Monday, April 16, 2012

This BLM's Mind as Delivery Approaches

As I round the final corner of this pregnancy, I struggle to come to grasp with what is to come in the next few weeks. I find myself overwhelmed with excitement, and also very anxious. I'm excited because OMG she's coming (!!!), but anxious because we've been here and done this before, except last time we left the hospital with empty arms and broken hearts.

I watched the video clips we have of Jack today, because I really have nothing better to be doing with my time, and it's been a while since I've sat down to watch them. I watched from his delivery through until the night before he was admitted- all the video documentation of his little life. I smiled at some of the looks on his face, I laughed along with myself on video at my husband's antics, and sighed at the video clip in which my husband repeatedly says, "hello Jack" and I watch my boy roll his eyes, as if on cue.

I watched myself telling Jack "we've waited our whole lives to meet you" just after we had met. I heard Scott's voice crack and the high pitched "awwww" he managed when he first laid eyes on him.  He couldn't stop thanking the doctors and the nurses for his little boy, while in actual fact it was he and I who made this perfect little being. Together. Incredible.

Jack's cone-head from being stuck in my pelvis all day is red and raw in the film. The nurse assures us on tape that Jack tried his very best to squeeze down there, but he just couldn't do it. I watch his sweet little tongue dart in and out of his rose bud lips and smile to myself that his sister shares these same lips.

It's hard to look at this footage, even though at one point it was the only thing which got me through the day. It's hard to see us so optimistic and happy and not think of what was yet to come- that which we were so blissfully unaware. We had every reason to think he would live- he was here, he was checked out by the pediatrician and declared healthy... Why would we ever suspect it wouldn't last? It's heartbreaking, watching our prior life on tape and knowing we were just days from our whole worlds crashing down.

In approaching these final days, I've managed to get my nerves at bay by telling myself it can't happen again. That we have every reason to think Grace will have a different outcome than her brother. It makes me feel confident that we are doing everything we can to get her here safely (ie, the weekly BPPs) and to ensure she remains healthy. But I feel badly that we somehow let Jack down, that we didn't/couldn't offer him this same thing.

I know there isn't anything more we could have done. I feel confident in the decisions we made about his health and his care in the hospital. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts it was simply too late and the infection too strong to have ever changed the outcome.. But my heart hurts all the same.

Parts of my memories of him are fading. I was surprised by his kitten-like noises and snorting on the video today, I had forgotten how noisy little babies are. I've forgotten what it feels like to hold his weight in my arms. So many of previously strong memories have faded, and I find I am not as affected by triggers as I once was... Dates no longer seem to upset me in the way they would have just a few short months ago. The fact Grace is scheduled to arrive on the 16 month anniversary of his declaration forces me to approach the dates a little differently, it brings out the beauty of what was previously a day on the calendar which had haunted me.

Sometimes it doesn't even seem like it was real... It doesn't seem possible that we made it through the birth, and the subsequent death of our firstborn. That he was really here- born to us, and then he was taken away... That we could have anticipated his arrival with such excitement and hope for 9 months only to lose him days after he got here... It's just incredibly hard to accept that this has happened.  It just seems like such an incredible waste of a young life, and I hate with my entire being that this is the only shot Jack got at living a beautiful life. We wanted so much for him, I still do even though it's impossible.

Together, Scott and I have persevered through all of the ups and downs we have been forced to experience over the past 16 months... We have taken the challenges we have faced, and together we have overcome them. If not overcoming them, we have learned to live with this gaping hole in our hearts and life, for better or for worse.  It's entirely impossible to believe that we're coming out on the other side of this very dark tunnel, and are somehow (better? worse?) alternatives to the people we were on January 1st, 2011 when we first laid eyes on our son.

A part of me won't let me "go there" with all of this, it won't let me be swallowed whole by grief at this point- I suspect there are some survival instincts kicking in, keeping me afloat right now.

I can only hope that as we welcome Jack's baby sister into our lives, we are able to balance our great joy with the grief that is equally great. I hope we continue to be able to grieve the loss of our son as we are celebrating the life of our daughter. Because they will always be my kids, and together with their dad, will always be the great loves of my life.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Well, That's That!

Our house sold, 6 days after it hit the market thanks to the craziness that is the Toronto real estate market. It all seems so official now, soon this won't be our home and the beautiful nursery will be left behind. I'm okay with it so far, though I'm sure there will be more sadness to come as we pack up the nursery all together in preparation for our move in July.

I think I would have a harder time with it if I didn't absolutely love the new house and the life it will help us to provide for Grace. The new house has a pool, and a big chunk of land for her to run around on. I can't wait for those things. I'm obsessed with the idea of walking onto the back deck to sip coffee and nurse our little little girl while soaking in the morning sunshine. Obsessed. The dreams of beautiful stroller days consume me, with hopes of stretching my legs walking around our subdivision, to the local park, and even to the teensy library located no more than a kilometer from our doorstep.  I want it all- baby massage classes, mommy and me fitness classes, all of it. Please and thank you.

These are the dreams I've missed out for the past 16-ish months. The dreams I will always long to have shared with Jack, but I hope I can share with his sister. I seriously hope so. The stakes are at an all-time high with only 3.5 weeks until her scheduled birth.

I can not lose her.

I need her.

We had our first biophysical profile on Wednesday. Our baby is enormous. The tech assured me he's fairly confident I have GD because baby is weighing in at 6lbs14 at 35 weeks gestation.  I'm fairly confident Grace is carrying a great portion of that weight in her cheeks and lips. Want proof?

She's so squashed in there her lips are pressed against my uterus, like a kiss...  Not unlike
the "duck face" teenagers make to post to FB...
She looks a lot like her big brother, with those cheeks and the nose and lips I take full responsibility for. My husband is beginning to wonder when he might get a shot at providing some genetics to the babies we have together... I suspect his genes might come into play with the fingers and toes, I would be willing to bet money she has the same fingers and toes as her daddy and brother. :)

Thanks to the GD diagnosis and the gigantic baby status, we've earned ourselves weekly BPPs from here on out. My OBGYN also alluded to the fact she thinks it might calm my nerves a little to see Grace on a regular basis, and I couldn't agree more.  I already can't wait until next week!

One more big change that happened this week is that I wrapped-up the last of my days of work. Today marks my first day of leave, and I couldn't be happier to be done. I've really been feeling the onset of aches and pains, and the fatigue that goes along with it, so the timing worked out perfectly.

I'm off to celebrate my new found freedom by getting my hair done.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Million Dollar Family

I accidentally hit "publish" this morning while working on my mom's HP equivalent of the iPad. I was having a hell of a time typing on that thing and the auto correct and grammatical errors were getting to be too much for even me (and I'm pretty relaxed on this here blog). Anyway, here's my post in it's entirety...

I am pregnant "out to here" and so I'm getting a of "must being day now", "you're fit to burst" comments. I don't reply mind because I do look overtly pregnant and I feel fit to pop at any minute. About a week a go I was in the elevator bank at work when a nice girl asked whether this was my first ("no"), whether we knew the gender (yes, girl) and whether my first was a girl or boy (a gorgeous lovely, perfect little man).

"You have yourself a million dollar family!", she exclaimed, clearly thrilled for me. I didn't have the heart to tell her we should have one, but yet we don't. Instead, I replied, "something like that!" and smiled. It felt so forced- it's not her fault because I have said the exact same thing to people without giving it a second thought. And it is a wonderful thing that we will soon be parents to both a hunk of a little man as well as a lovely little lady in just a few short weeks, I just wish I could have them both in my arms, you know? Like I won the lottery, but have been taxed a child.

This week has been full of up and downs. Baby Gracie is just fine, perfect even. She remains hopeless devoted to her daddy and he to her. And I to them both. I had a doctors appointment earlier this week as I tested borderline for Gestational Diabetes. I haven't been testing out of "normal" blood sugar ranges, even after eating a ton of carbohydrates, so I haven't been particularly anxious about the appointment. It wasn't until I had run through the list of risk factors with the doctor and he mentioned pregnancies in quick succession that I kinda thought, huh well... The doctor mentioned this as a factor,
the referenced his notes and  said perhaps having two babies in 18 months could have contributed. So the next logical question for him to ask was how old my first was, and so I began down the road of explanation... After I told him Jack had died he asked whether he would tell me how and when. So I told him. I wasn't prepared for his response, which was two fold;

"You know Bacterial Meningitis is incredibly rare right?". YUP, I DO!

Which was quickly followed with; "You know, you really are lucky your son died as a baby, and not as a child. In my faith (he was Jewish), babies don't have souls". He went on to explain about how much harder it would be to lose a thirteen year old version of your child, rather than a baby you never really knew. I just stared at him. When I managed to pick my jaw up off the floor, I told him that a mother very much knows her baby, no matter how long she has with him or her. I also let him know we mothers start setting a place at the table for our babies, as soon as we know we are pregnant. I told him it wasn't helpful, that what he said didn't make me feel better. The guy was kind of just a weirdo, and so when I burst into tears in frustration, he kinda became awkward and excused himself only to return with a small box of sandpaper tissues to dry my tears with. When I thanked him for the tissues, he assured me it was "no problem, I'm sensitive to these things".

Anyway, so that clearly left me startled and I called Scott crying. Um, it's never a good idea for a BLM to call a BLD crying after a doctor's appointment, and Scott was immediately concerned as to why his pregnant wife was choking on her tears too much to talk. When I told him, he just laughed and confirmed the guy was an idiot with no bedside manner. The fact this guy spoke to me about his religion in the context of a diabetes clinic seemed more than a little offside, and even now as I sit back and reflect on it, I wish I had chosen my words more harshly... I know I can call and complain to the medical board here in Ontario, but honestly, I have to see this guy only twice more and I am rid of him. I just want it over, you know?


In better news, things on the home front are well under way. It's actually why I didn't post last week as I usually would have- we spent the entire weekend sanding/priming/painting and de-cluttering to get our house ready to hit the market last Tuesday. I'm delighted to say we managed it, despite having very sore muscles to show for it. The house looks great, we've already had thirty private viewing appointments and 60 "groups" walked through our home at our two open houses held this weekend. Our realtor is delighted, and we have one registered offer so far, and hope there are more to come tomorrow. We shall see, all we need is one, right? :)

Speaking of which, I want to show how adorable Jack's nursery looks now that it's sorted and purged (don't kid yourself, I am not this organized. I have 1000 things packed up in storage! This room will be re-filled with baby stuff as soon as the sold sign hits the front lawn!). Some of Gracie's things have migrated into the room as well, which is entirely bitter-sweet.

Why yes, that is the wall which took us no fewer than 4 hours to tape and paint. That sure is the UppaBaby stroller folded under the crib, the giraffe-print chair set I bought for Jack's siblings last spring, a couple pillows I picked to coordinate with other baby gear things I possess.
I also have the following photo to show you since I have owed you a shot of the bathroom I demolished and rebuilt last spring when my rage was at an all-time high and I need to demonstrate it physically. True story- that Dwell fabric shower curtain was custom-ordered on Etsy and took nearly three months to arrive on my doorstep. I gotta say though, it's pretty perfect and it'll be coming with us when we move and making its way into Grace's bathroom. :)

Ta Da!
In work news, I have two days of work left before I start my leave. I'm looking forward to putting my feet up and relaxing once we can put this housing stuff behind us.  I have to say though, this house buying and selling thing has been an excellent distraction for the past couple of weeks. We're now just over four (4!!!) weeks from her arrival and I'm feeling a strong urge to nest. I've already done her baby laundry, but am contemplating washing it again since I think I might have done it too soon and really what else do I have to do over the next couple of weeks? Still a few more things to do to prepare for baby, but I can quickly accomplish those next week when I have nothing but time on my hands.

I'll keep you updated re: the house. Wish us luck!!
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