Saturday, February 2, 2013

Can Someone Please Answer: why?

"Why?" ... The question that runs through my mind everyday... Constant questions like: "Why was my son born with a heart defect?" "Why did he have to go to heaven?" "Why are we forced to have all these medical expenses to not only cover the past, but to answer 'why haven't we been able to get pregnant?'" "Why?"

It's been something I haven't been willing to talk about. Perhaps it's because when you deal with constant disappointment, you begin to feel like a failure. You begin to ask "what is wrong with me/us?" "What horrible things did we do to deserve this?" "Will we ever be able to feel whole again?" As much as you want to keep telling yourself that there is a reason... You get to the point where you want to tell that inner voice of optimism to take a flippin' hike!

I'm not gonna sugar-coat my feelings... I feel like my friends' kids won't know mine because even if god gives us another baby, hopefully a happy & healthy one, the age gaps will be too large... I hate that awkward approach when people ask, "are you guys thinking about trying again?", its not that I hate the people asking or resentful; It's just hard to answer when a child is all we've wanted since before becoming pregnant with Shane. I get frustrated when people tell me that "we will have children" not because I don't want to hear it, but because I'm truly fearful it actually won't happen. I'm afraid of never being able to experience that true happiness again, the excitement of being pregnant, even the worry. With everything we've gone through, I don't understand what I have to do to be given a healthy child.

This past week I experienced the arrival of my first nephew. My sister-in-law gave birth in the same hospital that Shane was born in. I haven't been able to go near that hospital for almost 3 years and I wasn't sure I would be able to handle it when she went into labor. But when the day came for her to have him, I felt compelled to be there and I was able to walk into her room that was 2 doors down from where Shane entered the world. As I waited I couldn't help but wish to be in her shoes. Not that I wished she wasn't having a baby, I just remembered the exact feelings I had before having Shane and I just want to experience that again! The hardest part of this experience was not that though. The toughest part came when we saw the baby for the first time in the nursery right after he was born. I was so excited, as everyone was, but as a few minutes past and after I snapped a few pictures, I got an overwhelming sense of sadness. Not sad about the birth of my nephew, not jealous that he wasn't mine, but sad because at that moment I realized, Shane never got there! Immediately after Shane was born they took him to the NICU and our parents and family were never able to see him in that nursery, a place where he should have gone. At that moment my heart broke all over again and I felt time rewind back to those minutes of raw emotion and I couldn't handle being present in that place. The last thing I wanted was to bring my sadness to this beautiful event.

I met Jack Henry McCusker the very next day when I returned to the hospital after work. There were so many things about being back there that reminded me of my experience there, but seeing his face for the first time up close, my heart was overwhelmed with pure happiness. Jack is such a beautiful baby and when I think about his face he makes me smile. Though he is not my child, he is my nephew and he has stollen a piece of my heart and for the first time I was able to make a wonderful association with being in that exact hospital in that exact floor.

I was sent a picture yesterday of Jack on his way home from the hospital tucked in Shane's blanket. It made me sad yet happy, especially when Katia told me that Jack was fussy before being given Shane's blankie! I wish more than anything Jack and Shane could grow up together. I wish Shane was here being a crazy 2 year old! But unfortunately that is not our reality.

As much as I want to tell my inner optimism to jump off a cliff... I have to hold on, even if by a very thin string, that maybe one day that part of my "why?" Will be answered with "because this is the right child for you!" Just trying to hold on to that hope!!!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why I remember...

(please excuse the organization of this blog entry...who knows if it makes sense)

There are 2 songs that remind me of Shane, "Here comes the sun" and "Have I told you lately." "Here comes the sun" was the first song played after Shane's memorial, and "Have I told you lately" was the song Mike and I played for him during the memorial service.

This morning I woke up and turned on the tv to here "Here comes the sun". While most of the time I smile when I hear these songs, sometimes it sparks an anger... Anger that life is the way it is. Sometimes I think the longer time has passed the more broken I become. It's the image of wondering what he would be like and what life should be like, that really gets to me. It's those thoughts I can't help but ponder because, after all, he was my baby and I remember everything that happened, almost 2 years ago, like yesterday.

Lately I've felt like my life has been a burden on some. Like I've annoyed and exhausted the idea of remembering him. Its made me feel like I just need to get over it and move on. But feeling like I need to forget is like mourning his death all over again. There is a little hope I get everyday when I wake up that perhaps this was all a huge nightmare, and it's the pain of reality that I have to fight everyday. The bottom line is, memory is all I's all I will ever have with Shane. Most parents can post pictures of their growing children, they get to experience everyday with them and watch them grow... I, however, will never have that with Shane. I truly hope that one day I will experience that joy that most parents have, what every parent deserves, and what life should be like. But even if I do get that life one day, that will never erase a life without my first born.

I'm not saying everyday I am depressed or angry at the world. I'm not asking for sympathy... I just want to be understood. I know that I have amazing friends and family who are so supportive of everything I feel and they accept me for they way things have to be. But sometimes it's the actions or words of those who don't that can really tear me apart.

I don't really know what sparked me to write on this blog today. Perhaps it was because I felt like I should apologize for any sadness I have imposed on others...I don't actually know... Sometimes writing is just therapeutic...

But, what it really comes down to is the people who do understand (well maybe understand is the wrong word, because I actually hope they don't understand, because no parent should understand what a loss of a child feels like.) Perhaps accepting is a better term. I am grateful to those who have been so accepting of our feelings. Those who have continued support us by remembering him through his foundation, those who text me pictures of dragonflies, and those who just tell me they thought of him today. I am grateful to those who just accept me for who I have become. I wish there was a manual on how to deal with a loss of a child, but there isn't and I'm truly, honesty doing the best I can...

Please don't think I am an angry person or that my entire life is advocating for my sons memory. Yes of course we don't want to forget him or to replace him in our life but we are grateful for the beautiful side of life too! I am so grateful to watch my friends' children grow and to see all the wonderful learning they do on a daily basis. Seeing them truly does warm my heart, and even though a part of me is sad Shane isn't here, like I've said before, life is still beautiful.

Today is what would have been Aiden Bailey's 2nd birthday. I remember this day 2 years ago... 2 years ago... Oh my Gosh! On this beautiful day, I ask that you take a minute to remember this beautiful baby boy and send prayers to his parents Angie and Kevin and little brother Kevie. Please give them the gift of memory and remember this sweet little boy. Aiden Kenneth Bailey- you will always be in our will always be missed... And you will always be remembered! We love you! Happy birthday, sweet Aiden!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Golden Sky Blogfest: Remembering my baby boy

Congratulations to Elisa Hirsch who put together this blogfest and has a book release tomorrow.  Happy birthday Zeke!  

"A dragonfly lights besides us like a sunbeam.
And for a brief moment, its glory and beauty
belong to our world. But then it flies on
again and though we wish it could have
stayed, we feel lucky to have seen it."

My son was beautiful; I know I may be slightly biased, but he was truly something special.  Throughout my entire pregnancy I had an inclination that he would influence this world.  Personally, I thought he was destined to be a baseball pitcher, pro of course ;) because not only are his parents diehard baseball fans, but in so many of his ultrasound pictures, his left arm was up in the throwing position.  

Shane was an active baby during the time he called my belly a home. I miss the moments where I felt his every movement, his every stretch and all of those frequent little hiccups.   Not a day goes by where I don't picture his handsome little face, and the moments where he held my fingers in his little hand.  And because of these moments, my mind, at times, will refuse to comprehend the rapid events that occurred after his birth.

My baby boy lived for 33 hours; they detected a severe heart condition just hours after birth.  To this day, I remember leaving for the hospital saying to myself, "When I come home, we will have Shane." but, in our reality, that didn't happen.  Two days after birth, after being airlifted from hospital to hospital, and after surviving a 5 hour open heart surgery, Shane's little heart just couldn't recover from the immense stress.  Two days after he entered this world, we returned to a home that was ready for an infant with nothing but plaster footprints of his feet.  My life had never felt so empty.

I don't want to consume this post with a discussion on grief.  I have dealt with my grief and continue to deal with it today.  But this entry is not about me...I want this post to be about this remarkable little guy.

What Shane did for me in the 33 hours that he was given, has made me a different person than I was before I had him.  He made me a better person.  But like I said this is not about me; this is for Shane.

Remember earlier I said that I had an inkling that Shane was destined for greatness?  Though Shane will never get a shot as a professional baseball pitcher, I truly believe Shane's impact on this world will be bigger than any professional career he might have had.  Shane's unique heart and his inspirational fight inspired us to start a foundation.  Shane's foundation supports pediatric patients at UCLA's Children's Hospital, as well as supports cardiology projects, symposiums and Congenital Heart Disease awareness.  In the 9 months since the establishment of his foundation, because of Shane's life, the foundation has already gone on to help other children, who too have unique hearts, receive the medical care they need.  Shane's life has inspired this foundation which has been able to sponsor a fetal cardiology symposium where doctor's emphasized the importance of fetal heart screenings with the hopes of making significant changes in the standard prenatal care of what may seem to be a normal healthy pregnancy.  With these significant additions to prenatal care, conditions like Shane's will not go undiagnosed until birth.  With proper monitoring of critical heart conditions, families can be properly prepared, doctors will monitor the baby and have immediate plans for after the child enters this world.  With these influencial changes and advancements, children with severe cases like Shane's will be given a better chance of reaching those "professional" dreams given to us in life.

14 months have passed since his birth and since his death.  I will not lie to you and say that life is easier because I still have my days.  There are still days where I get sad, no scratch that,  I am always sad that I don't get to have him here with me, but for the most part I have coped with this sadness and accept the fact that it will never really ever leave me.  I have days where I still get angry and don't understand why something like this would happen to us, to him.  But, when I take the time to reflect on the impact his life has left, I am able to navigate out of the fog of grief and I am able to smile with sincere happiness knowing that his life is helping others, through the work of his foundation.  With Shane's Foundation, I have been able to find a positive in such a sad situation.  Seeing the work of Shane's Heart and the significant impact that his life has left only makes me more proud of him.  Knowing that his life has inspired people to support patients with Congenital Heart Disease makes me see the positives of Shane's situation.  If Shane's life can help make a change to standard prenatal care, if his life can help another child receive the care they need so that they can thrive in life, and if Shane's life can help bring early detection so a baby's life could potentially be saved, then Shane's life of 33 hours has made more of an impact than my 29 years of life thus far.

I may not have him physically in my arms, but he is forever in my heart.  Like the poem says, "A dragonfly lights besides us like a sunbeam. And for a brief moment, its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies on again and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel lucky to have seen it." I am lucky Shane chose me for his mom and that I was able to have the memories I have with him.  I'm lucky to have been blessed with such an amazing little man.  I feel like dragonflies visit me more often these days; perhaps it's because I take the time to notice; or perhaps it's my baby checking in on me; stopping by to say, "hello", in which case I welcome them anytime!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Truly Inspired

Though Shane passed away at UCLA, my love for that hospital and the doctors and nurses who work in pediatrics has not diminished one bit; in fact, my admiration for these wonderful doctors has only continued to grow with every interaction I have with them.

Reflecting back on those days in that hospital when Shane was under their care, I am reminded of the compassion displayed by those who tried to help him.  

On Saturday, Shane's Heart, the foundation established in his memory, was invited to attend a Fetal Cardiology Symposium at UCLA Medical Hospital.  I, who has had zero training in the medical field, had really no idea what to expect at a symposium, other than there would probably be many doctors and nurses there to listen to lectures on fetal heart screenings.  Little did I know how much this event would impact my life.

The symposium was a full-day event.  I met so many people who came up to our table to learn more about what Shane's Heart was all about.  We were even introduced to other families who have also been affected by congenital heart disease.  

The best part of the day for me, was when we were invited to sit in on the lectures.  Perhaps it is because I have so many unanswered questions regarding my own prenatal care, when I was pregnant with Shane, but I found these presentations and lectures fascinating and so educational to those who do prenatal ultrasounds.   For me, I still want to understand how such a severe case like Shane's would go undiagnosed when in my head, it seems so obvious. I've learned that it is not uncommon for cases like Shane's to go undiagnosed because only cardiologist eyes are trained to see certain defects; with that said, the procedures that the doctors were teaching at the symposium are simple enough for any doctor, or ultrasound tech to do they just have to be educated on what to look for.  Unfortunately, heart screenings are not a huge part of standard "low-risk" pregnancies and unless a doctor or ultrasound tech finds an abnormality, they will not be referred to a cardiologist (who is trained to examine the heart) for further heart screenings.   I learned so much while siting in on these lectures.  The doctors that spoke are remarkable individuals who go above and beyond the standard care of treatment, and I know this is what sets them apart for others.  Being able to listening to these doctors teach about the importance of: fetal heart screenings, the most effective techniques in doing such screenings and looking for the proper red flags, only helps me to renew my trust in prenatal care.  I have always felt fortunate for the relationships we have established with the cardiologists at UCLA, but after this weekend I am beyond thankful for doctors like them.  

Since Shane's passing, I have had a hard time stepping into a doctor's office.  I try to avoid any route that would force me to pass by the hospital where Shane was born or the medical plaza where I spent 9 months visiting while I was pregnant.  It's not that I blame anyone for what happened to Shane, but I still cannot make sense of the situation.  I am not going to get into my confusion and frustrations as they are things that I cannot change.  Please don't get me wrong as I will always appreciate my delivery nurse, the cardiologist who diagnosed him, and the NICU team who figured out that there was a problem.  There are some incredible individuals who work at that hospital and by no means would I blame any of them for my apprehension.  

But, what is ironic about this whole experience is UCLA was where Shane was taken, and that was where he died.  I have been able to go up to the floor where I saw Shane for the last time and though it brought back sadness, I wasn't apprehensive to return.  Perhaps this is because of the compassion expressed by every doctor I have met since the days Shane was there.  Every doctor who I have had the privilege of meeting at UCLA has never treated me inferior or spoke to me as if I was a little girl who just didn't understand.  They have understood every emotions I've encountered and they allowed me to just ask the question I needed to ask.  Every doctor who dealt with Shane has offered their time to sit down with us and discuss any questions we have.  We have established wonderful relationship with many of these doctors who first met Shane on September 10, 2010.  In fact the day Shane went through surgery I was introduced to a pediatric resident who works at UCLA; he happened to be off that day and he knew my aunt who also works at UCLA.  Today I feel so grateful to have met him as he as become a great friend who has helped me through the process of understanding Shane's complex case and his diagnosis while also just being a support system like many of our amazing friends have been.  The cardiologist, who was the very first doctor we met at UCLA has become a wonderful support for Mike and I, and I am so fortunate for the relationship we maintain with him.  At the symposium, I was able to listen to Shane's surgeon talk  and I was lucky to have an opportunity to just thank him for what he did for Shane. Though I have not seen or spoke to him since the day Shane went through surgery, I still reflect everyday on the interaction we had with him before surgery and after.  He and his team of doctors took the time to keep us updated throughout the entire 5 hours of surgery, an act that is not required from a surgeon but done anyways.  He got Shane through a very difficult surgery and got I am so grateful for that, and I was very glad I got to see him again this weekend.  He also offered any answers he could give me and expressed his willingness to talk with me further if I so choose.  These doctors are just incredible individuals who really stand apart from so many, not only in their work but in their interactions with their patients.

The symposium really made an impact in my life.  Listening to such incredible doctors speak about making changes in our medical world only proves that there are incredible people who strive to make a difference.  There are too many people in this world who just do their jobs simply by going through the motions, and unfortunately, sometimes those individuals overshadow those who go above and beyond.  But this weekend, I was inspired.  Not only by these lectures, but by the actions that these doctors provide for their patients.  These individuals inspire me to keep trying to make a difference in this world so that other people's lives will benefit.  I truly hope these men and women who I speak of know how much I truly appreciate them and I hope their patients know how privileged they are to have them as their doctors and nurses. It makes me realize that we often times forget to say "Thank You" for even the smallest acts of kindness and that often times we take these acts for granted and feel entitled to it.  Today, I am not only inspired but extremely thankful.  I think it's time we take a lesson from those who do what they do, who do it well; they do it without the expectation of being recognized; they just do it because these are the types of people they are and because they are passionate about what they do.  Whether it's a doctor, a teacher, a parent, friend, or boss, take the time to get inspired by their work and just say THANK YOU.  These people are truly heroes and people who I truly look up to.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


September was a month of remembrance as we celebrated the 1 year birthday of Shane Shimatsu McCusker.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't picture his sweet face and remember the moments I spent with him.  Everyday I picture those moments where he held my fingers and looked into my eyes as the doctors rolled him into the operating room.  It was the last time I would ever see that beautiful face so awake and full of life.  Every morning I wake up and wish I could pick him up from his crib and kiss that sweet little face.  There is not one day that goes by where I don't wonder and imagine what Shane would look like.  I think about him everyday, whether I see a beautiful dragonfly visit his garden, or I take the time to let the warm sun shine upon me.  I miss him more than anything in this entire world and everyday I wish he was here with me.

For Shane's birthday, his foundation, Shane's Heart, dedicated the entire month of September to raising money for families and patients of the UCLA pediatric cardiology unit.  The fundraiser was a huge success and we raised nearly $5,000 in donations and gift cards to support families in need.  Seeing the success of this event brought so much happiness during a time of such difficulty for me.  I cannot express my gratitude for the support that we continue to receive.  To those who participated and who thought of him on his special day, I wish I could give you each a hug and say thank you for remembering our son!
Mike and I decided that for Shane's birthday we would go to Disneyland.  We decided on this because we wanted to make sure Shane's birthday was a day of celebration.  My parents and Mike's mom joined us as we enjoyed a day at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Mike and I plan to visit Disneyland every year on September 9.  We look forward to the visits with Shane's younger siblings to celebrate their big brother who watches over them.

The O.C. Walk to Remember took place on October 15, 2011, which was also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day.  My good friend Angie (who I always talk about in my blogs) got involved in this amazing event last year after the passing of her baby boy Aiden.  This year, Mike and I too wanted to be a part of this event.  It was so heartbreaking to see all of the families who have had to go through something similar to what we went through with Shane, but it was a beautiful day of memorial and comfort.  I met some great people while on our walk; we were able to share stories about our children and it was comforting to feel like we aren't alone.  Before the 5k walk, they held a memorial service where each child's name was read off and each of the parents received a white rose.  The emotion of being a part of that event was so touching and though there were many tears, it was wonderful to be a part of such a huge memorium.  I was once told that when you lose a child, you are part of a "fraternity" that no one ever wanted to be a part of, and though no one should ever feel the pain of such a loss, there are so many other people in the world who are part of that fraternity and understand what you feel.I was able to walk with Kevin (Angie's husband) for a while on our walk.  They are expecting their second son in 2 weeks and the nerves from losing Aiden is weighing heavily on them.  We talked about what "we" know as our first pregnancies ended so tragically.  They lost Aiden at 37 weeks and now that Angie is approaching that same period of time with little Kevie, it is causing some anxiety.  It's been great to watch Angie go through this second pregnancy after having to deal with such a devastating loss and I wish I could take away their anxiety as they await the birth of Aiden's little brother.  I know parenthood is always full of worry, but for families like us, we are just hoping to even make it through the front door with
 our healthy newborns.  It made me reflect on my own experience with Shane and made me wonder what my life will be like when that time comes to have our next child.  It's scary to think about all the possibilities, but I am hopeful and positive that things will be ok.

Every day I miss my little buddy.  When I close my eyes and think, I see a chubby little 1 year old with curious eyes taking in all the new things life has to offer him.  Whenever I think of Shane I see him happy and I hope that is because he truly is.

After yesterday's event, I am truly so grateful for the friendships and relationships I have made with the many people who are a part of this undesirable fraternity, because without the support and the examples set by those who had gone through this before us, I don't know if I would be able to see hope in my life. No one chooses this life, but it is the way one chooses to deal with it, that make us able to move forward.  I am so grateful for the examples set by so many other moms and dads out there and I am continually grateful for the ability to talk and remember our children every day of our lives.  I do not wish this upon anyone, but if I can help someone else who has to go through the loss of a child, I will embrace the opportunity to let them know, they aren't alone!


SHANE- your 1st birthday should have been a party in the park with bright balloons and Snoopy decor. Your birthday party was about showering you with more gifts than you would know what to do with and everyone would be swarming around you as your smashed cake all over your face.  I wish that I could walk 3 miles with you everyday, and instead of waking up and walking past your room, I could go in and find you giggling in your crib.  Every morning I picture my life with you in.  I know in my heart you haven't left me, but I wish I could turn back the clock of time to just be able to spend 10 more minutes with you.  I've seen more dragonflies than I have ever seen before, and every time I see one, I am reminded of you and feel your presence closely.  I still can't believe that you are gone.  I am sorry you never got to experience the wonderful things in life.  I wish more people could have met you before you left.  You are an amazing little person who I am so fortunate to have been able to know for 38 weeks and 3 days.  I hope you realize the impact your life left on this world and because of you, so many lives will be touched. Happy birthday Shane!  I love you always my dear so

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Remembering Aiden Bailey (Shane's Best Buddy)

A year ago today, Heaven received one of the most beautiful little boys. I was 8 months pregnant with Shane and completely devastated for our friends Angie and Kevin.

Angie and I were nearly 4 weeks apart in our due dates. We had gone through almost every aspect of our first pregnancies together. We shared so much, from stories of cravings, morning sickness, sober bachelorette party nights, and the excitement of having our little boys, Shane and Aiden grow up together. To this day I can still picture the image I had the day Aiden was born. We would have drove down to Orange County to visit the new Bailey family and I would get to hold that beautiful little baby boy who was the perfect mix of his amazing parents. I would sit there holding him, as he rested on my very pregnant belly telling him about all of the adventures he and Shane would soon have. Angie would be telling me stories of labor and we would laugh, as we so often did, about the awkwardness of childbirth.

Unfortunately, this day is just a day that will live in my imagination for the rest of my life. Losing Aiden and watching my friends grieve the worst pain, was tough enough, and then 3 weeks later, having to live the exact nightmare of losing my baby, was something that was NEVER a part of our plan. Shane and Aiden should be here together, not in Heaven, NOT away from their parents who love them more than anything in this entire world.

I woke up this morning and I called Angie. I know the pain of today, as I am anticipating that same pain on the 9th of September. I called to see how she was and to tell her how much I loved them. I just wanted to cry as we talked about Aiden because HE SHOULD BE HERE!
I know in my heart that Shane and Aiden are in a place where they will never have to suffer; where they will never have to feel the pain that we are dealing with here on earth, but that doesn't mean I don't wish for both of them to be here today. I wish that I was dressing Shane in his best Monster outfit, getting him ready for Aiden's first birthday party at the park. I wish I was putting batteries in my camera preparing to catch each moment of Aiden diving into his first taste of sugary cake. I wish that I wasn't writing in this blog about how I wish this day was different.

As Angie and I talked this morning we laughed about at the image that we shared about what our boys were doing. I told her, knowing my son, I bet he has prepared the best monster cake for Aiden to share with all of his special angel friends. I have this image of the 2 of them with their party hats on, smiling down on us, wanting their parents to celebrate this day, because today is a celebration of a life, of a very special little boy, one who was just too special for this world. I am thankful for Aiden and I know he and Shane are running the town in that special place called Heaven!

I know that a year ago today, the out pouring of support for the Bailey's was huge, and I ask every one of you who read this today, to take a moment to remember the life of their little boy Aiden, because Aiden's life, though short, was a life and a life that should live on in our hearts forever! Aiden Kenneth Bailey ♥ August 13, 2o1o.]

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The REALITY of reality

Ever since the Real World New Orleans aired back when I was in high school, a secret ambition of mine was to be on a reality show. It's true. I love reality TV, The Bachelor/ette/pad, Dancing with the Stars, Giuliana & Bill, Hell's Kitchen, The Next Food Network Star, Keeping Up with the Kardashians...I guess you could say I am a reality junkie. Unfortunately for Mike, he hates reality TV and can't stand that I watch my DVR'd shows every night, when he would rather be watching syndicated episodes of Friends. I know people laugh at me for my love for Reality TV and of course I get sucked into the drama of everything. Mike can't believe that I hold onto the hope that 1 guy will find love after he dates 25 women, eliminating them week after week (for 6 weeks) and on the final day, gets down on a knee when he finds the love of his life. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I think anything is possible and for the record, there have been couples that HAVE made it. But this is all besides the point. I know that reality TV is not "REALITY". Of course production has the ability to cut and paste audio to make a positive statement come out negative. As an English teacher, I have to teach my students about quoting because removing on word from a particular statement can alter the intention behind it.

What's funny is I got a stint in a reality show last summer. It was a wedding day makeover show that aired on TLC and my friend Jessica was selected to showcase her wedding on the show. Not to ramble on about my reality stardom, but we taped over 10 hrs of footage for a 15 minute segment, and reshot interviews repeatedly, so needless to say, the editors had lots of content to pick and chose from.

To this day I refuse allow myself to believe that Reality TV is 100% fake. Perhaps this is because I really want to believe that people are capable of finding love, or I am entertained by the way these people really live, I don't know. Of course I know that production has the ability to alter scenarios, of course people are going to fall in love when they are in the beautiful country of Fiji not to mention when there is a competition to win a prize, the natural instinct to compete will take over. If a show strictly aired a person's entire day, of course, NO ONE would watch it. Even if you followed the Karashians for an entire day, I'm sure you'd be checking your watch for time. Let's face it, in everyday life, a happy cheerful song doesn't magically start playing when you walk down the street and suspenseful music doesn't play when you get a dramatic phone call from a friend. I know these are all ploys in what makes Reality TV so AMAZING!

I've now just rambled about my love for reality TV when my intensions of creating this particular post was to share the new blog design created by my creative designer, Franchesca Cox. But as I started typing, my mind wondered off and I wanted to share the meaning behind my blog's title, Reality Unedited. The story behind this title, is because I've always thought my life would be kind of entertaining to watch in a TV show. I have some amazingly awesome and unique (in such special ways ;) )friends who would make extraordinary reality TV stars and I'm positive with the proper editing, we would be just as exciting to watch as the rich celebs out there :). But in all honestly, I know that Reality shows are "altered" for viewing purpose and yes they are not 100% accurate, I get it!

To be honest, I could not imagine having to have this last year of my life documented over a reality show. Who knows what kind of editing would have come out from it, nor would I have wanted such a personal life event showcased over TV. I don't even know if a reality show could capture the emotions of the journey we've fought through over this past year. As much as I want to wake up everyday to a healthy (almost 1 year-old) Shane, I know this is my reality, and I know how real it is. Reality Unedited is my way of sharing my real life with people who want to follow it. It doesn't air every Monday at 8 and it is not edited for content, this is the true story of my life.

With that said, I am so excited to share with you all the new design of my blog. Thanks to my wonderful friend Angie, for gifting me a "bloggy makeover" and putting me in contact with her creative blog designer Fran. Fran did an amazing job of designing my blog to truly capture who I really am. Thank you for capturing so much in this new blog design. When I look at it I truly see the unedited reality of my life.

If you would like to learn more about Franchesca's blog designs please visit her website. I hope you all enjoy this new design as much as I do. Thank you again Angie and Fran! xoxo


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