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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Alexandra's 8 month birthday passed by slowly and lazily, as Dayne and I hung out with the dog and played webkinz. I didn't write on that day for the first time and I feel guilty. I have not forgotten my little girl, she has not gotten less important, but I find myself at a loss for words these days. I'm at that place that I believe is referred to as "Acceptance" in the Kubler-Ross model.
And yet, I am still sad. If I can accept what happened, you might think that the pain would lessen, just a little bit, but it really hasn't.
Alexandra would have been 8 months old and her first Christmas would have just passed, making way for her first New Year's, and her first Easter and then her first birthday.
At midnight tonight, I will take a minute to think of Alexandra. To be glad that the worst year of my life is over and hope that this new year makes way to positive things in my daughter's memory and in my family's life.
I am hoping all of my followers and fellow loss moms will have a peaceful and gentle New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why Hold On?

There are some things that people should let go of and move on from, losing a child is not one of those things.
I made it through Christmas with only one offensive confrontation about my daughter. To be honest, I didn't think there would be any. I knew that there were a few family members that really get how I'm feeling, and they would incorporate Alexandra into my day in a gentle and kind way. I thought that everyone else would ignore how hard this day must be for us and pretend that there wasn't a member of our family missing...lost.
I did get "How are you doing?" questions, with the look and implication of "No, but really..." And I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a few others that are anonymously following along with my story who were kind and thoughtful in our conversations.
The bad moment is what leads me to write this blog. The moment where I thought my heart might jump up my throat and out my mouth, the moment where I felt I might involuntarily create a scene, where my words may fall out of my mouth in a way that I couldn't control, in a way that would hurt someone irreparably. That moment began simply enough, with a comment about not understanding "that whole thing" which I stupidly thought was a comment of ignorance in regards to what exactly happened to my daughter. I took the bait and inquired what the questioner meant.
That was when the REAL questions started, "Why are you holding onto this?" "Why are you doing things to remember?" "Why haven't you let it go" no amount of explaining was going to make this stop. "But WHY are you doing these things?" "I just want to UNDERSTAND" and then the point was driven home, as this member of my family, this person that I was once close to, grabbed my wrist, flipped my arm over, gawking at my tattoo and proclaiming that I am just being excessive.
My attempts to be diplomatic and respectable were gone at that point, and as I said "Remembering my daughter is EXCESSIVE!?" that family member was swooped away by what I can only describe as his guardian angel.
I just want to be clear to anyone that has a hard time understanding why *I* deal with my loss the way that I do.
I was 37 and a half weeks pregnant when I lost my daughter. I was just weeks away from my due date. My daughter's room was set up (still is) my daughter's dresser was filled with beautiful little outfits (still is) Everything was put together, my bags were packed and I was ready to go to the hospital and come home with a baby, a living, breathing, kicking, crying, baby girl, whose name we had chosen to be Alexandra Elizabeth Monique, after her two great grandmothers.
I had hopes and plans and dreams for my little girl. I made promises to her about how her life would be and how I would be as a mother to her.
I had plans.
And they were yanked away from. Stolen out from under me. I was robbed of holding my baby while she kicked and squirmed. I was robbed of looking into my little girls eyes, soothing her when she was crying, of showing her off, of dressing her up, of seeing her personality. I didn't get to meet her, face to face, before she left me, all I have are my thoughts of how she might be, my memories of her moving in my womb and of holding her in my arms, knowing she would never open those beautiful little eyes and look at her mommy.
 She was real, she is loved and she is missed.
I understand that not everyone copes with their grief the same way that I do and I can respect that. I only ask for that same respect in return.
And so what if I write about my daughter? And so what if I talk about her? And how does it hurt anyone else that I got a memorial tattoo for her? Or that I incorporate her into things?
I understand that everyone has an opinion, and I can respect that too...but those people must also understand and respect, that I can think their opinion is stupid, uninformed and ignorant.
I understand that people that haven't been in this place don't always understand how I feel and what I am going through and I am happy to spread the knowledge and understanding. However, you haven't walked in these shoes, you haven't been where I am and unless you have lost a child, back off and don't presume to understand what I am going through and how my actions and feelings are right or wrong.
A closed mind cannot absorb knowledge and a closed mind combined with an open mouth is the best way to make yourself look like an ass.
I will hold onto my daughter because she's my daughter, and whether anyone else in this world finds her important or worthy of their memory, she has touched my life in a way that no one else ever could and her gift to this world is greater than any gift a living person with a hurtful nature could give, and that is reason enough for me to keep her alive in my heart and the hearts of everyone that will listen.
There are some things that people should let go of and move on from and mean and hurtful people and comments are just a few of those things.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Tomorrow will be a busy day in this house so I am making this post today. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I would like to wish all of my fellow angel moms a gentle and peaceful holiday season. And those going through their very first Christmas without your baby, like me, I doubt this will be easy, but when you are feeling really sad, please remember that you are not alone and that I will be thinking of all of you and your precious angels.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Wish

Christmas is less than a week away. I am unsure of how I will feel that day. I already have plans to stop at the cemetery after we open gifts to drop off Alexandra's "first Christmas" bear that I bought. I get a lump in my throat thinking about that day. It makes me sad that we won't be showing off our little princess that day...Instead, I will be showing off my memorial tattoo.
It's hard and we are sad over here. But, for reasons Dayne related, we can't cancel Christmas this year and stay in bed...I wish we could.
I posted last month about my Christmas wish. I asked for people to do random acts of kindness and send them along to us. I am touched by the response we've gotten, some perfect strangers have done amazing random acts in memory of our Alexandra.
At this time, I wanted to bring it up again, so those people that missed that post can see one or those that have forgotten can remember!
Thank you all for your support and kind words...I didn't realize when I started this blog that there would be so many kind people that would offer their support. It has really touched my heart.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazing

This morning I had an amazing moment.
Dayne is sick. We were up most of the night so our morning got started a little late. Between getting some cleaning done, tending to this poor sicky and trying to take care of myself, I have been a little bit busy. Much later than usual I climbed into the shower. We have a window in our shower, that should be opened to let the steam out whenever you shower, but I usually forget.
Today was one of those rare days that I remembered to open the window. Now, perhaps this is too much sharing, but as I was bent over shaving my legs, something blocked some of the sun coming in the window. I glanced up, expecting...well, expecting nothing really, I wasn't even really aware of the glancing, it was basically an instinct, something blocked the light, so I looked up. When I looked up, I saw something amazing.
It was a bird tail. I gasped and took a closer look. The bird was moving around, it had landed silently on the house outside the window. Maybe the shower steam had drawn it's attention, maybe it was just a total fluke, but there it was. I moved quietly to see it's head, the bird was brown and I was thinking to myself, "there's no way..." But as I saw the birds face, I realized...this wasn't just any old bird. This was a hawk! This doesn't make sense to me, being that it's December and hawks migrate in the fall, but this was a hawk, I am positive of it.
As I stood there, it flew to the neighbor's roof and perched. I grabbed my glasses to get a really good look at it, but it was gone when I turned back around. Completely silent, it graced my day and completely silent, it flew away...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cemetery

Since we buried Alexandra there have been eight other babies buried around her. Eight. That's one baby a month. Whenever we see a new mound of dirt, Steve and I always do the same thing. We both see it, there's a split second of silence...shock that there's another baby, how can there be another baby? It's not fair! Then we both saw "Oh" and we always stop at the grave to acknowledge this new baby, to acknowledge the loss, to remember the baby, to have a moment of complete silence for the baby's family.
Something else I noticed was the lack of footprints in the snow. The snow is fairly deep, and you can really tell who is visiting and who is not. Not just in the children's area though. I can't help but wonder if these people are never visited, or if it's just in the winter. And if it is in the winter, why do people think it's ok to leave their loved one all winter and visit them all summer? I mean, if they can somehow know that we are there, don't they wonder why they aren't important enough in the winter?
Maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Dayne has been asking and asking about the Christmas tree. I have been putting it off for a while. I had planned on putting it up the first day of December, but it's just seemed like such a sad thing to do. To hang Alexandra's little angel kitty, to really face that fact that that's it for Alexandra's Christmas stuff, there will be no gifts under the tree for her, there will be no "My first Christmas" outfits, gifts, pictures and ornaments. None of that. It's hard.
But the tree had to be put up because I don't get to cancel Christmas. And I had to go to the toy store and buy gifts for other kids and see all those cute little girl things. We included Alexandra in gift buying by purchasing an angel star and marking it as from Alexandra. There is still time and we plan to donate some more things in her name, which help. And we got her stocking, handmade by a dear friend. It even has her name on it. Which we are hoping to be able to fill up with the random acts of kindness that everyone has done in her honor.
So, while it was difficult, we got to the tree last night. The first ornament I put on the tree was Alexandra's. I put it right at the top, in the front, just down from the tree topper angel. It's the first thing I see every time I look at the tree. It's sad, but at the same time, it's nice to know she's being included.




 

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Awkward Moment

So, Steve's friend had a housewarming party on the weekend. I don't normally see these people, they are Steve's pool friends and they only really get together to play pool. So, this is the first time I have met most of these people's significant others. I was nervous about going, but put on my happy face and off we went.
Everything started out fine, we had a tour, got our drinks and sat around in the kitchen. Everyone was really nice, the small chat was great. As the night went on people started to realize we would have to go soon, a few made comments about where Dayne was, the few that I assume knew what happened with Alexandra.
But then, that moment happened. The awkward moment. The girlfriend of a friend of Steve's commented, "I guess you have to go pick up the kids" after we said that we would be leaving in a few minutes. We both caught the comment, "pick up the kidS" Plural. We shot a glance at each other. I begged Steve, in my head "Please just say yes, please say yes, please don't make this THAT moment, we've gotten so far without having this moment. PLEASE, just smile and nod yes." Steve was not prepared for this moment, he had not thought about it like I had. He replied "Uhhhh, yeah, we have to go pick up the boy" to which this poor girl got a puzzled look on her face and said "Well yeah, because didn't you guys just have a baby?"
And there it was. That moment. Again, Steve and I glanced at each other and we both quietly said "No." I glanced back to Steve who I know was begging me in his head "Please don't say anything, please just leave it alone. Don't tell her the story. PLEASE, just leave it at no." And I turned from him, looked this poor girl in the eye and said "Our daughter passed away." I felt like it would be denying our daughter to not acknowledge her. I mean, if I deny her existence, what is the point in everything that I have done to keep her memory alive?
But my insistence on including Alexandra in my every day life, in everything that I do, had caused that awkward moment and I felt bad for that girl. For Steve, who acted as if he had heard nothing. For myself. And she responded with "Oh. I'm sorry." and quickly exited the room.
My life makes people uncomfortable. My reality makes people feel awkward. My "situation" is taboo, nobody wants to talk about it, to acknowledge it, to admit that the unthinkable is too sad for them to comprehend. Nobody wants to go there in their own mind, and I push them there by talking about Alexandra...and maybe it's not fair to them, but I just don't care, because it wasn't fair to me either and here I sit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Tattoo...

Well, it was a rocky road, but yesterday was my tattoo appointment. The night that I got the call that I could come in was a week, to the day, before. I couldn't sleep that night, I was so excited. I got the email on Thursday with the artists idea and it was so perfect, not one little thing had to be changed, I loved it! It was exactly what I wanted, and even better than I had envisioned.
My excitement was at a minimum until yesterday, around 3:00pm, when my appointment was an hour away and we were preparing to leave. As we drove, I commented on how I was afraid it would hurt, and the excitement of it all, combined with the amount of coffee I had consumed had me just jittery.
We drove around downtown looking for a place a park, and when we finally found one, Steve walked me to the building. An old building, which we discovered is actually the very first skyscraper in Alberta! It's just so small, it's comical to think that it was once considered a sky scraper.
The floors are all old hardwood, the building has this feeling about it, like it's almost magical. The energy of all of those before, is still there, hanging out, welcoming people into the old place. We took the stairs to the second floor. One of the things I love about old buildings is the floor. It's so loud. You can always hear people coming.
We walked down the hallway, nearly to the end and into the tattoo shop. A tiny place with one wall of windows, looking out into downtown. The other walls were red halfway up, and then white. The walls were covered in artwork, Egyptian artwork, drawings, paintings, little mirrors shaped like birds, some awards. The rest of the room had tables with Buddha's, a large Ganesha, a huge vase filled with flowers and peacock feathers. The bookshelf had books about anatomy, birds, warriors and Taoism. The feel was eclectic and comfortable. This was a place that had an energy of complete openess, of non judgement and peace. As I sat there waiting, I knew that I was in the right place. Later I would tell Steve that all the pitfalls on the road to getting this tattoo were for a reason, Alexandra wanted me to be in that place, on that day, having that artist doing my tattoo.
And she picked the right person, because my tattoo is perfect in every way...and well worth the pain ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sittin on my plateau

Six months ago I never would have thought that I would go one day without writing, let alone several! I mean, besides being busy, I just have not been able to think of anything to say. I'm sitting in here on my little plateau, looking out as the rest of the world goes by and I there is nothing of substance running through my head.
Tomorrow is the day I get my tattoo, and I am excited! The woman that was supposed to do it got back to me and told me that I could go in tomorrow and of course I said yes. The picture she drew up is amazing. I'll post pictures after it's done, so everyone can see it.
Tonight there's is a candlelight service for families that have lost a child and I will be there thinking of my little Alexandra.
Other than these things, we are slowing getting in the mood for Christmas. Seeing all of the little girl Christmas gifts is hard. I'm really concerned about how this Christmas will be for us. I don't think that it will be easy, in fact, I'm afraid for how difficult it's going to end up.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29th, 2010

Seven months has gone by, in what feels like the blink of an eye. I talk a lot about how if Alexandra would be born living, she would be seven months old today, or she would be reaching such and such milestone. Really, if she had been born living, I probably wouldn't have had her for a few more weeks, so closer to mid May, she would have been reaching 7 months.
I know it doesn't matter, that didn't happen, but I think about it sometimes. April 27th, changed the course of everything, if that day had never happened, Alexandra wouldn't have been born until much closer to her due date...More than likely.
Sometimes I wish that I could go back and take that day away. If April 27th had never happened, and everything that happened on that day were taken away, would my baby be here with me today? Maybe.
But, April 27th DID happen, and April 29th was when my beautiful daughter was born, and today she is seven months old.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Vacant House

As a family, we like to play games. We play computer games, board games, video games, you name it, we like to play it! One of our favorite family games is Animal Crossing - City Folk, on the wii. I started out playing it by myself. Steve bought it for me when I first found out I was pregnant with Alexandra. It helped kill a lot of time where I sat in bed, sick all day long!
Eventually Steve and Dayne both started to play. They used my little character to plant trees and pick fruit and to go fishing, dig for fossils and catch bugs. We built up our little town museum, we built a bridge and got a fountain and eventually, we got Dayne his own little character.
When you start the game you have to buy a house. There are four little houses in the town that you have to choose from. For a long time I couldn't figure out why all those houses stayed when I had already chosen my house. When we let Dayne start playing we figured it out. I thought he'd get his own little town, but no, he got to move into my town and pick his own little house.
He chose the house on the beach and he loves it. He is very proud to say "MY house is on the beach, but mommy lives up by the store...that's not close to the beach where MY house is." And of course came Steve, he moved into the house by the river and by the bridge that we built, because he likes to fish. It's a little out of the way, but it's what he chose.
And so, there is the vacant house. The house on the hill, near the store, very close to the house I chose. It's like the game is screaming that a family without four is left with one vacant house...the empty spot that was supposed to be filled by Alexandra. In MY house I have a little room with a little pink bassinet, a really big teddy bear and a balloon. It's so silly, but it's just another little thing that I did to remind me that Alexandra is everywhere that I am, even in a game.
But that small empty house mocks me every time I run by it. The vacant house is not just a house in the came, it is a metaphor for our life now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Tattoo

I have three tattoos and had always planned for several more. I know exactly what I want. When we lost Alexandra, my cute little fairy tattoo that I had planned for her turned into a memorial tattoo. I had the idea all worked out in my mind and I asked Steve to please get me that tattoo for my birthday. Steve agreed.
My birthday was August 6th.
I know what I want, it just needs to be drawn and put on my arm (inner forearm-ish). So, we contacted Steve's first choice. I emailed the artist and explained what I wanted and then I waited. I waited and I waited and I did not hear back from the artist. I wanted the tattoo to be done before Alexandra's memorial, but as the date approached, I could tell it wasn't going to happen. After a while, I gave up and did some research of my own. I discovered a tattoo place in my city that is supposed to be really great. When I checked out their website, I found an artist that I liked and I emailed her. I waited and I waited and I heard nothing back. After a while I gave up on the reply email and just called. I left a message and I waited. I waited and I waited and did not receive a return phone call.
After an angry email, I took to Google. I found another place that looked nice. The website was nice, the artists work was amazing, I was excited and I emailed. I didn't have to wait this time, because the artist called me and after some telephone tag, I finally got in contact with the artists assistant. We booked my consultation this morning at 10:30. When Steve was booked to work last night, I frantically made other arrangements to get there and for childcare for Dayne and I made my way downtown, arriving at the building with five minutes to spare.
I knocked on the closed door. No one answered. I knocked some more, still nothing. A woman from another business poked her head and told me that I should take a seat, I may need to wait a few minutes. So I sat and I waited. And I waited and I waited and I waited. And at ten minutes past 11am, I gave up and I left. As I explained to my step dad (my ride) that she did not show up, I had to work hard to prevent myself from crying. But when I got home and saw that Steve had made it home from work I burst into the bedroom and said "She didn't even show up, you know!" and after having worked all night, Steve was greeted by my flood gates opening and tears pouring down my face.
I just want Alexandra's memorial tattoo. I explained to all three of the artists how important this tattoo was and what it's for and it seems that I am the only one that cares. The whole idea of the tattoo seems tainted now, like the happy memory of Alexandra will not be attached to it, rather, I will remember the run around I got and crappy people can be, any time I look at it. But I don't want to go back to the drawing board and think of a new idea, I like this one.
Today I am feeling sorry for myself. Today I wanted to stay in bed and cuddle with Dayne, but I dragged myself out and for what?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Plateau

Most people liken grief to a roller coaster ride...and I happen to agree, wholeheartedly with that particular comparison. When describing my grief, I explain it in that way, a way that most people will automatically relate to, or understand. I'll say that my roller coaster ride of grief is working it's way back up, and people will know that I'm having a few good days...some may realize that the inevitable result of that though, is the plummet back down.
In my own mind though, I think of grief a little bit differently...I rarely explain to people what my imagination has turned grief into in my mind. Generally, if someone asks how I'm doing in regards to Alexandra, and I am in this place, where I am now, I will respond by telling them that I am on a bit of a plateau. People usually understand that to mean that I'm somewhere in the middle and just sitting there, neither good nor bad, but better than usual, so it's ok.
Beyond that though...in my mind, grief appears to be a mountain. I was at the top of that mountain, in the clouds, triumphant. And then, a swift wind came and knocked me down off the top of that mountain, and I fell. And I fell and I fell until, right before I smashed into the earth, my safety line jerks me to a halt. And there was a time, where I hung there, that time right after we lost Alexandra, where nothing seemed real, I was in a fog...in shock from such a massive fall. Hanging there, confused about why I hadn't struck the earth and died. Hanging there confused and dazed and not really understanding or taking anything in, just trying to get myself back up onto my feet. To get my footing, so I could stand and look up at the mountain that is grief.
After a few days the confusion wore off and I realized what had happened and I began to climb. And as I climb, occasionally, I slip down a little bit, having a bad day. Some days I slip and fall, and down I tumble, into the sadness below. And I have to pick myself back up and climb up the part that I thought I was past. Sometimes, I reach a spot where I can stop and sit for a minute...sometimes that minute turns into a day, a week, maybe even a month, and  sit there on that plateau, almost numb, not wanting to deal with anything. Sometimes that plateau has a little warmth, where I think that I could stay for a long time, I'm not to the top, I'm not to the "better" part, but a little warmth can go a long way, when you've been struggling up a cold and desolate mountain for nearly 7 months.
My goal is the top. My intent is to make it back to the top of this mountain, cautiously. There will be more slips and more tumbles and more warm plateaus, but my goal is the top.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Salon

Yesterday I went to get my hair cut. I went back to my favorite stylist so she could cut my hair and wax my eyebrows. I love her because she's sweet, kind and quiet and she does a killer job. I have loved every style she has chosen for me. I was excited to get to go and even more excited when I saw her sitting there. I followed her to the chair to have my eyebrows done and sat there, head back, with my eyes closed until she was done.
When I sat down she asked how Dayne was doing and if he liked school and I babbled on about how great he is and how he loves school and just got an award. When I stopped talking she took a step back, turned sideways and announced that she is going to be a mom soon too. I looked down at her belly, which her apron and layered black clothing seemed to conceal and realized that, indeed, there was a very large baby belly. I felt three things, first, a very sharp pain in my chest, with the thought "I just CANNOT get away from pregnant women!" and then I felt excitement for her, because she was clearly SOOO happy and then I felt envy.
I brushed it all aside and carefully asked her if she was excited and when she was due...I didn't know what else to do. At some point, after a short silence, she asked me "So, do you plan to have more kids?" and Alexandra's story tumbled out. She asked what happened and I told her that it was a cord accident, she seemed scared and I immediately thought that I should not have spoken. I tried to reassure her by telling her that cord accidents are fairly rare. I felt like I betrayed someone when I said that though. I guess still haven't figured out what to do, how to handle these sorts of things.
And I still feel badly and worry that she's now at home scared that her baby is going to get a knot in it's cord. Maybe one day this will not be such a taboo thing to talk about.

Clinging

Sometimes I notice that I cling to things. Odd things, that hurt me, but yet, I cling to them. Every few weeks I receive something in the mail from a formula or diaper company. I could contact them and stop these items from arriving, but I don't. They are currently piling up in one corner of Alexandra's crib. It started with me thinking that I would just keep them for a little while and then I would give them to someone I know who has a baby. After a while that green eyed monster got in the way of that. I don't want to give Alexandra's things to anyone else. Then I thought I would go through them all and keep the samples that were good for a really long time, maybe one day I would need them. But even that has passed and yet, I keep collecting these pieces of junk mail, meant to be used on Alexandra's needs.
I have also been clinging to the emails..."Your baby at 6 months" and other such subject lines pop up in my inbox and while I delete them, I refuse to unsubscribe.
These things hurt me. The sting when I'm having a bad day is horrific, on a good day, it's enough to bring me down for the rest of the day...and yet I refuse to decline these things, to unsubscribe, to tell them that my baby did not make it home. It's like...if I don't tell them, they are remembering her, but if I do, they will delete my email from their lists and Alexandra will forever be erased from their memory.
I know it's absolutely ridiculous, I am an address or an email address on a list and no one really knows me or actually thinks about little Alexandra when they send these things, but still, I cling...and I will continue to, for how long, I really have no idea.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Craft Sales

Yesterday I think I got a taste of Christmas. Last year I attended this big craft sale by my house. Yesterday I attended it again. Last year I was pregnant and sick, but I had so much fun. Yesterday it was another bittersweet moment. As I walked around there were tables set up with tutu's and hair bows, with blankets and little pink sweaters. Last year I was excited for these things, I bought little hats and booties. Yesterday I avoided them like the plague.
I stopped at a table where a woman was selling ornaments and teddy bears. She took such care and paid such close attention to details when she decorated these items. They had little rings on their hands, little anklets and bracelets, the bears even wore earrings. I fell in love with a little pink bear and I bought it for Alexandra's memory box (which is quickly becoming a trunk) I bought an ornament, a little angel kitty cat, with a pink dress. It was just precious. And as the woman wrapped the items and placed them in the the bag she spoke to them, telling them to behave at their new home and saying goodbye. She clearly put a lot of heart into the things that she made.
Her tone reminded me of the nurse at the hospital that helped us bath Alexandra. So gentle and so kind. She knew that the bear and the ornament weren't alive and weren't going to talk back, but she didn't care. I had such an urge to tell her that these were special gifts for my baby that was born sleeping. I didn't say it though, the idea of telling a stranger and making her sad because of the feelings that I was having, it didn't feel fair. But those purchases set my mood a little lighter. And as I looked around at other items, I felt good that Alexandra was included.
It was hard though, the Christmas music played and there were happy people doing happy Christmas shopping and it just reminded me over and over that the special gifts I would have been buying for Alexandra won't be bought. There will be no tiny pink gifts under the tree, no baby's first Christmas ornaments and little red dresses. It's not going to happen for me and that really stings.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow

When Alexandra was born there was a snow storm. We get those spring time snow storms here sometimes and they are always the best because it just dumps on us, but it's not that cold so the snow is sticky and it hangs onto the trees and bushes and makes everything look like it's covered in clouds. To be honest, I hate the every other kind of snow, it's too cold and too slippery.
So, when it first snowed a few weeks ago, I thought about Alexandra and what she was thinking of the snow. I dismissed it because it wasn't much snow and she already knows about snow, after all, it was snowing like crazy the night before she was born and it snowed the day after he burial. Well, Monday night it snowed again here. It's our first real snow fall this winter (fall?), and it wasn't just a little bit. On Monday when I picked Dayne up from school I carried my coat, as we were walking to my sister's house the wind started to get cold and I could feel the snow coming. By the time I went to bed it was coming down and the weather network said to expect 10 -15 cm's of snow through the night and the next day. Yesterday my sister told me that my nephew stepped into a snow drift up to his waist. Of course it's not like that everywhere, but there is a lot of snow. Today the snow is past Dayne's boot line in most places and they said another 10cm's is to be expected. I quickly discovered walking to school today wasn't an option when we got half way across the park and he told me there was snow in his boot and I lifted his snow pants to find that his boots were filled with snow, despite two pairs of pant linings being shoved into them.
Yesterday, after we took Dayne to school we went to the cemetery to visit Alexandra. It was cold and it was still snowing and as I stood there I thought about the snow. I thought that maybe she wanted me to like the snow, maybe Alexandra would have loved the snow and that's why it snowed the day she was born. Maybe I should warm up to the idea of snow and winter. I thought about how she had never seen snow like THIS and I wondered what she thought of it. Is she hanging out with her angel friends, sledding? Would she be like her mama and hate the cold and everything that comes with it, especially snow? Or would she love it? I wonder if we would have been paying for snowboarding lessons instead of dance lessons once she was old enough to choose and I thought about how I would tease her about making mommy go out in the cold.
Those kind of thoughts are good and bad. They are good because they make me feel close to Alexandra, it's almost like a memory...of something that never happened, if that makes any sense. At the same time, they hurt because I'm missing out on so much. I don't know if Alexandra would have liked snow...I don't know anything that she would have liked, and that thought breaks my heart.
So many things are double edged swords...I guess this is one of those examples of something that you have to take the good with the bad with.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Smelling The Roses

Yesterday I was walking to pick up Dayne from school and I noticed a bunch of birds, I think they were pigeon's, flying around in circles. They flew around and around, higher, then lower. I could hear their wings flapping, and when they would come down, I could actually FEEL a little gust of wind as they passed over my head. It was amazing, I watched them flying and thought about Alexandra. I thought about if this was one of her gifts. Maybe. As I kept walking I noticed a bird's nest in a tree. It's something new that I do. No matter how fast I'm going, no matter how much of a hurry I'm in, I look around. I don't have to slow down to take notice of something small, but amazing.
This is another thing that has changed since we lost Alexandra. Now I think, if I had known when I was pregnant, what I know now, I would have been grateful for every kick, I would have taken notice more. I would never have complained, not one complaint about my nausea or my pain. Not one grumble about not sleeping, or being uncomfortable. I would have been so much more grateful for it all.
If I ever have another child, I will be thankful for every single moment, every single second. I will slow down, and if I can't slow down, I will look more closely. I wish that I didn't have to lose my daughter to learn all of these lessons.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Christmas Wish

Like the rest of my loss mommy friends, if I could wish for anything, I would wish to have my daughter, here with me, living and happy. But, wishes like that don't come true, sadly. So, I am making a more realistic wish, and I'm bringing it to everyone that reads this. Everyone reading is capable of helping my Christmas wish come true! And I'm bringing it up this early so that everyone has time.
I was reading something that another loss mom had done for her baby's first Christmas. They had bought a stocking and asked their family and friends to do a random act of kindness in memory of her child and send them to her. They filled the stocking and read the notes that everyone had sent on Christmas day.
I love this idea and think it's a wonderful way to include Alexandra in Christmas, so that is what I'm going to do. And I'm hoping that people will spread this around and I will get lots of notes and emails and letters in the mail telling me about the kindness they are spreading for Alexandra.
And maybe this is an idea that will help some other loss moms to celebrate their Christmas with the memory of their baby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Patience...

So, this post is a question. It's a question for all of the loss moms that are reading, it's also for anyone that has suffered a serious, and unexpected loss in your life. I'm asking because of the impact this change is having on my life.
Have you noticed a feeling within yourself that you have a higher understanding of what is important? Drama and disagreements create a different response in me than they used to. I have never been a very patient person in regards to most things. I get frustrated easily. But this new change is different. My response is different. In a dispute, my reaction is no longer to sit and figure it out, to stay and talk until everyone felt better, my reaction now is to just walk away.
Something in my brain clicks into place and this inner voice says "This isn't important in the grand scheme of things. Don't waste time and energy on this. Walk away." You may think this is a good thing, and in most cases it is, however, it's a little bit of a double edged sword. My new inability to deal with crap causes me to be short...almost huffy. When that thing clicks in my brain I can guarantee the words coming out of my mouth are "Ok, I'm done now, I'm not doing this." and that's it, I'm done. Even if it's something that really should be dealt with, I'm just done.
I feel like something inside of me has decided that I have dealt with enough, I don't have to deal with anymore and my subconscious isn't going to ALLOW me to deal with any more. The stress is still there, the headache is still there, but I now have an inability to deal with it.
Is this just me? Is this common? Perhaps I'm losing it. I don't know.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Little Things

I just wanted to talk about the little things that I do to keep Alexandra with me. I was thinking about these things and wondering if I'm the only one that does strange little things in the name of my lost child.
On Alexandra's six month birthday I packed my day with things to keep me busy. I shopped. I bought a few interesting things. I often comment about how easy it would be for me to become a hoarder. I will see something and make a connection with it and I must make it mine. It's usually something odd, something that really isn't good for anything. On that day, I was making connections with things...I was seeking connections with things. Things to hold onto. I bought pretty boxes and said they were for Christmas gifts, but nothing I have bought will fit in these boxes...I know that I will end up keeping them forever, looking at them every now and then, thinking about how pretty they are. I will never gift them to anyone like I said I would. One box is a Winnie The Pooh box. I thought of my Aunt Alison when I saw it and I picked it up to examine it. Along the outside of the lid it says "Christmas is generally regarded as one of the most grandest holidays!" I thought that sounded silly and I opened the box to see if anything was in it. It was empty but when you open this box it smells like Cinnamon sticks. The combination of a reminder of someone I loved, the cute pictures, silly saying and the wonderful smell, I HAD to have it.


As I continued shopping I found a mop doll. Now I must admit that I had seen this doll before and I looked at it, considered buying it and put it back because I thought it would absorb too much water at the cemetery. When I went back to this store on Alexandra's six month birthday, the doll was still there. Handmade and very cute. I picked it up and held it and wondered how it would be at the cemetery. My heart told me that it was still there for a reason and I must purchase it before someone else found it. The doll is unique and she's special and I made the decision later that day that she wouldn't go to the cemetery. She would be a gift for Alexandra that stayed at home, in Alexandra's bedroom, in her crib. And I imagined how happy Alexandra would have been, if she was alive, to get a new and very special doll.



That day I also connected with two things for me. I'll be honest and tell you that everyone that has seen these two items has made the same comments. The items are a scarf (I collect scarves) and a pair of gloves. The comment about the scarf is that it's ugly and people think of Harry Potter when they see. But I love the red and cream striped scarf. I have never seen Harry Potter, so I don't understand the connection, all I know is that the scarf wraps twice around my neck and still falls all the way past my waist. Super long scarves are my favorite.
The reaction to the gloves is more entertaining for me. They are the kind of gloves that turn into mittens...but with a twist. No one can understand why I bought them. Steve actually said "What were you thinking? You bought them as a joke right?" as he laughed at my very original taste in clothing items. Everyone agrees though, the gloves are me, they suit my personality perfectly and the scarf, well, it's a scarf and it will keep me warm...and I love it.


It's funny these little things that I connect to, or connect Alexandra to. I have a wind up ceramic mouse that my Grandma gave me a very long time ago and I connect it to Alexandra. It actually sits in her room, on her dresser and sometimes I go in there and wind it up, so she can hear Schubert's lullaby, like I used to when I was a little girl.


Sometimes I wonder when it will be enough, will I collect little things that connect me to her forever? Will my connection change to something else? I don't know, but as long as I feel her around me and have something to bring me closer to her, I will be able to continue on, living without her here with me every day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Green With Envy

Today I had to take Dayne to the doctor. As we sat waiting, I scanned the room. On the other side of the room from us was a woman, I don't know her, I have never seen her, but she was there, with an infant carseat, all covered up with little girly blanket. I averted my eyes, Dayne and I looked through a book about cats.
We continued to wait and as we did I kept trying to avoid looking at this woman. At one point, I looked towards that clock and caught a glimpse of the woman. She had taken her baby out of the  carrier, she was holding the little girl, who was about the age Alexandra would be. Something inside me started to tingle. Something, somewhere within myself began to well up...It was hate.
Right after we lost her, seeing babies Alexandra's age didn't bother me so much. It was more of a tiny stabbing pain in my heart. Hearing a baby cry though, was like a thousand burning knives being driven into my heart. It made me so sad. Well, now things have changed, just seeing a cute, giggly baby that is around the age that Alexandra should be, sends me someplace deep within myself, some place that I don't really like.
So, as we sat there, I continued to try to avoid looking in the direction of the baby. I could hear the mom talking to someone, laughing and I hated. I hated her. How could I hate someone that I have never met? I started to battle within myself. I told myself to stop being so ridiculous, and the angry hateful me continued to rage away.
The woman got up to take her baby to the bathroom, right in front of me. I didn't think I could handle it. "Should I leave?" I asked myself. But I stayed, sitting very still, staring down at the cat book with all my might. And when she went into the office, she walked past again, and again I stared downward, viciously staring at the floor.
It's jealousy, you know. The unexplained hate for somebody that has something that I desperately want...I was green with envy. And I don't know how to fix this, is this just another phase of grief that I have to go through? Will this pass?
I don't want to be a bitter, jealous person. I don't want any negativity surrounding Alexandra's memory. It is so hard to get past this negative energy. Why is it so difficult to let go of the bad and hold onto the good?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The New

I've had blond hair longer than I can remember. It was very blond when I was little, got a little darker as I got older. As an early teen it was a dark blond, possibly a light brown and that's when I started dying it blond. I've had a million different shades, from bright to strawberry to almost the same color as my skin. I always thought it suited me, sore I'd never go any other color and even when I gave in last year and tried a darker color, I had so many highlights put in that you really couldn't notice any light brown hair in there.
About a month ago, I dyed my hair brown. No highlights, just light brown. I felt different, it wasn't the same old Melissa in the mirror. It was new and I needed it. I loved it so much that a few days ago, I went darker, to a medium brown. It even more different, something even more new, and I love it.
I talked about my coffee ritual, the thing that is different and this is another one of those different things. I wonder, maybe if I shake off all the regular, maybe I can move forward, with Alexandra at my side, in a positive way. Maybe, if I shake off all of the old, and bring in some new, it will help me to peel away some of the really dark grief.
My hair has never been darker, but my hope is brighter than it's been in a while.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Coffee Ritual

Today, as I cleaned my mug I thought about my new morning ritual. It used to include my High Prairie mug. I bought it when we were visiting family there a few years ago and I love it. I remember thinking "Who knew there would be a high prairie mug??" I collect mugs.
Last Friday was Alexandra's six month birthday and my mom gave me a new mug. I had asked Steve for this mug for my birthday, but he forgot, so I pointed it out to my mom for Christmas. Well, she chose to give it to me on Friday because it has some significance. On one side of the mug it says "Special moments take our breath away" and on the other side it says "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" Ahhh, I get teary just typing it out.
So, my morning ritual changed slightly and I now use my new and very special mug. (No offense High Prairie!)
The reason my coffee ritual is so special is because it's different. A lot as changed since we lost Alexandra, but a lot has stayed the same. All of my routine is the same, and sometimes it's hard, sometimes it makes me sad. To stand in the shower, not with a baby in her swing right there in the bathroom with me so I can keep an eye on her, not with my big pregnant belly. Alone without my daughter. To take my time getting ready because Dayne is self sufficient. No diapers to change, no baby to feed. I anticipated how my day to day routine would change and then it didn't.
So, I started having coffee in the morning. I didn't drink coffee while I was pregnant, I was way too sick to have it even if I had wanted a cup. Before I was pregnant I would drink coffee by the pot, but I was at work when I did it, so this is different.
Now, I make my coffee, which completely interrupts my regular routine. And I sit and I drink my coffee, while I watch a show, sit on the computer, visit with Dayne. It's always a peaceful moment though...An entirely new moment, not a reminder of anything, not a trigger for anything, just a new moment that is mine. And while sometimes I feel guilty for wanting that new moment, I know that it's ok.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eventually...

Eventually it will happen.
Eventually, my loss will get in the way of things. It will not be my fault. It will not be the fault of anyone, but eventually, it will happen.
Eventually the familiar sting will get stronger in my heart. It will be more than I can take and, eventually, you will tire of me and my pain.
You will feel guilty, or at least you will tell me that you feel guilty, but eventually, everyone has to carry on and express themselves in way that doesn't always take into consideration how the poor pathetic grieving girl will feel.
Eventually, you will stop walking on eggshells and you will feel better, but I will feel worse. And it won't be your fault. Or mine.
There is a point where my grief prevents me from understanding the world of the non-grievers. I don't remember how it was for me before, I only know now, when I barely keeping my head above the ocean that is my grief. There is a point when people that haven't been here have to draw a line. There is a time when, even the most empathetic, will drop the ball and if I point it out, they will feel guilt and they will express that guilt; but, secretly, within themselves, they will feel that they should not have to justify or feel guilty about saying or doing what they did. And they shouldn't.
Eventually, everyone will be hurtful and how I take it will depend on where I am within my grief. If I am buried in it, I will revert back within myself. I will grab my emotions and retreat, like a wounded animal, running in reverse. I will sit alone, with my trowel and my mortar, stacking bricks, walling myself in, keeping myself safe.
If I am floating, just above my grief, I will brush it off, I will seek out intent, I will be thankful that I have people around me that care enough to stumble for words and actions. I will be grateful that things were fun while they lasted. I will not cry or feel sorry for myself.
Eventually, everyone else will move on, and I will be left behind.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Strength

This is a word I hear a lot, Strength. Or more often, Strong. People tell women that survive after a loss such as this that we are all so strong. "I don't know how I would function if I lost my child, you're so strong"
My answer to that is, "You would function much the same way I am..."
I am not strong.
Strength is not what gets me through the days and through the nights. Strong is not a word I would use to describe myself. For me it's a combination of things. Dayne, Steve, and Kaney are at the forefront, I can't check out on them. But if not for them, I would still function...though I'm sure in a very different way.
When you lose your child, your heart does not stop with theirs, though sometimes you wish it had. It's that tiny little fact that keeps you going...you have no choice. My heart continued to beat, even though my daughter's did not.
I feel like this is probably a very dark post, and honestly it's coming from a fairly dark place, but my mind has been boggled since I lost my daughter, by that word - Strength. It is not my word, it is not my life, it is not ME.
I am not strong.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Question Thirty

Day 30 - a dream for the future
Well, welcome to the last day. It's been nice to have something specific to talk about this past month.

My dream for the future? Well, I don't know, right now I dream of just a little less pain. I am struggling and I hope every day that I will wake up and the pain will have subsided just a tiny bit. No luck yet.
I also dream that we will one day have another child. That we will open the pool hall Steve has been dreaming of for years. That Dayne will be happy and successful and that Kaney will live for a very, very long time.
I guess that's more than one dream, but I think that's probably OK. As long as we can dream of things for future, there is hope, right?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Question Twenty Nine

Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days


Wow, this is a loaded question. I have a lot of plans actually. A lot of my plans revolve around Alexandra and things she has inspired me to do.
I plan to continue to get the ball rolling with pregnancy and infant loss bracelets in my city. I plan to have Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day recognized in my Province, or at least in my city because it's currently not recognized. We hope to at least get a charity started, if not up and running within this next year as well.
I also plan to become pregnant some time within the next year. I hope that it's sooner than later, but we will have to wait and see where we both are within our grief as the months go on.
For Dayne, I plan for him to excel at tae kwon do (he really already is) to get at least one belt. I plan for us to be reading a book TOGETHER, rather than me reading TO him.
I hope to continue to understand what is REALLY important to in my life and not get caught up in the little things that bring your energy down and your stress levels up for no good reason.
I guess these plans are all rather vague, but it's hard for me to really make concrete plans these days. Nothing is guaranteed, everything could change in the blink of an eye.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Halloween Gift...

I did not make this or take the picture. This is from another angel mommy, but she gave me permission to share it with you all.
So, for all of our angels, Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween?

Oh how I am struggling right now. I feel like I have nowhere safe to land right now. I feel like nobody understands what I am feeling right now, people think that I should be in such a better place by now, and I will never admit to them that I'm not. I feel like I am in a different kind of situation, I have lost Alexandra and it hurts me every single day and I desperately want to have another baby, but can't right now. Where do I got to talk about this stress? Who do I tell? My loss support can't be there for me about my need for another child and my regular friends can't understand the complexities of wanting another child after such a profound loss.
I feel alone.
I miss Alexandra more than words can express.
I am hurting so much more today. Halloween...this is my favorite holiday, I LOVE dressing Dayne up and taking him out. I love the idea of Halloween, the history, the stories, the scary stuff, I love it all.
Alexandra would have been little still, too little to trick or treat, but she would have been dressed up anyway, while we took Dayne out.
Dayne is being Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Alexandra would have been something super cute and girly. I would have first thought to dress her up as Belle, so they match, how cute, right? Then I would have rethought it and decided that it was weird since they're brother and sister and Belle and Beast get married, so I would have chosen something else.
And it's HARD to see the cute little girl costumes. And it's going to be so HARD to see all the cute little girls dressed up tonight.
Alexandra should be six months old and I don't have her here with me and it's so hard. It's just hurts too much and it's not fair.

Question Twenty Eight

Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse


Let's see...In my purse is...My wallet, a few pregnancy and infant loss bracelets, a few packs of seeds (also for pregnancy and infant loss), my camera, Alexandra's treasure beans, gum, keys, a bottle of water, the nintendo DS and several games, a few odd toys and some random spare change and gum wrappers floating around the bottom of my purse.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Question Twenty Seven

Day 27 - your worst habit since your child's death

I don't really know...I've developed a few bad habits. Avoidance is one...Is that considered a habit? I have this other habit that is brought on by anxiety...which is a new kind of anxiety I have since we lost Alexandra. This anxiety is caused by the thought that people are thinking of poor poor pitiful me, and thinking "things" about how I'm coping (to well, not well enough). It also comes when I am doing something public FOR Alexandra. The habit itself is a series of wrist grabs, palm scratches and arm rubs. Yes, this most likely looks as odd as it sounds. I often don't noticed that I'm doing it, it's like a nervous tick. I start out just holding my hands kind of together and then I will notice that someone has glanced down and I realized that I'm doing this thing (usually in the middle of a palm scratch)
It's pretty hard to REALLY describe, but there it is.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Six Months

When Dayne turned six months old, I had a party. There was cake and we had people over. The cake had clowns on it. I remember that day. I remember thinking, people will think I'm crazy for having a half year birthday, but I just didn't care.
Tomorrow would have been the half year party for Alexandra, it would have worked out perfectly that she would have been 6 months and one day old tomorrow. Her cake would have had girly princess things on it. She wouldn't have eaten any of it, but I would have taken pictures and I would have shared them with everyone. I would have saved those pictures for when she was older and could look at them with me, while I explained to her how sweet she was and what things she liked and didn't like.
Instead, later today we'll stop by the cemetery, I'll sit there and wish my daughter a happy half year. Instead of laughter and hugs, my daughter's half year marker will be filled with tears. I don't get to give my little girl a hug today...or any day. I don't get to share her milestones with people, to talk about how she's doing, to share her smiles and laughs.
Happy Six Month Birthday to my little princess.

Question Twenty Six

Day 26 - your week, in great detail


Well, you will all find my weak fairly boring. Most days are like what I described in yesterdays post, some days have other things thrown in there, I'll some other errands to run while Dayne is at school or I'll go for coffee with my mom and step dad.
Every Thursday I babysit my nephews while my sister is at school. Dayne and I look forward to Thursdays. We always make something fun (yesterday was a gingerbread haunted house!) Dayne gets to play with his cousins and I get to spend some time with my nephews. We have a lot of fun.
Friday is like Monday - Wednesday, and the weekends are slightly more different because Dayne doesn't go to school. Through the summer and fall Steve works a lot, generally seven days a week, so Dayne and I get a lot of time together. In the winter Steve is home a lot more, so we get a lot of family time together. Saturdays Dayne has tae kwon do early in the morning, and then we'll go for coffee or run errands. That is also a day when we will go out with family members, hang out at home or go on an adventure ourselves. Through the summer we usually go to my sister's house to visit with her cats, if she's away camping, we have a nice walk there, stopping at the store and getting some treats and ice cream. In the winter Dayne likes to play outside in the snow, making snow pies for the dog.
Sundays here are a day that I look forward to all week. On Sunday I usually clean...no, I'm not looking forward to cleaning my bathroom all week long! But, in the evening, after dinner, once Steve is home from work, we go to the cemetery. We stop at Tim Horton's on the way there and I get some tea, Steve gets a coffee and Dayne gets an iced tea and then I get my few precious moments to sit with my Alexandra. I know that she's wherever I am, I know that, but those few moments in the cemetery mean the world to me. I feel truly connected to her. I tell her I love her, I talk about how silly Steve and Dayne are...I do this thing, right before we leave, Steve will go to the car and I will send Dayne after him and while I bend down and fix her toys (for the 100th time that day) I will say "I love you baby, I miss you" and as I walk away, I always say "goodbye"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Question Twenty Five

Day 25 - your day, in great detail


My average day is pretty boring. I wake up around 7 - 7:30am and I watch the news while I wait for Dayne to wake up. Dayne usually wakes up between 8:00 and 8:30am, when he wakes up, we have our morning cuddle and then we get up for the day. Dayne usually plays or watches some TV, depending on how tired he is and I get his breakfast ready and make some coffee. I serve Dayne his breakfast and tidy the kitchen and put in a load of laundry if there is any.
Once those few little morning things are done, I will sit down and check my email, post here, read blog, etc. while my show plays in the background.
At around 10am if Dayne needs a bath, he will have his bath, if he doesn't we usually play a game (club penguin is the game he loves right now) Then I will throw the laundry in the dryer, get myself ready and make lunch. What we have for lunch depends on a few things...how long we played (how much time I have) what Dayne feels like eating, etc. We'll sit down and eat and then I we'll pick out Dayne's school clothes, get him all ready for school and head out.
The walk to school is about 20 minutes, so we chat and race all the way to school or practice counting, alphabet, etc. When Dayne goes into the school he will stand at the window and blow me kisses (which he calls kiss blows) and wave until his teacher tells him to hurry up and get his indoor shoes on. Once he's out of sight, I walk back home.
Once I'm home I do a number of different things. I'll do more laundry if it needs to be done, do the daily cleaning, sometimes I'll just hang out and watch TV or go on the internet (which I check on and off throughout the day). The chores or relaxing stops just under 2 hours after I get home when I have to leave to go pick up Dayne.
On our walk home from school Dayne and I chat about his day, who he played with, what he learned, etc. We practice his Korean numbers and phrases at that time also. Once we get home, Dayne has a snack and we play or color in one of his learning books. If I still have cleaning to get done (or if I WANT to do more cleaning lol) I will do that and Dayne will have some time to play or watch a show.
Then it's time to make supper. Steve's work schedule causes supper to be at all different times, sometimes he doesn't get home until very late. If he's home anywhere up until 7pm, we wait and eat with him, if it's later than that we will usually eat on our own. After supper, if Steve isn't home, Dayne will usually ask to play on the computer, so we'll play one of three games at that time (Club Penguin, Poptropica, or Webkinz) until it's time for Dayne to do his bedtime routine, if he isn't allowed to play on the computer that night, or doesn't want to, we'll play any number of other quiet things (last night was playdoh). If Steve is home, they usually play.
Before bed, Dayne has a small snack and then he brushes his teeth, gets his pajama's on and we cuddle until he falls asleep. After Dayne goes to bed is always my relax time. If Steve is at home, we will visit, watch a show, talk about our day. If he's not home I will usually watch some TV, while I surf around the internet until it's time for me to go to bed.
As you can see, my days are all pretty laid back and boring, but it's what I need right now...an easy routine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

April 27th, 2010 - No Heart Beat

It was six months ago today that we went to the hospital. Six months ago today that they told us that the baby no longer had a heart beat. Six months ago today that they said "I'm sorry, there's nothing more we can do."
It was six months ago today that my life changed forever, my world ended and I was pushed, unwillingly, into this new world. A dark and desolate world. Six months ago today my world changed from future plans to funeral plans, from hope and excitement to devastation and pain. Six months ago today my world became an unfamiliar world, where arrangements had to made, decisons had to be explained, where a new reality was shoved in my face.
Six months ago today, my reality became every mother's worst nightmare. Six months ago today feels like yesterday.

Question Twenty Four

Day 24 - where you live


Well, I live in Calgary. Calgary is the place where I was born and where I have lived my entire life (safe for the two times I decided I would move somewhere else, but each time only lasted a month or two) I don't think I could ever seriously live somewhere else. It was always that my birth son was here, and while I could travel to see him, I always felt like I should stay close by so that he knows I'm around if he ever has any questions for me.
Now, I have another reason to never move. This is where Alexandra is buried. I visit her at least once a week, I couldn't possibly move out of the city.
And well, I do love my city. Calgary is special because we have the Calgary Stampede, which is, of course, the greatest outdoor show on earth. Calgary is special because we have the Calgary Flames! *GO FLAMES GO!* We have the Calgary Tower, Heritage Park, the Telus Science Center. We have beautiful parks, malls, houses and buildings.
I just love it here, I don't think you could pay me to leave.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Question Twenty Three

Day 23 - a youtube video that makes you laugh

When I read this the answer jumped right out. Not too long ago a dear friend of mine introduced me to these youtube videos that her son loves. I watched this one first and laughed. It's so ridiculous. I sat down and watched a bunch more and they are equally funny in that most ridiculous kind of way.

And here he is: The Annoying Orange:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Question Twenty Two

Day 22 - a website that has been meaningful since your loss

Wow, this is a tough question for me. There have been so many websites and blogs that have helped me. Reading the blogs of other women have made me feel like I wasn't completely alone in this grief, which is both helpful and incredibly sad. If I'm completely honest with myself though, the most meaningful website for me, has been the Treasure Bean website.
The reason I am choosing this site is because I was completely unaware of any special sites for families that had lost a child. I was on my parenting website (which certainly has been meaningful also) and a woman talked about her treasure bean and how pretty it was. I wondered what this treasure bean site was all about and I went there and looked at all the pebbles and I cried. I was so sad for all those moms, and for myself. My loss was still so fresh and it was bittersweet to see that I was not alone. I looked through each and every pebble picture and thought about each and every one of those little angels and then I requested a pebble for my Alexandra.
That was my first Alexandra name picture and when I got it I can't even describe how much joy and peace it brought me. Someone had taken the time to paint this pebble for me and to take these beautiful pictures, and no doubt she had thought about Alexandra while she did this. It meant more than I ever thought it could. And a few months later, I bought my treasure bean, and it is now home with us, I carry it with me everywhere I go and take pictures with it, because whether we see her or not, Alexandra is there with us.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Question Twenty & Twenty One

Yesterday got more busy than I had expected and somehow I forgot to post this question, so I'm posting it along with today's question and an apology...I'm so sorry that I missed this one yesterday!!

Day 20 - a hobby of yours and how it changed since your loss.


My hobby...I guess it's writing. I had actually not done much writing, or some time, before we lost Alexandra. Life gets hectic and in the way and it's easy to brush aside those little things that you do just for you. So, since I lost Alexandra, taking those few minutes for myself has been renewed. I write so much more than I had in years. Alexandra inspires me to do more good, with my words and with my life.
I do have another hobby actually...If I was to ask Steve right now, "What's my hobby?" he would answer, "Shopping" lol And he's right, I do love to shop. And I still do shop, probably just as much as I always have, when I have the time and the money (and I especially like to shop online). My shopping habits actually HAVE changed since my loss. Besides the obvious things for Alexandra and her grave, I have also been setting aside money to purchase things that I can sell to raise money for pregnancy and infant loss. And my personal shopping has changed as well. I have added buying a lot of little things for Alexandra's grave and memorial items for her.
 
And today's question:
 
Day 21 - a recipe
 
Well, I chose a Canadian dessert recipe, for a few reasons. The first (and most obvious) reason, is that I'm Canadian! :-) The second reason is that I used to make this all the time and people seem to love it. Now, I have a pretty crazy sweet tooth, which is probably why I enjoyed this...But you can't eat too much at a time, or you will get a tummy ache!
 
Sucre a la creme
 
Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1.In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the white sugar, brown sugar and cream. Cook at full power for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2.Use an electric mixer on low speed to beat the mixture for 4 minutes. Pour into a buttered 8 inch square glass baking dish. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares when set.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Question Nineteen

Day 19 - a talent of yours

Hmmmm....Well, I would consider writing a talent. I have always loved to write and have had some things published when I was younger. I used to write poems a lot, it was the best way to express my emotions. Now, though I don't write much poetry anymore, I still write and I still find it to be a great release...and a great escape.
One day I plan to write a book. I always wanted to write about my life, but now I think I want to write about my children. Maybe my experiences can help someone else.
I'm going to share a poem that I wrote about 9 years ago...it's not about loss, but it's one that I have always felt was powerful...for me anyway.

Alcoholics Anonymous
It’s pitiful really, thinking about his life, drowning it…
Leaving his problems in the bottom of a pint glass,
waiting for something,
the world to end,
a lottery win,
anything.
When nothing happens, he still drinks.
The sad picture of ruins,
society’s leftovers,
broken and lonely.
Life moves on around him and he wonders,
will they notice when I’m gone?
Do they notice me here now?
The only one left in an empty bar,
one more beer won’t hurt.
He has nothing to get up in the morning for anyway.
Later, he will stagger home,
alone again, he’ll polish off whatever alcohol he’s got there.
One more shot won’t hurt,
he has no one to care if he can’t walk anyway.
But, for every drunk in a bar,
left behind somewhere, is a mother, a sister, a daughter, a family.
A life forgotten in a cocktail,
memories in an empty shot glass,
no one ever ruins only themselves.
Melissa Foy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Question Eighteen

Day 18 - my wedding/future wedding/past wedding.


Well, Steve and I aren't married. Neither of us has ever been married, but be do plan on getting married. Steve proposed to me the year that I got pregnant with Alexandra. Once we found out I was pregnant, the conversation about when we set a date stopped. I wanted to wait until after I had the baby, wait and see how the weight came off, wait until Alexandra could be our flower girl and Dayne our ring bearer.
Talk about when the date will be set again has started a little bit, just batting around possibilities, but nothing set in stone. I have spoken about Banff before and how much I loved it and how Steve proposed there. That is also where we planned to get married. Banff Springs Hotel. People tell us that we're crazy, who would spend that much money on one day, but it's my dream. Steve and I, together forever officially, in the place where so much magic has happened for us.
I have since spoken to Steve about getting married in Vegas next May and having the reception at Banff Springs Hotel. Since we lost Alexandra the place where we get married became less important to me, I just want to get married. I still do want SOMETHING in Banff though.
I have already chosen so much for my wedding. I want the guest favors to be Bernard Callebaut chocolates. They use little triangle boxes of chocolates to make cakes, and I wanted them as both the guest favors and the center pieces. Our colors would be mauve and grey (more silver, but don't tell Steve he has to wear something silver, he will refuse! lol) The main flowers would be lilacs, the bright purple ones. The bouquet's would be made with fresh lilacs...I have yet to pick any other flower.
My dress would be big and poofy and beautiful. Possibly a light purple or with light purple accents, possibly not...the style is more important than the color...It would be a princess dress. My brides maids and maid of honor would all wear purple dresses with silver accents.
All I need is for it to all be pulled together to look beautiful and elegant.
Of course, if we get married in Las Vegas, it will not all work out that way. There will probably be no wedding party, and many of the little details I had planned wouldn't happen, but much of what I would like can still happen at the reception, so I guess we will see what the future holds...
 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Horrible

Last night or early this morning a little newborn baby boy was found in a dumpster. Umbilical cord still attached.
This kind of thing has always really bothered me, abusing and mistreating the innocent, it has always made me sick to my stomach. Now however, it's even worse. The thoughts that go through my head. And I will say it, the FIRST thought that goes through my head is "Why did THAT woman get to have her baby?" WHY? It's not fair that she got to have her baby and I didn't, I LOVE my baby, I WANTED my baby, I never would have mistreated or hurt my baby. WHY!? Why didn't I get MY baby?
It's part of the It's just not fair section that has cropped up in my brain. That section came with a horrible guilt section also, because I feel BAD that that is the first thing that comes into my head. I would never wish something bad on anyone else. I would never wish this pain on anybody else, and that's not what I am thinking, like I wish that that baby hadn't made it so mine could, that's not it. But it still seems so unfair.
The second thing that goes through my mind is...give that baby to me! Don't you know that I WANTED a baby? That I love and planned for a baby? Don't you know that my arms and my heart were robbed of that baby? Give the baby to me, I'll take it, and I will love that little baby with all of my heart.
It's just so hard to see this. Don't people know how lucky they are? To just leave a little baby all alone, don't they realize what so many other families would do for a baby? Don't these people THINK about the pain that that poor baby is suffering, wondering where his mommy is?
What is wrong with these people?? 
I feel like my whole emotional self unravelled when I heard about this story.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Question Seventeen

Day 17 - an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc) that moves you.


This is easy. When I was around 15 or 16 I was at the mall with my mom. She was at an appointment and while I waited for her I visited an art store. After roaming around looking aimlessly, I found myself looking through a stack of pictures. The young man that worked at the store (who probably wasn't much older than I was) came over and asked how I liked all the Dali paintings. I didn't know who had painted these things, but I knew that I loved them.
The one that I was drawn to, that moved me was Swans Relfecting Elephants. It was slightly dark, and I couldn't stop staring at the swans, as their reflection turned to elephants, it spoke to me of how things aren't always as they appear. Sometimes there is so much more. And there was more to the painting than just that, it was amazing to me, and I didn't really know why.
Steve has bought me three Salvador Dali paintings, even though he hates them. There is something so...I don't really know how to describe it, but the pictures are so much to take in and I just love looking at them. Art you can get lost in, it's amazing. Though some of his stuff is a little to dark for me, I enjoy looking at most of it.

I Know Natalie

A friend of mine recently told me about a little girl named Natalie. Natalie was a very special little girl, who can teach us all a thing or two about strength. Sadly, little Natalie left her family on October 16th. She was 6 months old and passed away peacefully, but unexpectedly, in her Mommy's arms.
I'm hoping today that those of you that read my blog will offer prayers and good thoughts to this family, in their most difficult time. I know that they have been in my thoughts a lot these last days and I hope that they are able to find some peace.
I have never met this family, but because of their friends and because of their story, I know Natalie, and if you would like to know Natalie too, or if you would like to show this family some support, please visit them and read about Natalie's Story. You can also check out the I Know Natalie Blog.
Maybe we can bring this family just a little bit of comfort.

Question Sixteen

Day 16 - a song that makes you cry (or nearly).


I never used to be one to cry, but there came a time in my life when the tears came easily and the tears came often...and it was before my loss. I do hate to cry though. There are quite a few songs that make me cry actually, Concrete Angel, by Martina McBride, Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle, Lightening Crashes by Live (LOVE Live) But for this post, I chose Last Kiss, which was originally sang by Wayne Cochran.
My mom used to sing this song to me, so before I had ever heard the actual song, I knew all the words and the song evoked such strong emotions in me. The first time I heard it, I heard the Pearl Jam version and I fell in love with it. I have heard the original version as well, but I will be posting the Pearl Jam version here because I think they did the most amazing job on this song.
 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Question Fifteen

Day 15 - what you like about your house.


What do I like about my house...Well, I like that it's our home, and it feels like it. I LOVE the bathroom, it has two sinks and two mirrors, but not side by side, one is on the other side of the bathroom, at the end up the bath tum, the bathroom is shaped almost like an upside down L, and it's wonderful. I love that my bedroom has two closets, that there's room for Steve's pool table in the basement, that there's lots of room in general, especially in the living room. I love that there's a big bedroom in the basement for when Dayne is older, to have friends hang out, maybe it will even be his bedroom one day.
I fell in love with this house when we first looked at it. It's not the newest house or the most fancy, but it's just perfect for our family.
I don't have any pictures of our house, and I don't have time to take any, but I have one that I took a while ago...while I was pregnant with Alexandra. It's of my dining room, where I'm often posting from. It looks pretty much the same now, only the toys are gone, we organized Dayne's room so everything would fit in it. The dining room is one of my favorite places in the house, there are a lot of great memories there, us eating together as a family and Dayne and I working on his letters (that wasn't the best memory, he's a stubborn guy) and of course, most recently, Dayne's birthday party, on Alexandra's 4 month birthday.
That is also exactly where I sat when I ate pizza for breakfast on April 27th, 2010. Where I started to wonder why Alexandra wasn't moving, where I was sitting when I posted on my parenting website asking "How can I wake my baby up?" Where the fear first started to set in. Like yesterday, I remember that day, and I doubt I will ever forget.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Question Fourteen

Day 14 - a non-fictional book that is meaningful to you since your loss.


Well, I have read a few non fiction books since my loss, but the one that popped into my head when I read this question was a book that was given to me by my Aunt Alison (see the the trend here? lol) It was a Christmas gift and she had explained that this was one of her favorite books and she thought I would like it.
Well, life got in the way, and the book got set aside and I forgot about it for a while. Every now and then I would think "I MUST read that book" but I did not. After we lost Alexandra I was talking to my Aunt on the phone and she asked me if I read the book, and I told her that I had not read it yet. She suggested that I read it and that it might be helpful to this time in my life. And it has been.
The book is called Mutant Message From Down Under and it's written by Marlo Morgan. I have not finished the book yet, I actually have 3 books on the go right now, but I just love sitting down and really getting into that book. I'm kind of cheating with this one because, while this book was originally categorized as a non-fiction book, it was later re-categorized as fiction. There is much drama surrounding the book and it's author's possible intentions. Whether the story is really true or not, it holds a great message, and that message is all the non fiction I need from this book. 
A good quote from the book:
“Forget the pain. Learn to endure. Focus your attention elsewhere.”
 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Question Thirteen

Day 13 - a fictional book that is meaningful to you since your loss

This question is easy for me, but probably not a typical answer. I'm big on reading, so, while packing my bag to go deliver my sleeping daughter, I grabbed a book. Later I thought, how silly, why would I read? But once you have cried so much that your head throbs and your eyes are all swollen, and you're sure you have no tears left, you need something to do...so I read that book. I read several chapters at the hospital and that book kept me sane, by giving me something to dive into that first week. When I had nothing to do, and couldn't sleep, I would read.
The book is called Heart-Shaped Box and it was written by Joe Hill. It is weird that I got lost in a book about the dead and ghosts when dealing with the most difficult kind of death to deal with, but losing myself in a book that was totally fake, it was just what I needed.


My Uncle Pat and Aunt Alison are two of my favorite people in this world. My Uncle Pat and I talk a lot about different books and authors and every now and then a box will arrive in the mail with some books in it, and it was one of those times that this book showed up at my house. So, I credit my Uncle Pat and my Aunt Alison for giving me the gift of a mindless escape during the hardest time of my life.
(And you know you guys are reading this! - I love you both so much!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th, 2010

Right at 7pm Dayne and I sat at the dining room table, candles in hand. I started by lighting a candle we had picked just for Alexandra. A tall, but very thin, white candle, with a little crystal holder.


After that we lit one candle after another until we had 6 candles lit (not including Alexandra's) I thought about how many candles it would take to light one candle for every baby lost, and I wished that no candles needed to be lit, that this day didn't even need to exist, that none of our babies were lost.


We left all of the candles to burn inside for an hour, while we watched and talked and then we put the 6 candles on a plate and brought them outside.


They all melted together, it was kind of neat.
We left the candles to burn until they burnt out.


We even took a picture with Alexandra's treasure bean.


I hope that everyone else had a peaceful night, and had some time to think of all the babies that were lost too soon.

October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is an important day. It's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I would like to invite everyone that reads this to participate in the wave of light. It's easy to do...you really don't have to do anything at all! Just light a candle or turn on your porch light from 7pm - 9pm tonight.
As we light our candles this evening, we will be thinking of Alexandra and all of her beautiful angel friends.