Monday, June 27, 2011

One Hundred Posts

This is my 100th post, about a subject I never wanted to write.  One that I know all too well, but wish more than anything I didn't. All about a little boy I am missing.

I've always wanted a blog. I like home decor, or more specifically other people's home decor. I loved planning my wedding, and gave serious consideration to blogging about that a few years ago. You're told to write about what you know, and what you love. And sadly, loving and losing Jack is both of these things.

When I started writing, I did so because I wanted somewhere I could go to start just word-vomiting until I had nothing left to say.  Because while my mind raced, my mouth couldn't keep up. Because it was hard for my husband to see his wife grieving so much, to keep rehashing about the one topic he couldn't bare to speak of. To attempt to console me while he was ripped open and his insides pouring out. He just couldn't do it.

I don't blame him at all.

I wasn't going to tell anyone about this blog when I started writing. It was going to be a journal of my trials and tribulations (and in many ways, it still is). The subject matter is so sad, and sometimes I worried people might think I was suicidal or depressed because of what I write, and how I write it.  It hurt too much to keep bottled up inside, and I fear that if I had, I would have imploded.

In the end, I told some of my girlfriends, because I just couldn't sugarcoat it anymore. I didn't want to try to word it any other way than this:

Our baby died, we are shattered, and no matter what happens from here on out, we will always be that much worse off for having lost him.

This blog exists only because I don't have a little creature sitting beside me, demanding my time and all my attention all day/night long. I can afford to spend the time necessary to have written 100 posts in just slightly less than six months, because Jack's not here.

I wrote because I wanted to know I was normal. That my thoughts of Jack, of losing him, to think of where he was and why, oh GOD why, this happened to us- all normal. I needed to gather as much information as I possibly could, to make sense of it all. So, where does that leave my six months later? 

He is still gone. We are still shattered, it's so very hard to be here. There is no making sense of any of this.  There just isn't an equation where Jack's death + our survival = the happiest life.

As the 6 month points (of his birth, then his death) quickly approaches, I feel a little weird. I know people are reading this, and they're hoping for a happy ending. I know this, because I too am hoping. But I really don't know if that happy exists anymore.

I know there are people who are reading, who are waiting for me to announce I'm pregnant, so they can close this chapter and know that I will have a happy life. I want to tell those people to stop reading, because even when I am pregnant, it won't be the end.  I know it's human nature to want people to succeed, to rally for the ugly duckling or wait for prince charming to save the princess. And in storybooks, happy endings do come- every time, without fail.  But this ain't no storybook folks, and if you're waiting for the happily ever after, well, that ship has sailed. It isn't stopping here.

---

I was speaking with my dad today. He asked how I was doing, 6 months later, and how Scott was. I told him that Scott and I are broken, and that we're doing the best we can. But how exhausting it is, to pretend to be happy. To plaster a smile on our faces when we're walking around with our hearts ripped out.  Dad told me that he knows one day soon we'll have another baby in our arms. That one day we will look back and have our own gaggle of kids and we'll always miss Jack, but one day we will wonder how we ever had any time for ourselves and our hearts will burst with love. And you know what, I get that. I get that one day, we will (hopefully) have our hands and hearts filled to the brim with love and babies. But Jack will always be gone, and that will never be okay. I don't think I'm quite able to see a life where my primary emotion is grief.

I realized the other day, I suppose as I reach the stage of grief where you begin bargaining, if I could have Jack back, I would never need another baby. Just him. I would give up all hope for all future babies for just him. I would take him, and run. Disappear forever- just Jack, Scott, and I. Crazy, right?

I struggle to find the words to stop writing this post. 100 posts too many, about a subject I loathe. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pregnant Yet?

Asks my husband, to me. Please note it is CD13. Prior to Clomid, in the olden days when I ovulated regularly, I was more of a CD20-ish kinda person anyway.

ha

I haven't even ovulated yet (though Dr. Google tells me soooooooooooon). Poor guy (my hubby, not Dr. Google). I think we're both tired of this sex-on-demand thing. It really does suck the excitement out of doing it for fun.  ;)

As per Dr's orders, we shall be doing every other day for the next while. I'm tired just thinking about it.

I've been thinking a lot about what we'll do "next time" we're pregnant and expecting a baby (<-- see, expecting a baby, how optimistic, right?). I can't help but think I want need to have a different experience than I did with Jack. While I loved having our friends and family visit with us at the hospital, and it was amazing to share our little boy with them, I don't think I have it within me to share the next time with them. Does that make sense?

It's not that our next baby won't be a celebration in and of him/herself. It actually has a lot less to do with not wanting to celebrate them, and a lot more to do with me wanting to protect them.

But I feel bad, because it's not my parent's fault nor Scott's parent's fault anymore than it's my fault Jack got sick and died. It's much more to do with me feeling the need to change things up as not to repeat the same outcome. Does a new hospital (though this means leaving behind my OB, whom I adore...) + planned vs emergency c-section + fewer gestational weeks (37-ish rather than 39), no visitors= a live baby?

I hope so.

::sigh::

I don't really know why I think about these things, they're so off from where I am right now (at least 8 months). I guess because I'm being optimistic? Maybe because I need something to take my mind off of the fact I'm waiting to ovulate? Or and most likely, because I'm crazy. Perhaps all of the above.

In other news, I have an iPhone now. I'm fancy. HUGE improvement over my old red Samsung flip phone.

Don't be jealous
It's especially excellent as I am terrible with directions and I think the phone's going to come in super handy to help me get myself where I need to go.  Additionally, I needed it for it's Ipod function as my husband left his car doors unlocked a few weeks ago and mine was stolen.

So... I'm clearly light years behind, but anyone have any favourite apps you want to tell me about?

Also, any one use Fertility Friend to track your cycle? I've been doing it for the last couple of months (pointless, since I'm anovulatory without Clomid), but yes. Interesting. I like that I can store all my disgusting facts and symptoms/signs there. Also, there's an app for that. Who doesn't need to know about cervical mucus at the touch of a finger? <- that wasn't supposed to be what it read like, haha.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today is a bitter-sweet day for me.

It's father's day, and I'm blessed to have one of the best dads in the universe.

Truly, this man has done (and would continue to do) everything for me, and the rest of his kids (there are four of us).
I'm pretty sure I get my smile from him. Possibly my mustache. hahaha
He's been there throughout all my life- sharing in my happiest of happy (honour roll, university graduation, buying our house, getting married, and when Baby Jack joined our family), and through all of the bad (break-ups, the loss of family members, my cancer diagnosis, the loss of Baby J). 

I know this particular loss of Jack has been difficult for him. He's protected me all of my life and mended my broken heart time and time again. But this is one thing he couldn't fix, and he couldn't make right. I know it breaks his heart that his grandson has died, and his daughter is shattered as a result.

On the more difficult side, it's father's day for one of the best daddies I've ever seen first hand. Thanks to this little boy:



this man:

grew into being an amazing father in mere minutes. Within hours of Jack's arrival, Scott became a self-taught master of swaddling, a soother of a fussy baby, a cuddle monster (alright, he already was), and was already wrapped around Jacks (long) little fingers.



I just wish the rest of the world could see him for what he is- an amazing daddy with so much love to give. I wish the universe would recognize this and send him another baby (or six) to care for.


I've never really mentioned this, but on the day Jack got sick and was admitted to our local hospital, I wasn't able to breast feed him. He wouldn't take my nipples, and I resorted to pumping like a fiend to give him the nourishment he needed. I had asked the nurses at least 10 times for a breast pump so I could give Jack the milk he needed to keep him strong. The nurses ignored my requests. I wish I could say it was because they were trying to stabilize Jack or something important like that. But no, they were assholes. They kept forgetting. Seriously, I envision this nurse's face and I feel fiery rage. This is the same nurse I somewhat blame for Jack's stroke- I'm fairly certain she didn't come to check on him as she was supposed to. We both blame her for why Jack didn't make it, but there's F all we can do to change it now....

When they finally came back with the pump, they gave me a cup to pour the milk into his mouth rather than a nipple... WTF? A nipple was all he had known, so I wasn't really sure how to do it. They wouldn't show me. I tried my best, but Jack kept turning his head away, also probably thinking, "WTF, people?" 

My husband, sensing my frustration at not being listened to, repeated we needed a nipple to feed Jack. He too was ignored. He finally, in his most stern voice, told the nurses that should we not have a nipple within 2 minutes, all hell would break loose. Not 30 seconds later we had that freakin' nipple.

Jack was so hungry he downed the entire lot of breast milk I had within a few minutes. Poor little guy.

I'm so proud of Scott for standing up for his baby's needs. I thought the nurses knew better. They did not. WE did. Scott made sure his son was fed and content (even though he was sick), when no one else would listen to me.

Anyway, he was an amazing dad while Jack was here, and remains so even though he's gone. I love that he is my baby daddy, and I can't wait for Jack to have brothers and sisters for Scott to parent.  He is the most amazing person I know.

I know we'll get through this, just as we have everything else in our lives. And I know one day we will look back at all of these things and know it was the hardest part of our lives, but it will get easier. One day these arms will be loaded full of babies, and our hearts bursting with love for them. And while our lives may never be "complete" ever again, I know there are good times ahead for us.

Happy father's day to all the amazing daddies out there.  Whether your baby is here in the flesh, or only in the heart and your memories, I'm hoping today you remember that you were important in the life of a child.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Down the Hatch



Further to my earlier post about my trials and tribulations on Clomid, here's my update:

Clomid, pill #5, just consumed.

It's CD8, and I'm feeling optimistic.  Nearly time to start peeing on ovulation stick, but not quite. My lucky husband is counting down the days at which he is hands off his body, and hands on mine. I like to keep it real around here, folks. ha

People warned me that Clomid can have some undesirable side effects.

Tiffany is not, so much, a fan.

I was told of hot flashes, crazy bitch-mood swings, bloating, headaches and fatigue.

I actually think I just made that last one up, and have been using it all week to justify to my husband why I'm being such a laze.

Fingers crossed, so far, I think I've had only a couple hot flashes after my first dose and nothing since. I'm bloated, but this may have more to do with the pizza I've been enjoying while watching the Canucks lose the Stanley Cup to Boston than to Clomid... Also, somehow I already "see" myself linking back to this post in another week and laughing at how dumb I am.

Speaking of dumb, I want to tell you a cautionary tale for those of you ready to embark on this medication.  This story is about a friend of mine, and definitely not me because now I feel shame in how stupid I am.

I would suggest, that while sitting down to take the medication, you don't accidentally cracked the Clomid tablet in half. Do not treat the tablet like a pop-out foil pack like your prenatal vitamins. It is not, it's a pull-back foil, likely to prevent this EXACT thing from occurring. Because, of course, if the tablet cracks, the remnants of the pill will form a powder. If you're an idiot like me, you quickly throw back the (now) 2 "pills" and swish them down with water. Fear creeps over you as you look at the residue powder still in the packaging. You quickly calculate the cycle date you're on and worry this particular residue may be the reason you won't pregnant this month. In a moment of sheer panic, you lick the powder to ensure you get your full dosage. You then give yourself an imaginary pat on the back for a job well down, for thinking outside the package box and a full tablet went down the hatch.

Because if you did this, you might think about such things as how the tablet is unexpectedly sweet tasting. Not quite what you thought it would be (bitter?) but then what do you know...

10 minutes later you are conscious of the fact you can no longer feel your tongue. This is because you licked the powder. You bite down your tongue every few minutes to see whether the feeling has come back. It hasn't.

Frantically you turn to Dr. Google, hoping this is a normal side effect.

Luckily for you, you're not the only dummy who has done this, though it appears as though you're the only one who was actually prescribed Clomid rather than ordered it from a sketchy internet company. Congratulate self on ability to correctly SPELL out said medication. CHLOMED isn't even close, stupid.

So yeah, like I said, don't do that. ;) Don't worry, the numbness dissipates. :)

By the way, did you know bodybuilders often use Clomid as a way to increase their Testosterone levels and blocking Estrogen?  To prevent Gynecomastia, aka, Moobs:


Not that I blame them.


Weird, right? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Didn't we almost have it all?

More often than not I am thankful for the time I had with Jack. I'm so bitter that we had him, and then lost him just as quickly. Like sand through my fingers, I lost it.

I would do it all over again to have him for the brief time we did, rather than not at all. I would endure the heartache we must to continue to live our lives without him, to be heartbroken he didn't get to live his life.

I think about how great life was, for just a few days, and it sends me reeling into a fit of tears and devastation. For just a few days we really did have it all. We had our love for one another, exponentially increasing because of the love we now shared with our sweet boy. We were happy. We were healthy. We were lucky. We had everything, and a little boy to create the most wonderful life for.

I don't think I was ungrateful for that. I don't think I took it for granted that we had him. It certainly wasn't easy getting from slightly pregnant to baby born into our arms. It was all finally going to be worth it- all the barfing, all the heartburn, all the aches and pains and worry for him. He was alive, and well.

Until he wasn't. 

We lost it. All of the stuff which was important- ultimately only him.

We almost had it all, and now we never can again. Hopefully there will be MANY more McBabes. But never again will we be able to say it feels like everything is exactly as it should be. Never again can we feel like we had it all, and could not ask for more. We can't because HE will always be missing. And we won't be because it could always be a little bit better.

I'm reminded of a line from one of my very favourite movies, Love Actually. One of the characters  discovered her husband has been having an emotional (and yet never quite physical) affair with another woman. He begs her to forgive him, to stay with him. I've always thought what came next was very honest, direct, and true. She asks, "Would you stay? Knowing life would always be a little bit worse?"

I've thought about that before. Would I stay if this happened, and truthfully I don't know that I could. Because I deserve to be as happy as humanly possible on Earth, and if it would always be worse, why not cut your losses and find the happy? Be the happiest you could be. Why settle? Luckily for me, my husband would never, he's promised me this time and time again. I'm not worried about it, he knows where his bread is buttered. Also, I would kill him. ;)

But of course, cutting my losses and running isn't an option. Of course we'll stay here, always being a little bit worse. Never quite fulfilling the happiness quota which wasn't far from our reach just a few short months ago. But it's begrudgingly that we do so, because we have no other choice. 

Live or Die.

Stay and live, always a little bit worse.

I struggle to walk a fine line between blatant optimism for the future and our future family, and falling into a pit of despair. I hate knowing I need to leave behind my hopes and dreams for a life with him, to embrace a future without.

How do you wrap your head around always being a little worse? What do you tell yourself to make it all worth it? 

=========================================================================Edited to add:


BTW, a few comments have been made about the Adele song Rollin' in the Deep as inspiration for this title. 


Nope, while I love that song too, I was humming along to the old school Whitney Houston song of the same name. Lyrics as follows:

"Didn't we almost have it all 





When love was all we had worth giving? 
The ride with you was worth the fall my friend 
Loving you makes life worth living.
Didn't we almost have it all 
The night we held on till the morning. 
You know you'll never love that way again 
Didn't we almost have it all?"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Letter from a friend...

To my ovaries.


I have this friend. She's not a BLM. 


She has two children- a son and a daughter (who both happen to be soooooo cute). She's had her share of issues with her kiddos health including a close call when her daughter was born in November... Up until a few months ago, we were acquaintances with a few mutual friends. She actually knew my Scott before I did from their high school days. Because this is an impossibly small world, we also dated the same guy (who happens to be Scott's friend...). It's a long story, and not as incestuous as it sounds, but yeah, we have that in common. ;)


But you now what makes her amazing? After we lost Jack she reached out to me, arms wide open. 


In the early days this wasn't uncommon, a lot of people reached out. But just as quickly, they retreated back into their shells where they can close their eyes, hug their child/ren and try to forget this shit exists. But Alison? She grabbed a shovel and started digging. She hasn't stopped since.


Every time I post something on my blog, she sends me a Facebook message to share her thoughts or feelings on it. I can not put into words how much I appreciate her for her compassion and thoughtfulness. It's not often near strangers become great friends in such a short (and stressful) time.  But she has, and I'm grateful for that.


Here's her letter, to my body.


Dear Laura’s Ovaries, 

It might seem strange that I am writing you but I thought that maybe some direct communication may help make things clear.

First off, I want to express my gratitude for all of the hard work you did in the creation of beautiful baby Jack. I will give you 50% of the credit for his perfection. Job well done! 

With Jack no longer in Laura’s arms, this small sabbatical you have taken is really not required. The McCannell’s are counting on you to do your job this cycle, and maybe do it so well that you produce two of those wonderful eggs. How fabulous would that be? Maybe you have wondered about that “clomid” stuff, well, its just a gentle nudge to remind you of your job. You might as well respond to it now because if you don’t, I certainly am not trying to sound threatening, but more forceful action will come in the future.

Thanks for listening! Oh, whenever Laura and I go out for another ladies night ... dessert is on me. Would you fancy something chocolate? It really is the least I could do for your co-operation.

Sincerely, 
Alison


Cute, huh? 


:)


Have you found support in unexpected places? 
Do you find yourself disappointed in the friends who didn't?


Ps. I take more than 50% credit for Jack's perfect. I like to think he was 80% me, and 20% fingers and toes- have you seen those things? Those are entirely Scott's! ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

For the Record

Clomid 50mg, starting right.... now.

:)

Provera brought on my period only 2 days after my last pill.

::does happy dance, which looks a lot like Elaine's Dance on Seinfeld::


"More like a full body dry heave, set to music"

Can I even tell you how great it feels to have a period after 55+ days without one? Everyday secretly hoping each and every one of the HPTs was wrong and I was actually, in fact, pregnant? Do you know that happens to some people- they never test positive for HCG? Google it, it's crazy.

And just like that, with the 5 month anniversaries behind us, and the 6 month milestones rapidly approaching, I'm glad to have a little hope to cling to.

Cross your toes and fingers for us, please ;)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

5 Months Gone

I can't believe it's been that long since I held him last.

I can't believe next month will have been 6 months since I last saw him. Where has all the time gone?
6 months ago I was still blissfully pregnant, heck 5 months 3 weeks ago I was too.

What I wouldn't give to go back. I want a do-over, this time with a happy ending.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Photos = New Memories

I was having (another) really bad day today.

So sad that I decided to watch the few videos we have of Jack. I've tried to stop watching these since they really do make me sob. In the beginning it was the only thing which could calm me, but I don't think I've looked at them for about a month or so.

I was trying to figure out how to upload them from my camera, since I'm super neurotic and worried someone will come into my house, steal my (hidden) camera and take the only video we have of our son. I also worry, however, that as I attempt to upload the videos I may somehow end up accidentally deleting them. I'm sure you can see my dilemma here. ;)

So, I tired to upload, but all the camera would do was upload the photos, which I've already done (it's a Sony Handycam, so it has both photos and video). At least, I thought I had all the photos, but when the screen loaded up in iPhotos, I saw some new ones I've never seen before!

Excitement washed over me, because these are new photos of my little man I've never seen before (or at least can't remember having seen before!). New memories.

:)

I feel like I was shown these photos now, for a reason. Because the 5 months since we lost him date is looming over our heads and I am a wreck lately (and possibly because of the Provera? Dunno...). I like to think he knew I needed these.

Here is my little hunk:

Another variation of my favourite photo.  All dolled-up before we headed out to the car.
And yet another. This is him on our couch upstairs, waiting to go in the car to visit his doctor.
This is the day before he was admitted to the hospital, when all was still well in our world.
Chillin' with daddy while mom showered, I came out of the shower to find this.  Love my two hunks. Scott originally wanted me to delete this as he looks chubby (and isn't) but I told him it was one of the only photos of had of him and Jack... Obviously I didn't realize at the time it would be one of our only opportunities to take photos with Jac. So glad we kept it. 
Wondering why Jack's face is covered (and don't worry, he's turned to the side so he can breathe)? He hated light from the very beginning- a VERY common thing in babies with Meningitis- light sensitivity. I had even asked the doctor at his appointment earlier in the day and told it was normal. Looking at these photos I see the purple around his eyes like I mentioned a couple days ago. He was seen this same day by his doctor, and she never mentioned it...  Coupled with the light sensitivity, these things will haunt me until the day I die..

He was wrinkly, just like his daddy.
Starting to get fussy, right before a big ol' diaper change.
So no, I haven't figure out how to upload the videos (yet), but I did find more of Jack to love.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm freaking out

I don't want to make any plans for the summer, not when they can't include him. Which of course they can't.  How am I supposed to function without him when all I want IS him?

I'm not really fun anymore. And I hate being a burden to people, knowing I could/will cry at any point without warning.

I don't find joy in the things I used to, and am not really looking to anything other than our NYC trip at the beginning of August, and getting knocked up again.

One of my friends just announced she's pregnant. I'm happy for her, but I'm actually really sad for me. She conceived when we lost Jack (she told me this exact thing- that she conceived the night we lost him). Now this is all I'm going to think when I see her new baby. It bothers me that she can so freely think she'll be bringing home that baby in another few months (and chances are she will, and I truly hope she does). I would give anything to have that sense of naivety- to think this only ever happens to other people.

It's getting hard to believe I will ever claw my way out of this pit. I'm just so sad not to have him.

And I can never have him, so how can it ever get easier?

This is all just so unnatural. We're supposed to be doing so many things, and instead we can't do any of them. I don't like it one bit.

Monday, June 6, 2011

SickKids NICU Memorial Gathering



I mentioned on Friday that Scott and I were attending the Memorial event on Saturday afternoon.

To be honest, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I was kinda terrified, kinda nervous, and a whole lot ready to sit through the most depressing event ever. I half expected it would be us + another few couples.

But that wasn't what this was.

We arrived right on time, and made up our name tags as per instructions. I selected tags with bears on them... Because the alternative was a butterfly, and I really think Jack would prefer we rock bears. He was totally a bear guy. :)

This isn't even how I write, I was anxious.

We then arrived at a table where there were many tags with baby names listed. You're meant to take those ornaments and later hang them on the tree.

Honestly, there were 80 tags.

Representing 80 loved babies. :(

For a quick second, I hoped Jack's name wasn't there. Because he should be alive. 

But of course it was, and I started crying.  The implications of really seeing his name hit me. You know when your eye just well with tears and you really can't contain them? Yup, THOSE big fat tears. My hubby immediately got his back up and asked me to stop crying. He does this sometimes, gets angry when really he's just trying to suppress his own sadness. Totally a defense mechanism we've discussed as it irks me, but I get it. So, being the mature woman I am not, I told him to shut up, we grabbed coffee and sat down off to the side.  I took photos of the tag on top of the metallic bag we received to place mementos in. I liked that I kept seeing rainbows form. <-- yes, I realize this always happens on the foil bags, hence why I selected silver. I'm a smart cookie ;)


       
    


Over the course of a half hour, the area they had roped off began to fill with parents. There were some kids, some babies, and some grandparents. Not each of 80 children had family there, but I would say there were a good 75 people. The toddlers were off to one side, doing crafts, colouring, etc with volunteers.

The intent of the formal portion of the gathering was a power point presentation which showed the babies. As your baby's name is called, you could come up, hang your ornament on the tree in celebrating of their life. You also had the option to speak about your child, which was really nice.
The tree, before the ornaments were added. Kinda cheese, kinda sweet.
The powerpoint didn't function, but this was likely a blessing in disguise. I'm not sure we could have spoken of Jack with his precious little face in the background. Part of me really wanted to show him off, because I LOVE HIM. I know this group of people, much like YOU, understood how proud I am of my few short days with him, and just how incredibly loved he was. 

People who don't lose their baby get to talk about them all the time. Their newest "trick", how much they weigh, their developmental milestones. I get to talk about how my baby was born, how he got sick, how he died, and how he donated. That's it.  It's not very often you have such a compassionate (and captive!) audience.

So, while I would very much have liked to share his photo with others, just like any other proud momma, it probably made it easier that I couldn't.


Children were named, parents walked up, hung their ornament and spoke a few brief words. There were parents of babies who had died 8 years ago, and many who had died more recently. There was a really good "mix" of people. Different socio-economic backgrounds, different races, different ages. It was a really humbling experience to know BL happens to EVERYONE. Humbling, and devastating.

It killed me to see how many babies were at the ceremony. My first thoughts were, "oh, they must be the rainbows". Some likely were, but one lady with a baby girl sat just a few rows ahead of me. The car seat had a name tag on it. It read, "___'s twin sister".

And to make matters worse, there were several sets of twins listed together in the remembrance program.  2 babies. Losing 2 babies, all at once. 

:(

To see grown men crying is one of the most difficult things for me to see, I swear. I love it and hate it, exactly the same. It's nice to see the emotion, it really is. But it's so hard to know that these depth of pain exists just beneath the usual stoic faces.

There were as many dads crying as there were moms. So heartbreaking. Everyone, united, missing their babies.

I cried as they spoke, grieving for those babies as their parents lost their composure, crumbling at the podium. Some unable to finish what they started. These poor families. These poor babies, all being missed by the families who love them.

It's strange. In a way, it's nice to have a gathering of these people, "in the belly of the beast" (as Scott referred to it). Similar situations, similar losses, gluing us all together in this way. Forever united as we grieve for the children we've lost. Other parents with live babies get birthdays, mother's days, father's day, baptisms and Christmas to celebrate their lives with their babies. We don't really get those same days- ours are filled with sorrow. So, this is what we get to celebrate, I guess. Celebrate that our children happened.

Even the idea of seeing his name in writing. It's so foreign to me, and it will rarely happen moving forward. There will be no Jack David McCannell to be enrolled in daycare or kindergarten (and I just started crying because this thought occurred to me for the very first time just now). There will be no graduation announcement, no birthday cards, and no wedding invitation baring his name. No driver's license, no detention slip. This is one of the only times we will see his name in print. 

When Jack's name was called, we stood and walked to the front. I hung Jack's ornament, but not before I dropped it when my hands trembled as I attempted to hang it. How can I be celebrating, handing an ornament in memory of my sweet boy when all I want is to hold him and kiss him, and love him forever? 

Once the ornament was hung, Scott went up to the platform and read aloud what I had written shortly after we lost Jack.  I stood beside him. The words stung my ears, it was as though I'd never heard them before- as though I hadn't written them. I thought about throwing up, to relieve some stress I was carrying within me. But I didn't, because of course that would be very déclassé. ;)




After a few more names were called, the formal portion of the ceremony concluded and we were left to our own devices.  

Scott and I planned to leave, but I noticed they were showing the laptop which had the power point displayed. I wanted to see Jack's slide. So we walked up, and stood with some of the other parents as the slide show was shown- skipping forward to some slides for the parents who were there, pausing for photos, and them moving on.

So many beautiful babies. I didn't take photos, because that would be creepy, but trust me- gorgeous babes.

Jack's slide.
I spoke to one set of parents with a gorgeous living little girl named Grace. They lost their sweet Emma due to complications at birth last summer. They are still grieving, but spoke about what had helped them through. And the mother (I wish I knew her name, but I'm still so emotionally drained, I didn't retain it) stepped forward and gave me a hug. And not one of those quick, "aw, feel better" hugs, but a big, gigantic momma bear hug. You could tell she has definitely done her fair share (and likely more) of comforting people. I loved it. And you know what? I thought it would be weird, because she's a stranger, but somehow, she just knew exactly what I needed. I guess, because she needed it too.

We spoke to a few other couples, including a pregnant lady who was very sweet and there remembering her son while her living daughter played with her dad. They spoke of what helped them heal, how years later they were still grieving and thought they always would. It was very calming, speaking to these other couples who know JUST what this is like.

I'm so glad we went, and we hope to keep going back. I look forward to seeing some of the parents again next year, and while I truly wish there would be no more additions to "the list" this year, reality is that there will be.  I hope to one day be strong enough to speak to him, and let them know they're not alone on this dirty path we're being forced to walk.

It was really humbling, to know we're really not alone in this. To know there are other people out there, who deserved this no more than we deserved it.

I'm so, so glad we went.

Ps. I'm not reviewing, editing, fixing anything in this post. I've been emotionally drained since the even Saturday and it's been a solid 2 hours I've been typing this between crying bursts, and I type like a maniac. Please forgive me for my spelling (I'm talking to you, Brooke, ahha).

xox

Friday, June 3, 2011

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

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

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

So, where am I?

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

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

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

I really want to give Scott another baby. Desperately.

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

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

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

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

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

Why us?

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Guess who has two thumbs and doesn't ovulate?

This girl. She has both thumbs and the proud owner of an anovulatory cycle.
32 weeks pregnant in front of  the feature wall in Jack's nursery.
Back when I was still a happy pregnant lady with absolutely no idea her world would
 come crashing down in 8 short weeks.

I went to my doctor's appointment this morning.  Scott tagged along with me today, wanting to support me in case I got back news, I guess.  I love my OBGYN, love her.

We spoke a little bit about how we're doing and how we'll never really have any answers as to what actually happened with Jack. She confirmed Ecoli based Sepsis, resulting in Bacterial Meningitis. GAH, still hate it even though I already knew all of this.

Anyway, we got to talking about my cycles and why I'm on something crazy like CD50 (!!!) today and decidedly un-pregnant. Apparently I have low LH levels, which is strange to me since I tend to have faint OPKS test lines rather than just a control line, but anyway... So yeh, even though the blood work was taken a week ago, and it was just after my second set of positive OPKs, I'm not ovulating. The cause? Apparently I'm likely stressing about getting knocked up, which has the exact opposite effect I am going for- it's causing my body to choke when it comes time to pop out an egg. 

As my husband jokes, he's been putting out for no reason.  Wasting his specimens, ha!

We discussed our options for helping my body regulate itself.  We could wait and see what my body decides to do on it's own. But we're impatient looking to move forward now and would rather be proactive about things now that we know what our issue is.  We discussed Clomid and agreed it's a good option for us.  It'll increase my estrogen production in the follicular stage of my cycle so my ovaries mature more eggs (and then pop 'em out!) and thus increasing our chances for a baby.  It also increases our chances of multiples, with twins being the most common at between 5-8% (though I've read as high as 10%, but who knows what other factors there are to consider?). Since we're open to this if it happens (and by open, I mean thrilled with the prospect), this is the route we're taking.  We could also have tried a few months of birth control pills, but I feel like that is pushing me in the opposite direction I want to be headed towards.

So, she wrote the script out, including a prescription for Provera so I will get my period in the next week or so, and then we can get started again.

For now the plan is this:
  • Provera daily x 5 days, starting tomorrow, June 3rd.
  • Period should start a couple days after finishing my last Provera tablet
  • I take Clomid (50mg) 1 time daily from CD3-CD7
  • I have prescribed sex days, CD 12, 14, 16
  • Blood test on CD21, to ensure my egg(ies) released
  • Pregnant test on CD31 if I have no period (this is going to be hard. I love to poas).
If this all results in a period at the end, at least I know what CD I ovulated on, and we will continue the cycle another couple of times and see what happens.

If the blood test on CD21 shows I'm not ovulating still, the Clomid will be increased accordingly.

*WHEW* that's a lot of stuff.

I am glad we're doing this though. I feel a lot more hopeful knowing we're taking matters into our own hands and being proactive about working towards the family I know we deserve, and the one we started when we conceived Jack. There has to be a happy ending, there just has to be.

Anyone taken Provera or Clomid? What was your experience? Any suggestions?
Anyone want to talk about my poor wardrobe choice above, or my husband's frustration about being used for sex? ha!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

5 Months

I can not believe it. He would have been FIVE months.

I saw a friend's 5 month old in photos on Facebook. He practically looks like a teenager.
I would very much have loved to see Jack as a teenager.

:(

I was walking home from the train last night when I walked past my crazy Greek neighbour... I thought I'd written about her before, but I can't see to find the post.. Anyways, this lady is basically a stranger to me, but when I was pregnant I became a hot commodity around here and she would ask me questions about the baby all the time. She was very disappointed I was having a boy, telling me that maybe NEXT time I'd get lucky, and get the girl. grr. 

Anyway, I wear my Ipod while I walk,so I can generally ignore people when the earbuds are in. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, and realized she was frantically waving her arms to get my attention.

Sighing, I removed my earbuds and called out a "hello"

"My daughter, she had her baby. It was a boy. We thought a girl, but a boy."

"That's great news, congratulations!"

"Not a girl, but a boy. Oh well, he is good. He is healthy and coming home today. I will pray, you know, so you get your baby".

"Thanks...".

Grrr. I think stupid people are attracted to me. Stupid people + lesbians. Lesbians love me. ;)

Tomorrow's my appointment with my OBGYN, should have more to say then. For now? This is all I've got.

---
Dear Jack,
You would have been a big stinky boy by now.  We've had lots of stroller days here lately, and I would have loved to push you around, chubby thighs and bare feet hanging out the bottom. Mummy and daddy miss you so much. You were such a good boy.
Love,
Mum
 
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