I'll find you in the bright colours and quite places, always remembered beautiful Elizabeth - Auntie K

Friday, October 28

Head In the Sand Still

My Flip Board tells me of Angie's new project over at Still Life With Circles; the spoken word blog and can see so many others taking part. But I feel awful that I can't even read about it - I can't read any blogs right now. I may find time to open the Flip Board, but I can't bring myself to read.

Emotions are running so close to the surface right now; I'm so over whelmed with feeling - if I introduce anymore, or anything different I may just explode! I think I'd find it very difficult to explain all the ins and outs of it all and to be honest I'm unsure what I'm feeling half the time. It is just so bloody bitter sweet having Elizabeth's little sister at home with us, just showing us what we didn't have with her - I'm trying to keep my head in the 'sweet' part and engross myself into this band new motherhood.

So I will leave you with a few photos that might just explain how my heart has been stretched to accommodate this little wonder...

Us - Amelia Layne a day old, taken in hospital
Professional photos taken at home, Amelia at 4 days old
A favourite
Red being the colour we associate with Elizabeth,  it surrounds our little Amelia...
Yesterday in the afternoon sunshine, milk drunk on my chest.

These photos show my life - I mean this is what I am all about now. Nothing outside these walls is at all tempting, I am content never to venture out again; everything I need is here with me...

A, Amelia and Elizabeth and Taggpole in my heart - what else could possibly measure up to that?

Tuesday, October 18

Miss Amelia Layne

She is here and she is a live, well, happy and sleeping on my lap after a mammoth feed. I am just so surrounded with love, awe and relief and am just lapping up getting to know Elizabeth's younger sister.

She arrived at 8:51 this morning weighing in at 3.138kg (6.9lb) and I am just so bowled over at how much she has her sisters likeness. It is bitter sweet, but more so the sweet right now.

Time for a quick photo and a cat nap for myself I think - I've been ridiculous g a huge high all day, and it has been a long one!

Monday, October 17

38 Weeks With a Birthday Tomorrow

38 weeks - October 17th

This one just shows me how big I really am, a little uncomfortable too.

Well we've made it to 38 weeks - I didn't think I'd get here to be honest and now that we are, its not realised at all and guess it won't be until Amelia is in our arms...

Tomorrow first thing tomorrow morning!

Not a lot to say other than that, just finishing the last few bits on the lists and they are scraping the bottom of the barrel now - keeping very busy and not thinking too much. I hope that sleep comes to us tonight, as its been a little elusive this week, but anyway its up at silly o'clock in the morning for the surgery.


Been updating the Pumpkin Pages too, you'll see that I'm much happier with the state of play in Recovery after talking to Penny last week.

Saturday, October 15

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

For all our beloved babies gone too soon

October 15th 2011

Monday, October 10

In The Harsh Light of The Night

Written late at night between Thursday 7th and early Friday morning.

Why is it that I can go through the day feeling okay with something, only to be blindsided when the mice are out playing of the night time. I get the chance to digest all the information I guess, really absorb it all and assess how happy I am with it.

And I'm not happy.

I'm awake while A. sleeps soundly beside me, I am knackered, but the mice are on speed and won't let me rest until this has been focused on and ripped apart to revel the reasons, whys and hows of it all.

I asked Penny about what to expect from the elective c-section, she answered in quite some detail too. Now this is the first time I've actually thought about it as if it's going to happen - and that stems from a friend showing me an English elective c-section that was beautiful (as much as it could be, if you know what I mean) I wasn't dry eyed by the end of that UTube clip. I knew things would be different over here (the clip was for a pilot program they were testing in the UK) and just wanted to be aware of those differences before I was actually walking into the theatre - I'm the person who needs to know all the information, who likes to be able to visualise what is going to happen; surprises are only good if I know they are coming!

Anyway, I was taking all the information in she gave me and was quite happy with that - until she mentioned the fact that if Recovery is busy on that particular day, then A. would be taking Amelia up to the ward for the 45 minutes that I'd have to stay there in Recovery straight after the surgery.

I stopped smiling at her words then, I went very quite and just listened to what she said about not worrying about the immediate skin to skin, breast feeding and bonding (she said those 45 minutes aren't the be all and end all to those things). She said it's a lovely for the father to get that precious time to be with baby before mother has to take over for feeding and the like, and most of the time mother wants a bit of rest after the surgery; the spinal can make you drowsy...

I didn't like that one bit and she could see that, although I just couldn't put it into words the absolute feeling that it was so wrong for me. She told me to ask the midwife that would be looking after us that day, that I want Amelia to stay with me, but if that couldn't happen then that was the way it was. I took it on board and said that at least I know what to expect, could mentally prepare for that maybe and would be asking to the midwife to keep us together at any rate - I'd just have to deal with it if we had to be separated for only 45 minutes.

So now the full horror of that has settled in me now and I know I won't be able to do that. There is no way I'm going to be left alone in Recovery without my husband or daughter again. I've never posted Elizabeth's birth story on here, I've written it out maybe twice before, but it's too fucking painful to read it through, check for all the many faults in grammar and spelling and put into a concise light. It is a horrid gritty tale that I suppose doesn't need tarting up for consumption by others, all the same I have put it down and I don't want all those emotions flooding me with all the heart wrenching details at this point in the game!

You see Elizabeth's birth was so very fucked up; under dire emergency circumstances, one minute I was getting checked, the next minute I was being wheeled into the OR; 'code blue', 'code red' blaring - I didn't know what was happening and was put under general anaesthetic within 15 minutes from walking onto the labour ward. On waking in Recovery my first question was, where was A. the next was where is my daughter? To which I was told that they couldn't save her, she had died...

I didn't hear anymore than that, I was wracked with such sobbing and wailing; everyone left me alone, I didn't see anyone in the deserted Recovery for long time - I was abandoned with my pain.

That memory is seared into my mind and one that makes me wake in a cold sweat with my heart pounding - why the hell it didn't surface to Penny at the time I don't know - maybe everything does look and sound less intimidating in the light of day? But I will be explaining myself to her next week and ensuring there is enough people in Recovery to allow A. and Amelia to stay with me throughout - I don't mind if it's not skin to skin, or that A. is getting all the cuddles - I need them both there for my sanity.

A. Is a doctor and just happens to be on his anaesthetic rotation working in theatres right now, so him being in Recovery won't be new to him - I hope this will be another point that I can win favour with; although I hope by me just explaining myself to Penny she'll pull all the right strings to accommodate me - fingers crossed.

To be continued next week...

Thursday, September 29

Hello Kitty

I had to share this photo from last week. I was visiting a great friend who had just brought a new kitty (named 'Hello Kitty' by the kids) that was 6 weeks old and was helping the kids to get adjusted to her. My heart melted as I'm totally a cat person and grew up with cats and kittens all my life and she is just a wiry tailed ball of fuzzy, mewing energy! Well HK was just so pooped after her first day at her new digs that she fell asleep purring on Amelia's bottom.  Melted heart and just wanted to take her home, she is just so adorable!!
34 weeks & 4 days - September 23rd with Hello Kitty

Laughing Out Load

I've not laughed that hard for a long time - A said he'd forgotten what my hysterical laughter sounded like and yesterday afternoon it felt good!

Silly really, but aren't the greatest if things?

We were returning from the city at half three, but it looked like it was 6 going on 7pm. The dark brooding clouds ladened with so much rain, thunder and lightening and it all kicked off just as we were leaving the cafe we'd settled in.  It did happen to be lovely, warm and sunny when A. left for teaching at silly o'clock that morning, so he didn't even have his jacket let alone a brolly - I did however.

What had me in stitches (and when I think of it now, makes me smirk still) was the fact that we were trying to walk fast (a hard feat considering the almost constant BH) A. almost dragging me with his arm around me, my arm around his waist holding on to the his waist of his jeans, A. clutching his bag to his side (full of text books and paperwork) and myself holding the brolly. It's a good brolly that you can see through as it is more of a long dome shape rather than a shell on a stick. The rain was coming down at us from the side and wow was it pouring! Anyway, I could see where we were going so I was steering him from the waist and with the brolly as his head up in the spines, shouting out to 'jump' this puddle or this way, or that way...

It got to the stage where the rain was coming from his direction so heavily,  I was pulling the brolly downward to make him more my height he is 6 foot 4 and I'm 5 foot 6)  and so the brolly was protecting me a little more. The puddles where getting bigger and deeper, the rain harder and the wind stronger, all the while trying to watch the skies for the flash of electric pink lightening forks and marvelling at the racket of it all.

At that point I just found our situation hilarious - myself almost 9 months pregnant being hurried along by her soaked husband who is almost doubled over under this ridiculously girly umbrella (clear with blue polka dots) - and you know when you're laughing so hard you can't catch your breath, your eyes scrunch up, you can't say whats going on; A. thought I was in pain or some sort of trouble!

We got home eventually half carrying each other and looking like we'd been swimming backward with everything on, but we did look like we enjoyed it - my tummy ached, I woke Amelia up rudely only to get her feet caught in my ribs. As A. remarked, that was the first time I remember having a fit of the hysterics since Elizabeth's birth; and it really did feel wonderful!


I thought this would be a great time to tell a little of the nurturing corner in this crazy world I've made for myself, and by that I mean when I'm being good to myself. I sum this up with my favourite drink; the Signature Hot Chocolate.

Lets first set the scene...

The cafe is in the centre of the city, on one of the busiest crossroads where the pavements are almost as wide as the road itself - it is usually full of people rushing, plodding and wandering about their business.
To get to this place I walk 25 minutes (it used to only take about 15) to the train station where this journey into the city takes 10 minutes and then have another walk depending on where I get off.
The days I head into the city are usually when I have a hospital appointments to attend, which are just out of the city centre, so I usually get to the cafe before the lunchtime rush after those morning appointments. On route from the hospital I stop off at the big indoor market and get myself a wonderful snack, fresh out of the oven, two dollar and 50 cents worth of deliciousness; a 10 inch hot spinach and cheese borek. I walk to the cafe devouring this slowly, taking my time doing so and it is usually eaten up a block before I get to the cafe.

So this SHC isn't the smallest, nor is it the biggest by far, but I do have it with skimmed milk, no whipped cream or marshmallows - thank you very much. I find myself somewhere in the window to sit and have gotten lucky enough to find a foot stool near by on some occasions.
I take my drink and get myself comfy, my puffer jacket behind my back, ipad and phone out; only then do I have a sip. The first sip is the best, I get the cooler, frothy chocolaty milk, the hit of sweetness that is so needed after the savoury borek. That first velvety sip is closely followed with another and I savour the slight heaviness of the drink; it's not too sweet, not too chocolaty, not too milky - it is just prefect for me. I could sip at that drink for an hour, if only it could be kept at the right temperature to last that long. I sit back enjoying the chocolate taste sensation, watching the people pass my window, wondering what they are all about - today it was stormy after a bright and sunny start, so looking and sniggering at people's summer attire while it's bucketing it down was amusing to say the least!

After the first finger full I open my ipad and make a start on the emails, I guess that is why some are disjointed; I'm too focused on the chocolaty goodness I'm sipping (or maybe its just my sieve-headness?). I'm in the flow of the SHC and during those first sips nothing else much matters; I am watching and thoughts of 'where I am' are far from me.

At this time I'm feeling warm and fuzzy inside, I'm reading the kind words of anothers to me and imparting stored up emotions and feelings of my own onto the blank page - cathartic doesn't quite do it justice really. I am feeling nurtured by this little routine I have surrounding the SHC, I'm doing me some good, I'm being kind and gentle and giving myself a treat. I'm taking time out for me, I'm not rushing, I don't have to be anywhere and can watch the rest of the world charging by the window - this is my piece of calm in the mad, mad world and I just want to get this down here, make a mental note of how good it's been for me to carve it out. I'm not sure how many more I'll get in the future after Miss Amelia arrives, so am really savouring every moment sat in this window...

Tuesday, September 20

4 Weeks Today

In just 28 days we'll be holding Amelia in our arms.

That is a broad statement that covers all bases really. By that time we'll see her face for sure; whether she comes earlier or how she is born and of course if she lives through that birth.

That realisation is exciting to us both; to know her birth date, to have that goal to work and look forward to. We didn't have that with Elizabeth, we were always on tender hooks to be vigilante for signs of impending labour and that took away from the fact that we were about to have our baby - and that in turn held me back from seeing Elizabeth as our baby; I was more concerned with the end of my pregnancy and thought we'd have the rest of our lives to get to know each other...

It is quite a sobering thought to know that Amelia is coming, our baby daughter will (hopefully, fingers crossed that all goes according to plan) be born in 4 weeks - I see her as our baby and that is new and exciting for me.

I still can't think beyond her birthday, heading into the hospital, getting booked in, but anything after that it's just far too abstract for me to really visualise. I can imagine an alive Amelia (I still have that wonderful dream to look back on), but I also have last years memories of her big sister to flood my mind. Those are bitter sweet memories, for they are my only ones of Elizabeth that I cherish, but conversely they are so heart wrenchingly painful to put myself back there. I have time still to work up to that, or I can just let things happen and take it as it comes - I know her birth and all thereafter is going to be the most bitter sweet moments of my life - but how do you prepare for something like that?

On a more practical level I have given myself these next two weeks to myself, I'll concentrate on getting things sorted for Amelia in the last two weeks before her arrival. That should be plenty of time to get items washed, sorted, organised and in working order - I really should make a list so those things so they aren't running around in my head. That is started now and I feel like I'm accomplishing things just by that small act of list writing.

Something really quite stupid knocked me off kilter yesterday and the feeling hasn't dispersed yet. Yesterday was the first really warm (if not hot) day we've had this half of the year and that 'something' brought a sense of deja vu - not a nice one either. It kind of hit me that I was dreading something; like I had assignments due in the next day at school and hadn't yet started it. I can't think of what to pin that feeling on; why is it still here?

I spoke to the 'harsh words' lady last night - she initiated the exchange of information, and that was all it was from me really. I just can't open up to her, I still hold much bitterness. I can hear how she is trying, I feel sorry for her in that respect, but can't/won't do much to lessen that effort on her part - she will have to do better to make a mends with me for the way she treated me.

My heart feels so sensitive to others pain right now. I am emotional and the slightest thing gets it aching - hormones I suspect.

I'm going to pull My Space off the Internet - I need to write freely and can do so knowing that others won't be reading - I'm not sure if I'll put it back up after this phase; no one really reads all the past posts and I really want to share Amelia's arrival and all the rest of it.

Written on the 15th - I Love My OB & Update

That must be said firstly I do love her, Penny is amazing.

Why? Yesterday I had the first 'tightenings' since being discharged 5 weeks ago. Luckily I was at another appointment (Dr Thyroid) and had my 'safetly net' form with me that Penny gave me at my last appointment (CTG, AFI & Doppler) with the instructions to use it 'whenever'. Long story short; I was getting the 'tightenings' (BH is easier to write) maybe three times in a ten minute block and by the time I'd been seen by the physician I was into the third hour like that.
CTG all good. AFI 11.6 - all good. Doppler on her umbilical cord showed brilliant blood flow and my little wriggler was doing her thing. But when it came to why I was actually there (BH) no one addressed that and assumed that the monitoring that had been done was enough to put my mind at rest. The nurses there at the Day Care Unit don't know me in fairness and all the doctors are on a different team (different day, different team on clinic duties) and I didn't want a repeat of 5 weeks ago with being admitted for a two night stay. A. wasn't with me and I just got very emotional. I felt like a complete idiot for that (or was I made to feel that way?), but it's not something you can control at those times...

Anyway the BH were getting less and I just wanted out of there, but that was only once the Dr on call had listened to my concerns and reassured me enough - I had an appointment booked with Penny the following day anyway.
I couldn't believe how that made me feel to be honest; to lose it like it did because no one would actually listen to me and my anxiety, they had to call the doctor to do that. I decided that I have to put myself aside, no matter how foolish I felt; I had to put Amelia's well being first.

On seeing Penny this morning I have come away feeling as light as a feather and fully assured that I did the right thing. She spent over an hour talking with me, doing tests (fFN - Fetal fibronectin test to see if labour will start in the next 7-10 days - negative, phew) having a look at Amelia via ultrasound (saw her smile and swallowing with her eyes closed, as well as lots of cord floating in lots of space), writing out more 'safety net' forms and letting me know her personal experiences with BH and how she thinks it could be a precursor to early labour. I was a totally different person leaving the hospital today, a spring in my step and feeling the lightest I have all week.

I just can't express how lucky I am feeling to have Penny as my OB.

Pregnancy Update

33 weeks and 4 days
33 weeks - September 12th
How am I doing physically?
Not bad at all considering really; a bit achy in the belly, but have been taking it easy - if I'm walking faster than a sedate pace I get BH, if I get up quickly I get them; so I'm not wanting to push it.
Up till now I've had a pretty busy week, made all the more so with the fact that I've not been wanting to spend time in my own head - distraction rules and that means getting out of the house most of the day. The awesome side effect from all this 'doing' is that I'm sleeping like a log (no matter how many times I get up to use the loo). I am also managing the smaller capacity tummy well now; my eyes are far bigger than it, so least I'm not getting so very uncomfortable after each meal/snack/SHC.

And emotionally?
I am feeling a lightness that I've not felt for awhile. Amelia is staying put and is happy in here. Relief also that I'd been taken seriously and had my anxiety addressed and validated by the wonderful Penny. Prior to this morning I've been feeling quite strung out, very quite, emotionally sensitive, exhausted and very uninterested in everything. I hope that blip is done with now, and I know not to push myself too hard.

Hospital appointments and clinical
Penny goes away for holidays for two weeks, so will see her in three. I have a 'safety net' for next week and am seeing a trusted and primed colleague the following week - that will take me up to 36 weeks when I see her again! Did I mention we had our c-section date through?!

Who the hell cares - it's not important today.

Sweet things and fresh, green things. Tuna and a good few SHCs.

Plans & Preparations
I've been out of the house and so haven't gotten anywhere with sorting out the 'girls room', not even mentally. Starting to think of Amelia as a little baby now, not just as  the little being growing in my tum. Getting excited? Dare I hope to.

Written on the 13th - Where Am I?

Well that one in part is easy - I'm in the city sat in a coffee shop with a SHC looking out and down on to the busy street below, while taking particular notice of the 'cat's danglers' tree with it's new and small leaves and 'danglers' sprouting.

The harder part of me knows that I avoided the question. The question I'm writing about is what am I feeling inside right now, that is why this post may or may not get posted...

But on that note I'm going to be selfish right now and use my blog to vent, which was basically the reason why I set this space up - for myself, my sanity; it is a place where I should feel no pressure to write or 'say' anything in particular, a place where I can just let go of all the thoughts, feelings and emotions that I'm feeling - to have it all in one place for me to maybe go back later to see just how far I've come.  Somewhere along the line I found a pressure to conform (conform to a norm in the BLM world?), to take my writing queues from others, and that in turn hid what was really festering underneath my skin. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I have needed to take others perspective and to open myself up to that, but not to the detriment of my own.

I have felt that it is necessary to hide much of my pregnancy, my thoughts and feelings about it because it is a sensitive subject out there. I try not to alienate and maybe down play things - but hold on, this is the biggest head fuck there is going; I need this space to get it all off my chest, more so than ever now that things are coming to a head.

Hmm, I'm considering taking this off the web and just keeping it for myself, saying exactly what I want - but what of all the friendships I've made here; I don't just want to disappear, these connections have been a life line to me and there is something to be said for feeling 'normal' within this world and having your feelings validated by those who comment.

Where am I going with this?
Fuck knows.

I make no apologies, no excuses for my words; they are here to please no one but myself, to get them out of my head and down somewhere safe so they're not rattling around up there. I always had a journal in the years gone by that I would only truly write in when things were bad, blue or looking quite glum - I've never needed this more in the here and now. I write to stop the cycle of spinning that my thoughts take; it's a vent, a way to put focus to my thoughts and to put understanding to them - I 'talk' myself around into feeling better in some ways. Writing for me is for my mental well being. I do continue to write in other places; Elizabeth's journal and one I started when I first found out I was pregnant carrying Amelia. I also really write my head and heart in most emails - I can't help but wonder what will happen when I run out of time to do that; when Amelia is born.

Enough about me explaining why this post is the way it is and to get on with the venting/'talking' myself around...

The trigger for this 'blip'; the thing I want to get off my chest the most is the fact that my sister in law has just told us she is 14 weeks pregnant. I have only one SIL and she is the one who has had a terrible time of late with her husband (long story short - first boyfriend, got married, had daughter after 5 years. She wanted more, he said no for 4 years. Meanwhile he had (having?) a 2 year affair and there is a baby due this month from that). They are staying together for their daughter, from the little SIL has been writing to me there is zero trust, respect or confidence in the future, mainly to his actions once the other baby is born.
The word that springs into my mind is irresponsible (well all I hear is screaming). How could she let that happen; bring a child into such an uncertain family? I know this world is just so uncertain anyway, but to willingly bring a child into such circumstances that you do have control over? My mind is reeling and just can't get over it - every precious child needs it all; the love from both parents, stability, safety, a trust they are in a secure place where bitterness, mistrust, resentment, anger, betrayal, hurt and denial are not known to them. My feelings run so deep about this - I just wish there was no poor children messed up with all this affair; it makes me so sad, maybe mixed with disappointment and a dash of anger too. It goes without saying how many people/families I know of who are struggling with loss and infertility - do I really need to write the obvious?


This morning I received our c-section date - so much for electives being on a Friday! Ours is the following Tuesday which will put us at 38 weeks and a day and I am happy with that and am excited to have this date now. I'm actually quite relieved that it's not on the Friday before to be honest; we get to have a last lazy weekend together; maybe go away doing something special as I'm sure we'll have everything as ready as it's going to be well in advance. That Friday is a dear BLMs graduation that we weren't thinking we'd make, but I will get to wear that beautiful summer dress I brought not so long ago (and to be honest that is the cherry on top of the cake that we get to make his graduation; we're both really quite chuffed about that). Also the Saturday is the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day that we will be giving ourselves over to - I remember so clearly the powerful feelings of lighting our candles at 7pm in the 'wave of light' last year and intend to honour that time again this year too. I do think those four days between the Friday and Tuesday are going to be the longest four days in history for us both...

Provided everything goes according to plan.

The anxiety is climbing now; so close (5 weeks today) and yet so bloody far. As I mentioned in the Pumpkin Pages, anxiety is not known to me in an everyday capacity and it's really letting the punches roll now. Car accidents, umbilical cord accidents, falling accidents, accidents and more are running through my head at the most unsuspecting moments - it really takes a great deal of my energy to get my head around them and knock them into touch.

I am being very self absorbed - for one reason or another I don't have the scope of emotion to take on anything outside of me and mine in everyday life. If it's not rearranged on my iCal then it doesn't figure in my thinking. And my calendar is quite full; meeting or visiting friends, a remembrance walk, hospital appointments, an evening at the ballet, group meetings and the incidental appointments. Oh, taking the car into be serviced was one of those things that triggered a lot of stress for me; the last car service was the day my waters broke! These things just knock me sideways.

Then there was the Father's Day weekend and that fell on the date that we lost Taggpole two years ago - I didn't realise how that had knocked me down until picking myself up again. It maybe just the tiredness, hormones, the residual head cold or the fact that I seem to be out of sync with everything.

Family matters are okay. I have spoken to them since Elizabeth's birthday and didn't give the 'harsh words' lady a chance to bring up her past fuck up, just keeping things light and simple. My father is in India and my sister is getting quite excited about her visit coming up in November - I had to be honest and say that I couldn't think of anything further than Amelia's arrival; she understands and that started a whole conversation of what Auntie Kayla will be like with Amelia, it was good to hear and share her confidence.
The out laws are wanting to book tickets to come out and visit next year before they move back to the UK. I haven't addressed that with them intentionally; I mean how can I say that I don't want to have them here nicely? There seems to be an unspoken truce between A. and I that we don't talk of this, but saying that I did stipulate that he was to take time off to entertain them.

I hate A's new working hours; they are supposedly sociable hours of 8am-6pm, but with a commute and theatre lists running over it is more like 6am-7pm. He only has two weekends to work in this 3 month period and he doesn't have nights to do - but I feel as if we don't get anytime together and the weekends are spent catching up on sleep and other such stuff which I don't count as quality time. When he was working shifts he was actually working longer hours, but his time off seemed longer too; three full days a week.

5 weeks
34 days
830 hours
49,842 minutes
2,990,533 seconds

That is all that is going around my head right now; the c-section date.

I almost cried at my OB, Penny at our last appointment on Thursday; she gave me a form for anytime monitoring ('safety net' forms). I was getting concerned that she'd just want to continue to see me every two weeks and hadn't mentioned any other monitoring to me at all. I was so relived, not to mention the fact that she indulged me again with another ultrasound just to have a look at Amelia - didn't matter the day before we'd had our level 2 scan. I am so very lucky to have Penny as our OB.

Monday, September 5

Since Elizabeth's Birthday

Where to start?

All in all it was just a beautiful day - much more than the first real warm day of spring. It is hard to explain, but there was no sorrow about the day, there was a lot of reflecting, lots of hugs and smiles, lots of talking of Elizabeth and so much love in our hearts. That was my main aim for the day; to hold my beautiful Elizabeth in my heart, to revel in that love that her mere presence opened up to me. Yes, there was some tears when I just couldn't contain them anymore - when I was watching those final rays of sunlight dipping below the horizon, I was saying our goodbye again...
And then I thought about the sun coming up again tomorrow and the next day, then the next and things were put back into perspective once again.

Elizabeth is always going to be with me, I've not lost her. We have a future (not the one I ever envisioned, but a future none the less), we have this now and we have some very, very fond memories to look back on. And those memories won't stop there, I'm making them all the time - the most recent being the sunrise/set photos. Friends and family have overwhelmed us with their response for taking those, remembering Elizabeth in that way and we have truly been touched my the many whom have kept us in their thoughts and hearts.
'Smarties' covered super duper chocolate cake
We didn't celebrate her birthday as such, yes we ate chocolate birthday cake I'd baked the day before, we lit candles (not on her cake), we went out to the city and ate out after a lazy lunch at another beach, we wrote cards, I wrote in my journal to her and we had relaxing, quality time together A. and I. We woke early to venture out and take sunrise photos and stayed up to take the sunset ones - but we didn't celebrate; we remembered her, we showered love on her, on each other too and we kept all our personal sadness away. I got up ridiculously early with a buzz about me, I just wanted to do our best, to continue this good mood and remember our daughter with all the love we have and we did it.

I'm still on a kind of high from her birthday, although it's morphed into more of a relief than anything else - we survived with smiles on our exhausted faces, we took some amazing photos, we connected with each other and we were for that moment feeling like real parents.

I guess I'm relieved too that we weren't forgotten by friends and family - I'm still writing my heartfelt thank you's; we were just inundated with texts, mails, face.book updates 'tagging' us both in those photos and thoughtful kind words - thankfully there was no phone calls.


Where to start again?

I wrote the above about two weeks ago and have just been taking a break from everything since then. Really I've been kind of immersing myself into everyday life again and feeling the relief from having survived Elizabeth's first birthday.  Its been a relief just having a true taste of being a 'normal' pregnant lady and that has been good for me. A superficial type living again I know, but I'm taking the path of least resistance right now.

I'm feeling run down and haven't the energy to do more than the bare essentials; I have a cold and have really hurt my ribs from all the sneezes - it really is the most uncomfortable thing when sneezing! Then on this past Sunday it was Father's Day here and that coincided with it being two years since we lost Taggpole. So a pretty shit few days that we managed to turn into a lovely weekend for the pair of us, amazingly enough!

We are still receiving beautiful things of remembrance from Elizabeth's birthday two weeks ago - we're just so bowled over by the strong show of love and support we've received from everyone; the amount of time and effort people have gone to to remember our daughter Elizabeth. We've been left speechless to be honest and reeling in the fact that we have so many around us that have Elizabeth in their hearts and minds.

It has been a nice break from everything really - and it has been everything and everyone. I've only been emailing and am still catching up with those, the phone has remained thankfully silent since before Elizabeth's birthday. Speechless, mute, not wanting to burst this bubble of so called 'normalcy' - it's where I'm most comfortable right now. It does help that I've been keeping myself busy. I'm trying to be mindful that Amelia is going to come in about two months; I'm trying to make each moment last all the while trying to mentally prepare for her arrival on the outside. It's difficult; no it's fucking hard and I need this time to gather my head and get my shit together!

I'll leave with a quote that I found in a magazine this week; it was written about spring cleaning, but I found it more profound than that and I want to keep it somewhere that I can see it again and again:

'Remember that ultimately things are only reminders. If it really matters, it will be where it counts - in your head or in your heart'.

Oh how true...

Thursday, August 18

The Mutterings of a Messy Head

My cousin has just given birth to her long awaited IVF baby.

A little girl and she was a week or so over due. While it comes as such a relief to hear of her safe arrival, the knife is sticking out of my chest now. All around me in my real life there are little baby girls growing in big bellies and being born - it just seems so easy. I am just so fucking glad I am carrying another daughter, a baby at all right now! I'd hate to know the pain of these updates without Amelia within me...

I just need to get things off my chest right now, hence the constant stream of bitty crap posts. I am struggling with everything and just can't get the words out - I'm a hot pot of boiling emotions and I haven't a clue where to start dissecting it all; I'm reacting in a knee jerk manor.

Real life people aren't around for me at this moment; my trusted BLM friend is on holiday and having an equally hard time coping with that, another has just come back after being away for 7 weeks and hasn't a clue of all the ups and downs of my life right now (not that I do for that matter!). My family aren't the ones I can talk to about this messy head state; they are a millions miles away and would feel completely hopeless to help - I can't even get a hug over the phone.

Then of course there is all that mess with 'those hurtful words' that I'm trying so hard to forget about. Will she respect my wishes and just leave me alone for a few days to focus on Elizabeth's birthday? No. With every apologetic mail that comes my way, there is more resentment added and an even bigger wish to never hear from her again. I hate that her stupid fucking selfish words has affected me so much in this way.

The mental effort to keep my head in the present is constant - when I'm not trying to distract myself with the mindless. I know I should just let myself be, but I don't want to be this tangled mess of hateful anger, hot wired to lash out at the few people who are around me now. Namely my handsome husband who has been nothing but absolutely great with all of this - he hasn't even taken sides with me against the 'hurtful woman', as he knows that I'd just get torn up trying to defend family. Ode to have his arms around me constantly, his smiles and actions of distraction.

Through all of this I have a fresh closeness to Amelia. She is my savour, my hope, my joy, my constant little wringer that never fails to put a smile on my face. Whenever I pass a reflection of us, I am in awe that I am carrying another daughter and she is alive this moment.
I had always felt (since losing Elizabeth) that pregnant women on a whole had something that was mine; that there was only a certain allowed to be pregnant at the same time and they had jumped the queue and taken my turn to have a baby to take home. Stupid I know, but that didn't stop those feelings.

My turn did come and all I could do was deny it, not get my hopes up and try to integrate Elizabeth and my grief into our daily lives. The recent start of the change in me was meeting another BLM who had her subsequent baby and had told me of her struggle of the practicalities of actually bring a live baby home (that was her overriding advice for me - be prepared). I class myself as a practical person and had something to work on and that meant trying to believe that Amelia will come home with us. Hence the start of the pregnancy update posts and then I had That Dream a few weeks ago that reinforced to me that our dreams might actually come true.

Then the shit hit the fan last week with the scariest trip to the hospital - it was like wading through a nightmare of a year ago, but in thinking you know the devastating outcome already. Thankfully staff were quick to test, check, medicate me and tell us that things looked good, and to be honest the stay in hospital was a relief, along with the steroid shots and attentive care they gave us.

As I alluded to then, I had a lot of time to think about things and I really bonded with Amelia. I take such great enjoyment from the smallest of things; her kicks as her father talks in a low silly voice to her, her wonderfully active reaction to my singing and acrobatics when Pink.Floyd's Marooned is played, her stretches and sugar rush after a SHC (hot choccy), her quick responses to my questioning nudges when I get anxious - never failing!

I am now the pregnant lady with the blossoming big belly who is never not rubbing it with a smile on her face - maybe I am just checking to feel for a 'tightening' and smiling because I've not, or maybe I am rubbing her butt up in my ribs, maybe I'm giving comfort to my beloved Amelia rubbing her back or poking back at her foot? I love her so much it is hard to keep a straight face; it's only taken 29 weeks to get here for me to actually admit that out loud.

This is where I am right now.

My heart being pulled so many ways is it at breaking point.
My head is so completely foreign to me, I'm just trying to ignore it for now.
My body is doing what it needs with minimal help from the other two - thank goodness.

I do feel better for getting that out of my head, having put some punctuation to the thoughts and giving it focus - instead of letting the mice run amok.
And I must say thank you for all the kind and thoughtful words left on past posts recently - I don't write for them, but when they do come I am heartened and humbled by the show of love and support...

Thank you


News flash - I have just seen that Sally (of Tuesday's Hope) has just given birth;  Hope and Angus have a gorgeous little sister, Juliet. This is such great news for me to hear and it's truly lifted my spirits, I am so utterly thrilled and over the moon for her - if not a little jealous that she gets to hold her daughter right now...

But that is such a minor aspect of my feelings. I'm kind of wanting to revise my spiel about my cousins newborn daughter and about the rest of the girls due and being born - none of them are BLM's and none have walked in these ugly shoes is all I can really say in my defence.

I am truly happy for Sally, so relieved and thrilled for her whole family - no knife in the chest with this fantastic news. It gives more hope that while some of us in the world are so very unlucky to know the grief with losing our child(ren), there are also these great and wonderful things happening too.

Bitter sweet. A new daughter's birth one day, the next being the third birthday of Hope Angel. You are all held in my heart Sally, in these coming days especially.

Wednesday, August 17

Birthday Plans, The Beach & a Pregnancy Update

So what are we doing for Elizabeth's birthday this coming Monday?

I sent out cards to family and friends with a photo of Elizabeth in it - I know many of the family haven't got one and thought it time they did. The card asks them to join us in remembering her on 22nd by taking a photograph of the sunrise and sunset that day. We will be doing this every year and collecting the photos in an album, then when the time comes I can hand this down to Amelia and any siblings to carry on. As I see it, the beauty of this is that no matter where you are in the world; you'll always be able to see the sun, stop and remember our Elizabeth in those moments. It is such a small part of the day, to be mindful at the start and finish of her day...

Well actually the planning part is quite time consuming really as I discovered. I took a sunrise scope out at a local beach on the West of the bay yesterday. I made sure I had everything sorted; address to follow, checked I had enough space on a memory card, charged my camera and set my alarm for half 5 in the morning, made a flask of tea and got rugged up - it was rewarded with a deserted and peaceful beach, I only passed two lots walking their dogs. It is a small sandy beach, lots of birds about and the waters were so calm. I think there is plenty of scope to write her name in the sand too.
The sun coming up was beautiful; it came behind distant mountains and because of the cloud cover, made such a red spectacle in them. I didn't actually see the sun at all, but those moments between the mountains and clouds where worth it. The weather here is due to be gloriously clear and sunny, so my hopes are high for Monday.

We will be taking the sunset photo from the tallest building in Melbourne; a shot over the city - we don't know where we'll be next year, the year after or after that and I like the difference the photos will show - this is where we are living here and now and get the best of both worlds.

And it doesn't really matter how the photos come out to be honest; it's the thought of holding Elizabeth in our hearts and minds. So I extend the invitation out to the blogosphere; if any of you wonderful readers would like to remember Elizabeth and contribute to her album of sunrise and/or sunset photos - we would be most honoured and that would make heart soar!

There will be a cake made; a super-duper chocolate cake with double icing and smarties on top - I'll probably bake it the day before - that was one stipulation that A. made; something to sweeten the day. He has taken the day off and it'll be just us, but there will be time to ourselves; to write and think of our daughter without having to think of the other. There will be candles lit, lots of cuddles, tears, smiles, but mostly love in our hearts. That is my main aim, to remember her with this wondrous love and not turn her day into some kind of sad, depressed day where I'm selfishly just thinking of what we have lost.
Something to aspire to eh...

Pregnancy Update

29 weeks and 2 days

How are you physically?
Not bad considering I was in hospital this time last week, I have been taking it gently and haven't had anymore episodes of the tightenings, only a sporadic few Brixton Hicks. I actually went for a swim with no adverse affects this morning, which adds to my confidence a little.
But I am slowing down again now I'm in the last trimester; getting tired and needing to rest more - although I'm not sure if that is to with my state of mind or not?

How are you doing emotionally?
Emotionally I'm a mess. I have cried at the drop of a hat the past few days, for touching cards/emails sent for Elizabeth's birthday, beautiful texts and photos - then on the flip side of that the is all the anger and frustration of 'those harsh words' having conjured in me. I just don't have the energy required to please everyone, nor the will to do so. I just want to cocoon myself away and remember Elizabeth in peace. But in doing that I'd miss the heartfelt thoughts, actions and words of others - I'm stuck.

Hospital appointments and clinical
My discharge summery said 'threatened preterm labour', but all is well still here. 
My only appointment this week is with the Endocrinologist today, just getting blood results back to which they are all good - I did pass the GTT with flying colours too.
Next week I have an appointment with Penny.

I lost a bit of weight this week - growth spurt over with for awhile.
At the level 2 ultrasound the end of last week, measurements made Amelia to weigh in at about 1300g (2.8lbs) and was asked if I had GD by the sonographer - she is getting big and measuring a least a week ahead in all parts, which we couldn't be happier about; Elizabeth was a small baby and suffered some growth restriction. 

Tuna sandwiches and drinking my own weight in hot drinks of one sort or another - all non caffeinated and usually very milky.

Preparations & Plans
There are sales in the shops for baby clothes right now and all I've done is asked them when they finish; some end this weekend - will my want for a bargain out weigh my reluctance to buy any baby staples before Elizabeth's birthday?

Belly Photo
29 weeks - August 15th

Sunday, August 14

Mental Fucking Exhuastion

You know what I am stumped, angry and at a complete loss.
I am so strung out, so mentally stretched just now I haven't a clue what way is up.

I thought those nights in hospital were the worst - no, it's the aftermath that is getting the better of me and that is really just fucking me off. How have I survived that hospital experience with a level head, just to come back to such backwash of shit to bloody knock me down so hard? Why is it that the people I hold so close can turn the tables on me so completely. How have they made it all about them?

I can't believe how stressed out this has made me feel, I'm not functioning nor sleeping; I'm just so angry. I'm so distracted and insensed by their words, turning around and around in my head gaining speed and power. How the fuck can I have gotten through all that at the hospital and then fall so completely on my face, just from my reaction to another's fucking words? I'm so angry with myself! Why has that seeped in beneath my skin to affect me so much, why do their words cut so deeply.

Why so close to the 22nd, of all the fucking time within a year - why now when I'm needing every single bit of strength I can muster?
Why am I making this so much harder for myself than I have to? Why am I letting them use up all that energy I wanted for keeping myself sane this end of the month? I am just so disappointed with me for letting them get the better of me, and angry that they can do so with such ease.

I had such a lovely vision of keeping the run up to Elizabeth's day all about her; her beauty, her life, her memories, her remembrance, the love we have for her and keeping that alive in our hearts. It's all tainted with this fucking anger now, I can't see away through it and it's just turned into a time of stress and about those who don't give enough of a fuck - I can't believe I've let the words of others affect me so much...

I just haven't got the mental agility to get myself out of this right now, I'm so mentally exhausted - oh please let me put this behind me, so I can put my energies into my Elizabeth's birthday and remembering her the way I want and need to.

Friday, August 12

Back At Home Now

As I'm sitting here in my comfy corner of the living room, my feet up and a hot brew by my side, I am loving every single little kick, jab, twist and turn from little Amelia within. It is dusk now and things are calm here, I hear the birds calling and see the fresh new white bits of blossom on the tree outside the window - the seasons are changing fast.

I have been back home for a day and night now and how great it is to be so. Hospital for two nights isn't all that fun, quite knackering really. All is well with us, all is back to a 'normal' again and for that I couldn't be happier! A lot has happened really, more so I am discovering mentally now I have time to take stock of what actually happened; my feelings and how they have altered too. I am counting my lucky stars to be honest, lapping up every moment I have and savouring it.

The short of the long story is that I was having 'tightenings' (Braxton Hicks, preterm labour contractions - whatever you want to call them; the nurses/doctors called them 'tightenings' and so do I now) that were relentless, regular and frequent and at 28 weeks that should not be happening. I tried everything to rid myself of them to begin with, drinking loads of water, lying on my left and I tried to sleep through them, but when A. came home an hour later I actually timed them and they were coming every minute and a half, lasting 30 seconds. This sent me into a tailspin and called the hospital at once, they told us to head straight in.

They had my notes ready and so knew of our history, losing Elizabeth there and I found myself being wheeled up to 'that' labour and delivery ward; I just found it so bloody hard; the same smells, same colours, same lights but thankfully a different room. The CTG (Cardiotocography) machine was hooked up and that is when I started to calm down; just hearing the galloping of her steady heart rate was an awesome relief and seeing that the 'tightenings' weren't stressing her out.
I donned my 'best advocate' hat and started holding it together.

I was kept in on the Antenatal ward to be watched like a hawk; to ensure the 'tightenings' had fully calmed down, which they did after the medication I received. This decision was made easier with the facts that my placenta was still far too low to allow a natural birth and due to the LETTS (LEEP) procedure I had done in December, they weren't going to risk me going anywhere near a natural labour. So covering all bases they started the steroid shots for Amelia's lung development and asked me whether I wanted to talk to the paediatrician about delivering a 28 week old baby - to which I almost chocked; there was no way I was going down that path until I was there, so no thank you!

Test results later showed that I wasn't going to go into labour within the next week. I also showed no signs of actually dilating and lab results showed there was no infection of any kind; we have no cause or trigger to blame it all on.

On discharge I was told its back to normal for me now, but I'm taking it easy. I am hyper aware of every feeling I'm getting from my uterus and usually have my hand on top of my fundus to tell if its just her butt butting me or a 'tightening' - its getting harder to tell now she is using up her available space in there. And she is getting big too, we had the level 2 ultrasound straight after leaving the ward, she is measuring ahead at least a week, weighing it at 1300 odd grams (almost 3lbs) - considering Elizabeth was small; just under the 7lb mark, I think this little girl won't be so little.

So all is well and good just now; we're just keeping our fingers crossed that she stays put for another nine to ten weeks and my sanity holds on. I must admit that I've had a lot of time to 'deal' with a whole host of mental musings and feel on top of everything - just about. I am so very aware of Elizabeth's birthday coming up, but I'm glad I could focus on getting through that tough time with Amelia first without heading back into a stressed out place - I am just feeling so very fucking lucky.

Things with A. have gone from great to even better thankfully - there is no way I'd be half the person I am today without his steadfast love and support. He is my ultimate security blanket and love nothing else than to be wrapped up in his arms; Amelia nestled between us and Elizabeth and Taggpole in our hearts.

Wednesday, August 3


I had a dream a few mornings ago that has stayed with me, with an awesome aftertaste. I know I dream, just as everyone else does, its the remembering of those dreams that I have trouble with. This dream was so vivid, so bright and colourful and the feelings that came with it - absolutely special!

I was holding Amelia, she was just born, warm and small; about the size she is inside me now. She was beautifully pink with the glow of fresh life, her eyes open gazing at me with her green/blue eyes. Her hair was short, but dark (darker than Elizabeth's spun golden hair) and oh so beautifully fine and soft. The top of her head had this wonderful bagginess feeling to it under my hand and fingers; so cute with those pink ripples of soft silky skin and hair, just like the smooth ripples of water. I could feel it under my kisses, smell her in and feel her warmth. That is the part that I dip into to make me smile from my heart.

The dream did get a little weird after that; she was telling what she wanted to do that day and then she grew up a month or so in a flash of an eye - but those images and feelings are seared into my mind and heart and that has given me a confidence that I never thought possible. I am so connected to her right now - I've held her in my dreams as I already do in my heart and just can't wait to hold her in my arms for real. This confidence is real (for now) and I can see Amelia being born alive. She is a part of our family and a very real person to me already, and to A. too. I am so thankful to have remembered this awesome part of my mornings dream, it has helped make a leap of bonding with her - as it would be so easy to just wait and hedge our bets until she emerged in our arms a few months from now.

Pregnancy Update
I found the Pumpkin Pages again; I haven't a clue where they went, but their back and updated again.
I saw some pregnancy updates much like these on other blogs, so have adopted one of my own to try and keep all the information as brief as possible(ish).

27 weeks

27 weeks - August 1st
How are you physically?
Feeling good on the whole, Amelia is so active!
Sleeping good with a few vivid dreams - but maybe that is just because A. is on nights at the moment?
Getting really full on fluids; uncomfortably so and then not having any room to eat. I've put on another kilo and my belly really does feel bigger, my stomach smaller.
I've not been hit with too much tiredness and have had a very productive week really.

How are you doing emotionally?
Not bad at all - I'm really on top of everything I wanted to complete before Elizabeth's birthday, I'm getting so much done - I think I'm keeping myself really busy so I've not got the time to take stock, but it's all things that I've been putting off; you know the jobs that I just thought that would magically get done within her first year, well I am doing them now - feels like nesting of sorts.

Hospital appointments and clinical
Nothing new at Penny's appointment last Thursday, although we got to see Amelia - highlight of my two week wait and had the Glucose Tolerance Test then; I'll take it no news is good news (fingers crossed). Saw my psychologist last week too and she's starting to wear a little thin - she loves the sound of her voice and doesn't appear to listen to what I say. Anyway, no appointments for this week at the hospital - that has got to be the first!

26 weeks up 0.5kg
27 weeks up 1.0kg!

Signature Hot Chocolate - still I just can't get enough of them and have to really limit myself when I'm in the city, they just bloat me up and end up sloshing around the city.

Preparations & Plans
All Elizabeth's cards are done and sent. Photos are in frames and up.
All photos are waiting a day where I can play loud music (A. has been sleeping the days) to get her photo album sorted; at least all photos are printed now.
I now have space in my head to think more seriously about working on Elizabeth's Tree tapestry again, but still have Bunny to finish. This flash of creative energy I think has been ignited by the prospect of a 6 week Creative Art Group lead by the SIDS & Kids that starts this week.

Monday, August 1

I Carry Your Heart

A dear friend sent me a mail this morning of a poem she read and wanted to share with me. I am so thankful that she did as I'd never heard it before and it just says so much to right now with where I am ~ Thank you Eva's Mamma

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry you in my heart (i carry it in my heart)

~ e. e. cummings

Saturday, July 30

Kitchen Table - Glow In The Woods

I'm taking part in the new Kitchen Table discussion over at Glow In The Woods

1. How much time has passed since the death of your child(ren)? Do you mark grief in months, weeks or years? Does it seem to be going fast or slow?

It'll be a year since Elizabeth's birth and death in 23 days. At first I counted the weeks just as you would a newborn, but after her 6 months I would just mark each 22nd that came by. Now with her birthday looming, I guess it'll be in years. Time has done some strange things, but on the whole, I think it has just sped by in a blink of an eye - how is it already her birthday?

2. Do you have an end goal to your grief? How much time do you think that will take? How much time did you think you'd need to get there right after your loss? How much time do you think you need now?

I was always conscious of not being bullied into 'getting over her' and really didn't have a clue in those Dark Days what life held for me - I was just more concerned getting through the day. At about the 6 month mark, I noticed an ease to those Dark Days of such intense grieving and I could see and feel a ray of hope. I know now that I'll be forever holding onto a deep sadness that she isn't here with us and I'm okay with that.

3. Rather than a clear goal, is there a milestone or marker to indicate that you are feeling grief less acutely, i.e. going to a baby shower, listening to a song that made you cry early in grief, driving past the hospital? How long did it take to get there?

I have a choice with the usual everyday triggers (of seeing the newborns, our pram being used by others, over hearing gushing mothers with their babes, along with certain songs) I can choose to not let it get to me; to not be sensitized to it and put my 'strong head' on and that has only just occurred to me in the last month. But with the things that I'm still avoiding; i.e. holding newborns or having anything to do with them - well, I'm just not going there yet and luckily I have no need to.

4. How do you view the time you had with your child, either alive (within or outside) or already deceased? Before you answer "too short! Not enough!", did you have time to "bond" or develop a future imagination about what this child would be like? Perhaps depending on whether yours was cut short, how do you feel about the nine-month period of gestation -- too long or not long enough?

Elizabeth died at birth, at 39 weeks and 3 days. I loved being pregnant and cherished every moment I had with her. Elizabeth was our second pregnancy, we lost Taggpole at 16 weeks and I thought I knew grief then? So I wrote journals, I took belly photos and at 12 weeks we found out (CVS) we we're having a daughter and named her then; oh the dreams and aspirations we had. 

I am 27 weeks (almost) into this third pregnancy and while I love this babe within, I am still getting my head around the uncertainty of this pregnancy; the whole nine-months is far too long...  
But if this is all I'm getting with this beloved one, then of course it would be far too short.

Having Elizabeth stay with us for the duration of my hospital stay (a day and a half) was a blessing and will forever have those vivid memories of us as a new family. I cherish the photos taken, the moments of love shared between us and seeing the father and mother in us shine through the shocking truth.

5. One grief book suggested that it took 2-5 years to incorporate grief into your life. Where are you on this timeline, and do you find that to do true?

Well I'm so far off that mark at just a year. I think I woven this stage of grief into my life, into our lives at home. I'm not sure things will be so easy after Elizabeth's sister is born. All being well, we'll be faced with everything we've been missing and the thought of that alone is quite over whelming.
There is comfort in knowing that the 2-5 year mark is such a way off, it leaves plenty of time to figure that one out.

6. There's a familiar saying, "Time heals all wounds." Do you think this is true? Or do you subscribe to Edna St. Vincent Milay: "Time does not bring relief, you have all lied"?

"Time heals all wounds" is bollocks. As so many have already stated it allows you to grow stronger, to deal with the gaping empty hole, the longing, the heartache, the sadness and pain. Time allows you to adapt, to carry your child in your heart rather than on the outside for all to see. Time allows you to see other things, to feel and to want to live again. Time allows you to grow skin over that wound, but all that scar tissue is so very sensitive and easily ruptured.

7. Has your relationship with the future (immediate and far) changed since the death of your child(ren)? How about your relationship with the past?

The Dark Days I couldn't see past my own nose; my own grief. I still can't see or envision anything more than two weeks away, but that is due to this pregnancy and the next hospital appointment.  My imaginings about the future are just so abstract; too many variables, too many what ifs - it's not something that I've had to consciously and I don't fight that.
The past is very different though and have heard others have described it as 'before' and 'after' their child's death very aptly. I lived to plan the next adventure and there is to me a rose tinted-ness to the past on a whole, a life without accident, death and such heartbreak. I lived a charmed life and I never fully knew it.

8. How long did it take you to answer these questions?

About an hour - lots of staring out of the window and taking pleasure in the rain falling

Wednesday, July 20

One In A Million

I was in the city yesterday with a whole list of things to do. Part of that list was to catch up on some emailing, so settled myself in a cozy corner of Star.bucks with my I.pad to write. I was enjoying a very productive day and the hot chocolate there, are best - I was just saving the last mail (my pad isn't a 3G) and it goes tits up and deleted it instead. I hate this when it happens, it's so very frustrating! Okay I thought calmly, I can quickly rewrite it.

I was writing to my cousin H (who is a few weeks away from giving birth to her long awaiting IVF baby, who has been lovely and not shying away from me and loves to know how I'm doing) trying to answer her question concisely, of whether or not I would like a card for Elizabeth's birthday - she didn't know how that would make me feel. Good question with many sides to the coin in my eyes and so it was a long and rambling mail (as always). Anyway I had to write it a good few times (can you believe there is no save or undo options, nor shortcuts on the pad's keyboard!) and it was starting to get quite dark with rain in the sky and soon the commuters would be out in force.

A lady sits herself down in the sofa next to me and asks: "Are you pregnant?"

Me: "yes, I am"

Her: "how far along are you?"

Me: "25 weeks"

Her: "wow, I'm just 6 weeks"

Me: "ah, congratulations"

Her: "is this your first?"

This is when my heart starts beating super loud in my chest, it jumps up into my throat and goes for the strangle hold. It is so loud and fast I'm asking myself why she can't hear it?

So I answer "no, this is my third pregnancy"

Her: "you must be a dab hand at it then, how is it effecting your body?"

Me: "at the pregnancy bit yes. It's not too bad on the body, it's more a mental thing with me"

She gets her brew and settles down with her book - I know I've stumped her and I return to the last sentence of my mail. But then I'm looking at my screen saver on my lap, of Elizabeth and I and all that mothers love flowing through me and I just want to engage her in conversation about loving pregnancy, being excited, preparing and letting her know some of the quirks of being pregnant - I love being pregnant and wanted to enthuse and show that. All this running through my head after writing in my last post about not being able or wanting to talk with 'normal expectants'...

But Kim from Toronto isn't a 'normal' lady, she is a BLM; in fact she had suffered a miscarriage just two months ago. And that's not all, she grew up knowing of a sister and brother (Sarah and Stephen) who came before her and never met - they died at birth, full term. She can't remember a time when she didn't know of her older siblings and her family have always had them both very present in their lives. 

It was amazing to me to have someone come and sit next to me that I could talk of all my babies Taggpole, Elizabeth, and Amelia. I showed her my screen saver of Elizabeth and I, I told her of the countless awesome moments of pregnancy, we talked of living in the moment and we both really talked of our loves and loses. We were on the same page and wow did we talk... and she wasn't scared. 

I was actually the third person she'd told of her current pregnancy (after her fiancé (they marry in 2 months) and mother (who she is so very close to)). She is heading back home for the wedding and has been travelling for 7 months already, so hasn't had any real contact with friends or family, or anyone else who can understand like another BLM. I would have waffled on with her for hours and hours, it was so easy and not forced at all and I was sad to say goodbye. Kim thanked me for sharing with her and also said how full of positivity I was - can you believe how much validation was in that small sentence?!

Kim from Toronto really, really lifted my spirits, gave me a spring in my step on the way home in the dark, wet and cold weather with all the late commuters. It was an awesome chance meeting with a complete stranger and quite serendipitous, it was just what I needed - when moments before I was writing to H that there are too few people in my life here that I can open up to about my babes.

I thank Kim from Toronto and I hope that her new little soul thrives and ends up out living her and her husband. 

I also hope that yesterday's wonder isn't a one in a million occurrence, I think I have a little more hope that I may open up with more people on the off chance. I love talking about Elizabeth and doing so outside of my head with someone else who understands; it just gives me a high and makes me remember her with just the love in my heart.

The hot chocolate and donut could have contributed to that high - GTT is still a week away...

Monday, July 18

Slow Changes

I'm so unsure what to write here these days. Some times I have so much to get down, at other times I just don't have the time nor inclination to sit and write, other times I'm just lost for words. There is so much going on in my head right now and not a lot of actual changes in my life - it is fair to say that this pregnancy is a mind fuck!

I'm feeling old and run down and overwhelmed in reality. My body is just not finding this pregnancy a breeze as it did carrying Elizabeth. I guess being pregnant 81 weeks out of 105 (to date) is a pretty mean feat for any one's body, but to contend with the added impact of grief on top of that and I wonder why? I am trying not to sound like I'm complaining, for I know how bloody lucky I am to be here carrying this little girl within. I just wish I'd treated my body with some respect and got prepared for lay ahead...
But who knew eh?

Why is it that whenever I'm thinking of a post to write, the act of writing it changes the content - frustrating.

A few days later...

The reason why I don't write here all that often isn't because I haven't got anything to say necessary, but I have been able to get it out of my system in another way. Mainly it is through talking with other BLMs and writing it all down in emails, or in journals. I'm getting my fix of venting in other ways because I have some valuable people around me that can give me their time; to listen, to read, to let me talk of what is going through my head and to give feedback.
Granted, the 'Tourette's' has calmed down considerably and its not a main fixture in my thoughts these days, but the need to have Elizabeth's life validated and remembered by others is so very great, especially with her birthday coming.

I also have a hell of a lot going on with this pregnancy, it is more mental than anything else and just talking to 'normal expectants' (the non-BLM with a subsequent pregnancy) is like talking to a Martian; we're so completely on different plants. They're so full of innocence, so full of trust, hope, joy and excitement - everything I was with Taggpole and to a lesser extent with Elizabeth. I just can't talk with them; it shows me what I had, what I lost and will never have again. There is also the added bonus of whether to let onto the fact that this is my third pregnancy without a living child; do I deny my children, or do I stun the 'expectant' into a frightened silence?

So I lurk on the blogs of other BLMs who have their 'rainbows' in arm, read their back stories and learn from them - I do that as I know there is a 'happy ending' to be had. I am also very, very lucky that I have a few beautiful people in my real life that honestly want to know what is going on with me, who 'get it' and who almost have a vested interest in my happiness.

I started this blog as my space where I can offload all my mental shit down somewhere, so that I didn't have to burden anyone else with it all. Everything was just so raw, painful and so very mixed up and over time I have been able to find a little sense; a little clarity of thought that I am able to put emotions into words without the 'Tourette's' over coming me.

There has been a new layer of skin applied to me also; another form of protection that acts as a barrier to all the triggers that infest the world (and I know I'm one of them), it is a work in progress. Time doesn't heal; that is bollocks - I could live for a thousand years and always feel that shocking pain of loss; I will always want my Elizabeth here in my arms. All 'time' does, is allow you to breathe, deal with the heartache, muster the courage to want to carry on, put your shattered self together and learn to live again. This pregnancy has brought healing of sorts too. It has given me purpose and meaning back. It gives me reasons to pick up the pieces, to want to look after myself (if only for the one I'm carrying), to make plans (even if its not very far into that future), to consider something else apart from the overwhelming unfairness.

Opening up my thoughts and heart to other BLMs and choice family members has lead to deeper thought - the superficial living has, I think subsided for awhile and I'm comfortable in the here and now. Getting their opinions, their view on things has paved the way to fresh, new and undiscovered thoughts and that is what I miss with writing to myself/who-knows-who; writing here. I miss being stretched in that respect, my way isn't the be all and end all of everything now; I can see past my own grief - I've got to. That is the main reason why writing here seems to be lower on my list of priories and really connecting with people that I can converse with I find so much more fulfilling.

I knew a time would come when I could let My Space grow on its own accord; not have to tend to it, feed it all the time - I am not abandoning it. I might try a different approach though, see how I go with quick succinct posts (can I write a brief and clearly expressed post?). I still want this place to document the facts of where I am, I just think its going to change somewhat - just as life is changing...

I am still a mess of emotions/thoughts, how do I start with cutting the crap from them; making them short and brief, yet to the point? I've always been a rambler.

A succinct update?

I'm getting on top of things for Elizabeth's birthday. I'm chipping away at the long list of little things to do and it feels good to be doing something towards it daily. It is a relief more than anything else, not a chore to be daunted, and I'm quite proud of my small accomplishments. I hope its going to be a case of anticipation being worse than the day itself - I don't want the 22nd to be sad and all about me and what we've lost, I want to remember her with only love in my heart.

Almost another 22nd upon us, this is however over shadowed with her birthday so close - maybe the fresh, pink oriental lilies will open for then, filling our home with their beautiful scent?

Ma sent me this photo a few days back from her back garden
Taken on June 22nd 2011
Always taken on the 22nd, our little Elizabeth shining through to warm our hearts.

Pregnancy update

24 weeks + 4 days and Amelia is weighing in at approx 700g - the lower weight limit of the NICU is 500g, relief of sorts. Yes, we've named this new soul Amelia Layne, there is no reason to keep that information secret - I want to shout it from the roof tops and we've both found it a great way of bonding with her.

This morning at 25 weeks
I am piling on the weight now (2kg in 2 weeks!) without changing eating/exercise habits (growth spurt hopefully) and have the GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) next week - fingers crossed.
I'm seeing my OB, Penny every 2 weeks still and have booked the level 2 ultrasounds for 28 and 32 weeks - needed to check placental placement (very low, not quite previa at the 20 week scan) and her growth.
Thyroid good, BP and FHB good. Feeling lots of strong kicks/movements. Skin clearing up and feeling good on the whole - if not a tad old, slow and achy.

Tuesday, June 28

Red Nose Day

I am feeling a relief that I've not felt in a long time.

The Red Nose Day memorial service held by the SIDS & Kids Australia was just beautiful. A. swapped shifts to come with me and were able to meet up with my BLM friend's husband - it is nice to know they have each others numbers to call if they need to talk with a known face. We'll be meeting up again soon, I hope it'll be the start of a friendship just as myself and S has.

Anyway the service was just what I needed.

I needed to feel a part of a community and did, almost 300 strong I would guestimate.
I needed an emotive environment in order to let my pentup emotions free - an outlet.
I needed to belong and not feel like I'm misunderstood and the odd one out all the time.
I needed to have A. by my side and feeling all these things too.
I needed to see others in this BLM community that I know and connect with, to introduce them to A.
I needed to hear such emotive songs that helped let the tears flow.
I needed to hear the emotional words of those who've walked this path and have survived, thrived, but still remember their lost children with so much love.
I needed to see the extended families surrounding those parents in their grief, supporting them, grieving and wanting to be there to remember too.
I needed others to see my tears - I do cry in my heart everyday, but they hardly make it to my eyes anymore. I needed to show that I am just human.
I needed to feel such love in an awesome environment, have it fill the cavernous space with a tenderness that was so palpable - we were all there to remember our children, not in sadness, but with such a powerful love that just took me over.

We brought a photo of Elizabeth to put at the front, placed so we could see her from were we sat, that was lovely to have a visual image of her to gaze at. Along side her there was frame after frame of hundreds of photos of children that are usually mounted on the walls of the SIDS & Kids offices - that was a little over whelming, but lovely at the same time.

We wrote Taggpole and Elizabeth's names in the book/register that was read out while we all lit candles. It over whelmed me to hear them continue to be read out aloud for not 10 minutes, not 15 minutes; 25 minutes later they were all read out while the candles burned lower.
Elizabeth's & Taggpole's candles in amongst the many others
This was one of four dishes of candles
Then we went outside to write messages on red balloons before we let them free into the sky - hundreds of red balloons rising up in between the tall office blocks in the heart of the city.
Too busy watching the hundreds of red balloons ascend to take photos myself, thankfully S  got this of A. and I
Honestly the emotion behind all these actions was huge, the symbolism, the intent behind them all meaning so much; so powerful. So much so that the next few days has been spent hiding away in a sensory deprivation bubble I think; just thinking and taking stock of all that went on that day. It did help that afterward I spent some time with S, just talking, rehashing the service and expanding our thinking, our other halves had to return to work.


I think I've turned a  slight corner.

Writing to Elizabeth in her journal this morning, I realised there is so much I wish I had done with and for her while she was still with me. This made me realise how selfish I'm being with this new soul I carry now. It's all about me and my struggle to keep Elizabeth close to me - at the expense of her sister. It occurred to me that Elizabeth would love her as much as I do; she is her little sister and part of our family after all. I would think that she'd want me to experience as much with her as I did herself, if not more and not have to regret anything.
I seem to be striving for a closeness to Elizabeth, which pushes out most notions of her sister; like they both can't have space within me; like I'm dishonouring one with thoughts of the other and I've just realised how stupid that is. I know it's because I've not really thought about this little girl coming home with me, or even being born a live, but I've got to start somewhere.

So this is were I start making some fresh new memories with this little girl within. I want to really enjoying this pregnancy for what it is in the here and now. This isn't about letting Elizabeth go at all, it's just about letting this new soul into my heart just as I had done with Elizabeth - my head and heart knows there is space a plenty for all my children, past, present and future; so why am I dragging my feet? It's not as if I'm saving myself heartache if anything was to happen to this little girl, but maybe I can save myself some regrets.

I am filled with relief that I've come to this conclusion, it's as if I've given myself permission to go ahead and love this little girl like I want to, to get excited for a future, but not to concentrate on it and to rejoice in the time I do have with her. I am excited in the here and now, I am excited about meeting her, holding her and feeling thins all encompassing Mother's Love that Elizabeth showed me - I need to know that I will feel this love for her sister and I'm wanting to start the ball rolling now.

So instead of hiding all my baby updates on the Pumpkin Pages, I'm just going to put them in with my 'normal' musings.  This is my 22 week (and a day) photo of us together taken this morning, wearing my red Elizabeth scarf.
22 weeks + 1 - June 28th 2011