me that it was the point of no return. Fortunately, I had a supportive crew to keep my mind off this anxiety.

Here we come; parenthood and meeting our son.

Melissa explained that since my water was broken then she was unable to check me frequently to prevent from introducing unwanted germs to my unborn baby. I was quite glad for this because I did not want to be discouraged if I had not progressed far enough every time I was checked. 

For about 4 and half hours; I was feeling pretty good despite the climbing intensity of my contractions and increasing crampiness that came with them. I was able to laugh and joke around with my family and Stu. Melissa came in to check on me around noon and explained that if I wanted an epidural then I should request for one while I was managing pain well. The reason was because the set up for an epidural was going to take between 15 to 30 minutes and it may be difficult for me to wait if I was in extreme pain. I declined with this knowledge because I did not know how dilated I was and did not want an epidural to stall my labor. Also, I was feeling pretty good between the contractions. Melissa remarked on how well I was handling the pain. I thought to myself, what pain--this is nothing. 

I spoke too soon. The intensity of contractions began to build up more frequently and closer together. It was like terrible period cramps second-folded. It was when I began to feel rather nauseous and experiencing the shakes. I laid on my left side and held on to the bed railing while squeezing Stu's hand. That helped me to get through my contractions because I was not focusing on the pain, but the squeezing itself. Melissa came again at 12:20-ish and checked me. She found that I was at 5 cm! I was thrilled despite being in pain. The contractions continued to come closer and stronger. I ended up not really enjoying my "breaks" in between and had my eyes closed. I stopped smiling and laughing at the jokes that Stu made. All I wanted was back rubs from Mom and Aunt Ro and to hold Stu's hand and have him rub my head. Melissa returned once again and suggested the birthing ball. 

I had brought one myself and decided to try it. It turned out the birthing ball I had was kind of too small, and I did not like it. Melissa decided to give me a bigger ball. I sat on it once again and told myself to at least ride it out for three contractions. If I had hated it then fine then at least I gave it a shot instead of giving it up right away. The pain became even worse when I tried to bounce or roll my hips around. I ended up calling it quits and wanted to go back to laying on my side. I ended up doing just that. At this point, I was pounding my fist on the bed railing, moaning, and punching at the pillows. I could not get comfortable. The pain consumed me. I was unable to concentrate. Little did I and everybody else knew at that time, I was in the transition of the labor, and for those who have gone through vaginal births would know this meant the end was near in the sight. Thinking I was still at 5 cm, I tapped in and asked for an epidural. Melissa left to get the epidural kit and alert the anesthesiologist to come to insert the epidural.

When I was able to open my eyes between my brief breaks, I longed for time to go faster and for the pain to just end. Waves of contractions continued to grip me; I screamed, moaned, pounded my fists, and found it nearly damn impossible to relax. The pain ripped me apart inside. Nothing alleviated me at this point. In sheer pain, I jumped up on my fours and leaned forward in hope to help reduce the insane pain I was in. Suddenly, I felt a tremendous pressure in my bottom, and I knew it was an urge to push. I told C that the baby was coming. She cautioned me to wait to push while everybody else were not sure if I was really accurate with my statement. Melissa walked into at this very moment and dropped the kit when C told her what I had said. She checked me and sure enough, the baby was right there ready to be born! Melissa paged the team of nurses and pulled the emergency cord behind my bed.

What happened next was a blur. It was as if there was a swat team running into the room. Meanwhile, Bobbie saw Dr. Mbah running across the parking lot to the hospital when she entered the room with Aunt Ro. Melissa flipped me from my knees onto my back to prepare me for a childbirth. A nurse put an oxygen mask on me. I had no idea why. Later, I learned it was because I was not taking in enough oxygen from weeping. Other nurse and C pulled my legs toward me. I wept from pain, sheer confusion, mild fear, and wanting to push badly. I begged for an epidural. C shook her head and assured me that women have been giving birth for hundred of years and got through childbirth just fine without drugs. There was no time for anyone to remove my socks or convert my bed into the birthing bed. The pressure increased, and I really wanted to push. Suddenly, Dr. Mbah was in front of me and she said to push. I started to bear down through my tears. Stu leaned to me and said that he saw a head of hair. The next two pushes got the head and shoulders out. The third and fourth pushes ended up bringing my son out into the world. My son was suddenly on my belly. He started screaming and I started sobbing because it was the most amazing sound in the whole world to hear my son.

Stu leaned toward me and said thank you for giving me our son and told me how strong I was. He started to cry. It was a very emotional moment for us. Everybody in the room were crying except for Dr. Mbah because she was focused on delivering the placenta and had to sew me up. I ended up with a second degree tear since my baby came out so fast. Stu cut the cord right away. We were in awe. I was so exhausted at this point from tumultuous emotions, and a physical act of pushing. I held my son on my chest and was told I could breastfeed my son. So I did. It was a beautiful birth, and perfect in every sense.

Forrest Gray Russ was born at 1:14 pm on Tuesday August 21st. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 oz, and measured at 21 inches long! It was no wonder why his foot was in my rib cage the whole time! Forrest passed the Apgars Score with nearly perfect scores. He was pronounced to be healthy. I was able to nurse him and have a skin-on-skin contact time with him before he was whisked away to be bathed. I encouraged Stu to go with Bobbie and the nurse to bathe Forrest. I was too exhausted from giving birth and was extremely sore. I needed some sleep. Besides, I wanted Stu to bond with Forrest since I had whole nine months with my baby.

I did have a brief health scare after I woke up from my nap. I had to go to use bathroom, and slowly got up on my bed. I felt pretty good enough to be able to walk despite having stitches and being sore from delivery. C and Melissa escorted me to the bathroom and helped me to use toilet. Before I could do anything, I started feeling really dizzy and out of breath. I saw myself in the mirror and I looked extremely ashen. The last thing I remembered before passing out was saying to C that I could not breath. I was retrieved once, but slipped back into unconsciousness. So once again, room #304 had the emergency cord to be pulled, and a team of nurses came running to assist me. Fortunately, I was retrieved by smelling salt while laying on my bed, and was able to stay conscious. I simply had lost too much fluids, blood, and my blood pressure dropped. With eating dinner and some sweet food, I started to feel a bit better, and was able to nurse Forrest for rest of the night.

Thankfully, both Mama and Forrest were declared to be in good health by end of the night. We were extremely blessed to become a family that day. It was honestly one of the best days of my life.

I continue to look at my son and feel my heart swell. Forrest means the world to me, and I feel lucky to be his mama.


Thursday, August 16, 2012


How Far Along: 39 weeks!

How Big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is anywhere between 6.2 to 9.2 pounds, and is between 18.9 to 20 inches long! He is as big as a watermelon! Thank goodness that he won't be getting bigger than a watermelon. 

Total Weight Gain: Still the same at 41 pounds. No change at all. 

Sleep: I am getting all sleep I can because I'm banking up on my rest. Once Baby Russ gets here, I won't be getting much sleep anymore, and it is okay because it means my son is here with us instead of in my belly! I also get up every 2 hours to go to bathroom. It's annoying, but I'll deal with that for only a few more days?? *Fingers  and toes crossed*

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Finding out that one of my good friends is pregnant again (congrats, mama), ordered our wedding picture prints and getting them in the mail so quickly after ordering them, having a friend make me a gift for Baby Russ, and like always, feeling Baby Russ's heart beat on the fetal doppler. 

Food Craving(s):  Unchanged. Matter of fact, I find that I am less hungry these days. There's just not much space in my stomach anymore with Baby Russ crowding up everything inside! I eat less but more frequently during the day. 

Food Aversion(s): Still the same--greasy food. 

Symptoms: Sore hips, pelvis, lower back, and ribs! For me, third trimester is the most difficult to deal with seeing that I had easy 1st and 2nd trimesters. I'm chugging along though and being a good mama about this whole thing! Matter of fact, Stu gave me a nice compliment the other day by telling me that I have been handling my pregnancy like a pro! Thanks darling husband. :-) I also have been noticing swollen feet. I think it is from all the walking I have been doing! I've been feeling really wired and an urge to prepare the house for our baby--I spent good chunks of Monday and Tuesday just cleaning and organizing-- and I still feel a strong urge to continue cleaning even though everything is set! 

Labor Signs: I had some intense contractions on Friday the 11th and it looked like a real deal...then it stopped! AHH. I had my membranes stripped and started having contractions ever since. 

Let's hope it is like Turtleman from Stu's favorite TV show--The Call Of Wildman signature motto--LIVE ACTION soon! 

Movements: Baby Russ has been moving a lot less these days. He still hiccups, and jiggles his little body. Other than that, he is really running out of space (hint, hint little boy--time to come out) and he's also low inside my pelvis. So he's unable to punch. However, I can feel his little heel and foot sticking around! 

Looking Forward To: Meeting our little guy very, very soon!!!! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


How Far Along: 38 Weeks!

How Big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is now between 6-8 pounds. I'm hoping he's on the lighter side! He can be anywhere between 18.2 to 20.9 inches long. Baby Russ is as big as a pumpkin! 

Total Weight Gain: 41 pounds. Come on, little guy, come out already!!! 

Sleep: So-so. My lower back and inconsistent contractions have been bothering me a lot lately. I wake up at random hours to pee, and have to find a right comfortable spot every time I turn over to my side if my hip hurts on a particular side. Also, I admit a lot of excitement is keeping me up. Is this the night/morning/day when Baby Russ wants to come? 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Visiting Teri (one of my very good friends)! It was really great seeing her and I had a wonderful time with her. Getting a football cocoon bag with football hat from my sorority sister's aunt in the mail! Feeling my baby's heartbeat on the fetal doppler like always. Packing up my jeep with our hospital bag--that makes everything feel a bit more real that Baby Russ is coming soon. Finding a newborn photographer, and in the process of working out something with her to take pictures of Baby Russ shortly after he's born!

Food Craving(s): Unchanged.

Food Aversion(s): Same old. 

Symptoms: Aching lower back, increasing cramping, nausea, and a bit of swollen feet from all the walking I've been doing lately! 

CBC Update: My result came back and my platelet level has stabilized from last week. This week result will come tomorrow or on Monday depending on the lab processing. Even though my blood level has shown that it is stable from last week and even if it is stable again this week then I might still have to be induced between 39-40 weeks. My doctor isn't too crazy about my blood level fluctuating too much.

Labor Signs: Still at 1-2 cm and 50% effaced despite me trying different ways to bring on the labor. I am told that my pelvis region may be separating a bit (sounds more painful than it really is, I promise). Other than that, Baby Russ is not budging. My mom has jokingly said that I've been taking way too good care of him to the point where he just doesn't want to come out! Even so, Stu and I aren't really in a big hurry right now. We are enjoying our last few days or week(s) before Baby Russ makes his debut! 

Movements: Baby Russ has been less active these days. I am told it is because he's simply crowded in his home, and getting prepared to be born! Nothing that a little sweet or orange juice can't fix--it makes him move from being sugar high! He has been sticking his foot out a lot more lately for some reason! It's funny when my stomach starts to bulge out in one area from his foot and people can see it through my shirt! 

What Do I miss: I am like a kid before Christmas morning! I can't wait for Baby Russ to come out. Needless to say, I am not really missing anything at this point....wait, there's one thing that I nearly forgot...I MISS a big fat DELI SANDWICH. Nom Nom. 

Looking Forward To: Baby Russ's arrival and eating that darn deli sandwich now I think about it. 

Next Appointment: Thursday August 16th at 4:45 pm. I'm hoping it will be my last or second to last appointment! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Deaf Poem: You Have To Be Deaf To Understand

You have to be Deaf to Understand
By Willard J. Madsen, 1971

What is it like to hear a hand? 
You have to be Deaf to understand.
What is it like to be a small child
In a school, in a room void of sound--
With a teacher who talks and talks and talks;
and then when she does come to you,
she expects you to know what she has said?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

Or the teacher who thinks that to make you smart
You must first learn how to talk with your voice;
So mumbo-jumbo with hands on your face
For hours and hours without patience or end,
Until out comes a faint resembling sound?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to be curious--
To thirst for knowledge you can call your own,
With an inner desire that's set on fire--
And you ask a brother, sister, or friend
who looks in answer and says, 'never mind' ?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like in a corner to stand,
Though there's nothing you've done really wrong
Other than try to make use of your hands
To a silent peer to communicate
A thought that comes to your mind all at once?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to be shouted at
When one thinks that will help you to hear
Or misunderstand the words of a friend
Who is trying to make a joke clear,
and you don't get the point because he's failed?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to be laughed in the face
When you try to repeat what is sad;
Just to make sure you've understood
And you find that the words were misread--
And you want to cry out, 'Please help me, friend!" ?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to have to depend
Upon one who can hear to phone a friend;
Or place a call to a business firm
And be forced to share what's personal and
Then find that your message was not made clear?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to be Deaf and alone
In the company of those who can hear--
And you only guess as you go along,
For no one there's with a helping hand,
As you try to keep up with words and song?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like on the road of life
to meet a stranger who opens his mouth--
And speaks out a line at a rapid pace;
And you can't understand the look in his face
Because it is new and you're lost in the race?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to comprehend
Some nimble fingers that paint the scene
And make you smile and feel serene
With the "spoken word" of the moving hand
That makes you part of the world at large?
You have to be Deaf to understand.

What is it like to hear a hand? 
Yes, you have to be Deaf to understand. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


How Far Along: 37 Weeks! He is considered to be FULL TERM! Baby Russ's eviction date is approaching soon!

How Big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is between 18.9 to 20.9 inches and is not growing any taller beyond that. He is guesstimated to be at between 6 to 7 pounds! Baby Russ is as big as a Winter Melon. It's some kind of melon that looks a lot like a squash? See the picture down below: 

Total Weight Gain: 40 pounds. The funny thing is when I tell people that I have gained 40 pounds, people look at me and say where?! I just look like I had swallowed a basketball! Strangers are now stopping me almost constantly asking me when I am due and what gender I am having. Some of them even want to touch my belly. I guess I have become a Buddha that brings them good luck or something? 

Stretch Marks: Nothing. *Knocks on the wood* I'm pretty happy with how nice my belly skin looks. 

Sleep: I get up a lot during the night to pee. Between me drinking water all of the time because I am thirsty and Baby Russ pressing against my bladder, I am already used to getting up every 2 hours by now.  I try to take a nap, but oddly enough, I don't feel tired enough to take a nap. I'm not the only one suffering from irregular sleeping pattern. Stu has not been sleeping the best either lately! 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Seeing my mom and Marlene over the weekend, getting a cute bassinet, and even more quilts for Baby Russ! He is one very lucky baby to have so many beautiful quilts! Hanging out with our neighbors for a cook-out. Seeing Russ Family, even though under a sad circumstance, it is still really good to see them! Feeling Baby Russ's heart beat on the fetal doppler--154--strong and steady. 

Aunt Rosalie made this for Baby Russ
(Froggy theme) 

Aunt Marlene fixed up the bassinet that we
found at a thrift store a few months ago!
She decorated the edge, added frogs, and
fixed up the mattress. It looked amazing!
It was to be matched with the quilt that Aunt Ro made.

Beautiful quilt that Sue and Roseanne
made for Baby Russ! 
Sue also made this.
It is ASL (American Sign Language) for Love.
Beautiful, huh? 
Food Craving(s): Sweet food. I'm glad I only gained a pound given with how much sweet food I've been eating! Sheesh. I found out recently that it's normal for some women to start craving sweet food especially so close to the end to help the baby to bulk up on the fat. Grilled Zucchini and squash are really YUMMY and I can't seem to get enough of it! 

Food Aversion(s): None this week. I just avoid food I don't like for most part of my pregnancy. 

Symptoms: Achy lower back. Feeling tired. Sore ribs. You know, typical pregnant woman symptoms! I'm getting more antsy and impatient because my due date is approaching closer and closer. There's a lot of anxiety about becoming a mama for the first time, adjustment to life with a newborn, a lot of excitement about meeting my son, showing him off, and being a mama. So there's a lot of emotional upheaval going on lately with all those emotions coursing through my mind! 

CBC update: Dr. Mbah says that my platelet is really low and has been steadily dropping. She wants me to be monitored every week. If today's test result comes back at some point today and shows that my blood platelets have dropped again then I'm looking at being induced at 39 weeks if I don't deliver Baby Russ naturally before then! 

Labor Signs: Baby Russ's head is right on the cervix, and that means he is engaged. My belly looks a bit lower. I've been having a lot of BH contractions here and there. Dr. Mbah definitely can feel Baby Russ's head when she checks on me. According to her, I'm 50% effaced, and 1 cm dilated. So....maybe Baby Russ will be making his debut very, very, very soon!! 

Movements: Baby Russ likes to stretch out, poke his way around, and hiccup quite a lot. 

What Do I Miss: Hmm....I really want a deli sandwich. I'm looking forward to having a big fat deli sandwich after I deliver my son! 

Looking Forward To: Meeting Baby Russ soon!!! 

Next Appointment: Thursday August 9 at 10 am. That is if nothing happens before then? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Death and Life

Once in every great while, I get into a very deep philosophical thinking, and it is usually triggered by a profound event. Recently, there has been a death in the family, and that has led me to thinking about life. The passing in Stu's family is a very sad one. It has led me to feeling guilty for bringing a baby into the world after the funeral is said and done because I will go back to focusing on my baby. The guilt makes very little sense to me yet it is there. With every death departing the world, it brings in a life, and it is as if life is making up for a death. This reminds me of a conversation between our classmates, and a nurse we had in our childbirth class from a while ago. 


She told us how she used to work in a nursing home for about a decade. With that job, she had experienced a lot of deaths, and dealing with grieving families. She often watched her patients slip away into an eternal sleep, and held hands of family members when she told them that their loved ones had passed away. After a decade, this nurse decided to take a different job at a maternity ward. There, she experienced helping to bring life into the world, and shared tears of joy with family members. Her colleague asked her if working on the maternity ward was much better than working in a nursing home because it was less sad and more joyful to bring babies into the world instead of watching people pass away. 

The nurse replied that it was not any different emotionally from working in a nursing home, and a maternity ward. Both had strong emotional impact on families. Both brought a lot of tears, and a sense of unity with families. To her, death and life were no different from each other. 


In a way, it made a perfect sense to me. The nurse saw death and life as beautiful. That was something not many people understood and embraced. It came across to me as pretty powerful that someone was able to see beyond the stereotypes of death. Death was often not to be embraced, but to be feared. Death had gotten a bad reputation when in reality, death was no different than life. 


Death and life are beautiful in their aspects. To take that very last breath was to embark on an unknown adventure. Let it be reincarnation, go to an afterlife of your belief-- Summerlands, Fields of Aaru, Elysium, World to Come, Heaven, Hades/Hell, Valhalla, or simply fade away into the stars above and become nothingness. 

To take that first breath of life, an adventure of lifetime is only beginning. A theologian, Alfred D. Souza, put it in eloquently about life: 

"For a long time, it seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one."  

Ever since my friend had once said to me that Life and Death were just on the different sides of the same coin, it became a part of my life philosophy because it made sense to me.To view death as a terrible or negative thing is to look at life in the same way. I certainly do not view life as a terrible thing even though we see on news almost daily about warfare, rapes, murders, shootings, or less than fortunate circumstances. We see people we care and love about going through struggles in their lives including ourselves. Life does have its ugly side. Just like Death. Also, Life does have a beautiful side....and just like Death does. 

Death helps us to take a step back and really see what we have in our life. Sometimes, it even promotes us to change what is unsatisfactory in our life. Death reminds us that we have people and pets we love and care about. This is why we weep and grieve for them when they are gone. Death sparks the feeling of being alive within ourselves. This is why some people live for adrenaline rush; it reminds them why they are living and what being alive is all about. This is why survivors of traumatic events, once they have come to term with what had happened, find intense beauty in life. Sometimes, when you hold the hand of person you love as he or she is dying; it changes how you feel about the world, yourself, and others. Without those reminders, life is not really being seen, felt, and understood. Without death, life is not truly rich. 


This is why when I named this blog, Every Little Beautiful Pieces, last summer. It is my daily dosage of reminder to really enjoy small things in my life. When I am having a bad day, I sit down and count my blessings. I remind myself that I am loved, I have a roof over my head, I am married to a wonderful man who treats me well, we are able to afford food and gas, we have vehicles, our pets are healthy and happy, plenty of friends who makes me smile even on my bad days, wonderful families, and becoming parents of a baby boy soon. On my good days, I soak into goodness and happiness and stay in the moment. I never let people I love and care about to leave without a hug/kiss and saying I love you. I challenge myself. I chase after my dreams even if they don't work out. I end up feeling good that I have tried instead of not trying at all. Life is just too short to let all that pass by and have regrets because of things you have not done. 

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what world needs is people have come alive." -Harold Whitman