Monday, February 28, 2011

Daddy's Best Friend



It's hard to see the onesie here, but it read "Daddy's Best Friend", and Jack wore it on his 2nd day of life.

Though out my pregnancy, my husband was quite reserved. He was worried about getting too attached, he was worried we would lose him due to cervical incompetence (which turned out to not even be an issue). He was amazed the first time he saw Jack in an ultrasound, and teared up the first time he heard the heartbeat in the early weeks.

When I was heavily pregnant and lying on my left side as I was instructed to do, I would often curl up behind my husband. Something about this must have irritated "inside Jack" and Scott would find himself subject to getting swift kicks to the ass. It was pretty funny, looking back. :)

When Jack was finally due to be born, and I was wheeled into the Operating Room for my c-section I told my husband he would need to be responsible for the skin-to-skin contact since I wasn't sure I would be able to hold him. Scott took on this responsibility despite his reservations, and suited up in the gown required of him. It was within seconds of Jack's birth I was abandoned as Scott ran over to the table where they were cleaning him up to hold him for the very first time.

On the night of Jack's birth while Scott was holding him, he informed me this was in fact the very best day of his life, and he was in love with our little boy. He told me he would require 12 more of these beautiful babies. That he finally got "it".

When we lost Jack, a little part of Scott was lost too. He doesn't feel like himself, and he's no longer entirely happy-go-lucky. It's hard- he's still Scott, but a variation of his former self.

We mourn differently, where I cry, he gets angry. I like to look at photos, he says looking at photos of our sweet boy breaks his heart... I find it difficult to "relate" to his way of dealing with our loss- I feel like he's hiding from it, pretending it never happened. Ignoring his feelings, delaying his inevitable grief. I think he thinks I cry too much.

This weekend, when he thought I wasn't looking, I saw him kiss the screen of his phone (one which the background is a close up of Jack). I know he misses him just as much as I do. It must be hard, being strong all the time.

Scott not only lost his baby, but a piece of himself, all the dreams he had for our lives together as a family of three. He was so looking forward to teaching Jack to skate... to play hockey (the first and only piece of clothing Scott purchased for Jack was an infant-sized Toronto Maple Leaf jersey), to "have a chip on his shoulder". In the moment we lost Jack, Scott lost his newest, closest, and favourite best friend before he even got to know him.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trying Again Inspiration...

I stumbled across another BLM's blog, and love this poem so much I had to re-post it here. It gives me hope, and I love the sentiment behind it. Hope you like it as much as I do:

A different child, people notice
There's a special glow around you.
You grow surrounded by love
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.

And if sometimes between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
One day you'll understand.
You'll understand there was once another child.

A different child.
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes.
That child will never keep them up at night.

In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all...
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.

May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever:
How infinitely precious,
How infinitely fragile is this life on earth.

One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.

When all hope seems lost
you will tell them with great compassion:

"I know how you feel.
I'm only here because my parents tried again."

Friday, February 25, 2011

"I know how you feel..."

This post is extremely ranty, you've been warned...

Today I finally followed up to find out the status of my employment insurance benefits. In Canada, you're entitled to claim lost wage benefits for 17 weeks for your maternity leave, in addition to 35 weeks for your parental leave. Because Jack died, I can only claim maternity leave because I have no one to parent... (insert knife to heart here).

I'm thankful to be able to claim these benefits, after paying into them my whole working life. It gives me time to "recover" from my child's birth (and in my case death) before having to face work once again.

Since it's coming on 2 months since Jack was born (twist knife here), and I am yet to receive my payments, I started calling last week to find out what the status was. I was told to call back every 48 hours to find out the status, which is completely inefficient, but whatever. I did as I was told. Today, I called to let them know I am still waiting ( a solid week after this should have been determined) and upon explaining yet again the situation was told it could take another 3 weeks.

I told the woman on the phone that while I appreciate her help, an additional 3 weeks was ridiculous and asked what the heck was taking so long since I clearly met their qualifications (worked for at least 16 weeks in the past year while paying into the system, gave birth, etc.). When I explained to her my situation regarding Jack's loss, she offered no apology, no condolences, nothing... What added salt to the wound was when I was expressing my frustrations and she said, "I know how you feel". I couldn't contain my frustrations anymore, and finally asked to to stop... that she did not in act "know how I feel, I hope you never do"... I realize she was trying to empathize with me, and the situation I find myself in. However, I find it extremely irritating to hear that... Unless you've lost your baby, you'll never know how I feel...

::end rant::

Epilogue: I got the call back from the decision maker, and surprise, surprise my claim for benefits was approved... Thanks, could have done without the telephone confrontation this morning.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Momma's Boy

I had a thought today, which upset me.

What if I never get the chance to have another little boy? What if I only get girls from here on in? My husband and I joke constantly about how we'll likely have only girls from here on out, about how Scott will be tormented by all the boys who will come a'knocking on our front door to date them one day... But seriously, what if I don't get to have another boy?

When I was newly pregnant with Jack, we were convinced we would end up with a girl as I had severe morning sickness. We were very surprised to learn at 18 weeks a little boy would soon be joining our family. I spent the remaining months of my pregnancy preparing for a boy- buying gender appropriate clothing, cute little boy shoes and hats. I tried to keep all the big things (stroller, crib, dresser) gender neutral for our subsequent pregnancies... I have closets full of baby boy clothes, sweaters with "Daddies Best Friend", "Daddies Little Helper", and "I love mommy".

What if I never get to use those things, or hear a little boy tell me he loves me.. or have him grab for my hand when he's secretly scared of something... Taking him to hockey or soccer practice and needing to bandage up his knees...I know I don't get to do those things with Jack, and that is heartbreaking enough... But the idea of never getting to do those things with a boy? Devastating. I had only the tiniest glimpse of boy-mom life... it was wonderful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's a beautiful day

The sun is shining, there's not a cloud in the sky.

And all I can think of is how I could/should have been strapping Jack into his stroller and going for a nice long walk.

:(

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

But where do I fit?

Sometimes I feel like I just don't "fit" anywhere, anymore.

My clothes don't fit, my life as a mum doesn't fit (like a slightly-too small sweater, it didn't have time to get comfortable, was returned too quickly, and I'll live my life wishing it had come in my size), and I certainly don't want my new life as a baby loss momma to get to be all to comfortable. I want to move on to be one of the success stories which motivate me to power through all the dark days. I want someone just starting out on this terrible journey to see my words and realize things will get better... That there is still hope, and light, and maybe even joy to be found in life- I'm not there yet.

I want to be surrounded by my children, hunkered down on a cold morning eating breakfast in our pajamas. I want to chase them around the yard, scooping them into my arms before we crumble to the ground in a fit of laughter and tears.

But wishing for it doesn't make it so.

I still don't understand how we got to be here. How it is I have come to need to make due in a life where my skin doesn't fit. Where my life doesn't fit. It's an uncomfortable life, full of difficult situations, questioning faces, pity and despair. I am not this person.

I can't pretend like this didn't happen- I would never want to. I remember when I was pregnant, people would tell me to make sure to moisturize my stomach to prevent stretch marks (ha, like that even works). I remember diligently doing so until my first few began to appear in the later stages of my 2nd trimester. "Oh well, it's not like people won't see my baby and know I'm a mom anyway", I would tell myself. Now? My stomach is ravaged by stretch marks which appeared while making the best thing I have ever made.

My stretch marks might be the only thing which would identify me as a mother to strangers who might observe me in a bikini (not gonna happen anytime soon...). Scars to remind me that this journey really happened, that I really did grow the most beautiful little boy.... One who lived nearly his entire life within me.

My husband reminds me there will be more, if he has anything to say about it. Stretch marks on top of stretch marks, he says.

I did everything right. Save for a few friends, no one knew we were expecting until after the first trimester. Even then, I kept my secret close to my chest and didn't want to show my cards too early. Bad things happen when you get too confident, I told myself.

I silently counted down the days until viability day at 24 weeks, managed to hold myself back from buying the stroller, the crib, the dresser and rug until 28 weeks, didn't get the nursery painted until nearly 32 weeks... All of these things, ways of controlling my anxiety... Not wanting to get too excited for something which was wanted so very badly, but I feared wouldn't happen. "You're silly, and you're over thinking it", I was told.

I bought the best of everything I could. We spent 4 hours painting Jack's nursery. My sweet boy lived in clothing gifted to us in his first few short days, not getting the chance to wear the things his mommy procured for him in anticipation for his arrival. He now wants for nothing. All those things? I didn't need them.

I have closets full of clothing meant to cover a tiny little body, drawers full of wipes and diapers to change his little bum. I have lotions and potions to calm his skin, and toys to sing sweet lullabies to ease him to sleep after a particularly difficult day. I collected these things, as I went along my path of pregnancy. How could I have ever known it would end like this?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Miscarriage

Scott and I consider ourselves to be tremendously fortunate to have succeeded at becoming pregnant with Jack during our first month of trying. I know so many people who try for so long to become pregnant at all- numerous interventions, miscarriages, countless negative pregnancy tests.

Having been fortunate in this way, I didn't know what to say to a friend who confided in me today, that at eight weeks pregnant there was no longer a fetal heartbeat. I'm so sad for her and her husband, and the miscarriage of their first pregnancy. We helped them move into their first house together just last weekend, and we joked about the room which would become a nursery "one day". I had an inkling she was pregnant just from her actions on that day, but there was no confirmation until today.

I called to let her know I would be thinking about her, and to offer my ear if she needed to talk in the coming weeks. She is sitting at home today, waiting to miscarry. I feel helpless, yet I know only too well there really isn't anything I can offer to her to make the hurt go away.

She has a positive attitude about it, she sensed this was coming. She is sad for her husband as he is always so happy and optimistic and felt so confident there would be no miscarriage, he attended work today rather than taking another personal day (as he had many of these in recent weeks between moving, attending the first ultrasound, etc.). She faced this appointment alone.

I'm heartbroken for the both of them.

I don't understand why the worst things happen to the best people.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

SickKids Foundation

Jack's Tribute website at SickKids has already received more than $2000 in donations. This is in addition to the numerous (at least 15) condolence "donations" cards we received from friends and family through SickKids (meaning even more was donated, but we can't track it).

This is what is posted on the tribute site for donations (click to read)...

This figure doesn't include Scott's "company matching" donation, we've yet to hear what was collected in donations through his employer (a large company, where Scott is loved and adored). It's amazing how supportive people have been, as well as how many people have put their money where their mouth is.

How many people did Jack's short life touch?

Finally, here is the current SickKids commercial... How could you not believe that together we will...?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Organ Donation


I've mentioned a few times that Jack was able to be an organ donor (his liver went to a 7 month old boy in the United States). This is one of the things we are able to look back on him with such pride- because he lived, and also because he died, another little boy was saved. Another family was protected from the excruciating agony of losing their baby.

Organ donation isn't all that new. SickKids (where Jack was treated, and subsequently where he underwent the organ donation process) deals with transplants quite frequently as they deal with the sickest of the sick. However, Jack was part of the NICU due to his age and size... Wanna know something amazing? Jack was the first ever SickKids NICU baby to be an organ donor.

I alluded to having received mail the other day, and along with his NICU bed label and his "certificate of life", came the request from the transplant co-ordinator at SickKids (via Trillium Gift of Life) to write of the experience surrounding Jack's successful donation, in hopes of repeating this opportunity in the future. They have indicated Jack's name won't be used (it wouldn't bother us if it had), but his situation would be recognizable in the literature they compile and as such they needed consent which we of course provided.

It seems like an incredible thing that Jack was the very first NICU baby at this first-class children's hospital to have been through this process. Our little boy was a hero, and he did save one life.. But maybe? Just maybe, because of his example in the NICU, many more will be saved.

It's incredible how proud both myself and my husband are of our little boy. He's inspiring to us as his parents, I can't even begin to imagine how proud we would be of him if he were still here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Health Card

Today I received more mail. I received Jack's Ontario Health Card- which I had registered for the day after he was born. It was addressed to Jack directly. Stuff like this is hard to get, even though I mean that health card = no health bills for the time he was sick (and even when he was born, to be honest). It's just hard because rather than collecting them all and carrying them around in my diaper bag "just in case", I just add them to the pile of memorabilia. :(

It makes me sad and I had a good old cry today.

My hubby caught me crying upstairs by myself and reminded me I don't need to cry alone. It's hard, I don't want him to find me crying because I know how much it upsets him when I'm sad and he can't do anything about it. He really is the best husband I could ask for.

Hope you had a nice Valentine's Day,

xox,
Laura

It's 3am (I must be lonely)...

5 points if you know who sang those lyrics..

Anyways, it's a true fact: It's nearly 3am and I just can not sleep.

My mind is racing at 100 miles per hour (even though I function in kilometers, but I digress...), and I can not seem to slow it. I am thinking about Jack. Specifically, I'm thinking that yesterday was the first day I didn't cry since he got sick. That's not entirely true, I felt myself welling up with tears a few times yesterday, but I didn't allow myself to ugly cry. This, despite the fact the song playing in the OR when he was born played on the radio (Comedown by Bush, if anyone's curious).

I don't know how I feel about this non-crying thing. I'm not sure if I'm ready to not be crying, I feel guilty that I didn't cry yesterday. Please know this does not mean I don't love my baby. Nor does it mean I'm healed yet, because I'm not. I would give anything to hold his little body close to mine, or to kiss his sweet face, or smell his milk-soaked mouth. Anything, I'd truly do anything.

I'll have to see how long this lasts, though something tells me I'll cry today. I'm meeting a friend who I haven't seen since I started my maternity leave back in late December. I'm sure when I see her she'll want to know some details, so I am 89% sure I'll cry.

I'm off to try this sleep thing again. For the record, I've been trying since 11:10 last night. Wish me luck!


Friday, February 11, 2011

TTC #2

I am getting excited to start trying to conceive our second little miracle. I'm not yet ready (my locia seems to keep rearing her ugly face), but my OBGYN believes I should be getting my period again within the next 2-3 weeks, so planning is in full swing.

To prepare I have ordered Ovulation Prediction test strips (you can find them here) to help us narrow down ovulation dates. We (aka, I) did this same thing when we were trying to conceive Jack. We were fortunate to have gotten pregnant our very first cycle, and as such perhaps didn't really need these strips. But, I like to cover my bases and "cheat" a little if I can! I ended up gifting my "left overs" to a friend who was (and still is) trying to conceive her second child.

I ordered this specific package a few weeks ago and it arrived this week. The set contains both OPKs and several cheap-o pregnancy tests. I apparently love peeing on things (ha!) so having these available was super convenient and much more affordable. Regular pregnancy tests here in the Toronto area are like, 2 for $25-ish... Much better to have a cheap option available, and it makes my pee obsession much more manageable!

If you're ordering them, make sure you google for an online coupon. They are readily available and save you 10% or $5 or something like that (free shipping too).

I know our prior history isn't indicative of our future success with attaining a pregnancy, but I am keeping my toes and fingers crossed I will get pregnant within our first few cycles.

I know this seems weird, but I almost feel as though getting through so much of this grief we are feeling right now will rely on becoming pregnant soon. If Jack were still alive, a McBaby #2 would be the furthest thing from our minds. It's almost like we'll be able to make more sense of how things turned out if #2 arrives before we would ever have planned to get pregnant again. Does that make sense?

I don't want anyone to think this means we're trying to replace our little boy, because that's not it at all. Believe me, if having Jack here with us all safe and sound in my arms was an option- that would be our first choice. But it's not. We don't get to choose. It also doesn't mean #2 is going to be loved any less, or that he or she will be wanted any less. I don't want #2 to feel like he or she will need to live for Jack or to feel he or she is our fallback plan. Believe me when I say having a second baby has been in our plans from the very start- we're just hoping he or she will join our family early. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photos of our sweet boy

Photos of Jack with Mum and Dad







Our sweet boy has been an angel for a month.

"Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"- Dixie Chicks



Dragon tales and the "water is wide"
Pirate's sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moonbeams every night
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

The rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, will find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God hears "Amen," wherever we are
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Godspeed
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hope

This morning I returned to by OBGYN's office for the first time since my 38 week appointment. I thought I would be fine, that being around all these pregnant women wouldn't bother me. But as I waited to hand in my health card, I saw women coming out of their appointments smiling and laughing. Of course they were, they had everything to look forward to. I remember being in their shoes- a little more than a month ago I was the exact same way.

I waited for the other shoe to drop my entire pregnancy, so by the time I reached 37+ weeks pregnant, I finally let my guard down- the baby was coming, and he was going to be here soon.

:(

As I stood behind a women registering for her next appointment, I felt my eyes fill with tears, and I stared at an overhead light fixture, wishing the tears away. Luckily for me, my OBGYN was coming out of an appointment, caught my eye, and invited me back to her office. There was no weighing-in, or sitting on a paper-covered bed in the small room. I was in her office, tucked safely away from the women with the bellies and babies.

She gave me a huge hug, asked me how I was doing. My immediate response since Jack's death was, "I'm fine", and she immediately corrected me, "this is never fine, this is never okay". She cried with me, and told me there was nothing I could have done. She indicated she had spoken with the Pediatrician who had worked on Jack when we were originally admitted to my local hospital just yesterday. She said she was hoping I would be re-booking with her office soon, and was so thrilled to see my name on her list for the days appointments.

Both she and the Pediatrician believe it is likely that Jack had the infection before he was even born. She thinks he was likely sick in utero, though they're not sure how he got it. They think perhaps he had a compromised immune system, though nothing was apparent in any of the testing, the scans, the IPS testing. Why is the question- one they're hoping SickKids can answer for us. But realistically, we may never actually get to the bottom of it.

My husband and I are being referred for an appointment with the Infectious Disease department at SickKids, with the hope of being able to identify additional prenatal testing (blood draws from me, additional urine samples, etc.) which might provide us with additional comforts moving forward. Also, it is likely there will be special attention paid to the baby upon delivery, more testing, preventive medicines, etc. to ensure he/she is healthy. He or she may receive additional medications on a precautionary basis, but this is all dependent on the recommendations which come from the infectious disease department. There will be more testing on me, the fetus, etc. throughout the pregnancy, which is more reassuring.

This appointment should be in a few weeks or so, and my OB suggested it may be sooner. I'll keep you updated.

Finally, we discussed future pregnancies. She brought it up by telling me that both herself and the Pediatrician figured we were likely interested in having another baby, and soon. That they had been discussing us the day before, and how impressed the Pediatrician and herself were by us during our time at the local hospital, and in fact the feedback they had received from SickKids about our time there. Both agreed we were wonderful parents, despite the situation. My OB was emotional as we discussed how Scott and I were given the briefest taste of being parents to our sweet boy, and we crave it. I told her how my husband fell hook, line & sinker for that wee little man the moment he held him. I told her how my husband whispered, "this is the best night of my life, we're going to need 12 more of these", the night Jack was born.

I finally asked what her thoughts were on more babies. She smiled and told me to go ahead, and start trying. She said generally the recommendation is 12 weeks post-birth. We are already nearly 6. She anticipates I'll have my period back in the next 2-3 weeks and anytime after that we can get started. Perfect timing. Of course we'll need a repeat c-section, since it is fewer than 18 months from the first, but I have no concerns about this at all.

We agreed I will keep taking my prenatals, and there are no concerns regarding a lack of vitamins or ruptured uterus (since the major concern is during active labour, which will be avoided thanks to a repeat c-section). I feel confident moving forward, that we're doing everything possible to give Jack's brothers or sisters the very best chance for healthy lives. I am so happy to have my OB's endorsement to move forward with making the family I always knew/hoped we would have.

She made me promise to call the office when I get a positive pregnancy test, and very much hopes to see my name on her list of appointments in 2 months time. She gave me a hug, renewed my prescription for my prenatal vitamins, and wished me the very best of luck.

I feel a whole lot better after meeting with her. I feel more reassured than ever that it wasn't something we could have known/done/etc. I also feel a sense of calm. That maybe, we can finish the year with a baby, which would be wonderful. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mail

Today, on what I assumed would be a terrible day, we actually received some great mail.

We received a card of condolence from the Pediatrician that worked on Jack at our local hospital. It was she who treated him from the initial symptom of fever, attempted the lumbar puncture, suggested Meningitis was the like culprit of his illness, and performed CPR when he coded/ had his seizure.

She expressed her condolences for the loss of our sweet boy, and offered us the opportunity to meet with her if we felt it would be helpful. In Toronto, Pediatricians are difficult to come by, and you aren't likely to be referred to one unless your baby is born sick. Since ours wasn't, we were referred to our family doctor to have Jack checked over.

We'll never know whether our family doctor "overlooked" a symptom she should have investigated, though my husband and I can not recall whether Jack's temperature was actually checked that day. It does calm me to know we can be seen by a Pediatrician with our next baby, to help ease what I anticipate to be an extremely stressful time in our lives. She's a Pediatrician at both the local hospital, as well as SickKids, which I take to be a good omen.

Secondly, we received a letter from Trillium Gift of Life, which we had anticipated receiving for some time. The organ donation process is kept confidential, and my husband and I will never know the identity of the 7 month old infant which received Jack's liver. We are told the age, and the agency (UNOS) which received his liver. This letter today identified the organ recipient as a little boy, and that he had a terminal illness as a result of severe liver damage. Thanks to Jack's liver, this little boy is alive and thriving. Thanks to Jack, a little boy, his parents, his grandparents and perhaps some siblings are enjoying more time with their little man.

We are thrilled. :)

In approximately 5 more months we have the opportunity to send a letter, via Trillium and UNOS, to the recipient family. They have the chance to reciprocate by sending a letter in return. I'll be interested to see what happens from here.

I'm anxious again. Tomorrow I see my OBGYN for my 6 week PP appointment. I'll be asking when we can start making more McBabies, fingers crossed for a quick turn around time.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Haunted

A month ago tonight, I held my baby close in the bed at the local hospital here in Toronto. My husband and I had finally broken his fever with cool wet cloths (in addition to the medication given at the hospital). Jack had spent some time "fighting" with us to get rid of his oxygen sensors (rubbing his feet together at a furious rate because they were obviously irritating him. My husband, at one point, was trying to hold Jack's feet apart so he wouldn't keep rubbing them, and Jack punched my husband (repeatedly) in the face. WHACK, WHACK, WHACK. It was hilarious. It was adorable. Our little boy, at 5 days old, had a serious chip on his shoulder.

I'm haunted tonight, because I truly believe the seizure my little boy had in the early morning hours of January 7th was when we lost him. I regret putting Jack down into the bassinet to sleep that evening, the first time he hadn't slept in my arms. The morphine given to Jack to help ease his pain that evening calmed him enough to sleep, and I took advantage of that to finally get some rest.

When we finally slept that night, my husband and I rejoiced in the fact the worst (the fever) was over.

Not even close.

How I wish I could travel back in time to whisper "hold your baby" in my own ear. I wish I could travel back further and protect Jack from the infection which would take his life.

But I can't. And I'm haunted.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hard Days

January 5th was our last "good" day with Jack. We had taken him to a doctor's appointment in the early afternoon and then on a quick jaunt to my parent's house from there. We watched the World Juniors game that evening, and he spent the evening in my arms, refusing to sleep without touching me.

On January 6th our world changed, and our little man was admitted to the pediatric unit at our local hospital (where he was born just days earlier) after having difficulty at the lactation clinic. I had decided to take him into the clinic to have them help me correct what I had determined to be a lazy latching problem. He would put my nipples in his mouth, but he'd either tongue them and not suck, or he would latch quickly, painfully, and unlatch quickly after. I marked it up to laziness, as I had been pumping for him to have a bottle (so I could measure how much he was feeding, and whether he was starving). Bottle nipples= easier to latch... easier to latch = lazy baby on the nipple.

Mini "anniversaries" such as today bring me to my knees. I ugly cry, unable to keep myself "together". I miss my little man. It devastates me to think that I was oblivious a month ago tonight, unaware the crying little baby would soon be taken from me. :(

Dates like today, and the next few days in fact, are difficult to bare. To be honest though, I was counting them in weeks, and now the anniversaries will be in both weeks and months.

Days of the week are hard:

Mondays remind me of our first day home with Jack, fresh from the hospital. A week later, Jack was declared a second time, confirming brain death. His organs were listed, and a need for his liver was confirmed through UNOS.

Tuesdays remind me of our only day at home with Jack... No appointments, no doctors, nothing. A week later, also a Tuesday, was the day we marched our little man on his mission to donate his liver... Tuesdays are the day Jack became a hero.

Wednesday we took him to visit my family doctor, the GP who was to become his doctor. We had only One Wednesday with him. Wednesday was our last day with a "healthy" baby.

Thursdays were our lactation clinic visit and the beginning of the end.

Friday we went to SickKids. He received his CT Scans and MRIs. We considered ourselves lucky to be there. World renowned for their miracles, we counted our blessings to have the very best care for our little man. If there's anywhere you want to be when you have a sick baby, this place is it. We believe in SickKids.

Saturday we were told he was brain dead. We realized it was real. We realized it was over. 1 week earlier, he wasn't yet here- we were waiting to meet our sweet baby. One week later, he wasn't here anymore.

Sunday Jack received his blessing. He was declared. Organ donation forms were signed.

See, each day holds a special memory of our beautiful baby boy. I'm so lucky to have had him, but it breaks my heart everyday to know I can no longer have him. It all seems surreal, until I remember that he was real. And he was really loved. He was really here. And he is really, really gone.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

But of Course...

Much of my family lives in the UK. My parents moved here in '79 shortly after getting married and before having us kids. We have an aunt here, with her kids and now their kids. But everyone else? They're still in England.

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I'm able to "know" my cousins and follow along in the "lives". One of the funny things about this is how they all seem to be incredibly fertile. Like, disgustingly so. Oh, and they don't get married. Why? Because then the mothers wouldn't be able to qualify for additional "single parent" benefits from the government...

This one cousin, she's exactly 5 years younger than me, making her the rip old age of 23. She has, let's count them... 1...2...3 kids. 4 years old, 14 months, and 4 months... I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

The twit is pregnant again, 3 months pregnant, with #4. At 23. No job. No education. No husband (to be fair, same boyfriend/baby daddy for all the kids... I think). Council (read: government paid) housing. FML.

My husband and I own our house, both have great jobs we have worked our asses off to achieve, have savings, university degrees, have great friends... We have 0 live babies. 0.

I don't "get" it.

On Distractions

I realize this reads somewhat incoherently, but I'm kind of a "write as I think, and do it quickly before I forget" kinda gal...

Every now and then I find myself so overwhelmed with grief that I begin hysterically crying. I try to save this moments for when I'm home, alone, as not to terrify my husband. I allow myself a solid 2 minutes of uncontrollable sobbing, crying out for Jack, and asking why before I pull myself together.

Sometimes it's harder to calm down than others. I have a few distractions I implement to help me catch my breath. I look at the beautiful photos I have of him, and I watch the videos I have. One in particular, where my husband is filming Jack the morning after he was born. He is swaddled (my husband's newly acquired baby skill) up tightly and my husband is filming him from above. It's the only video we have where Jack's eyes are open wide. I laugh at one point because Jack looks off to the side, and to me it looks like he's giving the camera a big eye roll. It's as though he is thinking, "you people with the camera are ridiculous". The clip is about a minute or so long, but it seems to do the job.

In the times where I'm not quite as desperate, I am able to think back on the happy times with him, though they were so short and few indeed. I am so thankful for the few nights we had together, he and I, where I just sang to him and told him we love him. These were the nights where he refused to sleep anywhere other than my arms. I tried to tuck him under one arm, while he was elevated on a pillow, so that I too might get some sleep. Jack wasn't all that interested in a well-rested mother- he was far more concerned with getting a lot of snuggling in, and as such insisted on his body touching mine at all times.

I remember the one bath I gave him while he was home with us (there was only time for one bath...) and he absolutely hated it. The little guy was not a fan of being naked, and because of this his bath was very quick. I used the Burt's Bees Baby shampoo/body wash and he smelled delicious. Even days later, when he was in the NICU at SickKids, I could smell the sweet scent on him. These days, I use the body wash myself as part of my bathing routine. I use it as the final part of my shower, so that the scent will linger with me throughout the day.

In my day-to-day life, I try to find things to occupy my time. Before I became pregnant with Jack, I was obsessed with all things home decor. My husband and I bought our first house together back in 2006 when we finished school and our "adult" jobs moved us to Toronto from Waterloo. We had a plan to be in & out of living in Toronto in 3-5 years. That brings us to our pregnancy, and our plans to find a country home outside of the city to settle into and raise our family. We had plans to move at some point this year to a home suitable for raising a growing family and somewhere with space more bountiful than this bungalow.

Since losing Jack, we have continued looking, and have gone out to see a couple of them as well. We get excited about them, and the future when we check out the 3 or 4 bedrooms we can fill with kids. We talk about the grand renovations we would do (you would think after 5 steady years of kitchen renovations, digging out and finishing a basement, adding a bathroom we would be all renovated out, but no!) to make the houses perfectly us. At night though, when the lights are off and my husband is snoring, I wonder whether it seems presumptuous to buy a house with all these rooms to fill. Would we still feel the same way about the house/location/land if there were no kids to hope for? Are we stupid to go through all the trouble of moving, and then adding in the additional commute in anticipation of a family we might not have? If Jack were still with us, then we could go ahead and move, justifying that we were "doing it for Jack", to make sure he was in a great school board... But now, without him, I wonder whether this is all just a great big distraction.

It feels like maybe we're putting the cart before the horse on wanting to move, that maybe we should wait to fall pregnant with #2, and then maybe look while we're pregnant... but it breaks my heart to know, however unlikely, that even then you can't count your chickens before they hatch... Nor can you count them even when they're in your coop. But then, we've waited before, we've done everything "right" and "by the book" and what on Earth do we keep waiting for?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Enjoying the Small Things

I subscribe to Kelle Hampton's "Enjoying the small Things" blog, and have been since her beautiful post about Nella's birth.

Today's Post, Shaken, really hit home. She writes about the passing of a friend's 8 year old little boy, and the horrific feeling of realize it can be gone all too soon. I know the feeling too well.
The blog entry is beautifully written (as all her posts are). However, it was a commenter (It think it might even be Kelle's dad) whose words really resonated with me, as a mother who lost her newborn. It reads;

"In a moment--even a second, our lives can be changed forever. It is so important to realize the fragility of life and the precious delicacy of those around us. Not to make us live in fear, but to make us fiercely love and focus on what is forever..."

So beautifully eloquent.

Maybe this is our lesson in all of this, to realize how fragile and beautiful life is around us. I just wish our lesson had been taught to us in a less extreme way.

 
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