Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis the Season

Well, it's that time of year again and the holidays are suddenly upon us. Oddly, despite the death of my mother last month, I have been looking forward to Christmas this year. It's the first Christmas since Calvin died that I've actually been excited for the day, the traditions, the Christmas cheer. In fact, I wasn't at all anticipating any feelings of grief to sneak in and make me feel blue, that is until tonite. It's now a quarter to four in the morning and my mind won't shut off. I can't stop thinking about Calvin, my mind has been seized on thoughts of him since earlier this evening when I was wrapping presents for the girls. Suddenly, a tiny thought snuck in, the thought of how wonderful it would be if he were here, how fun it would be to watch him opening presents with Georgia and Lorelei on Christmas morning. That tiny thought became a tidal wave of sadness and suddenly I felt hollow again, that horrible empty feeling that I've been trying desperately to fill since Calvin flew away. Shane didn't notice my tears. I kept my sadness to myself, hoping not to bring the heaviness of grief to dampen our good spirits. But since then I can't stop thinking of my son, of being pregnant with him and Georgia, the joy I felt when I found out I was expecting two babies. It seems like a lifetime ago. While it's only just been two years since our twins were born and Calvin died, it feels like a hundred and I can't remember back to a time where grief didn't intrude on my happier moments.

It occurred to me tonite to get his things out. To retrieve his bloody sleeper, the one he died in, from the trunk of his belongings and hold it and smell it to see if it still smelled of him. I stifled the urge but I can't seem to shut off my head. The memories of him rolling and kicking inside me, of holding him in the delivery room keep playing like a film loop behind my eyes. I remember everything about him, how he felt, how he smelled, how he felt in my arms, and how soft his hair was against my lips. When I think of him in eternal sleep under a blanket of soft white snow it makes me indescribably sad. I wish I could wish it all away. I wish I could make the sadness disappear forever. I wish my life was more like the times I close my eyes and imagine him here, running with Georgia, curls flying amidst squeals of laughter. My family is incomplete. I imagine I will always feel this way, this hollow ache in my stomach when I think of him, tears when I least expect them. I keep waiting for the magic of time to soften the edges of the pain but I'm coming to realize that time doesn't do that, it just keeps the pain at bay for longer stretches of time. It still hurts just as much, just not as often. I know I'm not the only one feeling the sting of sadness during the holidays, it's just that time of year. I wish I knew how to fix it, for me and for you mamas who are also hurting right now. The best I can do is to wish you all peace and hope that the love that surrounds you this Christmas soothes the ache in your hearts. Me, I'm gonna go stuff my face with cookies....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Gift...

When my mother passed away last week I learned she had given me a wonderful gift. It's the gift of freedom, of possibilities, of pursuing my dreams again...My precious, frugal mother left me enough money to start over, to make a secure and comfortable home for my girls, to let me finish my education and maybe even do a round or two of IVF...we shall see. I'm in awe of the doors she has opened to me and I'm so grateful...I wish I could tell her.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Céline Dion - Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)

Mom...

My mother passed away suddenly this past week. Although she had been sick for many, many years with Multiple Sclerosis and that I knew her death was an eventuality, I was unprepared emotionally for the pain. I got the call Monday night at seven o'clock that she had pnuemonia and would likely die in one to two days, her doctors having decided years ago that no medical intervention would be taken in an such an event due to mom's poor quality of life. That said, still hoping for the best I boarded a Greyhound Tuesday afternoon after spending hours trying to arrange care for the girls so that Shane could come with me. When we couldn't find anyone to care for our girls, Shane stayed home and I went alone. Mom passed away at seven o'clock Tuesday evening, an hour before my bus got there. I was too late to say good-bye...However, the staff at the hospital had arranged with my family to keep mom there, in her bed in her private room until I arrived to see her and spend some time saying all the things I had hoped to say while she was still alive. It was surreal to say the least. When I walked in to my mother's hospital room, the lights were dimmed, there was soft music playing and my mother lay still, looking peaceful. The tears came fast and hard and I cried and held her hand, kissed her forehead and said my farewells....The same detatched feeling, the head not part of my body any longer came over me just as it had when Calvin died. I felt like I was outside myself as I left her room for the last time.

The next couple of days flew by in a flurry of activity, making funeral arrangements, dealing with the bank and the lawyers handling her estate. Mom's wishes were to be cremated and have her ashes scattered where her father's ashes were scattered on a pretty stretch of road in the coastal mountains of BC. Trying my best to honour her wishes and yet deal with my own feelings of "needing a place to go", the family and I came to a compromise that I would receive half of Mom's ashes which I will have buried with Calvin in the spring. I feel old yet young at the same time. At the age of thirty-nine I have lost both my parents and my infant son...nothing I ever expected to have experienced by this time in my life. I'm sad. I'm sad for my mother's suffering all these years, yet at the same time, I'm happy she's free. When I imagine her holding Calvin in Heaven it brings a sense of great peace to my heart, knowing that my son is receiving the love of his grandmother until we all meet again...

This song spoke to my heart and I wanted to share it with you...Goodbye's the Saddest Word.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calvin's Angel Day







I can't believe it's been two years already. Two years of pain and upheaval and learning to live a life without my son. His absence is a constant reminder of what could have been and not a day has passed that I haven't thought of him and missed him with every beat of my heart...I love you Calvin, the hardest thing I've ever done was letting you go...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two...

Two years old...what a little beauty.
Meeting Calvin for the first time.

Calvin moments after birth.


Shane cuddling Georgia in the recovery room.



Georgia moments after her birth.

Has it really been two years? I can hardly believe it because it seems like it was only yesterday you both came into my life. It was a day filled with indescribable joy and yet today is bittersweet. Happy Birthday Calvin and Georgia and thank you for giving me one of the best days of my life...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret....

Dear God,

I'm still unsure if you exist or if you're just a crutch scared people use to deal with mortality. I'm sure the idea of death doesn't appeal to most people, in fact I'm sure of it. Not only is there the fear of the unknown but also the fear of being forgotten, of the world carrying on without us. I've struggled with believing in You since Calvin died, something I'd never, ever thought I'd find myself saying. You see, I've ALWAYS believed in You and could always say when asked, "Yes, I believe in God." I wish I could still say those words with the same conviction I once had but I'm no longer the same person I once was though either...

To be honest, I don't think I've ever gotten over being pissed at you. It's been a long and lonely road these past seven years, and it all goes back to when Shane and I started trying to have our family. I remember the joy and excitement I felt when I first learned Shane and I were pregnant for the first time only to have that joy turn to fear and uncertainty when I started bleeding a week later. I begged You to save my baby. I sat in the back pew of St. Ann's Church sobbing and begging You to intervene on behalf of my unborn child and I miscarried anyway. It wasn't that moment or any other particular moment after that caused me to lose faith in You. I guess you could say that it was a culmination of hurt and pain over the six miscarriages and loss of my son that did it in the end. I tried to hold onto my faith, I really did and part of me still wants more than anything to believe in You. Many, many people have offered up "excuses" as to why my son had to die, why You didn't heal him when You could have. I don't believe it one bit when people tell me that "God doesn't give you more than you can handle". It's a crock. A cop-out. I've had way more than I have been able to handle and I am damaged emotionally because of the things I've been through in my pursuit of simple happiness. I don't think I will ever be "fixed" or can ever be made whole again. How could I be? Each child we lost took a piece of my heart with them when they went. Calvin's death ripped my soul wide open...It's been almost two years God, two years of doubting in You, in being angry at You and in living without my son. Some days I'm surprised I've survived. I bet You are too.

As Calvin's Angel Day approaches all I can do is hold out hope. Hope that by some miracle I will get a sign, a reassurance that my son lives with You in Heaven and that we will be together some day. Hope that I find a measure of peace in this coming week and a feeling of comfort in knowing that my son is remembered and loved. Hope that I have survived this nightmare for some divine reason...because if it were my way, it wouldn't have happened. If it were MY way, Calvin would be blowing out candles on his birthday cake with Georgia on Wednesday. If it were MY way, I would have no knowledge of this babylost community and all the pain and suffering that these other women I've come to know and love have been through. If it were MY way, I'd never be torn between believing and a sense of utter abandonment. Are You there God? If you are, please help me make it through the dreaded anticipation of next week, and tell my boy I love him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In A Lonely Place

I guess I've been MIA. I've been busy, we've had company, I've been getting out with the girls and having family fun. All this joy and fun and yet I'm in a lonely place and I'm isolating. I'm rarely interacting with anyone lately with any substance and I think I've been doing it to avoid some of the feelings I've been having that I don't really want to deal with. I'm at a crossroads in my life right now and I don't know in which direction I'm headed and it's scary. The last two years feel like a dream. A drugged out crazy dream. Since stepping out from beneath the haze I've had a couple of harsh reality checks and I'm feeling like I'm just not happy. I need more in my life....but more what? I need more acknowledgement of Calvin and his loss for one. That's a huge one. And something I'm just beginning to realize now. It's been almost two years and I'm still in unbelievable pain. I'm still in disbelief. I'm still wondering why and I'm still angry that it happened to us. My son is dead. To me it's the most horrifying feeling in the world to be walking around with all this pain, afraid that one day you'll start screaming and never be able to stop. And yet I don't talk about it. I don't talk about him. About a month ago I got rip roaring drunk with some girls I went to highschool with and we ended up sharing a table with a bunch of guys at the bar. We talked with these guys for quite a long time around the table and when the subject of drugs came up I ended up in a frank discussion with two of them about my painkiller addiction. When I was asked why I had become addicted to painkillers, Calvin was brought up in the conversation. My friend was horrified that I would discuss my dead baby with strangers and she made it perfectly clear that she was embarassed and that the topic was "inappropriate". My liquid courage fortifying my defiance at her attempt to shut me up, I deliberately and in more detail described why my life was so fucked up that the only way I could cope was to numb the pain with pills. It made me angry. It also shamed me. I felt like I had pissed on her parade by bringing him up and for the first time since Calvin's death I experienced outright how unacceptable it was for me to discuss my dead child. Most people are so subtle about not wanting to discuss him. Their subtlety comes disguised in avoidance. Avoid us, avoid the topic, avoid serious discussions. I feel like I'm dancing through life in a minefield. Tip-toeing to avoid embarassing people, making them uncomfortable, making them sad, ruining their day, their high, their nite out. So I've been avoiding. Avoiding talking about him, avoiding making plans for my future, avoiding having deep conversations with anyone, avoiding facing my unhappiness. I'm lonely. I have such a shitload of stuff I need to dump, questions I need answered, decisions I need to make and yet I've gone MIA and avoided forming any sort of connection that would help me through some of this. Why? Because it hurts. Because life isn't always pretty and there aren't always happy endings. I know this. My head knows this. My heart is afraid of going there again. But in a way, it's been there all along. The wound of losing my son hasn't even begun to heal yet and it's been almost two years. It's something that people can't even begin to comprehend most of the time, thank God, but it makes it sooooo difficult to get any compassion. The world of people who have never experienced the loss of a child can't begin to understand the ripple effect, how in my case, Calvin's death has affected absolutely every area of my life. I'm not the same parent to my other children, not the same wife to my husband, not the same friend now that my life has been irrevocably changed. I'm different. I don't know if I even want the same things out of life anymore that I did before we lost Calvin. It sucks. I'm here and it's such a devastatingly lonely place to be. And I'm wondering if I will ever get out...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Everyone But Me

There seems to be a baby boom in the babylost community as of late. There is nothing more joyful to me than seeing the announcement that another member of our elite club is expecting again. To me it signifies hope. The return of joy and promise. I hold my breath waiting to hear that everything is going to work out for those mamas and their pregnancies, often weeping tears of joy when the babies arrive safe and happy into arms that have ached to hold a child for oh so long. However I must say that lately those announcements of joy have brought a tinge of angst and sadness with them. It feels like everyone is getting pregnant and experiencing that joy and hope and promise for tomorrow except me. I was a fool to tie my tubes knowing full well my son's health was in question. I was a fool to have faith that the doctors could fix his broken heart and that we would live happily ever after, a family of five. I'm desperately wishing for another child. Each and everyday Georgia and Lorelei grow more independent, less reliant on me. Georgia is almost not a baby anymore, her sturdy legs carrying her as fast as she can away from me at times. It stings. I want another child but am so unsure of how to proceed or whether I should even bother.

Reading Birni's latest post at All the Little Ponies brought up alot of old feelings for me. It reminded me of my own heartache and disappointment as Shane and I first tried to conceive a child and I repeatedly miscarried. It reminded me of how my pregnancy with Lorelei was spent in total fear and anxiety that I would get to the end with no live baby and how that fear almost became a reality when I suffered a partial placental abruption and needed an emergency c-section to get her out alive. It reminded me of the shock and extreme loss I felt losing a baby girl to Turner Syndrome after Lorelei and before I became pregnant with Calvin and Georgia. The fear so strong you can taste it's bitterness in your mouth and you wonder whether you are the only person on earth afraid to move, cough, sneeze while pregnant lest you start bleeding again. I remember feeling a huge sense of failure at learning that Calvin would be born with a severe heart defect and that he might also be mentally impaired when they suspected he had DiGeorge Syndrome. Why can't I make babies properly? Feelings like this were what drove me to tie my tubes on the delivery table after the births of our twins, the fear of failure, of having two pregnancies back to back with genetic problems. Fear that I was too old to produce another child without problems and yet here I am today yearning beyond belief for another child. I want another baby. It's all I can think about lately and I wonder if I'm being unrealistic and ungrateful for not being satisified with the two beautiful girls I do have. I remember telling someone that I didn't feel "done" having kids when I had my tubes tied, that there was no feeling that "this is it, I don't want anymore". It was all about the fear and not knowing if I could cope with another loss. So why, why oh why am I wanting another child so badly after all I've been through? Why does each and every announcement of a new pregnancy bring that twinge of sadness that it's not happening to me and what the hell am I gonna do to deal with this? Is there anyone else out there that has decided not to have any more children after their loss? Is there anyone else who regrets their decision to sterilize themselves out of fear? How do I cope with the possibility that maybe I will never have another child of my own? I'm feeling sad and desperately alone in this right now and I don't know how to find the answers I'm seeking....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today I Wept

It's been so long since I've blogged that when I sat down and actually thought about it this morning I realized it was because I've been living again, enjoying my summer and seeing friends and loved ones more frequently. It's been a nice feeling and one that I've learned to enjoy and accept for what it is with little guilt or regret. I've been to visit Calvin more often in the past few months than ever before and the quiet time I share with my son at his grave has become important in my healing. I miss him alot. And while I think of Calvin everyday, often several times over the course of my day, it's not often that I speak of him anymore. Not in any depth anyways until today. As I was chatting with a friend on the phone today, the subject of God was raised, my friend professing to not believe. Having struggled with my own personal beliefs in God since losing Calvin, I posed the question "So where do you think we go when we die?"

Asking this question brought me back to my own desperate wish to believe in God and His Kingdom following Calvin's death. As I walked backwards down the road of my childhood and the values I was raised with I realized that as a child I had never questioned God's existence, it was something I accepted as part of my life. It wasn't until I started losing people I loved that I began to question first God's goodness, second His existence. As I started to explain to my friend that as a mother who has lost her child, my desperate wish to believe in Heaven simply so that I may one day see my beautiful boy again, the tears began to fall. The next thing I knew, I was sobbing. Because I do want to believe. Because I do miss Calvin more than I realize at times and that there are so few people that I truly speak indepth with about him. Because it had been so long since the last time I cried that the floodgates were opened and all the hurt and doubt and fear came pouring out into that sympathetic ear. After explaining my want to believe and the struggle I've had with my faith, I asked another question...."Where do you go when you truly need comfort?" My answer to that question was to God. To church. To a place where I can lay my deepest sorrows in the Hands of the Creator and trust that in time things will work themselves out. I recalled days of being overcome with sorrow where I would find myself in a pew at the church praying, asking God to please, please just make things better for me and I realized that while God has never made any direct promises to me, that in whatever situation I had found myself in seeking God's guidance, that things eventually always got better. Things HAVE been better in my life, better than they have been in almost two years yet the pain is still there just under the surface waiting to be reawakened again. Surprising but not. Given a mother's love for her child and it's infinite boundaries, I expect the pain to be as just as limitless. Perhaps all I needed to feel that rush of pain, that rush of sweet sorrow and longing for my son was to open my heart back up to believing. Perhaps the comfort I seek in God is disguised in pain, having to feel it, eat it, sleep it, breathe it before healing can begin. Perhaps this is yet another message reconnecting me to the sorrow, reaffirming my need for spiritual direction and guidance. Maybe this was God's Hand gently guiding me back....today I wept for my son and oddly it felt good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two Years Ago Today

We learned of Calvin's heart defect in utero. I've been feeling weepy all day at the remembering. Revisiting the fear and devastation as we sat down with the pediatric cardiologist, revisiting the anger as we sat down with the geneticist who offered to terminate my pregnancy with risk to Georgia's life also. Revisiting the hope we had for our precious son. It's been a rollercoaster of a day. Sometimes I can't believe my life has carried on this long since losing him but then there are days like today where it all feels like yesterday. How I miss him. I love you Calvin.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What's Been Going On Here

Well it's been a terribly long time since I last blogged, truthfully my mind has been elsewhere these past couple of months. Getting off painkillers has been rewarding but has also come with a downside. While I am clearheaded now and able to enjoy my days with the girls with no memory gaps or feeling unmotivated, the lack of fog made some of my memories hard to deal with. The emotions involved in Calvin's death and the chaos that came in it's wake are still very real, very strong and on some days very hard to cope with. It's amazing to me that over eighteen months later I could still feel the sadness as strongly as the day he took his last breath in my arms. It's been overwhelming at times, these rushes of sadness that rear their heads when I'm least expecting it. I've gone to the cemetery more in the last two months than I have since my son died. It's not a bad thing though, I find I'm communicating with Calvin about my feelings alot more than I was and that talking to him is a good release. I've also been finding small comfort in cleaning his headstone, making sure his flowers are still living and just spending quiet time alone with my son. I need it. I find I'm needing time with just him, to talk, to grieve, to assuage my guilt.

We are also struggling financially right now and it's been a tough few months. Shane's business hasn't been going well since we lost Calvin and since the recession hit. We've had to cut back our lifestyle and eliminate alot of luxuries, even some necessities to make ends meet lately. It sucks. I've been feeling pretty stressed about money, one burden I haven't had to worry about for a long time now and I dislike how I feel when I'm constantly worrying about bills. There has also been added pressure from family to participate in things we can't really afford which has added to the stress. It's hard to say no when you're being asked to do something especially when help is offered but you know they don't see the entire picture. Yes, we may not spend any money on hotels but there is the expense of food, parking, gas, lost wages etc. that we need to look at as well. Unfortunately Shane lost out on some work at a resort because we felt pressured by family to take a trip. Learning to be assertive and not feel like I'm being a party-pooper if I say no is going to be tough, but we are now in a no choice position. I hate feeling this way but I know if we don't do everything we can to ease ourselves through these tough times it's going to be harder in the longrun for our family.

This past week we also had some friends come in from out of town to visit which was a welcome break from my self pity party. They pitched a tent in the backyard, bought their own food and drink and basically "camped" at our house for a week. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much, and it was good to get out of myself again. And while I was truly sorry to see our friends pack up and leave, at the same time it was nice to get back into our routine with the girls after they were gone. So far the weather has been completely crappy and we haven't been able to enjoy alot of our summer yet, in fact it's rained out here for eight weeks straight give or take a few days here and there. The weather alone I'm sure has contributed to my feeling of melancholy, who needs to wear a sweater in July? Lol....Anyhow, I'm holding out hope for some sun and being able to do all the free wonderful things you can do in the summer like going to the beach with the kids. Taking them to the park and sitting in the backyard watching them play in the sprinkler. The girls are growing so fast right now, changing daily before my very eyes and it's these precious days with them that I want to make memories, despite the fact that we are struggling financially right now.

Overall, while some things are better, coping with a new reality has been my biggest hurdle lately. Trying to stay positive and hopeful that things will get better for our family is my main focus right now and although I've been very much out of touch with some of you, I do think about you and your babies and want you all to know you hold a special place in my heart. Always.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembering Dad...

I'm missing my Dad today. Today, Father's Day of all days....it might seem like an odd comment but my Dad wasn't the best person in the world. In fact we spent the better part of my adult life estranged from one another until the last two years of his life when we had reconciled. It's a bittersweet day for sure, not only for me missing my dad, but for our family also missing Calvin. Today I choose to remember some of the sweeter moments in my life with both my father and my son and to picture them together, celebrating fatherhood in Heaven.

I still remember the all consuming love I had for my dad as a child. As a little girl who only got to see her dad on weekends, my time with my father was precious and much looked forward to. I still remember Saturday mornings spent anxiously waiting by the window for my dad's black sedan to pull up, excited to find out what we would be doing for our day together. More often than not, we spent the day with my father's Dad, my grandpa, in Ridgetown On, where he had retired from the funeral business. My grandpa was a good man, a hardworking man respected very much in his hometown and his house was a safe haven for my dad to bring me on his visitations. Many days were spent outside my grandfather's house playing on the swingset, chasing butterflies and catching bugs and were usually finished off with a pizza and pop before the trip home. As a child, I understood that my father had a drinking problem but it never bothered me. My dad was extremely kind and loving and throughout my childhood, I remember him spanking me only once for misbehaving. He often told me that he didn't want to wreck his one day with me by having to dicipline me and thus I got away with much more than I ever should have. I knew I had my father wrapped around my finger, and remember with fondness how he used to ask me "Who'd ya get your brown eyes from Margie???" to which I always replied "You Daddy". It used to make him smile in delight that I looked so much like him with my big brown eyes. I adored him. I truly did and wished with all my heart that he and my mother would reconcile some day and that we would live together as a family happily ever after. It never happened suffice to say and in my teenage years my father's alcohol addiction brought about abuse and mental health issues that jaded my feelings towards the smart man who had given me life. It saddens me to think of some of our past exchanges and the hurt feelings that came round after but I also feel a sense of peace that my father and I had mended the proverbial fence before he passed away in 2002.

I remember so well one of the last conversations I had with my father over the phone. He was living back in Ontario and I was newly married and about to be separated from my first husband. Dad had called to tell me his number would be out of service, that I wouldn't be able to reach him there for awhile. He was deliberately vague with me about what was happening so I didn't press him for details. He gave me a new number and extension to call him at and amused, I imagined he was going to jail for awhile, that something he had done had landed him in hot water yet again. We talked once or twice after that and then we lost touch. The number and extension he had given me were no longer working and I assumed he would be in touch when the time was right for him. At the beginning of February 2002, I received a phonecall from a woman who didn't identify herself and who's accent was very thickly Asian. I could barely understand what she was calling to tell me about, but one thing she said stands out. She told me my dad was very sick. Not understanding her and not knowing what was going on, I simply thanked her for telling me and hung up the phone. He died later that month from lung cancer. When the funeral director who had apprenticed under my grandfather called to notify me of my father's death, he told me that my dad wanted to spare me the agony of knowing he was so ill and so far away. He chose to keep his illness to himself and because of that, died alone. My heart broke. It broke for my dad, it broke for me, it broke because his life had ended so sadly. When I flew out that July to bury his ashes, I was the only attendee at the funeral. It was a huge statement to me about the life he had lived, the people he had mistreated over the years and it brought me back to the days where he was a kind and doting father and I wept. So many things can go wrong in life, just as I imagined I would never see the day where I lost either of my parents, I also never imagined that in later years I would lose my only son.

When my children were born, part of the agony in my heart was the fact that with my mother in the terminal stages of MS and my father in Heaven, that my children would never know their grandparents. When Calvin died, I couldn't imagine who would be taking care of him in Heaven because I remembered the Father who had let me down, who had broken my trust. I forgot about the loving Dad who would sit with his child on his lap for hours telling stories, the dad who smelled of cigarettes and beer and some wonderful aftershave. Today when I think of Calvin, I imagine him with that Dad, the Dad who loved his child more than anything in the world and it warms my heart. I know God is keeping them both safe in His embrace and it brings me a measure of comfort. For those missing their Dads today and their children too...warm hugs, a peaceful heart and happy memories be with you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pray

Baby Mira's treatment at Children's Hospital isn't working. Her parents have brought her home and are hoping to find a clinic somewhere in the world that can help their precious daughter. Please, if any of you know of a good clinic that specializes in medulla blastoma or brain cancer, message me so that I can forward the information to Ragne. And please, please pray for baby Mira....she needs a miracle.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Geoff

I haven't posted in awhile. My Mother's Day and birthday were the focus of my dread last week, willing them both to cheerfully go away if I could. Then they both happened, despite my best intentions for them not to come and the day surprisingly was uneventful and peaceful....for the most part. I say for the most part because it was not my dreaded thirty-nineth birthday or Mother's Day that actually put a heaviness in my heart that day, it was my husband's friend Geoff. Geoff committed suicide on my birthday. On Mother's Day, at the age of thirty. It was a sobering end to a night spent in the warm embrace of family, in good company. Having had a spur of the moment family dinner at my inlaws house, we had gotten home late and I had just retired to the bedroom computer to "check my FB" to view my birthday wishes and there it was....in the form of a status update..."RIP Geoff".

WTF? I was stunned. Immediately saddened and then angry that my husband's friend's death was a status update on FB. I wondered where the etiquette of phone calls had disappeared to, why my husband had to find out that a friend he knew since childhood had died via a FB update. Disturbing and sad. I felt a deep sense of sorrow for Geoff's mother who was spending her Mother's Day facing the news that her son had taken his own life. I was angry at his disregard for the timing of his decision. Committing suicide is a hard enough fate to accept, but learning that it was done on the day that celebrated motherhood was especially disquieting for me. Not wanting to hurt Shane with an angry outburst, I kept my feelings under wraps until the next day when many of us got together at a local pub for beer, hockey and quiet talk about Geoff's loss. Overhearing a comment about how we should "All give his mother some space....", I opened my mouth and disagreed. As a mother who also lost her son, the last thing I wanted at the time of Calvin's loss was silence. I wanted people to tell me that they were sorry. I wanted the comforting arms of loved ones and people who genuinely cared. I couldn't bear the thought that Geoff's mother would be facing his loss in solitude. "Call her," I said..."Let her know how much he meant to you...". It was what I wanted, and I'm sure she needed to hear words like that just as badly as I did at the time. I wanted to jump on my soapbox and educate my husband's friends about loss. I wanted to let them know how painful it is for a mother to lose her child, how no other pain in the universe comes close. I resisted the urge to lecture and instead quietly pleaded with a few to let Geoff's mother know he was loved. It saddens me to think he didn't know how much...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Remembering Him

With Mother's Day looming tomorrow, I've been trying to keep myself occupied so that I didn't have to feel that empty longing in my heart for Calvin. I've tried to ignore the little nagging thoughts in my head that were telling me to go to his grave and remember him. Not that I don't remember him, I think about him every single day but the thoughts in my head were telling me I needed to focus, to think about my son, to make time for him and only him in my day today. As awful as this may sound, I don't think I went to the cemetery last year. Calvin's marker hadn't been installed yet and I don't think I could bear the thought of going to my child's grave on a day that celebrated motherhood. I'm pretty sure it ate me up inside...it always does when I think I should be going to see him and then I avoid it because I feel like a spectacle crying at his grave. Today Shane and I went together, just the two of us in the cold evening air to stand by our son's resting place. I felt uncomfortable. I felt it because I wanted to cry but didn't want to bring Shane down, because I didn't want to spoil our evening out by crying just before we went home. But my heart hurts. Not that all consuming hurt from a year ago, but kind of a hollow echo in my soul, an emptiness that I'm always aware of but learning to live with. Calvin has become a fleeting moment in my day instead of the centre of it, the focus of how I'm feeling and I feel guilty I suppose. Guilty that my life carries on without him. Guilty that I don't weep all the time anymore for him, guilty that some days I push thoughts of him away because I don't want to feel the pain. Part of me feels that a "good" mother would visit her son's grave every day, make sure there are fresh flowers and little decorations to tell the world how much he was loved. Part of me feels I should have an area in my house, a shrine, dedicated to his memory, a reminder of the pain and emptiness we live with. Part of me feels guilty for wanting to live again, to feel happy and experience joy. There is great guilt in healing.

I know that I have come to a fork in the road, a path that branches off in a new direction. I could easily continue along this path of darkness that I have walked for the last eighteen months but some spark inside me is fighting to stay alive. I no longer need to be medicated. I have conquered my addiction to painkillers and am finally drug free after months of weaning slowly off the pills. I have fought my way through withdrawl, through insomnia and the feeling of having the creepy crawlies all the time. I have managed to beat back the blanket of numb that has cloaked me since my son died and I am learning to live with the awareness that Calvin is missing from our lives. I am pursuing happiness again, actively making conscious decisions about where I want to go from here. I don't want to live under this dark cloud anymore. I don't want to spend my days inside, drugged out of my mind and letting life pass me by. I'm craving social interaction again, days out with friends, doing things with my girls, making memories with them instead of being focused on my six days with Calvin. I've come to realize that this time with my daughters I will never get back. I will never have the chance again to redo the things I should have done with them while I mourned the loss of my baby boy. I can't go back to last summer and take my girls to the beach. Mindful of these things, I stepped outside my comfort zone yesterday and bought a swimsuit even though I detest the extra weight I've put on since detoxing. Reminding myself that it's not about me all the time has become my latest mantra, something I say to myself to stay motivated for the sake of my daughters, to step outside my cocoon of comfort. So why am I so sad? Why is it that I'm feeling guilt over feeling better? Maybe part of me feels like it's a betrayal to Calvin, that denying him to be the focus of my life will make him disappear. Maybe I'm afraid of reaching that point where I feel nothing when I say his name, no sadness, no longing for the sweet baby boy who I will never hold again. Maybe I'm afraid of losing him all over again.

In any case, the dreaded Mother's Day is upon us again and despite my best intentions, I have to face the day without him. I am glad to have had my son, even if he lived only six days, even if Mother's Day fills me with melancholy for the life I wish we had had. Some whisper tells me that somewhere he is proud I loved him enough to let him go. And that it makes no difference that I am learning to live again. Somewhere I imagine he smiles....

I love you Calvin.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day...

Can fuckoff this year, it's also my thirty-nineth birthday and it can fuckoff too. No, I'm not feeling particularly down, I'm just not into celebrating either occassion. Woo-Hoo, I'm a Mother to a dead child and I'm on the way to forty...Let's kill two miserable occassions on the same day shall we???

I hate being old. And I hate living and celebrating parenting with a child in Heaven. Enough said.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Out of the Loop

It seems as if I am out of the loop. I don't know how it happened or when but today I had the shocking revelation that there are ALOT of new babylost mamas in our community who I have never met. And suddenly I wonder if I have been following too many blogs to keep up with lately because it saddens me that I have not met some of you and extended my hand in friendship and support. I'm not only shocked by the sheer number of us out here, I'm saddened. It feels like I am a veteran of grief now, someone who has gone on before to hack away at some of the path in the journey for others to follow behind. I guess part of me was so busy looking ahead that I forgot to look back and take time to recognize those souls trudging the path behind me. With this bit of insight, I would like to ask if there are those of you reading who have lost a child and whom I haven't quite "met" yet, could you leave me a comment, let me know your child's name and a bit about yourself and I will make it a priority to stop by your blog to say hello, offer you a hug and let you know that I am here and that I care...because I do. Hugs to all the mamas, none of who should be walking this journey.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Small Victories

Happiness is so fleeting at times, it seems that when I start feeling better something happens to knock the wind out of my sails and I'm feeling low again. Like what happened at H&R Block and that horrible woman that did my taxes. Thanks to your input, I placed a call to the government to find out exactly whether or not my son's short life "counted" as far as claiming him as a dependent. It turns out that it did, as many of you advised and I returned to H&R with Calvin's birth certificate in hand to have a word with them over their "error". It seems that the woman had already been advised that she had made a mistake when she told me that Calvin's short life did not count and that by not putting him as a dependent on my tax return, she had shorted me of about $2500 in child tax credit. When I arrived to speak with her, she had already done the amendment to my taxes and all that was needed was a copy of Calvin's birth certificate and my signature. She apologized profusely. Although I was somewhat miffed over her insensitive comments about Georgia, and Calvin "not counting", I felt somewhat vindicated.

I am almost off my meds as well. I'm down to the lowest dose twice daily but lately have only needed them to help transition to sleep. The withdrawl has been minimal and I'm thankful for that. It's not the nicest feeling in the world having the heebee-jeebees as you try to go to sleep. Another small thing to rejoice in. And really, it's a big thing because it lets me know that I can beat this thing, that my days of being fuzzed out and not remembering are coming to an end. I've been smiling more, feeling more emotion than I have in a long time and remembering how good it feels to laugh. This spring feels like a rebirth so far and I'm enjoying it.

There has also been a couple of serendipitous happenings in my life financially. Whew! It's been a tough winter and things are coming back together for construction and there is money to be made. And although money isn't everything, when you're used to having alot of it around and then suddenly are struggling, it's nice to get back into the swing of things. I'm learning also that there are things in my life that I can do without that I never imagined before. Material things. I've also learned that material things can never replace people, and that you cannot fill the void of missing someone by filling it with money or drugs or instant gratification. I'm trying not to fill the hole Calvin left in my life with things that don't really matter anymore. It's fruitless. However it seems that the less I fight the void, the less hold it has on me. I still miss my son with everything I have and I expect I always will. This new reality, however much I don't like it some days is becoming part of me, part of my life. The less focus I put on this new reality, and the more I just try to live again the less it rips me apart.

I have also been reminded lately by someone I admire that there is beauty all around us and it is ours for the taking. Today I took advantage of the rain and two sleepy children to crawl into bed myself and listen to the raindrops on the window as I drifted off to sleep. There were things I should have done but that can wait and the nap was as refreshing as the spring rain. My hope is coming back. Like the tide it ebbs and flows, but in this moment I feel it strong and defiant against the winter of loss as it begins to bloom again in my heart. I'm at peace today, and that in itself is another small, but important victory.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Non-Entity

Shane and I were bereft in the fall of 2008 when our son died, so much so that nothing mattered more than getting through Christmas and trying to mourn while tending to Georgia's newborn needs. We holed up in our home for what seemed to be months, doing little except spending time with our girls, avoiding going out in public where our loss could be brought up in awkward places. With the focus so much on our grief and trying to survive it, certain areas in our lives became neglected, one area being that we didn't file our taxes for 2008. Today I took the opportunity of a few free hours to collect receipts, slips and forms and head down to our local tax preparation place to file my delinquent tax return. After dealing with a blatantly rude receptionist who sat on the phone talking to her friend about "yeah, we're all laid off as of May 15th and now I have to give up my apartment....", I sat down to wait for someone to come and get me. After about ten minutes, an overly friendly woman bounced around the corner and called my name. Her friendly demeanor changed within minutes of finding out that I hadn't filed for 2008 and she grumbled about having to file a paper return. While sitting across the desk from the woman about to file my taxes, I pulled out Calvin and Georgia's birth certificates and place them on her desk. With a blank stare, the woman looked from Calvin's certificate to me, to the certificate again without saying anything. Bluntly I asked her, "Can I claim my son as a dependent for 2008?", to which she replied, "I don't think so", as she shoved the document back towards me. "But he lived for six days", I said. "Yeah, I don't think that counts", was her answer. Numbly I put his birth certificate back in my purse and as she picked up Georgia's birth certificate she asked, "Is she dead too?".

I literally had to use every ounce of restraint to be polite in my reply. Gritting my teeth, I answered, "No, she's at home with me...". I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that this woman basically told me that my son's life "didn't count". That he could not be considered a dependent because he didn't live long enough. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I wanted to smash her fucking teeth in. I couldn't believe how casually she pushed Calvin's birth certificate towards me, the word Deceased seeming to leap off the top of the page. It was all she saw. All that mattered. My beautiful, perfect looking baby boy doesn't count because he's "Deceased". His birth certificate might as well have said "Diseased" by the way she was so quick to get it off her desk and back into my purse. I'm surprised she didn't go and wash her hands. Thanks so much H&R Block, thanks for turning an unpleasant experience into something that literally ruined my day. I'm glad your office is closing if this is the way your staff treats their clients. If the government really feels that my son doesn't count because he didn't live long enough, then perhaps I just won't file my frigging taxes again. Revenue Canada, go suck an egg.

Friday, April 16, 2010

For Mira





Recently I reconnected with an old friend from highschool on Facebook. Ragne (pronounced Rainy) and I were in grade eight and nine together at a very, very small school. Remembering her from back then, I always think of her smile and her sweet, sweet personality. I was an outcast in school but Ragne never treated me that way. I still have pictures of us on the last day of grade nine sitting outside the school, waiting for our buses to come. Reconnecting with Ragne has been good, I told her a bit about our journey with Calvin and how his loss has been devastating to our family. She was touched and very sad to hear that we had lost our baby boy and couldn't imagine the pain we were facing. Ragne herself is a new mother, another one of my school chums to wait to have children in her mid-thirties. Ragne's daughter Mira is ten months old and beautiful. I ooh'ed and ahh'ed over Mira's pictures that Ragne had posted on Facebook, she is simply a stunning baby. Laughingly, I think I told Ragne that I know where Mira had gotten her beauty, Ragne was always a beautiful girl in school. Mistakenly, I had assumed they had issues conceiving because of a Facebook comment someone had written on Ragne's wall and when I asked her about it, she said nope, she just hadn't gotten married until recently and they had conceived almost immediately. Motherhood suits her beautifully and I know she absolutely adores her daughter.

It was through Facebook that I also discovered that Mira was facing surgery recently and when I sent Ragne one of those OMG, is everything okay? notes, Ragne wrote me back confiding in me that her world was falling apart. After taking Mira to a doctor's appointment because something just wasn't "right", Ragne found herself at Children's Hospital, being told her baby had a brain tumour. An MRI revealed it wasn't just one tumour, it was four and there was another at the base of her spine. Mira's surgery was a biopsy which came back as cancer. My friend is facing the worst time of her life, a time that should be carefree and filled with joy. Mira is facing the fight of her life. Ragne tells me that Mira will do five rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumours, after the second round they will do a repeat MRI to see if the tumours are shrinking. They have told her that Mira will probably have damaged hearing and infertility later in life due to the chemo. I cried when I read what this beautiful baby is facing. I cried for my friend and for how unfair life can be. I'm scared that Ragne will go through those terrifying moments of losing hope, losing faith and I wish I could protect her from it all. If there was a way I could make everything better for her I would. I've prayed for Mira. I've prayed harder for Mira than I have for anything since losing Calvin. I've prayed that God will spare Mira pain and suffering and that He will spare Ragne the pain of losing her only child. I am asking, please, please, please, if you believe in God to pray for this beautiful baby and her family. No parent should EVER go through what some of us have lived through and I want more than anything for my friend to be spared the worst pain in the world. Please pray for Mira.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Seventeen

She was a dancing queen, young and free only seventeen....months that is. Happy seventeen months on earth my precious girl. You are my sunshine, my love, my heart's delight and I am so priviledged to be your mommy. The only thing that would make having you here better would be to have your twin brother Calvin here too. I miss him sweet girl and I can only imagine your spirit times two. I love you Georgia Leigh...Please say a prayer for my girl, she's very sick right now after being exposed to the liquid inside a teething ring that I found out last night has been recalled due to toxic contamination.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Babies

We've just returned from Easter vacation with Shane's family in Alberta. It was a nice trip, far too much time spent in the car mind you, but nice to get away for a bit. My husband's family is huge, the Easter trip was a family reunion on his mother's side and there were something like forty people there. There were a few moments during the trip that made me feel that twinge of angst knowing that I will never have another child, another son. My husband's sister was there with her four month old baby boy, a darling little guy who is just so handsome and good natured. Watching Elijah creeping and trying to crawl on the grass outside in the backyard tugged at my heart, I miss Calvin so very much these days. Georgia is growing at an alarming rate, my baby now a full fledged toddler, still so very attached to mama but growing more and more independent every day. Watching my Georgia dancing, smiling, walking, running and playing this past week makes me realize how very fast she is changing and I wonder what Calvin would be doing with her had he lived. I'm afraid I made the most horrible mistake in getting my tubes tied because I don't feel as if I am done or ready to be done having babies. Seeing Elijah and baby Alayna being nursed, smelling their sweet smelling heads reminds me of how much I love the newborn stage and how soon my Georgia will no longer be my baby but my little girl. I wonder if I would be feeling the same if Calvin were here with us or whether I would be so exhausted from chasing after two toddlers that I wouldn't have time to think about another baby and how wonderful it would be to make another little person who looks like Shane and me.

I also feel like I am missing out on the expectant joy of pregnancy, that feeling of life inside and the miracle of knowing your baby as they kick and roll and hiccup in your belly. I loved being pregnant despite the stresses of having high risk pregnancies. I loved the feeling of the babies in my womb stretching and pushing and responding to my voice or the food I had eaten. I miss the joy of shopping for little sleepers and newborn clothes with the excitement of the impending birth. Maybe it's the possibility I also miss. Knowing that it's over for me is upsetting when so many women around me are getting pregnant and having babies. I want another baby. I want a son. I know that having a son wouldn't change the sadness I feel over missing Calvin and it wouldn't make his loss easier to bear, I just want a baby boy of my own. When I was pregnant with Lorelei, my dreams were of rough and tumble boys in dirty overalls and curly blonde hair flying in the wind. Of course I fell in love with the idea of having a girl when Lorelei's sex was determined during an ultrasound but I still had hope that eventually I would mother a fearless and adventurous boy. When I became pregnant with the twins, I hoped that at least one of the babies would be a girl because I had so much cute girl stuff from Lorelei that I didn't want to part with so when we found out that we were having a boy and a girl, I was in heaven. Then Calvin died and a piece of me died with him along with the dream of that dirty boy in overalls playing rough and tumble in the backyard. I wish things were different, above all I wish my son had lived. My beautiful, perfect boy with the broken heart, my Calvin. How I miss his presence in my life. The emptiness of his loss, my loss, echos through me during what should be happy moments in my life and leaves me feeling wistful for what should have been. He should have been there with us at that reunion, he should have been running amok and dancing in the backyard with Georgia and the other babes. It should be me that others look at and think..."She is so blessed, so lucky to have such beautiful babies", and make them want to have more children themselves. I can't seem to get over this longing and the feeling that I'm not done yet and I wonder just what the hell I've done....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Still Here

I'm still here, struggling less, detoxing less, doing more. It's been awhile since I blogged and it's been eating at me. There is so much, yet so little happening in my life right now that I don't seem to have the time to sit down, take a breath and have some me time. I'm still missing Calvin horribly and have had a few good cries over him as of late, moreso at remembering...those memories that sneak up on you and take your breath away with their vividness. Some of those memories come from reading other blogs and having another mother talk about a certain situation that reminds me so much of what we went through that it takes me back in time to that moment. Stephanie talked about such a thing on her blog, about how when she went back to see Amelia in the funeral home, she knew her girl was gone. It reminded me so much of holding Calvin in the hospital morgue, feeling his spirit there with us strong and steady as I cuddled our son for the last time. The peacefulness about it was almost surreal, everything was so quiet and still and yet he lingered and I could feel him there with me. I didn't want to give him back. I didn't want to think about his body being put back in one of those stainless steel drawers, alone in the dark. All I could think about was seeing him again, possibly holding him before the funeral and willing myself to make it just one more day until I could be with my son again. The night of the viewing Shane and I went early. I wanted to make sure my son looked okay and that we were doing the right thing by giving the family a chance to come and say good-bye to him. I was eager to see him and was bewildered when the funeral director warned me that he wouldn't look the same as when I had held him in the morgue, that there had been changes. Sure enough as I gazed down into Calvin's casket and looked at my son there WERE changes, the biggest one being that my son was no longer there. His spirit had flown away and I couldn't feel him anymore. That was one of the hardest things, to realize that he was now gone for good and wouldn't be lingering around to give me comfort. I cried and gasped to Shane that it wasn't him, that it didn't even look like him but was forced to accept that while it was my son's body, his spirit had moved on. The memories have evoked a strong emotional response. I feel tired, and physically exhausted. I've been forcing myself outside to do yard work, to get some fresh air and sunshine in these past beautiful days. It's been good for me yet I've been so wiped out I've had little energy for anything else lately.

Even in my current state of exhaustion and with a spring cold coming on, I feel guilt for not posting and for leaving on such a "I don't care about anything" note. I'm still here. I'm still reading along with many of you even if I don't comment. I'm still fighting this addiction and hoping to feel better soon. I'm still hoping for joy in my life again. It's coming back, slowly, but it is coming back. I can only hope tomorrow will be better than today and that the day after tomorrow will be better than it's yesterday until all is well in my world as much as it can be without Calvin in it. I miss my son. His death still makes me cry and even if people think that there must be "a reason" for it, it doesn't make me get over him or the void left behind when he died. If the people in my life could just recognize this and realize that I will never be the same again and accept it for what it is, I think my life could be easier. Not necessarily better, but easier. Until such a thing happens, I vomit all the unhappiness here where I can simply be bereaved and not expected to be "getting over it" by now. How can I? How can any of us? The answer is that we can't and that there will always be a story, a movie, a remark made that throws us back to the days when our children died and it will always hurt. Sometimes the hurt will make us cry and not feel like living, other times it won't. I accept this. I don't like it but I accept it and there is nothing ANY platitude will do to make this better for me or any one of us. I'm still here, even though there are days I wish I wasn't.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Feeling Down

Fifteen. It's the number of pounds I have gained since I started weaning off my meds. I am withdrawing and feeling so tired and slow and emotionally unstable right now. I am eating my way into oblivion and will face another battle ahead to shed some of this weight. It's not easy right now, some days I feel as if I don't want to do this. What "this" is varies from day to day, some days it's detoxing, other days it's living. I miss Calvin horribly right now and had a good hard cry the other night in my misery. I loathe this extra weight yet I cannot seem to stop stuffing food in my face at an alarming rate. I feel fragile and messed up and hopeless some days and wonder if things will ever get good again. I know Shane is worried about me, there is little he can do or say to make me feel better right now and I know my emotional state is keeping him at bay. I don't know whether all of this comes from coming off the meds, why I'm craving sugar the way I am right now, why I'm so tired and emotional. For the first time since we first lost Calvin, I felt like I didn't want to live anymore. I am so tired of feeling so down, so broken. It's so horrifying to me to feel this way, like I don't care whether I live or die anymore because I am so miserable. I think I may need to see my doctor...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Disconnected

Things are not okay with me right now. I've been stressed about numerous things in my life lately and have been just coasting through my days. Things came to a head this weekend when two things happened, Shane and I had a heartfelt discussion about the state of our lives and Lorelei, my four year old accused me of not loving her anymore. I'll explain...

Since Calvin died, both Shane and I have been completely unmotivated in every area in our lives. His business has all but been neglected, we've stopped socializing, our house is a disaster and we hardly talk anymore about things that matter. We have made numerous attempts to get our lives back on track only to slip into the same old apathy we've been swimming in for the last sixteen months. When we moved to Vancouver during the last three months of my pregnancy, we packed up our home and Shane's brother Greg and his wife Trisha moved in to help us out. We needed our dog to be taken care of, Greg and Trisha took over paying our electricity bill and we paid the rent. We were only able to do this because of the help we received from local service clubs, The Lions Club and the Knights of Columbus. Those two clubs paid our rent in Vancouver so that we could keep our home and have a place to come back to. When Calvin died and we packed up and moved home it took months of walking around boxes before I finally began to unpack our things from Vancouver. During the last year, I haven't even made an attempt to unpack the boxes we left here at the house with our pictures, seasonal clothes etc and my craft room has been overtaken in a mess of boxes and disorganization. Shane has been working hard to find work and finally he is beginning a new job as of today. With his determination to get our lives turned back around we ended up having a discussion about where we've been this past year and why we aren't progressing. He opened up about his frustration with the lack of progress we've made in sorting out the house and the fact that we are still walking around things that are boxed up. He also mentioned that he felt we were experiencing a profound sense of disconnect from our lives and each other. He's right. I've had little interest in doing anything lately, including blogging which is the one thing that kept me going in the early days of our grief. While I am still weaning off the pain meds, I've done little else to change the things that are dragging us down. I cried when I realized that it's true, that I have been disconnected from him, from Lorelei, from my life in general. I don't know if it's because I'm afraid of living my life without Calvin and so I'm coasting through my days, not enjoying things or if it's just because the apathy has become easier than confronting the things that need attention. I wish I could undo all the hurt we've been through this past year but I can't and I don't know how I'm going to find the enjoyment that's been missing from my life again.

Not only did Shane bring up the disconnect between us and our lives but the same day my beautiful girl accused me of not loving her anymore. Since losing Calvin, I have been completely immersed in Georgia. She and I have a bond I never had with Lorelei as a baby. I think because I was so grief stricken over Calvin, I poured all my love into caring for Georgia. At first I attributed Lorelei's comments of "Mom, stop kissing Georgia" to sibling rivalry and figured that in time she would get over it. During the last months, Lorelei's behaviour has been at best challenging and at worst very difficult to cope with. She has become rude, defiant and full of attitude and in frustration I've taken to ignoring her tantrums and bad manners. She is difficult to love on days when she is being mean to her sister, yelling at me or giving me attitude. Oftentimes I have sent her upstairs to watch movies or deny her the opportunity to help me with the things I'm doing because she makes more work for me. When I was sitting feeding Georgia and she came and asked me to do something with her the other day and I answered my usual "Not right now honey, I'm feeding Georgia", she snapped. Pacing the livingroom she went on a rant about how I don't love her, I just love Georgia. She said that one day I would just put her out in the garbage and that I wouldn't miss her. I cried. I put Georgia down and gathered Lorelei into my lap and told her that I would always love her and that we would never put her out into the garbage. I told her that Georgia doesn't replace her or make me love her any less. I cried with her and told her how much I love her and how sorry I was for not making as much time for her as I should have and for making her feel like Georgia was more important to me. I felt terrible and I still do. My little girl has suffered from losing Calvin and from the things that have happened in our family since. She's seen me cry more than any child should have to see their mother cry and in my grief I have not been the mother I should be for her. I'm not the person I can be, not the wife, not the mother, not the friend I should be. I've been working on numbing myself to the pain for so long that I've numbed myself to the good things in my life as well. It was a terrible revelation and it made me feel ashamed of myself. I WANT desperately for my life to feel good again, for it to feel somewhat normal. I have to stop turning inward and isolating myself from my family, from my friends, from life. I'm scared. I don't know how to be happy anymore and any joy I have felt in my life has been shortlived. How does anyone find happiness after losing a child? How does anyone move forward with anticipation of good things to come? How do you get past the survival instincts and self preservation to be there for the people in your life that need you the most? I need some answers, some advice...Please.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm an Auntie Again...

I'm exceptionally tired. Greg called at seven thirty yesterday morning to let me know that Trisha had dialated to four centimetres during the night and that they were putting her back on the drip at eight thirty am. In a rush I got dressed and headed down to the hospital. By the time I got there, another woman in full labour had come in eight centimetres dialated and they had turned Trisha's drip off. We visited, paced and waited and finally at two pm the doctor came and put Trisha back on the oxytocin. By five pm Trisha was five centimetres and the doctor felt that she was progressing well and that she should be ready to push by ten pm if all went well. As Trisha's contractions grew stronger and more productive, I rubbed her back and hips with massage oil as Greg counted with her and reminded her to breathe through the contractions. I was absolutely amazed as she was so focused and quiet. By six o'clock she had dialated another centimetre and was in more pain so she was offered the gas to help her through the contractions. It was remarkable to me that she had come this far with no pain relief with her contractions coming fast and furious in pairs every two minutes. By eight o'clock Trisha was eight centimetres dialated and the pain was getting too much so she opted for the epidural. Unfortunately the medication never took perfectly the first time and within twenty minutes she had to have a second dose. After her epidural was working, the nurses suggested that Greg and Trisha get some rest before she had to start pushing so I took the opportunity to grab a tea and read a bit of a book in the waiting room. At ten pm when I hadn't seen either Greg or Trisha's mother Sue, I headed back to the birthing room and walked in to the doctor examining her. At this point he decided she was ready to push so I ran to find Greg and get back as soon as possible.

Trisha started pushing at ten o'clock. By eleven, the doctor realized the baby was still not in the correct position and that Trisha was going to need some assistance. He discussed a forceps delivery with her and told her it would depend on the baby descending further down the birth canal and let her know he had also called the ob/gyn to examine her. Within minutes, I knew something very serious was happening as the ob/gyn began to examine her. He asked for a scalp clip to monitor the baby's heartrate and asked for the ultrasound machine to be sent in. When he inserted his fingers to check the baby's position, he asked when the last time Trisha's temperature had been taken and after checking her temperature informed her she had developed some infection around the baby and that baby was in distress. At that point he told her that there was no way the baby could be born vaginally because she was stuck on Trisha's pubic bone because of the way the baby's head was facing. Within seconds, Trisha was being prepped for an emergency caesarean, thankfully she already had the epidural in place or it would have been under general anesthesia. I can't describe how worried and emotional I was at that point. Trisha was exhausted and bitterly disappointed that after all she had done to birth the baby that it had come to this. However, by this time and with the worry of the baby being under distress, the birth took a back seat to the safety of mother and child. As she was wheeled down the hall to the operating room I began to shake and realized just how worried and upset I was for my beautiful sister in law. It felt like it had been such an emotional journey already. At one point during her contractions, I had joked about how I would have to get my newborn baby fix from her children, Trisha began to cry. She told me she missed Calvin and how sorry she was that my beautiful baby had died and that I wouldn't be having any more babies. Thankfully her back was to me at the time because I was massaging her so that she didn't see the tears that I just couldn't stop running down my face. And now I was scared for her and the baby. I felt so helpless going from being part of the experience to having to wait for her to come out of surgery. We had been told that her section would only take about twenty minutes because she was already catheterized, shaved and the epidural was in place. The time seemed to drag as me and the rest of the family sat in the waiting room. When an hour had passed and still no sign of Trisha or baby I was becoming more and more fearful. Finally, Greg and the nurses came rushing down to the nursery with the baby, a beautiful pink baby girl they named Alayna Nadine. As Alayna was getting checked, poked, weighed and put into the system, Greg explained that the spinal did not go well the first time at which point they had given Trisha a local anesthetic as well. The local, the spinal and the medication she had already received in the epidural froze her well past her chest and as Trisha had a sip of water in the recovery room after her surgery she choked and couldn't cough. For those reasons, the birth had taken a majorly long time and Trisha stayed in recovery until three am. When she was out and brought back to her room, I told her I loved her but had to go. I was and am so tired still from all the emotional stress. I am beyond happy for my brother and sister in law and so proud of them for handling their birth experience so calmly after all they ended up facing, realizing that in the end, the birth is just a means to an end and all that matters is that their beautiful baby girl was born alive and well. Thanks so much for all your well wishes, prayers and kind words, they were truly appreciated.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Finally

Trisha's water broke at 1:30 am and she is in the hospital waiting for her labour to begin. Could everyone say a prayer for my sister in law that she have a good delivery with no complications and that she gets a screaming healthy baby in the end??? I'll update once the birth is over. Thanks...

Update: It's just about eleven thirty pm and I'm home from the hospital. Trisha had been on oxytocin all day and by nine this evening her contractions were coming every thirty seconds but upon examination, the doctor discovered the baby has gone transverse and that Trisha had only dialated two centimetres in eight hours. They've turned the drip off and we'll start again in the morning after Trisha gets some rest. It's been a long and painfully frustrating day for my sister in law who endured nine hours of pain for naught. Please keep her in your thoughts so that she may have a productive, easy labour tomorrow. Hugs to all...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pride
















It's been a bit since I've blogged, I admit I'm slacking right now. Not that I'm by any means healed or have run out of things to say, I have just been so caught up in something so foreign and odd to me it's been overwhelming. I'm sure you may be wondering just what the heck I'm talking about and I know it's going to sound bizarre but here goes....

Right now, at this time in my life I am experiencing pride and love for my country, my province and the city of Vancouver (which we called home while waiting for our twins), our athletes and the Olympic games. As most Canadians, I have lacked that sense of Rah Rah!!! patriotism we often find bizarre in our American friends. Truthfully, the Canadian sense of patriotism is at best ambivalent most of the time, most of us while appreciative of our country don't get too excited at the singing of the national anthem or puff out our chests in pride at the mention of our flag. The usual attitude in Canada can mostly be described as ..."Oh well....". No great enthusiasm, no strong feelings of love for the soil we stand on, no excitement over all things Canadian, except maybe our beer which we find superior to that of our southerly neighbours. To me, Canadian patriotism can best be described as "intellectual" as opposed to "emotional". While we KNOW we are so lucky to live in this great melting pot of a nation and that we are FORTUNATE to have the freedoms and tolerances we are so well known for, that sense of knowing comes with a sense of detachment. As a country, we DON'T get overly patriotic, perhaps it's because we are too polite to pick up our pom poms, make a scene and yell, "Yay Canada!" I have often giggled at the enthusiasm of our American friends who mist up during the Star Spangled Banner, who tout the American pride with their flag waving, anthem singing and their deep convictions about their homeland. But this week, that all has changed...I have been mesmerized by the games, caught up in a feeling of national pride unlike any other I have felt before. Suddenly it all makes sense to me and I too have that swelling in my chest that makes me long to run into the streets of Vancouver waving my flag and wearing my maple leaf. It's been eye opening and emotional and wonderful having the games here in my home province. I am so proud to be a Canadian right now. I am so proud of my country and the city of Vancouver. I am in AWE of our athletes, especially our WOMEN athletes who have captured eleven and a half out of the fifteen medals we have won so far (the half being Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir ice dance champions). That is SO amazing!!! Our women rock.

So I admit, I've been glued to the television for the last week and a half since the Olympic games started. I've discovered a passion inside myself for the spirit of competition, the joy of victory, the breathlessness of wondering if the athlete representing your country can find it in themselves to pull out the best performance of their life under all the pressure to succeed. I see the dancing and celebrations in the streets and wish with all my heart I was there celebrating this little bit of history too. Because I'm not there right now, my butt is wearing holes in my side of the sectional as I sit for hours flipping between arial skiing, hockey, speedskating and ice dance. I fly my Olympic flag from my minivan as I run about town getting snacks and supplies to last as we cheer on our athletes from the comfort of our livingroom. I held my breath as our hometown girl and friend of my husband, Kristi Richards went all out during the women's moguls and then wept when she fell and finished dead last. I was so disappointed for her yet so proud. She displayed the heart of a champion as she got up, dusted herself off and while knowing her dreams of a medal were over, finished her jump with a spectacular trick that made us cheer. Forget the polite murmurings of "Well done", instead we drink our Molson Canadian and yell loudly at the set, jumping up and down when we score or win or just miss the podium. For the first time in my life I am puffing my chest, getting misty at the national anthem and waving my flag. I'm Canadian and I'm proud. I bristle when reading the complaints of other countries, the British who say the games are a debolicle that won't take any effort to top and could our weather be any more miserable? Really, the British think OUR weather is miserable??? Lol... The American snowboarding team who felt we had sacrificed style for performance in our tight snowboarding pants. Hmm, looking good, or winning....??? Really??? Ryan Kessler, the American hockey player who plays for THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS stating that he "Hates Canadians, they always have something to prove...". Umm, exuse me, you play for our franchise, we pay you your millions of dollars to play our sport...do I take offense to this? Hell yes, these our our games. Hockey is our sport. There is nothing wrong with proclaiming ownership of something we do so well. We give the world their soccer, baseball, even basketball which was invented in Canada. Please, we say politely as we pass the apple pie, "Just give us our hockey and the right to be loud and proud for once in our lives." I'm sure we will go back to being the quiet, ambivalent, tolerant nation the world expects us to be once these Olympics are over but for now we wave our flags, wear our maple leafs and take pride in our love of hockey and beer. Even Oprah loves our mittens... Go Canada!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Honoured

My husband's brother's wife Trisha (my sister inlaw), is thirty-nine weeks pregnant today. I am excited and anxious for their baby to be born. Trisha and Greg decided not to find out the sex of the baby so it will be a surprise for us all. Trisha has talked alot with me about my pregnancy experiences with Lorelei and Calvin and Georgia and I have been happy to share in her joy and answer any questions she has had based on my own experiences. Trisha has been very much a younger sister to me for years now, we have a good and open relationship where we can talk about pretty much anything. About a month ago, Trisha asked me if I would be her stand-in birth coach, to give Greg some respite as she labours, to run for ice chips or whatever she may need in those moments and to share in the joy of her birth. I'm beyond honoured. I was so touched that she thought of me and asked me to be there on such a special occassion that it brought tears to my eyes. I have never witnessed a birth before, my own births were caesareans, one under general anesthetic and one with a spinal. Even though I was very much awake for Calvin and Georgia's births, I couldn't see anything because of the drapes, not even the babies until they were cleaned up, checked, weighed and then handed back over to me. I am so excited to be part of my neice or nephew's birth but the longer Trisha stays pregnant, the more nervous I get.

I guess having high risk pregnancies I have certain expectations about what should be done based on my own experiences. Trisha's prenatal care has been very different from my own in that she has had only one ultrasound so far other than the 4D ultrasound they went for at a specialty clinic. She has also not had to have any non-stress tests or the frequent checkups I had. Her doctor is also pretty relaxed about the possibility that she may go beyond her due date and Trisha has told me that they will let her go ten days. I don't like this. To be honest, it scares the shit out of me and I have urged Trisha to be her own advocate in regards to her birth and to not let the doctors pressure her into going ten days past her due date if she is feeling uneasy about it. Really, her health is much better than mine in the fact that she doesn't have any clotting disorders, she is much younger than I was during my first pregnancy and for being a tad overweight when she got pregnant, she has only gained twelve pounds. I am in awe of how amazing she is doing for her first pregnancy. I must say I'm jealous over the fact that she's gained next to no weight at all by following her doctor's orders and she has the most perfect, beautiful pregnant belly ever. She truly suits being pregnant. But I don't want her to be pregnant ten days past her due date. I'm not sure if my fears are irrational given her good health, I just have a terrible feeling about them letting her go that long past.

Maybe my fear comes from having read too many blogs of mothers who have lost their perfectly healthy babies at term and the fear that something like that could happen to someone I love so much. I don't want Greg or Trisha to have to deal with the same pain Shane and I have gone through after losing our son. I want everything to be perfect for them and their new baby. I want them to know the joy of bringing their baby home and knowing that he/she is here to stay. I love this baby already and I want the very best for her. I don't know why I am so scared for them at a time I should be patiently waiting with NO WORRIES that anything could go wrong. I just want Trisha to go into labour and have an easy, uncomplicated birth that results in a live, healthy baby at the end of it all. I can't wait to be there, to share in their joy. I just wish I could shake this feeling and be reassured that everything will be just fine. Because it will. I know it. I just would feel better if the baby was out now.

How crazy is this???

Friday, February 12, 2010

Struggling

I've been struggling in my personal life the last few weeks. Nothing drastic has been going on but for some reason I feel as if I have entered a whole new cycle of grief. I can't stop thinking of Calvin and what I'm missing. I'm not sure if it was the comments my grandmother made about my son not "needing" a marker on his grave but since that visit, my heart has been aching for him. I can't seem to get past my family's lack of feeling for what Shane and I have lived through, there has been not one iota of sympathy or care and it enrages me that such a beautiful, special little boy has not been given one thought since his passing. Some days I hate my family and wish I could just sever the ties with them. In truth, I suppose that once my mother passes away, the family will not have much to do with me but until then, the ties that bind us are tenuous. I wish I didn't care and in alot of ways I am beyond caring for myself, but the fact that they could turn their backs on my son and pretend he didn't exist tears me apart. He didn't deserve to be born with a broken heart, he certainly didn't deserve to go through all that happened to him only to die in the end but to have his life not validated by my own family is the worst injustice of all. I'm sad for him and angry for me for having to live with their indifference.

I am also currently on my way to being weaned of my painkillers and I am finding myself being very tired as of late. The tapering off started Monday and will likely take three months but hopefully by cutting down my dosage slowly I won't suffer the full out withdrawl I went through when I tried to go cold turkey over New Years. I am disappointed in myself that I will have to endure another three months of medication in order to be drug free and although I am making progress, I would rather be admitted to hospital, sedated and then go cold turkey for the week it takes to detox. I am impatient and want to be better now. I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of feeling that gnawing in my stomach as my body tells me I need more medication. I'm tired of feeling paralyzed by this addiction and I just want to move on with my life and start living normally again. I know the road to recovery will be an arduous one and frankly I don't know if I have it in me right now to feel this way for another few months. I'm feeling down about myself for getting into the addiction in the first place, if only I had had the courage to face Calvin's death a year ago instead of trying to mute out the horrific feeling of pain. I'm afraid that maybe once the numbing effects of the meds wear off that again I'll be immersed in sorrow and will have to start the grieving process anew. I don't want that at all.

I also have been worried about the community of friendship we have here in Dead Baby Land. With all the new rainbow babies being born, I wonder if the support that I so need some days will stay the same. I worry about being left behind in my grief because I won't be having any more children and as some of the mamas welcome their new miracles, I wonder if their needs for this community will fade away. I know all too well the time and attention a new baby requires as well as that all consuming love that you feel for your new babies and I do know that many of the mamas will not have the time for their blogs anymore. The thing that really gets me is that I've grown to love some of you very much, and this is the main way I keep in touch with you. I guess what I'm hoping is that we don't leave each other behind, that the driving force that brought us together as friends in caring and understanding stays the same although all of our lives are changing day by day. Truthfully, I can't imagine my life without some of you in it now. I worry that as you move on and have your babies that no one will remember my son other than me. I worry that the gestures like the Valentine I got from Lea for Calvin will stop. I need my son to be remembered and I don't know what I'd do without some of you.

To carry on with this train of thought also, I have been drawn to the blogs of three new women lately. As much as I hate to welcome anyone into Dead Baby Land, I feel like part of my purpose through my blog is to offer the same sort of support and love that was extended to me when I was newly bereaved. I would like to offer some support to those women now and I hope you'll pop over to their blogs and extend a hand in friendship to these mothers who are in pain over the losses of their precious babes.

Mindy. I found Mindy's blog through Glow in the Woods and I am struck by how deeply she is suffering. Mindy lost her precious son Henry through an accident at birth, something she couldn't have known would happen or prevented. Her letters to Henry speak volumes of her love for him, her regret and her pain of having to carry on without him. Please pop by and say hello and offer her some love http://indiebambino.blogspot.com/

Megan. Megan is newly bereaved, she lost her sweet Grace less than a month ago and has reached out already for support. I am in awe over her will to survive this. It took me months before I could reach out following Calvin's death. Megan has a complicated situation because she is a high risk obstetrical nurse and will be returning to work shortly even though she's not completely ready. I can't imagine having to put myself in a situation to be confronted with the grief of others while still being in the beginning stages of my own loss. Megan's blog can be found at http://gracefulwillows.blogspot.com/

Eve. Eve presents a unique situation as she is pregnant with twins right now and is trying to carry her daughter Abby as close to term as possible while knowing that her son Will has passed away in utero. Eve's journey is heartbreaking as she will be presented with many challenges as to how to honour and mourn Will while awaiting Abby's birth. Eve will likely not get the chance to hold and spend time with Will after his birth due to the amount of time he has spent deceased in utero while she waits for Abby to be physically big and strong enough to be born. Luckily Eve found a NILMDTS photographer who agreed to do a maternity shoot for her although it is not the norm for them. Eve's blog can be found at http://infertilityrocks.wordpress.com/

As much as I am struggling in my own skin right now, I know these women are also having a tough time. My hope is to build a bridge of hope for them so that they know they don't walk through the darkness alone. I urge those that read my blog to visit these women and offer some heartfelt love and support. Although most of us have made it through the darkest days by now, for some it is just beginning. Hugging you all...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hit the Road Black Cloud....

For most of my life I have felt as if a big black cloud was hanging over my head. I'm generally an unlucky person, if something bad is going to happen, it usually happens to me. I've learned to laugh at this over the last couple of years, well until we lost Calvin anyway. I think because I am determined to find happiness and peace and to have a much better year than I did last year, the black cloud is trying extra hard to bring me down. The disastrous visit with my grandmother, catching a cold almost as soon as I got home and then last night...

Not feeling the greatest last night, I was pretty sure I would just spend my evening vegging out on the couch watching some tv. I had literally no energy, like how you get when you have a bad flu or cold. My cold isn't bad to that point yet but I could not bring myself to get anything accomplished in my day, in fact I hadn't even showered (ewww, yes, I know.) So in order to ease my guilt over being sick and not getting much done, I figured the least I could do was to put the clothes that were in the washing machine from the morning into the dryer. Having done that I was looking forward to quiet time with the girls, the half an hour before their bedtime where we begin to wind down and get ready for sleep. Georgia's bottle was heating up, Lorelei had changed into her pyjamas and we had turned the tv back on Treehouse for half an hour of cartoons before story time. As I sat there on the couch, I started to think I could smell something cooking. Having just heated up a pizza for supper and being sure I had turned the oven off, I convinced myself it was my imagination. Then the smell started to get stronger. Since Shane hadn't mentioned smelling anything, I was sure it was just me and I tried to ignore it. A minute later when my thoughts started to nag at me that something was wrong, I got up and went to the laundry room just to check. I was not at all prepared for what I opened the door to, a roomful of smoke. Yelling fire to Shane, I grabbed Lorelei's coat and boots from the front door and Georgia's blanket from her bedroom. Shane ran into the laundry room to figure out where the smoke was coming from and I grabbed the kids and ran outside. Lorelei was terrified. She was crying and worried that our house would burn down and I tried to soothe her as I waited to hear from Shane what was going on. It struck me as I stood outside in the cold night air with my children that they were the only things I had grabbed. I had always imagined that if my place burned, that there would be certain possessions that I would be sure to bring with me as we fled. I didn't even give my things a second thought. I had my children in my arms and in that moment it was all that mattered.

Back in the laundry room, Shane had turned the dryer off, unplugged it from the wall and pulled it out and away from the wall so that nothing else would catch fire. He pulled out the load of clothes that was inside and was inspecting the lint trap and vents for further evidence of flame. As the smoke began to clear, we determined it was alright to come back in, that our lives were not in danger and that the fire was out. Surprisingly, the whole thing while shocking in the moment, didn't bring me down. In fact, I laughed as I thought about what was in that load in the dryer, all my pants. What a shame it would be if I had to buy all new pants I had thought to myself. Immediately I got on the phone with Shane's mom, they had offered us their washer and dryer awhile ago because they were getting new ones. Telling us that we would have their washer and dryer by the weekend, I chose to look at the situation as a much needed break from laundry. I am still determined as ever to make this year so much better than our last year. Mentally I mocked the black cloud and shoo'd it away. I had what learned what was most important to me in those moments, that my children and husband are what matter most in my life and that feeling was so freeing. I hadn't given a second thought to my jewelery or the money I had sitting in my purse and I knew in those moments after that no matter what happens in my life, that as long as my family is safe and together that the other stuff doesn't really matter.