Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thoughts

Though I have miles to go before actually panicking, I am paying attention to movement again, having daily/hourly swings between "Is this too much movement?" and "Why isn't there movement?" I don't expect much mental improvement on that front.

Our Christmas was good. Our annual trip to the cemetery was hard. It is always so bloody cold out there in these winter months, especially on Christmas and C's birthday. It is inevitable. We can never stay long, and I always feel guilty. I also narrowly avoided falling totally apart, which I don't feel at liberty to do on BB's Christmas morning. In so many ways, parenting C has become something that is increasingly impossible.

I cannot comprehend that C's fifth birthday is approaching. It makes my mind reel.

So much of my day is consumed by the tasks of running our household and other mundane concerns. I just don't really know how C fits into all of that anymore. I think of him every day, but in passing. There is part of me that misses that old familiar ache of dwelling on the loss of him.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Half Way

We marked the beginning of week 20 yesterday, on the first official day of winter, the shortest day of the year. I don't know why that pleases me so much, but it does. Maybe a little magical thinking... as daylight increases, it brings us ever closer to the beauty that awaits us in the spring.

Winter is a time that means pregnancy to me. To know that this pregnancy should end when trees are budding and grass is green is almost confusing to me. A time of joy, instead of pain or fear. I am not sorry to have this new set of expectations.

As time draws us steadily nearer to C's fifth birthday, I can almost taste how much these years have changed me. I am not the person I was, nor am I the person I have been. I am different again. And I think it is good.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Obstetric Report

Doesn't that sound official?

We had our first visit with our OB this week. It was great. He's from South Africa, so has a great accent and quirky sense of humour. He has this really white complexion and wild, curly black hair, so is kind of cartoonish in appearance. He made jokes and knew our history. I felt completely comfortable.

What was very new for us was the fact that this OB has an ultrasound machine he uses for each prenatal visit. Maybe you are from a larger city where this sort of thing is normal, so I'll tell you that it is NOT normal for our small city. In fact, our population is so small that we have had difficulty at times keeping OBs in town. When BB was born, there was only one OB in town, who was only on call every other week! We opted to deliver in a near-by larger city, just for that reason.

So to see an OB, with an ultrasound machine... well, it was my version of Nirvana. It was such a treat to have him show us everything as he went along, explaining everything - what he was looking for, what the implications were, how he thought it all looked "perfect". No dealing with a sullen tech, who gets irritated if you ask questions ("I can't answer that - only the radiologist can interpret the ultrasound!"). No waiting a week for the results to be faxed to my doctor and having to go in for an appointment to see her, inevitably waiting the extra hour she is running behind. It was bliss-tastic.

BB is really into the whole idea of us having a baby. I can't help but feel I am setting him up for the worst by letting him be excited, but I am forcing that sensation away each time I think of it. I want a normal pregnancy, the kind normal people have. The kind where older brothers can kiss bellies and sing songs to the baby and the Mommy just enjoys the early bonding without worrying about the worst. And I am almost there.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whew

Despite the ongoing cervical ache thing (still goes away when I sit or lay down. I am now speculating it may have something to do with how much is in my bowel at any given time... ewwww... ), all goes well.

I am now officially convinced that these are kicks and not intestinal gas. Keep on kicking, baby. 25 more weeks.

(P.S. Thank goodness I proofread this post. The original draft wasn't even intelligible).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I should know about counting chickens

I was all set to write this post about how zen/fatalistic this all is for me right now. Then I had cervical pain yesterday. After I did a bunch of crazy arguing in my head, I decided I would regret not seeing my doctor.

I went in and she didn't really think it could be pain in my cervix. Maybe it was contractions. Maybe it was something else entirely. Now, I like my doctor. I like that she fit me in on her lunch hour. I think she is a nice lady. But I do know where my cervix is and I do know what it feels like when it hurts. I have given birth vaginally twice and I get the same type of pain every period. I will admit that I didn't know where my cervix was and what it felt like until after I had two babies and spent months of my life checking for fertility signs, including cervical position. But I sure as heck do know now.

So, what did I want from her anyway? Really, what I wanted was for her to check my cervix and tell me that it is still nice and long. Which she did.

I think she thought I wanted something more. Some guarantee that if they gave me Medication X and did Procedure Y that it would stop an impending disaster. I had no such desire. I know as well as anyone could that when things go to shit, there is not much anyone can do to stop it.

The ache in my cervix is positional. If I lay down, it almost instantly disappears. So this is my self-diagnoses, with no confirmation from either my doctor or even Google. I have a retroverted uterus; it tips towards my back. I think that when the uterus gets big and starts floating around in my abdomen, my reproductive tract reacts to the strain. You may remember the BH ctx that started in week 16 with BB. This time is is a cervical ache.

Anyway, I am not panicked. So maybe I am zen. But I really don't believe in complication free pregnancies, either, so maybe it just doesn't surprise me.

So I am supposed to take it easy. Lay down if I need to. Really easy to do when working and caring for a two year old... :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

By the way...

...I am 14 weeks pregnant.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Excuse me for a moment

Mostly I look and act normal. I work part time and do Mommy stuff the other part of my time. I pack my kid into his snowsuit, load him in the car, and do Mommy of Toddler activities.

EVERYONE I KNOW IS PREGNANT.

I am actually mostly okay with that. I mean, it sucks when there are 15 women in a room and the only topic of conversation is pregnancy. Because I can't contribute half of my experience without freaking out the dead-baby-neophytes in the room (what??? babies can die for no reason??? I can't believe it). So mostly I keep my mouth shut.

But there are certain things that really, really bother me. I wish that I was the belligerent type, storming through life cutting a swath with my opinion, but I am not. So I hear these things and I keep my opinion to myself. I try not to think of them and hope that people still like me, despite my silence on most-things-pregnancy.

RANT #1: I don't think home birth is safe. I won't ever think that home birth is safe. I don't care what statistics you wave at me, I don't care how natural it is, I don't care for how many centuries women did it, I DON'T THINK IT IS SAFE!!!!

You know what I think we should be doing, if hospital births aren't passing muster? I think we should be uniting with local women in our communities and approaching hospitals en masse and demanding changes. We should educate our health professionals as to the needs of the modern woman. We should burn diapers or IV bags (what would the bra equivalent be in this case???).

No, instead we take our ball and go home. Or in this case, pretend that we are super-invincible women, doing Mother Nature's She-ra thing, and that if we have our baby in an inflatable pool at home with our midwife that nothing can go wrong. The midwife has a Doppler, after all. And we are only a 1/2 hour from the hospital if something happens. Making sure that we focus on the low numbers of fetal and maternal deaths in recent history (ignoring, of course, that most of the births are happening in health care facilities).

What's so empowering about birthing in your house, away from the possibility of intervention to save your life or the life of your child? Why aren't we rallying to replicate that experience in a health care setting? Seriously, I don't think this is black and white and you have to choose home birth OR being drugged, C-sectioned and shown a bottle-fed baby in 3 days after you wake up. If you want to give birth with a midwife in an inflatable pool, with all your family watching, you should be able to do that in a health care facility with an OR down the hall and an OB on call. Why aren't we fighting for that option? What is the matter with us? Why do so many women prefer taking the risk of birthing at home?

RANT #2: I have no real understanding why the current practice is to allow women to carry their babies 10-14 days post due-date. Sure, I understand the floating, ball-park nature of due dates, but they aren't as much of an estimate as they once were. If a women is unsure of dates, she is normally sent for a (very accurate) early ultrasound. That should set a pretty firm date, shouldn't it? We have fairly reasonable methods to verify lung maturity when we reach the due date.

Now I know that induction has a bad reputation for being painful, etc. and I know it doesn't always work, and I know that using drugs can backfire. And I am not suggesting every woman have a C-sec on her due date. But 10-14 days seems like an awfully long time. Why not 5-7 days? And is it really about induction being more expensive than natural labour (more drugs, longer hospital stay for mom, etc.)? I don't have enough information, and I don't know anything for sure. All I can say is that EVERYONE I KNOW IS PREGNANT and all of them are going post-dates. And it scares the living crap out of me, every single time. Let's just check the stillbirth stats and see how what percentage of stillbirths happen post-dates.

I just want to say that the induction I had at 37 weeks with BB was gentle, it worked really well, and it was an appropriate way to handle the complications we were facing at the time (history, polyhydramnios, cord concerns). So it is hard for me to see through my experience and understand why anything else would ever be done.

I guess I am not really looking for answers to these questions. I have heard most of the answers before. I just don't like the answers I have heard.

I just don't want more babies to die.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Walking

Tomorrow is our Walk to Remember. Due to Canadian Thanksgiving and conflicting commitments from most members in our support group, the date is early. I am not doing anything special this year, just attending.

In the past I have sang, spoke, read poetry. Is it okay that I am not doing any of that this year? I know the answer is "yes". I know it's okay. But it feels wrong.

I am not in the place any more where I grasp at anything that is remotely connected to C. It saddens me, but it is what they call healing. I have done as much as I can to integrate him (and the loss of him) into my life. Tomorrow I will walk in his memory for the fifth time.

Every day, BB grows and changes. His existence is a continual evolution. I worry about being a good parent, about making good choices for him. I am constantly reacting to those every day things that define our life.

My relationship with C. never changes. It does not grow and mature. He cannot reach out to me as his mother, I cannot hold him close as my son. In so many ways, he can only be an idea, a concept. He was and he mattered, but I didn't know him. Not in the way I know BB. I know that is the real tragedy, but I can't change it. And I have lived with it long enough to know that it isn't going to change.

I think of C. at some point in every day. Not in that gut-wrenching absence-of-presence sort of way, but when I see two brothers play together or when someone speaks of their kids. I know, intellectually, that I have another son. But I don't know what life was like with that son. In some ways, I just don't know what I am missing and I never will.

I don't accept my son's death, not in some "it was meant to be" sort of way. But I have integrated it into my life. I had a son who died. I son I barely knew. I never heard his voice, he never reached out to me, I never fed him, he never slept on my chest. Those personal, physical, tangible pieces of evidence to label him "my son" left with him. We never get that relationship.

There's nothing to be done about it. It doesn't make me weep. It is the tragedy of my life, yet I am finished with most of my crying. I am not putting him away, never will, but the shroud of continual grief is gone.

I miss my son. I never had my son. My son is a memory of a beautiful dream from another lifetime.

Tomorrow I will walk in memory for my son.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Still here

...just busy. And less preoccupied with online life and more involved in reality. That's a good thing.

Hope you are easing into autumn where you are...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thankful

I just heard that my cousin is pregnant. I love my cousin. And I am truly, genuinely, totally, and entirely happy for her. I don't remember the last time I felt like that about a "normal" woman's pregnancy. Apparently my cousin miscarried once (she hasn't ever mentioned the miscarriage, it just got through the family grapevine), but she has always maintained she didn't want children. I just knew that she did. I am so pleased that she is part of the way there.

I am so grateful to be happy. Mostly I feel fucked up and jealous about other babies and pregnancies. I hate to hear of them. I don't want to be jealous; I just am.

Please let this baby arrive, the epitome of perfection, safely in January.

And thank God and the passing of time that I can feel happy about a baby.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A boy

I wonder if C would have loved trucks and trains and cars and diggers this much. I think so. I think there is something in a boy that allows them to make machine noises and causes deep fascination with all things mechanical. Never have I seen such interest in a lawn mower.

We just returned from our holiday. Watching BB play alone nearly ripped my heart out. It took all my energy to concentrate on other things. Maybe I wasn't that fun to be around, sometimes. I wonder if I will always have to feel this way?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Like AF

Well, I should make an appearance at least once a month, shouldn't I? I am transitioning away from much online stuff. That's okay, but I miss it. Mostly, I think about yarn and dirt. Knitting and gardening. And sticky fingers.

He talks to me now. In little half sentences that only someone trained in the art of code-breaking could possibly decipher. He remembers things from a week or a month ago and brings them up, totally out of context. I feel like superwoman when I figure our what the hell he is talking about.

He loves me passionately. He wants to be independent and he wants me to do everything for him. He has figured out how to make his body as stiff as a rod or as limp as a noodle, depending on the variety of tantrum he is aiming for. The tantrums are rare; his temperament is mild. He loves his father and wants to fix things with him.

He loves trucks and playing the harmonica.

When he helps me push the shopping cart, he has started hanging off of it like a monkey bar and whizzing along with his feet a few inches off the ground. His laugh is the most perfect sound in the world.

His hair is as blond as his parents' when they were children. He looks exactly like me and exactly like his father. The eyes are bluer than endless prairie sky. His kisses are wet and many.

He likes to go visit Brother. It is an incentive to get him in the car. "Get in and we'll go visit Brother." On Mother's Day we flew kites, got to watch a train lumber by and saw a crop duster fly by. I imagine that is the reason why.

When his friends come to play, he runs around in a circle and screams with joy, like a dog chasing his tail. He doesn't know what to do with all that love and excitement. He wants his friends to come to his house so he can host them, but then he is almost more content to sit and watch them play. His personality is so like mine and so like his father's.

I have decided that I no longer scream at him in anger. It was as easy as that. I have to resist all natural urges to scream when he isn't listening; that was how I was raised, after all. I just tell myself that I am zen, I am patience personified. Life moves more slowly and more quietly now. It's good. I am done with screaming. Our house has been quiet for two weeks. I have no fears of returning to that habit. I quit while the quitting was easy.

I am so full of my little boy these days that I don't know how C. fits anymore. It all still hurts, but I have to consciously turn my thoughts to him. I worry that I don't mourn him as a person, but more as a loss of my idealism, my youth, my dreams. He flits around the edges like a ghostly idea, never firming up and taking shape. He was a hope unfulfilled. What's a person to do with that? So intangible.

I continue to deeply desire another child. My husband does not. I pray that some satisfactory resolution will present itself to us in a way that respects both of our needs.

And that's June.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Good News

I am very pleased that our province has passed the new vital statistics act, allowing the issuance of Certificates of Stillbirth.  I have no official paper in my possession with C's name on it.  I want it.

I am grateful that I did not have to lobby to make this happen.  I imagined myself lobbying politicians, firing off righteous missives to the media, fighting the good fight;  I didn't have it in me.  I am so damned glad that others did it for me.   Thank you, those who have tread this path before me.

I am not particularly pleased that the act has passed, but they will need at least a year at the paper-pusher end of things to actually be able to produce the documents.  Or so says the rep I spoke to today.  Sigh.  Like this came out of the blue or something.... um, this bill has been before the legislature for 3 years and is dated 2008.  Perhaps you all might have thought to prepare in advance for the eventual adoption as law.

Ah, the speed of government astounds even me.

Nonetheless, I am thankful today.  A small token has been dangled before me and isn't that far away.

My boy would have been five years old by then.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Procreation woes

I have been writing posts. Not just mentally, but in Blogger, too. But they are all I-want-to-have-another-baby posts and this is a contentious issue in our house. For very legitimate reasons, we disagree.

I don't know what to do with all the crazy in my head. I have a lot of crazy in my head again. But blasting it all across the internets without prior approval of the person who means the most in my life would be a silly thing to do. Been there, done that, never again.

Just send me Not Crazy vibes, would you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A little angst

I have to admit that when I hear of someone who has experienced multiple losses, I just don't know what to do.  When the losses are the babies of my cousin and his wife, I know even less.

In the past two + years, my cousin's wife has miscarried three times that I know of.  I put it that way, because who knows if these things make their way through the family grapevine.  Now she is halfway through another pregnancy and further along than she's ever been.  She is working with a specialist, taking hormones; all those things so many of my blog friends have done.   All seems to be going well.

Before I heard of this pregnancy, I had already bought some lovely merino superwash yarn in celery green and chosen a sweet little cardigan pattern in case they ever had a successful pregnancy.  I don't usually put that kind of energy into knitting something to give away; you have to be special to me to garner anything over and above a quick little hat.  But I felt like this new little life would be one to celebrate, if it ever arrived.

Fast forward 8 months; now she is pregnant and due in October.  At first I was so happy for her.  But then I started to feel weird about the whole thing, as her Facebook status began to focus on this new baby.  It wasn't that I was no longer happy; it was that I was starting to feel....  incredulous, maybe?

I feel a little bit stunned that, on Facebook and in every face-to-face conversation I have had with her, she assumes that the danger is over now that she is past a certain point.  Now, I realize that we all deal with this postdeadbabytrauma in our own way.   She maybe subscribes to the notion that if you believe in things hard enough it will make them come true.  But it makes me feel uncomfortable.

I think there are two reasons for my discomfort.  Firstly, I know how stupendously wrong it can go at any point.  I can't imagine how she would cope if the worst happened.  Secondly, it makes me feel (yet again) like some sort of pariah or freak.  Because everybody knows that once you get past the first trimester, its all sunshine and rainbows and nothing can go wrong.

I get so frustrated with that prevailing notion of our culture.  It makes me feel that I must have done something wrong - either physically, that damaged C. in some way, or in some karmic sense that I deserved to face this heartache.  While my brain tells me all of that is entirely ridiculous, that how my cousin's wife reacts in this subsequent pregnancy is in no way personally related to my loss of C., it is very difficult for me to separate those ideas.

No doubt about it, though.  I still hurt to the very core when I see a pregnant women, even someone that I like/respect/admire.  That sensation was minimal when I had my own little baby in my arms; but now my baby says things like "what's in there?" and "play cars, Mommy?"

I don't know if we will ever have another kid; that is a decision we are struggling with.  So all this may have more to do with me having more grief to deal with, and less to do with Facebook belly pictures.

Well, I don't really feel like doing the cardigan anymore.  Maybe a quick little hat.  I am planning a super-awesome-vest-for-me with the celery superwash.  

Don't you just wish this grieving thing had an end point?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

With a humourless laugh

So. I started to feel like I was inured to all that babydom could throw at me.

But today I am forced to say nice things to my colleague who's week old baby is crying in the next room. All I feel is anguish, despair, jealousy, and desire. Those aren't nice things.

The joke's on me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Like a freight train from nowhere

We went to college together.  He gave me rides to my summer job and I tutored him for his summer session recap.  We both survived college in the same tiny class, not the best of friends, but the closest that good acquaintances could be.

Last weekend, his wife gave birth to two boys, 28 weeks gestation.  Two days later, they said goodbye to their oldest boy.  Their youngest grows stronger daily in his incubator, his mother keeping constant vigil while his father plans a funeral elsewhere.

I felt horrible the moment I learned.  There was nothing I could do.  So this is how this feels.  This is how all of those people felt, 4 years ago.

Today I intended to go to the funeral.  Then I read on their blog about the slideshow he had prepared and I knew I couldn't do it.  I couldn't watch those photos, so full of love, trying to capture a lifetime in a few clicks, scroll past my eyes with beautiful strains of music floating in the air all the while.  I couldn't see two people wracked with the soul numbing grief of saying goodbye.  I could not go to the funeral for the baby of a man I have known for 11 years.

I might have gone - I could have sat there, nearly sick with the grief of it.  I could have cried and hurt, watched that little casket (would it be fuzzy white?) move down the aisle.  I could have endured the outpouring of love for this sweet little boy, all the while ripping in two with the agony of it all.   But....

The tears would have been for another boy.  The grief and hurt would have been for my boy, not the boy who today deserved the love and the tears.  I have survived that tortuous, hellish day.  I can't relive it and I won't.  I need to not think about that day, so that tomorrow I can get out of bed and live my life.

I'm sorry.  But I know that he will understand; if not today, then four years from now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Where did the words go?

Well, I am really getting to that point where it is a chore to write a post. When I started this blog, the words poured out of me because they needed to. Now? I think I have cleared enough space in my head that I have room for the words that I have to deal with in there.

This is not some sort of "stopping blogging" announcement. But it is a "don't expect too many posts" announcement. Like you didn't know that already. :)

I have worked at keeping my real life and my blog life totally separate. So now, when life is less about grief and more about, well, life... I don't have as much I can share here. I could brag/complain about my job, brag/complain about my family, brag/complain about other trivialities... well, this doesn't seem to be the forum for it. I have my daily struggles, but those things just don't seem to belong here.

The main question that remains is the question of future children. For now, I guess it is just still a question. If we make a decision on that point, or if life makes the decision for us, I will let you know.

This is no "goodbye", but I may as well say "thanks". Thanks for coming back to read (or keeping me on your reader), even though I so rarely post. It means a lot.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Time's Irrelevance

I read bon's post and though to myself, "Gee. 4 years. That's a long time."

I guess it is. How did 2005 become 2009?

Painful question.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I'm just so sad.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hmmmm.....

I feel a little better since the fog of Jan. 14th slid by, but not in the way I had hoped.  I googled "symptoms of depression" and don't think you could call it clinical.  Maybe it's just January.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Week in Pictures

My birthday - A new decade.

C.'s birthday


BB's birthday
Whew.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And now he's Two.

Complete with tantrums, a big-boy bed, grimy hands, and slobbery kisses. It is so good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

4 Years

Happy Birthday, little boy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Still a little bit to say

Life sucks you away from you grief.

At first, it is impossible to imagine that you could ever do anything but radiate pain with every heartbeat. You are alive and you child is not. That is a reality. It is not a dream. Try to make yourself understand that fact. Try.

Then you might fight tooth and nail for another chance. We did. And were rewarded with the best of all blessings - a child who lives in our home and fills our hearts, minds, and souls with another kind of reality. And this is a good reality.

But now, instead of waging epic battles with my grief on a day-to-day basis, I have to take it out, dust it off, and choose my moments to spend with it. As much as one can "control" any of it, I do that. It tuck it away in a quiet place, for a time when we can be alone.

I think that is why I have been so surprised by the (at times) massive pain and sorrow that has knocked me down in the last 6 weeks. The first unexpected blow was during the beautiful, Hallmark day that we had a couple of weeks before Christmas. We were setting up the tree, getting out decorations, listening to carols, eating pizza in the living room. Then, out of nowhere, I was bawling - wailing into my husband's chest. It was a perfect moment, spoiled only by the fact that it could never, ever be perfect. Eventually, I stopped crying and went back to my perfect day.

I wish I could say that this last week has been so easy to handle - have a good cry and have done with. It hasn't.

I know what started this. Firstly, it's January. January means "emotional instability" in my world. Secondly, I had a nice little conversation about knitting for charity with Kate over on Ravelry. On Sunday, I started thinking about maybe doing some projects for stillborn babies and donating them to the hospital. Which led to a repeating replay of C's birth, running over and over in my head. All day. I was really fun to be around.

Since Sunday, I have had a slightly anxious feeling, you know, that nervous feeling. I fall asleep after hours of laying in my bed, sleeping fitfully all night. I have that weight in my chest, that heavy feeling, that physical manifestation of depression and grief.

I have to admit something to you. It almost feels good, almost feels right. I am a mother who's son is dead. I should always feel it in the pit of my stomach, shouldn't I? When I feel good, I feel like I shouldn't. Like I don't love and miss my son as much as the rest of you do. Like I am some shallow person who can "put it behind her".

I don't want to put it behind me. But I don't know what's to be gained walking around on the verge of tears with an anxious stomach all day. I want it and I hate it at the same time.

When I was in labour with C., I was offered pain meds. I said no. I needed to feel the pain - for two reasons, really. First, the pain was giving me something real to feel and concentrate on. All I had to survive were the minutes between contractions. No thoughts of a future without C., going home without a baby. Just *pain*, no pain, *pain*, no pain. Second, I think I was punishing myself - my baby was dead before he was born and I was going to suffer for it. I think I still feel this way, that I must always hurt to suffer for the fact that I let him die. Maybe. I don't know.

If you were just an acquaintance of mine, you wouldn't know what was going on behind my eyes. I smile, plan a 2nd birthday party, greet people with "Happy New Year." We have meals on the table, the laundry is mostly done. But for the past few days, I have been in a low place.

Sigh.