Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Final Piece

Well, friends, I suppose it is time to acknowledge what is happening here. Or should I say, what is not happening here.

When I came to this space, I was still ringing with the pain of loss. Ever fibre and nerve in my body was vibrating with missing him. I ate, breathed, slept pain. It was everything.

I wrote here in order to skim off the worst of it and put it somewhere it could be contained and confined. Somewhere it couldn't hurt me anymore. Somewhere I could read a response that said "Yes, I know. It is terrible and unbelievable and unjust and I'm sorry".

When I came here, I didn't have real friends anymore. I couldn't. They didn't know. They couldn't help me. Some of them even hurt me.

Then I started to write here, and I made a place for me in the pain. Some of you came with me to that place, some of you were already there and shared a spot beside you. It was amazing to have that connection with people who I didn't know, but who I knew so intimately.

Thank you.

Today, my days are filled with the "why???" and "can I??" and "come play" of the three year old. My nights are broken with that exhausting, but all-too-soon-over cry of the hungry infant. And five long, troubled, joyous years have passed. I now vibrate with life instead of death.

To say that I don't need you anymore would be wrong. I do need you, but in a different way. It is enough now to know that you walked with me along this path of grief. It is enough now to know that you are out there walking still.

There is something satisfying about where I am now. I have a son who was born 2 years and 3 hours after his brother, barely missing a shared birthday. I have a daughter who was born exactly 6 years to the day after her oldest brother was conceived. We look to the future.

I know now how I will be living with this thing called grief. It sits lightly on my shoulders, always present but not always acknowledged. Today I can bear the weight of it.

Each year, I will walk in memory of my boy. Each time I do, I will light a candle for your babies, too. Know that I think of them.

I didn't think I would want to say goodbye, but I do.


Thank you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

For Sale

I am selling the baby things as they are outgrown. It hurts. I have always scoffed at the saccharine, emotional tears that moms shed when their children outgrow there things. Now, here I am, tearing up over every little item. We need to get rid of this stuff and we need the money that we will make by selling it. It is just so real. We are done having kids. That is such a loaded statement. I have no idea how to convey to you what that statement does to my soul. I guess I won't try.

So, in the spirit of selling things, does anyone need (or know someone who needs) a Doppler? I have one for sale. I would love to know that it would be helpful in giving another loss-Mama some peace of mind. Includes 2 extra tubes of gel, $85 Canadian, plus whatever the cost for shipping. Email me for details.

See? I can do it. I just don't have to like it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What happened

So here we are. I am done procreating. I am at the same time thrilled and saddened by that thought. It's bittersweet.

We were scheduled to be induced on May 1st. My water broke spontaneously around noon on April 30. So off we went to L&D, where nothing happened. I sat and knit for 4 hours. Then my OB decided that sitting around was silly, so started to augment with oxytocin. I slowly dilated. At around 9 or 10ish I got my epidural, which seemed to destroy the pattern and intensity of my contractions. So, they turned down the epidural (ouch) and turned up the oxytocin (double ouch). Around midnight, I was about 9 cm, then 9 1/2, then got stuck. The nurse thought the last bit would go faster, so I had my legs up in the stirrups for a long time. She kept asking if I had the urge to push, and I never did. I finally got fed up with waiting (it hurt!) and told her I wanted to push. After a couple of false starts, I pushed 3 times and she was out.

It wasn't all rosy. We couldn't track her heart rate with the external, so had to do an internal monitor on her scalp. Then, towards the end, she started to have decels (down to about 90 bpm) occasionally during contractions. The decels were infrequent, but scary. My husband tells me that the cord was around her neck when she was born (slipped off easily). She had to be suctioned and was a little quiet at first (no idea what her APGARS were, they didn't say...). Then all was perfect.

I am so happy. She is wonderful. It's been really easy, so far (as easy as life with a newborn could be, that is...).

People have asked me if it has been hard to go from one to two kids to care for. I haven't found it really hard. It takes more effort, obviously, and life is busier, but it hasn't been overwhelming. It was way more overwhelming to go from "mother of dead baby, caretaker of tombstone, waterer of memory garden" to "mother of live baby with needs". My expectations of what it would like to be a parent had to go through a major shift from the day I married my husband, to burying our first child, to bringing home our second. This change is SO minor in comparison to all that.

Also, I am having small struggles with all the "perfect family" comments. Boy and girl, one of each. Honestly, if C. had lived, and if we had BB subsequent to that, we would probably not have tried for a girl. I think both of us only ever wanted two kids, potentially only one kid, and three would never have been something we tried for. So, for us, if things had gone "perfectly", we would have two boys. Our family will never be "perfect". We can't call it perfection when one family member is gone forever. But, I will admit, it is as near to perfection as we can possibly hope for in the life we lead now.

So that's where I am today.

Monday, May 03, 2010

It's a girl!!

Born May 1st, @ 2:22 a.m. Will post more soon. Sooooo tired. Sooooo happy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Post 38w

My OB stripped my membranes on Tuesday. I have had hours-long stretches of contractions here and there, but no real labour. Due to the small size of our L&D ward (3 beds), I have to wait until the weekend for the possibility of induction. Basically, there are people in line ahead of me and I have to wait my turn.

If it's your type of thing, please say a few prayers that I will go into labour ASAP. Though I don't actually like the idea of spontaneous labour, I would rather that than waiting much longer.

Today, this baby is the same gestational age as C. was. It's going to be a long day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

37 weeks, 3 days

I don't like this gestational age. Why? Because we creep ever closer to 38 weeks, 3 days, which is my personal time-bomb. C. was okay right up to 38w2d. Before that, there was discussion of induction due to slightly odd BPPs. We didn't do it. He died.

Not that I am going crazy here. But there is still no firm plan. My OB is going to check me early next week. He said he would prefer to use prosteglandin, made mention of stripping membranes, doesn't want to push things. I hope to God that by the middle of next week we are either done or in the middle of labour. Next Wednesday is my personal scary day. Please don't make me wait....

I don't like the lack of firm plan, though I understand that my OB is just trying to gently nudge my body into labour instead of trying a cold start. I just wish I could comfort myself by saying "Only ___ more days, you can make it only ____ more days..."

On the other hand, the baby's blanket will not be ready in time. Each day more brings me closer to at least being half-done.

So ready for this to be over.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

36 weeks, 3 days

I woke this morning feeling wrong. At 4 a.m. I felt slightly nauseous, bloated, and had an off-and-on backache, with maybe 2-3 contractions per hour. It hasn't turned into anything, but I feel the type of pressure in my bottom parts that is reminiscent of how I remember dilation feeling. So I am confident that I am not in real labour, but that I might get lucky and go into real labour in the next week or so.

Please don't remind me that women can experience false labour and dilation for 3 weeks before going into real labour. I am trying hard not to remember that.

What is a little hard to separate is that my only experience with "natural" labour was with C. So I distrust my body. I am just very, very grateful that this baby is very active, and seems to move every time I get a little anxious. A very reassuring little baby.

I just don't like this end part.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

36 weeks, 2 days

So I didn't call the OB. I decided it was better to just not think about it. Deny, deny, deny. Besides, if the baby has already had some sort of massive brain bleed, what are we going to do about it? And, double besides, if there was something to be told, I trust our OB would tell us. I am choosing to believe that we have nothing to worry about. It is a conscious choice that I have to constantly work at, but so far I am maintaining sanity.

I went for my 36 week check yesterday. He did an internal. No dilation or effacement, but the cervix is softening. I hope that all of these heavy duty BH contractions I am having will get some dilation and effacement going on in the next 6 days, so that things will be ready to go by next checkup.

I don't feel like a uterus is a safe place for a baby, come 37 weeks gestation. Get 'em out.

We are still not ready at our house. To avoid the sleeping-in-a-laundry-basket scenario (where does the Angel*care monitor go in that??), we hope to be ready by the end of the weekend. Then if I had the baby on Monday (37 weeks exactly), life would be perfect. Perhaps I can do a lot of heavy lifting and cleaning in order to start a bunch of contractions....

And that's where I am.

P.S. Still working. One more week. Sigh. What a drag.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


So, what would your response be if, by chance, you were looking at an ultrasound screen that was showing a picture of your 35 week baby's skull and brain and your OB said:

"What is the history of stroke or blood clots in your family?"

So freaking out a bit here. We tested negatively for clotting, etc. post-stillbirth, which is something of a relief, but the idea that the OB didn't really like what he saw is lingering with me.

Lingering in a bad way.

I didn't quiz him about it. I was a little too scared. I did tell him what I know, which isn't much. We actually don't have much history of stroke in our family.

At the end of the appointment he said that he was happy with how things were going and that he would start checking my cervix next week.

This can't be over soon enough.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Not that you probably care...

...but I figured out a way to work around the evil HR and payroll trolls:


Sure, I don't get to see or spend time with my family, but I can bank the days and finish work a paid week early. I am brilliant.

(posted from work)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Musing, remembering, and planning

Here we are, just past the 34 weeks mark. That means that in less than two weeks, this kid will be considered term. And by 38 weeks, I expect to be talking induction with the OB (assuming it doesn't happen at 37, etc.). We are in the home stretch.

Because of some stupidity in HR, I need to work to the end of 37 weeks or it will cost me extra $$$. I am displeased with that whole scenario, since I am a firm believer in the "if the baby is mature, then get it the heck out where it can't die for XYZ reason" philosophy. (blissfully ignoring all the ways a baby can die once it has been born... let's not talk about that, please).

I am surrounded by pregnant women and newborns in my circle of friends and acquaintances. I would guess that we are talking about 20-30 women who are pregnant or wrangling newborns. I know them from playgroup, which means the reason that we know each other is our kids. Which also means that the group spends a lot of time talking about pregnancy and childbirth.

It doesn't hurt the way it would have 3 years ago. Or even a year ago. I can quite contentedly sit by and listen to the naive things that they say. Like the classic I heard last week - "They wouldn't let me do a VBAC because they just like to cut". Ha, ha, ha, ha. Because a ripping uterus or placental abruption, etc. are things that we just shouldn't worry about. It is more important to give birth in a swimming pool with your husband chanting and feeding you granola.

However, I keep that opinion to myself. And in the process of keeping it to myself, and of doing this subsequent-subsequent pregnancy, I have learned something. I take a lot of pressure off of my brain when I think of a medicalized birth. If there are doctors and nurses and monitors and drugs involved, my brain thinks that things will be OK. It is good for me when I think things will be OK.

When I was expecting C, I wanted to deliver naturally in the hospital with no drugs, etc. I had my nice little typewritten birth plan all packed into my hospital bag. Next the the tennis balls in tube socks for pain relief. I would have hired a doula if there were such a thing in my town (there is now, btw). I was happy that the hospital had jet tubs that I could labour in. My biggest fear is that I might cave in and take drugs.

Then, when I showed up at the hospital in labour, 3 centimeters dilated and regular contractions, they told me my baby was already dead. For some reason, I stuck to the birth plan for a few hours - no drugs, tried the tub, etc. Really, that was quite silly. Then I took the drugs. I think this is when my perspective changed. Natural is bad. Babies can't trust my body to deliver them naturally. There has to be doctors and nurses and monitors and drugs. That's the only way to trust.

I think what scares me now is the idea that I could go into labour on my own. I don't like that idea. I want to have control over when this thing starts. I want drugs to start the process, I want someone to rupture my membranes for me, I want drugs to control the frequency and intensity of contractions, and I want my epidural. The only "natural" thing that I want is to deliver vaginally (because I have always recovered very quickly from vaginal delivery and I will have to chase a 3 year old...). But I have no fear of episiotomy - that's old hat, too.

Coming to realize that I don't trust my body and that I do trust medical interventions makes it a lot easier to sit through conversations about other people's views on this. I know why I don't trust my body. I know that I used to trust my body. I can see why other people might trust their bodies. I can even go so far as to understand why someone doesn't trust their doctor (um... maybe find one you can trust), even though I will always maintain that choosing to give birth without immediate access to an operating room is a poor choice. I can keep my mouth shut, and I don't feel like I am letting myself down.

2-4 more weeks. I hope time flies. God, I have a lot to do.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good News

Baby is no longer breech. Stay that way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A misnomer

I think they mis-named the illustrious "non-stress test". I find them quite stressful. We started them at 29 weeks, which is admittedly early to get a good trace, and I have been doing them weekly ever since. Today was week 33.

Last week almost resulted in a meltdown when it took almost 2 1/2 hours (plus 1/2 hour in the waiting room) to get the accelerations to show on the trace. The standard we are looking for is 5 accelerations that are 15 bpm above baseline. The baby was kicking like crazy, but no accelerations of more than 10 bpm. Cookies, orange juice, a walk, and a nurse moving the transducer around finally resulted in a total of 5 accelerations. By then, I was planning what I would need to pack when they hospitalized me and put me on bed rest for the next month or so (which they actually wouldn't do, but don't tell my anxiety-addled brain that...).

Today's NST was similar, but we managed to keep Baby awake long enough to get 5 accelerations to happen. I kept guzzling juice, eating cookies, and poking my belly. When you phrase it like that, it almost sounds fun.... It's not.

How 'bout this? I do most of my NSTs in the room where they told me C was dead. I often have to walk past the room where we sat waiting for them to tell us what they were going to do (and where I imagined they would do a c-section, resuscitate him, and leave us with one of the "almost" stories). The same nurses who cared for me 5 years ago care for me now. And it doesn't freak me out. I remember, each and every time. But I don't freak out. Thank god for 5 years.

Changing the subject, I can't sleep much any more. Hard on the pubic bone. I also have been fighting a cold for nearly 3 weeks, meaning I can't breath. My best option is usually to doze, propped up with pillows on the couch. That means that I am awake for the day at 6 a.m. and require a nap immediately following supper. Don't even ask how work is going - concentration is impossible when all I can think about is "when can I sleep again????".

Only a few more weeks. I expect either induction or c-section before the end of April. I would prefer to deliver vaginally, but the baby is not head down. Last u/s was breech, but I am thinking transverse is more what's happening now. We'll see what the OB says tomorrow.

Hoping to go for some BPPs, but don't remember when we started those last time? What's your experience?

And that's an update.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Get a grip

I feel like I am clutching at sanity. Really all that has happened is that BB and my husband are sick, my mother came to visit (causing exhaustion for me and regression in behaviour and potty training in BB), I am behind at work, nothing is ready for the baby, and I can't sleep.

If I have Googled correctly, it seems I am experiencing symphysis pubis dysfunction. It has worsened in the last few days due to slipping a couple of times. Fun. I will mention to my OB next week and see if I can get a quick referral for physio (though at this point it seems somewhat futile, only 8-10 weeks to go...). I can barely walk in the morning. Getting out of bed is torture.

Baby is breech.

So I think what I need is sleep. However, I am not getting any. I have to pee or one of my men get up in the night with their colds or my pelvis is so painful that it wakes me.

My house is messy and needs a really good spring cleaning. And reorganizing (re: fitting in one more person).

Oh, and work has notified me of some unexpected financial burdens that will be coming our way. Good times.

Okay, off to think about my latest knitting project, which is terribly cute and coming together just perfectly.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I suppose you might not know me...

...because we haven't really met. I am sorry about that, I really am. You only see snippets of me here. I don't really do memes and I don't write about things that are not grief related. Really, my policy for myself is to keep the blog very uni-dimensional, so that the whole anonymity thing can be maintained.

But here is something about me, something that make give me up entirely to those consumed with knowing my identity:

A radio host just said that Schubert's Trout Quintet was "not written for five fish" and I keep repeating it in my head and laughing out loud.

God, that's funny.


Recent OB report: Baby is measuring a bit big, good blood flow in the heart and cord, starting to do weekly NSTs (because, why not?), he won't let me go past 38 weeks. All very good things, to my ears. I am working very hard to ignore hiccups as much as possible. My mental health is quite good on days when I get enough sleep. My physical is equally good, having an excellent massage therapist who is keeping all aches and pains at bay.

Now to actually make room in our house for another body. I am cleaning and purging and organizing my tail off. If the universe isn't going to comply and arrange for a larger house at an affordable price in the perfect neighbourhood, then I had better get things ready in this house.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So the fetal hiccups have begun in earnest. Please don't make me explain why that is upsetting. I am sure I have blogged about it before, but am much too tired to look for the post. Here is my internal dialogue:

This is when they start. Sometimes hiccups are just hiccups. You have weeks to go before it is safe for baby to come. What are you going to do, start again with the charts and the timers? What if our great new OB thinks that I am a nut job for believing this whole hiccup hypothesis? What if I lose my mind over all of this and have to go on stress leave?

Yep. Fun times.

Remember, self, that fetal hiccups ARE normal. Even multiple episodes of hiccups CAN be normal.

Perhaps this is where the anxiety starts to ramp up. It was bound to happen. I was far too zen.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Well, in my previous pregnancy, my obsessions varied. Mostly they were related to all things baby. I shopped obsessively, I read blogs, I did insanely detailed hourly kick-counts, I read everything I could about prevention of stillbirth, etc. etc. etc.

This time, the obsession is houses. As in, a new house for us. I have struggled with this problem for quite a long time: our house is small and old and it would be expensive to renovate, but we like our neighbourhood. Also, we are in a sellers market.

So, these days, you will find me haunting the MLS website. And obsessing about whether or not we will find ourselves a new house that ticks all the boxes. Though it will be possible to stay in our house for quite some time, even with a new baby in the mix, I think it is the right financial choice for our family to invest in something more suitable.

My other obsession is food. More to the point, cooking. I went through a cake obsession during birthday week (for obvious reasons), now have moved on to breads. I tried a risotto, but didn't have the right ingredients. BB wouldn't eat it. I threw out the leftovers.

Are you obsessing about anything these days??

Thursday, January 21, 2010


"They" say it takes five years. You know, they might be right? Sometimes "they" know what they are talking about.

Five years. Holy crap.

We made it through. It was okay. We had our family day and ate cake in C's honour. We made our annual trip to the cemetery and didn't have to deal with sub-Arctic weather. It was almost a good day.

I should have posted on his actual birthday, but I was too damn tired. His birthday is smack in the middle of a week that begins with my birthday, is centered around his brother's birthday, and ends with his grandmother's birthday. It's a lot. I was tired.

I miss him. I am overwhelmed by the unfairness of his birthday celebration. I am almost angry when I think of our family photo of the day: sitting in a snow bank next to a granite memorial. I still ask "why". I don't ask so often anymore, but I still ask. Why him? Why me?

He was so beautiful.