Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Days

Three days from now will be Jack's very first birthday. January first. The promise of a new year, fresh resolutions just waiting to be broken... But it holds a very different meaning for us now.
It's not like I didn't know it was coming. As I've watched the calender pages turn at a furious pace, I've realized this date is inevitable. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to wrap my mind around it, trying to wrestle my subconscious into submitting to what will be an excruciating day.
So in knowing this, what have we planned?
Not a thing.
It's not that I haven't had the time, because I have. And it's not like I don't want him celebrated, because I do. And it's definitely not that I don't want to remember him , because I will, forever and ever, and until way past then. Rather, we've planned nothing, because nothing feels right.
There can be no birthday celebration without the bouncing birthday boy. I suspect on the day when most people are suffering from a champagne-induced hangover will be a solemn day in the McCannell household. One in which I cry a lot, and attempt to fall in and out of sleep in the safety and comfort of my bed, or my husbands arms. I'm going to unplug the house phone, silence the our cells, and tuck away my computer. And just be alone, with Jack's dad.
In all honestly, the very idea of spending time with anyone on our son's first birthday is suffocating to me. In the days and weeks after Jack I felt like my skin was afire anytime someone hugged me. It was unbearable, but I hugged them because they sought comfort, even though it brought me physical pain. I felt smothered, much as I do now, by people's pity. I didn't want to be touched, and I didn't want to be held, and there were (and still remain) no words which made me feel any better about what happened. No promises of "it was God's will" bring any resolution to my grief.
And I feel badly for the first person to tell me this inside baby needs her mother to be strong for her. The person who tells me that once this baby gets here we will feel better. Because while I can not wait to hold her in my arms and lavish kisses upon her sweet baby skin, I will never again get to do that for my son, and I am beside myself grieving that. I will never get over that.

On that note, I am really irritated by people who think I should be happier now I'm pregnant. I am happy, but I am still grieving, and one does not negate the other.  Everyone assumes it will all work out this time, and that what happened to us was such a spontaneous fluke... That history certainly can't repeat itself. But it does, and it has, and to make me feel guilty as though I'm somehow doing a disservice to my baby girl by grieving her brother...Really? To utter these words to me is unconscionable. The people who speak these words know as much about grief as I do about physics. Because until you've cuddled and kissed your baby and passed him to a nurse, knowing you will never hold him again no matter how long you live, you don't get a say, and I don't give a damn how much you feel I'm letting down my daughter. I just don't. She is loved. And she will have a wonderful life (I hope), but I'm so sick of people trying to inspire me to be happy by guilting me about her.
So what do I want? I want people to remember him. To say his name. To look at his photos and remember that he was, and still remains, a very loved little boy who just isn't here with us. He is as much a part of me as my heart and my lungs. 

To remember whether we have one or even twelve more babies, he will always be missing.

That's all I want. Well, that and my baby back.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh, We're Half Way There...

Living' on a prayer.
Take my hand, we'll make it, I swear.
We're half way there...*

19w2, half way to 38w c-section.

* Not sure Bon Jovi had this in mind....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Manic Monday...

Today is just... One of those days.

I miss my boy. So much. It goes without saying I miss him with every beat of my heart, and every breath that I take. I just yearn to hold him one last time and simply refuse to believe he's been gone nearly a year now. A year ago I had so much excitement about what still lay ahead... And now, I have move so far beyond him that it's beyond my comprehension that I have not yet died of a broken heart. If someone could, I know I would have.

Fresh from the oven.
It's still fresh in my mind those early days when I would close my eyes and simply wish they would never open again... That I would not have to go on functioning without my son in my arms. The days where in I honestly believe that if I did not have Scott by my side, I would have ceased to exist all together.

Where the only time we left the house was to forge for food and once seated at a restaurant realize nothing actually "looked good" -we ate for nourishment only. The days where we would sit across the table from one another and he would tell me, "I only get out of bed for you now".  Or he would remind me "if anything ever happened to you..." and end the sentence with a knowing look.

And yet it's been nearly a year since we had him. Nearly a year since we lost him. It's been a bitter-sweet offering that this year has flown by.  It seems the least fate could provide that it would pass so quickly, and yet I find I can barely remember what it felt like to be pregnant with him. I remember specific things, like how if I were to lay on my side and cuddle up behind Scott, Jack would repeatedly kick Scott in the ass until I moved. He wasn't uncomfortable. No...  I honestly believe he was showing Scott who was boss. It was him, all 7 pounds of delicious baby boy.

In the many biophysical ultrasounds we had in the latter weeks, he would kick and shuffle around my belly, making it hard for the ultrasound technician to take accurate measurements. When this happened, the technician would take a break and invite Scott into the room to check him out on the screen. Jack was clearly showing off the dance moves he inherited from his daddy. At the sound of his daddy's voice, my little boy would grow still and wait to hear it again before he started dancing again. The technician said this was often the case- that Jack knew his daddy's voice, and would become so intent on hearing if that he would stop moving to get a better listen. I don't know whether it's all bullshit or not, but it makes my heart melt to think that Jack's love for his daddy existed long before they met face-to-face.

Scott held him first, just moments after he was born. He cuddled Jack skin-to-skin on his chest, and repeatedly told me how cute Jack was from over the blue blanket dividing Jack and I as I lay on the operating table. Scott spoke to him, telling him he was going to be alright. I told Jack, upon first meeting his gaze, that we had waited our whole lives to meet him, and we had. And now we wait again, until our lives are through, and he waits for us this time.

This is just one of those days where the sky is overcast and cold rain is falling and I'm remembering a little boy who wasn't all that far away not all that long ago. And I'm missing him and the world I lost when I lost him. And I'm inconsolable, and feeling quite sorry for myself.

Ps. As I type this, I've felt several strong kicks from my sweet little girl, and I remember just how much I have to be grateful for. I love her, I love her, I love her. But fuck do I miss her brother.

pss. I have to laugh- I typed maniac monday...ahahaha

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jack's Baby...

Presented without commentary, other than to say: we.are.thrilled and Jack's sister looks healthy. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just For Fun...

You're already aware I worry a lot. I constantly worry about whether Jack's Baby is alive in there, though I have no reason to believe otherwise.  I *think* I feel sporadic movements after I eat something sweet and also when I lay down.

We all know my first priority with this baby is a living, breathing, HEALTHY baby. No matter the gender, we will love this baby like crazy. But before I became a BLM, there use to be some excitement to the anatomy scan, rather than just fear and dread.

Our scan is booked for Friday afternoon, though we may not know the results of the scan until early next week. I'll be sure to return to reveal the results once I know more.

This is not an original idea, so in following in the footsteps of those who have gone before me, here are some Questions & Answers to sway you either way.

How I snore sleep:
Old Wives' Tales suggest that if you sleep on your left side, a boy is sure to come our way. Sleep on your Right? Pregnant with a girl.
I almost always awake on my right side, despite putting myself to bed on my left to alleviate heartburn. 
My vote: girl

Extreme nausea = girl. Boys are good to their mommas.
I think we all know this one screams girl, but Jack kept me puking until the very last second too. Though, to be fair, I feel like I'm more severely sick this time, whereas with Jack it was more consistently so (does that even make sense?)
My vote: girl

If you have soft hands, you can expect a girl. Always "rubbing lotion into your skin or else you get the hose again" dry hands? Then you'll deliver a boy.
My vote: boy

If you crave citrus, a girl may be your way.
I only eat meat. No, seriously.
My vote: boy

Pimples and Spots:
Girls steal their momma's beauty, so if you're spotty, you've got one on the way.
My vote: girl

If you're losing your balance, it's a boy. Graceful? Girl!
I've managed to stay upright for the most part.
My vote: girl

Fatty Face:
Fuller face= girl baby.
I'd like to say boy here, but my fat face says otherwise.
My vote: girl

Salt and Sugar:
Sweet cravings = a sweet little girl. Salt= a boy.
My vote: boy

Heart rate:
>150 beats per minute= girl
<150 beats per minute= boy
at 12 weeks, it was 162 BPM
My vote: girl

Boy votes: 3
Girl votes: 6

Bonus Instinct Question:

I'm thinking I'm carrying Jack's little sister. Mind you, I thought Jack was a girl, too.
Jack's daddy thinks I'm carrying Jack's baby brother.

I've love to hear what you think. Were you right with your baby's gender? Any guesses as to Jack's baby?

Friday, December 9, 2011

In the Spirit of Christmas

It's a little known secret that Scott's favourite movie isn't a block buster, nor is it an action-flick. It's a movie which, to my knowledge, didn't do well at the box office at all. Scott's favourite movie ever is The Family Man, starring Nicholas Cage. We watch it every time we see it on TV (usually Christmas time) and neither of us ever bore of it...

The trailer (which pretty much gives away the entire plot & ending):

I have a habit/tradition of purchasing a DVD for Scott's stocking each year. Last year, I finally managed to track down the DVD for The Family Man. I felt it fitting he would receive it for Christmas, and on the eve of having his very own "family".

Last Christmas I wrapped up the many gifts purchased, and placed them under the Christmas tree. Gift tags read,  "To Daddy, Love Jack", were attached to many miscellaneous items (sweaters, pants, socks). These tags were also found on the outside of packages containing children's books, with notes which included "Daddy, can you read this to me when I get there?". I can still remember the look on Scott's face as he piled the "Jack stuff" up at Christmas, and joked that while Jack outdid himself, I hadn't given him much or anything...

As heartbreaking as it is to remember, It's my intention to repeat my gift tag habit this year. Jack's name will remain on the tags, along the name of his baby brother or sister. Gifts from the McBabes to-be will continue to be found under our tree. I know this will bring about some tears and some sadness, but more than that I hope it facilitates the attachment I want to develop between this baby and his or her family... I want this baby to be as hotly anticipated as Jack was... Currently everyone is a little anxious to see what the IPS will bring, so they're a little more reserved, though they all deny it when asked. More than anything, I want Jack to be a part of any and all celebrations in the years to come, and so his name will accompany any gifts. Because he'd want to give gifts too, my sweet little guy.

After repeatedly telling me "Christmas is cancelled", I threatened to send Scott home to his parent's house for Christmas eve and to wake up Christmas morning. I reasoned it would make his mother's life to have him at home for Christmas morning gift opening once again, and she might as well be happy if we're going to be miserable! It's an empty threat we both know I'd never enforce, but it did result in Scott reluctantly agreeing we would go pick out a tree this weekend.

My husband is basically the cutest. I've mentioned before that Scott really "is" Christmas. Every year he picks a "theme" and purchases gifts in the spirit of the theme. A few years ago it was LuluLemon and I received multiple pairs of yoga pants, a spring coat, a hair band, and some other stuff. I suspect he was trying to lure me into wearing this gear to the gym, instead I chose to wear it to lounge and be comfortable. (As twitter peeps would add, #fail... ha!). Before that it was a Technology Christmas and I was gifted my Macbook, an Ipod, and a digital camera. My Christmas gifts last year involved Jack. On Christmas Eve, he excitedly disappeared from our usual spot on the couches in the basement and went about putting the years gifts together in an attractive way. On Christmas morning, he rolled the newly assembled stroller from the nursery, packed it full of pink gift-wrapped presents, and presented it to me. As I went about unwrapping everything, it revealed to me Scott's "theme".

He would kill me if he knew I posted this.
And that white blob beside the tree? That's Tinky the cat!
I received warm winter boots, a beautiful ski coat, winter gloves, and cozy hat. His theme? Stroller time with Jack. He had gifted me with items necessary to walk our son around the neighbourhood in the frigid winter months. He wanted to make sure I'd look like the cute momma he wanted me to be. He was so excited I would have no reason to not get out there and enjoy time with our boy.

Perhaps now you better understand my fixation with stroller days and why it hurts so very much when I see mothers pushing their baby in the very stroller I had researched and selected for our son?

A few days after we said goodbye to our boy, we went back to the store to make exchanges on my Christmas gifts since he had purchased a tiny-sized coat I would not have fit into even as a toddler. I remember trying to zip them over my still swollen belly and being so angry at the thought I would need this coat for winter, but not to push my boy around. BTW, if you ever want to feel like a giant, I recommend you try on designer skiwear, because... um, yeh...

I remember as we checked out, Scott asking me whether I was going to wear all this stuff since we were investing so much into it. I assured him I would, though as we walked out to the car, I distinctly remember telling him I hoped I didn't fit into it this year.

Luckily for us, it doesn't come close to fitting at 17 weeks pregnant. :) Now THAT's something to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Becoming Beautiful...

I've struggled with pride a lot since we lost the love of our lives. On one hand, I am incredibly proud of him. I am overwhelming proud of his perfect little body. Of his sweet little gasps and fake cries- he was a drama queen and I love him. I'm proud of my husband, for being a daddy when it was called for, and I'm proud of his insistence on the Organ Donation surgery which made our little man a hero on January 11, 2011- his final gift to the world.

But I don't know that I, myself, have done anything to make me feel pride in my actions. I've mentioned before that I feel as though I failed him. I should have known he was sick. I'm his mother- it's my job to protect him from harm, and I couldn't do that.  I feel a lot of shame about it, even know I realize there isn't anything I could have done. It doesn't stop the hurt and the pain which comes with letting him down. For letting everyone down.

I feel like I should do more. Start a foundation which bares his name. Collect toys for donation in his memory. Raise awareness for organ donation. Something.  Anything. But I haven't, and I likely won't because it's all I can do to not cry when someone speaks of him to me.

What I am proud of though is that I like to think I have a higher capacity to love now that I know what it means to lose it all. I honestly believe I will cherish the heck out of my kids in a way I doubt a parent who has never experienced any form of loss could. This isn't about who loves whose children more, believe me, I know every most parents loves their kids beyond all measure. But rather, this gaping hole which exists because Jack no longer does, has shown me a level of love and grief I never knew possible until I had my dream torn from my arms.

I came across this quote, which I believe represents every one of us BLMs. We've been dealt the worst hand imaginable, but we'll come out more beautiful because of it. It may not be even nearly enough, but it's something.
Courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Still Here

I'm still around, reading your posts and thinking about all the babies who would should be turning one in just a couple of days.

I'm left with a lack of words most days. I've said it all before: I miss him. I want him more than anything. I'd do anything to get him back. But words aren't enough, and repeating these statements ad nauseam does little to mend my broken heart.

He should have been eleven months old today. But he's not, and I don't know if or when I'll ever stop counting his anniversaries in the same way. He would have made such a cute Christmas elf or Santa Claus,  and I'm sad about not being able to take photos of him smiling and clucking under the Christmas tree.

Oh, a Christmas tree. We have a real tree every year. We pick it out at Home Depot, drag it home and place it in it's stand until the new year. Every year is the same- I stand hanging decorations on the tree, listening to Christmas carols while Scott mills around the house hanging things or evading decorating the tree. We use white lights, and gold and red themed ornaments. Each year, we collect an ornament from our travels (we have a Disney-themed ornament from our honeymoon in 2009, and a Rockafeller Centre ornament from NYC 2010). I don't think we picked one up this year, but I'll find somethings Jack-related to represent this year.

I've already decided we'll make an annual tradition of purchasing the Swarovski crystal stars.
My husband has been explicit about Christmas being cancelled this year. Last year, after we lost Jack, we came home to a dried up Christmas tree crying out to be tossed away. It breaks my heart to think we put it up with the knowledge Jack would be seeing his first Christmas tree, and took it down knowing he would never see another. My husband refuses to discuss getting a tree this year, or even acknowledge the Christmas cards which are beginning to roll in. He doesn't want Christmas presents or any talk of Christmas plans. It sounds ridiculous to anyone who doesn't know him, but Scott IS Christmas. He is the happiest person I know, he is always cheerful, and he lights up a room when he walks in it. But to see him dim around the holidays is hard. 

He turns thirty in fewer than 2 weeks and he also refuses to discuss any plans for any form of celebration. So we won't be having one. He can't imagine finding anything worth celebrating even though we do have this pregnancy to be grateful for. He's bitter, he's angry, and he's remembering just how hopeful we were just 11 months ago for a son to spoil this year. Each holiday party we attended last year was earmarked with, "next year we'll have a baby with us". Christmas day this year was to be the first of us staying home and family coming to visit us.

I'm trying really hard to look forward to the good we have in store in 2012 (please). The next several weeks promise to be the hardest yet as we endure our favourite holiday without our favourite boy. As we experience the last of the "firsts" and start to experience our "seconds without him".  There are happy things though- we have pieces of optimism and hope sprinkled in with our despair- we'll complete our anatomy scan with the hopes of a healthy baby, and we'll soon find out the gender of the sibling Jack has sent to us. There will be good days, mixed in with the bad. The hopes for a better outcome next Christmas.

Please, oh please.
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