Thursday, February 25, 2010


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 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


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


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

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

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

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.