Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The week of April 26, 2010 - Felt him kick

It was sometime during this week last year that I felt Jacob move for the first time and knew that it wasn't gas. The first time, it felt like a buttefly fluttering in my belly and quickly moved to definite kicks. I hate myself for not knowing the exact day. I didn't record it because I didn't think he was going to die, but I know it was just before 16 weeks.

I always felt him around noon. He'd give me a kick or nudge on my left side near my belly button. What I would give to feel that now and it not be a phantom kick, which I still get occasionally, and even seem to be getting more often lately. I don't want the phantom kicks to stop though, unless it is because I'm actually pregnant again.

I used to sit at my desk, watching the time as it approached noon and waited for his kick or punch. There was the odd day that I didn't get it, but I didn't worry too much because I knew that it was early and movements weren't supposed to be regular yet. As time went on, I started feeling him in the morning and at night too.

I miss him.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 24, 2010 - Cherry Blossoms

I was 15 weeks pregnant. Laurie emailed on the 23rd and told me about a mom-to-mom sale in Etobicoke and we planned to meet there. It is basically a huge garage sale of mother's selling the clothing, toys and baby items they no longer need. Laurie and my Mom bought alot for Ben. I didn't know if I was having a boy or girl yet, so I didn't buy much, just a pink sleeper from one of Laurie's friends (Melissa, who has 2 girls). Laurie told Melissa that I'm pregnant, so Melissa gave me this:

Then Ted and I went to High Park to see the Cherry Blossoms, which only bloom for a short period of time each year. We parked on a side street and I still remember walking on that street and just appreciating everything that I had. I was so happy to be pregnant. Looking back now, I know that I never did take one second of it for granted.

It was beautiful at the park and Ted took several pictures of me. There was also a little zoo there and we spent some time looking at the animals, particularly the peacocks. I also spent alot of time watching the families and imagining us there with a stroller at the same time next year.

You can see my belly starting to pop out in
this picture. It started growing really quickly
from this time on.
This didn't happen on the 24th, but it was sometime in April. In my quest to help the nausea, I always had juice with me. Ted and I bought a 6 pack of Allen's Apple Juice bottles. I grabbed a bottle before leaving the house one day and noticed a weird smell right away. I started looking at the bottle closely and noticed that the juice was really dark, it was leaking and there was something floating in it, which turned out to be a circular piece of mould about an inch in diameter. It was disgusting.

I emailed the company and they sent me a $5 coupon for my next purchase. There hasn't been another purchase of that brand and it took me awhile to be able to drink apple juice out of a bottle again.

April 24, 2011

Yesterday, Ted worked in the backyard and I did stuff around the house until it was time to leave to visit Jackie. I got to her flower shop at 1:30 and didn't leave until 5:15. There were alot of tears and some laughter. The hours just fly by when I'm talking to her. We have so much in common and I feel so comfortable with her. I noticed she had two bunny statues in the cooler with the flowers and she said it is like they are Oscar and Jacob and said that I could take one. I didn't know which one to chose, of course, and wanted her to do it. Then I remembered that I saw a bunny in my backyard twice the day before. He looked more like one of the bunnies, so I chose that one, which worked out well because she saw Oscar as the other one.

I took the one on the right

I wanted to bring some daisies home, for Oscar, and she ended up giving me a whole bunch of beautiful flowers, including lilacs (which remind me of Jacob) and roses. I was overwhelmed by how much she gave me. I realized that we haven't had fresh flowers in the house since Jacob died and people sent some to us.

I stopped at the garden on the way home and took this picture:

Jacob is buried where the flowers are
I got home with my arms full of flowers and surprised Ted and Sadie. Sadie loved them and ran after me meowing. I got the flowers into vases, which I hadn't unpacked until yesterday, and put them around the house.

Alot of the gifts I've received for Jacob are in the box
on the dresser.

When you first find out that your baby has died, you can't see anything good that can possibly come of it. But because of Jacob, I have made some really good friends, and now I've made another. I like to think that I would have met these women in some other way, that we would have met if our babies had lived, but who knows. I like to think that our babies have orchestrated us meeting. That the Mom's I'm friends with are the Mom's of the babies that Jacob is friends with. I feel like I have a glimpse into what he is experiencing, by knowing more about his friends.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Last year

April 23, 2010

I sent an email to Ted one year ago today.

Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam.

More and more people at work were finding out that I was pregnant and almost everyday, someone stopped me and said congratulations or sent me an email. It was so nice.

We went to Jessie's house for dinner that night. Laurie and Ben and Lindsay and Brian came too. We ordered pizza and just sat around and talked and played with Ben. It was fun. Alot of pictures were taken of Ben, so I was hoping that I was in the background of some of them. Jessie sent me 2, but one of them you can only see the top of my head and my legs, because Ben is standing in front of me, and the other one you can't see my head, but you can see my belly...even though you can't see how big it is.

April 23, 2011

We went to Lindsay's house for Easter dinner. As Ted and I waited at the GO station for the train, there was a warm breeze and I missed Jacob even more. As much as I've been looking forward to the warm weather, it also reminds me of both how happy I was at this time last year, and of how much pain I was in last summer. I told Ted this and he said he felt the same way.

I was at Laurie's house for a few minutes before leaving. She is due on April 30th and is uncomfortable and frustrated and scared of the labour. She is just ready for the baby to be here. But she also said she feels bad talking to me about that because she knows I would do anything to be in her position. I said that I would, but I know pregnancy is uncomfortable and I want her to be able to talk to me.

Once we were at Lindsay's, I only cried once in the bathroom. Jacob's absence was everywhere.

We went to church on Good Friday. THere was a baby a few rows behind us who cried on and off throughout the service. We should have had a baby there too. My Mom said later that she was worried that it would bother us. We've decided not to go to church today. There will be more babies and pregnant women there and we don't want to deal with that. Ted's grief is hitting harder lately and every night for about 3 weeks, I've had some kind of dead baby dream.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22, 2010 - Home inspection

April 22, 2010 was our home inspection. We got there early and sat in the parking lot of the school across the road to wait for the home inspector and to make sure that the owners were out. The home inspector was already there and had already started looking at the garage. Wilma (our realtor) pulled up, with coffee for Ted and a juice for me, and we all went in. We walked around with the inspector and Ted was taking pictures and happened to get a picture of me in one of them. The only picture of me in the house with Jacob in my belly.
15 weeks pregnant and so happy

I think we went to Artisano's for lunch after and I chose my sandwich carefully to make sure it was a healthy one for my baby. 

The first time back in the house, which was in August, after Jacob died, I didn't even want to go upstairs. As I stood on the spot that I was standing on in this picture, I cried. Then I went to the room that would have been his nursery and cried some more. 

April 22, 2011

Today we went to church. I really tried to pay attention to the sermon, but just couldn't. I kept thinking about Jacob. There was a baby behind us who cried off and on. A reminder that we should have been there with a baby too. Not that we need any reminder.

Afterwards, we went to the garden. The flowers are slowly starting to grow.

Last weekend, Ted and I were in Zeller's looking at things for the garden and we found this:

We both thought it would be cute near the pond. It is solar and the shells light up at night.

So at night, I look out the back door window and see three little lights shining in the darkness.

We especially like it for who it can represent. Our three lost babies. There is no room for a 4th turtle. The next baby has to live.

I also found the necklace that I have been searching for for months last weekend. I couldn't stop smiling for about 20 minutes. I was so relieved. I kept thanking Jacob for helping me find it.

Feeling sad today, but that isn't anything new. Tomorrow is our family dinner, minus 3.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Support group and this time last year

I went to my first official support group meeting last night and it was good. It was what I hoped it would be. The woman running it, Becky, was great. The 3 other women attending were supportive and we all connected well. We listened to each others stories, cried, asked questions and made comments. It felt good. I was a little worried that it would be awkward. The group is for recurrent loss and infertility. My cycles are very strange, but I haven’t actually gone through fertility treatments yet, so I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in. I have had the least intervention in the group in terms of treatments, but they all had at least one loss and so I didn’t feel out of place.

It is amazing how much pain there is in the world. For the most part, we all walk around looking normal, but below the surface, there is a constant battle going on.

Laurie found this group for me. I am so lucky to have so much support in my life.

As for what was happening last year at this time, I got an email from my boss on April 19, 2010.
I sent him an email saying that I needed to take Thursday, the 22nd off as a vacation day (for the home inspection). He wrote back and said "Sure, Mom". It made me smile then. It makes me smile now.

I'm not sure when it was exactly in the pregnancy (mid-April I think), but my hair started getting more body and I was very happy about that. I also had some stomach issues before I got pregnant. Sometimes I'd eat dinner, then feel sick after for no apparent reason. When I got pregnant, that stopped. I am lactose-intolerant, but when I was pregnant, I could eat milk products without having to take any of the lactose pills (which I wasn't doing because I didn't take any pills except vitamins). All of those things have come back since losing Jacob. My hair still has a bit more body that it did, but the stomach problems are back and so is the lactose intolerance.

My breasts were also getting bigger and bigger. And they hurt more and more. In bed, I ended up putting a facecloth between them because it just made things alot more comfortable.

We were nervous at this point last year. We had just made the offer on the house and there was some back and forth to negotiate the price before it was final. We were nervous about having a higher mortgage and selling the condo. But things were so good. We were so excited about Jacob.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17, 2010

On April 15, we looked at the house online that we ended up buying.

We went to see the house, and a few others, on April 17th. This was the first time that we went out with our realtor, because she had been on vacation for a month. We had been going to open houses every weekend though, so we had seen alot of houses (including one where there was a 7 month pregnant realtor and I thought that I would look like her soon).

The one we bought was the first one we went too. We felt at home as soon as we walked in. We thought it would be perfect for our growing family and I decided which room would be the nursery right away. I worried that that backyard was oddly shaped and wondered where we would put a swing set, but figured we would work something out. The bathtub had (has) sliding glass doors, so I told Ted that I would want to change those when it came time to bathe the baby in the tub (now I write his name on the doors every time I have a shower). There is a school across the road and lots of parks nearby. And best of all, it was an 8 minute walk to my sister's house. Our kids would live so close to each other and be really close growing up. The school across the road is an English school, so we started thinking about whether we would send our baby there, which would be really convenient, or have him bussed to a French immersion school.

We went to see another house that we loved from the outside, but didn't care much for on the inside. We saw 2 townhouses, but kept thinking about the first house. So we called my parents and Laurie to come and see it. As luck would have it, Lindsay was also in town so she came too. We stood around the living room for awhile and then we decided that we wanted to put in an offer. Our realtor had to go to another open house that she was holding and said that she would have the papers there in a few hours.

We went to Laurie's for awhile, where Ted and I went over our budget to make sure we could afford the house. We all went to Zeller's for lunch. I had fries and gravy. I was nervous throughout the lunch. It was such a big step.

We got to the house that Wilma was showing and signed the papers. I was excited that our baby would grow up in Oakville, close to his grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousin. I was excited that we had finally done something concrete towards actually making it happen.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Too many pregnant women

Yesterday was a tough one.

I went to a lunch that my company sponsored where the Premier of Ontario was speaking. I organized who would be sitting at our table of 10. When we arrived, we headed towards the reception that only certain people could get into. As my company was a sponsor, we were invited. When we got to the door, I discovered that my name wasn't on the list (but everyone I invited was, which was good). The guy at the door said that he would just grab the VP (Jennifer) and check with her. She came out, and wouldn't you know it, she is about 5 months pregnant. She found out who I am and said I could go in the room. But just when she came out to talk to me, another pregnant walked up to get in the room, they said how great they each look, then hugged and joked about their bellies bumping. It was hard, but if that was the only thing that happened, I would have been fine.

So I go in the reception room and start talking with the people I invited. More and more pregnant women appeared in the room as time went on. I tried really hard to just look straight ahead and not glance around the room. Jennifer was there too, since she was in charge of the event. She walked around me alot and I tried not to stare at her belly, but that is hard enough normally, not helped by the fact that she was wearing a very tight dress. I always have a particularly hard time with women who are about as pregnant as I was when Jacob died.

Finally the reception was over and I thought that the lunch wouldn't be as bad because surely I wouldn't see so many pregnant women while sitting at our table. Wrong. There were about 500 people at the lunch and I think that every 2nd or 3rd table had a pregnant woman sitting at it. No matter where I looked, I saw a pregnant woman and I was finding it harder and harder to stop the tears. I still talked to those around me, I still acted normal for the most part. But there were moments when those around me were talking to the people on the other side of them and the sadness became overwhelming. At those times, I held my necklace and spoke to Jacob in my head and told him how much I miss him. Then I would bite my lip to take my focus somewhere else and it helped stop the tears.

Because my company was one of the sponsors, our table was right at the front, just to the left of the stage. Since Jennifer was one of the organizers, she was standing near the stage during the speeches, often rubbing her belly. I felt so sad, so envious and so angry that my babies died.

After the speeches, while we were eating, Jennifer was walking around the room talking to people, so I saw her quite often. I was talking to the woman sitting next to me about being a vegetarian, as she used to be, and I told her that I craved meat when I was pregnant so I ate it once in a while. I was waiting for the followup question of whether I had a boy or a girl and how old he was, but it never came. I was at a lunch the day before and was asked if I have kids. I said that I have a son who passed away and the woman said how sorry she was. I changed the subject then because I could tell she didn't know what else to say (there were also pregnant women at that lunch, but not as many).

When the lunch was finally over, I walked through the minefield of pregnant woman to the exit. As I went up the escalator with my colleagues, I overheard the CEO saying to my old boss that I had looked sad or bored or something. Luckily the CEO is easygoing and was making a joke about it. I'm pretty sure he knows that Jacob died, but he never said anything to me last summer. A few minutes later I was walking with my old boss to the subway and I asked her what Rod had said. She told me and I told her that I was sad, that there were alot of pregnant women there and I found it very difficult. I told her that I lost another baby since losing Cub and she said that she has never lost a baby, so she can't imagine what it feels like, but that it must be terrible. Then she went on to say that things happen for a reason, even if we can't understand what that reason is. She had been doing so well. Anyway, she asked if we ever found out why Jacob died and I just said no and told her I'm going to a specialist soon, just for more testing.

During the lunch, I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water and I told myself that I wouldn't leave the house this weekend. I didn't feel like I could stand to see one more pregnant woman. Just before I left work, Laurie called and said that Mom was coming over to her house for dinner and she asked if we wanted to come too. At first I said that I would see, but then I decided to go. I cannot let this rule my life. So we went and it wasn't too hard seeing her belly. She put the car seat in my car so that I'm all set when I'm watching Ben while she is in the hospital.

We stayed for about an hour and then Ted and I left. As we drove home, he said that he found it really difficult to see her belly. He kept calculating where we should be at and how long it will take until my belly is that big, assuming I get pregnant soon. I was in turmoil last night and ended up lying on the couch, with my head on Ted's chest, and crying.

We didn't go anywhere today. I cleaned up the office, started working on our taxes and did some laundry. I want to stay inside tomorrow too. Seeing more pregnant woman in the next few days would be a really, really bad thing. It has been a rainy and gray day, which was just fine with me. It suits my mood.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The List

Blaine's Mom Elaine wrote a list of what you learn in your first year as a baby loss mom. I just have to share it.

Please click here to go to Elaine's blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12, 2010 - Told my coworkers

I had been thinking of when and how to tell my coworkers that I was pregnant since I found out that I was.
I had worked at the same place for 12 years at that point, but had only changed departments in August 2009. I felt bad that they went to the trouble of interviewing and hiring for my current position, only be told that I would only be there for just over a year before going on maternity leave for a year. But there was someone else who worked in my old department who had only worked there for 2 months before getting pregnant, so I figured I shouldn't feel too guilty. Ultimately I didn't, it was just something that bothered me a little.

I wanted to tell my boss first and get it over with first thing in the morning. I went just after 8:30am, but he wasn't there. So I went back a few minutes later and he was back in his office. I liked my boss (he doesn't work there anymore), but I didn't actually work with him a lot, so I didn't know him that well. I went to his office and asked if he had a minute. As I shut his door, I saw a look of worry cross over his face and realized he thought that I was quitting. So right away I said that it wasn't anything bad and I sat down and told him that I was pregnant. His face lit up. It was so cute. He was so happy, smiled often and said how wonderful it is to have kids (he has 2). He said not to listen to anyone who says that it isn't wonderful. He showed me a picture of his kids, we talked for a few more minutes and then I left. It was such a relief.

I think I told Jen next and I'm pretty sure she jumped up and hugged me. I don't remember what order I told the rest of the people in my department in. Probably Chris, then Sheila, then Perry, then Cate. They were all happy. They asked when the baby was due and how I was feeling. Cate started to think of a nickname she would call the baby and we eventually decided on Sunny.  I went downstairs and told my old boss and showed her the pictures of his ultrasound and she was excited.

From then on, Sheila came to my desk every day or two and asked how I was feeling (she turned out to be one of the most supportive people at work after Jacob died) We talked alot about morning sickness and tricks to feel better. She told me of the time that cheesecake always made her feel better, so her husband found a sale, bought several and froze them and that same day, she discovered that not only didn't she like it anymore, she couldn't stand it.

As I got bigger, Sheila would come over and mention that she noticed it. When I started popping out at 16 weeks, she said that I was getting bigger every day. I loved hearing that.

Once everyone in my department knew that I was pregnant, Ted and I started telling our other friends at work and soon it seemed like everyone knew. Every few days for about a month, someone new would come up to me and say that they just heard and congratulations. It was so nice.

Yesterday I went out walking with Antoinette at lunch and I ended up talking about Jacob alot. She called me every 2-3 days after he was born and before I came back to work, so I was surprised yesterday when she asked if I held him. She said that I had been getting really big before he died. I loved hearing that too. I guess it makes sense that I have trouble remembering how big I was, since I've been my regular size my whole life and only that size, my favorite size, for a few months.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2010

This was a Sunday, and most Sundays Ted and I would drive to Oakville to go to open houses. It was getting easier for me to do, because the nausea wasn't as bad. It was still the worst in the car though, so the drives weren't great.

It was during these drives to Oakville on the weekend, and when running errands, that we would often hear the song Wavin' Flag by K'Naan on the radio. I loved that song, but it made me cry everytime I heard it.  As soon as I heard the first notes, I knew that I would start crying soon and Ted would laugh because he knew that I would. There is one stretch of highway that I associate with this song in particular. I don't know why that part stands out more than others. Now when I hear the song, I get emotional because it takes me back to when I was so happy.

After Ted and I went to several open houses that day, we stopped by Laurie's house for awhile.

I loved the black pants in these pictures because the waistband was stretchy. I wasn't big enough for maternity pants yet, but all of my regular pants were uncomfortable and I was using elastics to keep them up. Most probably can't really see my bump in these pictures, but I can. It was an unseasonably warm day that day.

Me, my Mom, Ben and Ted

Me, one of Ben's friends, and Ben

I was 13.5 weeks pregnant in these pictures and thought I was pretty safe.

I'm not sure what day it was, but we went to one house and the real estate agent said that the sellers wanted to take the washing machine because they were expecting. I wondered why we would buy that townhouse if the current owners were moving because they had a baby coming. I think I told her that I was expecting too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another chance to speak of him

Yesterday I went to the mall to have my eyebrows threaded. I normally do them myself, but they needed some professional attention.

I lay down on the table and Meenu, the woman doing my eyebrows, saw my necklace, picked it up and asked what it was. I think she saw the side with the baby feet. She asked what it was for and I replied that my son was stillborn and I wear the necklace for him. She just said something like "that's nice" and started getting the stuff ready. I figured she just didn't hear me and was going to leave it at that. I guess it then sank in what I said and she asked me what I said. I said that my son was stillborn, so I wear the necklace in his memory. Then she asked what I meant, so I said that my son wasn't alive when he was born. She stopped and just looked at me for a moment, then she said how sorry she was, at least 5 times. She didn't seem embarrassed that I had had to repeat it so many times, and then explain what I meant, but I didn't care. She just kept saying how terrible it was. I said that he was born 10 months ago and we got to hold him and take pictures. She asked if we knew what happened. I didn't want to get into the whole amniotic band syndrome explanation, so I just said we think there was a cord accident (which the bands likely caused). 

Then she told me that her mother gave birth to 6 girls and 3 of them died. I think 2 of them were stillborn and the third died at 3 months because she had chicken pox. I asked if her Mom named the stillborn babies and she said no, that it wasn't really done back then. I said that I didn't know how her Mom did it, losing one (I didn't tell her about my miscarriages) was enough, I couldn't even imagine surviving three babies lost so late. She said that back then, they just kept trying again. Then she said that there are only 2 left, so I don't know what happened to the other sister. 

Then she told me that when she was 7 months pregnant, she was married to a jerk who pushed her down the stairs and she almost lost the baby. She was in the hospital bleeding for 3 days, but then the bleeding stopped and she carried the baby to full-term and she is now 8 (and she separated from the jerk husband 3 years ago). 

She finished and I went to find Ted and told him what happened and how much I liked talking about him.

A little later, we ran into the minister (Rev. Mike) from my church and his wife, Yvonne. Rev. Mike was amazing when I was in the hospital and then he helped alot with the funeral home too. One time I was crying at church, 3 months after Jacob was born and I had just worked in the nursery that morning and saw pregnant women everywhere, and Yvonne saw me and came over and hugged me for awhile. We talked for a few minutes in the mall and I brought up the subject of Laurie's baby, saying that we are waiting for the baby to come. I saw a quick look go over their faces, I don't know if it was surprise that I could just say that without breaking down or if it brought Jacob more prominently into their thoughts. Either way, I liked it. 

Laurie, Ben and Mom and Dad came over last night. I'm surprised at how well I handle seeing Laurie's belly now. I can't see her bare belly, but I don't feel like I'm being swallowed into a black pit when I see it anymore, which I am really glad about. I am very careful not to touch it when we hug though. I had to stay away from her for a little while when she was at the 5-6 month stage, but it hasn't been too bad since then. Ted told me after they left that when I had gone upstairs for a few minutes, Mom reached over and rubbed Laurie's belly. I don't know if they didn't think he could see or if they didn't think it would bother him, but it did and he felt really sad after.

Today Ted and I went to church. We went by Jacob's garden of course, standing there for a few minutes in the rain. We then went back inside for tea/coffee. Towards to the end, my Mom was talking to 2 of her friends/acquaintances. She introduced Ted and I to the one we didn't know, Elsie. She pointed in the direction of the garden and it sounded like she asked if there was a baby over there. I looked over to see if there was, but couldn't see anyone over there. Then I thought she might have confused me with Laurie and thought that I had a baby there. Then my Mom asked if she meant in the garden (it is weird to write that....does she mean the baby in the garden...my baby is in the garden...how is that possible?) and Elsie said yes. I said that yes, that is my baby in the garden and she pulled me towards her and hugged me and said "God Bless You". I was surprised that she said anything, and I loved it. I told her how nice it was that she did, that I really liked it. I love that Mom has told all her church friends. After she left, Ted said that my face was red and asked if I was OK. I was. When someone mentions my baby and shows that they care and they are sorry, I'm always OK. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 9, 2010 - My first ultrasound

My first ultrasound was supposed to be on April 8th. We got home from work the night of the 7th and there was a message that the ultrasound tech wouldn't be in the next day, so we could come in on the 9th at 2:30 instead. I was disappointed as I couldn't wait to see the baby.

I have some emails that I sent and received on the 8th. I told my sister Jessie that I still didn't feel that great in the afternoon/night and I liked to get home right after work before I felt worse. Jessie said that she told her work colleagues about the baby. She said had been waiting for the 3 month mark, but it had been hard. I told her that I was kind of nervous about telling my boss because I had only been in the department for 8 months, even though I'd been with the same company for 12 years.

April 9, 2010 was such a great day.  Unfortunately Ted couldn't come to the ultrasound, so I took a late lunch and went on my own. 

I went to the ultrasound clinic at Yonge & Eglinton where I had been before. I liked the guy who does the ultrasounds. He let me see the screen the whole time he was doing the ultrasound, which I later discovered was unusual. It was so amazing when I saw Jacob on the screen. As he put the wand on my belly, I stared at the screen and suddenly, there was my baby. I don't think I can even describe the feeling. It was somewhere between disbelief and sheer joy. Any problems or concerns I had melted away when I saw my little baby moving all over the place. He was so active and was moving around constantly. He was moving his arms up and down, moving his legs up and down and kept stretching his neck by pushing his head back. I'm pretty sure I saw him open his mouth too. He just took my breath away.

This ultrasound was for the IPS screening. When it was done, the tech (I think his name is Mario), started filling out the form. When he got to the part that asked how many fetuses there were,  he wrote one and then said to me "you just saw one, right?" I said that I thought so. Then he said he had a few minutes before his next patient, so he could scan me some more if I wanted so I could watch the baby for a few minutes. I loved him for that. I could have watched Jacob moving all day. He gave me two pictures.

I got the form and walked next door to get the bloodwork portion done. I was worried when I saw his neck measurement was 2.9. Anything under 3.0 is considered normal. but 2.9 was so close to the cutoff point. On the subway on the way back to work, I kept staring at the pictures. I was totally and completely in love.  I put the pictures in a book in my purse and carried them around for weeks, looking at them several times a day. I went to the lunchroom and called Ted to come there. He came in and we stared and stared at our beautiful baby. Our little miracle.

We decided to tell Phil, our mutual friend and colleague. So we called her and told her to come to the lunchroom. When she walked in, I had his pictures on a newspaper and told her to come over to look at something. She noticed the ultrasound pictures right away and hugged both of us and was really excited.

When I look back on my life, this was one of the best days. I got to see my baby for the first time. I felt pure happiness.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Today my heart is aching for the belly I once had.

Last night I was looking through the blog posts I wrote in June and came across a picture of my belly at 18.5 weeks. I just stared and stared at it. I got Ted to look and said that I couldn’t believe I was so big. How could the baby growing in there at that time (still alive) now be gone? If you asked me when I was the happiest, in my life, it was when my belly was that big. I could feel Jacob kicking, I was visibly pregnant and I was/am married to the man of my dreams. I had/have a wonderful family, wonderful parents, wonderful sisters, a wonderful nephew. I had so much to look forward to, and I was enjoying and cherishing every single day at the same time. We were worried about the ultrasound results and Jacob’s left leg, but I figured that at the worst, he would need an operation to correct his foot. The happiness was all-consuming. I can’t imagine ever being that happy again, no matter how many more times I’m pregnant, no matter how many living babies I get to carry in my arms. One will always be missing.

Now I am left aching with empty arms, a broken heart and a flat (ish) belly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I was at Laurie’s house last night and out of the blue, she asked if we should do something for Jacob’s first birthday. It means so much to me that she did! No one in my family has asked about it yet, although I think I may have mentioned it to someone. I forget who I’ve said what to. So I told Laurie that I had been thinking about a picnic at the local park and maybe a balloon release (with messages written on the balloons) or something. But I worry that the balloons would eventually hurt an animal when they fall back to the ground. I said maybe we could blow bubbles (which we have done before at the garden). She said that we could have a BBQ at my house or her house and plant a garden for him at either spot. I LOVE that she wants a place in her backyard that is made for Jacob. She also said that if we do it at my house, it is like there is part of the house that is just for him, since he never got to live in the house (that we bought because he was on his way). I called her later and told her how much I loved what she said, how much I love that she would like a spot dedicated to Jacob in her backyard. I love that her boys would play in the backyard and know that the flowers in a certain spot are for their cousin.

We started talking about that idea. I said I’ve imagined putting a bench in my backyard and making a little spot for Jacob there. She suggested throwing some wild flower seeds on the ground at his birthday BBQ and we would just see if they grow. I think I’ll make cupcakes too. I don’t know what else. I could make a stepping stone with his name engraved, but I want to do something every year (although subsequent years probably won’t be a big family gathering like the first birthday will be) so I don’t want to use up all the garden ideas the first year.

His birthday is on a Wednesday and I really want to do something on the exact day rather than the weekend before. So I have to decide soon so that my family can book a day off work. A picnic or BBQ is what I have pictured all along, since shortly after he was born. And I’m still trying to decide. I don’t want it to be a really happy occasion and maybe a picnic or BBQ is too happy. But the other option is staying in bed all day and crying, which will probably take up some part of the day regardless, and spending some time at the garden. We’ll be at the garden no matter what, the question is what we do there. I think we could have a get together and then head down to the garden and blow bubbles. Ben would love that and since it is something we’ve done at the garden before, it just seems to fit. I think I will also go to the hospital that morning and drop off some memory boxes for the next families. I don’t know if I can do that though. Will I be strong enough? My heart starts beating fast just thinking about walking down that hall again and being near that room again (although I have been back since and feel the pull to go again).

Laurie said that she always thinks about Jacob and that just because she and the others don’t say anything, especially on his anniversaries, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about him. She worries that it is hard when she talks about him, but I told her it is never hard when he is mentioned. Tears might fill my eyes, but hearing someone say his name and say that they miss him is just what I need to hear. I know it is especially hard for her right now as she is pregnant and knows all to well what can happen. I try not to talk about baby loss stuff around her too much, but sometimes I catch myself doing just that and stop myself.

I left her house feeling reassured. Reassured that they still think about him too. Maybe even everyday. One of the greatest gifts is to know that he hasn't been, and never will be, forgotten.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3, 2010

April 3, 2010 - Belly picture at 12 weeks. I miss that belly.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nurses Grieve Too

I found this video link on a nurses blog. I was shocked at the first scene. It is filmed at the hospital where Jacob was born. The first scene is the hallway where I waited for the ultrasound to confirm whether or not he was alive. There is a woman in a purple shirt leaning on the wall. That is where I stood.
The hallway in front of her is the hallway that leads to the ultrasound rooms. The hallway where the man in white is walking goes to the doors that lead into Labour and Delivery.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach when I saw this first scene and I realized it was filmed at that hospital and my heart beat fast for an hour afterwards.

I love this video though. I love knowing that nurses are touched by our losses too.


Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1 - the past and the present.

Today is Jacob's 10 month anniversary. It has been tough so far. If I'm not actually crying, the tears are just below the surface.

It is also one year ago today that I had my first appointment with Dr. A for Jacob's pregnancy. I never would have guessed that I would be in my current position then.

We took the day off work and drove to Oakville for the appointment.

At that first appointment, I got the basic package that pregnant women get. Information on what you can and can't eat, and what pills you can and can't take. There was information about pre-natal classes, cord blood storage and a chart to record kick counts when the time came (which it never did). There was also a form to fill out for the hospital for when I was admitted on what foods I don't like. I never did fill out the form, I was waiting to do it when I was further along. I also got all of my appointment times until the due date. Every month until August, then every 2 weeks until mid-September, and then every week after that. I still have the card that they are written on, of course.

Jan told me that I would go and do the urine test each time I came in. So I did it and waited to be called in. I felt special sitting there, finally one of the pregnant women.

Then we were put in the room and Ted took some pictures.

I was happy and full of hope. This is the only exam room at her office that I can go into now. She has 2 and the other one is where she couldn't find Jacob's heartbeat. I told them I can't be in that other room again.

The "good" room is where I waited for the autopsy results at my 6 week post partum appointment. It is where we went when we found out that Cub was gone. It is where I went again after waiting a week to lose Cub naturally and wanted the misoprostal afterall. This room has good and bad memories. Although the bad memories in this room are painful, I just can't face the other room again. The "good" room is also where I heard Jacob's heartbeat for the first time. That memory trumps all others.

I remembering hearing some kids from a local school outside playing a game. Dr. A came in the room, she seemed so happy for us, saying congratulations while putting her hand on my knee. We went over the usual questions about our health and she said that this was her first October baby. She had referred me to a fertility clinic in January to do follicle studies ultrasounds because no regular ultrasound clinic in Toronto did it. The appointment was for February 19th. When I found out I was pregnant, I called and cancelled it. I told Dr. A this at the first appointment, saying that someone would probably be really happy to get the time slot and she said it was  nice that I did that. I didn't think it made sense for me to go in.
She asked if we wanted to do the IPS screening and I said that we did, so she gave me the requisitions. We asked about an amnio because of my age and she said I could have one, but that she has alot of patients in their 40s who don't get it. We decided not to. The 1 in 200 chance of losing the baby was too scary.

Then she said that she would try to find the baby's heartbeat, but that it often can't be heard with the doppler at 12 weeks, so not to worry if she can't find it. I really, really wanted to hear it, of course, but she couldn't find it after trying for a few minutes. It was disappointing, but I didn't leave there worried. She didn't look worried and had told us ahead of time that she might not be able to find it. If that happened now, I'd beg for an ultrasound that day.

Overall it was a good day. I felt like I would be well cared for there. We were excited and couldn't wait for everything that was to come.

Last night was the first Face2Face meeting in Toronto and it was so nice to connect with other baby loss Mom's in person. We all got along well, we all told our stories and there was alot of tears. The waitress came up while I was telling Jacob's story and everyone was crying. It made us all laugh though, how brave she was to walk up to a table of 5 crying women.

I told his story twice last night. I met with Kaki for dinner and told her, and heard about her sweet daughter Isla. Then I told it again when the whole group got together. It's strange. I never know what is going to happen when I start telling it. Will I lay out all the facts with no tears or will I cry my way through it? Last night I was at a loss for words. I had a lot of pauses while telling them about Jacob and I hated that I wasn't crying. But then I started to describe his adorable right foot, his lips, his nose, his eyes, his shoulders. Then I said how much I worry that I didn't kiss him enough, that I didn't tell him I love him enough, that I didn't rock him enough and the tears came. I couldn't talk for a minute because of it. I know I did all those things, I just wish I could have done them for the rest of his life. I said how bad I feel when I leave the garden. I feel like he is cold and lonely and scared of the dark and his Mommy isn't helping him.

I took the GO train home with Jackie and had a really good talk, as I always do with her. I got home and felt pretty good. I usually do after talking to baby loss Mom's. Then I went in the closet to figure out what I would wear the next day and picked out the shirt that I wore a year ago today. Then I realized it, started crying and have felt bad ever since. It seems that the 10 month anniversary is worse than the 9 month.

I am very sad today.