Friday, June 3, 2011

Right Where I Am Project: Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days.

I'm not even sure if that's right. I don't know whether I should count from the point at which Jack was declared, because if I should, then we tack on another 2 days. If we're counting from the day he was born, then we're at a whopping 5 months & 2 days. But, if we're counting from the day we held him last, then this title is accurate.

Most of you have already done this, but I'm participating in the project Angie of Still Life With Circles, proposed- to talk about where we are in our grieving process right now.

So, where am I?

I'm terribly sad. I miss my sweet little man more than I can express in words. Nothing seems to exemplify how much my heart misses the little boy it knows was born, but we lost.

I'm disappointed in myself for not knowing he was sick. Everyone's told me I couldn't have known (and logically I know this too), just as I have told other BLMs a million times when they blame themselves.  Tiffany wrote recently about seeing photos of her beautiful Ellie and feeling like she was looking at death because of the purple around her sweet girls eyes. To be honest, I worry about this when I see look at my photos of Jack from the day before he fell sick. My favourite photo of him? I wonder if that's death closing in around his closed, sleeping eyes.

My impossibly cute kid
At Four months, 3 weeks and 2 days, I am accepting that I have lost him. But I don't like it. I hate that I have to live the entire rest of my life without him here in my arms. I'm so sad he will never grow. I'm so sad I don't have photos of him at soccer or hockey. I'm so sad my family no longer has a living grandchild to spoil rotten. I am perpetually devastated the baby I made over 10 months of pregnancy was so perfect, and yet wasn't to be forever on Earth. I'm devastated there are no new Jack stories to share.

I really want to give Scott another baby. Desperately.

I want to punch a bitch for the stupid shit people say to me, and then hate myself for not doing it. People say stuff to me, and I feel sorry for THEM because I know they don't know what to say. Fuck.

I'm four months, 3 weeks, and 2 days away from him. From his smell. From his warmth, from his wet little mouth when I kissed it. From the weight of him in my arms. With the weight of his absence on my heart.

Every week day morning, I walk to the commuter train and head to the office. Every sunny day I think to myself I should have been pushing the stroller with a handsome little man tucked safely inside. Every rainy day I think how I should have been cuddled up in our house, wasting the day away with Jack in my arms.

Every pregnant lady is a reminder that I'm not yet pregnant. I want to stop them, and warn them that it can all be over so damn quickly. Tell them to be obsessive about who touches their baby and whether they wash their hands.  

I anticipated Jack's arrival for my entire pregnancy. Telling myself that every bout of morning sickness, every single time I was dehydrated, every time I had heart burn was getting me one step closer to holding my little man.  I was a super happy pregnant lady. I loved being pregnant. I loved his strong kicks, his flips, and especially when he would scooch his booty up higher when my belly protruded from under my winter coat (what, I wasn't about to spend $400 of the M Coat. Next time? You're damn frickin' right I will) People told me it would all be worth it, and oh how sweet it was for the time he was here. But I still can't wrap my head around the fact it's over now. That THIS is what my life is to be. Forever more.

Why us?

Four months, 3 weeks and 2 days since his organ donation, I am the proudest of mums. I'm so grateful Jack was able to do this, to save another little boy.  I follow along reading about Lil Sophie's recent liver transplant and it fills my heart with so much joy to see her progress post-transplant. I know somewhere, out there, Jack's liver is helping another. Another family saved from this inexplicable grief. They'll (hopefully) never know what this side of the coin feels like.

So what else has changed? Well, I love my husband more fiercely than I ever thought imaginable. He is my reason for being, the light in the dark, and the only one who can comfort me when the world feels like it's closing in. I love this man. I am so thankful for him.

He also makes me laugh like no other. Funny guy.

I've "met" a fantastic group of women who inspire me every day. In particular, I've formed friendships with Brandy and with Molly. Ellie's mom sent me a wonderful Mother's Day card, my first one EVER (and my only so far), and I felt my hear flutter as I read it. I swear they know me better than most of my friends these days. These women, along with so many of you, know *just* how this feels. You've offered your kind words, your support, and your encouragement. I've gained strength through our almost daily interactions. I have never felt judged or criticized by any of you.

People in the real world aren't as great.  Some are, and they let me cry when it's all just too much to bear. But others, they're not the same. Because I'm not the same. I'm not longer happy-go-lucky Laura. She's dead, along with her baby. The new me isn't as lovely. I'm optimistic to a fault, and still spazzy and hyper. But still not the same. Never will be again. And that's not okay by them. Fuck 'em.

My family. We're a close knit group, but I can feel myself distancing. My mother was so, so thrilled to finally be a grandmother.  She threw up when we got the news from the neurosurgeon that Jack was gone- she couldn't take it- her nerves were shot. My dad, a grown man of 57, turned bright red and I actually envisioned his head popping off as he shook while crying (weird how your imagination does these things). Truth be told, they both want Scott and I to wait to try again, to give ourselves time.  But right now, time feels like my greatest enemy. Time further away from Jack, further away from the family we wanted. Further away, further away, further away. So no, we won't wait. I know they're fine with this, they're just nervous for us.  But this isn't about them, it's about just Scott and I and baby number two (and three, and four, and five...). It's about seeing OUR dreams for our lives together come true. Alongside a boy who can only ever be in our hearts.

I've been back to work for 4 weeks now. It's not that bad. I'm still bitter that I'm there only because my baby died. I should be off for another 7 months. This isn't the life I expected, nor would I ever have wanted- who am I kidding? No one wants this. It feels good to have a tremendous amount of love and support. I know there are dozens of people of various faiths praying for us (got our bases covered there ;)). I hate that it's me they're sad for though. I don't wish this one anyone else, but I do wish it wasn't me who has to live this reality.... Sometimes I get the sense some are waiting for me to "get over it", and they'll be disappointed when they realize I shall not. Fuck 'em. 

Next time? Well, next time I'm pregnant, I'm going to be a fucking lunatic. I'm not as worried about the pregnancy part (well, I am, but I can't do SHIT about that, unfortunately). I'm going to be a crazy woman who calls the OBGYN whenever I *think* something is wrong and want reassurance it's not. I'm going to harass my poor OBGYN for bi-weekly ultrasounds again (something I had last time for fears of an incompetent cervix post-cone biopsy). I'm willing to have all the dates with the vag cam again if it means getting a sneak at our next McBabe as much as possible. I'm going to push for a c-section date as soon as McBabe #2 is ready (lungs and all). I'm going to lie to my family and tell them I'm having the c-section on the Friday and go in on the Tuesday prior so I'm home with babe in tow by the "delivery date". No risks. I'm going to bring a gigantic bottle of Purell to the hospital with me, and ask everyone to please wash their hands in the sink in the room, and then use the santizer- all while I watch. Nurses, doctors, Scott, I don't give a fuck. There will be no visitors, not for a long time.  Someone told me the Greeks do this, they lock up the momma and the baby at home and have no one coming in or them going out for a month or six weeks or whatever. This sounds like a GREAT idea to me. I'm not sure I'll ever "get over" this- I was already the lady with hand sanitizer at my desk and on my key chain. Wanna hold my baby? NO. Wanna touch the baby's hands or face- I will slit your throat. I am going to be one mean momma bear.

I don't even REALLY want to tell either set of parents when we find out we're pregnant. I don't want to give them hope for a living grand baby when I saw how much it shattered them when they were let down last time.  I don't want to see hope in their eyes, or hear they they are so happy. If there are any utters of when "we have a baby, you'll understand" I will flip out and storm off. Damn I'm dramatic.

I won't want anyone other than Scott and I to hold him or her.  I realize all the protection in the world can't guarantee this won't happen to us again, but as I told my OB during our appointment this week, I need every opportunity I can get to ensure our next baby outlives us.

Anyway, that's Right Where I Am at four months, three weeks after Jack. 

Tomorrow, we head back to SickKids in Toronto, where we said goodbye. There's a bit of a gathering for all the families who lost their babies while in the NICU. I'm not sure what's tomorrow's all about, but I'm hoping we can somewhat hold our shit together long enough to not be blubbering messes.  We'll see.


Tiffany said...

Oh Laura. You've turned me into a teary mess now! I think I was actually shaking my head in agreement with you. I am not pregnant but I already feel bad for my OB. She is a truly wonderful woman, and I am pretty sure she is going to wish I never walked through her office door five years ago, when I do get pregnant again. I too will stalk people with Purell and everything in our path will be sterilized before that baby gets within 10 ft. And I already hated it when people, especially strangers, touch a baby's hands. Seriously, where do they get off?! As for tomorrow, don't hold your shit together, let it out. You won't be the only one! Sending you lots of love.
PS. It still amazes me that Jack was able to donate his organs. A true hero at such a young age.

Emily said...


Enjoy the remembrance gathering tomorrow. I've never been to it in person, but the NICU nurses always got pictures of the day and usually it's quite nice. You will be surrounded by other babylost families, usually ones who have lost children within the last couple of years. Someone usually does a little speech, and there is usually a place where you can write your baby's name down (I think one year they had all the names on a tree). I hope you enjoy it and it's a peaceful time for you both.

JoyAndSorrow said...

Haven't been reading your blog for very long but am six months out from my loss...and although the circumstances are very different, the grief is the same. I am so sorry. I relate so much to the "distancing" from the excited grandparents. It's just too damn hard to deal with your grief AND theirs. Barely liveable. xo

lissasue3 said...

I am surprised your parents and ILs feel that it's their right to tell you to wait to try again. Did you ask for their opinion? Why are our parents telling us things we don't need to hear?

As if I wasn't crazy enough but your story is making me want to change how we'll handle visitors after the birth (fingers crossed we even get to that point). I'll make sure everyone washes now. And kids can't touch him/her.

I read about this project earlier today and want to take part in it but I don't have my heart in it to write a post right now. Hopefully soon. xoxo and ((hugs))

LookItsJessica said...

I'm sorry that this post even has to exist for you or any of us.

I hope the gathering at SickKids brings any amount of comfort that you and Scott need. I'm still (and always) amazed at baby Jack and his gift of life.

Also, I already have very solid plans to be a fucking lunatic during my next pregnancy (poor OBGYN haha) as well so we're in that part together :)

Kelly said...

Thinking of you momma. I was already a lunatic in my pregnancy with Adam. I feel kinda sorry for my next possible baby cuz I'm gonna be a lunatic mom. I'm turning into that with Natalie.

Good luck with the ceremony tomorrow. We went to one at our hospital, and it was beautiful. However, I was a blubbering mess. :) Let it all out, don't worry about it at all. ((hugs))

Hunter's Mom said...

Thank you for such an honest post. We lost our son Parker four days after birth, and I wonder every single day how our lives would be different if he were still here. And I think it's a wonderful idea to have such clarity about where you are right NOW. I just try to ignore it most of the time.

Molly said...

Wow, didn't know you were doing that tomorrow. Been a bad friend talking about EW!!! ;) will be thinking of you tomorrow. Let me know how it goes. Beautiful post and one of my fav pics... fav is the nap one with you. Love u dear friend!! Good things to cone for us all I hope!!

little vitu's mom said...

I get all that you wrote. I too tell myself that at least my next baby (or babies) should outlive us. Thinking of you as you go to attend the meeting tomorrow.

And yes, Jack is impossibly cute. Only if he were with you :(

Bree said...

Laura, I am so sorry for the loss of impossibly cute Jack. It all is so unfair that sometimes it feels impossible that so many women and fathers lose the babies they so much wanted and loved.
BTW, we waited for four months to tell our families about our subsequent pregnancy after the death of our son. If I could have I would have waited much longer. I wish you peace in your new life and finding your way about it.

New Year Mum said...

Such a beautiful post... your words are so heartfelt. Thinking of you for tomorrow. Love always xoxo

B. Wilson said...


I didn't see this post and feel like a major shithead for not knowing about today's SickKids visit. I was a bit lost yesterday, but I should've known!

You are amazing, LJ. No one has a right to tell you a thing about your decisions. Don't they get it? We don't give a crap about their advice.

When it comes to McBabe #2...3...4...etc etc, do whatever the hell your instincts tell you. Screw anyone who tells you otherwise. We have to be protective.

Elliot was reading an article about Somalian children... something like 90% survive in grave and starving conditions. How the HELL did our babies die? Still baffling. Still sickening. I hate it all. Everyday, nonstop nightmare. I hear ya, friend.

Talk soon about this hospital visit. We need to avoid those places if possible, no? It seems like we can't get enough. Meh. Hate em'.

Caroline said...

This was (as always) a great post. I think that your experiences will impact me as well when I hopefully have living children to bring home - I love what you said about being one protective mama bear. I'm pretty sure that being neurotic is just going to be part of my life from here on out. . .as if it isn't already! but like what Brandy said - how do others survive in terrible conditions? I always wonder that when I see crackwhores or other fabulous members of society, like the 15 year olds who don't even know they are pregnant until they are 6 months, go on to have perfectly healthy kids. Such a cruel, cruel world it can be. BUT such a beautiful world as well. Your little boy and that sweet picture is evidence of that.

Shaina Gadow said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful Boy! I am so sorry for your loss, just heartbreaking. I relate to not wanting to tell the grandparents (or anyone really) next time we get pregnant. It's just too scary, just in case it goes all wrong again.

Brooke said...

Yes to all this... especially doing what's right for you and Scott as far as the timing goes, and totally understandable to protect your babies fiercely. Before my blood tests came back normal, my doctor said there was a chance that I could have contracted a virus that killed Eliza and I was instantly imagining myself in a future pregnancy wearing one of those face masks everywhere I went in an effort to protect myself from airborne diseases... You would have done anything to save Jack, of course you'll do everything you can to protect future babies. And I hope so much that will be soon for you.

Darcey said...


I came across a fellow BLM on one of my grief boards who's son passed away after 18 days from an infection he caught in the hospital (8 weeks ago). I passed on your blog address. I know we each have our own unique story and I thought you guys could relate to each other's experience...i hope you don't mind.

Hope's Mama said...

Laura, Jack is such a beautiful little boy. I'm so sorry he's no longer here and to hear of the way you lost him - absolutely heartbreaking. Though, it always is, isn't it? Our babies should be here.
You should feel so incredibly proud that Jack has left the most amazing legacy in giving his organs to other little babies. The ultimate gift.
Glad to have found you through Angie's project.
Take care. Very early days for you.

Fireflyforever said...

I'm visiting (extremely late in the day) from Angie's project. I am so sorry your beautiful boy is not in your arms. He's utterly gorgeous. Such early days, what a precious legacy you gave Jack.

I was a wreck for my rainbow pregnancy and had the c-date in the diary from 8 weeks and the first scan (Emma died during labour, so no fights there). We only told grandparent at 12 weeks (and only because they guessed) and no-one else until 20. Some friends didn't know until we announced his birth - and I recommend a sling to keep strangers away. My rainbow baby lived in a wrap on my front for most of his early life (and still does a lot now at 17 months) - kept him close to me and away from strangers.

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