Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

28 Dec 2012

21 months.

Why does everyone I run into seem to have either a 21-month old baby or a older daughter/younger son combination?

Buying car insurance today: hear all about someone who brought in their 21 month old and the kid knew the alphabet already. And that someone had a baby girl five weeks ago and she has a full head of hair. I wish I could respond with, oh, gee, I didn't realise my daughter, who was born with a full head of hair 21 months ago, should be reciting alphabet by now, but instead she is dead.

Trying to solve my issue from the previous post I went on Meet Up to find a new mommy group. The only one that fits was started by a mom who had her baby in April 2011. And it caters to 2011/2012 babies. So I guess I'm out of that group...

Ugh.

27 Dec 2012

Sleeping Snoring Baby

It really bothers me when he sleeps.

Not the fact that he is sleeping, but that I can't look at him without seeing Amelia. That's the only time I really see her in him. They look alike and I catch glimpses of her in his eyes, cheeks, lips all the time. But when he sleeps, she is all I see.

The only thing that saves me is his snoring. I never thought I'd be grateful for hearing a man snore...

So all I can do is turn away and listen to his breathing. I just can't look. It breaks my heart over and over again. Seeing the face of my dead baby in my living one's sleep.

I didn't realise how I'll never have a "normal" motherhood until now. Even with a three-week old rainbow I am a mother to a twenty-one-month old angel.

26 Dec 2012

Between Two Worlds

Recently I found myself lost. Lost, locked up, confused. I don't belong to any group I know. It's just me and Mr. Wiggles (and dear husband, of course, but he's at work 8am-9pm, so...).

While I really insanely unbelievably enjoy every second I spend with my son, sometimes I also need adult human interaction and a reason to get out of the house other than running errands.

The babyloss community now feels like a wrong place for me to come to because now I come with Mr. Wiggles and all things baby. How can I bring a newborn baby to a group that mourns babies that died. It feels awkward for me and for them and I really don't know how to navigate it.

The non-loss community is really not a place I want to come to at all. They have no clue. They complain about things that don't make sense to me. They are so different. I will never be like them, and I don't want them to be like me. There is no point in mixing oil and water.

So where do I go?

I have no idea...


18 Dec 2012

New Life!

I am so happy to announce the birth of our son, a healthy and happy new life. He was born a week earlier than anticipated and had to spend a few days getting treated for jaundice, but he is alive and healthy, a two-week old baby that I get to hold and I am so grateful.

History started repeating itself when I was 37 weeks pregnant, his kicks were not as strong and heart rate not as fast, same as it happened with Amelia. This time, because of Amelia, we had a choice of taking a different course of action than we did with her, so he was born into this world screaming.

Thank you my sweet girl. I am so sorry...

To protect his privacy for the future (see, he has one...) I decided not to share his name on this blog, so let's just call him Mr. Wiggles. He really lived up to his name actually, at two weeks he holds his head, pushes up and is trying to roll onto his stomach already. He must have been hitting the gym in the womb every day ;)

We love him so much. It's a different kind of love, full of joy and hope. I feel so much sadness for Amelia, it's a part of the overwhelming love I feel for her. My love for my son is a much calmer kind of love, I really enjoy it. It's so magical when you love someone who you can physically hold, kiss, hug, instead of loving the twinkle of a star, the flaps of a little bird's wings, the brush of cool air on your cheek.

And he looks just like her.


28 Nov 2012

First Time Grandma. Not.

In the last few months a few people referred to my mom as first time grandma-to-be. Today that happened twice. Every one who said this to me knows about Amelia.

It pisses me off.

So, I want to respond, when someone in your family dies, it's like they never existed? Do you think that my mom has not been Amelia's grandma for 20 months already? You don't realise this, but she was there when her first grandbaby was born, she met her with tears in her eyes and pain in her heart. She held her, kissed her, fell in love with her. She took care of us when we got home, she cooked and cleaned for us when we couldn't. She bought Amelia sweet little gifts, dreamt of her, cried for her for the last 20 months and will continue to do so until she gets to meet her again. Do you really think our relationships with our children are only defined in diapers changed and bottles fed? Argh.

My mom will be a grandma for the second time. This time, however, we hope she will get to grandmother a living child.

21 Nov 2012

Memories and Expectations.

My due date with Wiggles is fast approaching. The induction date is even closer. This is a relief.

It's also a deadline, if I may use the word, to find out whether our hearts will be broken again or not.
Since most babies live, I give it 51% chance of everything being ok. That's huge. Yesterday it was 50/50.

I keep myself busy so that I don't go insane (yes, I can't sleep at night because I count kicks, I have panic attacks from things that remind me of same time of pregnancy with Amelia, like dark evenings and big pregnant belly, and while I don't expect this baby to die, I can't imagine this baby living either).

I nest.

Part of nesting, a really big part actually, is going through all of the things we had ready for Amelia. I'm so grateful for them, but they do bring tears to my eyes and ache to my heart. It would have hurt more if I didn't have them, but it hurts still. They all remind me of what was, and what never has a chance to be. I miss my little girl so much.

I also have to turn Amelia's room into a room more appropriate for a newborn baby. It's hard. Her changing table used to be storage for candles, keepsakes, gifts. Now I have to find new places for those things. Not because I expect baby to live, but in case I have to grieve two babies, I will have room for that... So I just carried out a lantern I have for Amelia from her room into the living room. Somehow that really hurt. It is a huge change. Maybe it's for the better, maybe not.

Not knowing is the hardest part.

18 days left...

4 Nov 2012

Please Read: Revolution on Standby: Bereavement and the DSM-5

::::::::::Becoming::::::::::: Revolution on Standby: Bereavement and the DSM-5

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore is a brave, strong woman, a bereaved mother. She is the founder of MISS Foundation that helped me so much in the first year and still does.

Please read her blog post, think about it. If you can, spread the word; if not, just make sure you keep it in mind when you come across people who think grief has a time limit. Please have the strength to tell them it doesn't.

Thank you.

1 Nov 2012

Piano Lessons

I was waiting outside my piano studio today when a passerby commented on my growing baby belly. We had a pleasant enough chat about baby, music and the weather.

Yet, once again, a stupid comment ruined the moment:

Stranger: Take your lessons now, when baby comes you won't have the time for it!
Me: I started taking piano lessons after my first baby was born. Every child is different.

Before the unfortunate adviser could say another word, my wonderful piano teacher opened the door and hurried me in.


Lesson of the day: Assumptions should be banned. There is no excuse for assuming we know anything about another person. Each person's life is different. No matter what we think, we just don't know.

18 Oct 2012

My body. I don't trust it.

Amelia was supposed to be the safest with me, in me. But my body betrayed her, it let her die in it.

It took me a while to forgive the object that my soul occupies, while it might sound weird to those with different beliefs (I'm not religious), but I definitely felt a separation between body and soul. Soul despised and blamed body. Body didn't care.

Since I got pregnant with Wiggles, I started hoping that this time it will not betray me. My soul seems to be doing everything it can to please the body to avoid being hurt again. Yesterday I realised that no matter what I do, I still might not be able to prevent things from happening.

We went to see our midwife for a routine appointment. Wiggles was kicking all morning, on the drive to her office, and during our appointment. At the end of it we decided to listen to the heartbeat of the active little baby in my belly. But we couldn't find it. We kept getting mine instead. She tried and tried and tried. One doppler, another doppler. Just like with Amelia. A sound of another baby's heartbeat coming from the room next to us. Just like with Amelia. Our room stood still. Everyone was thinking the same thing, I could tell. But Wiggles was actually giving us a few kicks while we were searching for that magical sound. So in our minds, we knew baby was alive. But there was NO heartbeat. To our hearts, baby was gone. In that moment I felt so betrayed by my body again. I can no longer trust kick counts, for what if it's just my body playing tricks on me, deceiving me so that it can kill my baby. What if as I feel the kicks and get reassured by them, Wiggles is actually in trouble, or worse? What if lighting will strike twice?

Then, all of a sudden, the magical sound - the heartbeat. Baby is Alive. This time we get to walk out of there with a heartbeat.

Such a mix of emotions...

My midwife told me that most likely Wiggles had his/her back next to mine and that's why we couldn't get the sound. So last night I was supposed to sleep over my right hip to make baby move to the front of my belly.

The night Amelia died I slept on my right for the first time in that pregnancy. I still can't accept that.

I did not sleep last night. Neither did Wiggles. We kept tossing from left to right to sitting upright.

I hate this. Why can't I be like many other moms, worrying about mundane things? Not knowing how much can change in a heartbeat.

15 Oct 2012

October 15 - Stillbirth Remembrance Day

Today is the day we remember all babies who died before they were born.

Stillbirth a cruel way to end a pregnancy. A baby so loved, so cherished, never gets to see the light of day. A mother, ready to spend the rest of her life with her child, never gets to look into her baby's eyes, hear her baby's cry. A father, ready to teach his child games and life lessons, gets to bury his baby instead.

Stillborn babies are not just dreams, like some assume, they are not figments of our imagination. They are real children, made of flesh like the rest of us, loved by their parents, like the rest of us. They lived, briefly, but their heart pumped blood through their systems, their eyes opened and arms waved and legs kicked. They experienced light, warmth, sound. They felt love. They will always be loved.

Candles are lit across the globe for babies who live in our hearts.




14 Oct 2012

We Walked For Them Today

A dream came true today: we walked with family and friends, old and new, to celebrate our children that died, remember their lives and make meaning out of our new lives by raising awareness that, sadly, it happens. Pregnancy and Infant death happens to the best of us.

In the morning I called Mother Nature a Bitch for two reasons: for taking away our babies and for raining on the day we celebrate them. It Rained on our "parade" today. Seriously.

But you know what,  rain can't dampen our love for our children. Friends and family gathered in good spirits, we had a wonderful day full of love, laughter, balloons and cookies. Tears were shed, hugs were shared, love was in the air as we came together in the park in the pouring rain. There was almost no-one else there and that's when I realised how lucky we were with the weather. We had the place to ourselves, we felt safe to share our feelings. For our first walk rain worked so well, it literally brought everyone closer together! And that was the whole point. It was incredible.

For the first time I felt like Amelia's life had meaning. Thank you all who made it possible.

Lots of love.

(Pictures to follow!)

And let's hope next year there will be sun ;)

11 Oct 2012

Being A Better Parent

A few people told me that Amelia has made me a better parent, a better person. I don't know about better, I think I was just fine before. Was I really a bad person and a bad parent before?

She made me a different parent because she made me a different person. One that is more grateful and forgiving, one that it more paranoid and over protective. I don't know if that's necessarily better...

Still, did I really need to learn that lesson through my daughter's death? If anyone thinks that to be true, please explain to me how this mother has five living children...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/mother-who-super-glued-toddlers-hands-to-wall-says-children-were-a-stress/article4606482/


8 Oct 2012

Another Day, Another Hospital Visit.

This morning started off in a panic. I wasn't feeling well and we got very worried (read: completely freaked out). So I brushed my teeth, got dressed and we headed to the Hospital. Again.

It took just 17 minutes to get there, thankfully it is a public holiday. Thanksgiving. It brings such mixed emotions.

We haven't been to the maternity ward at this hospital yet, so it was all new. Strange, unfamiliar, unsettling. Yet friendly and purple, which is not blue, that was our old hospital. Thankful for that...

We were seen by the nurses right away, baby was trying to escape the fetal monitoring device and everyone was relieved by that. This was the first time we got to use the device, first time I got hooked up to it. With Amelia, we went in for the test but the doppler showed no activity. Neither did the ultrasound when they brought it in. We never got to the stage of getting the pads attached to belly and seeing lines appear on a green strip of paper. Today we were thankful for that green strip of paper.

After a few hours of meeting nurses, residents and doctors, we were released with good news. We got to go home with baby alive and well in the belly. Yet I couldn't shake off the feeling of sadness, panic and guilt. We never got to do that with Amelia. I'm so sorry my sweet baby girl. Thankful for Wiggles, so sad and sorry for You.

There were so many emotional triggers in the hospital, that didn't help either. From chasing the heartbeat, to the hospital bed, to the apple juice (which after giving birth to Amelia I drank in large quantities, trying to get some energy to hold her, and then vomited in a spectacular display of apple juice three-tier fountain). Water only from now on, please.

I have no idea how we are going to get through the next nine weeks. I just hope that we will be taking home baby, alive and healthy, for ever and ever. If not, I'm still thankful for Wiggles.

5 Oct 2012

Things for Baby

So far, I bought a few things for this baby.

First was a toy, at about 14-15 weeks. A present to baby for making it through the first trimester and being alive. That way in case something happened I had a toy to bury baby with.

Second was a pack of receiving blankets at about 20 weeks. Baby was big enough to be born and I needed those with Amelia, so I decided that either way I needed these now. I have them packed in my hospital bag already.

Third was me allowing my mom to buy a winter suit for baby a few weeks ago. That way I have something to bury baby in...

Cheerful, I know.


I also had a nightmare one night that baby was born alive and well and I was so unprepared that he or she had awful diaper rash, because I didn't have a bum cream. Next day I went out and got a pack of wipes and bottle of cream. Those are the only things I bought for "live baby."

But I have to say, making those three first purchases made it much easier to walk into a baby section now. The only things that get me there a clothes for girls Amelia's age...

1 Oct 2012

Is there going to be a baby?

This morning we had an interesting conversation with Hubby that went something like this:

 - Your belly got bigger since yesterday! It seems so much more real, like there is a baby in there...

 - I know, it feels so strange. Not sure how I feel about it.

 - So, what are we going to do if we actually get a baby out of this?

 - Um, I have no idea. I can't really think that far... I was so prepared with Amelia, and this time - it seems I forgot everything.

 - I guess we'll offer it tea or coffee and go from there.


The strangest thing is that we have no idea what to do with a baby that we might have a chance to bring home, alive and well, kicking and screaming. With our sweet Amelia, we read books of attachment parenting, had plans on making sure the umbilical cord was not clamped right away after birth, plans on breastfeeding and co-sleeping. We felt ready. We were so excited.

With Wiggles, there are none of the books, none of the conversations. There is the date: Christmas Eve. That's the one we tell people who ask on the street, in a random conversation. It is our due date and it's pretty cool. It takes the conversation away from inappropriate comments telling us how hard life will be once baby is born... If we want to let them in further, we tell them that we will most definitely be induced earlier, as a precaution, because our first born baby died. That makes them run...

I can't find a word that will describe how we feel right now. We are cautiously hopeful while remaining fearfully optimistic. Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best. We don't know what will happen in 10 weeks and we can't think past that. Life as we know it is 10 weeks long, anything beyond that is a great unknown.


That's our experience with pregnancy and birth so far: normal pregnancy, and then unknown, unexpected. Amelia's death was unknown, unexpected. Wiggles' upcoming birth is unknown, and the outcome will be unexpected, no matter what it is. We just don't know what to expect. No-one knows. They might have wishes and desires, but they don't know.

So what's the point in reading about attachment when in the end we might have to be letting go?

19 Sep 2012

Babies cry, I cry.

I went to see my midwife yesterday. It was a "brave" visit - I went by myself. I checked on Wiggles before leaving, of course, he kicked up a storm and his heartbeat was great. Knowing my baby was alive, I felt so strong walking into the waiting room of the clinic that became so familiar by now.


There was a lady in the waiting room, sitting next to an empty car seat and baby things: a new grandma. I smiled politely and sat next to her (there aren't many seating options there...). It was getting uncomfortable: she seemed happy and eager to start a conversation while I just didn't want to go there, so I picked up a book on loosing a baby from the lovely library they have and sat back down next to her. I think the she got the message and I spent the next few minutes in relative peace (I was reading a book on loosing a baby after all).

A few paragraphs later I looked up from my book to see a glowing new mom and her baby come out of one of the rooms, big smile on her face. Everything slows down for me: baby is quiet, I see his head, full of blond hair, still has the cone shape. I look away, down, anywhere... They coo and woo and make a joke about him making a man-burp. I gather up all the smiles that I have in me, turn to them and agree with the man-burp description, saying how cute that is.

That's a first for me. I pat myself on the back and stare at the wall to catch a breath.


Front door opens, another car seat, another new mom. She sits right in front of me, the only available chair in the room. The baby is so brand new, his hair still looks sticky. I take another deep breath. I can do it.

A sudden cry from the back of the clinic alerts me to a third newborn. Three. Is that what I get for being strong? A year and a half after Amelia's death and birth, for the first time I look at a newborn with love in my heart, and then there are THREE? I feel my eyes swelling...

This should have been me last March, in that office with my own baby. I never went back after she was born, there was no need...


The baby in front of me picks up on the cry and starts wailing. I can't hold it anymore. Tears are rolling down my cheeks. I try to keep distracted by texting my husband, my friends, but no luck. The babies cry louder and louder and I'm starting to shake.

Finally my midwife opens the door and I find refuge on her shoulder, with all my snotty tears. I'm so grateful to have an understanding and compassionate friend in her, someone who is not scared of me, of Amelia. After the tears fade I realise that those walls are thin, they must have heard me cry...

Oh well, we all cry sometimes.

I really wish there was more understanding of how hard it is for us to see newborn babies. Not because we don't love babies, but because we love our own so much it hurts.

11 Sep 2012

Well-meaning comment that I hate.

Everything will be OK this time, trust me.

Said a complete stranger, an acquaintance, a relative, a friend, and everyone in between.

You are healthy, so your baby will be ok. I know it!

At this point, if I can, I walk away. I have nothing to say to someone who has a direct line to G-O-D, who can see into the future. Because if they do, why didn't they tell me Amelia was going to die?

Funny thing is, I was absolutely normal and healthy when pregnant with Amelia. There was no reason for concern. We all trusted that everything would be ok, why wouldn't it... But it wasn't.

My doctors don't know why Amelia died, but there is a reason. It can be something rather simple, or something very complicated. It can be anything. Babies are resilient, but fragile. Life is fragile. My OB does not tell me that things will be ok this time around, she just watches me closely and plans on doing more so as Wiggles grows. She also isn't planning on taking any risks, so most likely Wiggles will be born before our Christmas Eve due date.

So that's the truth: We don't know what killed Amelia and we are doing everything we can to prevent the unknown from striking again. Hoping for the best, while remaining realistic. Not optimistic, not pessimistic. Realistic. Babies die, but most live. We don't know the future, and neither do complete strangers, acquaintances, relatives and friends. That's life.

When I hear the things will be fine comment, I feel that people try to diminish what we went through with Amelia, like something was supposed to be wrong with her all along, like her death gives all our future children a safety blanket, like I didn't give birth to a healthy-looking dead baby, like the fact that my reality is different from most other realities out there.

It minimises the real fear I have every minute of every day of this pregnancy, that I will have to survive the death of another baby, my baby. It is not the same fear as people have when bad things happen to others, it's the fear of bad things happening to me while others watch with relief that it isn't them.


So, the best thing to say is: Good Luck.

That's all. Two words.


9 Aug 2012

Everything changes, yet it all remains the same.

It has been almost a year and a half since I became a mother, and not just any mother, a bereaved mother. Seems like it has been forever. I can vaguely remember the naive, innocent "old me." I don't really miss her, but I do miss the easiness that she had in believing in good luck and sad things always happening to "other people."

Now I'm hopeful, but realistic. Grief, I hope, made me stronger, more compassionate, acutely aware of so much more happening around me: It opened up a whole new world to me. For that, I am grateful.

My relationship with grief keeps changing. As I got used to the pain and horror of Amelia's arrival in and out of this wold, I felt a gentle push of change. It made me slightly fearful, yet I look forward to it.

6 Aug 2012

Babies

This morning we went to the pool we have in our building. It was great. There was another couple and a grandfather with a toddler. We enjoyed reading our books and taking it easy. Until a new mom came with her baby, not more than 8 weeks old. She sat there and the baby started screaming. I had to leave, immediately.


I have to admit it: I have a very hard time seeing babies these days. Their presence scares, hurts, and angers me.

It scares me because they are once again reminders that at the moment I have two children and hold neither in my hand. Guaranteed is nothing. One in less than two hundred expectant mothers will loose their baby before birth. When I see someone with their baby, the odds become even less in my favour. Someone has to be the one. Last time it was me. Now, seems like every one else has their baby, so what will happen to me? This scares the breath out of me. We have 1 in 20,000 chance of Wiggles having down syndrome. My midwife said these are some of the best numbers she has seen. Yet, one will be IT. 19,999 will not, but 1 will be. For them the odds don't matter anymore. For me, a chance of bringing this baby home alive and healthy are 50/50. That freaks me out.

It hurts me because I missed so much with Amelia and I will never get it back with her. It hurts me because I don't know if I will ever get to experience having my own child on my lap, to love and to raise. Will I just keep being pregnant only to loose in the end? It hurts me so much.

It angers me because it seems so easy for so many. I see people walk around like it's no big deal to bring a child home. They behave as if it's the same for everyone, as if they don't care that the sight of their baby might hurt someone around them. They probably don't know. But it doesn't make me feel any better... It angers me that I am the one being hurt, the one who is bereaved, the one who is scared.


I feel bad for feeling those emotions, yet that's what they are. I still can't get over this morning's episode. And I bet you that mom didn't feel bad about bringing her baby to the pool, she didn't feel bad about causing me these emotions. If she was using the pool that would have been one thing, but she just sat there... Couldn't she go to a park across the road? Why would she need to go to a pool when she can't use it? I wonder if she will ever know how seeing her made me feel?

I hope she won't. But still.... 

22 Jul 2012

Milk.

I am so mad. My body is getting ready for nourishing another baby and it looks like there will be lots of milk. That's a good thing.

With Amelia I also had a lot of milk. Sadly, that was a bad thing. It came in three or four days after she was born, my breasts were so full, they hurt. I could not contain it. Some advised me to bind my chest really tight, but I couldn't: I had to cry and with a tight chest I was suffocating.

It was traumatizing to have so much milk and no baby to feed, so I really wanted to donate it to babies that could benefit from it. I had everything: milk, pump, bottles, and most of all desire to share, to help.

But many times over I was advised against it: it would be difficult, you have to do blood tests, you have to follow a certain diet, as if you were feeding your own.

I thought they knew better, so I gave up. That was a mistake. I knew better.

All that milk went to waste, with no real purpose I resorted to wine in search of respite. I would have much rather skipped the wine and shared my milk, Amelia's milk. There would have been at least one baby in this world that had something in common with her in that moment, that would have been an immediate positive in all the tragedy. But it scared others, so it wasn't.

Now, I hurt when I feel my breasts swell, my heart aches and my jaws clench. I go back to the moment of no baby to feed and nobody wanting the milk. I don't want to feed this baby this way. I wanted it so much that I resent it now. I was told that when I have another baby I can share my milk then. Hell NO. Not a chance. If I get this baby home, do you really think that I will be wanting to do the blood tests and all the extra pumping and storing and what not when I have my own to feed? No.

Why did you have to say No to me then??? Did you not think it would leave a sad mark on my heart?

Well, it did. No milk for you.

19 Jul 2012

Does another pregnancy help the grief?

No, it doesn't.
It adds another layer of feelings, emotions, fears and hopes to the existing grief.

I thought long and hard about this question, it seems we all want Wiggles to "fix" the pain of Amelia's death. Well, no-one can do it, not even her sibling.

To say Yes would be so easy. Fixed, done. Just get pregnant and all will be good again. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

The first three months were hell: the chances of miscarriage are so high I was sure it was going to be me, I mean I was 1 in a 1000 before, why would I be spared this time. I silently hoped and prayed, but didn't really expect any miracles. Most of the time I was unable to function, my fear was mind grappling. I lost weight and was just so sad inside, so scared to dream.

When the second trimester came, I finally felt like I could breathe just for a little bit. And the next day we had The Scare. I won't go into details, but just as I felt safe, I started bleeding. I was fourteen weeks. Things were in slow motion again. Even though everything turned out to be fine this time, I still worry every day. Today I'm pregnant and for that I'm grateful. But it's hard to expect a living baby at the end.

With some smart advice from a fellow mamas, I began bonding with Wiggles. This child of mine is so loved and wanted. Yet I am very painfully aware that he or she will too have to die one day. My only wish is that it happens when I'm already with Amelia. You see, this is what sets me apart from other pregnant women. I don't have that naive happiness anymore and they know it.

This pregnancy is also raising a lot of things that I either forgot, or chose to forget, about Amelia's pregnancy, death, and birth. The pregnancies are different and that's sad for some reason, yet I'm glad that they are. I wonder what will it be like giving birth to this baby: will he or she be alive? Will I be sad? How am I going to get through it? At this point in my pregnancy, the baby will be born, dead or alive. At this point, my dear husband is preparing what we are going to do in case we have another death. We are not sure how to prepare for life. When we prepared for life before, we got death.

And this really hurts, because in all this, we are so acutely aware that our sixteen-month old baby girl should be running around the house, but she is not. She never will. Yet we want it so badly...

If Wiggles lives, all the firsts will be experienced with our second child. So, while this pregnancy gives us hope, it brings up a lot of fear, grief, and sadness. The only dream for Wiggles is the biggest gift there is: Life.

15 Jul 2012

This picture if definitely worth a thousand words.

This is how I feel so many times when I cry at Amelia's grave and feel a soft touch of the wind on my cheek. Just imagine green grass under my feet...
 
A friend found this picture of a mother and child by a young sculptor, Martin Hudáčeka.

14 Jul 2012

Our neighbours have a baby.

This morning, while eating pancakes on our sunny balcony, we realised our neighbours have a baby. They are in the building across from us and there it was, a baby on their laps. About five or six months old... Does it mean they conceived when we were already grieving? I can't even do the math right now.

WHY? Why does everyone else seem to have a baby while I'm pregnant again? There are no guarantees Wiggles will be ok, so it's not like I feel that I'll soon have a baby. I'm just watching everyone while hoping for my own without any real plans for it.

I hate this. I feel like screaming: This is my SECOND. I'm supposed to be experiencing all that you have for much longer than you, yet I'm still waiting. And planning on what we'll do in case Wiggles dies too...

Argh.

13 Jul 2012

She's in the Past: Don't think so.

I met this lady at the pool today. Somehow we started talking, one thing led to another and I did something I avoid these days: I told her I'm pregnant. It seems most people are unsure of my state these days, I'm in that lovely place between looking fat and pregnant.

Since there is no other child visible around me and I'm relatively young, she assumed it was my first and told me how when she was pregnant with her first, she was on complete bedrest and now her son lives in Calgary. Well, I told her that when I was pregnant with my first, all was completely well until my daughter died and now she is at the local cemetery.

This is my second child.

The lady was nice about it, said how sad it is, as I hoped, but then it came out: Don't worry about it, everything will be ok. WHAT HAPPENED IS IN THE PAST, NOW is the FUTURE. So DON'T THINK ABOUT IT (she didn't yell it, but might as well).

WTF. Really? You are so scared of a baby dying that you'd rather pretend it's possible to treat it as something like milk spoiling? Throw out the old bottle and get a new one, all is well, it's in the past.

Yes, Amelia's life, death, and birth are all in the past. But those three things changed me as a person: she made me a mother and I experienced bereavement. While I don't plan on staying in grief for the rest of my life, a child's death is not something that a parent can process quickly. Her death is recent enough for me.

The fact is, there most likely would not be a Wiggles, had Amelia not died. I would be at the pool with her instead. As strange as the statement sounds, nothing about this is normal, with a sixteen-month old at home, we had no plans of having another child. We wanted ONE child, a daughter. Yet, here I am, pregnant again.

That idea of having just one kid I did put behind myself. It's in the past, as I now want more children.

But my daughter is NOT in the Past. She is in the Present, in the form she changed into at the time of her death: she's in our hearts and thoughts, in the actions we do or do not take, in the people we meet. She is as much in the present as she would have been had she lived, it's just that my mommy group would have included live babies instead of dead ones, our conversations would be about different things, and so on. She is here, just not how we'd like her to be. If your son is in Calgary, that doesn't mean he's in the past! You still think and talk about him!

So here it is: death is not the end of someone for those close to him or her. It's a change of state. Deal with it.

3 Jul 2012

Rainbow on the horizon!

With a heart full of hope for the future, and sadness for Amelia, I am cautiously announcing that we are expecting our second child this winter! Our rainbow Wiggles is due on Christmas Eve and even though I'm not religious, it makes me wonder :)



We are happy and scared, knowing how there are no guarantees, not even for us in this case. Once in a while I do catch myself dreaming of the little things that might be, a white crib next to our bed, a baby of our own that we can actually hold and kiss. But those moments are kept in place by the fear of another loss, more heartache. Either way, Amelia will have a sibling and will be a big sister!

Please pray for us and for Wiggles, even though we don't pray, positive vibes are greatly appreciated.

Lots of love and peace to all.

7 Jun 2012

Memories.

Cold sweat is rolling down my back, memories flood my mind, sharp pain squeezes my heart. Just a few moments ago I was peaceful, content. I was reading a new book, sitting in a comfy chair under a blanket, while the rain came down hard on the world around me. Hours passed while I was in this quiet state, until I looked up and felt Amelia near me. She was there the whole time, I just didn't see it. So loving, so kind.

And then I remembered. The last day she was alive. I was sitting in our rocking chair, in the same spot by the window, reading and watching the clouds go by. Same hours went by as I sat there peacefully, as if taking one last break before the storm.

The next day she was dead.

I can't sit in that chair anymore. Still, it is the closest thing I have to her right now.


I love you more than words can ever tell,
Till we meet again.
Mama

1 Jun 2012

Not here with me.

Here I am again. Crying my eyes out in the middle of the night, for the daughter I will never hold again.

I want to go back to the time when she was alive and kicking. To the day she was born, silent. To the day I held her hand, for an hour before her funeral. Why didn't anyone tell me it was OK to hold her then? Why was she in the stupid box as I stood near?

 One day, this too I will let go. But not tonight.

Sleep is impossible when all I can think of is her. The more time passes, the further I go from her, yet the more I love and need her. I would even take back the hours, the days, the weeks after her birth/death. I was so close to her then.

As my identity as Amelia's mom grows, matures, develops, Amelia herself becomes more distant. I feel like I haven't talked to her in ages, I mean, really talked to her. She still sends me reminders and I know she is always near, but I also know that at some point I had to let her do her thing and start doing my own. I guess like any parent does, just so much sooner than I wanted.

This is hard. Parenting a dead child is freaking hard. Most might assume that with the child's death parenting ends. Nope, it ends with the parents...


There is no big conclusion to this post. I miss my baby tonight and every night. I miss the toddler she would have been, the teenager, and the woman she would have become. I miss the grandkids she might have given me. She left a huge void for the rest of my life that will never be filled and it hurts really bad.


I love you forever, my little blueberry.
Your mama.

3 May 2012

One year. One month. One week. One day.


I have been a mother for over a year, yet I never changed my own child's diaper.

I have had sleepless nights for over a year, yet the only one crying is me.

I have celebrated my daughter's first birthday, yet there is no picture of her eating her birthday cake.

For the last year I watched others get pregnant, give birth, bring home babies. I watched other people's children grow, learn, laugh.


Soon will be my second mother's day. The day I and many others dread. I will be home that day. Leaving the house will not bring me any joy. Someone might mistake me for a non-mother. I'll have to watch others bask in their glory of the day. Confined to the safety of my home, I will observe the day.

A few days ago I overheard a mother of two young children complain about mother's day. I wanted to strangle her. How dares she? I understand she didn't know that next to her was a brokenhearted momma, aching to hold her baby, jealous of the stroller and the car seat with a wiggly baby and the toddler in a carrier on the dad.

She spoke as a person who has no clue. But that is no excuse. Bereaved mothers are everywhere, they are of all ages, races, professions.

So this Mother's day, and Every day, please keep us in mind.

Please be gentle.

Please be kind.


Thank you.

24 Apr 2012

My perfect baby.

"Only dead babies are perfect." A very deep statement from a bereavement book.

It is so true. Amelia never did a thing wrong, except for that whole being born dead thing. That was big. But I'm not sure if I can blame her for that...

So there she is, my perfect firstborn. I always wanted a perfect daughter. Her dad and I thought about all the things we would teach her. Instead, she taught us a life lesson we will never forget.

Our perfect girl. How I wish you weren't...


Love you forever,
Mama

21 Apr 2012

Angel Smiles.

I've been in a crappy mood these days. No big reason, apart from just wanting to hold my sweet Amelia.

A momma is allowed to want to hug her kid. So do I. And I just get mad seeing other people with their strollers, out and about, acting so important. As if they graduated from some big life university now that they have a snotty toddler. Yeah, try on my shoes for a while.

So I've been cranky.

Went to an organic market this morning and they didn't have kale. I went there for kale. How dare they not have kale? Left without it, disappointed, after having to dodge strollers and pushy moms and screaming kids. Argh!

Decided to go see Amelia. 

Even though the not-so Dignity Memorial workers have been doing very crappy mowing these days and it looks like a bomb explosion site, I still needed to go. 

Somehow ended up driving the OTHER way. Ended up at a starbucks. Ok, cool, I'll get a drink and a treat, and then go to Amelia's. 
GRRRR!!!!

I get out of the car and... this (not so) cute corgi drops in its steps and starts rolling over in front of me! He must have mistaken me for a young queen ;) He kept rolling and looking cute until I laughed out loud. As soon as that happened, he got up and carried on as if nothing happened! 
Wow. A dog just made me smile (not a dog person :). 
There must have been a reason I went the wrong way...

Feeling better, I got my tea and a treat and headed to Amelia's. Since it was another baby's first birthday today, I stopped by a local florist to get some flowers for her. Got mad at stupid people who couldn't park, children who just were in my way, and people in general. 

A girl can get mad once in a while. Gah.

Get to Amelia's, finally,  and there she is! A Ladybug waiting for me, right in the middle of her spot! As soon as I took a picture, she flew away. 


My sweet angel must be doing this, making her mama smile all day. Thank you my love.

I feel better now. 
Going to stay in for the rest of the day ;)


16 Apr 2012

Solitude.


At the Lullaby. I am here. I didn't chose to be here.
Life happened and I am here, to embrace it.
The dark hole in my heart burns. I'm alone,
yet I shouldn't be. All those people told me:
"You'll never be alone again." They lied. 

There are so many of us, yet we remain unseen. 
I'm here alone, yet you are always with me. 
United in our separation, we will always be.

I'm still here. How did I get here? Why me?
Watching everyone from the outside, I dream,
What could have been, would have been.
It is not to be. I wish to be there, across the fence.
Never to step foot at my lullaby. But I'm still here.

I want to be here. There is so much more on my side
of the fence: more to live, more to lose. I'm free.
I can never leave.

Here I am, alone, with and without you. 
Stronger, for all the days I missed you.
Weaker, for all the nights I cried for you.
Embracing you in my mind,
I'm here with my solitude.

2 Apr 2012

Say nothing at all.

It's better to not say anything than to say something. Most of the time we don't know where the person is in their grief, in their life. Even most well-meaning comments can come at the wrong time.

I went to see Amelia today, seeking peace and solace. I did not find it there.

There was another bereaved mom there, I met her shortly after her own baby died last year. Everything was lovely, but... I was there with pain. I needed to let it pass through me. She was there with peace. Speaking with good intention about emotions I often feel myself, she told me she was feeling ok, that she moves forward and looks at life in positive light. I know the feeling, but it was not what I was feeling today. She has another daughter to love and to hold, I don't. She lost her baby after six months of a difficult pregnancy, the death was almost expected, she does not want any more children now. I lost mine at full term of a healthy pregnancy, Amelia's death was a complete shock to us, and we would love to be pregnant again now but we are not yet.

Today I can't seem to let the pain out. I did not need to hear about peace. Not today.

I wish nothing was said today.

29 Mar 2012

RIP Jude.

Jude passed away yesterday.
I'm sad to see him go, yet glad he is free now.


This morning I went to my favourite local garden centre to pick up a few plants that Jude is going to become: We will bury him under a bed of flowers, in time his body will nourish the soil and Jude will become a flower himself.

A lovely lady at the garden centre offered to help, she must have noticed my slightly lost gaze as I was trying to find a plant to represent my blue-green fish-friend. She asked what I was looking for, I told her briefly that Jude lived with us for over two years and I'd like to keep him in my garden as a memory. "Lovely idea," she said. "Yeah," I thought to myself...

The next thing that came out of her mouth startled me: "Are you going to get another one?"

Hmmm, I heard that one before, many times actually, from well-meaning but ill-informed people asking about us having another baby. You've got to be kidding me! This illusion of replacement is Universal! They don't just try to replace my baby to fix her death, they are trying to replace anything that dies. But you can't walk into the same river twice.

"No", I said, "I'm not."

Somehow the lady seemed surprised and puzzled by my answer.

Even in death Jude keeps giving me clues to point my mind in the right direction. Our culture lacks grief awareness at the most basic level, misguidedly attempts to fix what cannot be changed, then gets bored with the whole process and moves on to brighter thoughts.

To help the bereaved we need to start with the basics. We need to accept that death cannot be fixed, changed, or avoided. It commands our respect and attention. Death is not a loss, it's an irreversible change of state.

Thank you, Jude.

21 Mar 2012

Can fate be kind?

I sure hope so.

The sun came out today and my dear husband had a real smile on his face. It warmed my heart to see it. Still, I was shivering inside...

Then I saw an old friend, a ladybug that lived on our bedroom window this whole winter. I haven't seen her for a while, it was so cold. I'm so happy to know she is still alive and doing well! I bet she is waiting for spring to have her babies in our garden. Last year we had a whole family! That would be wonderful, that would be kind.
Resident Ladybug















I guess fate can be kind to me too. I hope so. Maybe it started today?



Love and Light,
Amelia's mom.

20 Mar 2012

On a lighter note

You can call me Your Majesty :)

Saw this picture of The Queen in her younger days and it was like looking at one of my own pictures! My DH says that at least now he knows what I'll look like when I'm older... Hmmm :)


Love and Light,
Queen Alena :)

The one I long for...

Of course I'm having a crappy day today. My body is shaking inside out, my mind is racing. Do I stay in all day and just let myself be while watching time pass? Or do I put on a "face," go out there and do something with my day. Either way it's going to be hard. Either way at the end of the day I will be one day closer to Sunday.

While I contemplate this, I think about the people that I gained and the people that I lost this past year. The connections that I made, the friendships that deepened, the ones that dwindled. So much has happened. So much I am grateful for. Yet, I long for one thing only. My daughter. My beautiful baby girl.

Love never dies.

19 Mar 2012

Thank you for the Snow.

My sweet Amelia,

Thank you for the snow. I know it's you. Who else would be making sure the cherry blossoms stay closed till April. They blossomed the day you where born last year. We are so scared of them this year. I saw a little tree starting to bloom yesterday and said something like "Bgaaaahhh." Not good. No cherry blossoms this week for us.

The snowflakes are getting bigger. It's Vancouver, it's March, and it's snowing!



You know snow always makes me smile.

Thank you my dear snow angel.

Mama

17 Mar 2012

Hey Jude.

Hey Jude, don't make it bad,
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart, 
Then you can start to make it better.

When we where pregnant with Amelia we brought home a new family member. His name is Jude and he is a blue fighter fish. He is at least two and a half years old now. We love him very much.

I named him Jude because I always loved the Beatles song Hey Jude. So fish became Jude. Every day at feeding time I sang the song to him, usually the first verse or two. So I've been singing this for some time...

Now Jude seems to be nearing the end of his journey with us and it's really hard. Especially now. Yet, somehow, I know why he came to us. Just listen to the words.

Thank you dear Jude. We love you. Please live.

Please not now.

Please

13 Mar 2012

My ugly shoes.

I'm wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes. I hate my shoes.

Each day I wear them, each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad 
I don't think I can take another step.
... Yet, I continue to wear them.

I get funny looks wearing these shoes,
they are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others' eyes they are glad to be wearing their shoes, not mine.
They never talk about my shoes.

 
To learn how awful my shoes are will make you uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But once you put them on, you can never take them off.

I'm not the only one who wears these shoes. There are many pairs in this world.

Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.

Nobody deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman,
These shoes have given me the courage to face anything.
They have made me who I am.


Said truly by an unknown author, slightly edited by me.

10 Mar 2012

Sharing In The Pain.

Last night we ran into G. in our lobby. He was pale, grey actually, and sad, very sad. We knew something was wrong just by looking at him...  And as we had to deliver similar news after Amelia was born, he told us that his wife died of cancer six days ago.

Wife. Died. It was hard to believe the words we were hearing, but his eyes told us how final the meaning was. They lived their whole lives together, they have a teenage son, and none of his family is in the country. It is devastating and we know he's in for a hard journey...

Now that we know death really exists it seems to be everywhere. This year we also lost grandparents on both sides, our friends lost loved ones. So many people know grief. Yet our society doesn't talk about it much, it can be such a taboo subject. As if we don't talk about loss it won't come our way.
Unfortunately, all that is born must die.


Living in grief can be very lonely. The space where our loved one's physical presence was, is now a gaping hole of loss, emptiness. This is where compassion comes in. When we are brave enough to share in the grief of our neighbours, feel their pain, shed a tear with them, we gain love and understanding. We ever so slightly lighten their load, if only with a couple of tears.

Please, be mindful of the bereaved around you. Don't offer advice or answers. Do offer love and compassion. Fruit-baskets are nice too, flowers and meals. Don't ask how can you help. Just help.


The love we take is equal to the love we make <3

5 Mar 2012

Scared to sleep.

Since the end of February I've been scared to sleep. Every night I dread going to bed, every morning I wake up in cold sweat, glad the night is over.

It is March. We are approaching the one-year mark with lightning speed. The year was so long, the days of misery, the nights of nightmares. Now it's almost over. I wonder what will be on the other side of March 25, 2012? Will it get better? Is there some magic button that makes memories of Amelia easier and dreams of her happier? I doubt it.

Last few days I've been relieving many memories of Amelia's week with us. The seven days she was ON earth, from the Friday of her birth to the Friday of her funeral. While I always remembered the events of that week, my mind seems to have hidden the little details from me, to save my sanity I guess. It took almost a full year to grief-work through the onion layers that hid the horrors of THAT week.

The memory of how I allowed my midwifes to bathe Amelia, her one and only bath that I didn't do, because I just gave birth and after trying to gain energy from fruit juices was, well, doing a projectile vomit of said juice. I knew our time was limited and could not get up, so it was best for them to wash her and bring her back to me after all the juice was gone. Still, I never got to wash her myself. Ever. Never.

On the day of her funeral we had an hour to spend with our baby, just one hour. I held her little hand in mine the whole time. Somehow I never picked her up, never held her in my arms before saying goodbye to her little body forever. I was scared. As a new mom I wasn't ready to bury my baby. I was ready to cloth-diaper and breastfeed, attachment parent and love and cherish. I was not ready to bury her.

So tonight, at 3:22 am I don't want to go to sleep, I don't want another memory to come up, I don't want to accept and let go of yet another thing I DIDN'T do with Amelia.

But I do accept these two things. I do have a choice not to and if anyone dares to tell me otherwise, they can just pretend to be me for a year and then we'll talk. So I make a conscious effort to accept an let it be. Still, I will be waiting for the sun to rise tonight.

Little Girls that remind me of Amelia.

An interesting thing has been going on since I became Amelia's mother: almost every dark-haired little girl that I see in public gives me the same long stare that reaches into the core of my soul, as if she knows about Amelia.  It's like they can feel my longing and they instinctively acknowledge and witness my pain.  It fills my broken heart with healing gratitude, healing it with love and compassion.

I am forever grateful for these gifts.

2 Mar 2012

::::::::::Becoming::::::::::: DSM V and Ethical Relativism

::::::::::Becoming::::::::::: DSM V and Ethical Relativism

Highly recommend this blog, it's written by a fellow bereaved mother who is an inspiration to me. If you wonder how I made it through the last 11 months, Dr. Jo is the reason. Eternally grateful to her.

29 Feb 2012

It has been a while...

 It has been a while since I wrote, it has been a while since I was...

Lately I removed myself from facebook, blogging, etc. It helped. This way I could control when I got exposed to things that could hurt me, like pictures of other people's babies (no offence to other people's babies, it's not them, it's me, really). While I'm grateful for those who care and wish me well, sometimes I just want to scream when I hear "you'll be ok, just be happy!" Really? How do you know?

Today I went to see the same doctor who told me that Amelia had "no heartbeat" today. I went to see her to find out WHY am I not pregnant again and WHAT do I do about it. I spent an hour in the waiting room with happy pregnant couples, flashing my "dead baby" tattoo. I spent five minutes with the lovely doctor. And I have no answers. None, nada, nilch. WTF? She (a very lovely lady) suggested I see a Reproductive Mental Health specialist, which is a great idea, in theory. I've been looking for help for about six months after Amelia died. I got nothing. I was told to call 911 if I felt suicidal when I told my psychologist that I tried to put myself INTO harms way a few times and contemplated JUMPING from our 18th floor balcony. She told me to help others like me, because apparently I was doing so well... Some time ago I stopped looking for help from people who learned about grief from a book. Now I look for it from within and it's working.

So I wonder, WHO the hell is working in the health industry? How does a person decide to become a healthcare provider? Do they even realise that they'll have to deal with real people and real issues? Or are they there for the paycheque? It certainly seems that way from where I'm standing.

Sometimes I hate some people. Today is that day. While I'm grateful for all the wonderful people in my life, I with others chose different professions.


Argh. 

16 Jan 2012

I wonder...

Sometimes I wonder if I can say everything I think and feel out loud? Can I write it down for you to read? What will you make out of it?

Obviously, most people who read my blog understand it based on their life experiences (and Thank You so much for being brave enough to read it).

Hopefully, most people's experiences are very different from mine and their children are alive and well. They have no clue what it's like, yet, they assume things about it. That's just the way life is.

Therefore, I know most interpret my words differently, assigning meaning that is not what I give it. That's fair.

Yet I wonder, can I say that I'm having a horrible day, but it's actually ok as I'm facing my grief head on instead of hiding from it? And can the meaning of my words be understood the way I intend it to and not warped in the decoding process? I don't know the answer, but please keep it in mind...


So there goes:

I'm having a terrible horrible day. I feel like I've been asking for help left, right, and centre, and I'm getting shoved out of the way. I'm so tired of being bereaved, I'm so done with this "new" life. Yet, there is nothing I can do about it and it will never change, so I just sip my wine and eat my friggin' chocolate cake, pardon my language. And I'm ok. I'm awakened. And in a sick sense of the way, I'm grateful.


Still, don't worry, I'll be fine. Just a little wrincled and tired, but fine.

4 Jan 2012

Feeling Robbed

I came across a beautiful video of a family going through loss, so raw and so honest.

The second clip shows the mother crying in her hospital bed, the sounds she made are so similar to mine. The deep cry, the animal howl. I hear it so often when I cry. Hearing another mother's pain validated my own grief and made me feel not alone.

The video also made me feel robbed. They got to take their daughter's body home for one night: they actually got to carry her out of the hospital and take her home. Why couldn't I?

Why could I not take my dead baby home for a few hours? Why could I not take her to the funeral home myself? It's not like I could harm her. It's not like they were trying to save her. It's not like there was someone at the morgue who needed her more than I did.

She is my daughter, yet I was not allowed to spend what little time I had with her. That I will never forget, nor will I ever forgive.


http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/losing-layla