There is one main reason why I find myself continuously falling back in love with reggae music. That reason is simple; it is that the majority of the songs on my playlists have a theme of positivity, perseverance, and love. Even the more serious, self reflective or dark songs are meant to inspire by helping people identify in order to get through their own situations. Reggae, to me, represents an essential element of my personality; the unwavering desire to fight, to stay positive, to go down swinging and never give up. For proof, listen to some of the latest album releases that Reggae 360 has endorsed. The songs you will hear are meant to fuel the human spirit. You don’t get that with a lot of popular music now a days; at least that’s my opinion. Life, however, is not always positive. It can be hard and it can be dark. There are things we deal with in life that don’t make sense. There are things in life that test us and in these moments I always find myself turning to and grabbing onto any positive vibes within my reach. Whether it’s a song, a conversation with a friend, a concert, or even just a random person who continually pushes out positive Instagram posts. It all gets absorbed into my subconscious and it shapes the way I react and the way I attack each moment.
One man who has been pushing out a lot of positive energy via Instagram is a close friend to Reggae 360, a follower, and a supporter. We noticed that most of his content had a theme. We reached out and asked him to share his story and what we received in return was a story so sobering that it has to be heard. It is hard to read without feeling your heart sink but it represents the difficult moments that so many of us can relate to. As dark as this story is there is light, there is hope, there is love and there is proof of the human spirit. We did not edit a single word. We are only a platform to share this story. If you want to keep things light today then do not proceed, however if you want to be reminded that you are alive then proceed. If you have your own story of positivity, perseverance, or strength then let us know. Maybe we can also be your platform. We are a community and we are here for you. We love you. We got your back. Keep pushing. Keep fighting. Go down swinging. Here it is-
It Could Have Been Worse?
So, it’s 5am of my new normal life. I just woke up. I wake my dog Bowser (a St.Bernard) to go and get a coffee for myself and my wife, Asheley. Oh, and a jelly stick for Bowser. He loves going for rides with me. When we get home I put Asheley’s coffee in the fridge because she’s still sleeping. As I turn on the news and place my headphones on to not listen to the news. YES, to not listen to the news but to either listen to “positive affirmations” or to “meditation” audio books. Bowser looks at me annoyed that I’m not feeding him his breakfast first. I feed Bowser his donut then let him out. I zone into my audio books to start the day the only way I know how to now. It wasn’t always like this. I left out that I take my medication before I leave because I’m clinically a “ADHD” person. I will get to that later. As I’m listening to books on audio. I scroll through Google to find cool elephant pictures and a positive thought for the day. I then cut, chop, and crop the picture to post it on my Instagram account (@warriorlifedad) and on my Facebook page (Princess PIP’s page). Weird, I know but it wasn’t always like this. I write down goals and to do’s also. “HELL” I’m writing right now! I never did this before. It’s amazing to think the worst thing that could have happened to a person happened to my wife and I a year ago. We are still fighting. Not all is good but I’ve found out things about myself that I never knew. My new normal has got me back from a dark place. Sometimes shitty things happen. It’s how you fight back!
HERE’S OUR STORY…
IT WAS HARD TO RE-LIVE THIS
EVEN THROUGH THIS PEN……..
Right before Thanksgiving of 2017. Asheley hadn’t been feeling herself so I stopped on the way home and bought a pregnancy test. It was no surprise to me, she was Pregnant! In our excitement we wanted to tell everyone but had to wait until the first trimester was over. So when Christmas came we told our parents as that was their Christmas gift. I was so excited to be a Dad. We found out she was a girl. Parker would have been the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Asheley and I went back and forth on names. I’ve always loved “Parker” as a girl’s name. I also liked the idea of a nickname. We came up with Parker Isabelle Pichette. Which gave us “PIP”. Everything was going well with “PIP”, she was a healthy baby. Asheley was so tired because PIP was a good eater. Pip would dance in her belly (she got her moves from her dad), as she grew in Asheley. When I came home after work I’d lay on the couch and hold Asheley’s belly and say, “Hey beautiful”. She would start to shake and move as if knowing who I was, her Dad. Her due date was July 29th. Asheley and I shopped and got her room ready. The day came closer and closer, we were going to meet our beautiful little princess PIP. This was the best year of my life! My wife “killed her vision for her room”! I was a little uneasy on the “old lady pink paint” until it was up. Soon it was July 26, 2017 and we went to get the last ultra sound. “I felt she was going to come early”. My excitement grew and grew. I had all of her stuff packed months ahead of time. We had a fat healthy baby! We have a goober of a dog, a St. Bernard named Bowser “Bean” Pichette. He was acting out of character towards Asheley, so I was like “Pip” is coming early! It was Thursday July 27, 2017. Being a first time dad, I stayed up all night checking on Asheley and PIP. Excitement and nerves were taking over. Needless, to say NO Parker. I had to go to work with No sleep……..great! Right! I was looking forward to having the weekend off with Asheley, just the 2 of us. I sell cars so we don’t get to many weekends off. I came home Friday night with no sleep from the night before. Exhausted and looking forward to watching a movie with Asheley, snuggling on the couch. As I lay on the couch, Asheley had gotten up to go to the bathroom. It was around 8:30pm. From the bathroom she was yelling for me. I’m annoyed because I hate when she does that! Then I could finally hear what she was saying. “I think my water broke”! I went into action. I knew 3 routes at certain times of day to get her to the hospital fast. I called the soon to be first time grandparents to tell them we were heading to the hospital. Asheley was on the phone with the doctors office.
Finally, I get to meet princess Pip……
THIS IS WHEN MY LIFE WAS GOING TO
FOREVER CHANGE AND OUR FIGHT WAS
GOING TO START……..
We arrived at the hospital in 30 minutes. Asheley got checked out. Come to find out it wasn’t her water that broke but a placenta abruption. This meant PIP was bleeding out inside of Asheley. Still unannounced to us, they had told us they wanted to get her out. They were not sure what was going on but something was not right. PIP was born at 11:52pm on July 28, 2017. Eight minutes before her due date. “I told Asheley I wasn’t going to cry”. I did when we heard her cry….then comes the chaos. I’m not the smartest man when it comes to this kind of stuff. Asheley who works for a oral surgeon, laid there crying knowing something was wrong. Trying to calm Asheley by saying it’s just a jump start as PIP was getting worked on and Asheley laid on the other side crying. It wasn’t! This is my nightmare! I live that day in my head everyday. I felt helpless. As a dad it’s the worse feeling EVER! People don’t know until they have a child. You don’t care about anything but them, at least I didn’t. I saw that beautiful fat, baby Parker Isabelle Pichette…….. 8lbs 7oz 19″ long. They took her away to get her stabilized because my daughter was going to be on her first helicopter. A trip to the NICU at Dartmouth hospital in Lebanon, NH. Being so late we had to stay at the hospital that night. My in-laws drove up that night to be with PIP. The great thing is that my mother in law is a nurse. Nobody better to ask questions. As a dad I was torn what to do, Stay with Asheley or to go up to be with PIP…..I stayed with Asheley. Now I’ve been up since Thursday at 7 am…..adrenaline is a amazing thing. I was trying everything to stay positive. For my daughter and wife…….Inside I was crushed. We had received 2 calls from Dartmouth Hospital that early morning. One was from the DART team and that was when PIP had landed and was stable in the NICU. The second was the one that broke me….the NICU Dr…. I being worn out and not very good at explaining things to my wife, handed Asheley the phone. Not my finest moment……the exact words from the Dr. “You have the sickest baby in the NICU”. I wish I didn’t hand the phone to Asheley at that point. I knew I should have handled that call. As Asheley hung up the phone I was angry with myself, yet still trying to stay positive. Asheley being smarter than me knew it was bad. I “SNAPPED” at Asheley. Pissed off I didn’t take the call and hopeless. I left to take a drive and to cry. It’s 7am Saturday morning July 29th. I poured tears heading to the house. I was
going there to pack the Tahoe with anything and everything that was in PIP’s room! I wanted her to have everything that she could to help her fight to come home. I know “STUPID” but they were her things. Bowser greeted me with excitement when I got home “thinking his sister was was there”. He ran to the back door were we had put the baby seat. “Like I needed to cry more”. It made me sadder and told him that Mom’s OK, but Parker is not doing so well. Yes, I was talking to my dog. He wouldn’t leave my side. I quickly jumped in the shower and stuffed the Tahoe with PIP’s things. Back to the hospital to see Asheley, she was mad that I had left her there after our argument. I left because I couldn’t have her see me cry(typical guy). Asheley couldn’t jump in one of our vehicles because she had a emergency csection. While we waited for Asheley to be released, my Dad, Mom and brother, Neil had met us at the hospital. Meanwhile, Asheley’s parents were at Dartmouth Hospital with PIP.
It is now11am Saturday morning and I was still up, running on pure adrenaline! Asheley was waiting on transport which was on it’s way. I was going to head up to see PIP. I was pissed at the Dr. for what he had told Asheley “that we had the sickest baby in the NICU”. He and I had a problem…..in my mind. My brother and I hopped in the Tahoe. I was driving. I needed to get there to number one see Pip and number 2 give the doctor some shit for what he had said! I made it up there in 45 minutes. Doing “not” the speed limit but the fuck if I was stopping for anything! My nervous brother looks over at me and said, “Nick would you like me to drive?” I turned to him and said, “I have to get there. If a cop pulls out to chase me I’m not stopping, just be ready to explain why”. Thank God it didn’t happen! As I parked, my father in-law met me at the front door. I was going insane. I just wanted to see PIP we only got to see her for a few minutes before she left for the hospital that morning. Angry, sad and running on no sleep, my eyes were bloodshot as can be. I’m sure I looked like a rabid raccoon. I didn’t care!
I stormed into the NICU with the nurse chasing me with antibacterial hand sanitizer. It was a NICU, with a bunch of sick babies. Me not realizing that at the time. That is where I saw my heart on the table, PIP. She had heard my voice. She began to try to open her eyes and started to wiggle. She was heavily sedated and she knew I was there! There was my beautiful baby girl! The biggest, cutest baby there. With 3 nurses working and watching her. With nothing I could do for her, I was helpless. She squeezed my finger. Which was the only thing I could do. I was just there but she knew and seemed to relax. I told her mom was on her way. When Asheley got there in tears I looked at her and knew that she had felt as hopeless as I did. It had been a rough 3 days for me with no sleep to boot. Not knowing if Pip was going to get better. What the nurses told us was that there was fluid building up inside her. Also, her blood wasn’t clotting due to loss of so much blood from the placenta abruption. So they needed to get the blood to clot. In order for them to get inside to fix where the fluid was coming from. The doctor had pulled us aside to tell us that it wasn’t looking good and wanted us to sign a paper stating that if she declines not to resuscitate. It was “ONE DAY!” I told him. “Fuck You, I’m Not Signing That!”
The nurses had taken a liking to me. When the doctors had told us she could also have brain damage. Me being Nick said, “if she can function and enjoy life, I don’t care, I’ll be the best God damn Special Olympics coach there is!” I didn’t want to give up. She comes from our families which makes her a fighter! It was a long day of pacing, crying and nerves. The nurses said, “Nick you need to get some rest”! But I couldn’t sleep. Asheley being the warrior she is didn’t want to use a wheelchair so she was just walking around. She was just cut open less the 24 hours ago. Finally, I crashed about 7:30pm that Saturday night. In hope that PIP would make it through the night. Praying the blood would clot to get to the next steps. I closed my eyes and felt like I quickly opened them. It was 6am Sunday morning! Ok, I hadn’t been woken up, no news was good news right?! I tried sneaking out of the room to go see PIP. As I approached the door it began to open. There was the doctor and nurses coming in. My heart dropped. The “Bad News” was coming.
The doctor sat us down and said, “The fluid inside is getting worse and the blood was still not clotting”. Now Pip had some ups and downs but made it through the night. She was fighting for us, but now she was suffering…..that sucks! About an hour of crying and feeling lost. Asheley and I didn’t want PIP to suffer. I was still hoping for a miracle. It wasn’t coming. The doctor had told us that they had a special room where PIP could get moved to. So she could have visitors and we could do normal things with her as in read books, hold her and have as many people as we wanted. I was just happy to have her in there and out of the NICU.
PIP had quite the day. She got to meet her great grandparents, uncles, aunt, cousins, mom and me. We read to her. We gave her a bath, held her and blanketed her with all the love we could. We even got to bring her outside. My heart got heavier and heavier as each hour passed. Knowing she was going to die…It was an amazing day! If “Groundhog Day” (the movie) was a real thing and I could relive that day over and over again I would. I would not change a thing about that day. She was my heart. So finally at 8:05pm Sunday July 30th 2017. Parker Isabelle Pichett was pronounced dead. She passed in Ashley’s arms hearing her mom’s heart beat one last time. I wanted to put her on my chest while I was laying down, which I did but she was dead and stiffening up on me. I didn’t care.
I miss her everyday! I went through all the emotions and still am. I went numb as did Asheley while we planned the wake and funeral. We had a ton of outreach from family and friends. Over 500 people showed up for the wake. That little girl had so many people that loved her! I knew the harder time was coming for Asheley and I. So now it’s August 2017. We tried to get away as much as possible went to couple counseling. My doctor had put me on lorazepam (anxiety meds). Now I don’t react well to them at all or any downer drugs. So I started self medicating with drugs and alcohol. I was lost and plagued with nightmares and insomnia which is easy to have when my brain works at 1000 times faster then a normal brain. They call this ADHD. Our couples counselor had told me that my anxiety is due to my ADHD. Now I have been off medication for over 10 years for my ADHD. I just forced myself to use it as an advantage in work and life. After all of this I had to go back to a psychiatrist to get back on medication. This doesn’t happen quick. So fast forward to November. I finally got to see the psychiatrist after months of therapy to get prescribed medication that now is helping me with my anxiety and ADHD. I was getting better. I was finally focused and driven again. It had been a long time since I felt like this.
Work got better and I got better. I started listening to audiobooks when I woke in the morning. Everything from positive affirmations to meditation. I started seeing signs of her everywhere. PIP had elephants all over her room and with her being a big baby. Elephants just had become her spirit animal to me. I thought to myself why not do a positive post that helps me get through the day with a elephant picture. It stuck. I had a lot of people that reached out to say that my posts were helping them. Although that wasn’t my intention. I did it to help me start my day. No matter how bad the last day was.
I started Princess Pip’s Page and my Instagram @warriorlifedad to remember her. Now I don’t want people to think that I’m not struggling still. I am. I’m actually having a tough time right now. Her birthday/death had passed. I thought my anxiety was going to pass after the “year of the first times” was done. It hasn’t. I felt my stress/anxiety creeping up on me since Father’s Day had happened. Other things had happened also that I won’t get into. So I fight everyday because I’m battling myself now. I still do my post to take the the steps, so at least to get the day started with a positive. I do see my therapist still. It’s a long road ahead. Asheley and I are fighting for us. It’s hard with our short triggers towards each other. I seriously don’t know what I would have done if I lost her and PIP that day. I think of that all the time. I also feel fortunate not to have told my son or daughter why their baby sister wasn’t coming home. For that it could have been worse.
I will fight knowing my daughter is watching me. I try to do better than yesterday. If I don’t I just have the next 24 hours to try again. It’s a day by day struggle and it’s always going to be. This was very hard for me to write. I do believe that you have to look at everything that happens during a day and find the positive in it, in order to grow. Also to smile as often as you can. I’m still trying and fighting today. I will try to do my best everyday. I will make my daughter proud. I will see her again.
It could have been worse…
I love you Princess PIP!
“When I look up to the sky I see no broken dreams
I see an angel in the sky who’s smiling down on me
She says hello, even though I might find myself alone
She gives me love, gives me hope
When I’m lost she takes me home”