Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The boy who made it

This past Sunday, I became a godparent.

Daniel's nephew (well, my nephew too) was baptised. And we were asked to be his godparents.

There is a lot of history that I latch on to the back of this little child. He was born 3 and a half months after Alexander died.

Daniel's sister became pregnant with him literally days after we announced we were expecting our first child. She was 9 months postpartum with her second baby girl, and had talked about far into the future dreams of maybe having a thrid one day.  And 4 weeks later, she announced she was pregnant again.  She caught our baby bug.  He was the baby because of our baby, if you will.

This baby grew as my baby grew.

They would be 3 months apart.  At this time, Daniel had 4 neices, and only 1 nephew.  The last 4 babies in his family were girls.  I found out I was having a boy.  "If they're both boys, they'll be the best of friends... and cousins to boot."

His sister and I went through Christmas last year, pregnant. My first. Her third. But isn't it just awesome to have a pregnant buddy!?!

A bit of sarcasm above. Anyway...

I felt crowded.  A bit of my thunder was stolen. Someone is ALWAYS pregnant in this big Italian family... couldn't I just catch a break and be the only one in his direct family that was expecting a baby soon??

When Alexander was stillborn, my world froze.  I assumed his sister would remain pregnant forever with this 3rd baby of hers.  Or maybe, this baby would die too. I didn't want this to happen. It's almost as though my brain assumed it. "babies now die...". I couldn't wrap my head around her having a baby when mine was so simply gone. So perminemntly dead.

This baby was only ever around because Alexander was on his way.  This baby simply didn't fit anywhere in my future now that Alexander was gone.

We purposely took a trip at the end of May to Vancouver to get away for her due date. We got back on June 6th (her due date), and she was still pregnant. Blast!

She was now overdue.  And, she was GBS positive.  But that was nothing new to her.  She's had 2 healthy children while GBS positive.  But this time, she was anxious.  When we visited on the weekend (June 9) after our trip, gifts in tow, I could see her nerves were shot. 

The baby was born, a boy, on June 11th. Healthy, pink and alive.

My world crashed down all over again.  Not like it did when Alexander died... but it was gut wrenching to see his family embrace this boy... "finally another boy"... this little man... this son of theirs... this first son if theirs.  I was all alone with these feelings of tremendous sadness over his arrival.  Daniel's mother approached me the day we came to visit a week after his birth, and said, "I know this hurts, but see him once, and then it will all be okay...".  I was being ripped apart inside, seeing someone else live through all I lost. 

How did he make it, and mine not? How did the impossible happen, twice? (Impossible that mine died, and impossible that hers made it)  I didn't ever want him to die, I just couldn't ever imagine him to exist.

For months, I couldn't hold him. I didn't want to hold him. I didn't understand his existence.  I told Daniel I only saw an enigma.  Not a child.  I would look at him, and feel he somehow cheated death. But why him, and not mine?

Slowly the hurt associated with his birth faded.  He so evidently was someone elses child. He wasn't what I was missing.  But there was a hurt/let down feeling that followed me around when I thought of him... or knew I'd have to be around him.

He was the first baby born after Alexander. He will always be that first baby.

I don't know how or why...but my feeling towards this innocent baby changed. He somehow became Daniel's newest nephew, and not the heart breaking reminder that my son died. I no longer resented him, or his aliveness. He was just a boy... a different boy... he didn't have to be primarily that boy.

I've always loved babies... but over the past 5 years, I can honestly say I love his nieces and nephew. They've become my family. They've become my nieces and nephew.

Somehow, I found myself loving this one too.  This newest nephew.

We were approached in Auguest and asked to be his godparents. Our initial answer was no. We were 6 months out from losing our son... we simply couldn't bear the thought of being a "parent" of any kind to anyone other than our son.

We are extremely close with this sister (Daniel has 3). Her two daughters worship the ground I walk on, and I love them both to pieces. She was going to approach us after her second daughter was born, but she felt as if it would be pushing something on to our relationship - and she just didn't know if were we "ready" yet as a couple (Daniel and I). So she assured us this request to be her newest child's godparents wasn't out of pity.  It wasn't because we lost our son.  She truly wanted us as a part of her children's life, more so than an aunt and an uncle.

We sat with the decision for over a month.  And we ended up accepting.  It still didn't make complete sense to me why we were doing this.  I wanted to equally be an aunt all three of her children.  But eventually I let it all go, and let it all be love.

Here I am, 8 and a half months after losing my son.... 3 and half months pregnant with my second child... still sad... still missing my son ... but I am holding that baby, that boy, now 5 months old... ... and I feel nothing but love in my heart for him.

I didn't know if I'd ever get here...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Mixed Bag

A lot has happened since I last posted.  I left it all a little hanging.  I've been trying to figure out how exactly to unravel here on this blog... but I cannot quite get into "compose" mode about one particular thing. 

So I'm just gonna spill.  Here's how my week ended...

My work called me just after 1pm on Thursday. 

I had a plan to ask if there was a chance for me to come back as full-time instead of management.  I was going to ask about a different location that was easier for me to commute to.  I had it all ready to go... but I'd get things started with my news....

I told them I was pregnant again.  I only wanted what's best for me the company, so if they have other plans for what they'd like to do with me, I'm open to suggestions.  But, I will be leaving in Spring 2013. 

And I was ready... for them to umm and ahh over making a quick decision without doing something illegal.  But I was ready to talk salary and contract structures... and so on....

They surprised me.  They said congratulations and expressed their happiness for me, and told me how glad they were to have me back.  They're "thrilled" to have me back for whatever time I'm giving, and they'll "take what they can get".  "Four months is better than not having you back at all."

I didn't even have the chance to dive into my plan B.  I chickened out.  I said words like, "great" and "I'm happy to be back" and we went on to talk about recent developments and changes to the company. 

I hung up on a bit of a high, but also a bit disappointed in myself.  All the pep talks I'd given myself to send that email and get the ball rolling, I had completely disowned.  The "plans" I comforted myself with about a lighter work load, and an easier location, I had totally abandoned. 

I'm such a coward. 

But I'm going to give it a go.  See how it feels.  And if I find myself ready to break - maybe then will I make all the requests I'd originally planned.  Or, I'll quit for good.

I'm scheduled back in 2 weeks. 


I met with a specialist on Friday.  She is "the best".  And I can now attest, she is the absolute best I've ever met.  She spent 2+ hours with us on Friday afternoon (which led into her evening) and touched on everything I was hoping.  She asked me more questions than any doctor one has asked me.  She asked about my over all health and my medical history.  She asked about every last detail during my pregnancy with Alexander.  She honed in on every day leading up to his death.  Asked me for an entire play by play of anything I felt necessary to mention.  She had a copy of his autopsy in front of her, and combed through it with us. 

She talked about pregnancy loss, and infant death like no other doctor I've come in contact with.  She was so knowledgeable.  She talked about my placenta, gave me examples with imagery so I could understand... and she made sense of a whole lot.  I think I understand more now why my son died the way he did than I ever have.  I know my previous OB went over the results with us when they were first released, but I now know the difference between a fairly good sounding educated guess when figuring out all the medical babble and a real insightful, conclusive explanation. 

She focused a lot on the findings in my placenta.  She went over the "scaring" and "clotting" which I was once told were normal findings.  In fact, from what she's seen in her career, they were signs of a very tired, very finished placenta.  Somewhat "normal" for 41+ weeks pregnant.  But it was a simple case of supply and demand.  My placenta had reached a point where it could no longer supply to the demands of an overdue baby, still very much alive and requiring a lot in the womb.  The GBS was a bit of a nail on the head, where the placenta became infected as well... and further restricted the placenta's duties. 

I'm glad that she took the time to explain this all to us, so we now fully understand her approach - specifically towards this subsequent pregnancy.

This doctor works with a different common denominator than other GP's and OB's.  She's had pregnancies end in their 2nd and 3rd trimester - with babies born dead or prematurely - more times than the average Dr. Joe.  It's all she works with... high risk...troublesome...abnormal pregnancies.  She's invested in her work.  She's invested in these babies she's saved, or said goodbye to.  Her eyes filled with tears when I told her my story.  She listened in disbelief when I told her I was 6 days overdue and worried because something didn't feel right, and was let go to carry on, on my own.  I was crying too.  Maybe my agony caused her to cry for me.  But whatever her tears were for, they were coming from her heart. 

She talked about this pregnancy.  She talked about working with many women who have carried a subsequent pregnancy after a loss.  She said words like, "I want you to enjoy yourself in whatever way you can, because you deserve it.  I know you love his baby, and you deserve to feel that with as much innocence as possible.  And I'm here to help you do that.  Because you deserve it."  I cried.  I cried, and cried and cried. 

She asked what we named our son. 

Her son's middle name is Alexander.  Her eyes brimmed with tears once again.

She has a plan.  She has a serious plan.  We're getting babe out.  Alive.  Whatever it takes. 

She talked about growth ultrasounds at 24, 28 and 32 weeks.  She mapped out my last 6 weeks with three appointments a week - a BPP, an NST, and a check up to swab for infections and/or GBS and draw blood and test my urine for additional screening.  And within that weekly check up, she's going to do a special ultrasound on my placenta. 

There will be no stones unturned.

But, I know.... I know I know I know..... this baby can still die.

However, I was once handled by a doctor who believed babies live in spite of the prenatal care received. 

I am now with a doctor who knows babies die.  Period.  So she'll be damned if she misses something.  And that feels good. 

Dare I say, she's given me hope that somehow, some way.... I will have a living baby. 

She did a round of swabs to check for GBS, and she's taking an aggressive route regarding prevention.  Although she doesn't feel the intrauterine infection is what caused his "ultimate" demise, she understands that it did in fact occur, and it can in fact occur again.  As rare as it would be, in can happen again.  She'd like me on amoxicillin for the remainder of my pregnancy to lessen the chances of an intrauterine infection.  I'm nervous to be on antibiotics for 23 weeks.  I'm going to call her tomorrow (or whenever I work up the nerve to have the conversation and question her approach). 

She checked the baby's heart rate with the Doppler.  She got it right away... then the baby "swam away".  She assured me with a litre of fluid vs an ounce and a half baby... sometimes the heart rate is hard to find.  She then struggled for about a minute to relocate it.  My heartbeat was the only one she could pick up.

"We'll do an ultrasound.  You'll have a look, and we'll get the BPM from there."  She wasn't worried about the baby.  But I could see that she was worried I'd be.

I wasn't.

We took a peek anyway.  She said she wanted to get a good look at where the baby was at.  There was a big screen in front of me.  I didn't have to crank my neck to see what she saw.  There are definite perks to being at a fancy speciality hospital that only specializes in high risk pregnancies. 

(But one big fat disadvantage got me there...)

And there the babe was.  Doing its own thing.  SUCKING IT'S THUMB.  Twisting and turning about.  I could clearly see hands, arms, feet.... nose, mouth and a big ole head. 

I was amazed at how much could be seen at 14 weeks.  But there s/he was.  In all their glory. 

She showed me the heart, the diaphragm and the lungs.  She said development is on track.

"..and it's too early to see if it's a boy or girl..."

"...we think it's a girl.. just a feeling."

"well...'s there.  I can see."


I asked.  She told us.  My heart soared. 

I don't want to say, because she said the anatomy scan will confirm in 4 more weeks... but she's 95% sure it is what it is.  She told us that girls have a "tulip" in between the legs, and boys have a "digit/limb/stick". 

She zoomed in, and there it was.

I won't say.  It could be wrong.  And I've already wrestled with my mind, trying not to imagine this baby one way or the other. 

Just stay alive, and I'll be set. 

I cried when we left the appointment.  Daniel too.  Both of us, trying to talk through our faced and a mess waiting for the elevators. 

We cried because we were relieved.  We cried because we finally had someone who listened to us, who cared enough to care, who really wants what we want.

We cried because we missed our son.  Because we wanted Alexander.  Because it was painfully clear to us that he just should not have died.  There was a way... there was time... he was a strong, healthy baby ...but somehow left alone without a chance to make it.  We cried because we thought of what could have been if this doctor was our doctor the first time around.  As impossible, and unnecessary as that would have been at the beginning, it probably would have brought us to the end with a live baby. 

In a cruel way, our emotional state was once again dragged through the mud while we learned how good this can all turn out.  It really hurt.

But at the same time, we were so happy to have this baby be given the chance to live.

We were crying, and smiling, and hurting all at once.  Luckily we were the last ones at the clinic. 

I felt extremely vulnerable that Friday evening. 

Because I trust this doctor.  Because I want this baby.  Because I believe in her approach. 

But I know it could all be over at any time... even at the very end. 



I'm trying to enjoy it while it's here.  For what it's worth.  A possibility?  A potential?  A maybe baby?

Every day, I'm convinced this baby is already gone.  I don't feel a flutter or a bump for half a day and I think "for sure today's the day it died."

I hope I always continue to be wrong.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Work Whoa's


... ...

.....          I just did it. 

... gulp.

I just sent an email to my HR department letting them know that I'm "ready" to discuss my return to work plans.

I'm not ready.

I hate this.

I wasn't supposed to come back like this.

I wasn't supposed to be coming back, now.

I went on my leave on January 23, 2012.  Used my entire 3 weeks vacation allowed for 2012, and started my maternity leave after that.  I was home, happily taking a break while I waited for my due date, February 18, 2012 to roll around to bring me my baby.

I've been working with my company for almost 8 years, and have been a stellar employee - if I do say so myself.  I was ELATED to be leaving for a year... and most likely was not going to return after my year off.  Not because I wanted to be a stay at home mom, or that I couldn't bear the thought of daycare, or that I didn't have alternative child care options.  I wasn't going to return simply because I felt done with this job.  It was supposed to be temporary I said 7 years ago and I've been looking for a good time to walk away.

And oh baby, this was the time.

I've been putting off making my decision for months about what to do about going back. 

When I was on that hospital bed, stunned out of my mind with how my life was now unfolding with a dead baby ready to be laboured and delivered... I told myself I was never going back.  AND I QUOTE --> N.E.V.E.R going back to this job. 

It's not a bad job, really.  The hours can be indefinitely long, and scheduling has to be flexible during high season (summer and the holidays), but ultimately, it was because it was something I didn't want to be doing that made it so unbearable, not because the job itself was all that hard...bad...unpleasant...draining...

But it certainly became those things as I looked at my staying put as my own self perpetuating hell.

Pretty heavy to say about work, right?  But there's gotta be other people out there that have had it with what they do and where they work...

So it made me pretty sick to my stomach that I was entertaining the idea of going back.  But as the heavy fog of early grief started to lighten up... I was really trying to figure out what to do with this "in between" time before having another baby.  And going back to work always poked at me....

"... you could go back... just for a few months... earn another year off... make some money while you're at're ABLE BODIED, mostly..."

I got an email back in August from my HR department.  They gently asked if I had plans to return to work before December.  They were trying to get all their eggs lined up for the holidays, and needed to know if I'd be back in my position to run my team for the oh so busy, commercially driven, pointless and sickening holiday season.  I really wanted to give them the silent treatment, and let them know that my status was still unknown and February 2013 was still my "return time".  I was a little miffed, as they wouldn't ask a mother to a living child if they'd be coming back before their scheduled return date. 

I had just miscarried, and didn't think I'd be pregnant again by December, so I thought what the hell... sure, I'll probably be back... I kind of want to ignore the holidays this year anyway... and what better way to do that then drown yourself in work?  So I replied to their email with a very loose November return to work date, and I haven't heard from them since. 

So here I am.  I've given in.  I'm pregnant again, and thinking about these next 5 1/2 months is driving me bonkers.  Maybe if I have a routine again, a "nine to five", I'll be less likely to drive myself crazy thinking about this pregnancy. ... Maybe not.

But nothing is set in stone.  I wrote my email in a very inconclusive manner. 

I sent my email seconds before jumping over to blog.ger and nervously composed this post.  I've been toggling back and forth to my inbox.  I just got a response.  They're going to give me a call around 1.  It's now 1. 

Jesus.  I thought I'd have a day or two to be irrationally unhinged about all this.

Guess not. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A little something

Tuesday, I went in for my "12 week" scan.

There is indeed a baby in there.  And, I'm told it's growing just fine... a smidgen ahead of schedule at that.

I will write more about that another day.  It's been a tough week. 

A lot of emotions I don't quite know how to talk about.

I am still hesitant to talk too openly about this pregnancy - in real life too...some people still don't know - as I feel no promise.  As affirming as that image was supposed to be on that screen, I still don't believe it. 

But, that is for another day...

When we got home on Tuesday, there was a package in our mailbox.  I had ordered this over a month ago... and it arrived on that day.

His name.  His birth stone. 

My son.

I still miss him. 

I still need him just as much as I did in those days when he was alive.  I still ache for him just as I did when I first came home, with empty arms, physically in pain from his absence. 

He is not in my belly, somehow gestating again.

He was not in the mailbox, somehow attached to this necklace. 

He is gone.  Forever. 

It still floors me.