Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Messenger

Got a letter from a messenger
I read it when it came
It said that you were wounded,
you were bound and chained

You had loved and you were handled
You were poisoned, you were pained
oh no, oh no -
you were naked, you were shamed

You could almost touch heaven
right there in front of you
liberty just slipped away on us
now there's so much work to do

Oh the door that closes tightly
is the door that can swing wide
oh no, oh no -
Not expecting to collide

For a minute I let my guard down
not afraid to be found out
Completely forgotten
what our fears were all about

oh no, oh no -
There's no need to be without

There's a chance and I will take it
this desire I can't kill
Take my heart, please don't break it
I will crawl to your foothill

I'm frightened but I'm coming,
please baby, please lay still
oh no, oh no -
Not coming for the kill
oh no, oh no -
Not coming for the kill
oh no, oh no -
Not coming for the kill

~Daniel Lanois

Friday, May 23, 2014

Breath of Life

"Tunuri then heard a singing voice, "Hello, Tunuri! I am Brother Wind. Because the Sun is my father too, you and I are brothers. In fact, I am the eldest brother of all beings, and I give the breath of life to all children. When I blow strongly, I move the sky, and when I blow gently, you can hear me whispering. I am here, Tunuri, whenever you need me. Just take a deep breath, and I am with you."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


My doctor called this afternoon and said that my HCG levels have fallen in 2 days which confirms that this is in fact a miscarriage. Fortunately no medical intervention is required and my body should settle down in the next few days. We are very grateful for all the support we've received throughout the last week (and the last two years). I look forward to regaining my health and my strength in the coming weeks. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Busy Hands, Quiet Heart

Not long ago I took up knitting. I'd like to one day make blankets for stillborn babies. It's a vague plan and I'm mostly just content to learn to knit. In his photos, Toren is wrapped in very ugly blankets. They're clearly hospital blankets. They're green and yellow. Not even blue. I have heard of stillborn babies being reduced to genderlessness by hospital staff. Someone did it to Toren in the weeks following his birth. "It". Not "he". It hurt me deeply on his behalf. Probably Toren's blankets were just what was available at the time and in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. But he deserved soft, hand-knitted blankets - blue ones - as much as any other newborn baby. Maybe more so. That was his one opportunity to be pampered and be treated like the treasured newborn baby boy that he was.

I've been stuck at home since Friday (except for a drive on Sunday) and during that time I've been doing lots of knitting. I started a pink blanket with some very finicky yarn indeed. I don't pay close attention when I knit and the yarn kept getting into knots and the result was a hand-crafted disaster. I kept referring to it as the World's Worst Blanket. After one and a half balls of this nonsense, I decided to undo it and start over. It's the right thing to do and it feels good to finally be doing it.

After writing what I wrote yesterday, I got tearful and felt pretty fragile for the rest of the day. As the lab technician took my vial of blood, I thought - the answer is in there. But actually it's in tomorrow's blood sample too. They need to compare them. My doctor should have the results by Thursday. After what my body has been through in the last couple of days, I have almost no hope left of a happy outcome for this pregnancy. I am grateful that overall, it has not been too painful. I have had some uncomfortable moments but I seem to be managing fine with hot packs and Tylenol. There has also been some fear, but with support from friends, I'm getting through it.

We've been trying since our daughter was about a year old to give her a sibling. She'll be 6 this summer. For the last year and a half, we've been trying to give her a living sibling. We do have fertility issues but those have been addressed relatively easily compared to what many people have to go through. I take a pill, it regulates my cycle, we conceive naturally. After Toren was born, we couldn't even talk about it for a year. Trying to conceive - or "ttc" on the online support forums. I was just too afraid. And then hope, and a chance at love and joy, made us decide to keep trying. Just recently I had been thinking, maybe that ship has sailed and we need to start accepting our family as it is. And then it happened. And now this is happening.

There is a great push for the replacement child when you have a stillborn baby. It's an awful idea - that anybody can be replaced - but that is the messaging out there. The so-called "rainbow baby". A rainbow after the storm. I have felt like everyone is secretly just waiting for me to have another baby. Then they can focus on a new baby and forget about the one who died. People who take no part in our grief think they are entitled to ask if we're going to have another baby. The world does not understand about the Toren-shaped hole in our hearts that can never be filled. If we were lucky enough to be able to have another baby, that child would rightly belong here as much as anyone else. He or she would just be their own little wonderful person. Joy alongside the joy of our daughter, joy alongside the sadness of losing our son.

This morning I woke up early and knitted for 4 hours straight (!) while Pete and our daughter slept in. I liked keeping my hands busy. I've also taken up small sewing projects. One day at the library we found a book entitled Sewing For Kids and we've been making our way through some of the projects. I do look forward to getting out again, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. But for now, I am resting. Resting my body, resting my heart. But not resting my hands.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I was very nervous calling my doctor's office this morning but I needn't have been. The receptionist was so kind and compassionate. I was not worried about her in particular, just the healthcare system in general. Doctor is not in today so after some discussion I've been sent for bloodwork to check my HCG levels. I'm waiting here now, and will return Wednesday morning to see if they've gone up or down. She had offered to get me an ultrasound but I might not be far enough along to detect a heartbeat. This seems like the most sensible option, and the most gentle emotionally. Friday and Saturday were horrible days but today I am calmer and feeling stronger mentally ( - physically things seem to be continuing steadily). I don't want to do anything that will mess with my serenity, as my friend Jess would say. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

More Tears

I haven't blogged much lately because so many thing are happening so fast. A few weeks ago I decided to do a pregnancy test (this is where all my unwritten blog posts about infertility should be linked) and to my complete surprise, it was positive. My first thought was - a faulty test! So I did two more. In the days following I would wake up and do tests until I thought ok, enough. Appointments were booked. Tentative, small plans were made. Not for bringing a baby home, but for a potential pregnancy. I found myself able to participate more in the community. The library, ballet class were not as torturous as usual. I attended a child's birthday party. I sat with friends and acquaintances at a busy café and didn't feel like running out of there. I thought, maybe, maybe I can re-enter this world that I was kicked out of when Toren died. It was like a strange magic that I tried not to judge too much, just experience. Friends got excited, bereaved friends cautiously so. If I was not exactly hopeful, I was definitely hoping. Things can change so fast.

And then they change again.

Yesterday morning the bleeding started. I felt panicky and distraught. Friends shared with me their stories of bleeding throughout their successful pregnancies and that this does not necessarily mean it's over. I never had any bleeding during any of my three previous pregnancies, not even for my miscarriage, so this is all new territory for me. As the day wore on, things continued steadily but I clung on to hope. Today, there is no change except for now there is some very mild cramping. I will call my doctor on Monday. A friend (with unfortunately lots of experience with miscarriages) suggested I go to the ER so they can confirm whether this is in fact a miscarriage. I decided against it because it would just be too harsh for me. This is a gentler, more peaceful way to go, whatever the outcome.

Obviously I am upset. Peter is upset though he hides it better than I do. We are still in wait and see mode but it's not looking good. We did tell our daughter the good news when we first found out. I was only about 5 weeks along but after much discussion, we decided that she should know what is going on with our family. She should feel the joy and excitement of good news, and share in the sadness when it's not so good. When something sad happens in our family, she is supposed to feel sad about it. She is entitled to her sadness just as we are entitled to ours. I don't know if she fully understands what is happening now but we've tried to explain. She has seen me cry and is trying to comfort me and I think this might be distracting her from her own feelings about it. She does sense things before we explain them, and it's better for her to hear it from us than from other people, or make up her own ego-centric story about it. Little kids take credit for things, and they also take blame.

Tomorrow is Mothers Day. I had already decided weeks ago that we would skip it this year. She is not in school and therefore is not having it forced on her. I am incredibly lucky that I get to celebrate being her mother every single day that we are both alive. Being Toren's mother has been such a struggle for me, the most difficult thing I've ever endured. I need to honour that on my own terms, in my own way. Although Mothers Day was started with good intentions, it has become more of a forced happiness occasion where no space is made for bereaved mothers, those grieving their mothers, those who did not get the nurturing, loving mother they deserve and those who have been unable to conceive a much-wanted child. I'm probably leaving people out of that list but generally, people for whom "motherhood" is not something easily celebrated at a brunch.

The last week or two have been tragic for two families that we know. I think about them constantly. I can't imagine facing what they are facing. Tears for us, tears for them. Sometimes I feel like I will drift away on a sea of tears.

I didn't leave the apartment yesterday and I probably won't today. Tomorrow, if I'm physically able, we will take a drive somewhere, and spend some time in nature.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Dinner Out With Friends

Our daughter was colouring and doing the activities on her placement, then decided to flip it over and do her own drawing.