Thursday, 24 November 2011

Since J was born, as I may have mentioned, the anxiety has pretty much gone away.

It feels good. It's a relief. After living on a knife edge for so very very long, from October 10th to June 22nd, it's nice to be able to breathe out, and - mostly - relax. Maybe it sums up where I am if I tell you that I still get up every so often to check that J's still breathing, but that I don't use the breathing pad with his baby monitor?

---

I did believe it was that simple. For a while.

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I can tell you what day it was that I became aware of the spoken word blog round up. It was Sunday October 23rd. I know it was that day, because I nearly recorded and posted a new video for the project there and then.

I wanted to record a new post, and I remember the date, because... that's the date in 2009 that the baby, my snowflake, stopped growing.

---

I thought that - slightly inappropriate pregnancy reactions aside - I was OK with pregnant women these days. One of my lovely real-life-and-internet friends is pregnant at the mo; she told me fairly early on and... actually, I *didn't* have that reaction with her. Because she knows my story. She's read my blog, and she's sent me lovely messages at difficult times, and I know she gets that the odds are good but there are no guarantees.

But suddenly I was confronted (mostly on the internet, but still) with three women telling me they were 16 weeks pregnant. One of them is a fellow BLM at that. But here they all were, having waited until 16 weeks to announce their news, so super-cautious compared to many, really.

But apparently, even when a pregnancy isn't my own, 16-17 weeks sounds incredibly dangerous to me.

---

Today a lovely woman came round to my house. She runs a local company (I won't link for reasons that will become clear but if anyone wants the details please just ask) that does trials of real nappies for two weeks. She unexpectedly brought her toddler, but that was OK. I love kids, and her toddler is a great specimen! But she also brought along her bump.

If someone had asked me yesterday or even this morning whether I was OK with pregnant women these days, I would've said yes, although possibly with the caveat of 'but I must try not to freak them out'. But apparently... I'm still not. Not really.

(Or maybe I'm OK as long as I get bracing time?)

---

I've been hyper-aware since the beginning of October of the date. Of all the dates. October 2009, I was pregnant. October 2010, I was pregnant. This year, J is here in my arms. It's strange to think of the synchronicity I mentioned last year - the thought that maybe my snowflake stopped around for a year, only leaving after J arrived.

And - as I'm sure you can understand - I'm hyper-aware of the march towards 25th November. The date we found out it had all fallen apart. It's past midnight now, so it's my friend's little girl's second birthday. I found out H had had her baby by text as D drove us to the hospital two years ago tomorrow, Friday. It was sunny. H's girl was born and all was well. We were going to get an extra peek at the baby. What wasn't to love? Life was good.

Except, it wasn't.

---

I'm extremely tired at the minute. J has this lovely (...not) new thing where he won't stay asleep when I put him down. It meant that last night I only got two hours of real sleep.

The tiredness is so bad that I'm finding it pretty hard to cope. (And yet here I am posting at 2.20am. Damned night-owl-ness.) I even found myself snapping at J. I hate myself for that. My poor baby. It's so not his fault. He doesn't choose not to go to sleep. I can see how tired he is, how much he needs mummy cuddles. I just feel so helpless when he's fussing and I can't figure out what's wrong, or when he wants to feed for hours on end, or...

I don't know if it's just the exhaustion, or if it's the coming anniversary.

---

I'm not crying. I don't know if I'll cry on Friday. Anyone who lives in this postal code (or who's been reading for a while) will know that the run up to an anniversary is almost always worse than the anniversary itself. I do know I've resolutely avoided planning anything at all for that day. I don't know how I'll feel, what I'll be like. I might go up to the cemetery with J (not taking him for any reason more profound than he goes where I go). I might stay home. I might go into town and have lunch, and remember. I might decide not to think about it. Not to relive that day.

I'll do what feels right when I get there.

---

That was the worst experience of my life, but I would never choose to undo it. Neither to undo that baby's tiny life, nor to make him or her into a baby that survived. Not any more. Because to do so would undo J.

(I'm aware that I'm almost certainly an oddity around here for that. I'm kind of OK with that.)

I've always been very aware of how precarious our paths through life are. It was so unlikely that I would meet D. So very unlikely that I would fall for him. So not-going-to-happen that he would fall for me too. So add up all the circumstances that had to fall into place for me to get pregnant with J, and he's the most unlikely baby ever to exist, and yet the most perfect baby ever. And I am so happy, and so lucky, to have him.

(Times I went to check that J was breathing while writing this post: 1)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Keep meaning to do an update on the last post - no time to do so now other than to say J is getting his tongue tie snipped in the morning. Keep everything crossed, OK? It's really simple procedure but still scary.

I also have my arm in a splint because I have de Quervains tendonitis. It makes typing interesting.


----
updated to say that it went fine :) baby boy hasn't got used to his full range of motion of his tongue yet but he's already getting there! so relieved!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The woman upstairs has been playing loud music for hours. She's driving me insane. Luckily the baby and the hubby are fast asleep.

(she's in her 50s and nice during the day. but at weekends she goes a bit mental and starts playing very loud music, often repeating the same tracks again and again AND AGAIN. not to mention the, errrm, let's just say *loud noises* that we often hear. In FAR too much detail. in contrast, the 20-something lad next door who's pretty rough looking we rarely hear. the one time he had a party and really disturbed us he was mortified to realise quite how much he'd disturbed us and promised not to do it again, and he hasn't.)

---

Anyway.

---

  • I found out for utterly-sure today that J has a tongue tie. I've thought so for a long time but have brought it to the attention of numerous medical professionals who's basically gone 'hmmmm' and then ignored me. I suspect this is the cause of his extreme weight gain: feeding extremely often to compensate for not getting as much milk as he should per feed. May also be related to his reflux issues and the fact he often chokes while feeding. Poor guy.
  • He also has a hydroceal on his tes.ticles and an umbical hernia. No one serious problem, but loads of little things.
  • While I need general anaesthetic (!) for a minor procedure on my ears. I'm a bit horrified. But my ears have been bad since mid-February and the (mean) consultant was insistent, saying it's important to find out whether there's an underlying cause of my recurring problems. Which is all very well but I'm pretty scared (read absolutely terrified) of the whole idea. Partly for me - I've waited so long for J. I don't want to be taken away from him. But mostly for J. What if something goes wrong? What if I have a bad reaction to the anaesthesia and die? Extremely unlikely but what the hell would he do without his mummy? I'd rather go deaf. Seriously. Deafness in one ear is a million times better. At the very, very least.
  • I also have either tendinitis or tenosynovitis in my left wrist. Got a referral for physio for next week - thankfully they put it through as urgent because I'm actually starting to have difficulty picking up J, who at nearly 19 weeks weighed 19lb 15. According to the chart, that's the weight of an average 9 month old. I used to find it amusing, before I realised that extremely rapid weight gain can be related to tongue tie.
  • You're supposed to be able to use moby wraps up to 35lb, but I was told today that 20lb is a more realistic weight limit as beyond that their weight means the wrap comes untied too easily. So I need to either figure out the mei tai I bought a while back (which is apparently Ok but not great) or invest in a woven wrap. Which wouldn't be too much of a problem but...
  • The car seat that is supposed to take J up to 13kg (incidentally I hate working in both kg and lb but need to use both) is going to need to be replaced soon, as although last time he was weighed he was only 9kg he's already nearly too long for it. Which is more of an issue because...
  • I found this website and now we're going to get him a rear facing group 1 seat, which will necessitate a trip to York - the nearest shop that stocks them. Bloody marvellous. If only we'd known beforehand...
  • The neighbour's boyfriend is just leaving (3am) and i went round to ask her to keep it down in future. (Maybe I should've waited til the morning but I'm pretty sure that if I did I never would have said anything.) I was nice about it and just said 'can you keep it down in future, the music's been pretty loud'. She responded by bitching in extremely vulgar terms about a problem we've been having with the drains that we thought we'd sorted out. I will talk to her in the morning, but seriously. I've never been entirely sure about her and it's nice to know she really is a nasty piece of work. (Well, not nice, but at least I know for sure.)
  • I am sick of living here.
  • But! I just realised I'm five months into my maternity leave. Which is nearly half way through what's planned. And honestly, right now, I can't imagine ever leaving him until he's much older. Which is an issue because I'm the major wage earner.
None of these is a major problem, but put 'em all together and mix with a bucketload of sleep deprivation and I'm finding life pretty tough right now.

Friday, 4 November 2011

I would mostly call myself OK, these days. Cautiously. But yeah, mostly OK. The anxiety is a million times better than it was, and I'm so thrilled to get to mother J, my little darling.

I would like to think that I'm aware of other people's circumstances on fb - not even those I know about, so to speak. But those who I don't know have lost babies, too. I try and keep it low-key. But I can't resist sharing pictures of him. Strange, when at first D had to twist my arm to put any pics up at all.

But.

But.

When someone tells me she's pregnant, these days, I can - and do - react in the socially acceptable way. Oh, fantastic! Congratulations! How far along? That's what people in the non-babylost world want to hear. And to be honest, these days, it really is the first thing that comes into my head.

But from that second onwards, I have to stop myself from saying the second thing. Because what I want to say at that point isn't to share my most recent pregnancy, or tell stories about how the little creature in my pram or my arms. How he tormented me with not-moving, or his birth story, or how fantastic a baby he is.

I want to say, I lost my first baby. If you get bad news, if you end up walking this path of the babylost, please tell me. Even if you can't see me because you can't bear to see my happy ending - and that's OK! - let me point you in the direction of glow and blogging and the places that helped me. Let me know your baby's name, if you want to, so I can remember him or her. Let me tell you that it's OK to back away from people who don't support you, or even to cut them off entirely. Let me think of you on the dates that hurt.

A neighbour told me today that she's pregnant, and that she has her first scan on Monday. The neighbour who helped us push our car out of the snow the morning we went to the communal cremation ceremony, at that. And I so had to stop myself from saying 'you remember that morning our cars were stuck in the snow? Guess where we were going that morning!'

Seriously. She told me she has her first scan on Monday. I said 'I hope everything is perfect'. I meant it. It was the only honest thing I could think of to say that wouldn't freak the poor girl out. But at the same time, I was thinking I hope everything's OK. I hope you don't have to go round telling people it's not. I hope, I hope.

Monday, 17 October 2011

feeling like...

a bad mama. and wife. and general person.

so tired. J has regressed to waking up 2-3 times a night, after waking up just once per night for a long time. and i'm usually good at the mum stuff, although i find everything else hard (can manage to do washing and feed myself and get out and about to places, but tidying/washing up/making phone calls etc are mostly beyond me). i can do the bit where i sit and talk to him or sing to him for hours, i can change his nappy three times in a row (he hates pooing in a dirty nappy; i'm sure he waits for a nice clean one) without getting frustrated (... well that's a lie, but i kind of expect it now and joke with him and he smiles at me).

but these last few days my happy baby has turned grumpy and the lack of sleep has made it so much harder to cope with.

i'm still singing to him and chatting to him and caring for him and interacting with him, not to mention feeding him, but it's just five degrees harder this last couple of weeks, and i just want a day off. and i keep catching myself paying more attention to my laptop and twitter/fb than to him.

of course, i'm all about the attachment parenting. even leaving him for 45 minutes to go to the dentist seems like a huge thing to do. he doesn't really take bottles, so he is with me All. The. Time. and if i had a day off, i would find it really bizarre and i'm pretty certain i'd be back with him after all of 90 minutes at the most. but.... most nights i end up sitting up till well after midnight (currently 1.30am and counting) just to get some time on my own. and i hate that as it means i never go to bed with D.

---

i will say though... he went through a phase about 3-4 weeks ago when he was feeding where he kept letting go and smiling up at me. he then stopped and i was sad.

he's been doing it again today. the most winsome smile i've ever seen. when i'm getting frustrated because he's been grumpy or squawking or impossible to comfort, and he does that? it does make it all worthwhile.

i just wish i could catch up on my sleep.

---

i can hear other people saying it's hard and sympathise with them. give them support. when it's myself, though, i tend to think i should just suck it up. so many people would kill to have any baby, let alone such a cheery one as J. i should just bloody well get on with it.

---

tomorrow is the la le.che leag.ue peer su.pport training. (i'm sure you can understand i don't want anyone googling it finding such a whiny blog post.) and the absolutely maximum amount of sleep i'll get is 5 hours. probably less because he didn't feed that much before bed, so he'll probably feed at least once overnight. and i just want to stay in bed and hope he lets me sleep. but i think i need to get out and see other mums, no matter how tired i am. because it feels like it's been a bit of a while. and J and i haven't been out of the house today (monday) or yesterday. i think we're both probably a bit stir-crazy. i guess they'll just have to cope if i'm a bit late though.

... i really should just go to bed now.

Monday, 10 October 2011

A year?

One year ago today, I found out I was pregnant.

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I got up early to pee on a stick. Could barely believe my eyes when I saw the result. But at the same time knew in advance what it was going to be.

I went into our bedroom; told D that I'd just taken a pregnancy test. 'Oh well,' he said. (We were that resigned to negatives.)

I asked him if he wanted to know what it said. He was pretty surprised that there was something to know.

---

We assumed it wasn't going to stick. That it would only last a few days. But getting pregnant at all was a positive sign. But within a few hours we were talking like it was definite.

That pattern continued all the way through, for me at least.

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It's hard to understand that this time last year, I was pregnant; this time two years ago, I was pregnant. Even though that baby only had a couple more weeks to live.

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I've just spent a long time re-reading the posts from my pregnancy and the time immediately before. It's so hard to really comprehend that the baby lying asleep in the cotbed in my room is the same baby who refused to kick regularly, who repeatedly scared the life out of me by not moving for days on end. He's so kicky now, it's definitely hard to marry the concept of the baby I was pregnant with with the reality of the baby I now have.

In six and a half weeks it will be two years since we found out our first child had died in utero.

I find that sentence nearly impossible to truly comprehend, in all respects. Even down to the fact that J isn't therefore our first child. Because he isn't. But at the same time, he is.

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I'm still sad when I remember what happened. I didn't think I was any more. But more than one of my old posts brought tears to my eyes. But I think that now I'm more sad for that baby than for myself. Sad that he or she never got to live. Sad that she or he never got to find out what takeout s/he preferred or who s/he looked like, not sad that I never got to know. It's not fair, that my first child never got to live.

Up till now, all my grief has been for me. But... I think now that I see J experiencing all that a 15 week old baby experiences, I understand more what my snowflake missed out on him or herself.

---

It raises a wry smile to read this post. Sometimes we really do have to hit rock bottom before things start to improve. I must have written that about the same time as J was starting to implant.

And... it seems right to link this post. After being so, so desperate to be pregnant, I was so ambivalent for those first few days. But now I cannot imagine my life without J.

My life is so filled with love, these days.

I'm not sure how I will deal with the anniversary. Generally speaking, the sadness and the anxiety have gone... but I don't know how I'll manage when the anniversary is actually here. Especially given that it's supposed to start snowing soon; given the fact that soon it's going to be dark and cold and undeniably winter. Having J will help - of course it will. But it will still be hard.

I said I wasn't going to post more pics. But.... I can't resist. This is of J sleeping a couple of nights ago.





Plenty of space added in for those who need to look away.....







Monday, 12 September 2011

'bonding with your bump'?

Back in September 2009, I was pregnant.

Two years. God, it's so long ago.

I got a book out of the library. Bonding with Your Bump: The First Book on How to Begin Parenting in Pregnancy . I was really excited. I started massaging my bump. Talking to the baby. Doing all the wonderful things that naive first-time parents who don't live in or around the ALI neighbourhood do. Expecting that everything will be perfect.

But then. What happened happened, and it became abundantly, horribly clear that I had been talking to myself. And, possibly naively - hell, totally naively - I went back to that book. Wondering what it said about losing a pregnancy. Thinking it would at least have a few sentences about how women could cope after losing a much-wanted, much-loved baby. Thinking it would definitely talk about pregnancy after loss. After all, who is potentially going to find it harder to bond with a subsequent pregnancy than a woman who has lost a child?

It. Had. NOTHING.

Not a single word.
Well. In one or two places pregnancy loss is obliquely referred to, mainly referring to parents’ reluctance to share the news about their baby until they are past the 12 week ‘danger’ period. But nowhere does the book explicitly discuss - or even allude to! - the loss of a baby and how devastating this can be. There is certainly nothing acknowledging the possibility of losing a baby once the first trimester seems to be safely over; there's nothing to acknowledge that even if you do everything right – give up alcohol and caffeine, eat healthily, reduce your stress levels, etc – a successful pregnancy is not guaranteed.

The bloody book even states that parents may find it hard to tell people that they have had a miscarriage if they have shared the news of their pregnancy before the 12 week 'danger period' is over (and oh my God,
if only pregnancies were safe once you were past 12 weeks.....) No consideration of the fact that most women will need love and support if you lose a baby, no matter how early.

I wrote to Miriam Stoppard, less than a month after losing the baby, saying all this. I never received a response. Not even a form letter.

---

I actually got the book out of the library again when I found out I was pregnant last year. Wanting to bond with the baby, knowing that I needed help. Thinking it couldn't be as uncaring as I remembered. But it was, it was. I've looked through a few of her books now. I've never found one that even mentions in passing how utterly devastating pregnancy loss is.

Even worse, the book discusses the effects of stress and anxiety on an unborn child in extremely negative terms, without putting it into the perspective of a mother who has lost a child and how stressful and scary a time pregnancy can be. And it seems terribly unfair to scare women who are already terrified of pregnancy into thinking they are damaging their unborn child by suffering from anxiety and depression -
related to the loss of their child!! - in a subsequent pregnancy. (I suffered from debilitating anxiety and moderate depression at times, but have ended up with a very calm, chilled, happy baby, so obviously it's not as simple as she makes out.)

I don't want her to withdraw or rewrite her book. But I
do want her to add in some information about pregnancy loss and how to cope with a pregnancy after infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. And as always, contact details for SANDS wouldn't go amiss.

I've written an open letter to Miriam Stoppard. I'm thinking about publishing it here and asking people to tweet the link to her. Because apparently writing to her publishers didn't work, and honestly?

If she added a chapter about pregnancy post-loss, this book could be a comfort to women who are pregnant post-loss. But right now, it feels like a kick in the teeth. And bereaved parents are the last people who need to be kicked in the teeth.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

will I ever...

lose the fear?

J isn't 100% at the minute. He always has reflux but the last two days he's been sick once; today he's been sick twice.

He seems OK in himself. His temperature is fine and he's alert and happy in himself and my instinct is that he's fine.

.... But there's that fear. That *before* my instinct said that everything was OK, too - even sitting in the scan room after two midwives had been unable to find a heartbeat, ffs; what the hell was I thinking? - but my baby was dead. Do I trust the evidence of my eyes and the baby who's still smiling at us? Who's just pee'd and poo'd so obviously isn't dehydrated? Who's still 'talking' to my husband on the changing mat?

I honestly don't think there is any purpose to calling the out of hours GP service at the minute. It feels like it'd be a waste of my time and might stop someone who actually needs help getting quickly. But... not doing so is scary. What if there really is something wrong and I'm just not spotting it?

Aaaargh.

Parenting after loss was always going to be tricky.

Monday, 8 August 2011

snapshots from the first two months

thank you all for your warm welcome to my little boy!

there is so much i want to write about - labour and birth, my mental health, how awesome a dad my husband is - but these snapshots will have to suffice, for now.

---
he was over 8 1/2 lb when the was born. he only fitted in newborn clothing for a few days. lucky we mostly bought 0-3 month stuff. although he's really, really long, and putting on weight at an astonishing rate. he still has plenty of room to grow outwards into the 0-3 clothes, but lengthwise he's nearly out of them.

we only had to stay in hospital two days, not the five they had told me. and even that was because it took us a little while to get breastfeeding established, not because of any concerns about the ADs.

breastfeeding can be tricky at first. i cried to D at one stage while we were still in hospital that it felt like someone was helping me learn to ride a bike and was pushing me off and letting go - and at the stage where most people realise and fall off but then realise they can do it, i was still falling. again and again and again. but then a lovely midwife realised i was struggling and helped me lots overnight. including arranging for D to come back in and spend the night in hospital with us to help me cope and to help look after J. she was brilliant.

La Leche League are looking for peer supporters in my area. I'm looking into it.

it's amazing how little sleep you can happily survive on when you need to. having said that, he's already slept over six hours a couple of times. pretty amazing for such a young fully breastfed baby.

i said before he was born that i was pragmatic about breastfeeding, that if it didn't work i'd be disappointed but not gutted. i was lying. i would've been totally gutted.

he seems so advanced! he's already been properly smiling for ages. he's even laughed a few times. babies don't normally do that for a good few months.

he hardly cries. i am so lucky. and so grateful when he does cry (thank goodness! it's good to know he knows how to cry when he needs somehing!) and so totally freaked out at the same time (OhMyGod, what on earth is wrong?? please stop crying baby boy! i have no resilience to his cries because i'm not used to them at all).

i cannot figure out babywearing. and i've given up because i'm so scared we'll never crack it, and because i'm so tired. but i really, really want it to work. so i must get back to it.

he loves lying on his mat and kicking and moving his arms about. sometimes when he's crying it's what he actually wants, for us to just put him down already so he can play! he's far too young for that but it really seems to be what he wants.

no one told me about tummy time. i'm really mad that i only know about it from blogs and only thought to google it this weekend. luckily he seems to enjoy it so hopefully it won't hold him back too much.

two weeks paternity leave is nothing at all. D took two weeks paternity and two weeks leave, and now he has no leave left until christmas. christmas is so far away.

he took a bottle of expressed breastmilk yesterday for the first time. accepted it beautifully and still breastfeeding nicely. such a relief.

at one of my antenatal classes the midwife told me that breastfed babies don't need winding. What. A. Lie.

when he was less than 24 hours old they were concerned in case he had a blockage as he was throwing up bright green gunk after every feed. they wanted to put dye into his stomach and make sure it went through properly. D had to hold down his arms while they put a tube into his stomach. it broke his heart. then they took him down to x-ray to put in the dye and take the pictures. he cried so hard. it was heartbreaking. but i'm sure it was far more traumatic for us than for him - i'm sure he'd forgotten about it very soon.

he's huge for his age - following the curve for 91st percentile! - but he's my teeny tiny baby boy. and i love him to pieces.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

he's here!

i'm sorry for keeping you all in suspense for so long!

our son was born alive and healthy -a few days after his due date- after a relatively short, very intense labour, weighing over 8lb.

he is beautiful and we are so, so in love with him. and we cannot believe how lucky we are.

i need to write more, but it will be a while. i can't get my head around anything at the mo, but i had to let you all know that he is ok.

thank you all for your support during my pregnancy. i couldn't have done it without you all.

(details removed for privacy reasons)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

the other night, D was talking to my belly, telling the baby to hurry up and come out. and he said 'come out, we miss you!'.

and that is the most illogical and the most perfect thing he could have said.

we've never met him yet, but we miss him, and we can't wait for him to be finally on the outside.

---

today is my due date. i've had some twinges but nothing more. i'm getting more and more anxious, more and more afraid that something is going to go wrong.

i need him to be ok.

---

i've always been of the opinion that i really don't want a caesarean unless it's really, really necessary. but the last day or two... part of my brain wants to call the hospital and say just get him out, already. get him out safe and well. i'm not sure how long i can wait for him to turn up on his own.

come on, baby boy. time to make your move. before your mummy starts cracking up again.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I doubt anyone saw the post I just posted here and then took down immediately but google reader picked it up (luckily when it was just one line long, not the whole rant) (also, damn you google reader! is there no way to remove these posts from your clutches???) so I just want to apologise to anyone who picked it up from there and say that I was having a ridiculously petty whine and that then I remembered just where I live and how insensitive it was, so I deleted it again.

Sorry about that.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

unexpected

Someone asked me at the beginning of the week whether I was going to miss being pregnant. Someone who had just met me and has no idea of the stress and anxiety this pregnancy has caused in me. How much of an emotional wreck I've been.

And you know what?

The answer. It's 'yes'. I really am going to miss it.

---

[This next section... I hope it doesn't upset anyone. I'm sorry if it does; I won't be surprised... I find it upsetting myself. I finally put into words some feelings I had at the beginning of the second trimester that I could barely acknowledge even to myself. It's horrible but it's how I felt at the time. I'm very glad things didn't come to pass like this.]

Makes no sense, does it? I've hated the last eight months or so. I've been 100% certain that the baby is either dead or going to die very soon for large chunks of this pregnancy. At times, in the second trimester... part of me would almost have been relieved to find out the baby was dead, because it would have meant that I didn't have to live with the uncertainty any more.

(I hated myself for thinking that. I still do. I'm so glad he's still OK. Right now, even if he's fated not to make it, I'm glad we've got this far. I'm glad I've had this time with him, even though it has been traumatic and scary as hell.)

---

If you'd asked me back in March or April - or earlier for that matter - whether I would miss being pregnant I would have either laughed at you or, quite possibly, slapped you. Being pregnant wasn't the point. Having a baby was the point. Getting to take home a living, healthy baby.

But somehow things changed. I think the therapy and CBT really did make a difference. Right now... I'm still terrified. I'm getting more anxious again. 39 weeks today, just two weeks left at the most; I am not going past 41 weeks even if I have to refuse to leave the hospital. But I'm enjoying him living in my belly. The times where D and I sit and watch him shifting inside me and laugh, fascinated... they're worth all the times when I lie in bed with my hands on my belly, willing him to move, terrified he's stopped for good.

And there are still a fair few of those.

---

I think that as much as anything I want a do-over. I want to go back and be less anxious. Not not-anxious, that was never a realistic aim. But I think back to what a wreck I was in March and April particularly and it just seems like such a waste. If only I could have come to this place of zen a month or two earlier. When I had my leaving lunch from work, someone said I'd been a completely different person for the last month or so, and she was right. I've been completely different, and a lot less exhausting both for myself and for those around me. Hell, if I manage to hold out until tomorrow, I've not been to the hospital for monitoring because of freaking out about the baby for four whole weeks. That was unthinkable just a couple of weeks before that.

---

I want to meet him now. Like, now. But at the same time, I don't want this pregnancy to be over. I don't know if we'll ever even try for another baby. I don't want this to be over before I'm ready. Now I'm finally enjoying carrying him.

+++

My blood pressure was up on Thursday, but no traces of protein in my ur.ine. Today my blood pressure was normal but there were traces of protein. They're keeping an eye on me. Baby seems to be doing fine though.

One week until my due date. Baby is engaged and I'm uncomfortable. I hope he turns up on time.

+++

I can't imagine anyone who reads here hasn't heard the terrible news about lis and T. I honestly cannot get my head around it. I honestly thought that this time things were going to be OK. I.... I want it to make sense, and it's never ever going to.

Please offer her your love and support in this horrendous time.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

36 weeks tomorrow. All still seems to be well. As of last Monday the baby had started to engage (3/5 palpable, for those keeping track). I can't feel him move so well now. I suspect it's partly because he's started to move lower, but also suspect that he's turned to face more inwards than he was before. I was so hoping that we'd get that really cool stage when you can actually see fingers or toes poking through from the inside, but I think we missed the window for that. It's a shame.

I'm focusing inwards now, I guess. I'm reading some blogs (I can't even think about reading all of them) but can barely make myself comment anywhere. I think I might try and accept that right now I need to focus on myself and my baby.

The anxiety is less than it has been in years. I could have pretty bad pain last night and just wait for it to pass, as long as I could feel the baby moving (and I could). That would have been entirely unheard of a few short weeks ago. (Pretty sure it was ligament pain; I'd had the same pain on the other side a week or so back and the assessment unit couldn't find any reason for it.) Feel fine today.

I guess if all is well I might not update now before the baby's born. I'm looking forward to the labour and birth - although still terrified he won't survive. I guess I'm just looking forward to actually having something positive to do. (Our flat is falling to pieces round our ears but that's another story.)

And I'm really looking forward to meeting our baby.

I just hope it all goes right and he ends up alive and healthy and well.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Something else I wanted to say.

I talked here about the fact that the end of November, the anniversary of finding out the baby had died, will always be harder than the beginning of May, when my due date should have been.

And I still think that's true. May is a time for sad smiles, for thinking about what-might-have-been. November is a time for remembering shock and grief and cold and misery.

Last year the run up to 6th May was horrible. I slid back into grief and depression after thinking I was getting better, doing OK. But the day itself was OK. Not too bad.

This year... I would be lying if I said that being pregnant didn't make it easier. It does - although the fact I'll still have six weeks to go til my due date reminds me of just how very long it took us to get pregnant again. Ten months + felt like a very, very long time. It's hard to accept that from our loss to holding a living baby (please) will be a gap of over eighteen months. (And in related news, tomorrow is 17 months. How on earth has it been so long???)

The sadness isn't as heavy. But it's still there.

But... to wish for my first child back would mean undoing the life I carry right now. And I wouldn't do that for the world.

(Even if he's fated not to make it either.)

I wish I could have had them both. But things would never had worked out like that.

So. Anyway. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I will remember my first child, my snowflake. And...

It would mean the world if you would, too.

Just put a little note in your diary. Stop and think of us on 6th May, just for a minute.

Thank you xx

---

Edited to add: when I clicked 'publish' the ad that came up read:
Special Memorial Websites
Create a beautiful, special tribute in loving memory of your baby
www.muchloved.com

Is it just me or is the fact blogger has worked out I lost a baby and is tailoring ads to me disturbing as f**k???????

Monday, 18 April 2011

radio silence

i'm ok, as is baby.

i should clarify. physically we're both doing fine. emotionally i've been very up and down. actually terrible at times. although i'm doing better this last eight days or so.

---

i've been writing posts in my head. about the terror that has been regularly filling my brain and the ridiculous frequency of me running into the hospital for monitoring. about how i had written my active birth classes and other antenatal classes in my diary in pen, but could only write the number of weeks i am one or two ahead and in pencil. about how much denial i've been in about how much i love this baby, this creature living inside me. about how terrifying the first attempt at the 4D scan was (baby had his feet in front of his face and was very still; i was terrified he was dead). about how amazing the second one was.

but you know what?

i just have no interest in being on the internet right now.

i feel like i've been living on the internet for far too long. before babyloss even. i've been living on blogs and facebook for a very long time.

i've kind of been reconnecting with the real world. it's been a long time. i've been ignoring some of my real-life people for far too long. i'd kind of forgotten that some of them existed.

and i feel really bad. there's some crappy stuff going on out there. some really crappy stuff. but....

this last week or so, while i've been limiting my internet time, i've not been up to hospital for monitoring. i've been calmer and happier.

i've started to believe that there is a chance - a good chance - that i will stay sane, and the baby will be born alive and healthy.

---

i suspect i'm not capable right now of offering support to many people and taking care of myself at the same time. (i can support a few people on a more personal basis; i'm thinking of two friends in particular who have had terrible upheaval in their lives in the last couple of weeks, and i wish i could do more for them.)

but my entire blogroll and google reader? no.

i just can't do it.

and i haven't got the energy to let myself feel bad about that.

although i do feel i should.

but i can't withdraw entirely.

after all, i'm still terrified that i'll need you all again, worryingly soon.

(i believe this baby has a good chance, but as we all know round here, sometimes that's not enough.)

so please know that i'm still reading. not quite as regularly, but i'm still there.

even if i can't make myself comment right now.

i'm thinking of you all. and wishing you good things in the future. in whatever form that takes.

---

i'll be back at some point, whatever happens. but for the minute, i'll be away. if you want to be in touch, you can email or find me on fb (actually you probably can't, but email me if you're interested). i'm not very good at either right now, but it's better than nothing i guess :/

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

the hospital have cancelled our 4d scan that was booked for tomorrow :(

not sure when we'll be able to reschedule for, but i just wanted to let you know in case anyone was looking forward to an update tomorrow.

i'll let you know that happens.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

i'm still not here (although apparently i am commenting on other people's blogs still; i'm quite surprised) but these thoughts have been going through my head for a few days and i think i just need to splurge them.

---

i'm not going to be able to drive for much longer. the pedals in our car are quite far forward and my legs are relatively short. the steering wheel won't raise any higher, and i'm already starting to think my bump is unnervingly close to it. this is quite frustrating. i don't need to drive for work or anything, but... it's frustrating and quite limiting to think i'll have months when i can't.

---

i want a necklace for the new baby. i have one for my snowflake, but it seems kind of disloyal to the baby to only have one for his sibling. but i've no idea what kind of thing i want, and i'm not sure whether i really want to buy one before he's born. will have to keep thinking about this one, i guess.

---

i've been reading birthing books - i mentioned that here. i ended up writing a review for one of them on amazon here, at least partly because it disturbs me how against antenatal testing the author is and how little time she gives to her arguments against it. she doesn't even attempt to state the case for testing, just emphasises that they are not compulsory, and... i don't know. it just really freaks me out. i can't imagine it will do any good and that a future edition would change on the strength of one amazon review, but you never know, do you?

at least maybe they'll include contact details for Sands next time.

---

i talked to my mum about the situation with my cousin. i wasn't sure how she'd react but she was very understanding.

she saw my cousin's brother a couple of days later. and she talked to him about it. i was mortified, but apparently he didn't even let her get very far into the story before he stopped her and said to tell me not to upset myself about it, that she gets very upset and lashes out quite regularly and that i shouldn't take it personally.

i don't think she told him the bit where what she had said had quite upset me, but his response made me feel much better.

---

and a funny one to finish.

D anthropomorphosises just.about.everything. he's good at it, and he mostly makes me laugh. but last week in the supermarket he picked up a box of mini Cornish pasties, and he said 'they're so small, and they're out without their mum!'

and i cried.

right there in a.s.d.a.

for the sake of the poor lonely Cornish pasties.

i think i need to get a grip :)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

i need to step back.

i have loads of blog posts i want to write, and loads of comments on blogs i want to write, and... just generally lots to do.

but i need to step back.

my pregnancy is going well (my midwife, with a look of slight distain, today called me 'normal' - it was a joke, but true, right now at least). my baby is finally moving so that i'm sure of what i'm feeling. when i went to visit my sister last friday, that wasn't true. but by sunday his movements were so strong that my other sister could feel them. it's like he suddenly got the hang of it.

i'm still worried - he was quiet this morning, and i was scared, but i had a midwife appointment today and his heartbeat was fine, and he's moving a lot this evening - but... it's not as bad. it's nowhere near as bad. it almost feels like 'normal' pregnancy worrying, rather than 'pregnancy after loss' worrying.

i have a 4d scan booked for next week. i'll let you know how it goes.

i'm scared to say it 'out loud', but i'm happy. i've finally got some proper good memories of this pregnancy, ones that last more than a few hours here and there. i hope the 4d scan next week will create some more, and some more concrete ones.

i can admit, now, that if he died now i would be glad that he had existed. that i would want to remember him. that i wouldn't erase his life if i had half the chance. i can't say that about my first pregnancy. at least not with confidence.

(the main reason that i wouldn't want to erase that pregnancy now is that to do so would also erase this child. my son. and that's a strange, uncomfortable thought. please know that i love my first child and wanted him or her more than anything. but i'm not sure, if i had the chance, whether i would change history.)

---

i keep coming back to the internet. but right now, it feels like habit and fear that keep me here, not a positive choice.

i had a great weekend with my sisters. we didn't do anything amazing - had a trip to a lake and went on a boat, watched three films (!), ate nice food - but... it felt normal. felt like something a normal pregnant woman would do, spend time with her sisters and enjoy being pregnant.

(not the part where i feared that the plane journey had somehow killed him. that bit wasn't good. but he's ok.)

i think i need to go away and be normal for a while.

---

i might post at my other blogs while i'm not posting here, it's hard to say for sure. but it's worth keeping an eye out, i guess. and like i say i'll let you know how the 4d scan goes.

i don't think this will last for long but if it looks like becoming permanent i'll come back and say so.

but i think i'll be back here by the time 2-3 weeks has passed. if that.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

i posted something on facebook.
one of my cousins read it as an attack on her and how she parents her son.
i didn't dream in a million years she could have read it like that, and i never would have posted it if i'd realised.
it was probably a stupid thing to do anyway.
she responded angrily and when i read her response i could understand why. and i'm glad she responded rather than just being angry with me and hiding it.
but.

but.

she said something like 'you try breas.tfeeding while looking after two kids after two and trying to feed them healthily'.

and oh god, it hurt.

i wish my life had worked out like that.

i wish i could confidently believe that this baby will be ok.

i wish i knew for a fact that i'll be able to breas.tfeed like i hope to, like i plan to.

and that my husband will agree to us trying again.

and that that baby will be ok too.

i wish i believed that i could ever know what that feels like.

---

i apologised to my cousin. deleted the offending post. i hope she understands that i wasn't criticising her, even though she read it that way. and i hope noone else who saw it thought i was criticising her.

i hate that i hurt her.

---

i was so jealous when she was pregnant that i had to hide her on facebook.

she's always been lovely to me.

---

i don't know how to end this. i just guess i wish i hadn't made that stupid post.

---

i don't think anyone would, but just to be clear: please don't criticise my cousin. she's not the one in the wrong.

and don't tell me i'm not in the wrong. i did something stupid and hurt someone who's doing a brilliant job and i wish i hadn't been so stupid.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

i just marked a load of posts unread in google reader. i hate doing that but sometimes i need to.

i'm hoping to keep up when i'm back. but i just wanted to make sure y'all know that i'm reading, even if i never get round to commenting.

maybe one day i'll stop being such a comment-perfectionist and then i'll comment more :)

Monday, 28 February 2011

my line manager said to me today 'do you think your hormones could have anything to do with it?'.

and i had one of those light bulb moments.

i had completely forgotten that even in a normal pregnancy, women have mood swings and get upset and scared and panicky and worried.

and when you factor that into the equation - i suppose i'm really not doing all that badly, am i?

---

i haven't replied to email from anyone - except an odd one from my mum and someone i hadn't emailed in months - for over two weeks. i keep getting emails and meaning to reply but being completely incapable of sitting down and actually doing it. i don't know why, and it's driving me mad. i'm usually bad at email but not this bad.

comments, too. i appreciate them all, but i'm not replying - and barely commenting on other blogs too. i'm sorry. i really am.

i hope to catch up after i've been away.

i'm really sorry.

---

i made lemon cake tonight. i'm going to take it to work tomorrow and try not to eat the entire lot myself.

scratch that. i'm going to go to bed now and try not to eat the entire bloody thing right now. that will also be pretty difficult.

sunday night freak out

wow, not had one of these for a few weeks. guess that proves how much better i've been doing these last three weeks or so.

i was ok. i've been scared again today, asking D for reassurance all the time, but i've been ok. talking about when we'll want people to come round and meet the baby after he's born - you know, the kind of stuff you don't exactly talk about on the days when you're convinced your baby won't make it.

i cried a little this morning. talking about whether you would change what could have been. of course i wish things could have worked out differently - but it's not that simple any more. to want to go back and change the past would mean undoing this baby, this little boy who i already love. and i couldn't do that.

does that kind of make my snowflake the price i had to pay for this baby?

that's sh.it if so. horrible.

but seeing as i've already paid that price, i might as well accept it. the only thing haggling would do right now is cost me more.

---

the problem is, as i realised this morning, that i'm now at the stage where if the worst happened and this baby died too, i would not want to undo it. i would not want to wind the clock back and undo my baby's existence.

and i think that maybe that's why, as i switched the light off tonight, i started to cry. and cry and cry. because i love this little one. more than i want to. i don't want to be lost in hope. i want to hold some of myself back. so if the worst was to happen, i'd have a tiny piece of me that wasn't fully destroyed. and i know better than to think like that. i know that's not how it works. but still i try.

my midwife keeps telling me to have faith in my baby. and i do. i do have faith in him. i believe he can do it. but i don't believe in my body's ability to keep him alive and well. and worse, i don't believe in my body's ability to signal that something is wrong. last time i carried a dead baby for over four weeks and only discovered the truth at a routine check up. this time, i guess lack of movement would mean that at this stage i wouldn't have that kind of gap between something going wrong and me finding out, but.... but. still.

he's moving differently this weekend. he seems to move less at weekends anyway, but he's moving differently yesterday and today. i can't put my finger on how but it's so hard not to second guess. are his movements getting weaker? is it a bad sign that they've changed? should i go and get it checked out? and i'm just so scared of not getting checked out, but i'm scared of getting checked out too.

and my heartbeat is high the last few days too as well, although my blood pressure was fine when i got an emergency appointment with a nurse on wednesday, but i'm still scared that there could be something wrong, that my rapid (well, around 80bpm) heartbeat could hurt him, or could be a sign of something wrong.

---

(while i've been writing this post, of course, he's been moving more definitely. so at the least, i think i can believe he's ok right now.)

---

at the end of this week, i travel to my parents' house. i stay there overnight and then fly with one sister to visit our other sister in mainland europe. without D, who will stay home and do some DIY without worrying about me inhaling fumes or the like.

i think that this fear, this terror of something going wrong *now*, is partly because i'm scared that something will go wrong while i'm away, in a foreign country where i don't speak the language well enough for a hospital stay (although my sister could translate well enough, it's not the same) and where, worse, i would be without D.

what if the baby dies while i'm away?

what if he stops moving and my sister has to find me a hospital so i can get them to check he's ok?

what if they need to do an emergency section? would he be considered viable there? (i think he would, but it's hard not knowing for sure.)

and what if something went wrong and D wasn't there?

---

i had a dream last night. i was staying at a hotel. maybe for a family wedding, i'm not sure. but i wandered off to a nearby park, running across busy roads to get there.

and i climbed in up a steep and muddy hill, let myself in through huge wooden doors.

but i was barely inside before hotel staff approached me. before they told me i couldn't go in there. i didn't belong. i would have to leave.

and i didn't get the symbolism when i woke up. but tonight, while making my hot chocolate after getting out of bed, suddenly it became clear. that's the outcome i'm afraid of. that even after all this time i still won't get to be a mother. i still won't get to enter that mystical land.

---

this sucks. (understatement of the year?)

i just want to know that my little boy will be OK.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Progress?

I was talking to one of my sisters on the phone on Monday and realised that about 2/3 of me now expects this baby to be OK, at least in the long run. More precisely, 1/3 of me expects him to die, 1/3 to be born early and have problems but to be OK in the end, and 1/3 just expects him to be OK. Considering that at times during this pregnancy I have been 100% sure he's either going to die or dead already, I am amazed by this. I didn't honestly see it coming.

We've booked the 4D scan. Mid March. Apparently a consultant obstetrician does it, so if anything is wrong we've got the right person in the room with us. I still don't know for sure that we'll do it, but I think I do want to. I want to see what my baby looks like.

Rach said something in the comments about me definitely feeling movement now. I guess I am. But I'm still entirely unable to say out loud 'the baby's moving' without qualifying it with 'I think' and 'I'm not really sure' and 'Maybe'. Even when I say to someone 'I find it really hard to say this without qualifying it, but the baby's moving right now' I find myself injecting 'I think' and 'probably' and all kinds of other things. (And to be honest so far I've only been able to even try to say it and sound in any way definite to D and one of my sisters.) The anterior placenta doesn't help I don't think. A lot of the time it feels like he's dragging my internal organs around, rather than kicking or punching me.

I'm still scared for him. I still don't trust my body's ability to care for him and keep him alive. But so far he's doing well. I am doing better at focusing on that these days.

I spoke to someone from an antenatal mental health group I've been going to today. I haven't seen her in a while as I've been busy those afternoons and the group was cancelled today. She said I sounded a hell of a lot better than I did last time I saw her. And she's right, I do.

Having said all that, the last few days my heart rate has been higher than usual and my blood pressure's felt a little high. I'm going to see if I can get it checked out tomorrow. Just to be sure.

Did I tell you about my ears being blocked up? They still are. I'm supposed to be flying out to visit one of my sisters next weekend, with my other sister. I'm looking forward to the three of us spending some time together. My ears had bloody well better sort themselves out before that. I'm sick of only being able to hear in my left ear.

---

Oh. And tomorrow I'm going to see Val McDermid, my fave author, at an event she's doing. And on Friday I'm going out for tea with D and a couple we're friends with. And on Saturday I'm meeting Becky who is a lovely friend of mine. I've not been this sociable for weeks. I'm quite proud of myself.

(I can't be bothered with links today. I'm very sorry my lovelies. If I can be bothered tomorrow I'll add them in!)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

i had to go to the hospital tonight. the baby didn't move all day and i was scared to death. he's ok though. they listened to his heartbeat and he's fine. the midwife used the word 'perfect', which scared me, but she meant well.

---

i think i've mentioned that there are four other pregnant women in my work. i've spoken about being pregnant to three of them since finding out they were pregnant. the fourth i've only seen in passing. she's one of those people who's lovely but i never see her so i always forget that she's lovely. anyway, i bumped into her today, and we ended up chatting. and i found out she had an ectopic pregnancy at the end of last year.

i had suspected that she'd lost a baby, but it's not the kind of thing you can exactly ask. but she was quite open about it, and we ended up talking about pregnancy after loss. her experience was obviously very different to mine, but her experience of pregnancy after loss... well, let's just say it was nice to talk in person, out loud, to someone who gets the fear and the reluctance to believe the best and the being slightly freaked out by all the pregnancies in work and the not really being a normal pregnant woman and ... just everything.

i wanted to hug her at the end but didn't want to freak the poor girl out :)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Thank you all for your support last week. I still can't come anywhere close to believing what happened to my friend. It's just so wrong. I can't get my head around how unfair life is.

I want to say more about that situation but there's not really anything else to say, is there? I can't really support her; I know how hard it is to deal with pregnant people in the aftermath of a loss, so there isn't really anything I can do. And that's hard to accept but it's true.

---

Emotionally and mentally, I'm still not doing too bad, considering. I'm not doing as well as I was before I heard about my friend but I'm still doing OK. Not panicking. Fairly worried but at a bearable level. Finding it hard to believe that my baby is OK but also finding it hard to believe that there could be anything wrong. Which, on balance, I'll take; it's better than the long time when I was just waiting for the minute where it went wrong.

We're thinking about getting a 4D scan at the hospital I'm booked into. D has some money saved that he was going to put towards a TV and I have £50 from Christmas that I don't know what to do with, so we'd only have to find an extra £25, which I'm sure we could do. Part of me thinks that we should save that money and use it on things for the baby. But part of me thinks that... well, part of me thinks it will help me to believe in the baby. That it will stop the part of me that's still holding back. Most of me isn't now, but... part of me still is.

And part of me thinks that... that if this baby doesn't survive, at least I'll have that memory. At least I'll always know it was real.

I don't know. Part of me thinks it's a good idea, part of me doesn't. Any opinions welcome.

---

Physically I'm mostly OK but my ears are stuffed full of wax and I can't hear through my right ear and haven't been able to since Monday night. It is driving me insane. I cannot wait to get my ears syringed (I don't think it's going to clear up on its own but I have to wait for the wax to soften which is going to take FOREVER.)

---

And, there's something I've been wanting to talk about at my private blog, but before I do I wanted to know how people react when they know their friends and family are going through a tough time - what a 'normal' response is. But I only have five readers over there (do email me if you want to join them!!!) so I'm posting a survey here. It's only got one question. Please do fill it in! Here you go.....

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

i've been planning on writing a nice positive post about how i'm coping well and haven't freaked out in 10 days and counting and all that. well, everything is still ok with me, but i just found out that a friend of mine from an online pregnancy-after-loss board (not someone who has a blog) has lost her baby at 23 weeks. and i cannot understand why she has to go through this again. it is so wrong, and so unfair, and i don't understand, and i don't know what to do for her; i don't have any contact details other than an email address and that's just not enough.

previously she lost twins. she has now lost three children all at a similar stage of pregnancy and has none living. i don't understand. i don't understand.

it's not right and it's not fair.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

i went to see the midwife today.

i made the appointment a couple of weeks ago, when i was freaking out. it was the first appointment she had.

i haven't freaked out since my scan last week. almost a week ago now. that's pretty impressive for me, really. but i went along to the appointment anyway. i had a few questions (i always have questions. i bet you can believe that, can't you?).

(incidentally, the cbt is going well. at my last appointment my therapist reckoned i made a bit of a breakthrough. i thought he was overstating his case a bit at the time, but i've been less worried this last week. it's possible that he was right. dammit. i hate when people are right. if you're interested don't forget to email me and ask for an invite to my private blog.)

---

last night, i thought to myself that maybe i would be brave enough to let her listen for the heartbeat. i wasn't sure. D wasn't going to be there, for a start. and although the scan was only a week ago... well, a week is a very long time. and although i'm 21 weeks now, i've still not been certain about whether i'm feeling movement or not. it's been about 7 weeks since i first felt something that could be movement, but i'm no more or less certain that that's really what i'm feeling than i was back then. i did find out at my scan last week that my placenta is anterior (attached at the front), which probably explains that and is good to know - but it's still all a bit nerve wracking.

so, anyway. i went in. i asked my questions. then i did it. i asked if she could listen for the baby's heartbeat. i hopped up on the bed - so glad that i was in a different room than last time; i don't know if i'd have been able to do it if we were in the same place.

and i did it. i let her listen.

it was hard to pick up; the sounds of the placenta, with it being at the front, were much louder than the sound of the heartbeat. (which makes me doubly glad that we've never tried with a doppler ourselves; i would have freaked if we were unable to pick it up, and if even my midwife found it tricky past 20 weeks i doubt we would have managed it ourselves.)

but i heard it. the beating of his heart.

it was amazing.

comparative mourning

i read this article on the guardian website a while back. it talks about a family who lost a three week old daughter, and how hurt they were when the vicar removed fake flowers from her grave. it talks about a couple who lost their 25 year old daughter, and how when they visit their daughter's grave they routinely put fake flowers on other graves nearby that have been neglected.

the vicar says "The metaphor of flowers is the beauty that weathers and decays. That is why we always put real flowers in the churchyard where they are associated with funerals. Plastic ones don't decay, so the metaphor gets lost."

hmmm. i don't buy it. and those who have lost loved ones know all too well that nothing is forever. for some (including me, sometimes) flowers dying brings back the pain all too clearly. don't those who mourn deserve to do it in their own way, metaphor free?

anyway, hasn't he seen how fake flowers fade and crumble over time when left out to the elements? they may take longer about it, but they don't last forever.

but i like the quote from the sociologist at the University of Bath.

"There are competing expectations about grief. For some people it's about moving on. For others it's about an ongoing relationship," she says. "There is a view of stages of grief that ends with 'letting go'. Some people don't do that. They never will let go, and that is OK."


they will never let go, and that is OK.

doesn't that make a change from what the grieving are usually told? the implication that if you don't 'move on', whatever that means, that you are somehow faulty?

---

then today i read this article on the BBC. which, to be honest, is even more depressing.

apparently there is a cemetery in essex that a national newspaper has seen fit to call the 'poudland cemetery'. (for those not native to the UK, that's quite an insult.) other mourners have taken offence at the fake flowers and wind chimes and the council have said that any wind chimes or ornaments left in the trees by 1 march will be removed. people will only be able to have two wind chimes and two solar lights. i don't want to link the article, but it's here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352498/Essex-Council-bans-ornaments-Cemeteries-Poundland-graves-go.html

i personally think the first two pictures are absolutely beautiful.

the BBC article talks about a 'class war' in mourning, and i think they're right. i think that the displays of teddy bears and wind chimes get dismissed as 'tacky' by the folk who are there to mourn parents and grandparents. by those who haven't lost children. children who should not have died.

but i don't think anyone gets the right to judge anyone else's grief. to call it tacky or to ask them to move it elsewhere.

and i will be honest. before i lost the baby i might have thought it was tacky too. but i see things differently now. i see the love and the pain and the loss that makes people want to bring some comfort to a baby's grave, or a child's grave, or even an adult's. and i ache for the grieving.

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when we were in barcelona last summer we went to visit a cemetery, the Cementiri del Poblenou. it was completely different to anything i've ever seen in the UK. we spent a long time wandering round and looking at the graves.

all the flowers in that cemetery were fake. real ones would never survive in the spanish sun, not in summer at least. i'll never forget the sound they made as the breeze blew and they rustled. it wasn't quite like anything i'd ever heard before. the sound of spanish mourning, maybe.

i want to post some pictures i took. i hope no one finds this disturbing, that i took pictures of graves. i loved them and i wanted to remember them. i'm sorry to anyone who finds it distasteful.

these people were loved. i'm sure that by some standards these graves are tacky, too. but i think they're beautiful and amazing.








































Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Outside my front door...





















Just the one has come through and flowered.

I would have thought I'd be upset about that, but it feels kind of right.

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This poem was written on the front of the order of service when we went to the communal ceremony at the west road. It made me sob.

The world may never notice

If a snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder

If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,

Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way

For all eternity

Sunday, 6 February 2011

i have loads to say, but no space or time to get it out right now. but i wanted to link this post, by tash, because it's amazing, and gives me hope.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

first things first?

the baby's fine.

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this post is rather bitty. my brain's jumping around. sorry in advance about that.

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i was actually ok this morning. quite calm.

i wasn't very optimistic though. i cleaned up before i went. made sure the house was tidy (well, as tidy as it gets round here) and the washing was done. i even left my toothbrush and PJs and deodorant and moisturiser out, in case i needed to stay in hospital for any reason and D needed to come back and pick them up for me.

i was even ok in the waiting room. they were running late, so we had to wait about half an hour before we were called in. i was chatting to D about the White Stripes breaking up and stuff. but when they called us through and i got onto the bed the sense of dread returned, the sense that there was no hope. i started crying. D had to explain why.

but the baby was fine. all the checks they do, fine. spine and stomach and lips and feet and heart and everything else, all fine.

and? he's a little boy.

same as they told us three weeks ago. i don't necessarily trust being told once, but two different people... yeah. and anyway, it feels right. i was expecting a girl - i only have sisters - and i was a little shocked when they first said boy, but only for a few seconds. after that... it felt right.

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it seems more real since finding out he's a boy. like there's more to lose.

---

i just talked to D. i'm shocked at how worried he is about my mental state. he says i'm not showing any signs at all that i'm happy to be pregnant. i hadn't realised how badly i seemed like i was doing, to him at least.

he needs me to enjoy this. even if things are going to end badly.

i don't know if i'm capable of doing that. but i need to try. for D's sake and for my little boy's sake, if not for my own.

---

yesterday some pain started. nasty abdominal pain, on the left side of my torso. i saw my GP tonight and she reckons it's just muscles and ligaments doing their stretching thing. it's... weird. it feels like it should be scary, but it's not.

but it's really painful, and it's something that constantly makes me wonder if everything really is ok.

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basically, everything is ok.

people are expecting me to be thrilled. i'm relieved but... just relieved, and tired. i'm glad he's ok but haven't got the energy to be excited. not yet at least.

the movement has felt a bit more definite today. maybe if that trend continues over the next few days i'll feel a bit more excited?

i hope so.

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i'm having a little boy. i never thought i'd really want a little boy, but i do. more than i can say.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

i said before that i didn't want to be in my second trimester, that it didn't feel like a safe place to be.

it's been getting worse. now i'm further than i even thought i'd got last time, now i'm in uncharted territories, it feels like i'm on one of those old maps, where cartographers wrote 'here be dragons' because they didn't know what was out there. and it just feels like i'm waiting for one of the dragons to pick me off.

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i've just had a nosebleed. a great one where the blood somehow managed to drain into my throat. eww. anyway, nosebleeds are a pregnancy thing, right??

yes, i'll clutch at any passing straw right now.