Friday, February 25, 2011

Reliving the past

I feel like I am living in the past. Everyday I think of what I was doing last year at this time, missing that time…missing Jacob.

Maybe I feel the need to write about it because I didn’t write about it at the time. I even bought a journal just to write in about my pregnancy with Jacob, but I felt so nauseous when I bought it that I never started. When the nausea stopped, I still didn’t start writing. I kept thinking that I would start, that I still had lots of time, that I'd write more when I felt him move more. I did write a few things down in my regular journal at least (which I wrote in sporadically).

So now I am writing about the particularly memorable days. I hope everyone will bear with me while I relive the past.

A year ago today was a Thursday. I had been feeling really nauseous for about a week and a half at that point and threw up most evenings. I carried plastic bags with me everywhere in case I didn’t have time to get to a bathroom. My temperature was also a lot higher and I could only keep my winter coat on if I was actually outside in the cold. If I was inside, or on the subway, I had to take it off or the nausea was worse and I felt like I would faint.

I had 2 events at work in the evening of February 25, 2010 - the Ontario Liberal Heritage Dinner and the New Pioneer’s Awards. Both were within walking distance of each other. I had to go to the Liberal Heritage Dinner drop off tickets for the people we had invited to sit at our company table, then I went to attend the other one. I remember walking to the Heritage Dinner in the Skywalk and feeling hot and sick and sweaty. I dropped off the tickets and walked to a nearby hotel for the New Pioneer Awards.

I was worried about staying out at night because I thought I might have to throw up in the middle of the dinner. We went into the reception and I took some fruit punch (which I double checked didn’t have any alcohol) and something amazing happened. When I took a sip of the drink, the nausea went away for a few minutes. It was just wonderful. I could stand and have a conversation and not be fighting the nausea the whole time. I drank at least 2 glasses of punch during the reception and got another to take with me to the dinner. Our table was right at the front of the room near the stage…and very far away from the doors out. When we sat down, I looked around and figure out the easiest, most inconspicuous way to leave in a hurry if I needed to. But sipping on the punch now and then throughout the dinner kept the nausea under control and I made it through the night without throwing up.

I was sitting next to a woman who had come to Canada from Russia and we got to talking about her life, her kids, etc. No one at work knew I was pregnant yet so I didn’t tell her either (since there were colleagues at the table), but I felt special knowing that I would be a Mom too.

I was exactly 8 weeks pregnant with Jacob a year ago today.

I cried last night, alot. I thought I had it under control and then it would get bad again. When I came to bed, Ted saw me and knew that I had been crying right away. Sometimes I try to hide it from him so he doesn’t worry. He has been showing his sadness and grief to me more lately and it breaks my heart, but I'm also glad that he isn't dealing with it alone, always trying to be strong.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Family Day

Monday was Family Day in Canada and Ted and I had the day off. We went to a movie and then went to the garden to visit our boy. I feel funny saying that, as if we only visit him when we are at the garden. I feel like Jacob is with me all the time, but the garden is where his ashes are. It was freezing yesterday so we didn’t stay for a long time. There was recent snow on the ground and someone had walked to where we usually stand when we go there. I wondered if someone had come to visit Jacob, or were the footprints from the other family at the church that lost their little boy, who is buried close to Jacob?

As we were standing there, silently, Ted noticed a tiny bird in the tree that Jacob is buried under. It was a little brown bird right in the center. There are no leaves on the tree and the bird was well camouflaged and protected. I wondered if it was a sign from Jacob. I’ve never seen a bird in a tree like that before, but I haven’t really looked either. Then I thought of Angela and Charlotte, her little bird.

This picture was taken on February 5th, but that is the tree that the bird was in.
We usually stand on the right side of the hedge, in the middle in front of the bench. That is
where the footprints stopped on Monday.  You can still see the rose that we put there on
Christmas Day. It has been moved as it needed support from the hedge, but it is still there.

Ted couldn’t stay long, he just felt too sad, so he went and sat in the car. I stayed a few more minutes, talking and crying, telling Jacob how much we miss him. As we drove away, we talked about how sad it is.

Then I thought of the weekly company newsletter that my coworker sends out every Wednesday. She had requested photos from everyone from the long weekend for Wednesday's edition. I said to Ted that if we had taken a picture of both of us in front of the tree and added the caption “Dana and Ted visit their son Jacob’s resting place”, it probably would have been rejected. Too depressing.

When I got to work on Tuesday, I told my coworker about the photo we could have submitted and we laughed (I know, a bit of black humour) about it, knowing that a photo and caption like that wouldn’t have been allowed to run. Such is the life of a BLM. We have pictures of our baby, but few people want to see them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Progress made.....not so much

I thought that I have been making some progress in seeing pregnant women. I could see a pregnant woman on the street and not want to run and hide, not have the tears come to my eyes immediately. I would feel sad and stare into space, but it just wasn't as bad.

I could see announcements by BLM's and just be geniunely happy for them, instead of geniunely happy for them AND aching that it wasn't me making the announcements. I felt, and it feels, so good to just be happy for them. 

The one time I still have trouble is when the woman is the same number of weeks that I was when I lost one of my 3 - 5 weeks, 10 weeks and 20-21 weeks. I also can't watch videos of anything pregnancy related from anyone. I haven't even seen the video of my nephews ultrasound and I just recently asked to see the pictures my sister got from it (she had the ultrasound in December).

I should have known that any feelings of peace I had started to feel wouldn't last.

My sister is almost 7 months pregnant. It was really hard to see her once she started showing, which was pretty early in her pregnancy. Then it got harder when I found out she was having a boy. I think it is especially hard because I should be 5.5 months pregnant with Cub right now. 

Since I found out that she is having a boy, all I picture when I see her is the little baby boy in her belly moving around and what it must feel like and how much I ache for that feeling. A few weeks ago, I started to feel stronger. She had been wearing baggy sweatshirts around me, but didn't one day and I was OK. I was sad for myself and for Jacob and Cub, but I was OK, sad, but OK. Sadness is my regular state of being most days anyway.

I recently bought some baby clothes for Laurie's baby and for a friend's baby. It is harder to shop for Laurie's baby because she is having a boy, but I wanted to get something for both babies. I told Laurie that I got something for her baby and she said how nice it was and how it shows that I am healing. I know that that is true. A few months ago, there is no way that I could have bought anything for a little boy. And I know she meant well by saying it and that she doesn't mean that I am forgetting. But I can't help but think that when someone says that I am doing well and healing and making progress, that they think that I am getting over losing Jacob. I will never, ever get over losing him. It is a daily battle to not let the sadness overtake me. Some days it is harder than others and some days I just totally lose that battle. But I don't want anyone to ever think that I can get over losing him. I know she didn't mean that and I know what she said is true, but it made me sad.

On Friday night, she asked me to come and babysit Ben while she and Andy went for a movie. I decided to bring over the outfit that I bought for her baby. I had it out in the living room and then the time changed and we went over later than we first planned to. I couldn't stand having it around anymore so I put it upstairs. I did bring it out again and bring it over when we went. The thing that really got to me that it is a 3-6 month size and Jacob would be 4 months old right now. He could have been wearing it.

I was a little nervous about seeing her belly, but thought that they wouldn't stay around for too long after I got there. They stayed for over 2 hours. The odd thing kept them there and then she wanted to get Ben to bed and show me his bedtime routine since I'll be taking care of him when she has her baby. So she had him in bed and was lying next to him reading him a story. She called me to come in and I did. I stared at the pages of the book because I didn't want to look at her belly. I always end up looking at it though. I don't know why I torture myself so much. I was looking at it for movement and it's a good thing I didn't actually see any. At one point, Ben lifted her top up, so her bare belly was showing. That is something I just can't handle yet and I felt the tears come right away so I looked away and pretended to be looking at something on my slippers. She did pull the blanket over her belly and asked if I was OK and I said that I was, of course.

When they got home, we had some dessert, then Laurie showed me an outfit that Mom bought for Ben. It was pants, a shirt and a vest and Laurie laid it out across her chest and belly. I went to pick up the pants and my finger grazed her belly, which wasn't good. I feel like I pulled my hand away like I just put it in a fire, but I don't think it was that obvious.

I got home that night and was so depressed. I had a big, sobbing cry in the shower and just felt so sad and so empty.

On Saturday night, the whole family was getting together at Laurie's for her birthday. I dreaded it all days because I was scared of feeling so depressed again. But I don't want my sadness to run my life, so I never once thought of not going. Laurie said most were getting there around 6, but I could come over anytime I want to. I love to hang out with Laurie, but after the night before, I couldn't be there for any longer than I had to be.

I've never asked for it, but my OB has given me Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication, twice. 
The first time was when I was in labour Jacob. I didn't know what it was, but was told that
 it would help me sleep so I took it and I only slept about 30 minutes. She also gave it to 
me when I was miscarrying Cub. I took it once, just to see what it would do, but I didn't 
notice much difference.

I decided that I would take it last night because I was so sad seeing Laurie's belly the night before. 
I took it just before we left and it made me drowsy but is also helped alot. I didn't feel nearly as bad as I did the night before, but there were also more people there and she was sitting behind a table alot. 

When we got home, I was so tired. I had a shower and came downstairs intending to update fertility friend. I was so out of it that I couldn't make much sense of it and fell asleep on the couch and had a better sleep than I have in months. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Cards for my babies

I came home today to a nice surprise in my mailbox from Blaine.

Thank you so much Elaine! I really needed something like this today.

(I like how you changed the name on the envelope from Elaine to Blaine).

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 13 and 14, 2010

Today has been a day for flashbacks and daydreaming about the future. My daydreams get so involved, that twice I found myself answer something out loud from a question asked in my daydream...always about the baby that I am pregnant with in that daydream. Then I would find myself relieving the moment that Dr. A couldn't find Jacob's heartbeat, then the time when I was cleaning my blood off the floor while getting dressed to go home the day he was born. I felt bad leaving it there for someone else to do. 

The last weekend in January 2010, Ted and I went to Montreal to visit his Mom and his friends. His sister and brother-in-law joined us at his Mom's house. It was so cold there that we didn't want to go out much at all. On the drive to Montreal, I kept noticing a lump in my throat and mentioned it to Ted. I hoped with everything I had that it meant that I was pregnant. While we were there, his Mom made a cake from a mix. After we all had a piece, someone looked at the box and noticed that it had expired. I wondered if I was pregnant and worried a little, but none of us got sick. His Mom also made us a spinach dish that was stir-fried with tomatoes. It was delicious and I just thought of how healthy it was for me and the baby, if I was pregnant. 

This picture was taken on January 29th. I was on the bed at his Mom's house reading. I suspected, but didn't know at the time, of the miracle that was taking place inside me as I lay there. 

A year ago yesterday, I took the cats to the vet and then to my Mom's house. 

I took some pictures of me with the cats that morning. 

Sadie and I
Oliver and I

I believe that it was also the 13th that I took the last pregnancy test. I had already taken 4, but I wanted to use one of the digital tests and see the word. I got it at Shopper's the night before and the cashier saw what I was buying and asked if I thought there was a pretty good chance. I said that I'm pretty sure that I am and she said congratulations. 

A year ago today, Ted and I took Keisha out for lunch to a buffet restaurant. I remember sitting there and think about what I was eating and how it was good for the baby. I hoped that I wouldn't get sick from eating at a buffet restaurant, that someone who had the flu or a cold hadn't breathed over the food that I was eating. And I thought of how I was sitting right across the table from Keisha, but she had no idea I was pregnant with her half brother. 

Laurie and Ben came over to the condo to clean the litter and visit. I took lots of videos of Ben dancing and one of him saying my name, which was still a bit of a novelty then. He called me Deena...even Uncle Deena for a month or two. 

That night, I started to feel sick. I had been avoiding seeing Laurie, Ben and my parents for a few weeks because they had all had the flu. That Sunday night, I got it and missed 3 days of work. I was throwing up several times a day and was really weak. I was worried that it might hurt the baby and called Motherisk, the hotline at the Hospital for Sick Children for expectant mothers. They said that unless my fever got above 39 or so, it shouldn't do any harm. I don't think that it ever did, but I didn't take my temperature the first day I was sick. They ended the call by saying that 2-3 out of every 100 babies will be born with a birth defect, as they do for every call. I knew that bad things could happen, that babies could be born with problems, but you never think that it will actually happen to you. 

I spend those three days lying on the couch, thinking about my baby and watching the Olympics. I wish I could turn back time and have those days back again. Although I appreciated every second that I had Jacob with me, now I feel like I could have appreciated them more. I would have had my hand on my belly every second of the day. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Upcoming anniversaries

I have a bad feeling about the next several months, if yesterday was any indication of how it is going to be. The anniversaries of new, significant dates are starting. The day I found out I was pregnant, the day we told people…typical things you do when pregnant. But there are other dates and things that are a reminder. There has been a lot of talk about the 1 year anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympics, which I watched all the time. I got the flu shortly after finding out I was pregnant and the Olympics kept me from being bored to tears when I felt too sick to get off the couch. Then I had a few days reprieve before the all-day nausea started. On February 13, 2010, we took Keisha, my step-daughter, out for lunch. On February 14th, my sister Laurie and nephew Ben came over and cleaned the litter boxes and we spent several hours together.

I think this blog is going to become a record of memorable of dates until June 2, 2011. They are hard to think about. It is hard to remember such a happy time in my life when I know the unhappy ending. I wish that we could just skip forward to June 2 and past the 1 year anniversary of Jacob’s birth and late May when he died. Since I don't know the exact date he died, there will be days of wondering if that day marks one year.

All of the dates coming up are overwhelming me right now. I spent a while on the couch last night crying thinking about it all. How one year ago at that time, I was probably lying on the couch and staring at my belly and rubbing my hands on it, thinking of my baby in there and of everything we had to look forward to.

As I lay there crying, Sadie, poor sickly little Sadie, crawled over to me and lay against my chest. Everytime I made some noise while crying, she looked at me and purred a little louder. I started to think of how it could be worse, because it can always be worse. I thought that Sadie was going to die last Sunday night, but there she was, cuddling up against me and I was grateful that I wasn’t grieving for her and for Jacob. Oh, but I miss Jacob so much. I was starting to think that I don’t need to sleep with his blanket every night, but I do. I’m just not ready to stop yet.

When I think of how daunting these dates are, I think back to what I have already survived. The months that I should still have been pregnant, but wasn’t and how every Thursday that went by, another week of how far along I should be, was noted. Every Tuesday that passed, taking me another week away from the last time I held Jacob. The living in fear of Jacob’s due date and then Christmas and then New Year’s Eve. But I survived all of those dates, as hard as it was. I can survive these ones too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One year ago

It was one year ago yesterday that I found out that I was pregnant. It was a faint positive, but a positive nonetheless. I was cautious, hoping that it was true, so I tested again the next day (and everyday for a few more days), one year ago today and the result was darker. I was so happy. It was the beginning of the best 5 months of my life. I was in a 2 day course on February 9 and 10, 2010 and I practically floated there. The course was boring for the most part, but the thought of the baby growing inside me was overwhelming and thrilling and I just couldn’t believe that I was pregnant. I sat in that course all day and thought about my baby. When we had lunch, I thought of how the food I was eating would help the baby. As I was walking to the hotel, someone was giving out free lunch bags at the subway that had orange juice, yogurt and fruit in it. I drank the orange juice and knew that I would be much more conscious of my diet in the months to come. Anything to make my baby healthy. I had vegetarian chili for lunch the second day and knew that it was good for my baby. On the way to the hotel in the morning, someone in front of me was smoking and I held my breath and walked around them quickly to protect my baby. There was another pregnant woman at the course, probably 7 months along. I stared at her every time she got up and thought of how that would be me in a few months. Then I got home that night, calculated the due date and called my parents and sisters and told them. It was such a good day.

It is painful to think of happy I was then. It is painful to think that I may never be that happy again. It’s hard to believe that I ever will be, since nothing can ever bring that baby back to me, that sense of peace, the bliss I felt when I was pregnant.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eight months

Today is 8 months since we held Jacob in our arms. I can’t believe that it has been so long….how is it even possible? Yesterday was 8 months since we found out that he died. These anniversaries are falling on the same days of the week that we found out and that he was born on…a Monday and a Tuesday. The days our lives changed forever.

Right after Jacob died, I couldn’t even imagine this far into the future. It was just within my grasp to see a week into the future, but even that was a struggle. The future was murky and scary and overwhelming. Now here I am, living and doing fairly well. I still have a lot of sad times. I still feel the emptiness. I’m not anywhere near back to my old self. The tears still come fairly frequently. If I get frustrated with something, no matter how small, it often turns into tears and then thinking of him and then the big cry comes on and I just ache for him.

Every time I walk into our bedroom, I say hi to him as that is where his ultrasound picture is and where his bears are. I often talk to him when I’m doing dishes, in the shower, folding laundry. I imagine him there with me as I do those things and what it would be like. When I wake up early for work and feel too tired to get out of bed, I imagine just how tired I should be because I should have gotten up several times in the night with Jacob (or I should have gotten up a few times to go to the bathroom because I should be 5 months pregnant right now). Every time I go out, I think of what the preparation should be for going out. Getting Jacob all bundled up in his snowsuit, packing the diaper bag and then getting him into his carseat.

At church on Sunday, there were flowers on the communion table for another lost baby (who died 7 years ago) and an announcement in the bulletin of the 3 babies who have been born in the past few months (all living). I ran my fingers over their names and imagined seeing Jacob’s name in there too. I was relieved to see that the three pregnant women I saw in September when I was working in the nursery (and who unknowingly caused a pretty big cry while I was still at church) all had babies that lived. The minister, the same one who came to see me 3 times in the hospital, was saying a prayer during the service and talked about all of the people who are suffering for various reasons, including those who have lost a baby. I barely managed to keep myself from crying at certain times in the service but I love that he always seems to mention something about loss when I am there.

Afterwards, I was talking to the Mom who put the flowers on the communion table for her lost little boy Samuel, and Rev. Mike walked by, squeezed my elbow and asked if I was OK. I guess he noticed me struggling during the service, which was nice.

I stopped by Jacob’s garden, of course. The rose that we planted on Christmas Day is in surprisingly good shape.

I don’t have much else to say. I just wish that Jacob was in our arms, that our house had baby stuff all over the place, that I was doing tons of laundry for cute little baby clothes. That my biggest worry was arranging a spot in a day care for when I went back to work. I wish that I wasn’t trying to get pregnant again right now because I had a 3.5 month old baby at home.

All of the wishing is pointless. Nothing can change what has happened. Jacob is gone and I have to accept it and learn to live in a world without my child. I think it will be a lifelong process.