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

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

Wednesday, June 22

Ten Months

I've been fighting to talk of Elizabeth for a long time. The fact that I haven't many friends over here yet, no family and don't really have the energy to go out of my way to make friends - not with the ordinary non-babylost at any rate. But yesterday I found myself comfortable enough to talk of my daughter in a small room of non-BLMs (only four other women) in my 'mindfulness' class at the hospital. We were talking about anxiety and that go me anxious to be honest, just thinking of my triggers and found that they all belong to the past and to my sweet Elizabeth and the events surrounding her death - well I doubt its even that. Yes, I get the flashbacks, but I know how to deal with those and have been doing so for a while now - it's the mention of my anxiety and the fact that it just isn't seen, spoken of or even detected in looking at me...

Oh, how I wish people in mourning still wore black. My anxiety is about situations that I could actually talk of Elizabeth, or maybe I'm just uncomfortable, sad, alone, misunderstood  - maybe not, sometimes the 'Tourette's' gets so loud in my head that I just want to scream at the top of my lungs that I have a daughter, I have should have two children. I do want to shock people out of their malaise, out of their seemingly superficial lives and make them see how the world fucks good people over. Ha, I would be the crazy old cat lady who screams at people, who lost her babies - but I don't.
So in explaining about how I deal with my flash backs, I elaborated how it's all linked to the past trauma and how Elizabeth's huge photo helps me turn it all around to see her beauty. The others were a little stunned as they all suffered from depression of some sort, not realising my story could be any different from theirs. I actually found such relief in talking openly and not having to start from the beginning, I felt okay, proud and a mother - my ten month old is still in my life, she effects my everyday, her memory guides my day in little ways - just because no one else sees her, doesn't mean she doesn't exist.

Elizabeth was born ten months ago now. I miss her, but have gotten used to her ever-presence - she is here with me and I'm learning to make that the best I can. While I don't know what her personality would be, or her development at that age, I know how inseparable we'd be. I'd know her likes and dislikes, I'd know what makes her smile and what makes her really giggle - oh to know that sound! I'd know the colour her eyes had settled on (would it have been her father's deep green I wonder?), I'd know if she liked the water as much as I do. I'd know if she'd prefer the carrier, or the pram, walking out in the fresh, cool air, or staying inside all cozy. Just thinking how much our days would be spent playing, feeding, changing nappies... The house would be far from spotless, the washing piled high and the ironing board gathering dust. TV shows wouldn't matter, our social life would consist of mothers groups, baby swim groups, going for walks together in our local area and meeting more mothers and children.
I'd be showing Elizabeth how much I love her, I'd be proudly telling all who'd listen about how she was starting to do this and that, how smart, beautiful and how cheerful and happy she is - what a proud mother I would have been. I still am her proud mother, although no one but A. sees this, and that makes me sad.

On thinking some more about how things could have been (I'm really trying hard not to think of the should's and would's in this all - I can't wish away nor deny this little girl inside), I'm struck by the thought that I'll be a different mother from the one I would have been with Elizabeth. My priorities 'before' were skewed; materialistic, dominating and I thought I had control over my life and the happiness of those around me. Of course I know how disillusioned I was now, so with this new child I will hold her up for all to love. I'll not hide her away in my protective embrace, I want her to experience everything and not have any regrets and back her up 110%. This precious new girl isn't mine after all; she is here for me to love, protect, teach, nurture and ultimately give the best start, before she goes out into the world to find her passions and way ahead. This is a big change I have found within myself about my parenting outlook and only hope that it is a good thing.

So my darling Elizabeth on your ten month birthday, I have fresh realisations, different ways of thinking and I can only thank you for that broadening of my outlook. I miss you so very much; I'll always wish things didn't have to be this way, but am doing my best to get every ounce of goodness I can out of life after your death. 
You are very much a part of me, a part of my day and thinking. 
I love you sweet baby girl, always will Elizabeth

Monday, June 20

From The Back Foot

I feel as if I'm living a pace behind myself these days, always on the catch up and not really in the front seat of my life. For the most part I think I'm okay with that - I haven't the strength to do much about it to be honest; the superficial living continues.

Time has done some weird things; it has sped up and the days have turned into weeks - the months however have morphed into year long things, the future hasn't looked so far away or abstract.

I continue to write a lot in lots of different places, for the most part I'm connecting with people rather than just writing my mind here. I have been trying to catch up with the unanswered mails that overflow my inbox, it is something that I do give myself a hard time about because these people mean so much to me. I never fail to feel a little better having replied to someone; chipping slowly away at them.
I have also kept an open tab to the Right Where I am Project of Angie's and every moment I get to sit down and read; I devour the responses there. Every time I do, there is yet another twenty or so names added. I find reading those snippets into parents lives so enlightening and gain much from them, in some ways I wish to always be catching up with those.

The main thing that has put me on the back foot recently is the knowledge that we are expecting a sister to Elizabeth.  While that news thrilled us initially (the high was quite awesome), a lot of adjustment has had to come; mainly the fact that I can't wish everything different now. I can't wish the time to be turned back in order to have Elizabeth back with me, or else lose this little girl and I love her so completely. I'm over half way now and it has only just sunk in that I'm going to have another baby, regardless of the outcome, I'm expecting another daughter, I will birth her, I will hold her - will I bring her into the world a live, will I bring her home to out live me?
With all these heightened feelings for Elizabeth's sister, I find that keeping Elizabeth close just as hard, but I am calm about it now. I can only do as much as I am and I can only do so much in a day. I know it will come to a head, but it feels like a trap that I'm walking straight into with my eyes wide open.

My life is so very busy still, but its not doom and gloom, I don't want to give that impression at all; this is merely a vent for all the mental stuff that I'm clearly not dealing with right now. In my days I do wear a smile and yes it does truly reach my eyes at many times. I am growing with a pride that I can't knock. I love being pregnant and that is my overwhelming feeling; of awe and wonderment - being unable to project myself into the future has that effect on me; I am present and I am calm. I can dip into the feelings of excitement, just as much as I can into the fear and anxiousness of the uncertain, so I tend to want to stay here balanced. I'm just hoping I can ride this calm some more - the calm before the storm? Fuck I hope not.


I'd like to put the spotlight onto the Australian Red Nose Day this coming Friday; this is the major fundraising day for SIDS & Kids. An amazing organisation, I know I'd be lost without them! I attend their monthly group meetings (of which they have many different ones tailored to meet the needs of parents), have a counsellor to call 24/7 and used them as our first port of call on all things to do with our grief in our real lives; from news letters, book loans, written and practical information, to making valuable contacts within the babyloss community. As well as providing free 24 hour, 365 day bereavement services, they also educate and research prevention and causes of sudden and unexpected death of babies during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood. A true life line for me.

Also on Friday SIDS & Kids are holding a Remembrance Service in the city for all those wishing to remember their children. A and I are going and we're both actually looking forward to the prospect too - it is something we can physically do to remember Taggpole and Elizabeth. It will be a very emotive day, sharing a space together with so many where we can be the grieving parents we are on the inside and letting it show on the outside.