Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One year anniversary of finding out

We found out on May 31, 2010 that Jacob had died. I could write all about that day, but I remember it in so much detail that this post would be really long and I'm bad about leaving things out. I wrote about it in a journal in the days after he was born and it takes up 26 handwritten pages. I had to go through every detail to help comprehend what had happened. I wrote a bit about it on my blog here. In the coming days, I'm going to post what my sisters sent to me after he died. I asked them to write about their memories and it was so interesting to read about it from their point of view. They knew things that I didn't know and I wanted to know every detail. I was so hungry for it.

I woke up today around 7:20am and started crying right away. Ted had already gone outside to get the garbage to the curb so I just lay there and cried for awhile. Then I got up and sobbed for about 45 more minutes. It was so like the cries from the early days. I felt so heartbroken and empty. The emptiness consumed me.

I felt like the whole day would be like that, but it didn't turn out to be. I watched the kids outside walking to school and imagined them doing that last year too. Parents dropping off their kids, people taking their dogs for a walk. It still seem amazing that everyone in the world was still going on as usual, when my baby was dead. I know other baby loss Mom's feel this way too.

I tried not to look at the time very often, but I always did. The flashbacks just kept coming and coming. My appointment with Dr. A was at 9:15am last year. I was called into the exam room around 9:35am. Jan weighed me and I had only gained a pound, which I was surprised and proud of. The room was freezing and I was about to turn of the air conditioner when Dr. A walked in. We talked a bit, I asked about some DHA supplements and told her that I don't even take tylenol even though I know it is OK to take when pregnant because if anything goes wrong, I want to know that it wasn't my fault. Then she felt my belly and said I felt more like 19 weeks, which I knew was wrong, and then tried to find his heartbeat and couldn't. And the nightmare continued.

Ted and I wanted to treat ourselves today. We talked about getting massages, but I am at the end of the 2ww and was worried about getting one just in case I'm pregnant. I could test now, but I'm not. I can't take a negative result right now and I want Jacob's days to be his days. I found out I was pregnant with Cub on Jacob's due date, so I didn't want to do that on a significant day again.

We ended up getting a manicure and pedicure today and it was nice. I haven't had one since we got married and Ted had never had them. The woman doing my manicure asked if I have any kids. I said that I have a son but he passed away. Her expression didn't change and she asked where I work. I don't know if she didn't listen to my answer or what. It didn't bother me.

Then we drove around and eventually came home. We didn't want to go to any stores or malls because there would be too many triggers. We couldn't go walk around downtown for the same reason. I talked to Carrie, did some stuff on the internet and then called Sara. We talked for 2 hours and talking to Carrie and Sara both helped a lot. Sara had her baby at the same hospital I had Jacob and her experience there was so much worse than mine. She is part of the reason that my experience wasn't worse. She is also pregnant and will be induced on June 20, 5 days before Cub was due, so we aren't planning on meeting in the near future. She gave a lot of great advice and information about high risk clinics for the future and I got to talk about Jacob and grief and I found out about her little girl Hannah.

Ted and I sat on the backyard deck for awhile. It was nice just sitting in the sun and listening to the birds and the water running in the pond.

We then went for a walk to the grocery store and stopped for ice cream on the way. We went to the lake and ate it there, which was a mistake since families and their little boys were there. At the grocery store, Ted went in while I waited outside. I didn't want to take any chance of seeing a pregnant woman or baby. On the way home, we walked by a father teaching his son to ride a bike without training wheels. I grabbed Ted's hand and said it would be him soon. He said that was one of his saddest moments of the day.

I haven't cried since this morning, which is surprising and I'm not altogether happy about that.

So far, the weather is mimicking the weather of May 31st and June 1st 2010. Today was sunny and hot. There is supposed to be a thunderstorm tonight and tomorrow is supposed to be nice again. I hope that this happens every year. It seemed so appropriate that there was a big thunderstorm the night I was in the hospital and in labour with my baby.

It feels so strange to be here. How did we survive the past year? How are we in this place? How did I survive May 31 and June 1, 2010? Last June, I couldn't see a day into the future. I couldn't figure out what to wear for a few weeks. I would stand in the closet and stare at my clothes and start crying. Ted had to rescue me. I didn't eat unless food was put in front of me. I couldn't function well in groups until recently. I haven't had a truly good day in a year.

The flashbacks are starting again. The pain was getting worse this time last year. I spent the whole day with my hand on my belly, since I knew my time being able to do that was short. The room was freezing. I eventually had 7 or 8 heated blankets on me. There is so much to remember about that night. I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight. Although the flashbacks are painful, I still want to have them. I feel like I am honouring Jacob's life by having them.

I just got a message on Facebook from a friend that I used to work with. I didn't know that she was reading my blog until recently and tonight I got this picture, taken on a beach in New Zealand. Thank you Silvia. I am in tears (in a good way).

Beautiful

Monday, May 30, 2011

Grateful

May 30, 2010

It was a Sunday. I don't remember everything we did during the day. We had our new real estate agent, Paulette, over. That night, I called Rogers because the picture we were getting on our TV hadn't been that great, I steamed some clothes, and I uploaded some pictures of our wedding on Facebook. When I called Rogers, I spoke to 3 different people and was on the phone for at least an hour. The first person did something that knocked out our cable completely and the next 2 people couldn't fix it. They said to call the next day when someone else would be at work. They were very apologetic and were probably relieved that I wasn't really mad. I planned to call again the next night.

While I was steaming some clothes, maybe the blouse and skirt I wore the next day, I felt Jacob kick.  I knew it was early to be doing kick counts, but I thought it would be fun to start writing down the times and then I could look for a pattern.


I guess I stayed up later than usual that night, since I recorded a kick at 11:32. I was usually asleep before 10pm back then. Last night, Ted and I were talking about how early I fell asleep when I was pregnant. I would fall asleep on the couch and he would be in the bedroom watching basketball. He'd call me close to 11 and tell me to come to bed. I'd reply and say that I was coming, and then fall asleep again. We were laughing about it and I just barely stopped myself from crying.


May 30, 2011

Today was strange. It wasn't technically the one year anniversary of finding out Jacob had died, but it is a Monday and we found out on a Monday. I had alot of flashbacks to lying in the hospital bed.

I woke up around 3:30am as I was hungry. I got up, had some crackers (and 2 chocolate chip cookies) and went back to bed. But I couldn't fall asleep and I didn't want to keep Ted awake, so I went down to the couch and may have slept another hour.

Ted left for work and I went through my summer clothes and ironed a bunch of them. I saw a few of the shirts I wore while pregnant when going through the clothes, but surprisingly didn't break down. Carrie called in the morning and we had a nice talk. She also called at night and said that at the waterpark today, a beautiful blue and black butterfly flew by them and without thinking, she said "Hi Jacob". Ted called 2-3 times to see if I was ok. Then I left for the garden, where I was meeting Jackie. I got there around 11am and cried most of the time before they got there, which was around 11:40. It was heavy sobs. Flashbacks and pain and more pain. I talked to him a lot. Sometimes I sat on the bench and other times I walked around and around the garden.

Jackie and her family arrived. I am so touched that she came all the way to Oakville. I will always be grateful for everything she did. We had a nice visit and talked to way you can only talk to other baby loss Mom's. I could barely hold back the tears at the start, but then they slowed down. I brought some stuff to blow bubbles and blew some before they arrived. When they got there, Orson took over and it was fun watching him. Jackie brought some daisies, a gift and the box she donated to the hospital in Jacob's memory. The day would have been so much worse if it wasn't for her.

Orson brought over the gift bag, so I sat down and started opening it. There was a beautiful card, with a beautiful message, a healing stone that is so soft and feels so nice in my hand, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Orson said that I could read it to Oscar. What a sweet boy. I love that he thinks that way. More and more, rabbits are reminding me of Jacob. He was wrapped in a Peter Rabbit blanket and I see a rabbit in our backyard quite often.  The book was perfect. We looked at the memory box that she made for the hospital and it was wonderful. I met her husband and adorable little girl. It was so nice to meet them both and her husband said some nice things to me too.  When she dropped it off at the hospital, she went to the maternity nursing desk and spoke to a nurse named Jane who wanted to know both of our stories, cried for us, and told Jackie that her 20-something year old son was killed by a drunk driver. You just never know by looking at someone what they have been through. Jane said that they would send me a letter saying that an item had been donated in my baby's name.

After they left the garden, I went back, sat down on the bench and read The Tale of Peter Rabbit out loud. It felt so good doing it. I took one of the daisies she gave me and planted it where he is buried. Jackie had pointed out that the bush surrounding the garden is called boxwood (I think that's what she said. I have been very scatterbrained this week) and people used to hang it in their homes as protection. She also saw a tree and said that it is a very maternal tree and women used to bury their placentas under it. I love how significant those plants are. It makes me feel more confident of how protected Jacob is.

It had been so hot when I left the house, but it had been cold in the garden so I went home and got a sweater. I then left to meet my Dad at the mall for coffee. We had a nice visit, I told him about the things that Jackie did.

I got a text message from Jessie. It said "One year Monday anniversary, and it's warm and sunny just like last year." Oh, I loved getting that. I love that she thinks so much like me. And I like what she called it, the "one year Monday anniversary". I had been trying to figure out what to call it.  I wrote back and asked if she was having flashbacks too and she replied that she was, but that it was nothing new. I want to cry just writing that. It means so much.

I talked to my Mom and Laurie and Lindsay sent me a text message saying that she is thinking of both of us and Jacob.

Elaine sent me a book and started an event on Facebook last week for Jacob's birthday, which a lot of people are attending, and I have received so many nice comments both on that wall and my own Facebook account wall. I also got a card in the mail from Ange and I have a gift here from Allison that I'll open on June 1st (I have had it for a few weeks, I can't believe that I have had the willpower not to open it yet).

I am so grateful that so many people are thinking of us.

Because of the weather, it was the first day that I was able to wear something that let my tattoo show. I've been waiting for that for months and it felt good. Jackie noticed it and that made me feel even better. It seemed appropriate that the first day I was able to show it was the one year Monday anniversary.

Ted had the first shower tonight. When I went up for mine, he was sitting in the chair in the spare room, which would have been Jacob's. He doesn't normally do this so I asked if he was OK. He said he was, but I pressed for more and he said that he was thinking of how sad it is and how that room should have been Jacob's. He had been imagining what it would have looked like. He pointed to the closet door and said how he would have measured Jacob's height on it.

Last night, I was looking at my belly pictures. Ted happened to walk by and see and said how big I had been. It's hard to remember exactly how big I was. I love that I have those pictures.

Tomorrow and Wednesday are scary. They seem like a huge black void and I am scared. Tonight I put on the same underwear that I was wearing the day I found out. I have been wearing the same earrings I was the day I found out.  I guess we'll just see how it goes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

And harder still

We had another hard day here. The tears are just barely under the surface for both of us, but this afternoon seems to be better than this morning was. 

I saw the bunny in the backyard this morning. I haven't seen him in a few days and bunnies are reminding me of Jacob more and more, mostly because he was wrapped in a Peter Rabbit blanket and because I see a specific bunny in the backyard quite often.

We went to church this morning. One thing we decided to do for Jacob's birthday was to make a donation to the church garden where he is buried. The church was crowded today because it was Confirmation for a few kids. I liked it because it meant that more people would get the church bulletin and would see his name.

We stopped at the garden on the way in and stayed for a few minutes, then decided to go inside before we got too sad. We got the bulletin and I searched for his name right away.





My Dad came and sat beside us. I felt slightly sad during the baptism of 2 teenage girls, thinking of how we should have done that with Jacob. Then Rev. Mike said a prayer and at the end, said something about comforting those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, of living with the pain of living without them and that their lost loved one isn't hurting, they are in the most amazing place (not his exact words). I couldn't stop the tears then and I saw that Ted's eyes were watery.

After the sermon was over, my Dad said how sweet it was what was written in the bulletin and said that he would be saving it. I had been hoping that someone in my family would and I loved him saying that.

We went out the front doors and walked around the side of the church to go in for tea/coffee. As we walked, a white butterfly was flying close by. I couldn't take my eyes off it.

We went inside and saw Rev. Mike, who said that the flowers were beautiful (he got mixed up and thought we had put flowers at the front of the church, as 2 other families did that day). Then we talked to a few people and I saw a girl that I went to elementary and junior high with. We were never friends. She hung out with some of the mean kids, but I don't remember her being particularly bad. I felt like she was looking at me alot. I pointed her out to Ted and he said that she was staring at me when he looked at her. I think she must have linked the baby mentioned in the bulletin to me since my last name was in their and I felt very satisfied.

As we left, I wanted to say hi to Mike's wife, Yvonne. She was talking to a pregnant women. I touched her on the shoulder as we walked by and she asked how I was. I said that it is a tough week and she said she knows, she saw the bulletin. I love that so many people saw it and thought about Jacob, even if only for a second.

Ted and I went back to the garden and stayed there for 10 minutes or so. I kept crying. I had flashbacks to lying in the hospital bed when I was in labour and my heart beat faster. We walked around downtown for awhile. I saw someone who had the same dark hair as my OB and thought of her. Less than 5 minutes later, Ted gestured towards two woman walking by us and asked if that was her. It was. She was looking away from us into a store window so I didn't say hi. We've run into her a few times now.

We got in the car and started to leave the downtown. At a red light, she crossed in front of the car again. When I see her face, I see her trying to find his heartbeat. I see her telling me about my options to induce now or go home and come back later. I see her handing him to me. I wonder if she realized that it has almost been a year since he was born. I doubt it, given all of the patients she sees. After Jacob died, I looked her up on the internet and saw that she runs a lot of marathons, and that she ran one on May 30, 2010.

We went to the mall after to get Ted some shoes and pants. I was very sad on the way there. I had been scatterbrained all morning and I was trying to get out of the fog.  The mall was full of pregnant woman and babies, as they always are. We got home, I spoke to Carrie for a few minutes, and then Jackie on Facebook. Jackie is donating a memory box to the hospital where Jacob was born for his birthday. I love that she is doing that.

I think I'll make Nanaimo Bars tonight. I need the comfort good.

The weather is supposed to be really nice this week. I am really happy about that because now I can wear shorts, capris and skirts and my tattoo will be visible.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

We had been having some problems with the real estate agent we had hired to sell the condo. The problems had been going on for about a month and we were just fed up. I sent her an email on that Saturday morning asking to meet with her the next day. Because of all of her contacts, she was recommending my brother-in-law for some jobs, so we wanted to be careful not to jeopardize that.

It was Doors Open Toronto, something I had been going to for 5 years. It allows you to go into buildings for free that normally don't allow visitor's, or charge a fee. We went to several places, but I don't remember all of them. We went to the house of William Lyon Mackenzie King and to the rooftop garden at City Hall. I thought that we would be bringing Jacob there next year. As we went into Mackenzie King's house, I wondered how we would manage with a stroller next time.

Then we went to Osgoode Hall, which is where the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Law Society of Upper Canada are located. It was a beautiful building. There was an area with an atrium and benches around the sides. Ted wanted me to sit down for awhile since we had been doing a lot of walking. I was glad to as my feet were hurting. We sat there for awhile, taking in the architecture and people-watching. After awhile, we went upstairs and into the courts. Some people were going up to the judges bench and getting their picture taken.

We went into a conference room, which was pretty impressive, and the library. It looked like a typical law library you see on TV, with bookshelves stacked high with ladders that could move around on a track. There was a second level with more books, which went around the edges of the room and looked on the lower level. I think we went up there. Down on the lower level, we took the following pictures. We were both so happy. I can't even explain the level of happiness we both felt. I loved the baby I felt moving around inside. I loved everything about my changing body. I was so happy walking around and having people notice that I was pregnant. Every moment was special. These are some of my favourite pictures taken of me when I was pregnant.





They had some refreshments available and I was really thirsty, so we got a can of Iced Tea and I had a few sips. I had stopped drinking it when I found out I was pregnant because of the caffeine, so it was a big treat to have a few sips. 

We left Osgoode Hall and walked along Queen Street. I was starving, of course, and we stopped at a crepe restaurant. Our waitress looked pregnant and we discussed whether she was or not and how far along she might be. I had a chocolate crepe, which was really good.

We went home then, to a very nice surprise. Our real estate agent replied to my email and in a long-winded manner, said that she thought that it would be best if we get another agent. We were so happy that we didn't have to have a confrontation the next day. We already knew which agent we wanted. I can't remember if I contacted her that day, or on the 31st. 

That night was the concert that my Mom was in with the Clarkson Music Theatre group (the one I joined this year, with the concert at the beginning of May). I drove Jessie and Brian there, where we met up with Dad and, I think, Colleen, Bill and Annemarie. We were early and I was hungry, so we stopped at a Wendy's and I got the Crispy Chicken Sandwich (so much for being a vegetarian...I craved meat). Jessie got something too, and Brian walked over to Tim Horton's. When we got to the concert venue, we got our seats and I spent some time looking at my belly. I'm pretty sure I had my hand on it most of the time. I told Jessie and Brian of the change in movement, how one side of my belly would get hard and then get soft again. I figured the baby was getting bigger and was, perhaps, shifting over to that side. The hardening didn't hurt at all. I had some round ligament pain, but that was nothing new. At some point during the concert, Jessie and Brian both felt my belly when I said that it was happening and they could clearly feel it. 

The music was really good and I wondered if the baby could hear it. 

I wrote this whole post without crying. Amazing!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

It is getting harder

The days leading up to Jacob's birthday are getting harder. The tears are coming more easily as time goes by. We went for a walk tonight and I had a flashback to lying in the hospital bed on the evening on May 31st and I felt like I was there again. The 31st is this Tuesday. Last year it was on a Monday and I feel like this Monday and Tuesday will be really hard, since those are the days of the week that I found out that Jacob was gone and the day he was born. Tuesday and Wednesday will also be hard, since those are the actual dates. 

We went out and ran some errands today. We went to Home Depot and I was feeling bloated so I started pushing my belly out to see how it would look, how it felt. I kept staring down at it, trying to do it when Ted couldn't see me so it wouldn't make him sad. Then we went to Costco, which was full of pregnant women and babies. I looked at each baby and tried to guess their age, as I always do. If I think they are around 7.5 months old, I stare at them and imagine Jacob that size. We bought some flowers for the front garden. As we walked through the garden center, I remembered doing that last year, in the days after Jacob was born. Ted would keep asking my opinion back then and I tried to care, but I just didn't. It is so different to now be in stores and actually care about things. We spent too much money and I said how it all adds up so quickly as we were loading the car. Ted says we always spend too much when we are miserable. 

We got home and started to plant some flowers in front of the house. The living room windows were open and I was sitting on the front steps. I heard something from inside the house and my first thought was "The baby is awake". How long does your baby have to be dead before you stop having moments like this? I never even had him cry in this house, so why was that my first thought?

I needed the watering can for something, which I haven't used since we moved out of the condo. As soon as I looked at it, I had a flashback. We were trying to sell the condo when I was pregnant and after Jacob died. We had some flowers on the balcony and every morning, Ted asked me to water them (I needed the reminder....I didn't even eat in the early days unless he put food in front of me). I was glad to have a job to do, since that was the only thing I was doing around the house. It was all I was capable of. I remembered filling up the can, going to the balcony and watering each one in my haze of sadness, disbelief and aching. I was proud of myself for accomplishing something. Seeing the watering can today brought all that back. I'm not only scared for the upcoming anniversary days, but I feel like I will still be haunted in the days afterwards with the same pain that I felt last year. 

Ted woke up on Friday morning and said that he had a dream that we had just had a baby and said that I was so happy and I wouldn't stop holding the baby. I got up before him this morning. When I get up, I fold Jacob's blanket and tuck it under my pillow. When Ted woke up, he said that he put his hand under my pillow because he wanted to touch the blanket. 

I've cried three times today. One of them could have become a really big cry, but we were out so I suppressed it. Tonight I just cried. I had been looking at pictures of me taken on May 24, 2010. I was so happy. He might have still been alive then. 

Yesterday I got an email from Dorthy, one of the women I met at the support group I've been to twice. The email was about a bill that is going for a second reading at the legislature on June 2nd. It is to make October 15 officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in Ontario. It was forwarded to her, so I was looking at the trail of people it went through to get to her and I recognized a name. A woman named Sara Alexander said something about doing it in honour of her daughter Hannah. The box I was given in the hospital when Jacob was born had a sticker saying it was donated in memory of Hannah Alexander. So I emailed Sara and said I got a box at that hospital and asked was it from her and she wrote back quickly and said that it was and she cried when she got my email and would like to talk about the boxes some more (I said that I am donating one) and said that if I want to connect, she would love that and I could call her anytime. Her home address is in her signature so I looked it up and she lives about a 10 minute drive from me. I have her phone number and will call her in the next day or so.

I called Laurie today to see if I could have Ben for the day next Friday since I'm off work next week. She asked what I want to do for Jacob's birthday (we have talked about it before). I said our backyard isn't ready for a nice garden for him yet (next year) and that I didn't want to do a BBQ afterall because it is too much of a happy thing. I told her we are going to the garden to blow some bubbles and she wants to come. She said just to let her know what I want to do and she will be there. I think Ted and I will go to the garden before others arrive and just have some time alone there. But I would love it if she comes. It might be hard to see her baby, but to know that she is thinking of and missing Jacob overrides everything else.  

I took of my wedding and engagement rings when we were gardening. I went to put them back on before we went for a walk and another thing from Jacob's pregnancy came back to me, as they are more and more these days. I remembered that my rings were starting to get a little tight and, at the time, I was wondering how much longer I would be able to wear them. 

A few weeks ago, there was a marathon in Oakville. Ted's friend Daniel, and his girlfriend Stephanie, were in it and they came over after. Daniel told Ted awhile ago that when Stephanie heard that Jacob died, she sobbed. I was so touched at the time. I saw her once before he died and I don't even remember if we were introduced or not. Daniel said that his aunt lost a baby during pregnancy so he saw how hard it was for her and told Ted that he feels badly for us. While they were here a few weeks ago, Ted was getting the pictures of our honeymoon ready for them to see on the Mac. He accidentally opened the folder with Jacob's pictures. I don't know if Daniel and Steph saw them or not as Ted was standing in front of the computer, but it is possible they did. On Thursday, Daniel told Ted that when they left our house that day, Steph started crying in the car...more than crying, he said, sobbing. He asked what was wrong and she said that she is just so sad for us. We had acted very normal while they were here. We didn't mention Jacob at all. I was so touched that she feels for us so much. As far as we know, she has never been pregnant or lost a baby during pregnancy, so that makes it even more incredible. Ted also told him that it is getting harder for him lately, that he can now really understand what it was like for me in the early days when he was staying strong for me. I'm glad that he is talking to Daniel about it a little. 

Yesterday at work, Sheila came over to say goodbye and said that she hoped that this next week wouldn't be too hard. We talked about it for a few minutes and I guess I looked sad because she said that she was sorry that she mentioned it. I assured her that it didn't bother me at all, I liked it. So we talked some more and it was nice. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26, 2010

I am feeling the pressure of the few days I had left with him last year. Like someone is sitting on my chest.

A year ago today, Ted and I went to see The Wizard of Oz. Our friends (Phil, for Filomena) daughter Paola was Dorothy. It was her acting and signing debut and I was excited for her. We got there and Phil had saved us seats. I was wearing my black maternity pants and my royal blue T-shirt. It was a warm day and the theatre didn't have air conditioning. I was always warm because of being pregnant too, but I wasn't very uncomfortable in the theatre.

At intermission, they were selling water. I didn't want any, but Phil bought some and gave it to me, saying that I need to drink alot.

I watched Paola sing and wondered if the baby could hear. It was coming up to the time when they are supposed to be able to. I know I felt at least one or 2 kicks during the show. I don't know if he was alive or not at that point. May 26, 2010 was also the day that my anatomy scan was originally scheduled, but it had been moved up because of the results of the IPS.

We went to Phil's house after the play and she had an enormous spread of fruits and cookies, as always. Most of the time, Ted and I were sitting together. I stood up and talked to a few people a little bit too. I ate a ton of watermelon, since I craved that throughout the pregnancy. I also drank juice. The women sitting around started asking me how far along I was and talked about the glucose test and what it was like for them. I love being in the "Mom" group.

I think we only stayed until 10pm or so, since I was always really tired at night.

This year, I am going to a Face2Face meeting tonight. I'm grateful for it, but a year ago today, I never, ever thought that I would be where I am today.  I saw an ad in the paper today for Doors Open Toronto. I have gone for the past 5 years, but can't this year. It was what we did the last weekend before we found out. Now even seeing the words in the paper hurt.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Missing

Ted has been talking about Jacob alot more. He always has, but had just been doing it more lately. Last weekend was a holiday so we had Monday (yesterday) off. We were outside gardening (ie pulling weeds) on Monday morning and Ted said that he now understands what I was going through last summer and I could see the pain on his face. He said that he wakes up thinking about Jacob and goes to sleep thinking about him.

Families were walking by pushing strollers and Ted said that if Jacob was here, our interactions would have been so different. Jacob would have been in his stroller, watching us or sleeping while we worked. We would have talked to those families more....asked how old their baby was, what is the baby's name....... Instead we watched them and hoped it would be us one day.

People in the neighbourhood were setting off fireworks last night. I was upstairs on the phone for most of them. When I got off, I came downstairs and Ted said that he went outside to look at them but couldn't stay, because all he could think about was being out there and holding Jacob and watching Jacob watch the fireworks.

I went to Laurie's house briefly yesterday. My Dad and I were going to take Ben somewhere, but when we got there, he had a friend over so we just stayed at her house. Ben fell just as we were walking in the door and hit his head. Laurie rushed over the door, put the baby in my arms, and went to Ben and held him while he cried. It was a good way to get me to hold Daniel again, since it just happened. I had just been wondering when I would and then there was no choice. I held him for about 5 minutes and didn't feel like I was going to fall apart, which is a huge improvement.

Ben and his friend Maddie wanted to play doctor and I was the patient. Maddie said that I was at the doctor's because I was having a baby. She got a doll and I "had" the baby and the baby was sick. Maddy kept saying that the baby might die and that it would make me sad. I just said I know it would and we would make the baby better. She asked what the baby's name is and I almost said Jacob, but then I said Leah. This game went on forever. I kept wondering what I would say if Maddy asked me if I had any kids. I would have said I have a baby and left it at that. If she asked where he was, would I have said he is in Heaven? Should I tell an 8 year old neighbour about a dead baby? She never asked so I never had to decide.

At one point, Laurie was changing Daniel's diaper in the bedroom and asked if I wanted to help. I just said no thanks. It would have sent me in a downward spiral. Maybe she thought I wouldn't mind since I didn't cry when holding him. I don't know.

After being there for 30 minutes, I'd had enough. Maybe it was seeing Laurie hold him.. I stared at them, imagining what it would have been like to hold a living Jacob. So that was it for me. I got my shoes on, she asked if I was OK. I said I was and escaped. If she watched me leave out of the living room window, I'm sure she would have seen that I wasn't OK at all. I think her neighbour may have heard a sob escape but I was OK by the time I reached the end of her street.

On May 24, 2010, Ted and I went down to the lake in Toronto and spend some time in the Music Gardens where our wedding pictures were taken. My belly was popping out more everyday and I loved it. I loved that I couldn't see my feet, I loved the way my shirts fell, I loved how it felt when my arms touched the sides of my belly. I was so happy.


A few of the wedding pictures were taken in front of a pick pole. Ted said to stand in front of the pole and he took several pictures and we said that we would come back every month as my belly grew and take more in front of the same pole.

September 19, 2010
May 24, 2010 - 19.5 weeks


Happy



Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2010

I wrote a journal entry on this date, about the ultrasound on the 17th, getting referred to Mount Sinai and talking to Dr. A.

I also wrote this:

The baby wasn't giving me alot of kicks for a few days, just one or two, but I can feel a slight shifting movement sometimes and then the area I felt the shifting is hard. I felt alot more kicks yesterday, which I just love. I haven't felt any on the outside yet and I'm looking forward to that day. Ted has felt the shifting when resting his hand on my belly.

My favorite times of the day are when the baby kicks and in the morning and at night when I am lying in bed and can really feel the outline of my uterus and just imagine my little baby in there. My baby! I love him already. The picture that we got after the ultrasound on Monday is so cute. He has big lips (Ted's), an adorable nose and a long neck. Everyone at work was saying what a good picture it is. Mom showed it to Dad and said "doesn't it just make you love him!" and Dad said that it sure does and seeing the picture makes him feel closer to the baby.

The next time I wrote in my journal was June 3rd, 2 days after he was born.

I'm always trying to figure out when he died. The ultrasound I had on May 31st said that it looked like he had been gone for about a week. I still felt kicking up until the day I found out he was gone, but I felt the shifting movement more often.

When I was induced, the first thing that happened was that the shifting movement and my belly getting hard on one side got more and more frequent and then it got painful. Was he gone a few days before May 23rd and that's why I felt that then? But then why did I feel alot more kicking on May 22nd (and for a few days after... I felt kicks until the day I found out he died)? Had he slowly been getting weaker and weaker, then he had a little fight left in him on the 22nd and then he died?

Love this song

I've listened to this song over and over and over again in the past few weeks.


I love these lyrics:

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and

Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life


Carrie saw 2 rainbows yesterday, side by side. What a wonderful gift from Caleb and Lucas. It is amazing timing as she and I enter the last week before the first birthday of our boys.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2010

We drove to Pickering and stopped by Ted's sister's house for awhile. When we got there, she was in the garden planting some flowers. We stood around and talked for awhile, then we went inside with her husband, Jason, while she finished outside.

I was careful about touching the door handles because of toxoplasmosis. I didn't know if she had gone in and out and if she touched them after having her hands in the dirt.

That's about all that I remember of that visit.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2010

It was the beginning of the Victoria Day weekend and we got off work early....probably around 2:30pm. It was a nice day, warm but not too warm. We had an offer on the condo and had to pick up the Estoppel Certificate from the management office for the buyer to review. We took the subway to Yorkdale and then walked on Orfus Road to get there. We missed the side street that the office is on and ended up walking about 30 minutes out of our way. I was tired and walking slower that I usually do. We found a bench and sat down for while. Ted was worried about me, but I figured the exercise was good for me, so I kept going.

We finally figured out where we went wrong, found the office and got the certificate. We went back to work and faxed it to our agent.

I loved walking around with my belly. I couldn't cross my arms in front of me the same way anymore because my belly was in the way and I loved it. I still remember what it felt like when my arms were by my sides, touching my belly. I miss it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

April and May 2010

For at least the last half of May, my belly was big enough that I was finding it uncomfortable to sleep. I started putting a pillow under my belly and it made a huge difference. I was also alot warmer than I had ever been. I usually sleep in long pants and long sleeves, but when I was pregnant I was so warm that I wore shorts and a t-shirt. When not pregnant, my hands are usually cold and Ted's are hot. He will often grab my hand to cool his down. But when I was pregnant, my hands were hot and he couldn't hold them because his would be uncomfortably hot. We joked about it alot because it was so strange for me to be that warm.

For all of May, and probably most of April, I would get up 15 minutes earlier than I had to. I would go to the living room, lie down on the couch, turn on Colin and Justin's Home Heist and feel my belly. I'd stare at it, amazed that it was me, that I had a baby growing in there, that I was going to be a Mom. I felt so lucky and I cherished that time. I was so happy.

Colin and Justin have a very distinctive decorating style, usually including wallpaper with big designs. Now, whenever I see wallpaper like that or a piece of furniture that reminds me of the show, I'm taken back. I haven't watched the show since he died. I turned to it by accident once and had to turn the channel right away. It was too painful.

I also feel asleep on the couch for most of May 2010 (and sometimes in April) around 9pm and I loved doing that. I would be in a deep sleep until about 11pm when Ted would get me to go to bed. There was just something I loved about it. I did it a few times after he died, but of course, that was just from the exhaustion of crying most of the day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19, 2010 and 2011

I've been doing alot of living in the past since January, remembering what was happening last year on certain dates. There are only 13 days left until May 31st, the day that we found out that Jacob died last year. I'm feeling more anxious....I can't imagine it being a year since he was even alive. And that day is coming even sooner, I just don't know what day it is and that makes me crazy. How does a mother not know the day her baby died inside of her?

Everywhere I look are pregnant woman. I guess they're just more noticeable now because they don't have winter coats on anymore. Today I felt stalked by them. I try to tell myself that I have no idea what they went through to be where they are now. They could have battled infertility, they could have had a loss....who knows. None of those thoughts ever stop me from feeling jealous of them, from feeling the familiar pain that trails around behind me everyday until it catches up and stops me in my tracks.

A year ago today, I found out that my appointment at Mount Sinai was on June 7th. It seemed so far away.

My OB came back from vacation that day. I went into a small private room on my floor so that I could talk to her without my colleagues hearing me. I tried calling all morning, but the line was always busy.

I got through eventually, gave my name and was transferred to her right away and I started giving her details of the situation. She was really nice and apologized for leaving the information about the IPS test on my voicemail and explained how she had to catch a plane so she had to do it. She said that she hadn't seen the ultrasound report yet and I think she said that she spoke to Dr. M but said that I probably know more than she does at that point. I told her everything that I was told and said that I know that a clenched fist can be a sign of Trisomy 18 and that isn't compatible with life. She said that she has never seen a foot and hand problem unilaterally when there was a chromosomal abnormality, she has only seen it bilaterally. She also said something about being able to to see all the digits and that she has never seen a neural tube defect come out in the limbs.

She said that whatever the problem is, it can likely be fixed at Sick Kids and that she would support me through whatever comes.

I told her that I wanted an amnio afterall, but that my appointment at Mount Sinai wasn't until June 7th and I would be almost 22 weeks then. She said to call them and see if they would do the amnio before the appointment. If not, then she would refer me to Credit Valley Hospital, although she does like having everything done at the same place.

I felt better after talking to her, but just wanted to amnio to help with the anxiety. I figured if the worst happened and we found out that he did have a chromosomal abnormality, at least we would know ahead of time. If he didn't, we could relax.

I called Mount Sinai and they said that they would only do the amnio after I come in for the appointment and have the high level ultrasound.

I spent the next few days worrying about whether I should go to Credit Valley, if I should get the amnio at all....I decided to wait.

I went back to that room today and stood in front of the window, as I did when I was on the phone with her last year. I feel a heaviness just thinking about it. A year ago today I was standing in that spot with Jacob alive in my belly. Today I stood there, almost a year after delivering my dead child. Everything looked the same, but I have changed.

A year ago today, I also emailed Lindsay pictures of my belly, which she had asked for.


She wrote back and asked how I could have gotten so much bigger than the last time. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome Genevieve, and the journey of the baby loss Mom's

My amazing, wonderful friend Allison, who has given me so much support and a wonderful friendship, gave birth to her rainbow baby Genevieve on Monday night. I am so thrilled for her, Josh and their families. Genevieve is such a beautiful little girl and I know she will grow up surrounded by love and with her big brother watching over her.

When I joined the babycenter community support group in June 2010, I got to know a group of woman. As Allison was in labour, I realized that she is the first of that group to give birth to her rainbow baby. I’m sure she never guessed that she would be the first in the early days after losing Drew and over the summer of 2010.

Several of the women I met then are now pregnant. Some, like me, have lost a baby since losing their first. Many are due in the coming weeks and then another batch are due in September/October. I am very, very happy for them, but I am also sad for me. I feel left behind. As much as I want to know what is happening in their lives, I find it hard to read their blog posts about their pregnancies, especially when they are in weeks 19-21, since that is when Jacob died and was born. I breathe a sigh of relief when they pass 21 weeks. But my heart skips a beat when I read about the baby dancing in their belly and I long for it even more. I still read the blogs most of the time, unless I’m having a particularly bad day. Most of it is wanting to know how they are and some of it is just to torture myself.

I find it surreal to think of where we all were at this time last year. Many of them had already given birth to the baby(ies) they lost and some of us were still pregnant for another month or so before joining the group no one wants to be a part of. Now, one has given birth, 11 are pregnant, three of us have had at least one more loss (I’ve had two…and one of the pregnant Mom’s had a second loss last September), and 6 have not become pregnant again yet.


Where we have been, what we have been through and where we are now. It has been a long, hard journey. There was no telling who would become pregnant again and carry to term and deliver a healthy baby, who would get pregnant again but lose their baby or deal with severe complications again and who would still be trying to get pregnant, many months after their loss.

None of us have an easy road and we all struggle in different ways. The pregnant women worry, the non-pregnant women worry. The non-pregnant will worry longer....worry longer about getting pregnant and then have all the worry of a pregnancy after loss, if we are lucky. There is no getting away from it. We all miss our lost babies with an ache that can’t be described. That is one thing that will never change.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2010 - The last time seeing him alive

May 17, 2010 was a beautiful day. It was warm and sunny and I was happy. I was going to see my baby boy again and I couldn't wait.

Today is rainy and grey and I'm sad.


One year ago today, we saw Jacob alive for the last time. I was 18 weeks, 5 days.
I had my second anatomy scan. The first had been done on May 13th as a result of the bleeding. The 20 week scan was supposed to be done on May 26th, but when the IPS screen came back with a 1:280 chance of a neural tube defect, my OB moved it up by a week. If she hadn't, we wouldn't have seen Jacob alive again. We wouldn't have the amazing profile picture that we do.
I was a little nervous leading up to the appointment because I was scared that they might find something really wrong, given the scan last week, but mostly I just couldn't wait to see him again.

The appointment was at 12:50 pm and we were seen pretty quickly. It was done at the prenatal clinic at the hospital where Jacob was born, in the same room I would be in 2 weeks later to confirm that he was gone.
Their policy is that they do all the measurements and then the Dad can come in and see the baby. The ultrasound tech, Angie, was nice. She also seemed to be to go-to person for others in the department as someone came in 2 or 3 times with questions.
She started the ultrasound and measured my cervix then let me go to the bathroom. I had to get up twice more during the scan because my bladder was filling up again.  She said that my baby was moving around so much that she was having trouble getting all of the pictures she needed. She asked which one of us was hyper, me or my husband (me). I was so proud. I could see the screen the whole time, so I just lay there and enjoyed watching him.

Dr. A had arranged for Dr. M to come in during the ultrasound since I had the elevated AFP in the IPS test. He came in about 10-15 minutes after the ultrasound began and Angie showed him the baby's spine. He said that it looks great and I was so relieved. They said that the placenta was across the top and back and they saw a small pool of blood there, but they weren't concerned about it. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. He had to leave to go into surgery, so Angie finished the rest of the scan. Ted was called in.  He tried to take a video of the ultrasound, but Angie said that it wasn't allowed. He got a short one though, which I treasure.

video


I wish that he had gotten more time to watch him, but Angie said she had to move on to the next patient as they were getting behind and she wanted me to come back when Dr. M was free again to let him see some more images of the baby.

We sat in the waiting room and went into the courtyard for a few minutes. Then we went to stand in the hall near the ultrasound room. There was another patient in there. Dr. M stepped out and said that it would just be a minute. I had to go to the bathroom again, so I did and when I stepped out, Dr. M was waiting for me and I felt a little bad but he didn't seem annoyed.

I lay back down and they started scanning again. They said that there seems to be something wrong with his left foot, which I was expecting. Then they said that they thought there might be a problem with his left hand and I felt horrible. I worried about my poor baby....what was wrong with his hand, how much would it impact his life? They kept trying to get a good look and had me change position, but Jacob put his hand under his head and they couldn't see it at all. I lay on my left side and that is when she got his profile picture, which I look at every day. It is the only thing we have to really know the shape of his face before he died. We saw right away that he had his Dad's lips, and my long neck and cheekbones.

They said that his hand was clenched when they could see it and he never unclenched it. I asked if everything else looked ok - brain, spine, organs and they said yes, so that was a relief. I asked if his hand and foot could be a sign of a chromosomal abnormality and he said that there were no other indications that he had that, but I should go to the High Risk Clinic at Mount Sinai. I asked him to make the referral since Dr. A was on vacation for another 2 days and I wanted to get in as soon as possible. Angie told him that I had already waited a week for that ultrasound since getting the IPS test results. I liked her for that, she recognized the worry and anxiety we had already been living with.

Dr. M asked me twice if I had had an amnio (I didn't), which worried me. He asked if we had any questions and I asked if he has club feet and Dr. M said 'not exactly' since it was only affecting one foot. He called his office from the room and left a message to make the referral.

Right before Ted and I left the room, we asked Angie if the baby was a boy or girl. She asked if we were sure we wanted to know and I said yes. She said she thought the baby is a boy and I was glad that she said the same thing as the ultrasound tech last week.

We walked down the hall, turned the corner and walked towards the entrance. I barely held it together until we got outside and started crying as soon as we did. Ted kept hugging me and telling me that it was OK and that we could deal with whatever the problem was. I just couldn't stop crying and said how unfair it was that our innocent little baby has to have a problem and likely has to have surgery when he is born.

We got to the car and I called Mom and Dad and told them. I kept crying while on the phone, but said that the news wasn't that bad. Laurie called a few minutes later to see how it went and I cried some more and she was also reassuring.

We got home and I answered Jessie's email, telling her what happened and she replied with reassurances and said that it doesn't matter, that she already loves him.
It was a long night. 

Here are some of the pictures from May 17, 2010. I got them on June 7th when I went to the film library at the hospital and asked for all of them.
I'm not sure what is in this picture, but I like the heart shape on the right. 


His perfect spine

A perfect heartbeat


Perfect right leg and foot. 


His left hand.

His body....and a full bladder? 







The profile picture that I look at everyday. Daddy's lips,
Mommy's cheekbones and long neck. 














Monday, May 16, 2011

They remember

When I was at Laurie’s house yesterday, I watched my other sisters holding Danny and wondered if they were thinking about Jacob as they did it, especially because I was in the room. I saw the way they gazed at Danny, the way they smiled when he moved around or grabbed their finger. I remember holding Ben when he was Danny’s age and doing the same thing. I imagined them holding Jacob as he should have been and them holding Jacob was he was. I feel pretty sure that they did think about him.The birthday card Lindsay gave me mentioned Jacob and how she mourns for him and for me.

The day Danny was born (May 3rd) and I was at the hospital, I was relieved that Danny was alive and healthy and so incredibly sad for Jacob, and for Ted and I. I didn’t push a baby out and see tears of joy and laughter. Just tears of sorrow and a very quiet room. We never got to see Jacob being passed around and everyone smiling. I never got wheeled out of L & D towards the maternity floor with a baby in my arms. I never left L & D with a baby in my arms. I didn't get to do any of the normal things that Laurie was doing, I never got to see Jacob as big as Danny and I felt/feel so cheated.

That day was really hard. I got home and wrote a long blog post about it. Jessie read it and sent me this email:

I was just reading your post and I want you to know that you can call anytime day or night if you need to talk to someone. I know I've never been pregnant or had a baby, but I could listen if you need it. I was so worried about you when you said at your house that Ted was away. I knew you would be crying. By the time I got home I figured you were probably going to bed and I was afraid I would call and wake you after you were so tired. I thought you were probably waiting to be alone to have a good cry, and that you would be talking to Ted, but you don't need to ever worry about not knowing who to call.

Also, I kept thinking all day yesterday about Jacob - how we never got to all hold him and pass him around and take pictures of him opening his eyes and wriggling around. I thought about if he probably would have looked a little like his cousin, and not just because a lot of newborns look alike. Every time I held the new baby and I remembered holding Jacob in your room, and how I could hold him with one hand, although I always used two because I was afraid of not being careful. I remembered sitting in the lobby when you were leaving your room, and how many times we walked through that door to go down to Tim Horton's. Every time I walked past your delivery room or the room beside it where we went when Lindsay was there, I always had to look in (or try to) to remember being there before. As soon as Lindsay and I drove into the parking lot I felt a rush of sadness, and concern about you having to come into the same hospital and hold Laurie's baby. I thought it was good to have Ben around as a distraction because it made it easier for you to leave the room without Laurie noticing and you worrying about getting upset in front of her.

Then she left a comment on my blog:

I was so worried about you before you got to the hospital with Ben. I had ducked out to the waiting room to try and call Dave and saw some pregnant women in the lobby and was imagining intercepting you at the door so that you wouldn't have to walk through them in the same hospital. When you walked into the room I got very nervous for you but I thought you handled it very well. We knew you were upset, of course, but that you were also happy for Laurie. When you held the new baby for so long I knew that you were imagining holding Jacob like that. Every time I held him I thought about how we never got to see Jacob that big and how we all kept saying the new baby is so small, but I kept remembering how Jacob had been so much smaller, and how I never got to hold him when he was first born and wriggling around trying to look around and find something to suck on. I wondered if he would have looked like his cousins, if he would have had that same scrunchy face and big eyes... I think so.I was really worried about you when you dropped us at the GO train, that you would be alone all night. I wanted to call when I got home, but I knew you were exhausted and were likely sleeping and I really didn't want to wake you up, but I'm glad you found someone to talk to.

How did I get so lucky? I really like that she was have flashbacks too. She is so caring and intuitive. And she remembers. She will never forget. I am so grateful.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday with the family

Today my family got together to celebrate my birthday. My Dad had suggested doing something extra nice and thought of the zoo, the museum, Toronto Island or Niagara Falls. I thought it was really nice that he was trying to think of something different and extra nice for my birthday, but all of those places would be a little baby/kid/pregnant women heavy. I explained this to him and he said that he totally understood and we decided to go to Lindsay's house for a BBQ. Because Laurie had a baby on May 3rd, she asked if we could just do it at her house as it would be alot easier for her and I agreed.

I was worried about being at her house for so long. I haven't seen the baby, Danny, for more than 10 minutes since I left the hospital the day he was born. the day he was born. And I usually left her house crying when I did see him. It wasn't always him that made me cry....it could be hearing about her hospital stay, seeing her breastfeed....things I didn't get to do with Jacob. But I don't want my grief to run my life, even though it does, so I agreed to going to her house. I was worried and a little stressed and even sad about it all day Saturday, but felt calmer on Sunday morning.

I went over about an hour early because I needed to use her computer for something. There was a cute sign on the door, which made me smile.


I played with Ben for a few minutes, started a load of laundry, and then went into their spare room to use the computer. Laurie had been nursing Danny and laid him down. While she was in the bathroom, I heard him starting to cry in her room so I went in. I hadn't planned on holding him, but I didn't want to just stand there watching him cry, so I picked him up and had about 2 minutes alone with him. He felt so cute in my arms. His face was near mine and we studied each other and I started to cry. I imagined what Jacob would have looked like, what he would have felt like, what he would have smelled like. I will never know.

I have never kissed Danny, so I did. His sweet little baby cheeks. He starting getting fussier. Laurie walked in the room, I handed him to her and left. I had to get away. I went into the spare room, closed the door and cried. Jacob's absence was especially present. Laurie stuck her head in a few minutes later and asked if I was OK. She may have assumed that I shut the door because I needed to concentrate. I don't know if she knows the truth.

I finished my work and went to the living room. Laurie was outside with Ben and Danny and Andy was at the store. No one else had arrived yet. I sat in the living room and looked at the baby items around me.

Soon everyone started arriving. My Mom came in, washed her hands, and took Danny from Laurie. She couldn't wait to hold him. I imagined her holding the Jacob that should have been. Over the afternoon, all of my sisters held him and I watched the way they looked at him. I know they feel Jacob's absence, I know they would have looked at him the same way. I know they would have cuddled him on the couch, with his hand curled around their finger. I tried to look away whenever they looked towards me. I didn't want them to feel self-conscious or anything. They should be able to enjoy their time with Danny. I would have, once upon a time.

Jessie gave me a gift a few days ago and wrote about Jacob in the card. I posted about that here. Lindsay and Laurie gave me gifts today. Laurie didn't mention Jacob in her card, and that is alright. She did say "this year will be great", so a hopefully, encouraging message. That always helps.  She also said I'm a fabulous sister, aunt and friend. That made me feel a little better about not doing as much as I could have to help her in the past several months.

Lindsay did mention him. Her card said:

This year was so different from what we were all expecting, and it would probably be in vain to wish you a Happy Birthday. However, I do hope you are feeling more at peace as time passes. I know how difficult things have been since we lost Jacob, and I mourn for him as well as for you, as I know we can't even start to understand what you've been going through. But even in such a difficult time, you've always been such a kind, loving sister and I am so grateful to have you in my life. 


Tears came to my eyes as I read it.  I love that she wrote "since we lost Jacob" and that she mourns for Jacob and for me. We were in the kitchen later and I said how much I love the card, how much I love it when Jacob is mentioned. She said that Brian said not to mention Jacob in the card and Lindsay told him he was wrong. I'm so glad she did.

As we were watching Ben run around, making us all laugh, Ted leaned over and said "Just imagine what it will be like when Jacob is here!" I knew right away he meant when our next baby is here, but I said "jacob?" and he realized what he said. Seeing Danny for so long was bothering Ted too. He misses our boy. He left about an hour before I did, as his back is bothering him again.

I was going to get a ride home with my parents, so I was sort of at their mercy as to when we left. I didn't want to suggest leaving because everyone had gone out of their way to do something special for my birthday. But the last hour was hard. Different people were holding Danny, Laurie breastfed and seeing that really started to get to me. I have no idea what that feels like. I still have milk, but no baby to give it too. I saw her gazing at Danny and talking to him and burping him and I started to feel like I was drowning. So I got up and went to the bathroom, alternately hoping that no one would know why I was there and that someone would know. I only stayed for a few minutes, wishing that I would walk out and someone would say that we should go. I dried up my tears and came out.

My Dad came to me within a minute and asked if we should head out. I was so relieved. Jessie then came up and asked if I was hiding in the bathroom and I said I was and I figured if anyone noticed, it would be her. She tried to say something more, but we got interrupted.

We left within a few minutes. I wonder when I will have the strength to stay there longer. When will I have the strength to just enjoy Danny, instead of thinking of everything that I've missed, that I am missing, with Jacob, August and Cub?

Ted and I should either have had Jacob or August there today. There should have been 2 babies being passed around.

I got home and Ted said that when he got home, he went through the pictures of Jacob. He said that he was especially sad. He doesn't look at Jacob's pictures often because it is too hard, but he needed to today. He said that the expression on my face in the pictures was heartbreaking and painful to see.

I started to look at them soon after, but had to stop. I've never had to stop before, but tonight I just can't do it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's a boy

One year ago today, I found out that my baby was a boy.

One year ago today, I saw him moving around.

As a result of my visit to the ER the night before, I had an ultrasound on May 13/10. I didn't know when it would be, since I was being fit in. I got a call at 7:20am saying to come in at 10am. I called my boss and told him I had to have an ultrasound, but I may be in later if everything was OK.

I remember so many events from that day, even little ones. I remember driving around side streets trying to find a place to park near the hospital, but ended up just parking in the visitor's parking.

I sat in the waiting room for the ultrasound playing the game Chocolatier on my ipod touch. I realized that I had an eye appointment that day, so I called Ted and asked him to call that clinic and tell them I wouldn't make it.

I remember the woman and the approx. 3-4 month old baby boy sitting beside me. She had him wrapped in a blanket, but alot of his skin was still showing and the room was cold, so I thought he might be. She told someone else that he was having trouble keeping food down.

I was called in just before 11am for the ultrasound. I was bursting and it had been getting more painful as I waited, especially since it was supposed to start at 10am.

The ultrasound tech was nice. She could see that my bladder was really full, so she took the pictures of my cervix and let me go to the bathroom. My watch started beeping at one point (it was in my purse) and she asked what that was. I somehow set the alarm on my watch months before that and hadn't figured out how to turn it off. A few months later, I gave it to Lindsay who fixed it up.

The ultrasound tech didn't let me see the screen while she was doing her measurements, so I stared at the ceiling most of the time. I asked if she could see if the baby was a boy or a girl. She asked if I was sure that I wanted to know and I said definitely. She said it looks like a boy. I was a little surprised, but was happy. I didn't really care. I had at least 1-2 dreams about a baby girl and most people thought I was having a girl, so I just started thinking that I was. Within a second of finding out he was a boy, I started day dreaming about my little boy. I imagined telling Ted that he was having a son, I imaged how Ben and our baby would grow up so close to each other, I imagined all of the things we would do with him.

I noticed that she stayed on the right side of my belly for a long time and I wondered if she found something wrong. I've had lots of ultrasounds in my life, and that is what they do when there's a problem.

She finished at 11:45am. She turned the screen so that I could see it for the last 2 minutes and she pointed out his body parts. He was so active. She left the room, saying that she was just going to make sure that she had everything she needed. She ended up being gone at least 10 minutes and it made me worry a little. Jacob's picture was still on the screen and I spent that 10 minutes staring at him. Still amazed that he was mine. That he was inside me. My son.

I was told to go back to the ER to get the results. I grabbed a granola bar from the cafeteria on my way there. I went to the triage area and did the usual things....bp, pulse (78, compared to 131 the night before), temp and explained why I was there.    My bp was 109/72 and they asked if that was normal for me (it is). I was called to the registration desk, but instead of getting a folder and being told which zone to go to, the person said to have a seat and I would be called.

I spent the time playing Chocolatier on my ipod touch and text messaging Ted, Laurie and my friend Jen. I talked to Mom and I talked to Ted at one point and asked if he wanted to know what the baby was. He said he did and I told him it's a boy. It was such a happy moment.

I watched a mother and her 2 sons...about 7 and 11. The 7 year old was in a wheelchair and the 11 year old was pushing him around. They got some fries and coke from the cafeteria.

I waited for 2 hours and 15 minutes, and being told in triage that I should be seen quickly since it was just for results. I kept getting worried that they hadn't called me back yet because there was some really bad news and they were putting off telling me. I didn't want to sound like a complainer, so I went to the triage nurse, told her why I was there and asked if I could run and grab something to eat or if I would be seen soon. It was just an excuse to make them notice me. She was surprised that I hadn't already been seen, looked me up on the computer, which said I should be in the red zone. So she took me there and spoke to another nurse, but my file wasn't there. One of them went to the green zone and came back saying that they were looking for me there.

So I went there, was brought to a bed and a doctor came in within a few minutes. The doctor said that all the major things looked fine, but there seems to be some kind of issue with his limbs. He said it could be "as simple as club feet or as complex as a few missing toes". He said they couldn't tell exactly what because it was a little early. He asked if I had the integrated prenatal screening. I said that I had and it came back with an increased risk of a neural tube defect. He said that the results of the ultrasound showed something along those lines. He recommended that I be referred to a high risk OB and that he could do it, but since my OB was back from vacation the next Wednesday, to call her, get her to call the hospital to have the ultrasound report faxed to her, and have her make the referral. I said that I had another ultrasound scheduled for the next week and he said that that was good and that they should be able to see alot more by than. The ultrasound didn't show any reason for the bleeding. He didn't mention any problem with Jacob's hands, but when I look at the pictures, I can see that all his fingers weren't visible.

I was relieved that there was nothing major wrong, but was worried about what my baby would have to go through...and that it might be worse than they could see.  I pulled back the curtain and started to leave. I could see a guy sitting on the next bed with his 12 year old son and knew that he probably heard everything. He was staring at me as I walked by and out of the room.

I got outside and called Ted and told him everything. I cried a little, but we were both still hopeful that it wasn't anything worse. Club feet, he would have surgery. We would hate to see him go through it, but he would be fine in the long run. A few missing toes...so he would learn to walk without them. He would never know what it was like to have them anyway. I called Mom and told her everything.

I got to the car, drove to a side street and sat there for awhile. I called Laurie and she said that it doesn't matter what his feet look like, we will love them.

I didn't go to work that day as I got home too late in the afternoon to make it worthwhile.

Jacob was so active during the ultrasound and the ultrasound tech commented on it. In the short time that I got to watch him, he flipped from his back to his side, he opened and shut his mouth, he moved his arms and legs all around. At one point, his legs were curled up against his belly and he straightened them out completely. He would push his head back too, as if he was stretching his neck.

After he died, I called the film library, told them I had an ultrasound there on May 13th, that my baby died and that I wanted more pictures of the ultrasound. They said they would burn me a CD of the pictures. Jacob was born on a Tuesday and I picked up the CD on the Thursday. We stood in the waiting room hugging while we waited. I remember standing there on June 3, 2010, feeling completely empty. We got home and tried it, but it didn't work in any of our computers. I was so disappointed. I called the hospital the next day and they burned another one for me. Eventually we did get both CDs working. Here are some of the pictures:


A perfect spine

Heart rate 147
A perfect right foot

One of my favourites

View from the top


Today kinda sucked. I felt a heaviness when I woke up, knowing that I saw him alive a year ago today, knowing that it was when I found out that he was a boy.

The day wasn't too bad though, until this afternoon. I got back from lunch and just as the elevator doors were shutting, I saw Sarah walking to the elevator, so I pressed the button to open the doors for her. As soon as she stepped in, I realized that she is about 5 months pregnant. I never knew her well. She started around the time that I found out that Jacob died. I don't remember if it was a week before that, or the week I came back to work. I don't know if she knows that I was ever pregnant. We worked on the same floor, in different departments, until November or so, when her department moved to a different floor. I haven't seen her in months.

When she stepped on the elevator, I felt the paralysis overcome me. She got off at the 4th floor and I went on to the 5th. I just sat at my desk staring straight ahead and thought of how unfair it is. I don't want anything bad to happen to her baby, of course, but she already has 2 kids. I can't seem to even have 1 child that lives. All summer, I overheard her talking about her kids, when Jacob's loss was so fresh. 

I called Ted and told him about her and I started crying a little. He said things to try to make me feel better and I quickly got the tears under control.  About 30 minutes later, Sarah came to my desk with a box of timbits and asked if I want one. I took one and tried not to stare at her belly. I haven't seen her in months and then twice in one afternoon. An hour after that, I was on the second floor to get Brenda and Sarah comes through the door to drop something off on someone's desk. Will the next few months before she goes on leave be like this? 

Just the other day, I was thinking how nice it was that no one at work was pregnant. Now I have to avoid her. 

Tonight I was walking around the house with my belly showing a little and I got a little self-conscious when I saw Ted looking at it because I never tried to get rid of the remaining bump as I always figured I would be pregnant again soon. Ted said that he likes looking at it because his baby was there. It was so sweet. 

He also said that when I called to tell him about Sarah, he could hear how sad I was and his heart broke for me. I am so lucky to have him. 

We went out and bought a used X-box tonight. It is my birthday present. Now I can play Guitar Hero and Rock Band again. The hours pass quickly when I'm playing those games. I haven't played them since before I was pregnant. So no associations with Jacob there, except that I should be too busy to be playing them.