Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Eclipse comes out today! Yeah! After our Dr.'s appointment yesterday I pretty much spent more of the day crying than not, so I'm glad for a distraction something to look forward to today.

I recently re-read the Twilight series and I must say I really dug Bella's pain in New Moon a hell of a lot more this time around. I could connect to that. Of course that wretched girl got her lost love returned to her. If only cliff diving would work so well for me.

Since I really liked the music in the last two movies, I picked up the Eclipse soundtrack this past weekend when I was at Chapters. It has new tracks by Metric, Muse and Beck with Bat For Lashes. However, my favourite track ended up being by Florence and the Machine.

It's called Heavy In Your Arms.

Check it out on You Tube:

It's become my anthem the last few days. I play it on repeat.

I guess it's because that's the way I feel these days. Heavy. Like my grief is dragging me down. My dead son weighs on me. All 580 grams of him.

Sometimes, when I'm busy and into what I'm doing my grief for Aidan is manageable...purse sized. I can easily carry it with me. "Oh this thing? Yeah it's my no, it's fine, don't trouble yourself. I can carry it". But, when I'm alone, or thinking about him a lot, my grief begins to feel heavier, it becomes back-pack sized. Like the big back-pack I took on our Euro-Trip last year.

I'm the one in the red. That sucker was heavy.

And, some days, like yesterday, my grief is so overwhelming, so HEAVY I feel like Atlas. I cannot bear it. I am crushed under its mass. I cannot see when things will ever get better. I cannot get out from under the weight of the sadness that is my dead baby.

What I will never admit to, except on here, is that sometimes it's not only my sadness for Aidan that crushes me...but the love I have for him too. It feels like a sentence. "Emily, you are here by ordered to love a little person who is dead. You will never be able to see him grow up, smile, laugh, read to him, play with him, or talk to him. This is your punishment".

It is perhaps with this in mind that I really connect with the lyrics of this song: "My love has concrete feet, my love's an iron ball". And perhaps, most of all, although it pains me to admit it: "This will be my last confession, 'I love you' never felt like any blessing".

Yeah, it's that kind of day.

For those of you who are farther out in your grief, does it get more purse sized the longer you carry it? Are there days where it still crushes you into dust?

And, on the lighter side...are you excited for Eclipse?!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The little miscarriage that could

is apparently what Aidan was.


Our appointment at the fetal medicine unit was for 10am today. We arrived on time, but had to wait almost 2 hours in the waiting room...surrounded by pregnant moms. It was the 7th circle of hell. Especially the family consisting of mom, dad and grandparents who kept going on and on and ON about their impending TRIPLETS. Passing around the 3D photos of their babies calling each of them by name (Marcus and Landon and possibly Nicholas, although it might have been Nicole) Seriously? I just wanted ONE, and these morons get THREE! And "each of them weighs over 4 lbs". "Probably going to be delivered in early July". Dad was "betting July 9th". Ugh. I know this is a high risk unit and probably there were lots of mommies there who had problems getting pregnant or who were experiencing difficult pregnancies...but right now I don't have any sympathy for anyone else. I am alone in my hell, with my flat stomach and easily fitting clothes.

So finally Dr. K. calls us in and starts going over the results. Basically my placenta was what we thought, massively huge due to blood clots which probably caused the premature rupture of membranes, early labour and Aidan's demise. I knew this. No shocker. When we got into the reasons of said problem was when it really started to go downhill for me.

He asked me about my periods and I told him that prior to conceiving Aidan I had a problem with pre-menstrual spotting. I spotted consistently 3-4 days prior to each period for about 10 cycles prior to getting pregnant with Aidan. I have it all mapped out on Fertility Friend in case anyone is interested or cares. My family doctor had done some bloodwork when I told her about this last summer and my results came back with hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin levels). This may be caused by a teeny-tiny benign tumor on my pituitary gland. I was put on medication to bring down my prolactin levels around August or September of last year, which worked. Prolactin is the hormone that causes lactation and as such can screw up ovulation and your menstrual cycle. So when I told Dr. K. about this he said "oh, well that might have been the problem. You had only been on the medication to bring down your prolactin levels for 3 months when you got pregnant...maybe you're uterine lining hadn't had enough exposure to progesterone for the months previously and therefore the embryo implanted in 'bad spot' in your uterus. Typically when that happens it results in an early miscarriage...but you managed to hold on for much longer than that". Um, yeah...great...not long enough though.

Then he says, "you should probably wait at least SIX MONTHS before trying again, just to make sure that your uterine lining is healthy".

SIX MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I know what you're thinking "Six months isn't really that's already been 2 months already"...but seriously that's just to START TRYING. It wouldn't be so bad if I knew that in that first month or two I'd be pregnant with a healthy baby in a healthy uterus...but who the fuck knows at this point?

The worst part for me is that I KNEW that damn spotting I was having last summer was causing me trouble. My family doctor is nice and usually quite thorough, don't get me wrong, but when I went in there complaining about on-going spotting I knew something was WRONG and I feel like maybe not enough was done about it. And now it's come back to haunt me. Should I have been on progesterone supplements? Should I have been monitored by an Endocrinologist? A Reproductive Endocrinologist? (as much as I shutter to think of ANOTHER doctor being involved in my pregnancy...I'd take it if it meant a healthy baby).

I'm just so mad and sad and disappointed. Disappointed in my damn uterus and hormones and the fact that I knew something was wrong to start with. Aidan never had a chance.

Oh, and the icing on the cake? We also got the autopsy report back.

He was perfect.

There was nothing wrong with him as far as the pathologist could tell. He had all his parts, including a healthy heart. He had no major chromosomal abnormalities. He would have been a normal healthy baby boy if his goddamn placenta had just implanted properly.

I am crushed.

My poor boy.

I miss you. I'm sorry.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Aidan in the Sand

YEAH!!! Carly from To Write Their Names In The Sand finally got to Aidan's name!

The direct link is here: Aidan's Name In the Sand.

My baby boy had his name written on the sand at sunset at Mullaloo Point, Australia. It's so beautiful. I've already sent in my $20 donation in order to have the original e-mailed to me. I hope to get it blown up and put in our house.

Thank you Carly. It made my day.

What was the last thing that made your day?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An answer to Kristin's "Big Questions"

If you want to read the post that inspired this then go here: Kristin's "Big Questions"

Now, gentle readers, if you've been following along you've read The God post and it's follow up In addition to the God post. These are my thoughts on God all summed up with a neat little bow on top. Please refer there before reading this.

However, my thoughts on prayer are a little more murky. You see, I do pray. Now, someone may question me "Emily, why would you pray if you don't believe in God?" and my honest answer would be "ya know, I'm not sure...but when I do it, it just feels right".

And that would be the sum total of it. Basically I don't really expect anything to come of my prayers. I do not expect them to be listened to. I do not expect God or anyone else to answer as if he (or she) were picking up my distress signals like an SOS or a message in a bottle. I don't expect my prayers to change the outcome. But, I ask for things to turn out the way I want them just the same.

For me, praying is like reaching out for hope. Like reaching out to touch what is good in this world and pull it around me. Like grasping hold of a blanket in the cold or an umbrella in the rain. It's a form of protection for myself. To show myself that I still believe good things can happen. Like when I first started bleeding in my pregnancy I begged "Please, please, let my baby be okay". If I didn't believe that it was at least possible, why would I bother to ask for it? To me it is a way to connect to hope, to connect to my inner strength of belief that good things can happen. They might not always...but they can.

But no, I don't believe God or anyone else can perform miracles. I actually out right object the the word miracle. I absolutely abhor it. It always angers me at my hospital when they talk about some kid's recovery as 'a miracle'. Because HELLO! Miracles are by definition RARE. Another person with a similar problem would find themselves in the majority if they experienced a very different and less 'miraculous' outcome. Yet by calling something a miracle, it somehow puts the recipient in a 'deserving' light. As if MY 23 weeker died because he somehow wasn't as deserving as some the other RARE 23 weeker who survives. It's just another way to look at statistics. The chances of survival of a 23 weeker is about 17% from things I've read. Therefore it's rare. If Aidan had survived he would have been one of those 17/100, but since he did not he joins the other 83/100. There is no magic involved. If you are wishing for a miracle you might get it...or you might not. It's all just up to chance.

As for the plan question, I don't think there is a 'life plan' out there for me. I think the choices I make, and the things that have happened in the past, narrow down the things that could happen to me in my future. For example, I speak English fluently. I don't speak any other language. Therefore, despite living in a country with two official languages, it was 'destined' for me to marry someone who also spoke English. Cuz, duh, it would be hard to communicate with someone who doesn't. So that narrowed down that decision. Now, I was also living in a certain area of the country when I decided to seek out a boyfriend who it turns out became my husband. I wasn't about to go looking outside of my main city, or very far outside my own age it was destined that I'd find someone fitting those criteria. So voilà, you've now narrowed down the people for whom I was 'destined' to marry to a certain population. Namely, male, within my age range, living fairly close by to me, who speaks English. You can see how this would quickly narrow down your choices in life.

But, perhaps more in line with your question Kristin, I do feel a certain 'Alice Through The Looking Glass'-ness when I now see photos of myself as a child, or a teenager, or on our wedding day and think "wow...I didn't know it then, but my future held a dead baby..." But then I think, no it didn't. In those pictures I wasn't pregnant. Aidan was a non-entity. A million things could have happened other than a dead baby...but they didn't. It wasn't meant to just is.

As to whether God is responsible for all the good things in my life, and/or all the bad things? I don't believe that either. I just can't. If I 'deserved' all the good things in my life, then would it also mean I 'deserved' all the bad things too? I just don't think it works that way. There is no mistake I've made that deserves a dead baby, nor is there anything so wonderful that I've done that made me deserve to survive and do well with the heart defect I was born with. I can be absolutely dumb struck by my statistical chance in both cases...but I don't feel deserving of either.

And sadly, I don't know the meaning of life.

Although I have a sneaking suspicion that there isn't one.

What are the odds...?

Ah, Statistics. My old nemesis. How I hated the course that was you in University. You were so dull and dry and dare I say, boring. You were actually my worst course mark ever. I hated the way you dragged down my GPA. However, statistics, you influence all of our lives.

What brought this up was yesterday I was at the racetrack for my father-in-laws birthday. I had never been to the racetrack before. I have zero interest in gambling (except the gamble it takes to have a baby). I did enjoy watching the horse races though. I had a crush on horses from grades 5 to 7 so I totally loved watching them.

While watching the horses race, we were making guesses as to which ones would win based on their odds. I have no experience doing this and I generally picked wrong. But it was kind of fun, passing the statistic book back and forth arguing about what 'Where's the Bedroom's' chances were versus 'Bonchica Bonbonbon's' (real horse names, I'm not kidding). My husband and the rest of his family even wasted some money betting on them.

Then in the car on the way home I was thinking how "The Odds" apply our lives (and I'm not talking about the band with the same name). So I decided to use my life as an example. Here are some of my odds. Both good and bad.

I'm married. Approximately 75% of Canadians will marry, so I'm in the majority on this one. I'm also fortunate according to statistics that I consider my marriage "very important" to my happiness, as people who do are 3x less likely to divorce. Super.

However, we've just passed the 2 year mark on our marriage, and divorce rates peak at 4 years with 25.5/1000 marriages ending in the 4th year, so we've got a few years to go until we reach that milestone. Also, sadly 40% of marriages end by the 30th wedding anniversary (with average lengths of 14.2 years). So, even though I don't think divorce will happen to us, either way we'd have a lot of company.

So let's look at other tragedies that are less common to the average John or Jane Doe. Homelessness. According to my Internet research about 35,000 to 40,000 of Canadians are homeless. This puts any one Canadian at a risk just north of 0.1% of being homeless. Now, I'm sure there are lots of factors that influence this. One being mental illness (schizophrenia is a family tragedy in and of itself affecting 1% of Canadians). Another is finding yourself jobless, a problem for 9.6% of Canadians as of last July when joblessness was high due to the economy.

Hum. How interesting these tragedies have way higher incidence than that of which is supposed to have occurred to my placenta. The incidence of a Breus mole is 0.05%-0.08% of all placentas. Or, we could look at the other contender in the "what the hell happened to Aidan" race which is a very very (VERY) early premature preterm rupture of membranes (pPROM for all you acronym-ists out there). The incidence of pPROM occurring prior to viability (24 weeks) is 0.4%, probably even less at 13 weeks when I think mine occurred. Now, what if it turns out that I had BOTH?! A Breus mole AND pPROM! Wow that would make the incidence something like 0.05 x 0.4 = 0.02, or 1 in 5000. Discounting the fact that one may have caused the other (as is always the case in medical shit storms, ie: if you have one shitty thing like say, diabetes, you are more likely to have other shitty things happen too, such as heart disease) Still, 1/5000 is pretty damn rare.

But 1/5000 is nothing when you compare it to the other ultimate bad luck of my life. Being born with a congenital heart defect. The incidence of being born with my particular doozie of a malfunction is 1/22,000. Or 0.0045%. Survival at 1 year is apparently 65%, leaving 1/36,300 alive.

So the chances of someone like me existing AND having a baby die of what my baby died of is somewhere in the range of: 0.0029% x 0.05% x 0.4% = 0.000058%. That is equal to just about 1 in 1,750,000. Fuck. That's a lot of zeros anyway you look at it.

So I'm pretty sure you can safely say, I'm rare. Practically unheard of.

I'm the last god damn dodo bird.

How rare are you? Do you know anyone in real life whose babylost experience comes close to your own? Does the rarity of having lost child make you feel hopeful for the future if you plan on having more? Or does it just depress the hell out of you that it happened to you?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bad Day

My job. I've began to sort of hate it in the last year. Admitting that makes me sad. I used to love my job. But, as we started trying to conceive I began to experience major panic attacks. I was so afraid of getting pregnant with my bad heart and yet I was even more afraid that I would never have a child. Add this to the fact that going to work was not an escape, but basically facing my worst fears every day. The babies that end up in our NICU often have parents with no underlying issues. Healthy parents, no problems, with babies ending up on life support. So if those kids could end up sick, then what did that mean for MY baby? I was really starting to question whether this was the job for me...starting to question my own sanity if truth be told. And then BAM! I was pregnant...and I was doing okay. I was just biding my time until I could go on maternity leave. I even considered having my OB write me a note so that I would have to be switched to a less intensive job, or perhaps even kept off work so that my heart wouldn't have to work so hard. I was feeling okay. I could do this. I figured if I could make it to 25 or 30 weeks still at work that would be awesome.

But then, suddenly, I was off work for reasons totally unrelated to my heart, and my baby's life was in jeopardy, and then...well, you know how the story ends.

So now, just facing the possibility of having to throw myself back into that's unbearable. How can I go back and do it all over again, this time with the added bonus of a dead baby in my history?

A work friend of mine was telling me last week that she had just admitted a 24 weeker, and he was 'doing better than expected'. Just out of curiosity I asked her how heavy he was. Answer: 535 grams (1lbs 2 1/2 oz for all you Americans). My heart thunked. Aidan was heavier. My DEAD baby was heavier than that woman's LIVE ONE! How can I go back and care for those kids? How can I rush around and try to save their lives when I couldn't even save my own son's? And how can I do it, not knowing when or if I will ever have a shot at another?

I want to be a mom so badly. I want to be on maternity leave with a living child. I want our lives to be different. Revolve around something other than ourselves. Focus on something other than this gaping black hole of nothingness. Our future feels so empty.

It also doesn't help that I started my period again today. I'm sure the flux of hormones isn't helping anything. And, although we weren't technically TTC, we aren't avoiding it either. It took us 8 months and 9 cycles to conceive Aidan, and I was getting antsy at that point. It just feels like a huge blow to have to do it all over again. What if we are now infertile? What if I get pregnant and we miscarry, or have another loss? What if I never get to hold my own living breathing child in my arms? What if I can't take it? I feel like I'm back to square one. So just like my first post asks:

Where do I go from here?

Where do you go from here?

If wishes were horses...

Growing up I always thought about if I could have one wish granted what would it be? Would it be a wish for myself? Like, I wish my heart was normal like everyone elses? That would be nice...but perhaps kind of heart did and still does pretty good. I don't feel like I'm suffering or missing out on anything because of it. So maybe I should wish for a million dollars. Well that would be good too, but as they say, money can't buy happiness. So what would make me happy?

Perhaps my wish should be something bigger, something more important, more self-less. Something that would make not only me happy, but other people too. Like what if I could save the Amazon rainforest down in Brazil? It hurts my heart to see all those trees cut down, all those animals displaced from their homes. Or, what if I could save all the starving children in Third world countries? That would be amazing! No more empty bellies. Or, what if I could stop wars from happening? No more nuclear missiles, no more bombs, no more guns and most importantly no more hate in the hearts of people for others. Think of all the time, energy and manpower we'd have left over if we didn't focus on war anywhere? We might be able to solve the other problems if we quit focusing on killing each other.

I never thought to wish that my child wouldn't die. I didn't think I had to. It should have been a given. Even after I grew up and considered that a pregnancy might hurt my heart, I never thought to wish that it would spare my child.

Now, I have no more wishes for things that would save others. I just want Aidan back. That would be my wish, my miracle. Or, if I can't have someone brought back from the dead (even I concede that that's a tall order), I wish for his sibling. A healthy, normal, full-term, living, breathing sibling. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, sorry Amazon rainforest, Greenpeace will just have to keep knocking on doors and fundraising to keep you big and strong and healthy. Sorry Third world children, as much as it pains me to see your bloated bellies and sad eyes, my own children are my priority. Too bad, everyone in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gaza Strip, you guys will just have to sort your own problems out. I can't afford to waste wishes on you.

My child is dead and I need to wish him back into existence. I'd trade it all for that one thing.

I don't even have to ask what your one thing would be, do I?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Delicious Jealousy

Just in case you were wondering and have been keeping up with my blog, friends of ours had their baby girl today. You know, the friends who I was afraid would steal the name I have picked out for our (future?) baby girl. Thankfully her name is not anything remotely close to what I would (will?) call our daughter.

Her name is Casey in case you care.

So at least I don't have to swallow down my anger over them using the name I love.

I just get to choke down my jealousy that their baby is born on time and healthy.

Bottoms up!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lost out

Last Friday Brian and I went to the movies with his brother and sister in law. Actually, we went to the Drive-In, an experience I'd only had once previously. Living in a big city with lots of light pollution makes 'in-door' movies much more practical, but we decided for a change we'd meet them an hour and 20 minutes away in 'the country' at the Drive-In.

It was a double feature playing Toy Story 3 and Prince of Persia. Toy Story 3=EXCELLENT, Prince of Persia=Not so much (other than Jake Gyllenhaal's was the highlight of the movie).

Before the movie started, I was sitting in the field in a lawn chair in front of our car waiting for the sun to go down. I suppose the two movies that were about to play were were considered 'kid friendly', so there were a TON of children there. Children kicking balls, children racing each other, children yelling "mom I have to pee", children eating snacks. I haven't spent much time around children since Aidan died and it was just mind blowing to see them all. As I sat and watched them. I couldn't take my eyes off some of the young boys. I watched the way they moved, the way they ran, the way they played. I was looking at them and wondering if that's what Aidan would have been like. Would he have worn a soccer jersey like that? Would he have wanted long hair like that boy? Would he have been partial to popcorn like that kid seems to be, or would he have preferred ice cream like that one? Would he have stuck around close to the car, not letting mom and dad out of sight like that kid? Or would he have been off and running in the field as soon as the parking break was engaged?

Maybe because the light was right, hazy, you know, filtering through the evening atmosphere just-so, but I could almost see him. My little ghost boy. Running, playing, keeping up with the other kids. Not that he would have been anywhere near that age yet (hell he's not even supposed to be BORN yet...I should be 32 weeks and counting), but to suddenly be around other 'normal' was like a glimpse into an alternate reality. One where he never died.

So it's with this mindset that I went into watching the first film...Toy Story 3. And, it's of course, about a boy, Andy, the main 'person' in Toy Story who is all grown up and leaving for college.

Oh...I suppose I should pause here and warn you, I'm about to give away some small stuff about the ending of Toy Story 3, so discontinue reading now if you have any major desire to keep the plot a surprise.



Still with me? Okay. So at the end, I cried. I don't think anyone but my husband saw. Andy was off to college and Buzz and Woody had to let him go, and Andy had to make the decision to leave his toys behind. I started sobbing because Aidan will never have toys. It hit me that evening, after watching all those other children, and after seeing it so clearly laid out in Toy Story 3. That he will never get to play. Still, two months later, I run into losses in my head that I haven't thought of yet. Friday's was that Aidan will never play. And this loss was somewhat different from a lot of the others, because it wasn't MY loss. I had a childhood. I got to play. But Aidan never will. As much as he never knew it, Aidan lost out. He lost out on life, of course, but somehow the significance of never getting to play was big to me. According to my belief system, he will never 'know' what he missed...but I will. I will know what he should have had...but doesn't.

And realizing somehow that he never got to play twists the knife in my gut just a little bit deeper.

I miss you baby boy. I'm sorry.

What losses do you feel keenly for your baby? What is one thing that you wish he or she had got to experience?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Ah yes, that other hallmark holiday has arrived.

But, on the other hand, it gives me a reason to post about my wonderful husband. It hurts me to see Brian sad and missing Aidan. As much as it kills me sometimes to see other mommies with their babies, it's nothing compared to how sad I am when I see daddies with their babies. Because, that should be Brian. He deserved to have a living baby here to cuddle and play with and teach stupid boy things to. He would make a wonderful daddy. He DID make a wonderful just didn't last long enough.

One of the things that has always impressed me about Brian is how good he is with kids. At family functions where my cousins turn up with busloads of children (I have a lot of cousins), Brian is always happy to play with them, rough house with them, listen to their stories and do it with interest in his voice. Kids can always tell if you are faking...and he's not. He really likes them. My cousin's daughter especially connected with him. And this is a girl who is painfully shy. She doesn't talk much outside her own family and didn't have much experience with adult men, until recently when her mom remarried. But, for some reason, many years ago at a Christmas party her and Brian clicked. She was only about 4 or 5 at the time, but for some reason she connected with Brian. She spent the evening talking to him and showing him her new toys. Then, it the cutest display of childhood affection I've ever seen, she gave him half of her 'best friend' necklace. She had just got it as a Christmas gift and she gave half her heart shaped necklace to Brian. It's been years now, but she still occasionally asks him if he has it. He always answers honestly that he does...and it's true. It's in his bedside drawer.

Brian took excellent care of me during my rocky pregnancy, never failing to come to a doctor's appointment. Never complaining when he had to come home after working 10 hours to make dinner for me. He was with me through all the bleeding episodes and never freaked out (and it was scary). He got me to the hospital on the night Aidan was born and made sure everyone took good care of me. He held Aidan as he died and was so so gentle with his little body. He misses him every day...just like me.

I hope he gets the chance again to be a daddy to a living child. I hope that my body will be able to do that for him. He deserves it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In addition to the God Post

I wanted to add something to my previous God post that I thought you all might find interesting.

Late last August my aunt died. She had lung cancer and was very sick battling everyday in the hospital for over 2 months. My mom was with her when she died. As I've previously mentioned, neither my mom or dad is very religious, nor do they come from religious backgrounds. So, for my aunt's funeral my mom's family asked a woman from the "Centre for Conscious Living" to come and preside at her service. I'm not sure what this woman's background is, but it probably fits under the heading "Non-Denominational".

Now, typically the things said at a religious service mean little to me. They are nice, don't get me wrong. I appreciate that it is comforting for families to hear that their loved one is in heaven 'with Jesus'. I get that religion is a huge fall back for people in times of need and it's comforting to hear things from religious texts. I get it, I really do. But, because it all doesn't really 'fit' with what I believe I have a hard time remembering anything that has been said when the service is over. To me it all sounds the same. Jesus, Heaven, God, Eternal Life, Spirit, and so on and so forth.

But, something that the woman from the Centre for Conscious Living said at my aunt's service, really stuck with me. I liked it because I can see the logic in it. I'm a very logical person so I could get behind this idea in a way I just can't get behind God, Jesus and all the saints. Although I'm not sure I entirely agree with it, I like that it is grounded in a way of thought that is similar to what I know to be true about the world around me. I also like that it does not presume to know what happens, or what is to come. I wanted to share it with you to see what you think. I wish I could remember word for word what she said...but really it's the idea that matters.

She said: When we are born, we come into the world surrounded by a ready made family. The very act of creation draws two people together, and these two people have been created by two others. So, in this way, nature provides a cohesive group to care for a baby who cannot yet care for itself. Nature ensures that we are born to a mother who is naturally equipped to feed us to ensure that we grow. Nature has a orderly way. People are not born or created alone. We understand this to be so, instinctively. So, when we die, is it not equally possible that it occurs in an orderly way as well? That, in death, we will be provided for as fully and as well as when we were born. We may not know exactly how nature provides for us in death, but perhaps its not so far fetched to think that those provisions could be just as wondrous, just as perfect, as those provided in this life.

What do you think?

Oh, and a Happy Father's Day to all those babylost daddies out there. Peace and comfort to you all.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How it all went down (Part 9)

March 12th-March 28th 2010 (17 weeks + 5 days to 20 weeks)

Brian and I spent these two weeks sliding in and out of hope. We knew what they had found on the ultrasound was bad...really probably not going to make it bad. But, how could we give up all hope when my belly kept getting bigger, and our baby still had a heartbeat (I checked every 2 days with the doppler)? We googled endlessly. Trying to find ANYONE else with the diagnosis that we had received regarding my placenta (Breus mole...look it up, I dare you). I remember at one point saying "I'm going to hold this baby in until 37 weeks, Doctors be damned!" Ha. If only.

March 29th 2010 (20 weeks + 1 day)

I started to have that crampy, irritated feeling in my uterus that I hadn't had in awhile...but I knew what was coming. Another big bleed. So I called the nurse at my OB's office and her response was that I should go to L&D triage since I was 'over 20 weeks' (hard not to snort at that one...hello...I'm 20 weeks and ONE FREAKIN' DAY...there isn't much they are going to be able to do for me or my little baby). But off we went. It's not that I thought there was anything they could do for me (or Aidan) per say, but I was afraid of going into labour and delivering my baby on my bathroom floor (which I've since learned is other people's reality...seriously, that must suck). As we drove there, I remember looking out at the blue sky and thinking "this might be the last day I'm pregnant". It all felt very surreal. We arrived at L&D triage around 4pm-ish, and waited, and waited. I ended up getting blood work and an internal exam (fun!) while continuing to pass large amounts of blood. They said I should stick around for an ultrasound. All this waiting time allowed me to sit and watch all the other pregnant ladies. There were some who were obviously ready to pop and were breathing through contractions holding on to their partners hands. There was a woman who was 23 weeks and feeling 'crampy'. She and her husband looked like they were dressed for a night out at the theatre, not an evening sitting in the hospital (perhaps they dressed up for the occasion?) There was a young woman (teenager?) who looked to be about 28-30 weeks who had to be told by a bunch of nurses and doctors that she needed to take it easy and give up working. She was upset because if she didn't work, she wouldn't make any money. Her mother kept reassuring her that things would be fine and that she wouldn't starve. I wished it was a restaurant and I could say "I'll have what she's having".

I sat there and silently cried. I kept getting pitying looks from the other mommies. One woman even said as she was leaving "I hope things work out for you". That was nice, but made me cry more.

I felt so out of place being there. I didn't know any of these women's health histories or pregnancy stories, but they sure as hell were likely in better straights then me and Aidan were. It also became clear to us after many, many hours of (stressful!) waiting that we were being passed over. Now, in medical terms this is called 'triaging' and as a nurse, I understand this reasoning. All of the other mommies there had babies that could be potentially saved, if they were indeed in labour or were having pregnancy problems. My little 20 week (PLUS ONE DAY...DON'T FORGET THE ONE DAY!!!) pregnancy would not be saved if something were to happen right that very second. But it hurt SO much to feel left behind. Like no one cared. Like no one understood that I was very very worried, very very scared, and very very attached to this little person. Like it was just their job.

Finally around MIDNIGHT, 8 hours after we arrived, once the waiting room had cleared out and all the 'real' mommies had been dealt with, we got sent down for our ultrasound. My bleeding had slowed somewhat by this point. However, once the ultrasound was fired up it was immediately clear that our poor baby was dealing with lack of fluid and space issues and that nothing had improved from our last ultrasound. They couldn't get a good picture of his head or torso, but he "appeared to be measuring on track". The same doctor who had done our disastrous ultrasound at 17 weeks was on call that night and came in to see me. He warned me again that things didn't look good and that "this might not end well" because these bleeding episodes are a "powerful uterine irritant". Translation: he expected me to go into labour at any time and that they would likely not be able to save my baby. On the up side my hemoglobin levels were just fine (no anemia for body must be keeping up with my losses), but he suggested that I start taking iron pills in preparation for further bleeding episodes. All in all, not very reassuring.

We left the hospital again, with Aidan still in my belly, and went home to cry ourselves to sleep.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The God post

Okay gentle readers. What I'm about to write about may shock you. Perhaps I will lose some of my 13 (!!) followers...I must confess to you, and I hope you will stick with me...but I don't believe in God.

*Cue lightening bolts and thunder*

The reason this is such a confession on my part is that it feels very rare in babylost land. I have read many blogs, and most writers seem to have an underlying belief, if not an outright proclamation about their belief in God. And when it becomes clear that they believe and I don't I feel somewhat of a disconnect. Because they view their babylost-ness in a way I never will.

I don't believe Aidan is in heaven. I don't believe I will ever see Aidan again. I don't believe he is watching me. I don't believe God is taking care of him for me. I don't believe he died for a reason. I just don't believe.

To explain my lack of faith I could point to my parents. Growing up, my Dad's family never attended church. My Dad told me he remembers once going with friends to Sunday school. His thoughts on it were "This is just like school. Why would I want to go to school on a Sunday?" He left and went home on his own. To this day, he continues to have no place in his life for all things religious. He doesn't dislike people who are religious...he just can't understand them. If you don't speak Swedish, you just don't understand Swedish conversation. And (to continue with my metaphor) he feels no need to learn Swedish. I suppose I'm much like him in this way.

My mother, is an aspiring yoga teacher. She's into all the breathing, meditating, and spiritual energy that is a big part of yoga. She did grow up going to church on occasion...but remembers it more as a place to sit and chill, and hang out with friends than as a religious experience. Today she views our life after death as more of a transfer of energy. I suppose I'm much like her in this way.

I'm cool with my lack of faith also perhaps because I'm Canadian. Not that being Canadian means you can't be religious...far from it. But being without faith in God here in Canada, especially in the city where I live, is never questioned. It's not seen as a problem. No one cares. I don't run across placards in my city announcing that the "end is near" and that I must "repent my sins". Local celebrities are not church elders. My whole community does not turn up at a church on a Sunday, necessitating that I go if I want to 'fit in'. We're a little more chill here in Canada about God. Maybe this is different in other parts of Canada...but I don't, and never have, lived there. Perhaps it is also because I live in a city where there are many people of different faiths and from different parts of the world. Being 'non religious' is just another way to be.

So, in case you were wondering. I was never baptised. I have only been to church a handful of times in my life and it's never been a spiritual experience for me. I had no intention of taking Aidan to church or baptising him. It says on my marriage certificate under religion "agnostic". My husband went so far as to say "atheist". We sleep in late Sunday mornings. I have no idea what John 12:4 refers to (if there is even a John 12:4?). I can eat meat (pork/beef/or fish) or not, any day of the week I choose.

I admit...there are something things about religion that are wonderful. Religious belief spawned many of the beautiful art pieces in history that I am mad for (Raphael, Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Bernini, Da Vinci, ah the list could go on forever!) . Churches are some of the most beautiful buildings on earth. But these are the outcomes of religion...not the religion itself. Maybe it would be nice to believe that when I talk out loud to Aidan (and I do, although always in private so I don't seem ya' know...crazy), that he could hear me. That he is 'watching' me and 'helping' to make good things happen for his mommy and daddy. I admit, I even tossed a prayer up to God/'whomever might be up there who could help' during my awful pregnancy with Aidan in the hopes that maybe a prayer might help save him (it didn't). Sometimes it would be nice to truly 'believe'. But I just can't get there.

And some things about an afterlife in which we 'know' one another are kind of creepy in their own way. Although it would be wonderful to 'reconnect' with those whom I love who have died, including Aidan, my Papa & Nana, and two of my could also be kind of awkward. For example, what would I say to my mother's father who was by all accounts a really shitty human being? "Um...nice to meet you. By the way, you know you royally screwed up your wife and kids lives there for could you just leave me alone while we're up here together. Thanks". Or, what if you met someone in heaven who, while a perfectly okay human being, you just didn't like. Such as a co-worker who drives you crazy. "Um...I know we had to sit beside each other every day in the typing pool...but I really don't want to associate with you up here in heaven for all eternity, m'kay?"

And if heaven exists, is Aidan up there right now missing me the way I'm missing him? That's an AWFUL thought. As a child, if my mom went somewhere, even out for an evening, I would worry about her and wish that she was home. I remember distinctly staring out my bedroom window, wondering where she was, and wishing she was there to tuck me in. Needing her, just because she was my mom. I would hate to think of a heaven where Aidan is aware that we aren't together. Because if he was aware enough to know that, then he would be aware enough to know that I'm his mommy and that he needs me. And that I'm not there.

So you may be wondering "what do you believe Emily?" (or perhaps you've reverted to referring to me in your head as 'that heathen').

I guess I go back to the principle of energy. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology state that energy is never created nor destroyed. It is just transferred. It becomes movement, heat, light, biological growth. The body that belonged to Aidan was cremated and the energy released became part of the surrounding world. His energy would have been small, because he was small, but it was there, it existed. I guess I believe that one day, the energy that I hold within my body will too become part of the surrounding world. I can even go one step further and think that maybe the energy that was him and the energy that was me could blend together. Our energies would not 'know' each other in the way humans are familiar with...but they may find that they work well together. Just as the molecules of sodium and chlorine find they are more stable when added together, or the way oxygen and hydrogen find a harmony that is water. My energy and Aidan's energy may find we 'fit'. Perhaps someday our energies may combine again to create something new...a molecule of a giant redwood tree, a whisker on a cat, a raindrop, a grain of sand, a cell in the body of new baby. That which was me will not 'know' Aidan, nor will he 'know' it is me...but we might get to reside together, brush up against each other again, somewhere, out there...sometime.

So gentle readers, if you do not share my outlook, if you feel somewhat of a disconnect, then that's okay. I understand. I'm glad that you can go on believing that you will see your baby again. Of course, I could be all wrong. If I end up in heaven, with angel wings on my back, and see Aidan flying towards me across the clouds yelling "Hey mom! You're finally here! Come watch me play!", I will try to remember to think back on all your babylost blogs and give a little smile "you were right" and race along joyfully after my son.

If you're willing to share, what do you believe? How does this affect your babylostness?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Poor me

Today started out sucking and I'm not sure it's going to get much better.

My poor-me reasons are as follows:

1. My husband is out of town at a stag weekend with the boys. This is the first night we'll have slept away from each other since Aidan died. Now, I'm pretty much always alone from Monday to Friday during the day when he is at work and have been since I started bed rest WAY back in January...but this is the first night I'll be without him. I'm not a HUGE fan of being home alone at night anyway. Not that I really think anything bad will's just nicer to have someone around, ya know? Plus I'm alone all week, and I look forward to the weekend when he's around...and this weekend he's not. But, all this aside, I'm glad that my guy had this weekend party to go to, and even more glad that he was looking forward to going. He deserves a fun weekend. I just would have liked one too.

2. You may be thinking "why don't you make plans Emily?". Tried. Didn't work out. My friend's birthday party was this weekend. Also out of town. I just couldn't bring myself to go to a pool party with a bunch of people I didn't know. I would love to see my friend, but at this point I still need to do quiet, undemanding things. Preferably with minimal people. Like walk on the beach, go the mall, watch a movie. Things that are simple, easy, and don't demand answers to questions like "So...what's new in your life?" or "Are you and your husband planning to have kids soon?".
Then, I tried to make plans with my usual friend who I've been seeing on a fairly regular basis, once a week since Aidan died. Unfortunately her 4 month old daughter got her immunizations yesterday and now has a slight fever, is cranky and needs her mommy. Boo. I wish Aidan needed his mommy.
I've attempted to call my mother to see if she wants to do dinner or something...she isn't home.
So here I sit, home alone.

3. It is really crummy weather out. Rainy and cool. Not June like at all. No good for sitting in the backyard trying to get a tan. Not good for going for an energizing walk. Good for lazing around and doing nothing.

4. I slept horribly last night. I'm probably running on 3 hours of sleep today. Why you ask? Good question. Probably a touch of anxiety about my husband being out of town, but mainly because I've started to think about going back to work. And, despite how lonely and bored I am at home...I'm DREADING it.
It might be different if I worked in a small office, with an office-y type job. Even better if it demanded little interaction with the public. If that was the case it might be nice to kind of slide back into my old life with old work friends and acquaintances. I'm sure it would be hard, don't get me wrong...but maybe it would be bearable.

Unfortunately for me, I'm a NICU nurse and now a dead baby mama. To go back to work means caring for other sick babies...some of whom will get well, and some of whom won't. I fear that I will feel pissed and angry caring for the babies who will get well (Why couldn't this have been our reality? An NICU stay, with Aidan coming home with us in the end? With all the bad news during my pregnancy that was what I was *hoping* for). Or, I fear that I will over identify with the parents who receive either terrible or fatal news. (Why does this have to happen to so many people? Why their baby? Why MY baby?)

The true fact is, I was actually having trouble 'handling' work for awhile before I got pregnant. My job is not only emotionally draining, but physically stressful as well. I work on my feet for long stretches. I don't have a 'scheduled' break time. I eat/drink/pee around the babies needs. I may have a long dull day where my patients sleep and I am there just to work the ventilator, check their vitals, monitor, feed, change them and give them their medicines...or I can have the day from hell where I will be racing around like mad trying to save a paitent's life and meet their needs, the physician's needs, the RTs needs, the parents needs, the unit's needs etc. And I never know which it will be until I walk in.

This 'work stress' had me in knots way before I even got pregnant. I was worried that my baby would have an outcome like the babies I care for (a fear completely founded in reality it turns out). I was also terribly worried about how my heart was going to handle the stress of being pregnant. Could I keep up with the pace at work, which is demanding at best? Could I keep on top of it all while I was not in peak physical condition? My heart has and always will be a huge concern of's not like everyone elses. It's structurally not the same. If any of you out there have a baby with a heart defect you'll know what I'm talking about. I worry it won't keep up with me and my demands.

So I worried about all this before becoming pregnant...worried A LOT. Like to the point I couldn't sleep...A LOT. It was becoming quite an issue...and then I ended up on bed rest at week 11 of my pregnancy. It's hard to admit now...but a not so small part of me was HAPPY to be on bed rest. Happy that I could let go of the demands of a stressful job and just sit around and wait for my baby to be born. Ha...what a joke it seems like now. If I hadn't needed to be on bed rest Aidan would (although one can never be sure) still be here. I would give ANYTHING right now to have to be at work, and almost 31 weeks pregnant, instead of 1/2 way through maternity leave and trying to decide what the hell I'm going to do with the rest of my life.

I've been thinking lately about why I had such trouble sleeping for all those months prior to, and during the early part of my pregnancy. I think I've come up with a sort of answer...but I'll have to formulate it more in my mind before posting it. Maybe I'll do that later's not like I have anything better to do.

Would you like to come join my pity party? What's bugging you? Pull up a chair at the poor me fest. Would you like some whine with that cheese?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Penalty Box

Since Aidan died I have had a feeling, quite strong at times, as if I am 'waiting' for something to happen. In my head I know why. My baby is dead, and the 'waiting' I'm feeling is my mind trying to wrap itself around the fact that I am no longer pregnant. No longer expecting. Aidan is in the past, not the future. The feeling has lessened somewhat as the weeks have progressed, but not entirely gone away. I still obsessively check my e-mail and snail mail. For what I'm not sure. It's not as if I'm expecting Aidan to show up in my inbox. I still have a vague feeling of 'missing something' (I am, my baby). I still run across old thoughts in my mind, like seeing a reminder for the Harry Potter movie in theatres in November and thinking "we'll need a babysitter so I can go see we won't".

In reality I KNOW my baby is dead. I'm not in denial...but sometimes I feel like my brain hasn't quite gotten around to sending a memo to all departments in order to update them on the situation. And each time a thought or a feeling comes up that was the old 'expecting' hurts all over again. This suprises me sometimes because in reality, we knew things were not looking good for our boy since week 17. I wonder shouldn't I 'get it' by now? Shouldn't it have sunk in?

Brian said to me yesterday "tomorrow will be 50 days". My head said "oh my GOD...that's like FOREVER!". Somehow 7 weeks + 1 day seems like less time than 50 days. Like if I was 7 weeks + 1 day pregnant that would be middle first trimester...long way to go...but that amount of time without Aidan seems like an eternity.

Sometimes it's as if I think Aidan's in a penalty box somewhere and instead of 2 minutes for roughing, he (and we) got 50 days for some infraction I have yet to be told about. Like he'll pop out one of these days and say "Hey mom! They let me out! Stupid ref says I'm finished with my penalty and we can get on with the rest of the game!".


It was a bad day today, and I feel like I struggled more. Missed him MORE, if that's possible.

So for my followers (all 10 of you!):
Do you struggle with the permanency of death? Do you find yourself thinking thoughts that were the 'old' you who was 'expecting'? How do you cope with these thoughts and feelings? What is your biggest struggle right now?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You'll shoot your eye out!

Shortly after Aidan died and I started obsessively reading babylost blog, I came across a post on Glow in the Woods entitled "It's all fun and games until the baby dies" and my heart screamed (oh wait...maybe that was actually me yelling out loud) YES! YES! That's exactly it! It IS all fun and games and baby showers and cute clothes and people rubbing your tummy and picking out room colours and planning life around a newborn and, and, and...until the baby dies and it all stops.

Well, at least it is for most people. But not me. Years before I even considered getting pregnant I knew I wouldn't be 'your average pregnant lady'. I didn't really want a baby shower. Even with a perfect pregnancy I wouldn't want to buy any baby stuff until AT LEAST 24 weeks (and I mean hats, no outfits, not even one of those cute frames to put your ultrasound photo in).

Reason #1: my rare heart defect which puts any pregnancy I have into the 'high risk' category. I knew I wouldn't be stopping by my local midwife's office...I'd be headed downtown straight to the high risk OB clinic and monitored by specialist (cuz you know, I'm a short bus kinda way).

Reason #2: I'm an NICU nurse. I know what can go wrong. What does go wrong. For those of you whose child/ren spent time in the NICU, I am that nurse. I am the one saying to you " your baby is stable..." with the unnecessary aside "for now". There was no way I was going to start getting 'excited' about being pregnant until there was something to get excited about. (Which I learned is easier to do in theory than practice).

Reason #3: Because of reasons 1 & 2, I figured really launching myself into that world of 'expecting' a take home baby would be like laughing in the face of fate. I was high risk, I was completely aware of what can go wrong during a pregnancy...therefore I better really watch it. No getting ahead of myself. No getting too excited. Can't count your chickens before they've hatched and all that (or your babies before they are born, at an appropriate gestational age, breathing and moving, apparently).

But, at the same time...even while being very cautious on the outside...I was planning it all out in my head on the inside. Racing ahead to being big and fat and pregnant, with a healthy baby as a result. Planning what the room will look like, planning the things I'm going to do with my baby, planning what I was going to do during my maternity leave, planning upcoming holidays with the know all the fun stuff.

And when Aidan was born and died, it was like I was suddenly Ralphie from "A Christmas Story". Shocked that his mom was right. "Holy crap...I did shoot my eye out!" My conscience said it could happen. Don't get too excited, don't plan too far in advance, bad things can still happen..."You'll shoot your eye out!" Outwardly I conformed to my conscience's wishes. I was "good", I didn't voice too many expectations, didn't get too worked up...but inside I was along with my Red Rider BB Gun, trying to ignore the huge frickin' warning signs (blood! even more blood! shitty ultrasounds! bad news!). "You'll shoot your eye out!"

And now I'm sad and alone and sometimes reality still punches me in the gut.

"Holy baby DIED".

And unlike Ralphie's glasses, this one can't be fixed.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us.

Yep...Brian and I have been married two years today. It's kind of bittersweet.

I should be 30 weeks + 1 day pregnant. This was the week I was hoping to get to in order to give Aidan a good chance. We didn't know how undeveloped his lungs were going to be (and they might not have worked even if we'd got to full term...amniotic fluid's not just the pee your baby swims's important!), but I felt that if I could get him to this point, with multiple rounds of steroids...maybe he'd be okay.

But here we are...almost 7 weeks without him. Wish he was here to celebrate with us.

Happy Anniversary Brian. You are still my sunshine.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

He counts

In the weeks since Aidan died, I have read many babylost blogs (actually I started reading these before he died...pretty much since our disastrous 17 week appointment, when I wanted to get a heads up on how bad being a babylost mama was...and let me tell you...the blogs didn't sell it short)

Many themes are common, but probably the most universal is how babylost parents want others to remember their lost children. They want people to see their babies as people who mattered, people who counted, people who took up time and space. How it warms the babylost parents' hearts to hear you speak of their little one, especially when it is done spontaneously and naturally. "Remember when you were pregnant with (insert dead baby's name here), and we went for dinner at that restaurant...the food was great". Or "(Dead baby) had the cutest (hair/eyes/nose/toes/pretty much any body part)", or the best one "I really miss (dead baby), I wish I had got to see him/her grow up". The need for others to remember and include our babies is a deep seated ache.

However, many babylost find that others do not bring up their dead children as often as they would like. Many are hurt and angered by this, as though the dead child doesn't rate a mention. Although my loss is still pretty fresh and people are still getting in touch with us to say "I'm sorry"....I'm aware that pretty soon this will likely peter out and people will go about their business and expect me to as well. I'm also aware that this is going to hurt like hell, and that I will likely have to hold back from screaming "I'M NOT FUCKING OKAY" when, in six months (or 10 years) someone innocently asks me "How are you".

But as a babylost mama, I wonder sometimes how I can I get angry at other people for not talking about Aidan or 'not counting him', when I fear I do that in my head sometimes. How can I fault people for not counting me as a mother (no "Happy Mother's Day!") when I'm not sure I really feel like one. Sometimes, I worry, that EVEN I don't give Aidan as much 'credit' as I would a living child. For an example, see my previous post on his name. As much as I'm glad we named him Aidan, sometimes I'm angry that we 'used up' my favourite boy name and now I can't ever use it again for when my 'real' child named Aidan comes along. (You know...the one that lives). Or, when my husband said tonight "I'm going to be 32 this year" and my thoughts immediately go to "I wanted to have a baby before you turned 32 and I turned 28" and then I feel awful and admonish myself "We DID have a baby before then...he just died is all". Or when I think of our friends who will both have babies in 2010 and think "Wish we had a 2010 baby" and then remember "We DID have a 2010 baby...but he died". Or wonder if I can reuse the really awesome ideas I had for a baby boy's room if I ever get lucky enough to have that kosher in babylost land? Would that be too much like negating his existence?

When I was pregnant and we knew we would likely lose him, I remember saying that even if I go on to have ten more children (and I'd be happy with just one), I'll always feel like I should have eleven. But, I worry that as time goes by, will I see Aidan as less...will I feel with 10 other living children that I should have had 10 and a half?

Sometimes I worry that I will come to view him as 'less' because he was premature. I know I've struggled with seeing my pregnancy as less 'valid' than other women's because I delivered at 23 weeks, and because I spent much of it on my couch. I never got swollen ankles from standing too long...I never got that sore achy back from running around while pregnant...never really felt Aidan move all that much because of his lack of fluid. I was pregnant...but I didn't feel I really got the 'full experience'. Kinda like saying you've been to Disneyworld, but never went on any of the rides. Although it hurt like hell and was scary, I've come to appreciate my un-medicated, rushed delivery...somehow that has helped with my own validation of my pregnancy. ("That ring of fire thing they talk about...totally true!" or "Yep, I could really tell when it was time to push...just like on TV!") So, if it took a 'normal' delivery (and I use that term loosely), complete with war wounds, to make my pregnancy real, I wonder, will my love for Aidan seem diminished if (dare I say when?) I have a healthy baby?

Last weekend, I was talking to my cousin who had a miscarriage a few years ago at 8 weeks. She said to me "I was so attached to this little heartbeat on an ultrasound machine...I can't imagine how hard it has been losing a little baby". While I'm really appreciative of her trying to comprehend the magnitude of my loss, people's need to compare always brings up a squeamish feeling in me. Like "would I have been sadder if he had died at full term?" or "would I have been less sad if he'd died at 17 weeks?" I don't know, but I'd like to think my love for him and my sadness upon losing him was not contingent upon how long he was with me...but is that realistic? I might have been more disappointed?...more shocked?...MORE devastated?...if he'd died at full term. I might have been able to move on?...get back on track?...feel less sad?...if he'd been a miscarriage. I don't makes my guts hurt to try to imagine something else...I can only feel what he was.

And my feeling...which I hope to hold on to, which I need to hold on that he mattered.

He counts.

So, since I got a rousing response of 3 (!!!) last time I'll ask another question.

Do you worry sometimes that your lost children will fail to count, even in your own eyes (and hearts)? How do you hang on to them, validate them, without 'clinging' to to what is gone? Does this post resonate with you (or am I a horrible person for questioning my own son's worth)?

Friday, June 4, 2010


Aidan. Oh, how I love your name. Not just because it belongs to you, but because I really LOVE it. I love the way it sounds, soft, but not feminine. I love the way it looks written out so nicely with your middle name William and your last name (which starts with a B). I love the way it has five letters just like your daddy's name and my name. We are the 5 letter family. I love that it is Gaelic and means little fire. And it MUST be spelled Aidan with the AN ending...anything else is just the Westernized version (Aiden, Ayden, Aidden etc.) I never even cared that it became so popular. I loved it before Aidan/Aiden/Ayden shot up the charts, and other people were just catching up with my good taste. (Oh and by the way, when you hit spell check on blogger, only Aidan doesn't get highlighted as the incorrect spelling!)

And, for me to say that I love Aidan as a boy's name best of all is saying something. See, I'm kind of a name connoisseur. A name snob actually. I personally own upwards of 6 or 7 different baby name books, and I regularly check others out of the library and stand around reading them in book stores. I pour over them. I make lists from them. I say the names out loud to get a feel for them. I have loved names and their meanings since I was a kid. At the age of 12 I imagined myself with 12 kids, mostly so I could pick out 12 awesome first and middle names. Some of those names I still like.

But since about the age of about 20, Aidan has been my favourite boy's name. And I was SO happy when Brian agreed that he liked it too. We had settled on Aidan for our first boy's name YEARS before we even wanted kids of our own.

And now he's dead.

When we found out our little baby would likely not survive, I had wanted to give it another name than the ones we had originally picked out for a boy and a girl. When I told this to Brian he got upset. He felt that this baby was special and to deny it the name we had chosen would be tantamount to saying it wasn't. My reason for wanting to change the name however, wasn't because I felt that the baby wasn't special. Of COURSE the baby was special and loved and wanted, but I had plans for a baby named Aidan, and they didn't include him dying. I had imagined reading to my little boy Aidan, taking my Aidan to school, writing his name on family Christmas cards, yelling "Aidan!!! Get down here now!!" when he was a teenager. The Aidan in my head was a LIVING child. To have that name attached to a dead child would be like rubbing salt in a wound, not only would it hurt that my baby was dead, but saying his name would be like mocking all that I had dreamed of.

We hadn't even really come to a conclusion about this (at least I didn't feel that we had), when I went into labour. A few moments after I pushed him out, one of the nurses asked "What's his name?" Brian, only pausing for a second responded "His name is Aidan"...and so it was. And it felt right. He was our first boy. He was special and deserving of the name. The name we planned on giving him. He even looked the way I imagined him. Just like a little Brian.

But, it still hurts that the name I loved for so long belongs to the child I'll never see again. I not only want my baby back, I want back the dreams I had for my child named Aidan. I can almost understand now why, historically, it was common to give a second or even third child the same name as one who has died. For example, in my family tree there are single families with multiple children named James. The first James died and then the parents had another baby boy...who they named James. Perhaps it was a way to keep the name alive in the family tree to be given to future generations, perhaps it was a way to honour a lost child...or maybe James' mother just couldn't stand not being able to say his name out loud on a daily basis.

The name we had for a girl (which we've also had picked out for years) is special and beautiful too. It's much less common than Aidan. It's unique. I've never met another person with this name and I like that about it. However, just after I found out I was pregnant close friends of ours were listing out the names they had pulled from a baby book, and our girls name was on their list. These friends are currently pregnant...with a girl...and due any day. I'm worried they have selected our girls name for their child. And not to sound like a crazy grieving mother (which I am...), but if those friends use that name, I'm not sure I could ever speak to them again. If Aidan had lived, it wouldn't have mattered so much...they could have it...but would just feel like they'd stolen it.

Since my baby boy took all my Aidan dreams with him, I just can't lose all the dreams I had for a baby girl too. I've lost so much...I can't lose anymore.

And now, since I have a little following of 6 (!!!) people, I'm going to post a question, a là Glow in the Woods style.

If you've lost a child did you give them the name you had originally planned? Did you regret giving the baby this name? If you plan to have more children, how will you decide what to name them?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How it all went down (Part 8) "The News"

Okay folks. If you are like me, you skip right to the part on people's blogs where you find out 'what the hell happened'. So here it is.

March 8th (or 9th or 10th, not exactly sure) 2010
After our appointment the previous week with my OB, Dr. S, I went home feeling pretty upset about his assessment of my heart's ability to deal with labour. I kept thinking about my husband's and my mom's comments that "I was getting the best care". I finally came to the conclusion that if I felt this bad about it, then it was not "good care". I planned to discuss my options with the cardiologist the following week.

And, speaking of that appointment the following week...I wasn't totally comfortable with my OB's assessment that the continued bleeding I had been experiencing for WEEKS now was "just the clot bleeding out". It seemed wrong somehow. I was still confident that everything was okay, because we still had a good heart beat every time we checked with the Doppler (which I did on a daily basis), but I just wanted an ultrasound to confirm it. So I called up the nurse at the clinic and asked about getting one. She responded that if my doctor thought everything was okay then it probably was. My response "I know he's not concerned, but I'm concerned". So she talked to the nurses at the fetal medicine unit and they agreed to do an ultrasound when I came in on March 11th. Secretly I was pleased, not just because this was a way to ease my fears and make sure everything was okay, but also because maybe they would be able to see if my baby had boy or girl parts.

Oh, how I wish the next appointment ended with "well everything looks good and you're having a boy!". Oh, how I wish.

March 11th 2010 (a.k.a. Doom's Day) 17 weeks and 4 days.
We arrived for the appointment early and had to wait around a bit. Brian and I had hoped that we'd get to see the baby in the ultrasound and then he was planning to go to work in the afternoon while I stayed for my cardiac ECHO. Best laid plans...

So the nice nurse Kristie, who I had met at my last appointment at the fetal medicine unit took us in and asked us how things were going. I told her about the continued bleeding and that I just wanted to make sure things were okay. She completely agreed that I definitely needed to be followed up. So up I went on the ultrasound table, and on went the (nicely warmed) goo. We had asked ahead of time if Kristie could see boy or girl parts could she let us know.

Then she started to roll the wand around...and things got quiet. As I was laying there I saw her looking really hard at the screen, and I saw Brian trying to take video of our baby with his camera. I kept waiting for Kristie to say how cute our baby was like at our last ultrasound, but she stayed quiet. I just thought she was looking for the sex. Any second she was going to say "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl"...but the seconds got longer and longer.

When she finally spoke, it was not with joy or was with grave concern. She said "Emily...have you noticed any fluid leaking...because I'm not seeing a lot of fluid around your baby". I managed to say "No, but with all the blood that's come out, it's hard to tell". Then Brian, who had been standing at the end of the exam table sat down really hard in one of the chairs and got really quiet. Kristie left to go and get the doctor and Brian started rubbing my ankle. I think it was around this point that I started to cry.

You know it's bad when the doctor comes rushing in to see you not 5 minutes later. He gets a hold of the ultrasound wand and starts getting images of his own. What he tells us is not good. My placenta has what looks like clots all through it. Rather than looking like a pancake, nicely tucked up against the wall of the uterus, my placenta looks like a muffin top. The placenta is so large it seems to be taking up the space the baby is in. The only good news is that baby seems to be growing appropriately and is getting good blood flow. Otherwise our hopes of having a healthy baby have just plummeted. Basically I'm now at risk of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), abruption and fetal demise. None of this is good news.

The rest of the afternoon was spent getting a pap test done to check for leaking amniotic fluid (they couldn't find any...but I'm betting now there just wasn't any to find, it was all gone by then). I also had blood work done to rule out any clotting disorders which are apparently associated with the type of condition my placenta seemed to have developed. The fetal medicine specialist we were dealing with went and spoke to another doctor who is a placental specialist and he agreed it looked like a "Breus mole" (Google it...there is almost NOTHING about it on the web...although we later found out it's also called a subchorionic thromohematoma).

Before we left at the end of the day, I asked Dr. R. if we had any reason to hope. He said "well...these things are like red flags...we'll have to keep a close eye on it"...but he didn't sound hopeful at all.

In all of this I missed my cardiology appointment. When I finally saw her at the end of the day, Dr. S. was very nice and very human and agreed that my ECHO could wait for a few more weeks until things were more settled. I was glad of this. All we wanted to do was go home and cry.

So we did. Lots. We both cried so much we threw up.

So while our son actually died almost 6 weeks later, we psychologically started grieving him from this point. Grieving the loss of a healthy pregnancy (not that it had been so wonderful up to this point...but we had hopes it would improve) and preparing to possibly grieve the loss of our baby. Their was so little fluid during the ultrasound they couldn't even tell if it was a boy or girl. We didn't even know which we were preparing to grieve the loss of.

But, I'm so glad we got those extra few weeks. Most importantly it allowed us to see him in a more developed form, so that we could see just how much he looked like Brian. It warms my heart to see his beautiful photos. I'm glad we got those. Extra time allowed me to get a bit of a pregnant belly going, which was really cute. It also gave me hope that my heart could tolerate a full term pregnancy (if and when) it happens for us. And, most important to the rest of our lives is that extra time allowed me to get past the 20 week mark, so that I was guaranteed the 17 week maternity leave, which I'm now using to get back into shape and get a handle on how I'm going to get through the rest of my life.

Without my son.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lost Babies

I missed him a lot today. We finally got our photos back from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and there are a few really nice ones in there. Some unfortunately look a little over-photoshopped. I know they had to do quite a bit of retouching because Aidan was quite bruised, but some of the photos don't even really look like him.

It's wonderful and sad all at the same time to see my boy again. I wish I could hold him. When I think of him lying beside me in the hospital, wrapped up as we were in blankets and sheets, all I can remember is how cold he was. I could feel his cool little body lying beside me, even through all the materials seperating us. Funny too, how even that memory of the coldness is comforting. Almost like how you would remember a cool cloth on your head when you were feverish.

But it's sad not to remember your child feeling warm.

Some days I feel hopeful for our future and that we may one day have a baby to bring home, and other days, like today, it just feels like it's so far it may never happen. I'm just so sad. So sad all the time. Reading about other babylost mamas is comforting in a way...but when I stumble across other blogs where women have lost 2 and 3 babies, or can't get pregnant, or get pregnant and have early miscarriages, it just all seems so unfair.

What's also weird is that it does seem unfair, still, after millions of years of human evolution. When countless babies have been lost in all stages of development, where mothers and fathers may have buried not one, not two, not three, but ALL of their children. Where graves of babies and children were more common than graves of old people. In my genealogical research I have come across scads of near and distant family members who lost babies and children early on in life. It was the rare family before the turn of the 20th century that DID NOT lose at least one child (my 2x great grandmother was one of the lucky few, all 12 of her children born from 1894-1917 lived to adulthood!!). Here in 21st century North America, however, we are shocked when a pregnancy doesn't work out. Yet, if you asked women in many other parts of the world today if they had any dead babies, I'm sure you would find many many more babylost than you would find in the average North American population.

Dead babies are sadly common.

Yet we are all surprised when it happens to us.

Everday, there are millions of broken hearted mommies and daddies worldwide that cry for their lost babies. And my tears mingle with theirs.

"I miss you Aidan. Mommy loves you".