Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

This was our second Christmas without Jacob, August and Cub and our first without Madeline and Emma. I should have been 28 weeks pregnant on Christmas Day this year.

This Christmas was easier than last Christmas, although we didn't put up any decorations in our house this year and I didn't listen to any Christmas music (except in the malls when I didn't have a choice). We did receive some cards from friends and babyloss Mom's, which we put up. I have to make a special mention of a card from my sister Jessie since she addressed it to Dana, Ted and Jacob.

We just had trouble finding any joy last year, except for when Jacob was mentioned. This year we still missed him and our other babies and we weren't really excited for Christmas, but we weren't dreading it as much. Every minute of it wasn't extremely painful this year. And a few really nice things happened that made Christmas a lot better.

We still thought of and remembered them all the time. When my 2 nephews were playing on the floor, I thought of the other babies that should be down there too. When my sister was opening the gifts for Danny, I imagined the sort of gifts we would have been receiving if any one of our lost babies was alive...clothes and toys and cute things for them.

At Christmas last year, we felt sure that by next Christmas, we would either have a baby in our arms or I would be due very soon with a baby. In the days leading up to this Christmas, we decided that we won't talk like that anymore.

We went to Laurie's on Christmas Eve for dinner. We brought all our gifts and stocking stuffers over since we would be back there the next morning to open gifts. Soon after eating, everyone left for church. We didn't want to go as they were all going to the family service and we didn't need to see all the babies and toddlers there. The assistant minister is also pregnant and my Mom says that she talks about her pregnancy a lot when giving a sermon. We went home and I made a pie and knit for awhile. When everyone got back to Laurie's, we went back too. Lindsay sat on the floor with Ben putting things in the stockings (Ben doesn't realize that that is Santa's job yet). There was a stocking for each person there, but there should have been another stocking getting filled up. Laurie mentioned fixing some of them up, then looked at me and said that she would make a new one for next year too. Hopefully we will have a baby in our arms (so much for not thinking that way anymore) to use it.

A few pictures of Christmas Eve:

So hard to get a good picture of them together. 

Couldn't resist getting a picture of this when Danny grabbed
the bag and started playing with it. Laurie knew right
away why I wanted this picture. 

After that was done, someone put on the movie Up. Within seconds I started remembering the first time we watched that movie. I was almost 3 months pregnant with Jacob. Lindsay had come over for a movie night. I had been really nauseous, but that night was the first time in months that I had been able to sit on the couch instead of having to lie down on it all evening. It was a huge step and I started feeling better from that day on. About 10-15 minutes into the movie, the main character is married and they are getting a nursery ready. But then things go wrong. They don't specify whether they lost a baby or whether they can't get pregnant, but there is a scene with the husband and wife in the doctor's office crying and then a scene of the wife sitting in the backyard, staring off into the distance. I don't know why they would have been painted and furnishing a nursery if she hadn't been pregnant, but she didn't look it. I just assume that she lost a baby. I hadn't really remembered that scene and Ted and I just looked at each other and decided that we would leave soon. I just didn't want to watch the whole movie. I was talking to my Mom today and she told me that when that scene came on, she was worried about us and that my brother-in-law Brian later told her that he couldn't even look at us during and immediately after watching that scene. I love that they both felt that way.

We came home and Jessie and Dave came over a bit later, as they were sleeping over. Ted and Dave sat up playing video games while Jessie and I talked in the kitchen. Eventually we moved to the living room too, where I fell asleep.

I cried twice that night. Once, when the pie was baking and I listened to Sarah McLachlan's Song for  Winter's Night and looked at Jacob's pictures. The second was after we got back from Laurie's for the night. Ted was in the shower. I sat at the kitchen table in the dark and just cried.

Christmas morning we went over to Laurie and Andy's before Ben woke up. While things were quiet, I looks some pictures of Jacob's bears and the tree.

Jacob's bears. I knit a new sweater for the bear that Ted
and I bought last year.
Also had to get a picture of Jacob's stocking with the others.
There was nothing in it, but I liked to see it there.

We opened our stockings, made breakfast, then started opening gifts. Mom wasn't feeling well and needed to go home and rest, so we did our family picture before she left.

With the bears for Jacob, of course. 

Laurie had made a gift for everyone, but the store she ordered it from didn't have them ready in time. She made us each a book of photos with us and her kids. It was a lot of work and she was so disappointed and they weren't ready in time. Before Ted and I left for the garden around 1pm, she showed Ted and I what our book looked like online. The pictures were great and we love it. But then we got to the last 2 pages. There was a picture of Jacob's name from last winter, written on the hat of a snowman. On the next page was a note. It basically said that we all wish that Jacob was included in these pictures and that he was here with us this Christmas. That he will always be missing and we will always miss him. Of course I started crying right away and gave her a huge hug and told her how much that meant to me. She said that of course she had to include him somehow.

We went home and got the rose that I bought the day before. We parked in front of the garden and I noticed that there were already 2 bouquet's of flowers there. One of them wasn't very close to where Jacob is buried, but one of them was and I said to Ted that I wondered it could be for him. That maybe my family put it there the night before when the went to church, or maybe my friend Jackie brought them. But it is about a 45 minute round trip to the garden from Jackie's house.

So we walked up and I saw that the flowers were daisies (the flower for Jackie's son Oscar). We pulled them out and saw this on them.

Tears came to my eyes and I was just so grateful. We love it. Then we put our rose in the garden, talked to Jacob and hugged each other for a long time, wondering how it's possible that this is where we visit our son on Christmas Day.

We went back to Laurie's and told everyone about the flowers that were left there for Jacob. It just made us so happy.

After another hour or so, Lindsay, Brian, Ted and I went to our house to get dinner ready. Ted did most of the work. Lindsay's friend Sana came over, as she has for the last few Christmases. Dad came over before dinner, but Mom didn't feel well enough to eat so she stayed home.  It was a nice time. I was very aware of the high chair that was missing, it wasn't totally overwhelming.

After dinner, we watched a few episodes of Modern Family, a show that we all love. It was around 9:30 when everyone left.

It was a good Christmas, but people were missing. They will always be missing. We can still enjoy ourselves sometimes, but they will always be missing and we will always be aware of that.

Just a few more pictures from this Christmas. Jennifer, Angel's Mom, took two pictures of Jacob's name in Jamaica, one on Christmas Eve and one on Christmas Day. Thank you Jennifer. I love them.

I also received two very nice gifts from Allison. 

One for each baby

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It won't be Jacob

Last night, shortly after we got home from work, Ted told me that he has been doing a lot of thinking about having another baby. My heart started pounding a little because I didn't know what he was going to say. He said that he really wants another one, but in a way (just a small way) he doesn't....because the baby won't be Jacob and he wants Jacob. I want him too. When I was pregnant after losing him, I was happy for that baby, but I ached for Jacob even more.

But we can never have him in this lifetime.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Candle lighting

Last night I went to a candle lighting ceremony that Vivian organized and it was beautiful. I picked up Jackie on the way and it was nice to have company in the car and a navigator since I was driving to an unfamiliar part of Toronto.

There were 6 of us there so it was a nice, intimate group. Vivian greeted us with the best hug. She always gives wonderful, amazing hugs.

Vivian did so much work organizing this. She just kept pulling out something else that was a very nice touch. She printed some nice messages on cards and placed them around the tables. There was babyloss music playing throughout the night. Songs that most babyloss Mom's are familiar with and we listen to often.

Vivian brought many tealight candles. At first we took the number that we needed to represent our own babies, but then we started saying names of other babies that we know and writing their names on labels and giving each of them a candle as well. It was surreal how many babies we knew between us that have died. I was scared of not thinking of all of their names, so I also did a candle labelled "In memory of".

Vivian got up and read some poems, then she read what she wrote about Ryan and we were all in tears by the time she was finished. Such a miracle he was, how strongly he is missed. Then she lit a candle for Ryan and her first, Squishy, and the babies of some of her friends. Then it was my turn. I lit a candle for Jacob and said that I was lighting a candle in memory of Jacob, who was stillborn on June 1, 2010. I got through saying that okay, but by the time I picked up the candle for August, I was crying too much to continue. I just had to sit there with one lit candle in one hand and an unlit one in the other while I cried for my boy, who I miss so much.

I finally collected myself and lit candles for August, Cub, Madeline and Emma Grace, saying how long I carried them and when I lost them. Then I lit the candles for the babies I know. There were so many. I said their names, their Mom's name and the date they were born and/or died. There were a lot of candles in front of me by the time I was done, which was sad.

Then Jennifer, Jackie, Monica and Nigel said their babies' names and stories as they lit their candles, and the candles for the babies they know. We just sat there for a while, looking at the candles. Crying, thinking, missing. It was amazing the see the light that so many candles created and heartbreaking to think that each represented a baby who was loved and missed so badly. I counted the candles at one point and there were 36. The 6 of us knew at least 36 babies that have died. Some of the candles had many names on them. I guess there were 50 babies listed on the candles.

Then one person said something about their baby and slowly we all joined in, talking about random memories, the time we had with our babies, signs we've had from them...anything that came to mind.

We all brought a picture of our babies or something that reminded us of them. I brought Jacob's amazing profile picture from my last good ultrasound with him. The picture ended up being passed around and they commented on what a great profile picture it was. I loved being able to talk about him, about the day I got that picture and how incredibly proud I was/am of him. We looked at pictures of all the babies and learned the stories behind the pictures.

Eventually we started snacking some more on the food that was brought, including the nice cake that the priest donated, which was surprisingly good. I usually don't like store-bought cakes, but this one was really good.

I started taking pictures of each of the candles. It took awhile, since there were so many.

Then we started taking pictures with each other.

Pretty soon it was 10pm and time to go.

Vivian brought out some gifts she made, colour coded for a boy, girl or unknown by the ribbon colour. So I took blue for Jacob, white for August, green for Cub and pink for my girls. Inside is a butterfly of the same colour. Just beautiful.

Jennifer and I had planned to exchange Christmas gifts ahead of time. I got her a key chain that says "Mom" on the front with 3 butterflies and Angel's name inscribed on the back. I'm also going to knit a sweater for the bear she got for Angel.

She gave me some beautiful items. The card she wrote was so nice and touching. She gave me a candle, as I like to light candles for my babies. She also gave me a beautiful glass candle holder with Jacob's name and a butterfly on it.

That would have been enough, but there was a second card in the bag. She made a donation to the Hospital for Sick Children in memory of all of my babies. It was so special. Just a wonderful thing to do in the first place, but also because Jacob would have been a patient there because of his leg and I used to volunteer there. The front of the card is also very similar to the front of Jacob's baby book.


Today Ted and I were in a mall and he said that he woke up this morning and lay in bed thinking about the babies. He was wondering if August and Cub were girls or boys. He thinks that August was a girl and Cub was a boy and asked what I thought. I feel the same way about them and I loved that he was thinking about it. He also said that he was imagining what it will be like when he dies, that he'll be reunited with all of his babies and imagined 3 girls and 2 boys walking towards him as he enters Heaven.   He also called the twins by their names. He wasn't sure about naming them in the beginning, but I wanted to so I got 100% decision making power over their names and used names I've loved since I was a kid. Today he just said their names casually and it was music to my ears.


On Friday night, I went out for dinner with Mel and Jen. I used to work with Jen, until she left and Mel took her job, although she had already been working at the same company for a few years so I knew her already. Jen left a year ago and this was the first time that we managed to get together. Both of these women have been wonderful throughout everything. I was working closely with Jen when Jacob was born and she was a constant support until she left. When a baby was brought in, she would make sure I was ok. She was always doing little things that meant so much. And Mel. Well I can talk to Mel about everything and she is wonderful. Her parents died a few years ago so we can talk about grief and totally understand each other. Anyway, dinner was great and we caught up and talked about work and then Jen asked how I I really was. She knows about all of the miscarriages as well, but asked more about the twins since we weren't working together when they came along. She listened and said that she could see the sadness in my eyes. That I look a lot better than I used to, but she can still see it. She said some words of encouragement and caring and understanding and I'm amazed that she's so good at this. I'm very thankful for both of them.

So this weekend was nice. Very emotional, but nice and much needed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our babies are always physically with us

I saw the link to this article on Angela's blog and I can't even begin to describe how happy it makes me that my lost babies are still with me physically and that their cells might even help me.

Babies' Cells Linger, May Protect Mothers

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ben brings up Jacob again

Laurie called me tonight, just as we were walking in the door. She said that Ben said something that she thinks I'll love.

I called her back right away and she said that she and Ben were listening to some Christmas carols. When "I Saw Three Ships" came on and it got to the line "The Virgin Mary and Christ were there", Ben said "and don't forget about Jacob!".

I love that boy. It has been awhile since Jacob has been mentioned around him or Ben had brought up Jacob's name. Then tonight, totally out of the blue, he said it. I'm so grateful that Laurie talks about Jacob to Ben. That he knows where Jacob is buried and recognizes the garden as Jacob's. That he knows that Jacob is in Heaven and that no one is afraid to talk about him for any reason.

Laurie said that she really likes to think of Jacob in that song. With the Virgin Mary and Christ. Safe and secure. I really like that thought too.

This has made me really happy tonight. I'm crying a little about it, but it has made me happy.

This is a picture of Ben and I, taken a few days ago. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

18 months

18 months since I held my baby, 18 months since I handed him to a nurse, never to hold him again.

It's hard to believe. It's hard to understand how I have survived this long. I definitely couldn't see this far into the future when Jacob was born and in the early days after. The future was just a huge void and it was a huge accomplishment if I ate without someone telling me to. I couldn't even fathom that I would ever feel as good as I do now. That's not to say that I feel great, but I feel a lot better than I ever thought I would. It kind of bothers me that I do. Sometimes I really miss the days of the heavy grief. I know it sounds crazy because the early grief is horrible, but I miss the big cries.  I miss lying on the floor in the nursery and sobbing. I miss lying in bed and sobbing. I miss standing in the shower and sobbing. I miss driving and sobbing. I think I miss it so much because it made me feel closer to him. I still cry for him, he is still my first thought when I wake up and my last when I got to sleep and he is always on my mind. His ultrasound picture is still up at my desk and I still sleep with his blanket at night. We have pictures of his name around our house, I always wear the necklace I got for him touch it many times a day. His ultrasound picture is in a frame on our dresser with some statues we got because they make us think of him.

I just read the post that I wrote on December 1 last year, Jacob's 6 month anniversary. I remember the days I wrote about there well and I think about them from time to time. I was still in so much pain and turmoil.

Today hasn't been that painful, surprisingly. I'm kind of ashamed and upset that it hasn't been harder. I was so busy at work today that it made the day go fast. But that wouldn't have stopped me from breaking down in the past.  I haven't even cried today. I felt like it once when I needed a break and read another Mom's blog who said that I have helped her. I had a little talk with Jacob then. That there will never be a good enough reason that he died, but that I have made something good come out of his death. So much good came out of his life that I don't even know where to start writing about that, but through his death other people have been helped. Still, I'd take him back in a split second if I could. But reading her blog today really helped my spirits today. Thank you Jennifer.

As we were driving home today, I told Ted that it's strange that I haven't felt terrible all day. He said that he has. Yesterday he was listening to music at work and the song Tears in Heaven came on. It's the song that Ted used when he made a video of pictures of Jacob's life with us. He felt really sad when he heard it, but listened to it twice more and felt terrible. He told me that he just can't believe he is gone. Right after he died, Ted felt terrible, but he thought that when we have another baby, it would help to fill the hole that Jacob has left. He has realized for a long time now that that just won't happen. No one will ever take Jacob's place. Jacob will always be missing. That we have a lifelong sentence of missing our baby every day, with everything we do.

About 2 weeks ago Ted and I were watching TV one night and suddenly it hit me that we were almost at 18 months and I felt like I had just been punched in the stomach. I started to cry, thinking of how close to 2 years we are. I'm dreading his next birthday already. Two years without him is scary and unimaginable, just as 12 months and 18 months was.

I just hate that he died. But I'm so glad he lived.

I love you baby boy.  You made me the happiest I had ever been. That happiness belonged only to you and will always belong to only you. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Song for a Winter's Night

Ted and I heard this song while driving today. And we felt so sad. We feel so sad. 

We miss them so much. I'm looking at pictures of Jacob and the belly I had with him as I listen to this. Sometimes I don't know how I have survived losing him and then losing his siblings. 

The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon each page
The words of love you sent me

If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are lifting
The morning light steals across my window pane
Where webs of snow are drifting

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you
And to be once again with you

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

I've been meaning to get this blog post and these pictures up for awhile.

I have been lucky enough to go to 2 Face2Face meetings in the past 2 weeks.

The first was the Toronto West meeting at Jackie's shop on November 11th. I had been talking to Jennifer over Facebook for a week or so and got to meet her in person for the first time, which was really nice. I also got to meet Lisa for the first time. I always feel an instant connection with other babyloss Mom's. I realized yesterday that I've known Jackie for a year now. We first chatted on Facebook around this time last year when I was at my Mom's house after she broke her ankle and before I miscarried Cub. Jackie has made such a difference in my life and I feel so privileged to know her.

We made some Christmas ornaments that night. The only thing I like about Christmas this year is making ornaments for my babies. Christmas isn't as painful as it was last year, but it still hurts and I'd be happy to just go away over the holidays and come back when they are done. Anyway, here are some pictures of the ornaments made at that meeting:

Jackie helped with some of these. She is so artistic and creative. I didn't trust myself to use the wood-burning tool to inscribe Cub's name on the tree without messing it up, so Jackie did it. She also pretty much did the ornament for August, I just chose the shell and the ribbon. 

On November 19th, we went to Akemi's shop to make more ornaments. I met Jennifer on the GO train and we went together. We spent 4 hours there, making ornaments the whole time and talking. I met Valerie for the first time and got to learn about her little girl Sophie. I've known Akemi since the summer, but never got much of a chance to have a good talk with her so it was nice doing that. 

These were harder to make than I thought. Akemi had so many materials to work with, it was hard to decide on what to use. I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. I have some ribbon to attach when I actually put them on a tree, I just haven't attached it yet.

I also went to a memorial service for lost babies on Tuesday night. Jackie told me about it. It was a very nice ceremony and the woman who organized it was very welcoming (she lost a baby girl 25 years ago). It was at a Catholic church and was a mass. I haven't been to a Catholic Mass since I was 10, when I went to a Catholic school because I was in French Immersion and they only had it at Catholic schools. So on Tuesday I was worried that I would do something wrong, that I wouldn't follow the correct protocol. I think I did OK, although looking back I can see a few times when I didn't do something right. I hope it wasn't claringly obvious to anyone.

For all of the people who were there for the first time, there was a candle at the front for each baby that you would go and light. Because Ted didn't want to come (he doesn't like these ceremonies as he just feels so sad at them), I went up by myself. I had to ask Jackie which one the Paschal candle is, as that is what we were supposed to light our taper candle from to light the babies candles. I was glad that there was one family before me so I could see exactly what they did and copy it. The priest read each of my babies names and I lit each candle after he did.

The candle I used to light the other candles

There was a communion and I didn't know what to do about that. When I was in elementary school, we went to church every Friday and the non-Catholic kids didn't go up for communion. At one point, the priest invited everyone to the altar and I thought that was when the communion was going to take place so I didn't go up (3 other people didn't go up either). It turns out they just went up and he said a few works and people shook each others hands. Then they all sat down and the priest came down and said that he was going to start communion and if you didn't want communion, cross your hands over your chest and he would give you a blessing. Well, I felt like a bit of a jerk for going up for a blessing when I didn't go up to the altar before, but I figure I need all the help I can get so I went up anyway.

After the ceremony, new families went up the front to pick up some items that were made for their babies.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 Holiday Gift Exchange

Carrie and I are organizing a gift exchange again this year. It is open to Mom's, Dad's and siblings of lost babies. 

The upcoming holiday season is supposed to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ But we all know, it’s these ‘special’ times that can really hurt the most. For many of us, the holidays are an incredibly bittersweet time, and a painful reminder of the little one(s) who should be there to celebrate them with us.
We hope this gift exchange will help brighten up the holidays for those of us missing our babies. Participants in the exchange will be matched with another Mom, Dad or sibling and can buy or hand-make their partner something in honor of their baby–an ornament, a special candle, anything! Participating is not only a great way to honor and include your child(ren) this holiday season, but a chance to connect with someone you may not have ‘met’ before.
Here are the details of the exchange:
1.)  Click here to sign-up, or fill out the form at the bottom of this post.
2.) Sign-up is open until November 25, 2011.
3.) You don’t have to celebrate Christmas or any other holiday to participate.
4.) To help with gift ideas, we ask you to tell us what reminds you of your baby(ies).
5.) We are asking that you don’t spend more than $20.00 so that no one feels obligated
to spend a lot of money.
6.) We will email you your partners’ information by November 28 2011.
7.) Please have your gift mailed by December 10, 2011.
8.) If for some reason your cannot fulfill your obligation, please let me or Carrie know right away, so we can make sure your partner receives a gift.
9.) Your address will only be shared with the Gift Exchange Coordinators and the person you will be matched with.

If you have any questions, leave a comment here or email me or Carrie

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Memories Above the Clouds - By Ted

Ted went to Ottawa overnight last week. When we spoke on the phone, he said that he had thought about Jacob a lot on the flight there, but wanted to write down his thoughts rather than tell me. 

Here is what he wrote today. I was in tears reading it. 

As I flew from Toronto to Ottawa for a conference, I could not seem to relax as the plane increased it’s altitude to break through the clouds. As the plane raised above the clouds, my first thought was “Jacob are you here? Are you keeping me company or playing among the other children of heaven? Are you calling me? As my eyes searched the clouds for his image, his reflection or some indication that he was or is here, my heart  and emotions braced for yet another disappointment.

Then it hit me…………………Ahhhhhhh…. That comforting feeling that I am once again close to him physically. The same feeling as the day he came into our lives and then was taken away. I then relaxed, eased back into my seat and whispered his name several times. This made me feel better and closer to him, as if he was waiting for me to call him forth. 

With my eyes peering across the bright clouded horizon, I spoke comforting words to him, telling him how much I love him and miss him. This was a very special moment for me. I felt him acknowledging my words and sending his love back. In my heart I’m sure he’s telling us how much he loves us and wishes he could have stayed (my little boy is saying “tell mommy I’m sorry and not to cry”). 

As the plane started it’s descent to Ottawa, I knew we didn’t have much time until the distance will separate us once again. Descending through the clouds, I searched for his image, a clouded silhouette of him, but nothing formed as I returned to the reality of living without my Jacob.

Now, reflecting back to the time I had with Jacob above the clouds, those are moments I can cherish. Moments of being physically close to my baby once again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spoken Word Blog Hop

Here is my post for Angie at Still Life with Circles Spoken Word blog hop. I finally figured out a way to make it load. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

17 Months

Another anniversary, which has fallen on a Tuesday, the day of the week that Jacob was born.

I had a very nice dinner with a new friend tonight. Three hours went by so quickly. I feel like I have known her for a long time, but I don't think that it has even been a month. I was so glad to meet with her tonight, since today is a significant day and I knew I would just come home and listen to baby loss music, which isn't always a good idea. I did hear "If I Die Young" on the radio on the way to dinner tonight, which was nice. I'm always scanning the stations just hoping for that song.

Today is doubly sad. Jacob's anniversary and thinking of what was happening this time last year. I was pregnant with Cub. I thought Cub was probably OK. I was worried, but hopeful. We only had one good week left together before the bad news was delivered.

And today I would have been 20 weeks and 5 days pregnant with the twins, just as I was with Jacob the day he was born (I'm not keeping track of where I should be that closely, but the pregnancy app on my ipod told me that today is that day).

I did a video reading 2 blog posts as part of Angie's Still Life With Circles spoken word blog hop, but I can't get the video to load, so I'll have to work on that another day.

Ted had to have dinner tonight with a group of coworkers, which normally isn't bad. But one of them is about 7-8 months pregnant and he said there was a lot of belly rubbing and baby talk going on and it was really hard. I feel so badly for him. He has to work with this woman all day tomorrow too. I hate to think of what he is going through. He told me that on the way to the conference he is at, he thought a lot about Jacob on the plane, but he wants to write about it on his own blog before he tells me about it, as he just needs to write it down and work through it.

I have to go to bed. I'll be curling up with Jacob's blanket tonight, wishing for the impossible.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 15th

This October 15th, I went to a memorial ceremony for lost babies at Trillium Hospital. My good friend Jackie got the hospital to do the service, after a few years of trying. And it was so nice and touching and sad.  

I was the first one there and met Kevin, the social worker that Jackie has been working with and 2 other women who work at the hospital and were helping with the ceremony. Then the other Mom's, Dad's and sibling started to arrive. I felt like it was a reunion with friends I haven't seen in a long time, although it was less than a month since I had seen most of them. It just feels so good to be with people like me. We all hugged each other and even the hugs seem different than a hug does from a "normal" person. There is shared pain and strength in those hugs. 

The ceremony was beautiful and Jackie wrote such an amazing speech about her spirit boy, Oscar. That is when I started to cry. Here it is:

Two of the greatest mysteries of all are birth and death….for
us here today, those mortal adventures have happened all at once… our
children. Since grieving is a form of love, and we are parents, the grief is
bottomless, shapeless, and timeless.

His name is Oscar Solo, and he was born upstairs, in room 6, sleeping at 9 months….he is permanently 7.5 pounds, 22 inches of lifeless
perfection, and he is my son.

The silence was thick, and the terror was crushing, but, the love in that room, that day was intense. Fate forced us to live his entire lifetime with him in just 7 hours…..his hand,
holding mine, taking in every hypnotic smell from him. Tranced in horror and love, I said goodbye to his body, and to my partial spirit, and left these hospital doors clutching on to a box of Kleenex, instead of my boy.

I am now 3 and a half years into my grief journey, and only now, at this distance, can I begin to understand the trauma I was hit with that day. The loss of someone very unreplaceable, unrepeatable and uncomparable.  Someone I love and miss with all my might….a son, and a brother…I mourn him, and the families he would have started on his own….I mourn that he is parentless, that he never tasted his breast milk that came in for 21 months after….that I never got brush silly curls out of his eyes, watch him play soccer with his dad and brothers, or read him “Goodnight Moon” before bed. I don’t know if he is left handed like his brother, or right handed like his sister……all of these “don’t knows” engulfed me, and spit me out into a
shoreless sea……

Babyloss is painfully isolating…..we are still proud parents, regardless, and there is nowhere to go, nowhere to share the beautiful memories of our pregnancies, or to relive the labour, or to describe the soul-stirring of having them placed in our arms for the first and last time.
Friends and family disappear in all awkwardness…. afraid to talk about it, to remind us….. but, truth is, they are never, not for a single instance forgotten……always swirling around in our minds, patiently waiting to hear mention of their name….yes, we will cry…love and pain is the chemistry of tears. Allow us that, allow us the time to express the gapping hole running right
through us….we cannot rush through the grief, cannot go around the pain…..the work is hard, physical, and exhausting. We must go through the pain, into the eye of it, to find, again,  our own private connection with that little womb-dancer…and to work on the beliefs that
we will find out why this has happened to us, and to make some sense of why they were given and taken…… and, above all, that they will fit perfectly back into our arms again.

We are all parents….the trick is to work out how to parent the sky babies from such a distance, but it can, has, and will be done….i wish you all strength, peace, and grounding focus….i mourn for your every loss, very deeply, and wish you friendship in this horrific time….and I thank you for all the times you have shared your child with me, the stories, and photos. Remember I am grateful if you’ve  allowed me to share Oscar with you…a kind word or compliment of him is never forgotten.

Please find ways to continue survival of this ultimate loss, but, never feel you are alone…..and its okay to cry. Fino cielo, Oscar.

She is such a beautiful writer, person, friend and Mother. 

Kevin, Jackie's nurse, a chaplain and one of the women I saw when I first got there all went up and spoke and/or read a poem. Then it was our turn to go up and say our babies' names. I went up 3rd or 4th and said that I was there to remember my son Jacob who was stillborn on June 1, 2010 due to amniotic band syndrome. I said how much we wanted him and how we remember him always, love him and miss him everyday. I also said that I was there for the babies I lost through miscarriage - August, Cub, Madeline and Emma Grace. After I sat down, I thought of more things I wanted to say. That Jacob was our dream come true. That we had never felt so much happiness in our lives as we did when he was with us, that as much as we hurt that he is gone, I feel so lucky that I get to be his Mom, that I got him. That August, Cub, Madeline and Emma Grace brought some happiness back to our lives and we often think of what life would be like if they had been able to stay. 

As we left the podium, we were handed a rose for each baby that we lost. 

We all had little plastic candles with LED lights and held them throughout. When I was up saying my babies' names, I noticed a nurse at the back of the room who hadn't been there before. When I looked back a few minutes later she was gone. Was she there for the babies she has seen born that didn't make it, or did she lose one? 

There was some tea, coffee and cookies for us after and I stayed for about an hour talking to babyloss Mom's and Dad's. I saw an 11 year old girl sitting in a chair crying, then she brought out a photo album and looked through it, still crying. I knew they were pictures of her little brother, born sleeping 3 years ago. I asked to look at them and he is so beautiful. There are moments when it just hits me and it all seems so wrong. Here was this beautiful, perfect baby...just not breathing. 

Afterwards Jackie and I were going to the room where Oscar was born. I have been wanting to see it for awhile. Unfortunately we couldn't get onto the L&D floor because it was 9pm and access is restricted then. Hopefully I will get to see it soon. 

I should be 19 weeks pregnant with Madeline and Emma Grace right now. It hurts so much that I'm not. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Support group

I went to a baby loss support group last night and met 2 new women (I started exchanging emails with one of them a few days before the meeting so I felt like I already knew her). Their stories are tragic (tragic doesn’t even seem like a powerful enough word to describe them), and very similar to one another.

I felt sort of like the veteran of the group since Jacob was born 16.5 months ago and their babies were born in July and September of this year. I watched them and listened to them and was brought back to the place I was in 2 and 3 months after he died. Their tears were just below the surface, just like mine used to be…and still are sometimes. I could see the pain and haunted look in their eyes, even when we were smiling and laughing about something.

I hope that they could look at me and see that it does get better than it is now. That they will still be hurting forever, but that it isn’t all consuming, that they will stop feeling devastated every minute of everyday. I know that when I was in the early days and met someone who was a few weeks to a few months or years ahead of me in the journey, it gave me some hope that I would feel happiness again one day and, more importantly, that I wouldn’t feel like I was being torn apart all of the time for the rest of my life. There is always an underlying sadness which comes out sometimes, but there are happy times too. I always thought that the only way that I would ever be happy again was if I had a baby in arms. Well, I don’t,  but I still find things to be happy about and sometimes I even feel little moments of peace.
I love getting together with people who get it. You don’t have to be on guard, you can say your babies’ names, you can tell people about all of your thoughts and feelings and they get it. No one thinks you are crazy or refusing to move forward. I almost always feel immediately comfortable when I am with another parent who has lost a baby.
Just thinking about them and their babies now makes my heart ache. Those early days are so horrible. Looking back, I don’t even really know how I got through them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another due date

Jacob was due on October 14, 2010. Although he probably wouldn't have been born on the 14th, it is still a special day to me.

On October 14, 2010, we found out that I was pregnant with Cub and some happiness entered our lives again. Even though Cub only stayed with us for a short time, he/she will always be remembered too. 

I took the day off work today. I didn't know how I would be feeling and I just wanted to be home. Last night as it got closer to bedtime, the heaviness started to settle in. I fought back the tears because I didn't want to bring Ted down and he always knows when I've been crying.  I kept reliving what happened last October 13th. I had been dreading the 14th for so long and it was almost here. Last year I spent hours writing my blog post for October 14th (Your story). I cried most of my way through writing it. Then I went to bed around 11 and sobbed until midnight. Then I realized I was starving, got some Rice Krispies and ate them in bed. Woke up in the morning, took a pregnancy test and it was positive and our lives changed again. 

Last night I was telling Ted what was happening last year and he asked if he was there when I was crying. I reminded him that I was lying in bed sobbing while he hugged me, then joked that I've done that so often that each episode of that has probably run together for him. He said it sort of has. 

After driving him to work today, I spent some time online and got ready to start Jacob's baby book. I've had it since last May, but hadn't written anything in it until day, mostly because I worried about screwing it up. I even had trouble deciding what colour of ink to use, so I ended up using both (kind of by accident). I didn't come anywhere close to finishing it, but I'm glad I have started it.

Without paying much attention to the time, I decided to have a chocolate cupcake for breakfast (hey, why not?). I decided to put a candle in it and sing Happy Birthday to Jacob. I know it sounds a little crazy to do that, but I also know that the babyloss Mom's will understand. 

Then I lit a candle after (a separate one from the one in the cupcake). As I was lighting it I looked at the time and it was 9am, the same time that Jacob was born. 

I started working on his baby book. I reread my post of Jacob's story from last October 14th, which brought a lot of things back. I stared and stared at the pictures of my belly. I wish I could better remember how it felt.

I left for the garden after about 2 hours (yes, I only got 5 pages into the baby book). 

I am lactose intolerant, but when I was pregnant with Jacob, I wasn't. I clearly remember having a Hot Fudge Sundae form McDonalds one day when I was 4 months pregnant (I know, so healthy...but I only had one). I didn't feel sick at all after, which was a miracle. I also had a Crispy Chicken Sandwich once when I was pregnant with him. So I went to McDonalds and got both items and went to the garden. 

I sat there eating them and talking to him. Then I read him 3 books: Peter Rabbit, a book about butterflies that my family gave Jacob/us at Christmas, and Love You Forever, another book my family gave to Jacob/us at Christmas. I felt a little self-conscious doing it, but it also felt good. I read the inscriptions to him and everything, because I love them even more than I love the books. 

I went to my Mom's for a few hours and then Laurie came by with the kids. I took Ben for the rest of the day. We went to the garden again and I bought Ben an ice cream, which we ate there. Ben knows that Jacob is in the garden. I explained to him again that Jacob is his cousin and that I miss him alot. He knows that Jacob is in Heaven. A few weeks ago he asked me why he is there. I just said that God wanted Jacob to be with him. A few hours later, we were driving and talking about the day and Ben said that he doesn't need Jacob anymore. He didn't say it in a way that made me think that he had ever seen/played with Jacob, but I felt bad when he said it and told him that and had to explain why (Ben is asking "why" about everything). 

We also went in the church to look for something and I saw the minister that was there when I was in labour and the next day. We chatted for a minute then I said Jacob was due on October 14th, that we lost twins in August, etc. He hadn't heard about the twins so he gave his condolences and asked how Ted was. I love it when people to remember to ask about Ted. 

Ben and I had a great time at the park and then throwing stones in the water. Every time I made one skip over the water, Ben wanted to give me a high five. 

As Ben and I walked from place to place, I held his hand. I love the feeling of a child's hand in mine. And everytime I hold Ben's hand, I think of the babies whose hands I will never hold. I wonder if I held Jacob's hand enough. I don't think so. I don't even clearly remember doing it, but I know I did. I remember kissing him a lot, touching his soft belly a lot and rocking him. 

I'm exhausted now. Living in the past is hard. So is living in the present, although it does get easier.