Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2010 in review

I wonder if women who give birth to a living baby think so much about what their life was like a year ago. Do they get to a certain date and remember how on that date last year, they found something that helped with the nausea? Or are they so happy and busy with their baby (and sleep-deprived) that they don't think about it. Are they glad the pregnancy is over? I really have no idea, since all I know are pregnancies that ended too soon and there was no baby to take home after, just keepsakes and memories.

March 2010 was a very happy month for Ted and I, but also a difficult one as I felt physically terrible for almost the entire month. But the happiness and excitement outweighed the nausea.

Unfortunately I didn't write in a journal in March 2010. I intended to. I even bought one, but I just felt too sick to sit down and do it. Luckily I jotted some things down in a calendar and I have been able to patch together other events from emails and pictures.

March 4, 2010 - 9 weeks pregnant. I went out for lunch with the department for someone's birthday. I very carefully chose what to eat from the menu because I had to make sure there was nothing in it that could hurt the baby and just thinking about certain foods made me nauseous. No one at work knew that I was pregnant yet. On the walk back to work, I ended up walking beside my coworker who smokes. I made sure to stay as far away as I could from her and I made sure not to breathe in the smoke. I sent an email to Laurie that day, saying that I felt pretty sick when I was at lunch, but managed to hold it together. I later sent an email to Ted saying that I couldn't eat tofu that night. Just the thought of it made me feel sick.

March 5, 2010 - There was a lunch event that my company bought tickets too. I arranged for people to fill our table, and I went too. I don't remember who was speaking that day. The Minister of Finance I think. I rode the TTC to the hotel with Laurie from work. I told her that I was married to Ted and she got so excited. I wanted to tell her that I was pregnant, but we were waiting until 12 weeks, so I held back.

March 7, 2010 - I already did a separate post on what happened on this date. Ted and I went to visit our coworker who had a baby boy on February 19th. I felt very nauseous that day. As I held Ethan, I pictured holding my baby in 7 months.

March 10, 2010 - I went out at lunch, determined to find a candy I could suck on as I thought it would help with the nausea. I had already tried ginger candies (which were disgusting). I clearly remember standing in PharmaPlus and looking at all the bags of the different hard candies. I must have been there for 30 minutes, reading the ingredients and figuring out which ones were the best. I felt very sick while doing this. I always had my black "throw up bag" handy. I still have a black bag in my coat pocket. I have no plans to take it out. I also have some Werther's candies in my coat pocket from that time. No plans to remove them either. Laurie also came by my office with Ben. Jen took a picture of me holding him. I already posted about this here.

March 11, 2010 - 10 weeks pregnant. My cousin, Katherine, is in a movie called Tying Your Own Shoes, about adult artists who have down syndrome. The Toronto premier was on this night. We had planned to go, but as the date approached, I got worried about going because I threw up most nights and I didn't want to be in the theatre and either throwing up in my black bag, or running out of the room hoping to get to the bathroom in time. No one in my extended family knew that I was pregnant yet, so I just told them I was sick. I do regret not going. And of course, I didn't throw up that night.

I sent this email to Lindsay about the movie: "I really want to see the movie, but I feel really sick at night (have thrown up the last 2 nights) and even if I last through the movie without throwing up, I will feel sick the whole time. Dad told them yesterday that I am sick and can’t come, but not why I am sick. Not telling anyone until April." I sent another one to her that said: Right now I have to suck on Werther’s most of the day to stave off the nausea. Or eat or drink juice, but I’ll gain weight fast if I keep that up. Water even makes me nauseous. Here’s hoping it stops after the first 3 months!

I read somewhere that women who have alot of nausea when pregnant have children whose IQ's a generally a little higher than children of mother's who don't have nausea. When I was really sick, I thought about that and was glad that at least it was doing something good for my baby.

March 12, 2010 - Every year I organize a visit for the interns in the Ontario Legislative Programme. I book meeting rooms, catering and 4 people to speak to them. I organize material to be sent to them ahead of time, and I help with a tour of our building once they arrive. It was very difficult to prepare for this as I felt so sick during the majority of the planning. Work in general was hard. It is hard to sit at your desk all day when you are nauseous and tired. I started getting dissatisfied with my job, but once the nausea stopped so did the dissatisfaction. The interns came and the visit went well. I was in a picture that was taken of the interns and the other staff at my company and I stare at it now. We went down for lunch after the picture was taken and I had a reprieve from the nausea once I started eating. Having something in my mouth almost always helped.

March 13, 2010 - We did some belly pictures. One of the big regrets I have is that we didn't do them every week. If only I could turn back time. I found out a few weeks after they were taken that the date set on the camera was wrong, so I'm not even positive of the dates that the pictures were taken. I've done my best to estimate.

10 weeks

March 14, 2010 - Today was a turning point. Lindsay would sometimes come over and we would watch a movie. When she got to our condo around 7pm, she brought some crackers and a bag of Werther's with her. I thought it was really sweet that she did that. We watched the movie Up, which was really cute. The breakthrough came while watching the movie. I hadn't sat up on the couch at night for about 4 weeks. Halfway through the movie, I didn't feel so horrible so I tried sitting up and it was fine. I sat up for the rest of it and felt halfway human again.

March 15, 2010 - Sent this email to Lindsay: Thanks for bringing all that food last night. I brought the crackers to work and have had at least 20 of the Werther's so far. That was a very nice surprise.

March 17, 2010 - Laurie had something to give me, so I went over to her office at lunch (just a 5 minute walk from my office) to get it. She works for the Children's Aid Society. Since it was March Break, there were events at her office for the kids. There were about 50+ kids there and they were all taking turns dancing. It was really good.

March 18, 2010 - 11 weeks

March 25, 2010 - 12 weeks. I felt very relieved to get to 12 weeks, I thought I was out of the danger zone.

March 31, 2010 - The weather was starting to get nice. Antoinette, a friend at work, called and asked if I want to go for a walk at lunch, which we usually do in the summer. Nothing special happened. I just remember trying to decide whether or not I should go. I decided the exercise would be good for me and wouldn't do any harm to the baby.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I signed up on the babycenter community (BCC) October 2010 birth club. I received weekly emails about how big my baby was and what developments the baby was making. I looked at the picture every day.

I don't know what day it was. I'm pretty sure that it was in mid-March to late-March. I got up at night to pee, as usual, and I couldn't pee. I knew I had to go, but nothing would come out. I sat on the toilet and leaned back, leaned forward, trying different positions. I knew that there must be pressure on the urethra and I hoped that by changing my position, the pressure would alleviate. This happened for about 24 hours and then magically stopped and went back to normal. I went on the BCC October 2010 birth board to start a post and ask if it had happened to anyone else and I found a post by someone else that had been added in the past few hours about the very same thing. It seemed that a bunch of us were having it at the same time.

I have random memories of throwing up too. I was in the middle of eating dinner one night on the couch. I had to put down my plate really fast, put my hand over my mouth because I was past the point of no return, and run to the bathroom and threw up in the sink. Another time (this happened more than once) I was having a shower and would lean over and throw up in the bathtub. The only time I wasn't at all nauseous was in the middle of the night. I always woke up to pee, and I was always hungry when I woke up. I would grab a few crackers and standing in front of the living room or den window and watch the traffic below while I ate them. Just me and my baby.

There was a commercial for Tropicana that came on TV every morning. I got up, turned on the local news and got ready for work. The commercial always made me teary. Tropicana went to a Northern community that doesn't get any sunlight during the winter. They brought a giant balloon, put it the sky and lit it. There was one little girl who does a double take when she sees the balloon and that is the scene that got to me every time. Another commercial that I can't watch now.

I think it was also around 12 weeks that I started noticing a weight in my lower belly when I bent over, even just bending over the bathroom sink when brushing my teeth. I miss that feeling so much.

Ted had to make dinner every night because I just couldn't do it. The nausea was too strong. Every weekend, we went to Oakville to go to open houses. The drive there was not fun. It was cold out, but I had to have the window down to help with the nausea. The song "Wavin' Flag" was on the radio all the time then. Every time I heard it, I would start to cry. I was just emotional in general and that song always made me think of all the kids who are born into bad circumstances and try hard to improve their lives. Of the dreams they have. As soon as the song started, we would laugh because we knew the tears would come soon. I haven't listened to that song since Jacob was born. Just hearing the first few bars of the song brings tears to my eyes.

When we were in Costco once, I decided that I really had to have some lemonade. Ted got it for me from a vending machine and it made such a difference! From then on, I always had juice or lemonade with me. Just a little sip would help make the nausea a little better for a few minutes. I couldn't stand to drink water, as it made the nausea worse.

I went to Indigo most days at lunch and would hang out in the pregnancy book aisle. I'd grab a book or two, find a place to sit, and read them. I remember hoping that someone at work didn't see me, since no one knew I was pregnant yet.

Laurie loaned me a book called "The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy". It was so funny. Even though I felt too sick to read a book in general, I managed to read this one at night because it was just so funny. It had alot of good information about all the embarrasing things that can happen to you when pregnant. I read it again when I was pregnant with Cub. Now that I've read it when pregnant with 2 babies who both died, I won't be reading it next time I'm pregnant.

I got my haircut when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. I hesitated to do it, because I didn't want to be around any hair dye, that's how paranoid I was. I went anyway, telling myself not to be so paranoid, and when the hairdresser asked if I had kids, I was so happy to say that I was pregnant.

10 months ago today that we found out that Jacob had died and our lives were turned upside down.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My dream

Dear Jacob,

Tonight I watched a documentary of Celine Dion's world tour. She would meet with her fans and they were in tears, saying how it was their dream to meet her and what a difference she made to their life.

She met a family with 3 boys. One of the boys needed a kidney and his mom gave him one of hers. Celine said that she knows that the mom would have given her heart if she had needed to and the mom cried and touched her little boys face.

We would have done anything to save you Jacob.

You were my dream, baby. You were my dream.
You changed my life. I miss you so much.

Tonight I feel like I did in the early days after you died. The tears just keep coming.

Love you forever and ever,


Friday, March 25, 2011

More than half missing

I am sad today. That is nothing new, but it seems worse today than usual. Maybe it was the 4-month pregnant woman I sat beside on the GO train. Even though I couldn’t see much through her winter coat, I still know that she is pregnant. I thought I was OK at the time. I hoped that her baby wouldn’t die.

I stayed home from work yesterday because I have a cold. I rarely take a sick day, so I decided that I shouldn’t push myself to go in and they probably wouldn’t want me at work anyway, spreading my germs. I spent several hours writing blog posts on things I remember from March and April 2010 when I was pregnant. I got 2 pictures at the first ultrasound I had with Jacob, when the IPS screening was done. I have 2 copies of one picture (because I called them when he died and asked for a copy of all the pictures they took, but they only gave me one) and I can’t find the other one. I searched everywhere that his belongings are. Then I cried and cried and felt like a terrible mother. I apologized to him many times. I took a picture of the ultrasound picture months and months ago, but it isn’t that great. I do have CD's of the 2 ultrasounds I had in May, so I have alot of u/s pictures, but losing even one is too much. I also can’t find the necklace that my Mom gave me after he died and that really bothers me too. I have been searching for months for it. I think they both got misplaced when I moved, but I was so careful with his things. Ted reminds me that I’m only human and it is expected that I will lose something. That’s true, of course, but I can’t accept that I would lose something belonging to my baby. I’m sure the ultrasound picture and the necklace are in the house somewhere, probably in an obvious spot. I just wish I knew where.

Ted has been sad the past few nights too. As he was making dinner on Wednesday, I was sitting in the kitchen with him and he was trying to figure out why he felt so sad and restless. We talked about it and I said that it is a feeling of turmoil and dissatisfaction, which he agreed with. I feel like that almost all the time and I have given it a lot of thought. I know what it is, of course -  all because our babies died.

Before Jacob was conceived, we were a family of 2 and we were happy. Then I got pregnant and we became a family of 3. Then he died and we became a family of 3 minus 1. Then August and Cub died. Now we are a family of 5 minus 3. How can someone feel complete when more than half of their family is missing?

March 27, - I found the other ultrasound picture! Now I just need that necklace.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A wonderful night

Last night I met Jackie, Oscar's Mom, for tea. It was a wonderful night. I felt so accepted. I could say anything and she knew how it felt. We had so much in common, right down to things that happened as teenagers, that happened at the same age, even starting in the same month. But the biggest thing we have in common is that we have both lost our son's.

I shared pictures of Jacob with Jackie a few weeks ago and she saw his beauty and told me that again last night. She showed me a picture of Oscar. He is such a beautiful, wonderful baby. My heart just broke looking at him. At what his life should have been like. Of what his Mom and Dad's and brother and sister's life should be like. I felt so honoured when Jackie showed his ashes to me. It was so hard to believe and accept that the beautiful baby in the picture was now ashes. Life is not fair. She told me some things that broke my heart. We all have those moments from our stories of when our baby was born.

We talked for about 3 hours in the coffee shop, only leaving when they started vacuuming around us. Then we walked towards the garden where Jacob is buried. I was so grateful that Jackie wanted to go there. We stayed for about 10 minutes. It was so peaceful and so nice to be there with another Mom who understands. I love all the comments Jackie made about the garden, about how she understands that I worry that he is cold there, that it is too dark, that he is lonely, that he feels abandoned. We talked sometimes, we stood there silently sometimes. There was no need for words. I told her about the butterfly that came on Jacob's 1 month anniversary. I said I can't believe that my baby is in the ground. She said she couldn't believe that her baby is in her pocket. We laughed in a sad, resigned way, as only baby loss Mom's can laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

In addition to the gift of understanding and acceptance that Jackie gave me, she gave me some gifts that I can look at as well. All very thoughtful. All of which will be cherished.

This lantern has each of my baby's names on it. I just love it. I can't wait to sit on the back patio on a summer night with a candle in the lantern in the center of the table.

A bandanna, from Jacob's

And a scarf. I saw my Jessie for lunch today and she recognized the scarf right away. Jessie and I went shopping a few weeks ago and she looked at this scarf and talked about me getting it. Then we got distracted and forgot to get it.

I had trouble falling asleep last night. I kept thinking of things we talked about, about how much more there is to say. I don't think a baby loss Mom can ever finish talking about their lost baby. I am so grateful to have people in my life to talk to. Once I did fall asleep, I slept well and woke up feeling a peace that is usually elusive.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

If they could see us.....

Today Ted and I were driving around running some errands. He told me that last night, he was thinking about Jacob alot. When he thinks about Jacob, he usually thinks of a baby who is a few months old, and what he would have looked like. He rarely thinks of what Jacob actually looked like when he was born because it is just too painful to relive it. But last night, he kept thinking about the day Jacob was born and what he looked like then. How muscular he looked, how he had my shoulders, and he remembered how much he hurt that day. How sad he felt. I said I was glad Jacob had something from me, since he had Ted's nose and lips and we said how grateful we were that Jacob's eyes were open when he was born. I only saw his left eye open, as his right eye closed while I was delivering the placenta. Ted said it was just open a little, like Jacob was squinting.

We talked about how much we miss him. Ted likes to fly kites and he said that he had planned on doing that with Jacob this summer. We talked about how Jacob would have been watching the kite in awe. He would have been 8-10 months old over the summer. We would have taken him to the park all the time. Now we visit him in the garden.

We talked about the next baby and how, if we are lucky enough to bring that baby home, we will stare at that baby's face trying to see a bit of Jacob in it. I warned him that I'll probably cry when I have the next baby. If the baby lives, I'll be crying tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Bringing a baby home would be amazing, but hearing a baby crying when he or she is born and nursing that baby and bringing that baby home and raising that baby will let us see exactly what we are missing out on with Jacob. I long for all of that though. I can't think of anything that would make me happier than feeling another baby kick me from inside, from delivering that baby and holding a living, breathing baby in my arms.

Ted also brought up the idea of being able to see him, just one day a year. What it would be like if we could see him every June 1st. He wouldn't be able to see us, but we could see him. We could see that he is happy and having fun and healthy. Then, one day a year, Jacob could see us. We wouldn't know what day it was. I imagined what Jacob would see. Would he see us feeling sad and crying and muddling through each day? Would he worry that he caused us so much pain and feel bad about that? Would he see us having fun and laughing and think that we didn't miss him at all? Or would he know that we were trying to make the best of life without him and not letting our lives stop because his did, but he could see that we are missing him every minute. Would he see how grateful we are that he came into our lives, even though he couldn't stay?

He would see the things we have up around the house with his name on it. He would see the necklace I always wear. He would see the tattoos we have.

I went to Laurie's house for a while and then we took Ben out to do some errands. Ben had some ladybugs drawn on his arms. I asked to see his pictures and then showed him tattoo. We talked about the butterfly and the baby feet and Laurie said that the word there is Jacob and told him that Jacob is his cousin.

We drove by the funeral home and I told Laurie that that was the place where Jacob was. Ben heard that and looked over at me and said "Jacob there?" I said that he had been there, but isn't anymore.

I sat in the back seat with Ben singing songs and thought of how I am a mother, but I don't know how to put a car seat in the car. I know how to pick up my baby's ashes from a funeral home and bury him instead.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today I was in a bookstore with Ted. I was looking at some books and suddenly realized that I was rubbing my belly and it brought me right back to being pregnant with Jacob and rubbing my belly in exactly the same way. I could feel it in a way that I haven't felt it since losing him. It felt good and brought me some peace. It made me realize that I really did rub my belly enough when I was pregnant. That I did it all the time. Of course it has made me sad too. Ted didn't notice me doing it and I don't want to talk to him about it and make him feel sad too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What should be, and what was

Today Jacob should have been 5 months old.

A year ago today, I was 10.5 weeks pregnant and I had a breakthrough. For weeks I had been lying down on the couch every night after work. I would get up to eat dinner, then lie down again, only getting up when I had to run to the bathroom to throw up and then until it was time to go to bed. Sometimes I would fall asleep on the couch, but mostly I just felt nauseous.

Lindsay came over a year ago today to watch a movie. She arrived with a bag of Werther's and some crackers. I thought it was so sweet of her to do that, to remember that the Werther's helped the nausea alot.

Ted, Lindsay and I watched the movie Up!. It was a really cute movie. I started off lying down on the couch, but about halfway through the movie, I felt well enough to sit up, so I watched the rest sitting on the couch. I know that doesn't seem like a big deal, sitting upright on the couch, but it was for me. It had been weeks since I'd been able to do it and it felt good.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12, 2010

One year ago today, the Ontario Legislature Interns came to my office for a visit. My employer is a sponsor of the OLIP programme, so we have them come every year and explain what we do and then have lunch after. I coordinate the visit with the interns and everyone at work who participates.

The visit went well. I felt sick the whole time, but I didn't have to run out of the room.A picture was taken of the group. I wasn't visibly pregnant yet and no one at work knew. The picture was in our quarterly magazine and I look at it occasionally. I study my face carefully for the person I used to be. I study my belly, even though you can't see a bump.

At the lunch after, I got my vegetarian meal and felt better when I was eating, as I almost always did. It would only last a few minutes, but it was nice when it happened.

I don't remember much else from that day. I'm sure I went home and crashed on the couch, as always. Ted would have made dinner. I probably threw all or half of it up after. Then I probably fell asleep on the couch until Ted woke me up to move to the bed.

Yesterday I got some Premium Plus crackers out of the cupboard and had a flashback to being pregnant. I would often wake up in the middle of the night starving. I'd get up, grab 4-5 crackers and stand in front of the living room window or den door and watch the traffic while I ate them, thinking about the baby in my belly. It was the only time that I didn't feel nauseous at all, which figured since I had to go back to bed after. It was nice though and I miss those times.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2010

One year ago today, I discovered that Werther's Originals helped the nausea. It was hard being at work everyday. I sat at my desk in a haze of nausea and each day dragged by. I had started to notice that if I had something in my mouth, the nausea wasn't as bad. So one day at lunch, I went to a Pharma Plus and spent about 20 minutes looking at the ingredients in all of the candy they had. I wanted to get something with as few preservatives as possible. I felt so sick standing there. I was too hot and the nausea always got worse when I was too hot. Then I looked at the Werther's bag and saw that it only had about 5 ingredients, all of which I knew what they were and compared well to the 10-15 unknown ingredients everything else had, so I bought a bag. Having the Werther's made such a huge difference.

I still find Werther's candies in coat pockets and in purses that I used back then. Even though they look a little worse for wear and I wouldn't eat them, I can't bring myself to throw them out. I still have the receipt and it now lives in the box of Jacob's things.

I was never without some Werther's with me after that. It made the subway trips to and from work better. Not great, but better.

Our routine when getting on the subway was to take my coat off as soon as we got on the train. Otherwise I felt like I was burning up and the nausea got alot worse. Then I would ride much of the way to work with my head on Ted's shoulder. I was always such a relief when we got to work. I miss those days though.

Today I was going through some files on my computer at work and found a picture taken on March 5, 2010 when Laurie and Ben came to visit. My friend Jen took the picture with her iphone. I felt pretty sick at the time, but I was happy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2010

A year ago today, I was 9 weeks pregnant and feeling very sick. But I was very happy.

A friend of ours had a baby boy on February 19th and we went to visit her a year ago today. I felt terrible on the car ride over, as I always felt especially sick in the car, but feeling the cold air hit me as I got out helped.

She didn't know I was pregnant at the time. As I sat on the couch and held her son, I thought of how I would be holding my baby in 7 months.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Haircut...and a chance to mention Jacob

I got a long overdue haircut today.


The hairdresser was really talkative and I wondered if she would ask if I have any kids. She did eventually and I said that I have a son who passed away. She said "pardon me?", wondering if she heard right, so I said it again and said that it happened 9 months ago and he was stillborn. She was nice, said how sorry she was and how hard it must have been. I said thanks and that it has been really hard. Then I asked if she has kids since I could tell that she didn't know what to say next. I love that she didn't say any of the bad things people it must have happened for a reason.

She said that I have a lot of new hair growing - baby hair, she called it. I told her that alot of my hair fell out after I had the baby so it's nice that it is growing back.

When she was drying my hair, I scratched my cheek and she asked if I was OK. I think she wondered if she had upset me by asking and I was crying (which she didn't...I liked it). I also have a bit of a cold, so my eyes just look a little red in general.

As I was getting up from the chair, she leaned over and said that she really hopes that everything goes well for me and wished me all the best.

I had my hair cut at the same place when I was pregnant with Jacob. I don't remember exactly when it was, but the nausea wasn't so bad so it was probably in late April. As I was sitting there, I realized that I was sitting in the same chair as that time, but had a different hairdresser. The last time I had been in that chair, I was talking about being pregnant and when he was due. The happy things.
This was only the second time since I had Jacob that I've been asked if I have kids and both times the person who asked was sympathetic and said nice things. I may have scared them both off from asking anyone if they have kids again though.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

9 months

Today is 9 months since Jacob was born. I really, honestly have no idea how I am still alive and functioning. I couldn’t see a few days into the future for the longest time, the future was just an abstract concept, and suddenly it is 9 months. How was the 6 month anniversary 3 whole months ago? How is it that time can move so slowly but so quickly all at once?

I don’t have much to say today. The flashbacks started on the way to work and I just don't know how today will go.

I miss him, I ache for him. I miss what we had together while he was alive, I miss what we could have had together. Our relationship is far different than I ever thought my relationship would be to my child, but I am so grateful that he is mine….that we had him for as long as we did. It wasn’t long enough, but it was better than nothing.

I love you baby boy. Thinking of you always. I hope you are happy and comfortable where you are and you know how much you are loved and missed.

Update: Tonight we got pizza and drove to the garden. We sat in the car eating (because it was cold). Ted said that it is hard to believe that this happened to us. We got out of the car and stood by the garden for awhile, hugging and telling Jacob how much we love and miss him.