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Thursday, September 30, 2010

If I could be (Part 1)

If I could Be,
I'd be a tree,
A Giant weeping birch.
I'd stand so tall, and never fall,
And wait for you to perch.
You'd come to me, so peacefully,
And rest your angel wings.
You'd sit with me, if I could be.
A Giant weeping Birch.

Melissa Foy - 2010
For Alexandra

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September, 29th, 2010

It's been 5 months since I left the hospital with empty arms. 5 Months since I held my baby in the most natural way. 5 Months since I said the most heart wrenching goodbye. It's been 5 months, but it doesn't feel like it's been that long.
Today Alexandra walked with me through all of my movements. She sat at the forefront of every thought. She is there with me always, but today she monopolized each and every thought. I wanted to tell random strangers "My daughter would have been 5 months old today, but she did not live to celebrate"
When Dayne turned 6 months old I had a little party. Half a year...that will be next month. Alexandra's half year party, that people would think I was crazy for having, would have been next month. Instead, I will sit at the cemetery, with her headstone and her faded teddy bears.
Today I thought of, not just Alexandra, but two other angel babies as well. Little Valentina, who just had her 5 month birthday two days ago, and Alexandra's little friend that shares her name. I hope they are playing. I hope that they wished each other a happy 5 month birthday and a happy 10 month birthday.
Today was made busy not by my own hands but by errands and picture day a Dayne's school, but I am glad that I wasn't here, all alone thinking about how sad I am.
This has been the most difficult 5 months of my life, but Alexandra makes me stronger every day and I look forward to the day when it's more celebration and a little less sadness.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


This summer was terrible. It was cooler than it usually is. It rained a lot. It snowed off and on into May and when it finally "warmed up" it was still barely warm enough to allow Dayne to play in his pool more than a handful of times. A lot of times, I felt like the weather was matching my mood. Still, there was a distinct change in the weather, the snow melted, the warm days came. There was that spring time smell.
For the last few weeks it's been fairly rainy. It got really cold for a few days and then, sometime in the middle of last week it started to warm up. That spring time smell came back. I was standing in the shower with the window open when it hit me the first time. Maybe it was a combination of my shampoo, or my soap and the spring smell the wafted in through the window, but a memory flashed through my mind. It was the days after we got home from the hospital, there was so much stuff to do and no time to stop and sit and stare. I remember thinking, as I showered those days, everyone says to take all the time you need, but really, there was no time.
I remember the emotions, but with the numbness slightly gone. It's like they are flooding back in, minus the buffer that my mind had put up. It started out as the flutter of a memory and got stronger and stronger as these days have gone by. At some point in the last day or two I started to realize that I have to cope with, not just the memories of pregnancy and the thought of all the things I've lost with my daughter, I also have to deal with the very vivid memories that come rushing back when I smell something, hear something, or see something that I came across in those very foggy days that followed the news of my daughter having no heart beat.
And I wonder, will there ever be a time when my day is not about what is there to trigger the sadness inside of me? When it's JUST about remembering Alexandra in a happy way and enjoying my very special family?

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Baby

I don't know how many other angel moms at this stage in their grief can identify with me, but I have been struggling lately. I desperately want to have a baby. I feel like it's not just a want, but a need at this point. And logically, I can think of a million reasons why we should go ahead and have a baby right now...and only one reason not to. The problem is that, that one reason may over shadow all of the logical reasons FOR trying for another baby now.
Am I ready? Are WE, as a family, ready? Will it set me back in my grief? Is it insane to want to have a baby right now? I feel like, I was ready, I was was prepared for a baby, I had made plans for the years to follow, WITH a new baby. I want to carry on with those plans, without having to stop them sometime down the road in order to have another child. I'm not done. I WANT 2 children running around my house. I don't want Dayne to be too old to really enjoy having a baby around. He was so excited...Is it fair to Dayne to try for another child so soon?
I do not understand this pull, this need that I'm feeling. I have tried to make myself realize that another baby won't make this pain stop, and still, I have that pull, that tick, tick, tick...
My thoughts and feelings these day are so jumbled, they are a mess. We are not going to try to have another baby right now. In the end, my worry for my family has caused me to push the idea down. We'll revisit it down the road. But I just don't understand why I am feeling this way...and I am reaching I the only one?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Sunday, September 19, 2010


One of my favorite places in this world is Banff. If you have never heard of it, you should google it, you will be blown away by the pictures. It's a beautiful place, a wonderful place, a magical place. Steve, Dayne and I have spent a lot of time there. We always hit a few special places, Banff Springs hotel, a store that looks like a trading post and sells mostly native items and, of course, Welch's candy store. Banff Springs hotel has been a special place to me for longer than I can remember. I have spent countless hours wandering around the old hotel. It's so peaceful there.
It was for that reason that on the September long weekend of 2009, Steve proposed to me there. At the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the cascade ballroom. On stairs covered in rose pedals, I stood, in total shock as Steve told me how much he loved me and asked me to marry him. We didn't know it at the time, but I was just a few weeks pregnant with Alexandra.
Today, we went to Banff. We went to the hotel first, where I took pictures with Alexandra's treasure bean. We went to the trading post, where we bought Dayne a new toy, a wooden snake that moves around like it real when you hold it by the tail. We went to Welch's candy store were we bought candy sticks, salt water taffy and rock candy, like we always do, and before we left, we went to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory, our new tradition for Banff trips, this was the third time we'd gone there.
It was a special family trip. It was rainy and cold, but still special. I was sad that Alexandra wasn't physically there with us, but I do believe that she was there in spirit and I'm glad that we included her in our pictures.
I was thinking of her often, throughout the day.
Alexandra's treasure bean, outside Banff Springs Hotel

Alexandra's treasure bean, on the banister of the stairs where Steve proposed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Inconvenient Truth

Every year in my city there are over 200 stillbirths and neonatal deaths. There are more than 1800 documented miscarriages, every year, in my city alone. These are the facts, that I had not been aware of until I lost my daughter.
My truth is that Alexandra is one of those 200 for 2010. The inconvenience of talking to me, of knowing me, is that you are exposed to my truth. People complain about having to hear about the babies lost. People complain about having to hear about miscarriages, stillbirths, SIDS.
People that are pregnant complain that they don't want to hear about it, it makes them scared. Imagine how WE feel.
People complain that they don't want to think about it, it's too sad. Imagine how WE feel.
People complain that our loss is not real because we didn't really get to know our babies. Imagine how that makes US feel.
People say those things without thinking about how their words impact people that have suffered a loss. But yet, we should hold our tongues and be respectful of their ignorance of our situation, after all, they have never experienced it. I don't believe I have ever experienced their level of ignorance, so I think that they should hold their tongues when I tell them how I REALLY feel...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Bracelet

Not long after we had Alexandra, a dear friend of mine sent me a bracelet. It was a Tiffany style charm bracelet, it had a heart charm with Alexandra's name and birth date on one side and the words "Always and forever" on the other side. It is beautiful and I love it. I would wear the bracelet every single day.
Before I leave the house I put on my jewellery. Most days I wear my engagement ring, my Alexandra bracelet on my left arm and my pregnancy and infant loss awareness bracelet on my right arm. Because Monday was a special day I wore more jewellery than I usually wear. I carefully put it all on and listened as my bracelet jingled while I walked around the house.
At some point I stopped listening to the jingle, probably around the time I ran out the door. When I arrived at the dinner, I took off my jacket and went to adjust my bracelets, as I always do. At the moment I realized that my bracelet was gone. There were marks on my arm from it, so we thought it couldn't have gone far. My friend who had accompanied me told me not to worry, we would find it. She was calm, outside I was trying to appear calm, inside I was freaking out. I almost cried. The bracelet is important to me, it means so much.
We followed our steps back through the hall and asked if anyone had turned it in. No luck. We had no more time to walk back to the car to look for it, dinner was going to start.
My friend kept reassuring me "Don't worry, we'll find it. If we don't find it tonight, we'll come back tomorrow" I was grateful for her understanding about how important the bracelet was. She felt so bad she even bought me another bracelet...which I love, of course. There are two charms on the bracelet, a baby blue heart, which was there because they were to celebrate a baby boy (Scott Smed) but I felt it suited Dayne also, and she bought a butterfly charm to represent Alexandra. The bracelet also jingles and is so pretty.
Still, it's not my original bracelet, and I HAD to find it. When the dinner was over, we walked back to the car, looking at the ground, searching for my bracelet. We got to the car with no luck, so we searched my seat in the car and the floor and nothing. I was starting to think that I would never find it, I was so upset! My friend pointed out that we should ask about it at the pro shop, maybe someone had found it. So, away we went. A young man spoke with us, he seemed confused at first, I didn't think he had found the bracelet. After a second, his eyes lit up, he said "Wait, is it silver?" and I said "Yes!" He smiled and turned around to grab his coat, he fished around in the pocket and pulled my broken bracelet out of his pocket and explained that he had found it on the path. I was SOOOO relieved!
When I got home and explained to Steve what happened he was amazed that we had found the bracelet. He told me that we would have it fixed so I can wear it again.
I know I give credit to Alexandra for a lot of things, but I truly believe that she plays a huge roll in my life and I do believe that she had a hand in my bracelet getting back to me. Tiny little hands were at work there.
And I am so grateful for my new bracelet too!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Scott Smed Invitational

Yesterday was a very special day. A few weeks ago I was asked to share Alexandra's story for a brochure to be used at the Scott Smed Invitational. Shannon and Peter Smed are an amazing couple that have done the most wonderful things for my city. 10 years ago they lost their son Scott, and their experience at the hospital was not very good. They made it their mission to not have any other parents go through the same experience.
It is thanks to Shannon and Peter Smed that Steve and I were able to stay in that very special room at the hospital when we had Alexandra. The Scott Smed Family Rooms. A peaceful and gentle place to experience the most horrific event of our lives...You would think we would hate that day and everything about it, including the room, but that special place had the opposite effect. It was a magical place where time stopped while we held our baby.
Every year, for the past 10 years, Peter and Shannon Smed have held the Scott Smed Invitational. It is a full day event for many. These wonderful people who have donated their money and their time to spend on such an amazing cause. I felt honored to tell Alexandra's story for them, and even more honored when they asked if I would attend the dinner and if they could include Alexandra's name in a slide show dedicated to our angel babies.
As we arrived we were greeted with tables of silent auction items and table of souvenirs. We were led in and given baby blue t-shirts, baby blue for baby Scott. When we found our table we sat for a while, but before we knew it it was time to eat. We all filed out to the buffet that was filled with salads, vegetables, and chicken or roast beef. It was such a nice dinner. When everyone was done eating, we were served coffee and the speeches began, Shannon thanked so many people, it was absolutely heart warming to see so many people, joined in the same room to celebrate our babies.
As the Calgary Boy Choir sang there was a small slide show that showed pictures of the Scott Smed Family Rooms in the different hospitals. As the picture of the room we stayed in popped up, I choked back tears. It looked exactly as it was when we were there, I remembered sitting and staring at the lights on the wall and thinking about how nice they were. I wondered at that time if I would remember those lights forever, and I think I will.
As the night carried on, there was a live auction, cupcakes with baby blue icing, to celebrate Scott Smed's birthday,  stories were shared and tears were shed. And of course, the slide show that was dedicated to all of our babies. Alexandra's name was the very first name that popped up and I cried.
There were many times throughout the night that I thought it was too hard, and maybe I shouldn't have come this year, but in the end, I am so glad that I got to be a part of something so amazing, something so special. I have been left grateful to know that so many people care.
On the way out, I bought a baby blue teddy bear for Dayne. I told him it was a very special bear from a little boy that also didn't get to go home from the hospital. We agreed that, just maybe, he is showing Alexandra around heaven right about now. And Dayne said his new bear is very special.
If you would like to learn more about Peter and Shannon Smed and the the Scott Smed Foundation, you can check out their website:

Dayne's bear, with Alexandra's Treasure Bean at the Scott Smed Invitational.

Alexandra's story in the brochure.

The wonderful momentos I went home with.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th, 2010

First, I would like for everyone reading this to take a moment to remember all of those that were lost on September 11, 2001.

I am not from the US, I am from Canada, but the tragedy of 9-11 was one that touched the world. We all stood shocked together, we all prayed together, we all mourned together, and now, we all remember together.

Written by Cheryl Sawyer

As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building,
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement,
We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heros
We become one people.

We are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people

We are The Power of One.
We are United.
We are America

Friday, September 10, 2010

May 2011

Last September, late in the month, I found out I was pregnant.I have memories of how the next months went. I was so sick that I could barely go out in public. The day I found out, I had to go pick up my son from pre school, I was so excited that I told his teacher. She said "So we're not telling many people yet?" and I replied "No, I'm telling EVERYONE!" I was happy. I think now, how that was almost like a premonition. But everyone would have known anyway, I was 37 weeks pregnant when we lost Alexandra. Well, 37 and a half weeks.
How am I going to get through this school year with everything that reminds me of how happy I was, how excited I was to be having another baby. What am I going to do to stop the memories from popping up all the time? When is this going to get easier?
 People that are announcing now that they are pregnant are due in May, around the time my baby would be turning one. I didn't realize how hard this would be to deal with. Why would it hurt me so much to hear that someone else is due in May?
I'm trying, every day I'm trying to keep everything positive, to spread Alexandra's memory in a positive way. I'm trying, but it's so hard.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8th, 2010

It's been a hectic few days. Dayne started school and life has gotten hectic. Dayne has been carrying a pregnancy and infant loss bracelet in his backpack. He says that when he gets sad at school he likes to look at it so that he knows Alexandra is watching over him.
I wish that I had something that made me feel so comfortable, so sure.
Today has been a bit of a sad day for me. I haven't had the time that I normally give myself, I haven't had my moments with Alexandra. I feel lonely, sensitive and easily let down.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Alexandra's Memorial

It rained.
I was worried about the butterflies, I told Steve "We will have to release them into a bush so their wings don't get wet." It wasn't what I had pictured, but it would have to do. Somehow, we ran late. The balloons took extra time to blow up, I hadn't brought enough bags for them, the woman at the store argued with me about strings for them. I had explained that I didn't want strings because they are hazardous to animals, I had bought biodegradable balloons, I wasn't going to harm animals just so I could have a balloon release, and especially not so I could have strings!
Dayne was naughty, he was running around and wanting to play, he was excited that so many people were there at the cemetery. He is used to this place, he seemed proud of it, proud of his sister's resting place. He urged his cousins to play at the park, to run in the grass away from the graves. He didn't seem to understand what was going on.
When everyone had arrived and held tightly to their balloons, we got started. I had written a small speech. I had read it over and over again, I read it out loud in my home, to get used to it. I didn't want to cry, I wanted to read it calmly, so everyone would hear my words, would hear about our dreams for Alexandra. When I got in front of everyone though, it wasn't the same. I didn't even make it through my first sentence. With the tears, came frustration, I was shaking and my Grandma walked over and put her arm around me. She gave me the strength to continue reading through the tears.
When I was done speaking, those of us releasing butterflies, went over to the bushes. The butterflies took some coaxing, but the crawled out of the box and onto the bush. When they were successfully in their place, we walked back and I told everyone holding a balloon that they could let it go. I chose to use many different colors, instead of just pink. I wanted Alexandra to have a rainbow and she got one. It was beautiful.
It was amazing to share that day with our family. I know that Alexandra was looking down on us, I know that she was happy to see us gathered there for her. I know.

Edited to add that right before we opened the boxes to release the butterflies, Dayne opened his a tiny crack and quietely whispered in: "Great Spirit, please tell my baby sister Alexandra that I love her" It was one of the most touching moments I have ever shared with my sweet little guy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 4th, 2010

Today was a birthday celebration for my Grandmother's husband. He is basically the only grandfather I have ever known, and one of my favorite people in this world. He turns 78 on Tuesday. It was a special day for him and so I went.
It was strange for me though. I have had get togethers with close friends and family since we lost Alexandra, but this was my first get together with people that knew about what happened but aren't close, or knew but didn't acknowledge it in any way. I felt awkward, it was strange for me.
I was not comfortable, but I worked hard to get over my own feelings...and eventually I did.
It was a nice time with family and there was some hush, hush comments about "see you tomorrow" as people left, and as we left. A few comments about people talking or not talking "tomorrow"
You see, tomorrow is Alexandra's memorial. Her butterfly release and balloon release. This day that I have been working towards for several months, this very special day when we are going to join together to say a united goodbye to the angel in our family.
Tomorrow is a very important day. I have an image in my head of what it will be like, and how it will go and I just know that Alexandra will be watching tomorrow and smiling as we gather together to honor her.

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 2nd, 2010

Yesterday was Dayne's first day of school. It was an open house and parents were allowed to go to school with the child. As I got ready for our day I thought about how I had made arrangements for Alexandra for this day. I had planned childcare for her, so far in advance. This would have been the first time I left her alone with someone. I would have been so nervous. Thinking about how I had made these arrangements, it brought up in my mind my plans. I have talked about my plans before, but it always seems to come up.
We walked to school and on the walk, while Dayne ran slightly ahead, I thought about how I would tell his teacher's about Alexandra. How does one bring this up? What would I say? How would I respond when the oh so common "I'm so sorry" came up. I sat with Dayne in a tiny chair at a tiny table while he drew a picture and pondered what to play with. I filled out some forms and sadly circled "no" when it asked if Dayne had any siblings. I wondered if I should circle yes...does an angel count? Would I look sane if I circled yes? There I go, adding complications to things.
When I was finished the teacher came over and sat with Dayne and I. She looked at the form and while she looked at the question about siblings, she asked Dayne "Do you have any brothers or sisters" My Dayne, so honest, so uncomplicated simply said "Well, actually I do, but she's not here right now" The teacher looked confused, looked back at the sheet and then at me. I explained the story and explained that we would not be telling Dayne to not talk about his sister. The teacher was extremely understanding, she was kind and apologetic. She explained that Dayne should be allowed to talk about his sister, that it's important and if he does frequently, they will ask my permission to speak with the class about it. When the other teacher found out, she expressed to me that she had lost a younger sibling to stillbirth when she was young. She can relate to Dayne.
I think that Dayne will be ok in his class. I know that Alexandra will watch over him, and now I know that his teacher's will acknowledge Dayne's baby sister.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Everything Happens For A Reason...

Even people that have lost say this. I have never really thought for a second that there was some great reason for my daughter not being born living. I know that I have turned lemons into lemonade, so to speak, when I began to use this horrible experience to try to help other people and educate other people, but I don't believe that there was some greater plan. I can't believe that...In fact, it actually makes me cringe when I hear someone else say it in regards to a loss...even their own. I would never say anything, if that is what helps them, then that is what helps them. It's not my place to judge, but it still causes a negative reaction in me every time.
I do know that from the loss of Alexandra, I have learned some things. I have learned a lot about myself, about my relationship with Steve, about Dayne and how inspirational he can be. I have also learned a lot about people that I felt were very close to me. People that I would have dropped everything in my life to help if they had lost their child, people that did not offer me the same courtesy.
I work hard every day to not be bitter. I know the other loss moms here know what I am talking's HARD work, but sometimes some bitter feelings sneak in and take over. I always feel guilty about having these feelings. Negative emotions, negative feelings, bitter thoughts, they don't help spread Alexandra's memory in a good way. Complaining about everyone that has said something stupid to me, or everyone who didn't call when they should have, didn't come when they should have, didn't say what they should have, complaining about these people only uses up energy that would be better spent elsewhere.
Knowing that my energy is better spent spreading good thoughts about my daughter and actually being able to turn the negative into positive are not always in line with each other though. For the last little while I have been feeling especially bitter about certain aspects of my life. I get the twinge of how unfair this is often, but this is different.
I am sad to say that I have lost friends because of the loss of my daughter. When I didn't need anymore loss, when I didn't need anymore hurt, it happened. All I wanted was for the people that I really care about to be there for me...many were, I really shouldn't complain, so many people rallied around me. At the same time, some people that I really thought would have been there, have all but abandoned me. I could list them, they don't read my blog, but I will refrain.
I try to be understanding, I try to force myself to realize that not everyone knows what to say or how to act, that some people are so uncomfortable about my loss that they simply cannot be around me anymore. But then it dawns on's not about them...It's about me. Is it not the job of a true friend to rise above their own discomfort in order to support a friend in need?
I have to admit that, while I have been deeply hurt by the actions (or non actions, as it may be) of some people, I have been truly amazed by some others that have stepped up and let me know that they are there for me.
My advice? If you don't know what to say, just say you're there. Saying nothing hurts more than saying something stupid. If you are uncomfortable and don't know what to do, ask. Disappearing is like inflicting another loss on top of the already devastating loss someone is going through. Ask what you can do, be honest about your comfort level and your fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, it will be well received...more so than if you vanish or ignore what has happened.
My daughter was real and she was alive and I want people to acknowledge this. I want people to understand my need to hear her talked about, to have her acknowledged, to have her accepted as a part of the family that was sadly lost, way too soon.