Thursday, April 28, 2011

Better than a Coupon

As a Canuck, I don't get to participate in double-coupons or anything that really provides an excellent "deal" like those ladies on Extreme Couponing. I'm lucky if I can save 30 cents on a bag of cat food (from the tear pad in front of the product.. Yes, I try REALLY hard).
source
So, this is why I'm especially excited to show you what I have dubbed, "my best deal ever".

I've mentioned I'm renovating my way through my grief, and a big part of which has been procrastinating in my main floor bathroom renovation. It was the lone bathroom in our bungalow when we moved in here nearly 5 years ago. Once we finished our basement and added a fantastic, huge bathroom down there, we found the upstairs one was seldom used. I can count on one hand the number of times I have personally used it in the past 2 years... We had plans to use it a lot once Jack joined us for bathtime... But... Yeh.

The bathroom was pretty gross, and after a few years of trying to make the most out of it through paint and caulking, and after losing Jack, I finally decided enough was enough- I needed to change something.

So I did. With a hammer. I pulled down my tub surround (which was one of those cheapy Bathfitter's type things) and the tiles behind it (they were piecemeal having been patched a few times, not matching, and kinda just ugly). Then I tackled the small tile wainscotting around the room which was just making it feel smaller. I also peeled up all the peel & stick tiles from the floor.

I obviously disconnected the toilet, shower fixtures and sink (and installed shut off valves for all the water supplies). All I left was the medicine cabinet, and the original bath tub. Go ahead and be jealous... It was actually really easy. I happen to have an unnatural (and unfounded) belief in my ability to do things I don't know how to do. Love it when it works out and I'm not left looking like an ass<-- this has been known to happen from time to time. ha! :)

I took photos, and I'll show them to you soon so you can see what I'm working with now that it's all out o there.

Now, onto my deal-io.

This is the bathroom our house guests will most often use, and it'll also be the kiddo bathroom should we stay in this house long enough to have McBabe#2. I wanted a vanity rather than another pedestal sink because while the room is really small (I'm guessing 7ft x 8ft?) it needed to 1) look good 2) fit 3)provide storage since there is none in this 1926 house.

It also needed to not cost an arm and a leg since I'm kinda cheap like that.

So I bought this:
Archer Sink Basin here. I bought a single centred hole to accommodate my faucet :)

Archer Petite Vanity here

I am choosing to pair it with this faucet which I bought more than a year ago when I had initially planned to begin my bathroom renovation. Instead of renovating at that time, I became pregnant, putting my dreams for a beautiful bathroom on hold in exchange for a beautiful baby. Well worth it.

Fresca Tolerus Vessel Mount faucet here
The vanity + sink looks like this together (though the faucet is different, obviously):
Love it- and plan to style the room in a similar fashion! Image here.

I should have taken a screenshot to prove it to you. They've changed it since.

The sink I paid full price for ($138 CDN). The vanity however? What now shows up on the Home Depot website as $569.20, was listed at....

$78.00

For a savings of $492.80.

:) <-- my actual expression as I typed in my credit card number and pressed "purchase". 

I also bought it through Ebates Canada, so I saved 2%, roughly 4 cents. ha!

Deal, yes? Better than spending weeks and weeks hoarding collecting coupons? And I didn't even have to embarrass and shame my whole family in the process (err... maybe I have?).

You know the feeling the women on the show describe as Adrenaline coursing through their veins? It's kinda like when you go over a hill too fast and you kind of lose your stomach?  Yep, that's how I felt as I anxiously awaited my delivery, hoping that Home Depot wouldn't realize their mistake and cancel my order.

And they didn't! the packages were delivered today. WAHOO. :)

Now I just need to install drywall, mud the room, paint it, install a tub surround out of subway tiles, lay a new tile floor, install the toilet, install new vanity, and decorate the room sleep. Oh, and for anyone who is counting, I have 11 days until I'm back to work.

Anyone doing any renovation projects to work out their aggression? Anyone else get crazy pricing errors, but I don't care because it's Home Depot's fault and I have spent thousands of dollars there over the past 5 years and since they don't have coupons I kinda figure they owe me a little something so now we're even deals?

Ps. apparently I am loving the crossed out words recently. ha :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ABC Me

I intended to do this a few weeks ago, so here I am, fashionably late to the party.

A. Age: 28 years, 355 days
B. Bed size: Queen. I can't wait until we have a master bedroom which will fit a California King. Those are going to be some sweet dreams my friends!
C. Chore you detest: Putting laundry away. And folding it- I'm a big fan of the "fluff dry" cycle on my dryer- so I can "refresh" wrinkled clothes... Such a good wife I am.
D. Dog person or cat person: We have 2 cats, but we're both dog people. Figure that one out.
This is Whitney Houston. Also known as the love of my husbands life.. I know you thought I was his true love. False. He loves her THAT much more. We rescued her nearly 3 years ago now from the impound.  I feel badly no one loved her

This is Tinky-Winky (her "real" name is Tina Turner... We like divas around here!). She's also a rescue cat and was found abandoned on the side of the road. She was declawed and unable to fend for herself. Poor thing. We love her enough for all her prior families.
E. Essential start to your day: Peeing. You're welcome ;)
F. Favorite color: Pink or Blue. Both. Not together (true fact, Scott's favourite colour = purple).
G. Gold or silver: White gold
H. Height: 5' 4"
I. Instruments you play(ed): I was sick the day the instruments were assigned and ended up with the last available instrument- the French Horn. I happen to think it's a beautiful instrument, but I have no idea how to play it (despite this being my instrument for 3 years). 
J. Job title: Claims Adjuster.
K. Kids: Jack.
L. Live: Toronto.
M. Mom’s name: Elaine
N. Nicknames: Laura Jane, Janer, Bonzo (my husband, every night, announces it is "bedtime for Bono"<-I'm lucky, huh?), Laur, The Jane, Lolly (Lollipop)
O. Overnight hospital stays:  I had worms as a kid (I think I ate dirt... yum) and they made me stay for a few overnights. I got popsicles. I also stayed over December 31st (from 3:30am)- December 3rd 2011. 
P. Pet peeves: Fart jokes/toilet humor in general. I seriously DETEST these.
Q. Quote from a movie: "It rubs the lotion into it's skin", "If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.” 
from here
R. Righty or lefty: Boring right handed.
S. Siblings: Older sister, Jennifer. Two younger brothers, Douglas & Richard
T. Time you wake: When I work: 7, currently: 9. But I go to bed WAY later than I used to.
U. Underwear: Thongs (what?!? You asked!)
V. Vegetables you don’t like: bok choy.
W. What makes you run late: Deciding I should really attempt to put a face on/style my hair. Also, rain. 
X. X-rays you’ve had: I broke my left arm as a kid. I also fractured my "ring" toe on my left foot 10 days before my wedding. Teeth.. That's it I think.
Y. Yummy food you make: I asked Scott, "tacos, asparagus, chicken" (This is when I confess these are the easiest things in the world, but it's a good thing he knows nothing about that... It's all lowered expectations around here).
Z. Zoo animal favorites: Hands down, the elephants.



And now, because I've likely been 100 times less funny that I tried to be, I present to you the best YouTube video (completely with commentary) EVER. You've probably already seen this, but whateves.


:) You're welcome

Monday, April 25, 2011

Things I've been Buying (for myself)

Exactly two weeks today, I am going back to work. 4 months to the date Jack was declared, the day after Mother's Day (FML), and two days after my 29th birthday.

While I could continue to remain off for the rest of the year, returning in January 2012, I have other plans.

Depiction of me. Found here.
I am heading back to work in 2 weeks because I need to obtain 16 weeks of work to ensure I can have employment insurance for my next maternity leave. I need a total of 6 months back at work in order to get "topped-up" by my employer for my next leave.  I'm not pregnant yet, but I obviously very much wish to be. I have anxiety about having pregnancy complications the next time around, unfounded so far, but this does nothing to calm my nerves. Therefore I want to be back to work with enough time that should I become pregnant, and require bed rest, I can do so without hesitation.  >>Note we'll do what we have to, obviously, but this would calm me a little to not have an additional thing to worry about.<<

Anyway, in anticipation of returning to work in two weeks, and being anxious about this, I've been doing some serious online clothes shopping. I feel like it's the first day of school, and I'm nervous people will be looking at me (they will). Therefore, I'm going to wear new clothes and pretend like they're admiring them... ha.

These are the things I bought:

I bought this:

And this:


I love this one- looks cozy:


I actually have last years version of this one, in navy....

 And, since I love it so much, I bought it in this colour too. LOVE.

Source: SURPRISE! It's all from Banana Republic... ha!

Um, I realize I'm quite boring. (Don't judge me). Everything in my closet is either a shade of brown, grey, black or pink. I have to occasional navy... Oh well, at least my wardrobe matches my mood most days. ha! Wanna know why I kinda love these things even though I'm SUPER boring? Because I can wear them when I'm pregnant. Note how this all comes back to me going off on maternity leave again.  See graphic of the horsie above. I'm f'ing crazy.

This is essentially the same stuff I've worn for the past 5 years- camisoles and cardigans. Professional enough for work (we're business casual, and also I don't give a fuck), yet interchangeable for home/weekends... Um, I look the same.all.the.time. opps.

And remember when I was asking about what I should do about clothes for back to work? This is it. I can wear a few of my pre-pregnant pants, though I wouldn't say they look amazing. But I'm not buying new ones just yet. I kinda figure people will be gentle with my appearance, I mean I am returning 8 months too early, so if anyone's going to say anything (they won't, they're scared of me I think!), I'll point that out. That will be nice and AWKWARD. 

I plan to continue to wear the same maternity jeans with the band folded over.  They're the only ones which fit without a giving me a muffin top, and I only wear jeans on casual Friday's and on the weekends (where you'll usually find me in yoga pants). Thus, no need to purchase new designer denim just yet. I actually hope not to fit into designer denim again for several years. You know, after consecutive babies and my subsequent tummy tuck (and boob lift. I can't quite figure out why my boobs aren't cute anymore. I breast fed for less than a week. What a terrible joke).

Anyone seen any cute (body-friendly?) clothes lately?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Egg

Jack's Easter Egg.Thank you Tiffany!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Talking about Jack & Being Thankful.

Thanks again for the response to my last post. I feel good about how I handled that particular interaction, and I'm hoping this might help him know what is and is not appropriate should he face this situation again. Hopefully prevent another BLM from suffering in silence... I think a part of me feels the need to make a point of telling people my story since it seems no one in real life ever talks about baby loss. Not all pregnancies end in live babies, and not all living babies stay that way. It's reality, even though it's one of those awful truths no one wants to hear or even think about.


When I was still pregnant with Jack, I read a lot of blogs where babies were lost during early pregnancy, through still birth, and SIDs.  My only experiences in real life were through my mother who had a still born child 33 years or so ago, midway through her pregnancy... She never even saw or held the baby. Doesn't know whether it was a boy or a girl. Growing up we all knew about the baby that was before us, but they didn't talk much about that baby. Maybe it was just too painful for them, or maybe they put this behind them after successfully having the four of us. Don't know.

I've also had a few friends and family dealing with infertility and some early miscarriages as well, however for the most part I didn't know about these situations until months or years after their baby(ies?) were born. I wish I could have been more helpful, I'm sure I was guilty of saying the wrong things, as sensitive as I tried to be about the situation. I hope that now, moving forward, I will know what to say, though I truly hope I never need to.

When I was pregnant, I would read Faces Of Loss, and would feel so bad for the ladies who told their stories there. But I knew this was a possibility, and I worried about what I would do if I found myself in that situation... I think that's part of the reason I decided to start blogging after Jack, because I knew writing about it would be cathartic for me somehow... One day, when I gather enough courage, I hope to post Jack's story there too.  I remember scouring the interwebs to find out about infant loss, and in particular things such as organ donation and obviously Meningitis. I tried to talk to my husband about this stuff, but his eyes would glaze over. He just couldn't talk about it anymore- we grieve very differently. Instead, I searched for people who I could relate to in one way or another as no one in my real life, through no fault of their own, knew what THIS was like.

And instead of finding the exact thing I was searching for, I found all of you.  

I remember the day I stumbled across Brandy's Faces of Loss post only a few days after losing Jack and literally having an "ah ha" moment (tipping my hat to Oprah for that phrase). I remember nodding my head as I read her words- her words felt like mine, her thoughts? Mine too. Even though the source of our losses were different, I felt like I had just found my twin BLM. I'm sure Brandy is rolling her eyes as she reads this, but it's true. I was so thankful to know I wasn't crazy, that what I was feeling was normal and even expected for having gone through this shit.  I'm so thankful for finding this community of BLMs- a community I didn't even realize existed in this way until I found myself with a non-refundable membership.

Since Jack died, a lot of people in my "real" life have come forward to share their stories of loss and also of hope. People I knew to have children, but never knew had lost children too. Each of these people have taken the cards they had been dealt, thrown them in the air and re-arranged them to formulate a livable life in the best way they knew how.  A life that exists despite a baby in Heaven. A life in which they can laugh, and love, and keep on hoping for a better day. Despite what I had expected, there was no discernible gaping hole, a giant chunk of their very being missing.  Their scars were invisible, yet were revealed while they spoke about their babies. 

So I guess what I'm getting at is sometimes I feel like if I keep talking about Jack's death, maybe baby loss won't be seen as taboo, at least not in my circle. 

Moving forward, if people ask me whether I have kids, or whether this is my first (you know, once I am pregnant again), I'll tell my story. Perhaps not vomiting the whole sad tale on the table, but by utilizing some of the explainations many of you use.  I like the idea of saying, "I have a beautiful little boy, but he didn't make it".  People can ask more questions or they can get all awkward if they want, and that's fine too. I hate that I worry about hurting other people's feelings and worry how they may react. I mean, technically that's THEIR problem, not mine, right?  If my story scares them, or saddens them, or worries them? Well, maybe they need to take the blinders off and and realize that shitty stuff does indeed happen to good people... And if that means they kiss their kiddos an extra time before leaving the house, or that they thank their lucky stars it is not they who is missing a baby, maybe there's purpose to be found in that. 

This experience is nothing to be ashamed of, and it's part of what makes me who I am today, despite my wishes my life had a different path. At the end of the day, if I'm asked about Baby J, I'll answer as openly and honestly if I can.  

I am just like any other mother- I love to tell stories of Jack. It's just too bad there will be no new stories.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ignoring the Ignorant

First off, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my feelings. I think the best part is that no one got mad at me, I was terribly afraid I might offend someone and their beliefs. :) I'm glad to know those who consider themselves religious also struggle with the same concerns as those of us who do not. I also like the idea of it not really being God's fault, but I don't know that I'm ready to turn to him to comfort me.

I also like what Brooke wrote about attempting to pull some thread of meaning from the loss of your child, whether it means your child will bring you closer to your husband, appreciating future babes even more, and knowing who your friends are.

And of course there are all of you, the lovely ladies who walk this path with me. I'm so thankful for having met you, though I wish with all my heart it had been under different circumstances.

Anyway, onto my run-in of the day.

I went for my first post-baby haircut. I decided to try somewhere new. My regular place is fine, but I don't really feel a loyalty to any one hairdresser and I kinda think I'm getting to a point in my life I should have a dedicated hair stylist. ha. :) A month or so ago, I bought a Groupon-type deal for a haircut & style, and today, I redeemed it.

That's my girl
My hair was getting really long, like Laura Ingalls Wilder (here's some trivia for you- she's my namesake!!!) long- not quite the look I was going for when I wanted to grow it. I wanted long and luxurious, but with mile long split-ends, it was anything but. So, I got it cut.

Trying to talk me up, the stylist, Joe asked me whether I had children. After swallowing the lump in my throat, I answered yes.  I had hoped this would be all he needed to know... But no, he inevitably asked me how old, and then I told of Jack's passing (what is it with me and doing this? I feel like I have to say yes and would feel guilty if I said no. But it really, truly would be easier to say no and then not have to worry about the follow up.  Gah, one day, hopefully I'll figure out the best response). Obviously this wasn't what he was expecting, so he announced "God has another Angel", and we are really lucky to have "our own angel" to watch out for us. He then continued by saying maybe the baby didn't want to be born into a world where "it's all crazy" and he's better off where he is. He told me I could "have more babies because [I'm] young", "my husband and I can try again".  "It will get better and one day I won't even think of it"... Basically, any stereotypical thing he could have said, he did.

At first, I was angry (and when I'm angry, I cry). Then I kinda figured wtf, he has no idea what he's talking about. Then I realized he was just trying to help, and failing miserably.

Then, he asked me to think about how much worse it must be to lose a child after several years when you loved him or her.  ::cue music screeching to a halt::  At this point, I decided to set him straight, letting him know I wish very much to have had several years with Jack. I informed him I very much loved Jack from the very get go- when he was a single cell, and will continue to do so until my very last breath. I told him that this wasn't the life I had planned, that THAT life included a smiley, chubby little boy, and that indeed losing a child at an older age would be awful, but this was too.

I saw a light bulb go off in his head. He apologized for what he was saying, he actually stopped cutting my hair at this point. He told me his sister in law (his brother's wife) lost a baby at birth more than 7 years ago. He said she went through hell and back, and is now the mother of 4 more babes (including a set of twins). He explained that he thinks she copes now because she is so busy she has no time to think about it (which I can't imagine being the case, no matter how many McBabes I might have). He has a child (despite the fact he's quite openly gay) with his ex-wife, and he couldn't imagine losing his daughter.

As he resumed cutting my hair, we spoke for a while about children in general, and what life with them would be like. He asked me if my husband and I intended to have more, he asked me how my husband deals with this stuff, how our families feel. He actually was every bit the stereotypical hair stylist/therapist I had hoped he might be.

By the end of my appointment I actually liked him. I honestly think he is a genuinely nice guy who was at a loss for words for what to say to a clearly grieving mother. He meant well, and so he spewed out every token phrase he has ever heard in an attempt to comfort me.  I get that. I didn't know what to say to someone like me, I'm still not sure what to say or what it is I'm waiting to hear.

Sometimes, when I comment in other blogger's posts, I worry I'm not saying the right things, or that what I'm writing might not come across the way I intend it to. I worry that my blatant optimism might be misconstrued for ignorance or naivety.  Unfortunately, I know all too well what losing feels like, what hurting to the core is.  And knowing that even I don't know what to say, having been there, and experienced this, how could anyone else? I've decided I'm going to try my best to give people who say silly things to me (except that wench at work)  the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to assume they mean well, that they are just struggling with what the say. I'm going to attempt to ignore the ignorant.

What do you say when people say these cliche things to you? Do you tell them yes when they ask if you have children, or do you say no to avoid the awkwardness?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Faith in the Absurd


<<Warning: I'm venting here about religion... I'm not intending to be controversial, nor do I mean to offend anyone. Don't hate me. The end>>

Apparently I watch too much T.V.

This past weekend, my husband and I watched a documentary on the Charles Manson murders.  I try not to watch this stuff, as I get creeped out at the idea of psychopaths and people blindly following them. But, we figured it would be a baby-free show, so we watched.

I'm not going to go into the whole thing because 1) who wants to read about that and 2) that's not the point of my post. But what I didn't realize was one of the murder victims was 8 months pregnant at the time of the murder.  Her name was Sharon Tate, and she was the wife of Roman Polanski (yes, the man who ran away from statutory rape charges for a billion years).  Huh, I didn't realize a baby was involved, nor did I realize he was intertwined with the murders.

So, why am I writing about this? I guess because one of the quotations from Roman's 1984 autobiography Roman by Polanski, stood out to me. It's something I can relate to in a lot of ways, though clearly our grief comes from different situations/sources.

"Since Sharon's death, and despite appearances to the contrary, my enjoyment of life has been incomplete. In moments of unbearable personal tragedy some people find solace in religion. In my case the opposite happened. Any religious faith I had was shattered by Sharon's murder. It reinforced my faith in the absurd."

Huh. We'll deal first things first- enjoyment of life has been incomplete. How true is that? I am often struck by my hurt at times where I'm least expecting it.  Times where just a moment before I was laughing, just a moment before I was happy. But not a real happy, more a moment where I'd forgotten just how sad I am. I was driving the other day, to drop off tax stuff to our financial advisor. As I drove, I was singing along to some random song, drinking coffee and enjoying the sunroof being open.  I was feeling really happy- people driving on the highway next to me might look over and think, "she looks happy". But all of a sudden, I wasn't. My eyes immediately filled with tears as I looked into my review mirror I realized I should have been peeking at a 3.5 month old little boy.  I can't help but think that I should be enjoying a certain kind of lifestyle right now. I did everything right, and it all went wrong. From the outside, people who don't know me, and don't know the hurt I have in my heart might think I am a lucky gal (and I am...) but this simply re-enforces you can't judge a book by it's cover.

In the time before Jack, I was a very happy person. My husband? He's possibly the happiest man on Earth. Together, we were Disneyland.  But now? While we are happy,  our reality means that even when I'm happy, I'm only ever half-happy.

This will be with my for the rest of my life. Even when Scott and I are holding our next little dude or little ma'am, we'll both be thinking "you know, I wish Jack was here". When we have a bed full of children on a Sunday morning several years from now, we're being climbed over and pushed out of bed... Wrestling for blankets... I know we'll be so happy, so thankful for these second (and third... and fourth... and fifth?) chances. BUT, our kids will know about their baby brother, and they will know another was there before them. Scott and I will always know we could have been even happier. And who wants to settle, you know?

As far as religion, I'm on the fence. I've never been overtly religious. In the moments of having Jack placed in our arms, we felt very fortunate to have been given this gift. How could this exist without a higher being? God seemed very much a possibility then. Jack such a blessing to us.

And yet, as he was taken from us, I find myself angry, and unsure. I know I believe in a heaven, as I know Jack is there right now. I know we will join him one day. We are good people (I feel like I write this a lot, but trust me, we are!!!), Scott and I love each other, we adore our friends and families.  I believe I can consider myself spiritual, but I doubt I would define myself as religious.

I understand God's not there saying, "take this baby, his parents don't believe". I understand God doesn't decide who lives or dies. I understand God gives second chances. I understand that in theory he is good because he brings good things. But I can't wrap my head around this being who would let my baby die, but would preserve the life of a baby who wasn't as wanted, or isn't as loved. I don't understand why Jenelle, the twit from 16 and Pregnant, gets to keep a baby she obviously doesn't give 2 shits about (outside of her new MTV paycheques).  And yes, I realize that baby deserves to live as much as any other as it's not his fault.. These are just some of the things I wrestle with at this point in time. Why us? Why our baby?

Losing Jack seems absurd to me. We loved him so much. He was wanted so much. He was so full of potential, would have had every opportunity. He was the apple of our eyes, but he's gone.  It's not reasonable to lose your baby.  There is no rhyme or reason- it's completely senseless that we would be "given" him, only to have his snatched away.

If the reason for this is to teach us how much love we have to give, consider that mission accomplished. But  ::Newsflash::, we knew that when he was conceived, when we were expecting, and we definitely knew that the second we laid eyes on him. I don't understand why our lesson was so harsh. I don't think I ever will. Maybe it's not a lesson to be learned, but then, WTF is the point?

I just miss him. I just want him back. I just want to hold him one more time (who am I kidding? That would never be enough), kiss his face, his hand, and rub his hair. GAH, I miss him.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"You promise her a baby"- Grey's Anatomy

"That’s how you get a woman to tear her own body apart. You promise her a baby."
-Dr. Lucy Fields, Grey's Anatomy


I found myself bored on Friday, watching re-runs on Television.  I watched a repeat of a Grey's episode which aired earlier this spring.  The first time around, I was furious with Dr. Karev for calling a brain dead infant a "turnip" in the cabbage patch which is the NICU. I think the reason why this bothered me so much are pretty  obvious, I'm clearly sensitive to shit like that. And yes, I realize this is a t.v. show, and the intent of this interaction is to cause drama. And I'm also told and assured this is not, in fact, how donor babies are regarded (not that I need to be assured, I saw the respect our Neonatologist had for baby Jack in the few days we were there). 


Anyway, here's the clip for those who don't watch the show or are interested in seeing why I got all fired up:





So, despite common sense, I watched it again (natch, since I so enjoyed it the first time around). This time, I caught a scene I had apparently missed, between the OB who delivered the "turnip" and Karev.  She spoke about how as an OB, you promise the mother that if she just keeps pushing the reward for her effort, for her pain, is that she'll get to hold her baby, in "just another push". 


Here's THAT clip (scene over at 1:50):



I've never really thought about it from the perspective of the OBGYN, because frankly I'm too wrapped up in my own grief to worry about how a doctor might feel. But I'm sure it's a difficult thing, keeping the delicate balance between being hopeful for prospective parents as they go through the pregnancy and also knowing it can all go south very quickly... Knowing that it's not all glitter and rainbows.


I attended my appointment with the Gynecological Oncologist today, for a pap smear post-baby. He walked in, congratulating me on my baby boy (different hospital, obviously a different OB. The two hospitals don't "talk" so I was anticipating this). I accepted the congrats, because I did in fact have a baby, but then I was sure to tell him that we had lost him. My doctor expressed his condolences, and shook his head saying, "there's always that 1%, and you always hope it's not you...99% of the time, all is well and the baby is fine, but there's always that percent that can be wrong".  We briefly chatted about what went wrong, and about our plans to have another baby as soon as possible. 


As he was packing up his things after the examination he reminded me he'd be seeing me again in  6 months time (standard if tests are normal, which, fingers crossed, they will be). He then turned to look at me, formed an oval with his arms out in front of him, "and I expect you to be out to here by then" and gave me a smile. "Me too", I replied. Have I mentioned I *really* like this guy? :)


If you think about it, it's really crazy. To do it all again, and expect a different result (the very definition of insanity). And to WANT to do this, more than anything, as soon as possible.  Being pregnant is a ton of work. It can make you sick, it's exhausting. Your feet swell, your legs tire, your body stretches, contorts and changes to accommodate to make room for a baby. You tear your LIFE apart. But, that's how you get a woman to tear her body apart- you promise her a baby. 


Ps. I'm really happy to hear I'm not the only person who feels the phantom "movement"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holding a Baby

I know there was a lot of talk last week about not holding another baby until you have another of yours in your arms again. I love the idea behind it, the connectivity from your baby to your next baby. The only problem? I already did it. I held another baby in the weeks after Jack was born, a friend's 6 month old son. I "ruined" the whole connectivity.

And then, on Friday, I visited with a friend who had a little girl a couple weeks after we lost Jack. And I held her. I bounced her, I rocked her.  I even kissed her head (yes, I'm THAT creepy friend).  She smiled at me, and I smiled back.

I thought, before I arrived, that the very act of seeing her would break my heart. She is, almost exactly, a replica of what I do not have. Except she's not Jack, and will never be Jack.  I surprised myself at not being jealous as I thought I might be.  She weighed nearly twice what Jack weighed, and was much more alert than Jack was. There weren't really any similarities, but maybe this is because she's no longer a newborn? She was using her last size 1 diaper before moving onto size 2. Jack never even came close to leaving NB sized diapers. In the NICU, they used size 1s- they were SWIMMING on him. Funny the little things you remember...

We went for a walk, baby in her stroller being pushed by her mama. I don't think I could have pushed her around, I think THAT is my sacred thing. You know how I feel about stroller days, yes? Yeh, that would have been too much for me. She was in her car seat being pushed around-  the exact same model as we have for Jack. That didn't make me jealous- I dream of pushing future McBabes around in the bassinet portion in the stroller- this is a huge part of why I bought my particular model. Jack "slept" in his bassinet from the stroller, this will be the connection, I guess.

And of course the love. The unabashed love I will feel for the little man or little lady who will call my womb home for 9 months. I'd really like him or her to chose to get in there soon (surprised?).  My husband and I joke there's likely a crudely carved, "Jack was here, 2010" as well as an arrow pointing down which would read "do NOT, under any circumstances, exit here", for the next baby to see. ha ha. Tips from the big brother. :)

BTW, 1 year ago today we conceived Jack. I just mentioned this to my husband who replied with, "I still can't believe he's gone". Hmm. :(

Now, onto the most random question: Does anyone else experience fantom "movement"? I have woken up a couple times this week feeling like I have a baby elbow, foot, or knee kicking me. So weird. I'm not pregnant, so that's weird, right? I like to think it's Jack, reminding me he was here. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Facing Reality

It's my MIL's birthday on Sunday. We're finding out what our obligations are.  To be honest, I'm not interested, my heart is just not in it. To have a family gathering is too much, someone- my favourite one, will be missing and it's going to be glaringly obvious. I'm anxious my nephew will ask me where my baby is.

Because I track these things, it will also be 1 year to the date when we conceived Jack. The very start of our beautiful boy.

My nephew turns 5 in a few weeks. I don't think I can handle being around a bunch of happy kids. Though I do love him, I just don't think I can swing it.  

For the first time in several years, my husband and I are contemplating spending Easter apart.  Me at my family dinner, and he at his.  Another family gathering, a Bumbo missing... I want nothing to do with it. I love his family, but I just can not do it.

I've decided not to celebrate my birthday this year. I'd rather go for dinner with Scott and skip the rest of the family stuff. Ditto on Mother's Day. I know we'll get resistance to this, but I just do.not.give.a.fuck. This isn't about them, it's about me and what I want.

The reality of this situation, that this will be a defining time in our lives, it's setting in now. I hate it. But it's the truth- we'll always be missing something. No matter what we do to change things, this is one thing which can't be changed it's OUR reality.

I want to be happy. I want to be hopeful. I am eternally optimistic and I know good things will happen and happy times will come again. I just want to fast forward to that time when my number's called, you know?

Buying Distractions

I've mentioned before that part of my coping mechanism is burying myself in distractions.

Lately, these have come in the form of both demolishing things (my main floor bathroom) as well as "feathering my nest" if you will.  Decorating a little more for spring- fresh colours, hopes renewed (have I convinced you of my optimism yet? No? Me neither...)

I'll show you photos of my bathroom once I get it to it's final demolished stage, and then again once I've rebuilt it. As far as a timeline, I'm hoping to have it functional by the time I head back to work in May, but we'll have to see as we've found ourselves here today, April 15th. I tend to be the most productive in these dates as they're not the anniversary of Jack's birthday nor the days leading up to when he passed. These are my best days, if I can call them that.  Anyway, that leaves me about 2 weeks to get my ass in gear and make that room presentable before the dark cloud circles back over my head again. :)

As far as the prettifying of my house, I've been busy painting. I've whined about that before- I repainted all my baseboards and mouldings, an extremely tiring and menial task I should add. I'd say I have most of my rooms 90% of the way there- just a few bits and pieces to hang back upon the walls and a few small pieces of furniture to purchase.  I'm waiting until I finish the bathroom to put everything back where I want it, and give us one final spring time purge.

But, I've been busy on Etsy. LOVE Etsy.

Lately, I've been loving Etsy for pillows. I've been looking for decorative pillows for a while, but am always hesitant to spend the money, which is so silly because these things are relatively cheap AND serve the purpose of making me happy. During my "time of the month", I decided to stop looking and just buy.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I have a bit of a "thing" with birds. As in, I love them. Not real ones, real ones gross me out a little.. But bird statues, bird families, even bird houses and nests. LOVE THEM.  I'm weird like that... So, in wanting to finish up my Master Bedroom, I ordered two 18" x 18" pillow covers in my very favourite fabric, Thomas Paul Aviary (Robin) in aqua. I'm still waiting for them to arrive, as I only purchased them last week and shipping things to Canada from the U.S. takes forever. The front pillow here is what I've ordered:

Available through Etsy shop Grey Maggy
Another pillow in the same fabric through Milk & Cookies on Etsy
Does the pattern look familar to anyone? Well it would if you watch Cougar Town. Sidenote: For the record, if you're not watching, you should. I thoroughly enjoy it and very much wish I were part of the Cul De Sac Crew.  What was my point? Oh right, I wanted to show you the chairs in the kitchen where Courtney Cox lives. Okay, where her character lives:
Ta Da! Same fabric- love how they recovered those cheap-ish Ikea chairs with this fabric and boom- beautiful. I very much wish to do the same if we ever have a kitchen island with a hang over like that...

Finally, I made another purchase for my nursery, even though I'm not pregnant (yet). I told you I was crazy, right? Technically, I suppose it's two. I purchased 2 co-ordinating 18"x18" pillow covers for the nursery (for the rocker I plan to order next time around since I withheld from purchasing one while pregnant with Jack). 

These are the pillows:


Both pillows available through Milk & Cookies on Etsy
I chose these as the blue in both pillows matches exactly with the blue in the nursery and also the first of the two pillows is the same fabric which covers my breast feeding pillow. It's a pattern I absolutely adore. It wasn't until after I had the breast feeding pillow before Jack was born, I realized why it had appealed so much to me. I'd actually seen it before, used by one of my very favourite designers: Sarah Richardson when she designed her own nursery.

See it there on the footstool?
Cute, right?

I consider the fabrics gender neutral and fun, perfect for a nursery. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but long before we knew Jack was a he, I had chosen the nursery scheme from a design post I read around the time we were married. Always a cart before the horse person, the nursery was going to be painted the same way, in the same colour, regardless of baby's gender. I now love the colour blue we chose so much, it will continue to be the colour of our nursery even when we sell this house and move to another one. LOVE it so much.

Anyway, that's what I've been buying. Brooke's been buying a mattress. What have you been buying? Anyone else fancy themselves an interior designer?







Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And the beat goes on...

It's funny how life continues to happen, and time continues to pass while I hide in my grief.

I met a dear friend for dinner last night, we talked about all sorts of things but my eyes kept wandering to the 3 or 4 month old little guy in his mothers arms.  Rocking, bouncing, playing, nursing, whispers, and kissing.  I tried to hold back my tears (failing). 

Life goes on, the beat goes on.

Another friend, my best friend Shelley, she's getting married to the love of her life in October. I'm her Matron of Honour, and I am ecstatic for her. She totally deserves this and is truly one of the very best people I know. I remember those days, where the littlest detail are of the utmost importance (I LOVE LOVE LOVE small details). She's never been this happy.  Shelley is a great sport- I'd told her of my hopes and dreams to be busting at the steams of a maternity dress by the time her nuptials roll around. The best part? She wants that for me too. 

A friend of mine, an incredible guy I met while in university, won a Juno (a Canadian music award), beating out Drake. Being the amazingly humble man he is, he wasn't expecting it and was shocked to walk on stage to collect his award. Amazing. 

There's so much beauty in the world, so much happiness and so much hope. I hope to join that version soon, I think I need to start making some changes... I don't think Jack would want me to be sad. I just miss him so very much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love Story

I posted about my love affair with PostSecret earlier this week, and shared some of my favourite baby-related secrets with you.  What I realized after I had hit "publish" though, was that my intention in writing the post was to show you a PostSecret I have loved for some time now. It was actually something I snagged off the PostSecret blog a year or so ago, and had uploaded to Facebook as a profile photo.

This is the secret:

I am comforted by thinking that maybe one day we'll look back and realize that we have the most amazing love story...
Before Jack was a twinkle in our eye, and shortly before we were married, I visited my family doctor to discuss some abnormal Pap tests.  I've had them come back abnormal, on and off, for about 8 years now. I had gone for repeat tests, been referred to specialists only for the results to come back "abnormal cells of unknown significance". I was told to watch these cells, and if anything changes, or if the abnormal results were to continue, I should consider looking into further options.

So, shortly before we were to be married, at my annual appointment, my family doctor asked whether we were planning to have children, etc. I confided in her that our hopes were to get pregnant in about a year (which, spoiler alert, ended up being the case!), and that before we do so, I'd really like something to be done about the abnormal cells so I can put that worry to bed.

She referred me to an OBGYN, who months after our wedding and after running more tests including the most excruciating pap test of my life (they took a biopsy sample from inside my cervix as well as my uterus- yyyyyyyeeeeeeeouch!) told me that my samples had tested positive for Adenocarcinoma- a cancer which develops from the mucus-producing cells of the cervix. <-- Longest run-on sentence ever. Forgive me?

I'm inserting this diagram here, so you can see what I'm talking about:

Got it? Good! :)

I had none of the usual symptoms: bleeding, bleeding after sex, spotting between periods, unusually long or heavy periods, pain during sex, etc. None. All I had was this history of off & on again abnormal cells. Yikes.

I was referred for a second opinion after being told the risk factors for the necessary surgery would put me at a higher risk for incompetent cervix. I remember BAWLING my eyes out, worried about the wee babies I had yet to conceive.  In November 2009 I met with a Gynecological Oncologist (I think that's his title?) who, while confirming I would need a cone biopsy to make sure the cancerous cells were removed, alleviated my fears by telling me he had numerous patients who went on to birth babies with no complications.

I went in for my surgery, the cone biopsy, on January 5, 2010. It was cancelled and rescheduled that day while I had an IV in my hand, due to a nursing shortage. (I'd curse our healthcare system, but to be honest I think I've had my fair whack). The surgery was rescheduled and performed January 13, 2010. The surgery, performed under general anesthesia, removes a cone-shaped (hence the name) portion of the end of the cervix, which provides more details of the disease, and also removes early-stage cancers and pre-cancerous cells.

The surgery was a success, and I was very lucky. I later found our that I did indeed have cervical cancer cells trying to migrate from the original site ::shudder::.

By the end of March or Early April 2010 I went for my follow-up examination with the Oncologist. He told me everything looked great, took a swab, and then we talked babies. I let him know if he told me I should wait, I would follow his wishes. I didn't want to risk IC, nor did I want to risk my own health.  He gave me to go ahead that very day, and wished me luck.

By the time I was in there in July, I was already a few months pregnant- we were extremely fortunate to conceive Jack on our very first month trying just weeks after getting the go ahead to start trying.  It was even more special to us, as the Oncologist actually told me that once I was done with having my babies, he would like me to consider further surgery (possibly a hysterectomy) down the line as to prevent any cancer recurrence or spreading. Apparently this stuff can come back- sweet... This is obviously something we would need to delve deeper into later down the road, but it certainly made us appreciate our pregnancy even more than we had.

And back to the PostSecret. I remember, after finding out I had this somewhat rare cancer for my age group (it tends to appear in women in their later thirties, apparently), thinking Scott and I would have a difficult road ahead of us. I knew that if we could get through something like that (while turning out to be quite minor as far as Cancers go, ::knocks on wood::), we could get through anything... Turns out, we can.

I knew that one day, we would look back and realize we have the most amazing love story.

I think it's even more true now.  One day, when we're old and grey and in rocking chairs in a retirement community somewhere, people will find out our "story" together, and be amazed we persevered, that we lost, and that we continued to love each other so very much.

Amazing love story? Indeed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

3 Months later...

3 months marks a trimester.
3 month pregnant, and you start to tell.
3 months left in your pregnancy, and you start getting excited.
3 month olds... I can't imagine how big he would be, how much he would eat, how much he would weigh.
I can't imagine his smile.

But he's gone, has been for 3 months now.

3 months is both an enormous length of time, and no time at all.  These three months have gone so quickly, and so slowly, all at once.

I still can't believe he was ever here. And that he's gone. Forever.

We are left shattered. A million tiny pieces, left in his wake. We can't grasp the slivers, we'll never be whole again.

Miss you baby J.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Postscrets

Every Sunday morning, for roughly 4 years now, I slip quietly out of bed and to my computer.  I adore checking out the latest PostSecret to see what confessions have been made that week.

Original Book
PostSecret is a website which publishes photos of postcards mailed to Frank Warren, the creator the website. It started as a social experiment for a program he was enrolled in- he handed out blank post cards and asked the recipients of these blank cards to confide their biggest secret, decorate the card as they wished, and mail it to him. The result of this project was astounding, and thus Frank created the website, to share in the secrets. It continues to this day.

Every week, a new batch is released. There are books made out of these secrets, and people who buy them often find secrets tucked into the pages by other browsers of the books. I hoped I would receive a special secret of my own when I received one of his books for my birthday a few years back. It's kinda like Charlie searching for the golden ticket, exciting!

It used to be my hope I would find a PostSecret directed at me, posted on the website. I never have, and likely never will.

I've thought about what I might write, if I were to confess my deepest secrets. I'm a pretty open person, not too many secrets and certainly no skeleton's in my closet.

Up until Jack was conceived, I remember thinking that if I were ever to submit a secret, it would be something along the lines of "I've always wanted to be the one who got away"... I mean, who wouldn't want to be? I like to think I am, for at least one of my prior boyfriends, but still... It's a funny think to keep a secret about, no?

Some secrets have resonated with me much more than others, especially now after having, and having lost Jack.  Here are some I found through the power of Google:




Now, I wonder what my "secret" would be.  I feel like I kind of lay my cards on the table when I post here, so I'm not sure what I would say if I knew no one would ever find out.

I do know when Jack was first home with us (when he was still healthy, to our knowledge) and he wasn't sleeping I wished I had gotten pregnant a month later than I did so that I would still be sleeping instead of being up tired and miserable with him. I realize this is likely a common reaction after you give birth, you're exhausted and aren't making sense. But I feel guilty for even thinking that after we lost him, I felt guilty as soon as I thought it. Maybe that would be my secret?

I also remember, after we found out Jack wasn't going to make it, thinking "I knew this would happen", like I had a premonition it wouldn't work out for us. Even though we wanted Jack so badly, and I had imagined what our "new" life would be like with him in it, it's almost like I didn't believe it would happen... So when we found out he wasn't going to make it,  it's as though I wasn't that surprised, even though I was obviously devastated. I could write that. I feel guilty for that.

But mostly, I think of the first postsecret written here. How I barely even know him, but yet he will always be the one I miss the most in the world, for all of the remainder of my life.  

What would you write? What would your secret be?

Friday, April 8, 2011

I just can't stop crying.

I met a friend for brunch today. She's toting around her 8 month old gorgeous little girl with her, and a toddler at daycare. I couldn't help but see her baby as a concrete example of what I do not have. Her baby was born August 1st, and she told me she thinks of Jack on the 1st of every month as she celebrates another month with her baby... and I have yet another month without mine.

I probably cried 5 times during our 2 hours together. I just can not get a grip on my grief today, I am hyper-emotional right now.

We talked about my returning to work next month and how hard that's going to be for me.  How I am truly returning to work 8 months too early. It's going to be awful. I just know I'm going to be an absolute wreck.

And then, Kelly mentioned in her post today that May 8th is Mother's Day. Fuck.  Here's how that first week is going to go for me:

May 5th 2010 I found out we were expecting.
May 7th I turn the ripe old age (ha) of 29.
May 8th I celebrate (read: bawl) Mother's Day.
May 9th I drag my ass out of bed before 10am return to work.
May 11th I cry all day at work because it's been another month since I held my boy. 

I know I'm going to get a lot of compassion, love, and tears from people. I'm also likely to be on the receiving end of many pitiful looks and some shitty comments. I think I've written here before about one of the ladies I work with having lost her husband to cancer last year. Man, that sucks. I would never discount the grief she must have about losing her partner, those are shoes I would not want to walk in for a million bucks. But you would think that she would understand grief better than anyone, right? Not so much, when she found out about our loss, she commented to a mutual friend that I am "lucky because I have my husband to go through this grief with"... WTF? 

I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt right now as she's wrapped up in her own cycle of grief and likely didn't realize what she was saying... But if she says it to me when I am back, after having had time to digest what it is I might be going though, I will not be able to withhold my words. I will giver her a verbal lashing of a lifetime.  I realize I'm fortunate to have my husband- God knows I know that. But to think what she has been through is somehow "worse" than my loss. That makes me want to scream, "Fuck You!" at the top of my lungs!

(simmer Laura, simmer)

Changing thought process, I bought a new purse today to cheer myself up. This is the one:

Hilary Radley Metric, Spring '11
It's a cute tote bag and I figured it would come in handy for hauling my stuff to and from work. I've always resisted tote bags because I feel like they become a dumping ground for receipts and paper (like, um, all my other purses) but I really liked the metallic colour of it and the way it hangs slouchily. 

I also justified it to myself by thinking I could use it as a fancier diaper bag with the change pad thing I own.  <-- Optimism peeking through again. Sigh.  

I hope you all have a great weekend!

xox

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines)

When I was in my last semester of high school (10 years ago... barf), I was enrolled in a Writer's Craft class and we were given an assignment: to research, and then construct our own poetry.


At the time, I was dealing with the end of my high school relationship (relationshit if you're a Dane Cook fan)... The guy I thought I would marry and have babies with, and live happily ever after. I am eternally grateful I didn't!!!). When the relationship was ending, I thought that was the end of my life, and wondered how unjust and cruel this world was ...


That was obviously way before I realized the true meaning of unjust as well as how much I truly could love someone.


I've changed the "shes" to "hes" and ended the poem a little bit before it was intended to end because the poem obviously was written from the perspective of a man loving a women, not a women loving her son, but I hope you still see why I love it so much. <-- Please also pretend this isn't a run-on-sentence, please & thank you). 


Written by Pablo Neurda, Chilean poet. 


Tonight I can write the saddest lines.


Write, for example, 'The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved [him], and sometimes [he] loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held [him] in my arms.
I kissed [him] again and again under the endless sky.

[He] loved me, sometimes I loved [him] too.
How could one not have loved [his] great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have [him]. To feel that I have lost [him].

To hear the immense night, still more immense without [him].
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep [him]?
The night is starry and [he] is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost [him].

My sight tries to find [him] as though to bring [him] closer.
My heart looks for [him], and [he] is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is the original, for reference sake:

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
 
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