Friday, July 13, 2012

Spirit Babies

My husband and I have been talking about Love a lot lately.  Having Harrison here is a constant reminder of how very lucky we are, and how much we have lost.  We miss Love every day, and marvel in our love for Harrison as well.  He is just the sweetest, happiest, cutest little guy, and is just a friggin' joy to have around!  I love him so much it makes my heart hurt.

We were talking about Love's ashes too.  We haven't come to any conclusions yet about what to do with them.  I am not sure that I am ready to part with them yet, and if we do spread her ashes, where to spread them?  I have no idea.

In our last discussion, we started talking about Spirit Babies.  When I was in the hospital following my surgery that ended my second pregnancy, my sister recommended I read a book called "Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife", and said that I would really like the chapter called "Spirit Baby".  I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to read right away, but she was insistent so I got the book and started to read.  When I got to the Spirit Baby chapter, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.  It was exactly what I needed to hear/read.

I just did a quick search, and found the chapter excerpted which I will include (I have also edited it down a bit).  For context, the book is written by a midwife, and each chapter is about a different birth in her midwife practice, and also gives some background in how she came to be a midwife.  This particular chapter is about her experience with pregnancy loss:

Chapter Excerpt from Part IV of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

Spirit Baby

"Colin, my twelve-year-old son, discovered me late one rainy afternoon sitting at the kitchen table, a damp Kleenex crumpled in my left hand, wiping my eyes as I tried to compose myself for his sake. It was the third week of January, two months after I'd miscarried a pregnancy, but I still found it impossible to get through a day without at least one meltdown into misery.

Colin asked, "Are you crying about the baby?" and when I nodded tearfully, he said, "Well, you just have to have another one, Mom, because it's a Spirit Baby, and you should be its mother."

I must have looked puzzled because he said, "Don't you know about Spirit Babies? How could I know about them if you don't? I mean, you're my mom!" But he could see my perplexity.

So my first child, this not-yet-teen-aged boy, pulled a wooden chair to my side and draped his thin arm across my shoulders, saying, "Well, Mom, here's how it is. See, I was one myself, so that must be how I know. Anyway, every woman has a circle of babies that goes around and around above her head, and those are all the possible babies she could have in her whole life. Every month, one of those babies is first in line. If she gets pregnant, then that's the baby that's born. If she doesn't get pregnant, the baby goes back into the circle and keeps going around with all the others. If she gets pregnant but something bad happens before the baby's born…now listen, Mom, because here's the really cool part. It goes back into the circle, but it becomes a Spirit Baby, and all the other babies give it cuts. Each month, it's always first in line. Isn't that great?

"So you just have to get pregnant again, and you'll have the same Spirit Baby. If you don't, though, then the baby circle will just beam that little Spirit Baby over to some other woman's circle, and it'll be first in line for her. It keeps being first in line somewhere until it finally gets born.

"Colin, I don't understand this passion you have for a baby. Why do you want one so much?"

"Oh, Mom! Oh. Just for the joy of it!"

-A few weeks after this exchange with her son Colin, she and her husband conceived their Spirit Baby.  Just for the joy of it.

This story gave me so much comfort after the loss of my second pregnancy.  But it took on a whole new meaning after we lost Love.  Our Spirit Baby tried to be born with Love's arrival, but again, it went back up to my circle of babies to await our next try.  I just love the thought that Harrison has the same spirit of both my second pregnancy and Love.  It ties him to both of them. Andy and I were saying that we think he is such a happy baby because he is just so happy to FINALLY be here!!

And boy, are we happy he is here too!

Andy suggested that maybe we have Harrison spread Love's ashes when we are ready to take that step, and I really liked that idea.  It gave me comfort, which is quite a feat, considering that the thought of spreading her ashes usually fills me with dread and anxiety.  So we will see.

I hope that this story touches you as much as it did me.  I just had to share, and I hope we all get to hold our Spirit Babies in our arms one day.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anyone remember me?

To say it's been a while would be an understatement.  Lots has happened, but I just haven't had the energy or desire to write about it.  I'm not sure why, but I am still reading all of your updates and sometimes posting comments.  But my blog has remained silent.

I just wanted to write about two things:

First: Love's birthday was this past January 19th.  Thanks to my BLM friends here on the interwebz, I had a good idea what I was in for: severe anxiety leading up to the day, and then an emotional tear filled 24 hours on the actual day.  And, it did not disappoint. I had a nervous stomach for about 2 weeks leading up to her birthday, and every time I thought about it my stomach would flip.  I couldn't talk about Love at all, and when I looked forward to the day it was like a big black whole.

I woke up on the day of her birthday feeling like I had been punched in the stomach.  My mom was visiting to celebrate Avery's birthday the next day.  I had really wanted to spend the day by myself, but I decided to make the most of having her here as a distraction.  It was okay, but I had really wanted to take some time out to really reflect on Love's short life and to just let myself cry.  I didn't have that time, so the tears just came out randomly throughout the day.  Andy and I had a really good cry/hug session where I just sobbed and his eyes got moist (he's not much of a crier), and we just held each other.  I was pretty miserable.  In the middle of the day my mother in law Facetimed me, all chipper and rattling on about something silly, I'm sure, and she noticed that I wasn't myself.  When she asked what was wrong, I told her it was Love's birthday, so I was feeling blue...  She felt AWFUL for having forgotten on the day.  Not many people remembered, or said anything to me about it.  I just kind of passed as a normal day to everyone but me.  It will never be a normal day for me every again.


On a happier note, after nine long anxious months where I was DETERMINED to enjoy my pregnancy (as it will be my last!), I delivered a healthy and happy baby BOY on March 17th!!  Harrison was born at my mom's house in her bathtub, and it was the dreamiest, most wonderful moment of my whole entire life!  I say that because, although Avery's birth was wonderful as well, it felt like I was finally able to take control of my life, my body, and this birth - to take control back from the hospitals and needles and doctors and invasive procedures and long recoveries and fluorescent lights and uncomfortable beds and hospital gowns and beeping noises and constant interruptions.  It was just me, Andy, my Doula, and my midwife, Tamara (she had a second midwife join us near the end but she didn't stay long and I hardly even knew she was there!).  It was so relaxing, and exactly as I had hoped it would be.  I will tell the whole story later, but I just want to say that if there is anyone reading this who is considering a home birth, I would say 'GO FOR IT!!!'.  It was spectacular, and special, and everything I hoped it would be.

And Harrison is dreamy, and chewy, and soft, and cute, and I am in Looooooooooooooove!!  Avery loves him too, which is so special.  The most beautiful sound in the world to me is hearing Avery say Harrison's name in his little voice.  Ahhhh!  So special...

Anyways, I will update more about the birth later, but I just wanted to announce Harrison's arrival!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tomorrow is the day

So, tomorrow is the same time in this pregnancy that I would have lost Love.  21w3d.

I don't really know how I feel about all of this.  I am feeling really good these days (thank you Mila), and am feeling strong, energetic, and clear minded.

But... I am haunted too.  Which, is understandable I guess.

Sorry, but this post isn't going to have any radical epiphanies or anything.  I don't really know what I think.

I am just sad.  I miss my baby girl.  But I am embracing this little bundle in my belly who is kicking me as I type this.

I guess you really can be happy and sad all at the same time.

I just wanted to mark the occasion here.  I am still reading and still thinking of all of us every day in the BLM community.

And to my darling Love: I miss you with every ounce of my being.  I love you more than ever, and wish every minute that you were still here with me.  Mommy will never, ever, ever forget you. Kisses and hugs.  And more kisses.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feeling good these days...

I am 13 weeks+ now, and am feeling great!  This has actually been my easiest pregnancy so far.  I only had about 2 days of nausea this time (as opposed to 3 months), and my energy wasn't as low this time as it was the other 3 times.  So, I am doing something right!!

Well, it is a combination of things.  I have started my own company with Lifemax, and have been taking my Mila every day since before I got pregnant.  For those of you who haven't heard of Mila before, it is a blend of Chia seeds and is jam packed with Omega 3's (3000mgs!!!), Fibre, Protein (and it's a whole protein which is hard to find in a plant based food), antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals.  It is the healthiest whole raw food on the planet, and it has changed my life.  I never say cheesy shit like that, but it's true.  Apparently only 5% of the population get the proper amount of Omega 3's in their diet, and Mila has more nutrition in one scoop than most people get in a week!!  So, I am sure that it has helped me to feel much better this pregnancy.  Plus, the added benefit to my growing baby of all of the Omega 3's for his or her growing body and brain.  This is going to be one smart little cookie!

And if you knew me in person, you would know how crazy it is for me to go on and on about a healthy food.  I am usually the person who buys a bottle of vitamins, takes one or two, and then puts them in the cupboard until they stale-date and i have to throw them out.  I am not a health fanatic.  But... When I started taking Mila I felt differences right away, and that's why I just HAD to join the business.  Why not make some money doing something I love, right??


On Wednesday, Andy and I went and had our Nuchal Translucency ultrasound (because I am over the ripe old age of 35, I am considered an aging mom...).  I was excited at first, but as soon as I laid down on the bed I realized that in a few minutes, the doctor could give me really bad news.  I got super nervous and could hardly breathe.  But, it turns out all is well, and my chances dropped to less than a 1 in 1000 chance of having a baby with Downs Syndrome or Spina Bifida.  So, that was a huge relief.  The baby was super cute too.  It was jumping around, and it actually punched my uterus!!  The little brat.  Then it started sucking it's thumb.  I mean, how friggin' cute is that???  lol

Once we left the ultrasound, I actually allowed myself to get a little bit excited about this pregnancy.  I had been feeling numb up until now.  I still find it hard to accept "congratulations" from people without wanting to say "Whoa, not so fast. Let's just see this little one come out on time and ALIVE first, shall we??".  But I am getting better about the whole thing.

I am also already getting HUGE!!  I look like I am bout 4-5 months pregnant already, and I'm only 13 weeks!  But, this is my fourth pregnancy and my third in a year, so it's no wonder I guess.  But, that is also helping me to get excited.  Watching my belly grow is kind of cool.  I really am trying to enjoy this one because it will be my last pregnancy.

I had my cervical cerclage put in on Friday as well.  I was so freakin' scared for that procedure, because it was my third one.  I was about to have a mental breakdown over the whole thing for a few reasons:

  • I have to get a spinal anesthetic, and when I had Love I got a spinal leak which took 6 weeks to heal, so to say I didn't want to get a needle in my back is a HUGE understatement
  • I HATE the feeling of lying on the bed with my crotch exposed to a room of about 8-10 people wandering around "getting ready" for the procedure.  It is so humiliating.
  • I HATE the feeling of having my lower half be paralysed
  • I HATE the feeling of being able to 'feel' what the doctor is doing, even though I don't feel any pain.  It is way too creepy
  • Oh, and let's not forget that last time I got my cerclage put in, I got a staph infection that resulted in the death of my daughter and turned septic throughout my whole body which almost killed me too.
So, before the procedure, I asked if I could go under a general anaesthetic.  He said that would be fine, so that's what we did.  That really eased my mind, and in the end, it did make the procedure a whole lot easier!!  I mean, I got to sleep through the whole thing.


The recovery was AGONIZING!! I guess I didn't realize it before because I was totally frozen down below, but when I came to this time, my cervix was SCREAMING at me "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME????????" lol  The nurse was loading me full of Morphine and other such drugs.  That's gotta be good for the baby....  Anyways, it's all over now, and I am happy it is DONE. It took about 2 days to full recover, but I am feeling pretty good now.  I just have to remember to take it easy and not to push myself.

The doctor ended up putting me on an antibiotic about an hour before my procedure and I am on it for a week after to ensure no infection takes hold this time.  It is really just a precautionary measure, because my doc says that what happened to me basically NEVER happens, and the chances of it happening again are next to nil, but we are mostly doing it for my piece of mind.

So here we are, the cerclage is in, the baby is healthy, and I am huge.  That's it in a nutshell.

Oh, and Avery is getting big and he is so cute, and I just know he is going to be the best big brother ever.  I still struggle with telling him about the baby. I want to tell him, and would love for him to get excited, but I just feel like that jinxes it somehow.  That is the part I am struggling with right now.  Oh well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scared to Update

Hi there.  I have been here for the last while, always reading, sometimes commenting...  I have been in a weird place lately, and haven't known how to share this next chapter.

I still miss my daughter every day, but the tears are fewer and further between.  I did have one of those vivid dreams last night that had me wracked in tears in my sleep, and I woke up exhausted.  I relived the night of Love's delivery in my dream, with some major dreamlike differences: Love came out able to walk and was running around the delivery room and I couldn't catch her no matter how hard I tried.  The details are very sketchy now, but I cried and cried as I realized that I would never hold her again.  When I woke up I was just drained and I have carried it with me all day.

Bad dream aside, things have been going pretty well.  I have had a busy summer with the family, and Avery is keeping me busy as usual.  He is just getting to be such an interesting and hilarious little guy, and I am just loving watching him become an independent little boy (when he is not demanding "Mommy uppie" or "Mommy play too" or "Mommy come too!".  You know, other than those times he is getting independent.)

We have gone to the lake to rest while Andy works, and we just got back from a few days on the hubbies parents boat which was LOVELY.  Gramma was a great help and I got a lot of help with Avery.  I actually read a book on the boat!!!!  It was pretty amazing.

The weather this summer has pretty much been shit on a stick, but the last two weeks have been lovely, so we are trying to pack as much in as we can to take advantage of what is left of the summer.

Anyways, in addition to all the family fun, I found out somewhat unexpectedly that I am pregnant.  I am now 9 weeks along, but found out at about 4 weeks.  The reason I say "unexpectedly" is that Andy and I were talking about thinking about trying again.  We weren't "doing much" to make it happen yet, and I was looking forward to taking the summer off of pregnancies to enjoy margaritas on the patio, and white wine with dinner, and beer on the hot days by Avery's little pool. I was hoping to put off the nausea until the summer heat had passed and we were in the cool of the fall.  But life had other plans.

I honestly didn't think that Andy and I had even gotten frisky during my ovulation.  We had family for a visit for a few days (very thin walls in this house = no hanky panky when the parents are visiting) and then Andy was off to Gun Lake to work for 2 weeks.  While he was in Gun Lake I was sure I was ovulating, so I thought for sure I wasn't or couldn't be pregnant.  So, when I was late with my period by 4 days I went to the pharmacy and bought pads and a pregnancy test.  You know, to cover all my bases. I couldn't wait to get home to take the test, so when Andy and Avery and I went to the coffee shop that morning I slipped away to the loo and took the test.  It took a while to register, so for a while I thought the test was negative.  But, after I washed my hands etc, I took one last look at the test before throwing it in the trash and my eyes almost popped out of my head.  There, in front of me, was a very faint second line!!  What??!!??  I couldn't believe it.  I was shaking and excited and nervous and terrified.  And in shock.  I don't know how this little one made it in there, but here we are.  Andy couldn't believe it either when I told him.

So, here we are five weeks later.  I am still just getting used to the idea of having a baby.  But, it is early days, and we all know that pregnancy does not automatically = baby.  So, I am taking it day by day.  This time is different though.  I am not excited to tell people.  I am scared as hell about getting my cerclage on Sept 9th.  I am nervous about the million and one things that could go wrong.  None of this stuff bothered me in previous pregnancies, but I guess it's because I have a 66% failure rate so far with my pregnancies that I am more of a nervous wreck this time.

I have wondered how it will be received to share this news here. Some of you are struggling with fertility, some are not ready yet to try, some are recently pregnant also.  I am just hoping that someone out there will know what this mixed bag of emotions is like, and might be able to relate to my excitement/horror/joy/fear shit mix that I am feeling.

Oh yeah, I am due on St.Paddy's day: March 17th 2012.  Fingers crossed that I have something to celebrate with green beer!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The weight was lifted. Sort of.

I have been thinking a lot about why I have been feeling better as of late (when the hubby is away I have more time to think.  Go figure.).

I realized that a few things led to this:

One is that all of my friends have finally had all of their babies.  Thank God.  It was like a friggin' horror parade around here of babies babies babies.  It was all so much fun when I was a part of the action too (remember when you were a kid and you would say to your besties "when we grow up let's all have our babies AT THE SAME TIME.  It will be so much FUN!!!), but it lost all of it's lustre when Love died, and it turned from fun to torture.  Anyway, now there are four healthy happy little girls squirming around my friends and I am thankful that the anticipation of each and every one of them is finally over.

The other main reason I am feeling better is that my due date has finally passed.  May 31st was a really hard day, but I must say that it feels so fucking good to not have that looming ahead of me any more.  That was just torture to look forward to and think about.  But now, it's over and done.  Of course it didn't really fix anything, I should have a one month old right now, and I will continue that "she should be this old" count as my life goes on.  But at least it's not really a "countdown", or a day in the future to dread.  Having my due date pass made the pain of it all seem less sharp, more easy to deal with.  It literally felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

Also, the sun and nice weather have helped a lot too.  I am kind of glad that all of this happened when the weather was shitty and rainy and snowy and cold.  I was able to stay inside and hibernate away from all the 'normal' people out in the world who didn't have their baby just die.  But now the sun is shining, my flowers are blooming (except my rose bush that my sister in law bought for me in memory of Love just after she died that is the "Sweetness" variety, that I think is now dead.  The irony is NOT lost on me.), and it is just generally nice to be out and about.  Avery is loving our new house, and has figured out his run bike so that keeps us busy, and life seems pretty okay.

But, please do not misunderstand.  I still have bad days, bad hours, bad minutes.  I still get blindsided by my grief, or a memory from the hospital or from my pregnancy will become crystal clear in my mind and I will be transported to that moment in time and I will need to hold on to something secure to keep me from falling apart.  But those are fewer and further between.  And, I can rebound a little easier.  Which is nice.

I am feeling less and less defined by this awful experience, and more and more hopeful for the future (although one funny - and I'm using the term 'funny' loosely here - side affect of Love's death is that now I am a lot more paranoid.  Every freckle is skin cancer, every headache is a brain tumour, if Andy is late I think he is dead on the side of the highway.  I guess it's because I know now that shitty things don't happen "to somebody else".  They can happen to me and to those I love.  That is fucking scary.) So, other than my paranoia, I guess I am feeling better about the future, and hell, even the present.

But I still miss my little girl, so very much.  That will never change.

First time with Pics!! Hey, that was easy!

Well, things have been pretty quiet here in my blogosphere.  Feeling pretty good lately, which is nice.

I got an email from my hubby the other day, and at the end, he put "I love you and Avery", and then he wrote "Hey, that's all four of us together again".  And I was going, huh?

He meant:

I (Andy) love (Love) you (me) and Avery (Avery, obvs).

I thought that was so sweet, it brought tears to my eyes.

We are at the beginning stages of trying to conceive again.  I find it very scary, but I am also somewhat okay with it.  It all boils down to the fact that I want to have another child, and in order to do that.... Well, you know how it works.

So, I will keep you posted as we progress.  Luckily, we have not experienced infertility in the past, so I am hoping it won't take too long.  But, I am not getting any younger and things change so I am not counting my chickens.


Andy has been working up at Gun Lake near Goldbridge BC lately and invited my sister and Avery and I up there to see him.  We had a blast.

This is the view from the house.  Not too shabby.

The house we beautiful too, and we stayed in the guest caboose which was actually an old caboose that was retrofitted as a guest house with all the comforts of home.  It was really cute.  

It was so nice to spend time with my son and sister.  

This is me and Avery.  That is my headless sister in the background.

Andy will still be up there for a few more days, but we came home yesterday to return the dog in the background to his owners (We were dogsitting.  He was not dog-napped.), and so my sister could return to Vancouver for work.  

Okay, that was my first foray into adding pictures.  It was actually pretty easy!!  Just FYI: I am very careful not to upload people's pictures onto the net without their permission, hence no sister head or hubby.  Also, the house isn't mine so I don't want to post pics.  But believe me when I say it was beautiful.

Anyhoo, that is our life in a nutshell for now.  

Oh, but there was this little gem of a conversation with my sister:

Sis: "So, your parents in law don't have a granddaughter do they?" 
Me: "Yes they do!"
Sis: "Who??"
Me: "LOVE!!!!!"
Sis: Oh, well....(silence)