Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our dresser....

now looks like this:

I look at it every night as I go to sleep.

The picture frame with Jacob's ultrasound picture in it is from my sister Jessie. She surprised me with it 12 days after Jacob was born and it has been on either my night table or my dresser ever since. I pick it up at least once a day and stare at Jacob and talk to him.

I won the figurine in Maggie's giveaway and I love it! Thank you so much Maggie!

We received the box from my family on Christmas Eve and it now stores some of Jacob's things.

The other picture was taken on our honeymoon in Santorini. We were so happy and carefree then.  Little did we know what was in store for us.

Friday, January 28, 2011

She noticed...and other things

I've been wearing a necklace that I got a month after Jacob died and I rarely take it off. It is the shape of a heart with Jacob's name engraved on one side and baby feet on the other. It has a pearl on the chain, which is the birthstone for June.

Today at work, I was talking to Sheila. She suddenly noticed my necklace and held it to see his name and flipped it over to see the feet. She asked if I'd had it for long and I said I had it for awhile and rarely take it off. She said that it was making her teary (and I love her for that....she lost a baby at 12 weeks about 20 years ago, then had a baby who is now 17 and then lost 2 more early on).

I hadn't shown her my tattoo yet, so I did and she looked at it for awhile and said how nice it was. She loved the baby feet and the butterfly and seemed really touched by it. She asked if Ted has one and I said that he does and described it. Then we started talking about the butterfly and I explained that butterflies remind me of Jacob and told her about Jacob's one month anniversary when I was in the garden where he is buried and was really upset and crying. In my head, I asked Jacob to send me a butterfly so that I would know that he was OK. Within a minute, a monarch butterfly landed on the tree that he is buried under, flew and landed on the other side of it, then flew towards Ted and I...stopping a few times on the hedge as it did. It was a magical moment and has brought me a lot of comfort over the months. It gave Sheila chills, which I loved.

I also told her about the 2 times that Ben seemed connected to Jacob...when he put his finger on my necklace and said "baby in there" and the time that I was in the basement at his house and he was on the main floor and I thought I heard him calling my name. When I got upstairs, Laurie said that he had actually been calling Jacob's name...for no apparent reason.

Then Sheila and I talked about kids and how we think they can connect and can see and sense things we can't.

Her daughter was born at 34 weeks and had to be sent by ambulance to another hospital to get the level of care that she needed. Since Sheila had a c-section, she had to stay at the hospital where Alex was born while her husband went with Alex. They never showed Alex the pictures they took of her in the incubator because they didn't want her to know how traumatic her birth had been. Alex talked early and was speaking in sentences by the time she was 2. One night, when Sheila was putting her to bed, Alex asked Sheila if she remembered when they took her away from Sheila, put her in a bus with no seats that was loud (the ambulance) and she was in a glass case and then it got really bright (she was jaundiced and needed the lights). She gave some details that Sheila didn't even know about, but her husband confirmed later. They were both shocked by what Alex remembered.

A few minutes later, Sheila came back to my desk and said that she has wondered if the spirit of the baby that we have lost somehow comes back in a rainbow baby. I've been meaning to write about that. So when Sheila said that, I was surprised but happy that someone else wonders it too.

One more thing. The other night I was feeling sad. Not unusual of course. I started reading a Chicken Soup for the Soul Book on miracles before going to sleep and the first story was from a Mom of 4 whose son died in a car accident at 14. About a year later, she was going fishing with her daughter and noticed a whole bunch of white butterflies flying around her daughter. She said out loud that she would love to see a yellow butterfly to know that her son is OK. Then she and her daughter said it a few more times, asking her son to send them a yellow butterfly and soon after, a yellow butterfly flew right in front of them and then flew away quickly. It made me think back to the butterfly we saw on Jacob's 1 month birthday and it convinced me even more that it was a sign from Jacob and that he is OK. I was crying in bed by this point and told Ted about it and how it makes me feel like Jacob really is OK. He said that Jacob is definitely OK.

Today Ted took the day off work and went to the doctor. He told me when I got home that after he was done at the doctor's, he drove to the garden where Jacob is buried and sat there for awhile. I love that he went there without me instigating it. It brought tears to me eyes, but I didn't want Ted to see because I want him to tell me these things. Ted said he sat there thinking about the physical problems Jacob would have had, but that none of that mattered. He still wants Jacob back. We would have worked it all out and he would have had a good life. I just want Jacob back too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How others see me

I realize how much I’ve changed since losing Jacob, but I don’t realize how much other people see it and it is a bit of a shock when I find out.

The day that I had the hysterosalpingogram was the best day I have had in a long time. I felt more positive and hopeful than I have in a long time. My sister Laurie called me that night and we were talking about how relieved I am and how strong it made me feel and she said that she could hear it in my voice. I was at my Mom’s house that morning (before the test) and my sister Jessie was there as well. Laurie said that they both told her that they had noticed a change in me that morning too, that I looked happier than I have since Jacob died and they all talked about how nice it was to see that and how relieved it has made them too. We also talked about her pregnancy and she asked if she needs to hide it as much anymore and I said that she didn’t. She said that the last time we were together, she didn’t do it as much either (hiding her belly under a sweater or wearing a baggy sweatshirt) because she could sense that I didn’t need it as much. I told her how badly I’ve felt that I couldn’t be more involved and that I’m excited for her baby, but I just wasn’t strong enough to hear all about it. I also said that I can’t look at the video of the ultrasound she has because I’m terrified that I will forget what Jacob looked like on his ultrasound and watching the video of another might mix up the images I have in my mind.

I have strayed from how I started this post.

Today I had lunch with my sister Jessie. She is so sweet. She offered to treat me to celebrate my non-heart shaped uterus. While there, I mentioned how a few women have seen my blog and contacted me and we have emailed each other. That got us on the topic of my blog, which no one in family has seen (except Ted).  She said she has seen wall posts on facebook with reference to it, but never asked me because she figured I would share it if I wanted to. I told her that I didn't tell her, my other 2 sisters or my parents how to find it because I was scared that I would censor myself. I wanted to write exactly how I felt and not worry that they would read a post and worry, especially since I most often posted something on my blog when I was feeling particularly bad. 

She said that they always know how I am doing. They can hear it in my voice and they can see it when we are together, even when I am trying to act normal. She said she has known me her whole life and I can't hide these things...and that I'm a terrible liar :) I felt a little bad for not sharing it with her before, but at the time I needed to do it. I got back to work and emailed her the links for both of them. 

There was another time that I never wrote about when one of my sister's took me aside. It was at the wedding I went to in August, the day I miscarried my baby August but didn't know what was happening at the time. The wedding was on a Friday afternoon. As I got ready to leave work at noon, I had a big blood clot come out. The blood clot was attached to a small, beige-coloured sac. As soon as I saw it, I wondered if I was having a miscarriage. I stared at it for awhile. I had had a regular period and no pregnancy symptoms, so I didn't know if it was leftover tissue from my pregnancy with Jacob or a miscarriage.

Anyway, Ted and I picked up Lindsay and Brian and drove 45 minutes to the city where the wedding was. We got our hair done, got dressed at my other sisters' house and went to the church. After the ceremony, which was at the church where Ted and I were married and that is next to the garden where Jacob is buried, Ted and I went to the garden and blew bubbles around the garden. Laurie came over and joined us. The church secretary walked by and said how nice it was that we were blowing bubbles with Jacob. 

We went to the dinner and had dinner. At one point during dinner, Lindsay said something and I couldn't stop laughing. I almost cried from laughing, because laughing most often turned into tears in those days. I was faking being normal the entire time and thought I was doing a pretty good job of it.

When the dancing started, I was pulled onto the dance floor even though I really didn't want to dance. At weddings, my sisters and my Mom and I have always danced together and had a great time. I knew they would be expecting me to do it, but it hadn't even been 3 months since Jacob had died and I just didn't want to do it. I went up and tried for a few minutes but wasn't enjoying it. Lindsay grabbed my hand and pulled me away and said that we were going for a walk. We walked around the hotel 2-3 times (in shoes that hurt us both) and stopped on a bench for awhile and talked. She said that she knows that I am faking it, that I was doing an OK job of it, but she could see right through it. We had a deep conversation about everything and I loved it. She said she was worried about me spending so much time on the baby loss support boards, worried that it was keeping me from moving forward, but I explained how healing it there is always someone there who understands. And that, at that point, I wasn't posting so much as I was leaving comments for people who had just lost their babies. I said how much support I have received from other baby loss Moms, and have tried to give some to them too. Somehow I ended up telling her that I considered killing myself twice (I didn't tell anyone this, not even Ted, for awhile because I didn't want them to worry), but the thoughts passed when I thought of how much pain that would cause everyone and there was no way that I could let that be Jacob's legacy. Lindsay got tears in her eyes, hugged me and made me promise not to do anything to myself and to call her if I ever starting having those thoughts again. I promised both things. We walked around the building another time or two and went back inside. That conversation did alot to lift my spirits and I did end up dancing a little and enjoyed it. I've been meaning to write about the wedding since August, but then the miscarriage happened and we moved and I just never did it. 

So, the main point of all this is that no matter how much I have faked it in the past, no matter how much better I thought I looked, those close to me could see right through it. I'm so fortunate to have people who love me and who can see what is really going on, no matter how hard I have tried to hide it. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

The test results

My test was great! The shape of my uterus isn't very bad and my fallopian tubes are wide open. My OB joked that they are the best tubes she has seen all day. 

It has turned out to be a good day. Dr. A and I joked a bit when I first got into the xray room and talked about running into each other at Home Depot after Christmas.  

As I was lying on the table and she was starting the test, she said that her patients get so many worry beads a year and I have used mine up, I have had my share of sadness and this year will be my year and there will be m ore happiness than sadness this year. She was so sweet. She explained everything as it happened and it barely hurt...just a tiny pinch. I was shocked that it was done so soon. She said that it looks great and then I turned around and saw the screen. I didn't see a heart-shaped uterus. It was more like a banana, with the left side having a bit of a dip. She said again that I just had rotten luck last year. 

She said to go ahead and try again and I said that we were thinking about waiting until February but she said that the radiation won't affect anything and I asked about the dye and she said that it won't affect anything either and that it really depends on where our minds and hearts are. I asked if my body needed more rest and she said no, it should be good to go and not to waste an opportunity. Then she hugged me and left. 

I can't tell you how good I felt after the test. I walked through the hospital towards the car and was smiling and almost crying at the same time. I called Ted and he was so happy and relieved. Last night, he kept reaching over and touching my leg. I figured that he was worried about the test, but he didn't say anything. After I had the test, he said how worried he was and how relieved he is now. I had to stop at a store to pick an ingredient up for dinner and I saw the baby section. Normally I avoid it, or I go into it and feel terrible. This time I went and got something for my sister's baby and something for my friend's baby. I even got something for my future baby because it was just too cute to pass up. I haven't felt that positive in so long and it felt good. 

I picked up the requisition from my doctor's office before the test and it wasn't as hard to be there as it has been in the past. There were even pregnant women and mother's with their 6 week old babies there and I was fine. 

Since I got to the hospital 45 minutes early, I walked by the social work office and decided to see if the social worker who saw us when I was in labour was there. I told the first woman I saw who I wanted to see, but I didn't remember her name so I described her. She came out and I wasn't sure at first if it was her, but after a minute or so I was positive. I was in such shock the day I met her that I didn't remember her name...just that she had dark, curly hair. She took me into her office and seemed really interested and asked how I was and I said that things were better than they were and they get easier with time. Gradually she started to remember me more and I mentioned that Ted and I worked together and she said it was all coming back to her. I told her how it helped to know ahead of time that people would say the wrong thing and I told her what the grief was like in the beginning...that I couldn't eat, couldn't decide what to was terrible. And about the guilt I felt when I smiled and how I always had to tell myself, and sometimes still do, that Jacob wouldn't want me to be so sad. I told her that I've had 2 losses since then and that I was at the hospital for a test. She said maybe it will help me get pregnant again and I said that I have no trouble conceiving (in  my head I thought that I just have trouble making the babies live) and we laughed about that. I told her that I found alot of support online and she asked me to send her the resources I found so that she can pass them on. I also told her that she can give my name and number out to patients who lose a baby if she is allowed to and how I talked to someone in the first weeks after losing Jacob and it helped me to not feel so crazy. She said she would and she will give me the heads up first in case I didn't want to do it at the time. I said that I will always want to do it but it will be nice to know if a call might be coming. I told her about the friends that I have made since losing Jacob and she said how much it must help to have someone who has been through it too. 

We talked about my OB and she said that she really likes her, that she is real. What you see is what she is. I said how nice she has always been, how she hugged me and ran her fingers through my hair when I was in the hospital bed and how meaningful that was. When Lois moved to Oakville about 10 years ago, she called somewhere to find out which OB to see for her pregnancy and they said Dr. A or Dr. L. She ended up with Dr. L, but it was just a fluke and all of her dealings with Dr. A have been good. I have no reservations about Dr. A, but the odd person has asked if I am switching doctors. It is nice to hear from someone who knows Dr. A in another capacity and who has seen her in a lot of different situations.  She said a few times that I look really good now, much better than I did the day we first met. She said that I have to call her when I have my next baby and seemed excited about it. 

I feel a little on cloud 9 now. I think maybe we will try this month. If I get pregnant, the timing would be the same of Jacob which might make things a little harder. I think I conceived Jacob around Jan 20-21 last year and those dates are approaching fast. Imagine if I give birth to my next baby on or around Jacob's due date.

Ted and I haven't felt this happy since we found out I was pregnant with Cub. It is such a nice feeling. I feel like I have been given a new lease on life. 

The test

Today I am getting the hysterosalpingogram

I am a little nervous about going to the hospital today. I'm not that nervous about the test, but I'm nervous about just being at the hospital because it is a Monday. It was a Monday that I found out that Jacob died and I went from the doctor's office to the hospital for the ultrasound and then I was admitted.

Today I will be going to my doctor's office to get the requisition form and then walking over to the hospital, just as I did on May 31st.

I want to stop associating new events with past events, but I can't seem to. I was saying this to Ted last night and he said to look at today as a new beginning, as part of the next baby's story, which it really is.

I am trying to do it.  Why is it so hard to do?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Progress....and then back to the old way.

On Friday and Saturday, I felt stronger than I have felt in awhile.  I even had a glimpse of my old self. I joked around with people. I went to a movie and managed to pay attention to the whole thing.

But not today. Today I have been on the verge of tears, or actually crying, for most of the day. I start crying while I wash dishes, fold laundry, walk around aimlessly.

I feel so incomplete.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


On March 4th, a Canadian show called Flashpoint was filmed in the office building I work at. I was 7 weeks pregnant with Jacob at the time.The building has an atrium in the centre and you can see down into the atrium from all of the floors. Most of the filming was done in the atrium, so a bunch of us would stand on a higher floor and watch the filming.

The building was supposed to be a morgue (the scenes in exam rooms were done somewhere else...our building was just the main entrance of the morgue). I had no idea what the story line was.

The episode was on TV the other night. Turns out the story line was about a baby who died at 6 months old. The father said that it was SIDS (the mother wasn't home), but the father was arrested because the baby showed signs upon autopsy of shaken baby syndrome and the father was arrested (in the end, it was proven that the baby had meningitis...after the father kidnapped the mother at gunpoint and went to the morgue to have the results reviewed....which was when the error was discovered). There were moments in the show when the grief over losing the baby was shown. The box of packed clothing in the kitchen, the nursery with the crib still set up, the parents saying that they shouldn't be in the position they were in and the tears and the grief.

The doctor at the morgue brought out the autopsy report and told the parents not to look because there were pictures of the autopsy and then it hit me that there are likely pictures of Jacob's autopsy somewhere. I know x-rays were taken because they were mentioned in the report. I know he was normal "upon internal examination". I just never thought about the pictures that are out there somewhere of my son's organs.

It is weird to think back to the time when the filming was taking place at work. I was 7 weeks pregnant and very happy and, although the baby in the show died under very different circumstances, it turns out I was watching the filming of a subject that I would soon know far too much about.

Friday, January 7, 2011

First New Year's Baby and other encounters

I was at my Mom and Dad's house last night and my Dad asked if I had looked at the local paper. I hadn't and he told me that there was something about the first New Year's  baby born at the hospital that Jacob was born at.....a baby boy born to a white mother and a black father (just like Jacob). He got me the paper and since I like to make myself miserable, I looked at the pictures and read the story. It didn't say who delivered the baby, but I ran into my OB at Home Depot a few days after Christmas and she said that she was working on New Year's Eve, so I'm pretty sure that she did.

That baby would only been 2 months gestation when Jacob was born. There was a picture of the baby and then a picture of the thrilled Mom and Dad and the big,  healthy, full-term baby in the hospital bed. Of course I stared at both pictures for awhile, thinking of how different our hospital picture is. A heartbroken Mom and Dad and a too small, dead baby boy. But a baby boy who was loved every second of his life and is loved every second that passes after his death.

I was in the subway yesterday at lunch and there was a woman with a baby girl in a stroller. Someone asked her how old her baby is and she said 3 months. Jacob would have been 3 months old in a week. I had to walk as far away from them as I could in the train and then stand at the door so that people wouldn't see how hard I was struggling not to cry. I also saw a facebook status the other day that my brother-in-law's sister posted. She had a baby boy 2 weeks after Jacob was due and said how hard it is too see your baby in pain while the baby is teething. I wish I knew how that felt.

With those 2 things happening yesterday, I got home and had a good cry.

Then today I finally got AF. Exactly 6 weeks after my miscarriage. I also started AF last year on January 7th, which was the start of the cycle that Jacob was conceived in.

So I had another huge cry tonight and I don't think I'm done for the night either. At least I have a needy little cat curled up in my lap who is trying to give me kisses with a rough little tongue.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Out of great misfortune comes great fortune

Despite all of the tragedy we have been through in 2010...losing Jacob, then August, then Cub, I still feel fortunate in many ways. I miss Jacob desperately and my heart aches for him constantly, but I have been surrounded by so much love since his loss. Then we lost August, then we went on the 3 week journey of losing Cub....all of our hope and the little specks of joy we had had since losing Jacob quickly got lost. But the support we received got even stronger. I don’t know how I would have come so far without all of the baby loss Mom’s that I have met since June 1st, without the kind things my family and friends have said and done, and without my husband. Ted has supported me through everything. When I am sad, he lets me cry. He never tells me that I need to move on, he just tells me that his heart is breaking for me while mine feels shattered and he holds me. He doesn’t leave me home alone very often, because he knows I will start with the flashbacks and go downhill if he does. He tries to keep hope alive when I just can't seem to do it. 

I have met so many wonderful women. I have never felt so accepted and supported by a group of women like I have by my baby loss friends. This Christmas I have received some wonderful cards and gifts from these women. Looking in the mailbox was the highlight of my day. The cards I received have so many beautiful messages in them and I have read each one several times, often crying each time...and then crying later on when I just thought about them.

The cats had to get in on things. It was hard to get a picture
without them walking across and knocking
the cards over. 
These gifts are pictured in the order I received them. I love them all.

Jessica contacted me and said she wanted to make me a dragonfly for my baby. When I said there were 3 of them, but just one dragonfly would be fine, she went ahead and made 3. I just knew they would be beautiful and they are. Each one has a baby’s name and date of birth on the first 2-3 beads of the body.

Jacob's dragonfly

August's dragonfly

Cub's dragonfly

Each star of this ornament has the initial of each of my baby's first names. The back of the top star says "Forever" then the next star says "loved" and the next says "missed".

I bought this ornament for Jacob. I will buy one for him every year.

This was our tree before my family came over.

I was perfectly happy with the tree the way it was, above. It took me a long time to put the tree up, but I did it because Ted wanted it up, I wanted to hang the ornaments I received, the cats love it, and everyone was at my house for Christmas. I guess it looked a little empty (so my sister's said), but it seemed telling of our lives, which revolve around our babies who made up the most important part of 2010 and of our lives.

Here is the tree after my sister's decorated it. My only request was that Jacob's (and August and Cub's) ornaments stay where they were).

Thank you to everyone who made the holidays easier. Every little gesture, every card, every gift and every kind word and thought means the world to me and will never be forgotten.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Seven months

Dear Jacob,

Today is 7 months since you were born. And it is New Year's Day. Your Dad and I miss you all the time. While so many people in the world were celebrating last night, I lay on the couch with your Dad and with your bear held against my chest, tears occasionally coming to my eyes. I fell asleep for awhile and woke up just before midnight. I wish I could say I fell asleep because I was pregnant with Cub, but of course that isn't the case. Things would be so different if Cub hadn't died. We would still miss you all the time, but we would have something to hope for and concentrate on.

Yesterday I went to the hospital with your Nana to get her cast off, the same hospital where you were born. I felt anxious about going because it was 7 months exactly since I was admitted there with you. I thought I might end up in Labour & Delivery to see the room you were born in and if the nurses I had were there, but I managed to stay away. I decided while I was there that nothing good would come of going, that day of all days.

I stopped at your garden on the way home from the hospital. The gate was locked and I was just thinking about jumping over it when the church custodian came outside and offered to open it. Do you know that someone moved the rose we planted? They moved it to the bushes right in front of where we buried it in the ground. I assume that it was falling over and I love that someone took the time to do that, knowing that the rose had special significance. It also means that someone else thought about the person buried there too. Maybe they even knew it was for you.

Thursday night was a hard one. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I just got so incredibly sad. I ended up standing in the bedroom hugging your bear and sobbing. I have also held your bear while cooking, walking around the house and just watching TV, just as I would have been holding you. I often think when I am sitting around watching a movie or reading a book that I shouldn't be able to do that. I should be doing something for you or always listening for the baby monitor for when you wake up. I guess acceptance will come one day. "They" say it will. I don't see it any signs of it.

I'm having a hard time with it being a new year. It feels so wrong to move onto a new year without you and it makes me sad that we will never live in the same year again. 2010 belongs to you. The joy, the sorrow, the love. I know a new date on a calendar means nothing in terms of my love for you, but now when/if someone asks, I have to say that you died last year. That just seems too long ago. I want to stay in the year that we shared. I want to keep you as close as possible forever in every way that I can and it seems to get harder and harder. There are even times when I have moments of disbelief and wonder how it was that I was ever pregnant in the first place, how it was that I delivered and buried my first child. I look at your ultrasound pictures and it seems hard to believe that you were inside of me but I no longer have you. You have changed my life. You have changed me. I had 5 months of incredible joy, like I had never felt before, because of you. Now I have had 7 months of incredible sorrow, sorrow like I have never felt before, because of you and I will have a lifetime of it. I also have a best friend, because of you. It is all worth it because you were, you are, so wonderful and amazing and loved.

This morning I went through some of your things....the certificate of birth the hospital gave us, the hospital bands, the tape measure we measured you with, the grief pamphlets we got from the hospital, one of your ultrasound pictures, your foot and handprints and the autopsy and pathology reports. Reading the words "normal morphology upon external and internal examination" made my heart lurch as I thought of the autopsy being done on you. I put the ultrasound picture and your hand and footprints in the box that your Grandparents and Aunts gave us. Then I picked up the blanket your Nana made for you and held it to my face and cried. You should have been wrapped in the blanket. For a few minutes, I pretended that you were.

We went to Tim Horton's this afternoon, got hot chocolate and then went to the garden to visit you. The tears didn't come as they usually do when I am there. I was sad, but just accepted that I didn't need to cry right at that moment. It is surreal that we are so far away from when you were born. I couldn't even see this far in the future for so long after we found out you died. It is still hard to envision a future without you in our arms.

You will never, ever be forgotten and you will always, always be loved and missed.