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

Saturday, May 28

Right Where I Am: 9 months, 5 days

This is the first time I've taken part in a an other's project, let alone one that is for creative minded people (I see myself having missed that creative gene).  You see this blog is just for me really, a space where I can put down my thoughts and feelings without having the pressure of having anyone from my 'real life' knowing - I do love the people who read my ramblings and they've only found me through comments on other blogs that I read, or have happened to find me here. My writing will not win me awards anywhere, it's not eloquent, it's not pretty, it's certainly not up to any grammatical standard - but it is real and it's mine.

Thank you to Angie over at Still Life With Circles who has provided this thought provoking, yet very simple question and the blank sheet of paper for me to dwell upon, reflect and grow through - it's is also a chance to have an look into the lives of other parents who are walking this path of grief and see where they are right now, whatever their timeline is.


So 9 months and 5 days. 39 weeks and 5 days. My beautiful Elizabeth was born at 39 weeks and 4 days and I remember it all as if it was indeed yesterday.  We have missed her a day longer than we had her for and that simple fact cuts to the bone. I didn't think it would have this effect on me and had been concentrating on the big milestone of her first birthday - but it has it it knocked us both for six and I'm just picking up the pieces.

I miss her, I love her, I miss her, I love her so damned much...

I could fill pages of lines like that and probably have over these nine months and 5 days too. Not only in this blog, but in the paper journals and all the letters, emails and writings that I fill my days up with.
My family and friends are all back in the UK, we moved to the other side of the world to start our dream life; it turned into some sort of nightmare where the only children we know of are the two that we mourn. I've had to be very open with my writing, talking on the phone and certainly Skype'ing has just been so tough - I doubt that I could hold the same conversations with all those people face to face either, that is just too difficult for me...

Even now nine months out, where I can function in the day to day world with a smile and hope in my heart. I still find myself limiting the exposure to the newborn babes that seem to be highlighted with neon signs everywhere, the obviously neglected and unwanted, unloved children that happen across me at sensitive moments - I just can't deal with them and run in the opposite directing trying to hold myself together. I know it'll get easier, but when? I know I could barely look at another pram and now I find I'm curious; I want to see that baby.

And I am functioning. I think the biggest hurdle of this past month or two has been to let go of the fact that I can let go of the pain. The loss, pain, heartache, yearning and the all the love has up until that point, been so entwined together. There was no feeling one without the other; the love I have for Elizabeth and the pain of her death. I found that with all the 'functioning' I was able to do, I was losing my connection with her and felt like she was slipping further away from me; I hadn't felt grief with just that love before, it's a new shade and something to get used to. I guess I'm reasonably comfortable carrying around a deep measure of pain with me now, although it is nicely wrapped up under a thin layer of fresh skin. I am able to shrug off the usual everyday attacks; I'm somewhat desensitized, but that doesn't mean I don't feel the stab of pain and loss - I do with the same intensity, but am better at coping with that now.
The love however has remained; it is just brought up to the surface above the pain and I've found new ways of dipping into it. I write a journal to Elizabeth as if we're having a grown up conversation, I get to focus on my thoughts for her and to really explore and grow on those - that brings me a sense of closeness. I still light candles every night, I still have her blanket with me as I sleep, I kiss her box of ashes every morning and night, I talk to her in my day, I buy us beautiful flowers on each 22nd, I have photos to view from every resting place, I tend the plants gifted to us in her name, I dust the nursery with all her things in there...

It goes on, Elizabeth is apart of the life Im living.

I am more reliant on my husband. For his understanding, his compassion, his safety, his support, his laughter, his optimistic view to life he still possess, his nurturing, his happiness, his stability, but mostly his love and acceptance of who I am now. Elizabeth's death drove us into each others arms with our shared love for our firstborn. We did and still do grieve very differently, but there is a clear understanding between us that we will not knowingly hurt one another - that gave us the freedom to grieve in whatever manor we both needed, just knowing that we have each others best interests at heart I think saved us.

I have this deepening love for the people in my life who still want me to share Elizabeth and what I'm feeling, with family and friends; both old and new. I know I have been remiss about keeping in contact with too many, the fact is that spending too much time reflecting and writing mails/blogs/journals on where I am, just eats away my time and energy for actually living - right now I find there are weeks where my feet don't touch the ground; I'm just so busy. The dear ones that have persisted with me are truly awesome. They can understand and put themselves in my shoes, they have realistic expectations of me and my capabilities and they show a deep love for me, Elizabeth and my husband - that is a heart warming thing to discover on this cold winter morning.

I have let go the thoughts of wanting Elizabeth's too short life count for something. It is meaningless to me the fact that she was and is so loved, was conceived, grew and thrived within, just to die at her birth. I'm not saying that her life was meaningless, but I'm not ready to subscribe to the idea of learning life lessons and putting meaning where I cant see any just yet - that will come I'm sure.

My whole view of life has been shifted, priorities have changed and old ways reassessed for their merit. I don't believe in a God, a natural order to things, karma, fate or luck; things are just purely random and shit happens to good people everyday. There is no sugar coating anything anymore; I see and say things as it they are - maybe that is my way of shocking people into the reality of my world right now?

I guess the single biggest life change for me right now is the fact that I am almost 18 weeks pregnant and everything is becoming a little more real now. The relief of this pregnancy was almost deafening; jumping off the desperate roller coaster ride that is TTC and being able to focus wholly on Elizabeth, my grief and finding my way again - such a relief in so many ways.
I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't scared for the future, but right now? I am feeling good, calm even. Everything is going well and I'm feeling well supported both physically and mentally. That is one of the reasons why I am so busy every three weeks or so; I'm booked up to my eyebrows with appointments at the hospital in the city. I can only think ahead into those three weeks though and am only filling in the gaps around those appointments weekly. The fact that I can't look to the future its not a conscious decision at all - it is the path of lest resistance and will just see how long this calm stays with me.
I'd love to write about my anticipation and excitement for this new soul, but all I can say with my hand on my heart is that I love he/she with all of me. I am continuing to focus my efforts on keeping Elizabeth close to me through this time of great functioning, learning how to do that with more of the love I have have in a more subconscious way. I know that a time will come when I'll have to face facts and fess up to a future that is so uncertain...

Thank you Angie, for this wonderful opportunity to write about my grief as it stands and of course to share my dear sweet Elizabeth openly and for many to read. It is great that so many have been drawn to your project and I know those who read these collections of 'Right Where I am', will gain valuable insight as I have - Thank you

Sunday, May 22


It is another Sunday the 22nd.

Its been nine months since you were born baby girl.
Just thirty-nine weeks ago you were in our arms.
In four days you will have been gone longer than we had you for...

I'm unsure if I want to hate these sort of days, or whether I want to keep them sacred and just for you. Right now I'm not wanting anything negative to touch you, so today will become your day darling; full of light, warmth, love and remembrance. It doesn't stop the flashbacks of how things came to be, I remember you with such a clarity and cling on to your perfect beauty. Just talking over your birthday with your father this morning brought so much detail back to us, both the good and the bad.

I miss you with all of me sweet Elizabeth.

Nothing in this world will ever make this alright with me.
I am so wronged. You are so very wronged too - this was your life!
So much of this grief has been about getting my head straight, that sometimes I lose the focus to be mad for you darling - please excuse that and know I would give my all to have your warm self here with us still; to see you grow, thrive, learn, explore, laugh, love...

I still haven't picked up the What To Expect in the first year book, I just can't bring myself to do that so I really don't have a clue on what I'm missing out on with your developmental stages and milestones - but I miss each and every one of them. I like to think that I will have that chance with your siblings, so that book is going back on the shelf for now.

Beautiful girl you will always be our beloved firstborn baby, the older sister to whom ever else comes next and the apple of my eye. You will always be our perfect daughter, the one that can do no wrong - I know it will be a long time before your perfection is fully seen and all the hurt and pain that surrounds your death fades.

I am learning to cope with this heartache, this eternal yearning and missing of you; I carry it around with me like a heavy weight and it is something that I'm getting quite used to now. My skin is hardening to external triggers, of course I still feel the stab of realisation and pain, but my recovery time is getting quicker. Sometimes I amaze myself and it is almost like water off a duck's back - does that make you worry less about me?

I can function the day to day mindless stuff
You are in our day to day, our every day
I am there for your father when he is crumbling
I remember you, I talk to you, I miss you

Oh, how I'm missing you...

You are the burning heat that resides in my heart
I love you Elizabeth Layne
I will always love you

Monday, May 16

Superficial Living

This is one of the few times that I've picked up my computer over the past few weeks and wanted/needed to say something. This is one of those times where my mind just won't settle and have to get down what is going through it.  This one one of those lucid moments of deep thought, there may not be one for a long while when I am able to write.  It is 4am, its not freezing and my husband is working his last night shift; so why not use this time to write rather then grab up a book or even easier just my phone and distract myself...

I'm quite stuck right now; its unconsciously done, but don't have the strength to get myself out. I am living a surface life with no deeper meaning than to just get through the day without harm. I'm constantly running from anything which allows me time within my own head and after the past (almost) nine months, that is something really quite foreign to me. Home isn't my safe place any more, sitting in the window with computer on my lap isn't happening - the poor birds are getting neglected. I have tried to make my home more inviting to me by changing the three bedrooms about; organising new ways of living in this space, finding new things to do within these walls...

I still want to run from here and immerse myself into the world of action, doing and anything which takes quite time away from me - I don't know, am I scared of being in my head for any length of time? That must be it. Just scared of the future I could paint; all the 'what-ifs', good and bad.

I'm protecting myself I know. I am functioning, I am doing really well if truth be told.  I'm not beside myself with anxiety and that is a shocker to me. I am just floating along with the current and just taking a back seat in everything, giving no attention to the view as I go. Although there is the other side of that coin too - no anxiety, no excitement, actually there is no anticipation at all.  There is no future planning when it comes to this new soul - I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I guess this is what it is like to really live in the moment, but I guess this sort isn't the aspired version; I have the self imposed version.

I'm finding it so hard to talk with anyone beyond the day to day living. There have been a few moments of lucidity between A. and I, but they are few and far between right now - thankfully he has been working nights this past two weeks and we've barely had more than a few hours together; its good enough just to keep things on an even keel. My sister will ask me how I'm doing (and really ask too) and I just deflect back or answer in a superficial way and I know she can tell.
(How am I? Physically okay, everything is looking good today, but mentally? Whoa. Such a loaded question. Do they really want to know, should I make something up to make them feel okay? Do they really want to know the inner workings of my mind, all the many sides of the coin - fuck, I don't even know how I'm doing.)
I've let other contacts wither too; the people that have meant so much to me, the life lines of understanding and empathy. My families emails have gone unanswered, every one's mails have and I've not called home in weeks.

I feel wretched about this and that only serves to make me bury my head deeper into the ground. This distancing isn't a conscious effort, its clearly what I've go to do to just now. With any hope just the act of writing this will help me see what I'm doing and wake me up to this.  But what is 'this'; denial? Whatever it is, I'm not of the inclination to go into it now - it just is.

I'm in uncharted territory here, I am in self preservation mode and I am finding a way. I am in a very different place from almost everyone I know and that in itself is heightening my sense of distance and isolation.

Things will inevitably change...

Saturday, May 7

The Past Month

I'm trying hard to live.

I'm planning more than just a few days ahead, not months or anything like that yet. I think the fact that I'm having all these hospital appointments made for me a month to three weeks in advance is helping; I'm having to plan other things around those.  And its not just the OB, midwife, physician, MFM appointments; I have psychology appointments that the hospital has just started up too.  Dr Psych has also suggested I attend a 'teaching group' for anxious mothers going through a subsequent pregnancy (I'm lead to believe its mostly for PND suffers, but the tools and advice maybe helpful to me too) I'll give anything a go once, I mean what harm can it do?
Along with all those I have my monthly group meetings with the SIDS & KIDS that I've continued to go to from the outset and have made some good contacts there.  They also have a Support During Pregnancy group that I'll give another go. I was quite frankly quite horrified on my first visit, but can now realise the scope of the fear and anxiety surrounding these pregnancies. I also have known support going from the other group; so fingers crossed.

I have also been working hard at being more present with my life, not taking everything for granted and really immersing myself in the day to day; making each day count.  I've been stagnant for too long, stuck in my head and not 'doing'.  I'm in an another action phase and I'm okay with that now.

I do however feel like I'm a fine tangle of thoughts and emotions though.  So much has happened over this past month and I'm so far behind getting it all down here - I'm afraid that it'll all come out as a huge splurge and make no sense at all.  I guess that is why I've been distancing myself from everything and putting off writing.  I'm sure as things resurface I'll elaborate more, but for the time being I'll just recap with the shorter version.

So with the folks being here for almost a month; it was hard.  More functional problems more than anything else; just having my father and his vegan partner under our roof.  I was 16 when I left home and was 12 when my parents separated - I've lived on my own for 16 years and had to fend for myself emotionally for over 20...  Anyway, I think Freud would have a headache with our family dynamics, so I'll not bore you with it here.
As well as it was hard having them here, it was also lovely to have them near once I got my head around the fact that they were doing their best to love and support me; I did start to relax and open up to them.  They left on good terms, very good actually and that has made me all the more happier to have made such an effort with and for them. I have no regrets.

There has also been quite a few anniversaries and dates of significance to remember over this month.

Elizabeth's eight months - which coincided the folks last days here and had to be selfish to our own needs/wants; A and I spent the day together (that in itself was a rare occurrence seeing as he has been working every hour under the sun - maybe so he could get out of spending time with them? It'll be paid back to him when his parents visit!).  I brought huge bunches of Oriental Lilies, I had them dotted about the house and the smell of them are just divine and lasted for weeks - those are now associated with Elizabeth and will buy those on the 22nd each month instead of the tulips.

Mothering Sunday in the UK a few weeks ago - that one caught me off guard.  I received heartfelt and beautiful texts and emails from family and had a really nice chat with my sister K too.  That warmed me cockles.

Sharing news of this new soul - we'd passed the twelfth week and with the folks being here, we couldn't really hide the fact that I was always tired, having food aversions and sickness, too sensitive smell, was quite cranky and having all the hospital appointments.  They cried at the news and then again on seeing our NT scan (DVD) and was just wowed.  They were so happy for us, but took on board our fears of having everyone think that this new soul was our 'band-aid' baby; suddenly making our world bright and rosy and 'fixing' us - it won't, it'll never be okay that Elizabeth isn't here in our arms...  But we can hope with this one.
I'm happy to say that they have passed all of this information onward to the family and for that I am truly thankful for their understanding about our fears and hopeful anticipation. I must admit sharing our news has been easier than I expected and am really quite touched by the responses from the family in respect to remembering Elizabeth, while nicely expectant (not too much and not too little) for this new soul.

Easter came and went too - without family over here, it was just a very, very long weekend (with Anzac Day making it a five day holiday), the Sunday just another day, albeit a rather posh one.  Myself and a friend (A. working) went for afternoon tea at a fancy hotel in the city and very civilised it was too.

A. and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary.  Yes we did celebrate it too! I can honestly say that we had a wonderful time that day on the 26th. That evening we got all dressed up, I managed to fit into an old favourite dress, with room to breathe and a degustation menu later and I'd worn makeup for the first time in eight months!  A beautiful meal, relaxed, happy, talkative and with every sip of my mocktail (and his G&T) we toasted 'to our babies' and 'us'.  A wonderful day and night.  I am so lucky to have found and married the most perfect man for me...  and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Then there is this weekend - Mother's Day here in AU and the fact that I'm at the point in this pregnancy where we lost Taggpole.  It is a twisted weekend full of all the what-ifs and they are endless and tireless.  I haven't put the tv on for all the bombarding of the Mother's Day over here (Classical fm doesn't care thankfully and neither does my 'best of' playlist) and have been busying myself with manual tasks - swapping all the bedrooms about with A's help.  I am lucky that A. is here with me and not working all weekend, without his support I would have crumbled and failed today.  It was hard enough moving Elizabeth's things out of her room (to be put in a bigger, brighter room); it was such a mess and just fell apart hysterically.

Dearest Taggpole, oh sweet first child, where do I start?  I have cried many, many tears today.


So with all this functioning/action/living; have I left Elizabeth behind me? I don't think so, no. She is a part of me, of our lives, our thoughts and hearts.  She is in our day to day, she is in our conversations and planning, she is in our past, present and future.  She is very much in our hearts and well remembered.

I think the main thing that has changed for me is the fact that I've shed a lot of the pain I carry around for Elizabeth.  I've had to hide that while the folks were here and guess I just got used to the way that felt; I didn't buck at it and took it for what it was. I'm not saying it was easy at all; I felt terrible for not allowing me to feel it, but I'm okay, I could function and still hold onto her without all the hurt, pain and utter sorrow.

The flashbacks have taken a consistent back seat too. Talking to my SIDS & KIDS counsellor Petra really did help and would urge anyone having troubles with them, to seek out someone who can draw out all the details in a safe and somewhat comforting environment.  I didn't think that just talking would do much, but wow, I was wrong.

Something else I have really found helpful is another suggestion from Petra - I was needing another way to help me keep Elizabeth close to me and she suggested I keep a journal especially for writing to her.  I write every week, if not more and it gives me the chance to really focus all my thoughts on her and concentrate on exploring my all feelings; everything I want to say and have her know.  Its one thing to think of her, but another to really cultivate those thoughts and put them down on paper; really focusing on them. I have found this most helpful in bridging the gap that I have felt growing between us; I feel so close to my sweet girl when I write in that journal.

I have also been keeping another journal; this one is for this new soul.  I write in when I need to, after some milestone is reached, or a scan.  This I use to be able to bond and again explore my thoughts/fears/anxiety and be able to build on the growing anticipation. I'm trying to be more present, be glad of every new day have and realise I have so many blessings to count.  I hope that writing this journal will bring me closer to getting my head around this pregnancy and teach me gratitude for all that I do have and hopefully have in the future...  But isn't that a projecting thought?

I have ideas blossoming about Elizabeth's first birthday.  I want to make August 22nd something special, something that others can help me remember her, wherever they are in the world.  I was quite taken with Carly's actions of taking a sunrise and sunset photo on Christian's birthday and that has taken seed.  It is something that I can do every year; take these sun up/down pictures from wherever I happen to be and make an album of them all.  I have spoken to several family members about this idea and they are all up for taking their own photos and passing them on to me for an album - its going to be such an achievement I think, such a visual and present way of remembering our dear Elizabeth.
I just have to be at the highest height for her sunrise photo now; being in the East coast.  I have already looked into a hot air balloon, but that is a no go (not for the size I'll hopefully be by then), so will have to go for the highest building in the city - the sunset photo will be a lot more straight forward.

I will get around to updating the Pumpkin Pages at some point soon.

I have been feeling on top of things really, with the exception of this today's mini meltdown. I have needed to take time to myself in order to take stock of the past month and I'm not feeling bad at all.  As I said before; nothing will ever make it right that Elizabeth died - but I want to live, I need to live.  I want to try and get the best out of what is left and want to succeed in being the best mother I can to Taggpole's and Elizabeth's siblings and in order to do that I need to put a lot of effort into getting myself on track again.  I don't want their memories to be the lasting bad taste; I don't want Elizabeth's death to be my own downfall.  I do want more for myself and I want to honor their memories with good things in my life; of which they are a huge part of and want and need that to shine through.

I hope this Mother's Day treats you all well
Remembering our babies always

Tuesday, May 3


Just a quick post to say that my silence isn't anything to be worried about, I'm okay; all is well.

I am struggling to catch up with everything after having family visit and just need some time to take stock of where I'm at and what I'm doing - I have just been reacting to everything around me and need to get back into thinking for myself again on a more deeper level.

A lot has been going on this past month, a lot of changes and its been hard work.  I have also been hiding out in a lot of distraction too; I just haven't had the time or headspace to think and now that I have, I found that I was okay not to for awhile.

Everything changes and I hope to fill the gaps soon...