Thursday, March 31, 2011

I got the first call. Punched in gut.

Today started out as a pretty good day.  I dropped my son off at a friend's house, and headed to my 1st therapy appt with my new therapist.  She was really nice, and easy to talk to.

We had a good session, and I actually got a lot from it.  The main thing I was to focus on was to not worry too much about what might happen in the future, but to concentrate on what was truly happening now.

This was a result of my sharing my anxiety over my two close friends who are expecting right now, and what will happen once they deliver their babies.  I have been actually terrified of getting "the call".  My friend T was due on Tuesday (today is Thursday).  How will I feel?  How will I respond?  Can I still be a good friend to her upon the arrival of her daughter?  She has been so good to me through all this.  Could I be as good to her?  Can I be the friend she deserves? Or, will I be filled with anger and resentment and repulsion at seeing her with her daughter?  So many questions.  So much doubt.

My therapist (Let's call her Dr.A) tells me that to carry all of this anxiety around with me based on future events is a waste of my resources.  I should try to concentrate on now.  Be true to myself in this moment.  And what is true now?  My friends are pregnant.  They are good friends to me.  I am a good friend to them.  For now.  I will not worry about what happens then. I cannot know what that will be like or how I will respond.  Let that go, and focus on our friendship now.   I need to be kind to myself, and respect this grieving process.  Respect where I am today.  This hour.  This minute.  And right now, I am okay.

Well, I was okay.

I got home, listened to my voicemail.  And then: "Hi B, this is T.  I just wanted to let you know that I delivered my beautiful baby girl this morning.  She is doing great, and Daddy and I are doing great.  I just wanted you to be one of the first to know.  We'll talk to you soon".

Wind knocked out of sails.  No wait, wind knocked out of lungs.  Punch to gut.  Good feelings from this morning are gone.

But now is the time to put my morning teachings to the test.  How do I feel right now?  Lost. Alone.  Angry.  Hurt.  Sad.  Resentful.  Jealous.  Mad.  Confused.  Sick to my stomach.  I almost typed that I felt happy for my friend, but that was only because that's what I think I should write.  It's not truly how I feel.  I hope I will feel that way soon, but I don't right now.

But at least now I am not anxious about the unknown.  I know this sucks now.  How will I deal with this baby when I see her?  I will let you know when it happens.  It will be rough though, that I know.  Our sons are best friends, and are only 6 days apart in age.  Our daughters should have been buddies too.  I know I will forever look at her daughter and think she should be playing with my daughter, but never will.

This is so hard and confusing.  I feel so alone.  No one here IRL get's what I am going through.   Is this really my life?

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mt. Everest

Last night over evening cocktails Mr.LMF told me about a friend of his who is leaving in early April to lead his third expedition of Mt.Everest.  He will get paid a small fortune by a couple of wealthy fellas who have their sights set on the summit.

My husband and I talk about the perils of this mission, and Mr.LMF spouts off a statistic that 1 in 5 do not make it back from Everest.  Now, I have not looked up that stat to see if it is accurate, but I have read "Into Thin Air" by John Krakauer and also the one by his climbing mate Beck Somethingorother that I can't remember the title of, but outlined the same fated expedition.  So, I am sure the 1 in 5 stat isn't far off, if it isn't accurate.

Then hubby tells me that his wife is PREGNANT right now, and he will miss the birth!!  He leaves early April, and she is due early May, and then he is back end of May or June or something.  I wasn't listening to all the details because I was horrified at the fact that he was going to leave his pregnant wife to climb the most dangerous mountain in the world.

We talked about if further for a bit, then we went on to other topics and it left my mind for a while.

Today, I cannot stop thinking about this couple and the situation they are in.  Apparently this Everest trip came up when they were very early in their pregnancy.  The money is good.  And it was so far in the future.  They knew that he would miss the delivery, but it is their first child so they didn't really know what to expect.  They weighed the pros and cons, and decided that the trip was a go.

I liken this situation to trying to predetermine what it's like to be in pain.  For instance, when I went in to the hospital to have my 2nd pregnancy ended and my uterus removed, I was told I would be in the hospital for 3 days.  Three days??  That sounded pretty long to me.  I figured I would get out the next day for good behaviour.  Well, after the surgery I was in quite a lot of pain, and held on tight to my morphine drip for dear life, making sure to hit it every 5 minutes (or whatever the interval was when it would allow more of the sweet nectar to course into my veins) to ensure I was sufficiently drugged out as to feel as little pain as possible.  On day 2, I was no longer on the morphine, but I was in some pretty serious pain.  There was NO WAY I was leaving the hospital on day 2 like I had hoped.  Day three was only marginally better than day 2, but I was pretty eager to get the hell outta there, so I was taken to my parent's in law to recuperate.  But, when we were planning this whole thing, I had NO IDEA it would be like this, or feel like this.  I thought I would be able to get out of the hospital and be back at it in no time.  It is sooo hard to preplan these things.  And I feel like this couple is underestimating what the birth of their child will be like, and they are thinking that they can do things (like climb a mountain half way across the world while your wife delivers your child without you) that are just not realistic.

Now, I will say now that I do not know this couple.  I have not met either of them, and I don't know what their dynamic is as a couple.  I would assume that because this is his third trip that they have some idea of the risks involved, how long he will be gone, etc...  And she is probably well versed in dealing with is absences for these types of adventures, and perhaps she looks forward to having the time alone to catch up on "The Bachelor" or "Dancing with the Stars" or reconnecting with her best girl pals over Cosmo's.  Who knows.

But as this is their first child, they have no idea what to expect.  In addition, she was very early pregnant and not yet feeling the baby move, not yet so big she couldn't reach down to the floor to pick things up, not yet really worrying about actually becoming a mother, and could she handle it, and will she be a good mom, and the realization that THAT HUGE BABY HAS TO COME OUT OF WHERE????  And all of this would be happening sans Mr.Everest.

Now things have changed and she is 7.5 mos pg and is apparently changing her tune a little.  She is nervous for him to go.  Is rethinking this trip.  Is thinking maybe they should have passed this time.

Really?  Ya think??

Well, as this has rolled around in my head all day, I am becoming more and more horrified by the whole situation.  And I don't even know these people!!  But, I want to get on the phone with Mr.Everest and plead to please please please don't let your wife go through this alone.

Best case scenario: She has a healthy happy baby.  But, she still has to go through labour all by herself.  She has to decide if she should get an epidural even though they may have decided to try doing it naturally.  Will he question her about that later?  What if it's time for an emergency c-section and she is so beyond beyond that she cannot sign a waver or make decisions for herself.  Does her mother have to do that, even though it is her husbands place to do that??  And then she has to care for the little bundle all by herself during the early cry/wake/cry/shit/cry/sleep cycle that newborns are famous for.  And she has to try to breastfeed all by herself.  I know from experience that this is not always an easy task, and I was OFTEN reduced to tears in those early weeks from a baby that wouldn't latch and nipples that were cracked and bleeding - but I had my hubby at my beck and call to handle ALL of the other household duties while I cared for our new baby.

But lets say that there is a worst case scenario.  If you are reading this I am assuming that you know as well as I do that all pregnancies do not end in "Mommy and baby are doing great!" announcements.  Is Mr.Everst willing to let his wife go through that alone??  Is he willing to let his wife labour all by herself, only to deliver a baby that will not live?  He he willing not to meet his baby?  Does he just want to hear the "Story" of his baby's birth, and not be there himself?

Unfortunately I am a part of the population that knows that pregnancy does not = guaranteed baby.  I am happy for these two that they still live in a world where they don't think tragedy can touch them, but it can.

If Mr.Everest is really looking for an adventure, he should stay put with his wife.  Because nothing is as fraught with risk and adrenaline like having a baby.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's get physical

So, I have the morning to myself today.  A friend and I are trading kids so we can each get a full day to ourselves, and today is my day.

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

Feels so good.  It is quiet in here though, but I like it.  I am going to clean a little bit, hit the gym, maybe do my nails, or perhaps some gardening (the crocus' and tulips are coming up!  Hurray!).

But it is the hitting the gym part that I am both most excited about and putting off.

Before I had Avery I was in the best shape of my life.  Well, let's back up a bit.  I have ALWAYS had a struggle with my weight.  I have gone to the gym for years and years, and have always felt "fit".  But, I have always had that extra layer of fat on my body that I just couldn't shake.  I have hovered around a size 10/12 for most of my life.

Then in 2006/2007 I was set to go on a trip to Hawaii with my boyfriends (now hubby, Mr.LMF)  family.  Mr.LMF and I had been together for 4 years, so I thought that perhaps we might get engaged on this trip, so I best be gettin' my ass in gear.  On New Years Eve, I decided to scratch carbs (rice, bread, pasta), eat lots of fruit and veggies, and hit the gym hard core.  It worked!!!  By the time we arrived in Hawaii in March I had lost around 20lbs or so, and was feeling good.

I was right, by the end of our two week stay, we were engaged (Mr.LMF waited until the LAST DAY to request my hand, and by this time I was convinced it wasn't going to happen, so if I had awoken with my lips stapled to my forehead I would have been less surprised)!!

I was feeling so good about how I felt/looked now, and it had sort of become my lifestyle, so I continued to lose weight, tone, and tighten and I dropped down to a size 4/6.  At last!!!  I felt like I was in the shape I was meant to be in and I loved it.

We were married in January of 2008 and I was in the best shape ever.  Loving life, loving my new husband, loving my body.  Four months later I got pregnant.

My pregnancy was fraught with "what if's" and "we're not sure"'s, so I was advised to take it easy and do very little exercise: nothing that involved impact or my core.   So, I took their word for it, stopped going to the gym, and spent my whole pregnancy laying about.

The result?  A sixty pound weight gain, and a healthy, happy, wriggling baby boy!

Over the next year, I enjoyed my new little guy, but not my body.  I tried half assed to work out again, but I wasn't into it.  So, I started walking, riding my bike, and just tried to be active every day.  I lost a bit of weight, but I never got back to my pre-baby body.  Not bad though...

Then I got pregnant again.  We found out at 7w that the pregnancy wasn't viable, and I was scheduled to have surgery to remove my right uterus along with the little baby inside removed at 12w.   I gained weight pretty quickly from fatigue, nausea (how come only carbs or heavy fried foods made me feel better?), and maybe a bit of depression thrown in for good measure.  

Then the surgery, and the 6 week recovery period.  More weight gain.

Three months to the day after that surgery, I got pregnant again.  More nausea, more fatigue, more weight gain.  But who cares right??  I was pregnant!  I would worry about the weight later.

A more or less healthy pregnancy followed.  I had the usual cervical cerclage put in (well, usual for me, anyways), and got an infection after, but was put on antibiotics quickly and the symptoms went away right away so it seemed all good.  I continued to walk every day, run after my toddler, and live life.

Cut to 21w, I start getting contractions, go to the hospital, and have my baby girl who lives for 57 minutes.

Cut further to today, almost 9weeks out from Love's birth and death.  For all this shit I have gone through, I have nothing to show for my last two pregnancies but three gnarly scars from surgery, 30-ish extra pounds, and a broken heart.

So, I want to go to the gym.  I NEEEEEEED to lose this baby weight.  It is like a heaving, soft, jiggling reminder of my lost babies.  It is natures cruel joke: I get the baby weight, but not the baby.  But at the same time, I don't want to go to the gym.  I am so out of shape!  I hate that it is sooooo hard to do the exercises that were once so easy for me.    Aaaargh.

But, I will go.  I will try to lose this weight.   I feel like I need to train for my next pregnancy, if and when that ever happens.  I CANNOT go into a fourth pregnancy in this shape.   If I do, I fear I will never get a handle on this and I will be a fat, lazy, jiggly mass for the rest of my live.  Yuck.

So, here I go.  Off to the gym.  Wish me luck.  Okay.  I'm going.  Right..... now.

PS: I have the TV going right now, and who else hates the friggin' Pull.-Ups Potty Dance??  Dumbest thing I have ever seen.  If my kid has to pee, I run him to the toilet.   I don't say "hold your pee honey, because we have to do the Potty Dance first!".  So ridiculous....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weird.

The weirdest thing just happened:

Okay, so I started my day with something of an "anger hangover" from last night.  I felt kinda weird about where my headspace was last night, but maybe I got out what I needed to because I felt a bit better and wasn't as grrrrrrrr as I was last night.

I was able to go swimming with my friend L and her big belly, and it didn't bother me very much.  We had a great time, went for sushi after with our kids, and had a nice day.

But, I didn't want to forget about last night, so at 4:55pm today (after putting it off all day) I called the grief counsellor I was introduced to at our local clinic to set up an appointment.

When I called, she answered, and I said "this is Brooke M****r calling, I met you about a month ago in the clinic-",  and she *gasps*.  I said "what happened?", thinking that she saw something shocking on TV (as we all are right now with the earthquake/tsunami in Japan), or spilled something hot on herself... Anyways, she says "no, I just put your file on my desk, opened it, and read your name as I answered the phone.  I was just about to close your file."

Weird.

I guess it was meant to be that I go see someone now.  The time is right.

I see her on Tuesday.  I don't know what to expect, but I think it's going to be good.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Up Yours "New Normal"!!

So, I am trying to navigate my way through finding my "New Normal".  And all I am coming up with is FUCK THE NEW NORMAL, I want my old normal back!!  I want my little girl back!!

I realize that I have been swearing a bunch in my blogs, and I don't normally swear all that much in my life (I do have a 2 year old in the house after all), but when I think about all the shit that is running around in my head all I want to do is fill these pages with F-bombs and every other four letter word I can think of.  Maybe it's because I have to be so careful throughout the day that this is my one release where I can say THIS FUCKING SUCKS AND THE NEW NORMAL CAN KISS MY LILY WHITE ASS!!!  Ugh.

It just doesn't seem to do my emotions justice to say "Well fiddle-dee-dee, I sure am cross that my little girl died.  That really is a shame...".  I want to scream from the rooftops and have a tantrum to beat all tantrums and stomp my feet and scream until spit comes out of my mouth and my face goes all red and I run out of breath.  That's how I feel.  I guess you could say I have reached the Anger stage of my grief.

I have mentioned it before, but two of my best friends are getting bigger by the second and are 2 and 6 weeks away from their due dates.  And I find myself mad at them.  I know I am not really mad at them, but that's how it feels.  It's like, can't they get their pregnant bellies out of my face?  How dare they have their babies, when mine is gone forever!  And of course I don't mean that in reality, but my guts churn and I get all flushed when I meet up with them, and they take off their coats and *bam*, there is a big belly.  Bigger than the last time I saw them 2 days ago.  I really love my friends, and it makes me feel awful that I feel this way.  But this is the one place where I can actually admit that this is how I feel.  In person I slap a smile on my face and ask them how they are feeling, and how their doctors appointments went and all that.  But it just hurts so much.

Today I got a call from my mom, and she asked how I was doing.  I said I was okay.  She said "Well, that didn't sound very convincing!".  I know she didn't mean anything by it, and was just trying to be funny or something, but I wanted to say "What did you expect?  That I would say that I am fan-frickin'-tastic?  Couldn't be better? I'm walkin' on sunshine, ya ya!?".  Well, that isn't going to happen.  Because my baby just died.  And I am not going to be fan-fucking-tastic for a hell of a long time. If ever.

I talked to my sister too, who asked how my appointments went last week (I went to see my OB and my midwife for my 6 week check-up).  I said that they were emotional.  She asked why they were emotional.  I said "Um, because my daughter died."  Silence.  Well, then I felt bad.  I'm sure she was just looking to get a conversation going about how it went, but I went on the offensive and just thought the question was dumb.

Man, am I angry.  I love my mom and my sister.  I couldn't ask for a better family.  But today, I was just waiting for someone to say something to me that I could get even remotely bent out of shape about, and then I proceeded to get extremely bent out of shape about it.

I think it is time I call that therapist tomorrow.  I think I have put it off long enough.  I think might need some help...

*Deep breath*

thanks for listening.  Let's hope for a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words. And that word starts with F.

I have mentioned it in a previous post, but my guts are still churning about Love's pictures so I need to get it out.

When we were at the hospital and had Love, I insisted that Andy take a picture of me and Love with our digital camera.  He really didn't want to (he was still in shock and horror over what was happening, as was I), but he took one of me and Love, and then one of all three of us.  They are OK pictures, but not great.

When Love died, they took her from us and wrapped her in a blankie and took some pictures of her with a disposable camera which they put in her memory box.

That box sat unopened in our hospital room for the week we were there.  Then we brought it home with us, and it sat unopened for another 5 days.

When we were in the hospital, we were in total shock and denial over what had happened.  We watched TV.  We watched movies.  Andy's parents came to visit and brought us dinner so we wouldn't have to eat hospital food.  We joked.  We talked.  Hell, we even when out for dinner one night between I.V. treatments.

When we got home, Andy's parents came with us to help take care of Avery, and they provided a nice distraction.  We even threw a mini 2nd birthday party for Avery too.  All of these things helped me to postpone the realization that my baby had died.

This hit me with full force the night before Andy's parents left, which would have been Thursday night, a week and a day after Love was born.  Andy and I went to bed, and I had this overwhelming feeling of emptiness.  I started to cry.  And the crying turned to sobbing - real honest to god sobbing.  I was just so sad that my daughter was gone.  I wasn't pregnant anymore.  Did that really fucking happen?  Did I really give birth to our beautiful daughter, and have her die in my arms?????  I realized then that I had to open her memory box.  We had ignored her long enough.  Andy came with me into the livingroom.  We got the box down from the shelf it was on, sat on the couch, and opened the box.

The box contained:

  • a little nightie
  • two little crocheted roses
  • the disposable camera
  • her hand and foot prints that they made at the hospital
  • her ID bands
  • the measuring tape that they used to measure her
  • a crocheted blankie
That was it.  That was all that was left of my precious little girl.  Her whole entire life contained in blue paper box with a little blue bow. 

I held on to that blankie for dear life.  Had she touched this blankie?  Did they wrap her in it?  I smelled it.  I took a huge inhale into the blankie.  Could I smell her?  Did she leave her essence on the blankie?  I couldn't tell.  I continued to sob, the kind of sob that leaves you absolutely spent.  Done.  Exhausted.

We got up from the couch and went to bed.  I took the box with me and put it on my bedside table, and held on to that blankie for dear life.  Then I slept with the blankie tucked into my neck.  This was what I was reduced to: a 35 year old woman, grieving for her daughter, sleeping with a blankie.

I took comfort in the fact that the camera held photos of our little girl.  We hadn't seen everything yet.  Even though her life was over, and I was there for each of those 57 minutes, there was still something new left for me to see.  For some reason, that felt like a lifeline.  I felt like I could leave the pictures un-developed for now until I was ready to see them.  I still had her fresh in my memory.  I would wait until I needed them...

A couple of weeks later, I decided the time had come.  I needed to see my little girl.  I took the camera into Squamish, and went to drop them off for developing.  I told the lady behind the counter that the camera contained pictures of my little baby who died, and that it was all that I had left, so to please please please be careful with it.  Of course I broke down crying, but she said that she had been there too, and she would treat the camera like it was gold.  I went to do some errands while the film was being developed, and I was almost excited to see my little girl.  I kind of felt like we were having a girls day - just me and her, shopping, and then flipping through the pictures. 

The time came to pick up the pictures, so I got them from the nice lady, and headed to my car where I promptly ripped open the package.

But what I found was... horrifying.

I don't know what I really expected, but not this.  The pictures were blurry, grainy, and really out of focus.  She had some white on her face that showed up a bit on our digital pictures, but it was really prominent on these photos, and made her look strange.

They posed her in little "poses" with her hand on her cheek and her other hand across her chest resting on the other elbow, like she was at a Walmart photo centre or something.  Horrible.  Only one was "okay" where she was all bundled in her little pink crocheted blankie.

That was the one good thing about the pictures. I now have confirmation that Love was wrapped in the little blanket that I sleep with every night.  It is the ONE thing I have that she touched.  It has become my prized possession.  My one connection to my daughter...

I just wish I could go back in time and do it all over again.  Okay, if I was making wishes, I would wish for all of this to not have happened, and to still be pregnant (28 weeks I would have been now), and to have my baby kicking me from inside.  But, that isn't going to happen, so I guess I wish that someone had told me to take more pictures.  Enjoy my daughter more.  Give the nurses our good camera, so the pictures would be so much better, and we would have more to remember her by...   We were so horrified over the whole thing that we just wanted it all to be over, to move on, to forget.  They offered for us to have a professional photographer come in and take pictures of her.  No way! we thoughy.  Now I wish we would have done that.  

The hardest part about death is that is is so final.  We can't go back.  We can't get more pictures.  We can't hold her one more time.  Kiss her one more time.  Smell her sweet little head one more time.  It's done.  Over.  And these shitty, grainy, blurry pictures are all I have.  Fuck fuck fuck. I feel like I want to have a temper tantrum like a little kid and stomp my feet and pull my hair and scream as loud as I can "This isn't fucking FAIR!!!!!".  

But then I remember what my mom used to tell me:   Life isn't fair.  

No shit, sherlock.




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The bellies, they are a-changing...

I am not sure if I mentioned that all of my friends are pg. Okay, well, one - D - had her little girl Zoe in November.  My friend T is due end of March.  My friend L is due end of April.  I was due end of May.  These are the people I hang out with every day.  These are my girlz, my peeps.

I was wondering the other day why it is getting harder for me to hang out with T & L.  They were pregnant when I was pregnant.  They were pregnant when I lost love.  And they are pregnant now.  I know all of this.

So why is it getting harder??

I realized because their bellies are getting bigger.


When I got home from the hospital, things were basically the same.  Well, they were still pg (even though I wasn't).  But, they still looked the same as when I left.  So the only thing that had changed was that my little girl was gone.


But now, not only is my little girl gone, but their little ones are growing in their bellies and their bellies are growing because of it.  And I friggin' hate that.  Now, I know I don't have to state the obvious, but I will anyways: I love my girlz, and I want nothing but the best for them, and I am so happy for them that their pregnancies are going so well.  I am just so effin' sad for me.  And when it comes to my happiness for them and my sadness for me, my sadness wins, man.

And I am getting more and more apprehensive as it is now March, and T will be having her little girl (we know it's a girl) in a few short weeks.  And I just know I am gonna freakin' loose it.  Her son is just 6 days older than my son, and they are BFF's.  Wouldn't it have been perfect for our little girls to be BFF's too??  but that is never going to happen now...

And then a month later L is going to have her little one.  And Love should have been friends with her little one too (Avery is also BFF's with her daughter who is 3 months younger than him.  Her daughter is in love with Ave and always is attacking him for hugs and kisses.  It's way too cute...).

And then one month after that it should have been Love's turn to be born...

And D has a daughter who was born in November.  So, 3 little ones who should have been Love's crew.  Her Posse.  Her peeps.  And I will watch them all grow, and play, and develop, and all the while I will be missing my daughter who should have been growing along side of them.

Every day that I think I am having a good day, I am aware of all these dark days ahead.  How sad that I look at the birth of my friends babies as "dark days"!!  Blerg.  But hey, it is what it is.

I really don't know how I will get through these next few months...