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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Alexandra

Tomorrow is my second Christmas without my daughter. All the presents are piled under the tree (except for what Santa is bringing, of course!), and on top of it all sits Alexandra's stocking, with the pictures that Dayne drew her last year, and the gift we bought her for the cemetery this year. Alexandra will never get anything other than a teddy bear or other stuffed animal. We will never be struggling to get a toy out of a box for her to play with on Christmas morning, never curse the toy company that packaged the new tea set so it was almost impossible to unwrap. I'll never be annoyed with Steve because I had to put together the doll house.
I think about all the things we are missing, all of the things we got with Dayne that we will never get with Alexandra. It's holidays and birthdays that pass that I find especially hard. Alexandra may be sharing in those things from somewhere else. She may be watching over us, and she may be happy with everything that she sees, but it's not the same, she is not here with us. I will never see her face light up when she opens her presents, or see her smile when Dayne teaches her the Christmas songs he learns in school.
This year Alexandra gets a teddy bear with a pink Calgary Flames hoodie on. We will leave it there for her tomorrow, and I will wonder if she sees us there, including her in Christmas, missing her and wishing she was with us. She would be able to open her gifts with less help this year and would be able to get more involved in all the festivities. I picture how it would be if she was here with me and it breaks me heart.
I am missing out on so much stuff with my daughter.
We try to include Alexandra in everything in our lives in a positive way. I do try not to dwell on how it could be and focus on how it is. Alexandra is not here with us, but she is around us and her memory is making a difference in this world. But, at times like this, it's hard not to think about what should have been...

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Ross

This blog has really become more than just Alexandra's blog, it has become a way for me to express myself, help others, a place for me to grieve safely, and a place for me to remember. It's been a rough few years for my family and this blog has really reflected those times.
On Friday Steve and I dropped Dayne off at school and decided to take the time alone to do some Christmas shopping. We started with a few errands at the pet store, headed to another store and then off to a craft store. As I walked around the craft store looking for something, my mom called. I had called her, so I thought she was returning my call, all the while, she thought I was returning her calls. I chatted to her about where I could find something I was looking for and everything seemed normal. At a pause in the conversation my mom started asking about where Steve was, if he was working, if he was with me, was he right there with me. The line of questioning seemed very strange to me, it was excessive.
 After a minute of this, my mom said "The reason I was calling you was to let you know that Ross passed away."
And the world stopped moving, everything stood still. My voice froze in my throat and my mouth fell open.
Ross, my Ross, was my grandma's husband. They got married when I was in grade 7, and Ross became a huge part of my life. They got married in my Grandma's back yard, I remember it like yesterday.
As I grew Ross played one of the most important roles in my life. As a troubled teen Ross was always there for me, he always made me feel loved, like he accepted me no matter what. During that time I formed a bond with Ross that would remain unbreakable over the years.
I would sit with him and wrap my arm around his back and rest my head on his shoulder, and he would always make a sarcastic joke about whatever was going on at the time. Before I left him, every time, I would say, "You behave Ross!" and he would say "You too!" and most recently he would tell me that he had no choice but to behave. We would chat about all sorts of things, Ross and I, sometimes ghosts, sometimes Steve's work, current events, I loved to talk with Ross.
The news devastated me, and the rest of my day went on, as if I was in a fog, like we should be doing something, but there was nothing for us to do. On Friday night we went to my Grandma's house. When we walked in she commented, "You can sit in his chair." But nobody did. The recliner where Ross always sat, was empty, his laptop set to the side, his walker tucked away in the corner. His sweater was resting over the arm of his chair and I just wanted to go curl up in his chair, with his sweater, and cry...not just cry, I wanted to sob. I didn't though, I sat in my usual spot, on the end of couch, glancing over at his chair often, wishing that I was alone there so I could have a moment to sit in his chair, just last Christmas I posed for a picture in that chair with him.
I had to stay strong and not cry for my Grandma, she was working so hard to hold it together for everyone, I could tell that if I started crying, she would too, and then we'd all be a disaster of tears and running noses. If we started would any of be able to stop?
These last days have been difficult for me. I miss him and I regret not spending more time with him than I did. My heart is broken.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Through the snow, creeps hope

Today hasn't been the best day. I've been feeling down. Christmas is coming, another Christmas without Alexandra. It's sad to think about, especially when I see other kids Alexandra's age, all dressed up for the holidays.
Compounding my sadness is the fact that I am still not pregnant. I desperately want to have another child, but it just isn't happening, and that breaks my heart every single day.
So, while I went about my day, thinking about how much this holiday season sucks, I took the dog out to play in the snow. I take him out several times a day, the same way every day. This time though, as I walked, looking at the ground to avoid ice, as usual, I saw something odd. It was green, leafy, and kind of round, and at first I thought it was sitting on top of the snow. I also thought it was some kind of fake plant that had blown to the side of our steps. I bent down to pick it up and I realized that it hadn't blown there, and it wasn't fake. It was a real little plant of some kind, growing up through the snow. It wasn't there this morning, or I have somehow missed it all this time, but the snow is deep and somehow this little plant made it's way out of it.
I dug it out a bit, to see what the bottom looked like, it is not doing very well, but there it hope, creeping up through the snow, stealing the light.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Caring Beyond

Last night was our local pregnancy and infant loss candle light service. It happens every year in December and is a wonderful way to remember our children around the holidays. They have a tree for families to place an ornament on and everyone gets to light a candle for their babies. The battery in my camera was dead, so unfortunately, I did not get a picture of Alexandra's ornament, but I will say that it was a dark pink and purple and VERY sparkly! Dayne chose it after much consideration between many, many other sparkly ornaments. Dayne feels that Alexandra sparkles, so she needs things that sparkle too. I don't know where this boy comes up with this stuff, but it amazes me every time something like that comes out of his mouth.
It was just a lovely service, and I'm so glad that I went, I had the chance to reconnect with some other loss mommies that I've met along the way, and share in a night that was just for our children.
I plan to go back every year, and I hope to get more involved next year. I was thinking about all of the wonderful women that I have met through my blog and through the online loss community last night, and I am wishing you all a very peaceful holiday season.
On the way out of the hospital it was bright enough to take a picture with my phone, so I took a picture of a cow that I thought Dayne would like. When I showed him this morning he said, "Do you think Alexandra thinks that cow is cool too?" So, I didn't get a picture of her ornament, but I guess we have Dayne and Alexandra's Christmas Cow to remember that night.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Helping to spread our stories!

On Friday a local news station came to my house interview me for a story about loss and October 15th. I was a nervous wreck the whole week leading up to the interview and all morning Friday I kept wondering how I would get through it! The people that came to talk to me though, were kind and understanding and were so respectful of Alexandra's memory and our story. The interview aired last night and their respect really shines through, they did a great job in helping to share Alexandra's story, spread awareness, and make me look like I am not a spaz!
This is a big step on my path to having all of the babies lost recognized by the world. A step in helping to heal families and a step in the right direction to help Canada see that this cause, and our day needs to be acknowledged.
I wanted to share my interview! I'll apologize in advance for the shaky video, I recorded it with my camera off my TV.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 15th - Wave of light

Yesterday was October 15th, pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. Two days before on October 13th, I received an email letting me know that our work for this day had paid off. The Mayor's office had sent the proclamation declaring October 15th as Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day in my city. This is just one step on our path to having all of the babies lost here in Canada remembered and acknowledged.
With this wonderful news in my heart, we lit our candle last night. It was a new candle that we just bought, with a new candle holder. It's just for Oct. 15th, and says it will burn for 30 hours, so hopefully it will be our October 15th candle for the next 30 years!
Dayne better understands why this day is important this year and he was excited to be involved and take some time out of his day for Alexandra. He asked if she was watching, and of course, I said yes.
I think that Alexandra is proud of all the work we're doing in her honor, and I hope to help her to impact this world even more as time goes on.
Last night I was thinking of all the loss moms I have met over the last year and half. I hope that you all were having a peaceful day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Still Miss You

This morning I got up at 7am, like I do 6 days a week (not Sunday, Sunday I sleep in). I showered, got dressed, did my hair, made Dayne's breakfast, got him ready, and chatted with him as we walked to his school. I laughed as he told me funny little Dayne stories and I watched him run around in circles. After Dayne went into the school I ran my nephews swimming stuff into the office for him and I walked back home listening to music all the way. It was a regular morning, like every other morning...
When I arrived at home, I let the dog out, changed into my comfy pants and sat down on my bed. When the morning stopped in that minute, something clicked inside of me and I became overwhelmed with my grief. It's been almost a year and a half since we lost Alexandra, and still some days I am right back to where I was that day. Lost.
I thought I was having a bad minute and tried to compose myself, I have things to get done. But it wasn't just a minute, it was more than that as I quickly realized when the crying turned into sobbing. I sat on my bed, all alone in my house, sobbing. I still miss Alexandra, just as much as I did the day she left us and just as much as I will until the day I die. And some days the realization that this is my life now, that I'm never going to wake up and find my daughter still here with us, is just too much.
Today is one of those days.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tree Lined Road

For most of my childhood I would have several, recurring dreams. One such dream was of me driving in a car, sometimes it was a car from my childhood, sometimes a car I didn't recognize, sometimes I would be in the front seat, sometimes the back, but the outside of the car always remained the same. The car drove down a tree lined road, the leaves on the trees were all yellow and falling off the trees, covering the ground in a blanket of yellow. It was always night time in the dream and there were always terrible, sad feelings brought about by it, like something terrible was about to, or just had, happened.
The other night we went for our usual trip to the cemetery. It was dark out though, something common for our trips there in the fall. Last year, we drove the back way in to the cemetery, this year, we drive a slightly different way. As we drove, I felt like I was back in that dream. This road was lined with trees, the leaves yellow and falling, the ground was covered in that fall blanket. It was shocking to me, thinking back to my dream, wondering if I was making a connection where there was none.
I haven't had that dream in years, and now I can't help but wonder if it was just a glimpse of my future, or just a grieving mom grasping at straws to make herself feel...better?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I want to write

I have been neglecting this place, my safe place. I relied on this blog to inform my family and express my feelings during the darkest days of my life. I don't know why I have been neglecting it. I could give a million excuses about our busy lives, our summer, the new school year, but I'm not going to do that.
I will say that things certainly have been busy here. This summer I made such a huge effort to make sure that Dayne experienced all the things he missed last summer while he sat, mostly at home with me, while I was grieving. He has proclaimed this as the "best summer EVER!" and I knew in that moment that I accomplished exactly what I set out to do for him.
He has started school, full days. The first day, I cried. I miss my little guy and it reminds me, if Alexandra was here, I would still miss my boy, but I would have her here to keep me busy, to help the time go by more quickly.
I have been working on Alexandra things, having pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day recognized in my city. We are just waiting on the proclamation to be written now, as they have agreed to acknowledge this day here. I am proud of this. I do feel like I dropped the ball, I had big plans for some kind of walk or gathering for October 15th this year, and nothing seems to have gotten planned. I don't know where I went wrong, I don't know where the time went, I wish I could keep up with every single thing that I want to get done. Things will be accomplished, things will get done, but in time, and I want them done NOW!
One step at a time, right?
You think I would have an abundance of time on my hands, sitting here alone all day long, while Dayne is in school, so, I can't help but wonder, why I feel like there simply aren't enough hours in the day, or days in the week. And I want to write so much more than I am...

Friday, August 19, 2011

For my friend, I will...

Jenny is what I like to call my bestest best friend in the whole wide world. We first met when we were 12 and 13 years old, in grade 7. We had some ups and down in those first few years, but we quickly realized that ours was a friendship that would stand the test of time. And it has.
Through my loss, Jenny was there, no matter what I needed, she was there for me. Jenny, her husband and their daughter were all there for Alexandra's fundraiser, helping us find items, baking, helping with everything that they could, they were there with me the entire day.
My bestest best friend Jenny is pregnant with her second daughter. I happened to have some maternity clothes still kicking around my house, so I decided to give them to Jenny when I returned the items she had lent me for Alexandra...Items that have been sitting in Alexandra's nursery for over a year now. Last night I also decided that Jenny needed to have some of Alexandra's clothes. I have been holding onto them, unable to take them out of her dresser, unable to give them away. Something changed in me last night though, I decided that, for my friend, I would let go of some of those items and share them with someone who would be truly grateful for them. And when I gave them to Jenny, her response was just what I expected from her, so thankful and so kind. First making sure that it was ok and I would be ok giving up these items.
Jenny and I are crossing a new bridge together, each dealing with something incredibly difficult with the other one. I feel like I have traumatised my dear friend with my loss, I have given her a new concern that she didn't realize was there before, and I feel terribly about that. But despite her own feelings, she stood with me, looking through Alexandra's stuff today. She looked at my daughter's pictures with me and she cried, while I, as usual, fought off the tears until she left.
Standing in my reality is hard for her because she is my friend and she feels sad for me, and because it is scary for her. Standing in her reality is hard for me because I don't want to hurt or scare her and because she is pregnant and I wish that I was, and she is having a daughter and I wish that I had my daughter. So, the two of stood together today, by each other's sides, in each other's realities, scared and sad, but together. Because that is what friends do, and I am so grateful to have a friend in Jenny.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Hawks Are Everywhere

I look forward to seeing hawks because of what I feel is a connection between the hawks and my daughter. I have spoke of this before, but for those that haven't read from the beginning, we started seeing the hawks around the time that we lost our daughter. I noticed that whenever I would be sitting on the couch in my living room looking out the window, in a state of complete despair, missing my daughter, I would see a hawk, off in the distance, circling in the sky. I had never noticed these hawks before.
Losing Alexandra has changed me in such a profound way, where I would once glance at the hawk and carry on, I now stop to watch. I stop to look at the flowers, the trees, the little birds chirping. I see jack rabbits hopping around. I notice little miracles in everything. I know that some people lose their faith when they lost a child, I can completely understand how that could happen, I mean, really, how could you not question things a little bit, at least for a minute, but the opposite happened for me.
Last night on the way to the cemetery, Steve and I chatted, we discussed he idea that when you die, you may cease to exist. Steve questions things in his head a lot, and he is in a very different place than me at the moment. I asked him, how could he not believe that there is something more out there now, when he had discussed his belief that the hawks must have something to do with Alexandra, less than a year ago. He is just questioning things right now, and that's ok, and probably more than that, it's good that he's searching within himself for the answers that will make him the most comfortable.
At the cemetery, I wiped Alexandra's headstone, had a few minutes with her, organized her stuffed animals, chatted with Dayne about the mushrooms around Alexandra's grave. It's been raining a lot, so I explained that the rain makes the mushrooms grow and then I explained the story that my mom told me when I was younger, about the possibility that little fairies reside under mushrooms. It was kind of neat to me because I had just received Alexandra's new treasure bean, with a fairy on it, and here I was, explaining fairies to Dayne, and maybe Alexandra was listening too.
After we were finished visiting with Alexandra, I headed down the hill to my Grandfather's grave, to clean it up. I sat in the grass with my scissors trimming the grass around it, wiping away the dirt and dust and talking to my son about his great grandfather. There are water taps in the cemetery, but the one we could locate was not working, so Steve wandered around with the bucket looking for another tap. As Steve walked down the road directly in front of me and down a small hill, we all heard a loud hawk cry. All three of us stopped, turned and looked up. We all saw it then, high up in a pine tree, perched on the very top branch, looking directly at Steve. Steve yelled up to me "Do you see it?" and I yelled back, "Yes!" And as Steve went to move, as if to say "STOP! Look at me!" The hawk screamed again, and every time Steve moved it would screech and stare at him.
In my mind I thought of the postal workers in my city who had been attacked by a large hawk, probably as big as the one I was looking at right now, but the hawk didn't move, it just stared at Steve screeching. Dayne became excited at this encounter and jumped, yelling, "Hey hawk! Hi!" and the hawk turned it's head looking at him. I told him to be quiet, so he didn't scare the bird and we began to talk about what hawks like to eat as we stared up at it.
This bird seemed fixated on Steve and, while it may have meant nothing more than a cool encounter to him, to me, this was just another little sign from our daughter. He dared to question and here was a sign, screeching at him from on top of a tree, within eye shot of Alexandra's grave. It was as if the hawk was telling Steve to believe.
These moments are all around us, and I do believe if we just stop and listen, we will hear it, if we take a moment to look, we will all see. And with so many signs everywhere I look, how can I NOT believe that my little girl is somewhere around me, checking in, watching over us, letting us know that she is ok, she is with us and she misses us as much as we miss her?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Broken Pinwheel

Last year I bought Alexandra and Dayne each a pinwheel. Of course, the weather ruined Alexandra's and I had to replace it. I did so this year, I bought two smaller pinwheels, thinking it would look nice, one on each side of her headstone. I went against my normal urge to buy all pink and girly and I bought a set of two blue pinwheels with small flowers.
The day I put them at the cemetery it was a little bit windy, I was happy that we would get to see them spin. I put the first one in on the left side and it began to spin away. The second went on the right side, only, it did not spin. I gave it a little push, to start it, but nothing happened. I thought they both worked when I bought them, but this one pinwheel was not cooperating.
I was annoyed, and I remember thinking..."nothing ever works the way it's supposed to."
Today as I stood at the cemetery watching one pinwheel spin as the other pinwheel stayed completely still, I thought about how they actually reminded me of me. I initially thought that it was just the way it is, I always buy things and then find a little flaw with them, something a little broken, a little ripped, a little imperfect, but today, those pinwheels were me...half broken, with the ability to do what I should, but for some reason it just doesn't happen.
Sometimes, when these kind of thoughts come to me, I wonder if Alexandra is sending me little messages. A broken pinwheel with the ability and desire to spin, but it needs a little push...or a lot of wind. Nothing comes easy, but the potential is there.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's changed and remains the same

A lot of things about me have changed since we lost Alexandra. Some things that I didn't even realize. Some things that changed or became triggers, I thought would pass, but so far, they haven't. I used to assume that the intense feelings would pass and I would get over certain issues, but that hasn't happened for a few things.
Babies...I can't handle seeing or hearing about any children that would be Alexandra's age, it breaks my heart and makes me feel like a terrible person, but I just can't. It's so hard to see what I'm missing out on.
On top of that, new babies and pregnant women are triggers for me because I desperately WANT another child and it is just not happening for us, which is a different but also difficult issue to be dealing with.
And death...I am constantly paranoid about death. I sometimes think about if I die, what will happen? I check Dayne every hour or two throughout the night, I listen to him breathing, make sure his face isn't covered by his blanket. I check on the dog and even the hamster, several times a day.
It was the hamster that made me realize what I was doing. It has become so ingrained in everything that I do. I hadn't even noticed the lack of sleep I'm inflicting on myself, until it hit me while checking on the hamster. As with every day, I went into Dayne's room, over to her cage and called "Pretty girl! Fuzzy Bugsy!" and waited for her to poke her little nose out of her wooden igloo. I was annoyed with the igloo when Steve first bought it, how could I check on her in that thing? But all the information on hamsters says they need something like it, so I had to work around it, by waking the poor little hamster up several times a day and going in to see her run on her wheel several times a night.
I had joked to Steve about what I've been doing, and insisted that the hamster likes it, she likes the attention, but that night, as I stood there watching her run on her wheel I realized that I am so terrified of this little rodent dying that I have to check on her and make sure she's ok.
And I wonder what will happen when she does pass away. What will happen when I go in and she doesn't poke her cute little nose out of her igloo? What will I do?
I don't know where this has come from and I'm still working on how to get over it, or beyond it, or around it...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Has Alexandra Made a Footprint on Your Heart?

Alexandra has changed everything about me, everything about who I am and what I find important. She has impacted my life in such a profound way. I could write here every day for the rest of my life and never convey the actual amount that my life, beliefs and views have changed because of, and in spite of, my loss.
Sometimes people will contact me and tell me that they are thinking of me or that Alexandra's story has touched their life, or has helped them to understand what loss families are going through.
It is amazing to me that my little angel could reach so many people, people all over the world. Not just loss families, but ALL families.
I'm not done though, Alexandra isn't done making an impact on this world. For now though, I am grateful for every comment, every phone call, every email, every person who lets me know that Alexandra has left a little footprint on their heart.
Thank you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Childhood

Sometimes when I remember things from my childhood, it makes me sad that there is so much stuff we're missing out on with Alexandra. My sister and I were very close in age, and though Dayne was 4 when we had Alexandra, I expected that they would be close and there would be shared memories of playing, learning and growing together.
It hurts so much that we have not been able to give Dayne a sibling, to share those special moments with.
This morning I was looking at quotes about angels, as I sometimes do when I am thinking of Alexandra, and I came across the prayer my sister and I used to say before bed.

"Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom God's love commits me here;
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide."

I don't know why these memories of my childhood make me think of Alexandra, as if they're connected, but it seems that she is a part of every moment and every memory now.

My day was made a lot better this morning when I opened my email to find a picture of my new treasure bean! I think I have started a tradition, I will have to get a new treasure bean for Alexandra every year. This year I asked for a fairy and I couldn't be more pleased with it!

I also got a keychain, which I am VERY excited for!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life Lessons From Loss

I am a firm DISbeliever in that old saying "Everything happens for a reason." I refuse to say it, I will disagree with most anyone that says it to me, I will become irate if someone says that to me regarding my daughter. There is something that I do believe though, and that is that, you can take something terrible and use it to bring goodness and love to someone else.
Alexandra has taught me many lessons and her loss has brought me to a different place in my life than I would have been otherwise. This place isn't my ideal place, it's not the best place, that place only exists in a world where she does, but this new place is a place where I am needed.
I wish that Alexandra was here with me, right now. She would be 14 months old right now, walk and bothering her big brother. She would be wearing pretty little sundresses and she would accompany us on our daily walks, cooing and chattering while Dayne and I discussed one of the many topics that he is pondering. I still miss her, every single day. I still imagine what she would look like, what she would be like, what would her favorite toy be? I still think about her, every single day.
Every time I think of my beautiful daughter, I think about what I can do to spread her memory some more, to take my loss and use it to help the next loss mom. Alexandra's spirit has inspired me to be a better person, a more kind and giving person. I believe that Alexandra is here with me, making sure her mommy doesn't get stuck in a rut. Sometimes I wonder if her little hands are on my back, pushing me forward, encouraging me.
We recently found out that my request to have pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day recognized in my city has gone on to the next step. It is being reviewed and we may have this day here, this year. This is a huge deal. When I applied, I didn't know what would happen and when I got the phone call to discuss it I realized that I had to do something more, to get this day out there than just tell people. And an idea was born. I sent some emails to get the ball rolling on SOMETHING for loss families to do on that day and I wondered...will there be a time when I feel like everything that I can do to help this loss community has been done? Will there be a time when the support for this community is the best it can get? I imagine it will take years.
With little hands on my back though, I am up for the challenge.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lauren's Walk

Today we got to attend Lauren's Walk. A walk and butterfly release in honor of Lauren, a little girl who was lost too soon.
It was wonderful to meet more loss moms. Though I kind of feel like wonderful isn't the best word to use, it's not wonderful to hear about someone else having lost their child, but to know that other people understand just what I've gone through, it's like coming into a room full of old friends.
It was cold and rainy, but well worth braving the weather. They had signs for so many babies, with messages from the families. Alexandra's sign had a quote from the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. And not only did Alexandra get a sign, but the baby we lost to an ectopic miscarriage this past February got a sign as well. It was touching to see them and know that everyone there was going to read my little girls name.

And as Dayne released his butterfly, he whispered to it "Tell Alexandra that I love her and she's beautiful"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aunt Diane

My Uncle Mike is a pretty cool guy, he has rough edges, but a kind heart, it's easy to tell if you have spent any time with him. I remember meeting Diane, his new girlfriend and thinking she was pretty neat, she was working in a field I was greatly interested in, so I was fascinated by her. I remember when my Uncle proposed to her as well, in front of the whole family, it was romantically out of character for the Uncle that I had grown up knowing.
It was obvious though, the love that they shared, it was obvious and real and amazing. I have always believed that they were soul mates.
Over the years we fought a bit, I was a different person then than I am now, and I lashed out easily. Still, my Uncle Mike and his lovely wife accepted me, acting as if nothing bad had ever happened.
When we lost Alexandra and I wasn't taking calls I got a message from my Uncle Mike, they were thinking of us and if we needed anything we should call. At my Ross's birthday party (my grandma's husband, my Ross) Diane and I had a moment, she had recently lost her mom and we connected over our losses. We talked about how we both thought that those that we lost were still around us. We talked about the signs that they leave us, letting us know they're still here checking in on us.
We made plans for Diane to come to a psychic party that I was planning. Diane, who I never called Aunt, gave me $5.00 for the pregnancy and infant loss bracelet that I was wearing. She asked about it and I explained what it was, why I was wearing it and that we were going to sell them to raise money for the pregnancy and infant loss program. She said she wanted one, but didn't want to take the one off my wrist, she was worried that I didn't have another like it. I laughed because I had hundreds! I happily gave it to her, and she insisted on giving me the money for it, to help.
My psychic party didn't end up happening. The weather was terrible, it was too cold and nobody wanted to drive. I was looking forward to visiting with Diane again and was disappointed, but thought it was no big deal, I would have the party in the spring, or for my birthday and we could continue our conversation.
At Christmas they were there, we all chatted. My Uncle Mike and Diane, they gave everybody gifts, wine for the women and leather work gloves for the men. I remember thinking how those gloves were soooo my Uncle Mike. That was the last time we had a visit with my Uncle Mike and Diane.

On Alexandra's birthday I received an email from my mom telling me that Diane was in the hospital, she had cancer and they weren't sure what exactly was going on, but it didn't look good. I waited to hear more, but when news got progressively worse, I called my Uncle to let him know we were thinking of them and wanted to come visit.
I tried to visit the hospital twice, the first time they were having tests done and the second time Diane was sleeping. I was upset, I just wanted to see Diane, to talk to her. I guess I wanted to be reassured that she was ok...even though she wasn't.
I finally got to see her on June 11th and 12th, I went two days in a row to make up for the two days
I missed, I wish I had gone even more. I got to meet Diane's sisters, sister in law, and brother. They are all so kind, it's not fair that they have to go through such pain. And when I saw my Uncle I found it very difficult to remain composed.
I want to say something, to take his pain away, just for a second. I want to bring him a single moment of peace and I know that I can't.
I was an adult when they were married, too old to call someone new an Aunt. I was stubborn and selfish because she was just like any other Aunt and she deserved that title...And maybe it's stupid because it's just a title, but it's one of those things that I think might have meant more to me than I realized at the time.

The other day Steve was working in the yard, when he was done he carried his leather gloves into the house and handed them to me, I glanced at them and thought of my Uncle and then I remembered Diane's laugh and I missed it. I assumed that I would see her again soon, happy and healthy and laughing and drinking some wine with me at my psychic party and that wasn't going to happen.

Diane was a kind woman, with a giving heart. She was a good person who helped others. She was lively and out-going. Everyone that knows her has amazing memories with her as the star. Her laugh could light up a room and wherever she was, whatever she was doing, she was sharing that laugh with the world.
I didn't get to see her enough, I didn't spend enough time with her. I am heart broken for Diane, for my Uncle and for Diane's family and I am sad for myself because I will miss her.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Diane passed away. She will remain in the hearts and memory of everyone who had the chance to meet her. She will be forever loved and never forgotten.

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 a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Penguin

I'm not a huge super hero movie buff. I don't really care for most action movies actually...Well, I love the Transformers movies, but those are different, of course! But, when I was young I did enjoy such movies, and Batman Returns was one of my favorites. I liked cat woman, and batman is cool, but my favorite was the penguin. I don't know why, I've just always thought he was funny in a tragic sort of way.
There was one line from that movie that I always remembered and used to say now and then.

"Still, could be worse, my nose could be gushing blood." And then of course he laughs and bites someone's nose.

It's become a bit of a motto of mine. I've actually only ever had one nose bleed in my life, so I feel like it kind of fits for me. It's something to say, something to think, when something terrible has happened. It makes me realize that I can take this in, deal with it and move forward, because it COULD be worse. I don't think that acknowledging that takes anything away from my own grief and my own terrible situations of course, it just makes it easier to take.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memories of Memories

Yesterday it rained. Actually, it's been raining for a little while here, on and off, but yesterday something happened. Dayne and I are both feeling under the weather so I kept him home from school so he could work through whatever it is that he has. He was laying on the couch watching a show and I was sitting in the bedroom, I thought maybe if I let him lay there he would fall asleep, but that didn't end up happening! As I sat there I heard a sound, it started out softly, a pittering. It came from outside and my window was open so the sounds came right in. The pittering got louder and faster within seconds and I quickly realized that it was rain. No, not just rain, it was rain and hail, pouring down on our house. I jumped up and rain to the living room calling, "Dayne! Look outside!" as I went. He jumped up and ran to the window, "Is that HAIL!?" he asked as we pulled the window open. "Yeah, it sure is."
It's so ridiculous, but Dayne and I get excited for rain, we love the rain, and when it's pouring enough for it to hail, well, that is exciting! We run around pulling open all the windows, sniffing the air. "Can you smell it bud? Doesn't it smell nice?" I always ask Dayne that, every single time it rains. I love the smell of the rain, the smell of wet cement and grass, there's just something about it that makes me feel peace, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.
The rain passed quickly, it was one of those things that blows through and is gone as quickly as it arrived. Dayne settled back onto the couch with his pillow and blanket to relax and I walked towards the bedroom, as I did it, it struck me...a memory...of last year, like deja vu, but not. I was remembering the feeling of remembering doing something with Dayne while I was pregnant with Alexandra. A memory of a memory. So this is it right, the second year will be filled with memories of the pain, then the numbness, then the pain of the first year.
I have thought a lot about if this journey is going to get easier as time goes by, and I have decided that "easier" isn't the right word. It isn't going to get easier, just different and new. My cold desolate mountain of grief just gained some trees and I guess it's my new job to maneuver through them without forgetting where I'm headed or where I've come from.
Not easier, just different...and more complicated.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

This is so late, I was informed of this award around Easter, so I'll apologize for my late reply! I would also like to thank Mrs.Hunt2006 at Bits and pieces of becoming a mom. This award was such a pleasant surprise. Thank you!

The Rules:
1. Winners ~ Put the above image in your blog
2. Include a link back to the person who gave it to you
3. Tell 10 things about yourself
4. Award 15 other bloggers
5. Contact the bloggers you awarded and let them know they won

10 Things About Me:

1. I first met my fiance, Steve, in high school where we were in the same math class. I did NOT like him at that time, I thought he was a jerk!

2. I am passionate about all of earth's little creatures, I wish that everyone would treat animals better.

3. I love to play Webkinz with Dayne.

4. I used to work in restaurants and bars and LOVED it.

5. I also worked as a pre-school teacher's assistant and loved it as well.

6. I love it when it's warm outside and raining, I love the way the rain smells.

7. I view my life as a path on which I am supposed to learn to be a more calm and peaceful version of myself.

8. I still desperately want to have another child, even after losing Alexandra, my last pregnancy and subsequently, my tube.

9. My dog, Kaney Bo Baney, is a bullmastiff. I believe that bullmastiffs are the greatest dog breed in the world.

10. I love to read. My all time favorite book is Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Wow that was hard!

My 15 awards go to (In no particular order):
















There's so many more that I check in on too, but I had to pick only 15. I also want to say that my blogger account is not letting me comment on people's blogs right now, so I can't post on these blogs to let everyone know that I have given this award. I will hope for now that they will see this, until I figure out what the issue is.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No Regrets

I've been thinking a lot lately about grief, and if I could offer just one piece of advice to other women who have just lost a child it would be to take hold of your grief. Don't let other people pressure you into doing something regarding your loss that you will regret later.
Despite everyone else's feelings, Steve and I grabbed a hold of our grief, we did everything that we wanted and while we respected everyone else's opinions, we didn't let them guilt us or make us feel like we needed to do things their way. Some people were offended, some people were angry, some people felt that they deserved more than we had to offer them at the time of our loss, and I struggled with that. But I think that struggle was short lived, I realized that I was only going to be able to deal with this if I dealt with it my way. Everyone else is hurting, but this is my daughter, Steve's daughter, we have to do what is best for US. It's because of this one selfish decision that I have no regrets with how I dealt with the loss of my daughter...And really, I have no apologies either, I am sure that those that know me understand.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Wild Fires

This is unrelated to my loss, but certainly is a massive loss for many, many families, so I wanted to talk about it. There have been wild fires here in Alberta that have touched the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of people.
Many people from Steve's family and friends of his family live in the areas impacted by the fires and have been living through this hugely stressful time, not sure what will happen to their homes, to their families.
Early in my loss a man wrote a poem for my daughter, I posted that poem here, it is beautiful. That man's name is Roger Borchert and he has lost his home due to the fires. I doubt that he is able to read this, but if you are Roger, you are in our thoughts.
We are worried for all of the people of Slave Lake and the surrounding areas that have lost everything, that have been evacuated that are waiting to find out if their homes still stand or if they have lost everything.
If you would like to help these people please visit this facebook page
I am deeply saddened for everyone who has been impacted by these fires.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Mother's Day Again

My first important date without my daughter has arrived again. My second mother's day without her here. I remember being kind of numb last year, I was in so much pain my body didn't want to let me feel it all. This year is different, things are different, the pain isn't quite so sharp, so my body no longer shields me from it and I'm sad.
I found a great poem this morning so I am posting it for all the other mommies missing their children today...and every other day. I hope you guys like this one as much as I do:

Dandelions from Heaven

Mothers day is coming And I wanted to send you a sign
something you can tell others; "Is from an angel of mine
So I searched the heavens high and low for that perfect thing....
And low and behold I found it.... And a smile I hope it will bring.

So when you look to the heavens and see the yellow stars in the sky
Just think of me .... your angel... in the heavens way up high
And just imagine those stars; are dandelions up above.
Yes! Dandelions are also in heaven; which you know how much I love.

So on this mothers day and you awake and feel blue....
You will notice those yellow stars... are no longer in view.
So look to the meadows and the dandelions you see...
Are the ones I've tossed down this mothers day from me.
And when you find a dandelion that has turned from yellow to white;
You're supposed to make a wish and then blow with all your might.
For you will be blowing kisses to me in heaven above....
And I will be catching them and blowing them back sent with all my love.

Please know that l am with you.... on this mothers day....
And also in the days ahead.... God and I will never stray.
We will be with you in the morning ....when you awake and see the sun....
We will be with you when you say your prayers when the day is done.

For God and I will never be very far from your side....
For I can now be everywhere.... and God will be your guide.
So.... remember when you see dandelions it is your guarantee
That I am always close to you.... for dandelions are free to roam just like me.

I will always be with you mummy....
Happy Mothers Day....
Love your angel in heaven.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Alexandra's Fundraiser

As many of you know, we held a fundraiser in Alexandra's memory this weekend to raise money for the pregnancy and infant loss program in my city. It was chaos leading up to Saturday, there were a million things to get done and it seemed like the list would just never end, whenever I would knock something off my to-do list, something new would be added. But on Saturday morning one of our first guests was another loss mom and when she told me about her baby it all came into perspective, none of the chaos of days passed mattered, all that mattered was that I was standing there with another woman who understand why I was there.
That moment happened several times on Saturday as I met other loss moms that had heard about the fundraiser and come out to show their support and connect with someone who shared this difficult path in life.
It wasn't just about raising money, it was about raising awareness and letting other women know that they are not alone, they're going to be ok, even if it doesn't feel like it right now.
We did pretty well with the fundraiser, and it was a great learning experience for next year because, of course, we're going to be doing this every year, the last weekend in April. And we even had one of our TV stations come out and interview me. I was so anxious I thought I might faint! The news only showed a small clip of the interview, but even a small clip gets the some attention onto this cause.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Alexandra's Birthday

Today my daughter turns one. One year of missed moments has passed, and somehow it feels like it all happened yesterday.
It is snowing, the snow started yesterday, just like last year, big fluffy snow flakes are falling, tears from Heaven for Alexandra.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at the Cemetery

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. It started the way any Easter should, with Dayne waking up excited, wanting to hunt for eggs. I thought about Dayne's first Easter and how cute he was and how cute Alexandra would have have been. I thought about how our table would have looked, with Dayne's Phineas and Ferb and Webkinz themed gifts and something girly, Dora, or Disney Princess for Alexandra. I probably shouldn't do that, but these are the things I'm missing out on, and I am so very aware of it.
And, as with all of our holidays, we visited the cemetery. It was the most difficult holiday visit. I tried not to cry as we stood there, looking at our daughter's headstone. I didn't want to ruin Dayne's day, he is able to bring Alexandra's memory into everything that he does in such a positive way, he is able to stand at her grave and say "Hi Alexandra!" with a smile. He doesn't know how different it would have been if she was here, he just accepts that this is the way it is and that's ok.
Steve's sister had been to the cemetery before us and she had left an Easter basket there for Alexandra. It had a stuffed bunny and a ceramic bunny and it even had some chocolate eggs in it. Alexandra had been included like any other niece or nephew in her life and it was so touching to me. Dayne announced as he noticed the basket, "Look Mommy! The Easter bunny even came to see Alexandra!"
We made it through the last first holiday without Alexandra, and this week we will make it through her first birthday, together.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

The other day I was reminded that I used to post poems a lot, I haven't for a while because I forgot. Today seems like a good day for a new a poem.
I hope that everyone is having a peaceful and gentle Easter.

Tiny Angels

Tiny Angels rest your wings
sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long....
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know....
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so".

Author Unknown

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter, my last pregnant holiday

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and it has hit me how hard this day might be for me, possibly the most difficult first holiday without Alexandra. Last Easter I was at my Grandma's house, hugely pregnant and excited, this Easter, I am neither pregnant, nor excited. I am without belly and without baby and it dawns on me that this one is going to be a doozy.
I have packed the day with outings, time with family, so that I can work on making new memories that include Alexandra's memory in a positive way...This first Easter, I don't think that's going to be as easy as it is to type it.
Of course, as with all important dates in our lives now, we have set aside time to go to the cemetery tomorrow and bring Alexandra her new toy, a stuffy as usual; a pink duck with white bunny ears, perfect for Easter.
Last year, when we were at the cemetery picking the place where Alexandra would be laid to rest, we noticed that there were pin wheels on all the graves, I thought that it must have been an Easter thing, some other loss mom had decided to get all the babies a little Easter pin wheel. I wonder if it will happen this year, will someone take the time to give all of the babies a little pin wheel? It's just a pin wheel, but it will mean a lot to see that someone else has included Alexandra in their Easter...We'll see.
For now, one step at a time, one moment after another, remembering to breathe, we will get through this one like every other horrible moment of the last year and we will work on learning how to include our Alexandra in everything we do, in a healthy and positive way.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Alexandra's Day

A few months ago my sister called me and asked if I would be interested in planning a fundraiser to help celebrate Alexandra's birthday. She had an idea to sell children's art to raise money for the pregnancy and infant loss program in our city. My oldest nephew is quite the little artist and had always wanted to put on a show to display his art, this is what led my sister to her idea.
Of course I was interested, but how I could I possibly do this? With such short notice, how would we pull it all together? So, I sent an email to the woman who had been my grief therapist and I asked her what I could do with this idea. She worked quickly, forwarding my email along to the appropriate people, essentially getting the ball rolling for Alexandra's fundraiser.
Before I knew it I was having a meeting with a woman from Calgary Health Trust, the woman who would be there for me, replying to a million emails with a million questions about what to do and how to do it. I think I will be forever grateful for all of the help and support that this amazing woman has given me.
It's been a lot to pull together, for sure, and at times I felt like maybe I bit off more than I could chew. Calling, emailing, and going to businesses, soliciting things, for every ten places I asked one would reply and for every ten that replied, one would say yes. It was a lot of rejection, and some of the emails I received felt like a punch in the gut. I remember the first place I emailed, I was so excited to be celebrating Alexandra's birthday in such a special way, I emailed one of my favorite cake stores and asked if they would be willing to donate a cake to our event. The response I got made the air catch in my throat and my eyes well up, and not in a good way. The email explained to me that this company only helped with causes that made a difference. Are you kidding me? As if the pregnancy and infant loss grief support program didn't make a difference? Really?? I was blown away, so much so that I replied to the email explaining that they need to rethink the rejection email they send to people.
And for the record, I will never again purchase a cake from cakeworks, because I prefer to buy cakes from people that like to make a difference.
So, as these last few months have gone by and the huge fundraiser to do list has gotten smaller and smaller, I realize that that list is about to grow again, as we take this whole next week to pull it all together, running around, picking things up, setting things up, contacting the media, making all the last purchases and changes to the schedules.
I have been finding myself drawn to the idea behind what I now refer to as the "evil cakeworks email." What if nobody comes? What if my fundraiser is a complete flop? What if all the media I contact feels the same way as cakeworks? What if they don't think that my daughter and all of the other babies lost are important enough?
Without the Scott Smed room at the hospital I feel that so much of those last few peaceful moments with our daughter would have been robbed from us. The memory box, teddy bear, blanket, clothes, recognition of birth, finger prints, pictures, hair clippings, pamphlets, books for Dayne, the blessing our daughter received, it all meant more to us than we will ever be able to verbalize. The therapy that I received, the candle light vigils, the gatherings for loss families, it means everything to those that have lost. It means everything and it takes funding.
I have said this before, but I will say it again, my family will never be able to repay the gift that we were given, but we can try to pay those gifts forward by replacing the resources that were used for us, but also help other families in need.
This IS a cause that impacts people. This IS a cause that makes a difference, but I fear that the only people that TRULY get it are those that have lost a child or are close to someone that has...Is that enough? Let's hope so.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Balance and Definition

For the last year Alexandra's memory has been what I get up every day for. Don't get me wrong, Dayne, Steve, our dog and families are all wonderful and amazing gifts to my life that drive me every single day. While I give each of them the same time I always have, the same love I always have, I feel like, somewhere inside of me, they took a back seat to my grief. They took a back seat to my need for Alexandra to be remembered.
I have been a force for the last year, like King Kong, barrelling through my life, forcing everyone to look to me, look at my story, read my story, see Alexandra, hear her, acknowledge her, remember her.
And this isn't going to stop, really. Alexandra's fundraiser is quickly approaching, and when it's finished, Alexandra's charity is next on the list, and then her next fundraiser, and all of my time to come, helping families with their losses. Alexandra is working through me, every single day, pushing me forward, one step after another, and I feel like I am learning to walk with this new force within me.
But I have been wondering lately if I have defined myself ONLY as Alexandra's loss mom.
It all started with a picture. The profile picture I use for pretty much everything, my Alexandra tattoo. It's a truly amazing tattoo, and I love it, but when the time came that I felt like, maybe it's time to change it to a picture of me, I felt that feeling that is so common to me now, guilt. How will people remember her, if everything that I do doesn't reflect her?
So this, I guess, is the next baby loss mom hurdle. Finding a balance between who I am as an individual, and who I am as Alexandra's mother, the carrier of her memory. Defining myself as both Alexandra's mom, the baby loss mom and Dayne's mom, the living boy's mom, and a birth mother, the possible future new baby's mom, a fiance, a pet owner, a friend, sister, daughter, a woman. There is a balance there, and as with anything in life, I will stumble upon it eventually.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Struggle Continues

On March 30th I found myself in the hospital again, it was a planned trip this time, but none the less scary. I had been called just a few weeks before and told that they had a cancellation and wanted to squeeze me in for my surgery. I would have the cyst removed sooner than expected. This idea made me exceptionally happy, this meant that it would be out of the way and Steve and I would be free to try again.
So, on March 30th, we made our way to the hospital, got checked in and Steve and Dayne were allowed to sit with me in the main waiting area, while I waited to be called to the OR waiting area. Dayne was such a good boy, sitting quietly, coloring and chatting with me. He was, of course, the only child, this was not a child friendly place, I had actually been told that I couldn't bring him at all, but they told me it would be ok once I got there.
It was pretty quick, from the time we first arrived until when I was being called to change into a hospital gown, pants, robe and slippers. Dayne was quite upset that they would not allow me to wear the fluffy pink slippers he had picked out for me the day before, but they said they were not allowed in the OR. It was even more quick from time i had changed to when I was hugging Dayne and Steve goodbye and walking to the OR waiting room.
Sitting there, alone, I was scared. Steve could have come, but we had no one to watch Dayne, so alone I sat, and waited. And when it was time to go into the OR, I was terrified. The doctor's, nurses and anesthetist all commented on Alexandra's tattoo, how pretty it was, and it made me happy...and then I was asleep.
As I was waking up, I kept thinking that it had all been a dream and I had not had the surgery yet, was at home in bed, but every time I opened my eyes I heard people saying "Hello Melissa!" and it slowly came to me that I hadn't been dreaming, the surgery had happened, and was done.
Still fuzzy and not quite awake my doctor came to me and told me that everything with removing the cyst had gone very well, but commented that there was a problem with my right tube, the tube where I had just had an ectopic pregnancy. I remember saying OK, but nothing else, I remember wondering what she was talking about, the cyst was on the left, why was she talking about the right side? I couldn't find my voice though, I was still too tired.
After I was back in recovery, I slowly woke up, dozing off often. Steve and Dayne came and went a few times, checking in on me and seeing if it was time for us to go home. Once the doctor was finished with her surgeries for the day, she came down to talk to me about what had happened. By that time I had been asking the nurse what had happened, what happened to my right tube? She read my chart and told me it had been removed, was that why I was there? Why didn't I know? The doctor had the answers I was looking for.
She gently explained to me that she had taken a look at my right tube to see how it was doing and was shocked by how damaged it was. She told me that she had never seen a tube so damaged. It had stretched, had a hole in it, had filled with scar tissue and was substantially larger than it should have been. The likelihood of that tube causing me more ectopic pregnancies was very, very high and she felt that it needed to be removed, or we would end up back in that room for more surgery to remove the tube.
Even though I didn't choose to have the tube removed before I had surgery, I agreed with her decision, if the tube is useless and will only cause more problems, I would much rather have it removed...Still, that puts one more obstacle in my way and I wonder...are we meant to have another child? Is this ever going to happen for us? The question bounces around in my head, if it's not meant to happen, and I never have another child, will I be able to come to a good place about it? I just don't know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do You Remember Alexandra?

Alexandra will turn one this month. April 29th seems to be flying at me at a pace I am not at all comfortable with. The date means so much more than a regular birthday. For me, it's the anniversary of a day of firsts and lasts with my little angel. It marks a year that I have lived while my daughter hasn't, a year visiting her grave, a year trying to carry on without her. My daughter's first birthday will not be filled with all the wonderful things that Dayne's first birthday held, we won't be watching Alexandra smash a cake or open a present. But there will be a party, Alexandra's fundraiser, it will even have my favorite childhood clown. It will be wonderful, and I am even excited about it...But it won't be the same.
And as her day approaches, it brings with it something else that makes me sad. The thought that people will think that now that it's been a year, maybe I should move on...Those words that I hate "move on" Or because it's been a year, people will think that means they don't have to talk about Alexandra, to ask about her, to bring her up at all...To remember her.
I feel like I have already noticed it happening. People that I thought had some sort of special attachment to my daughter seem to have left her behind and it stings. Everything I have done to keep my daughter's memory alive, but I never thought that nothing that I do will matter if everyone else chooses to forget her. Maybe one day I will just be happy with knowing that I remember her, the Steve and Dayne remember her, that we will never forget her and will always know she existed, but that day has yet to come.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Not Jealous, Not Defeated, But Almost

The Real Housewives are shows that I very much enjoy watching. Those shows, all of them, have helped me kill time, zone out, be away from my feelings and my thoughts for a few hours. The Real Housewives of New York was one of my favorites and Bethenny Frankel was always my favorite. When she got her own show, of course, I had to check it out. I was so interested in the show that the fact that she was pregnant didn't really dawn on me. Now, I am watching episodes after the baby is born, a little tiny baby girl, perfect in every way. And it's hard...And I don't want to watch, but for some stupid reason, I have to.
The show is on every Saturday morning, and Saturdays are busy days for us, so I record it and watch it on my lazy day...Sunday. And so, this morning I go into my recorded shows list and look at the title of the show and I feel anxiety. I don't WANT to watch, but I HAVE to watch, and so I turn it on and I start to watch the show that no longer keeps my mind from running to thoughts of my daughter, but is still so much a part of my routines that I can't give it up and I watch. I'm watching what I missed out on. Bethenny had her baby on May 8th, so when I watched this episode this morning, and watched her walk into a Children's Place and I saw that clothes that I saw that day I chose Alexandra's burial outfit, I didn't know how to respond. Feelings rushed over me, I had never put it together, that Alexandra was born so close, it's TV, it's not even real to me, but seeing that store, with those close slapped me right in the face.
I would assume that I would have felt jealousy, but at that moment, I didn't. I just felt kind of sad, for what I missed out, what I'm missing out on, and what I WILL miss out on in the future. And I thought, it will happen for us one day, one day we will have another new baby that makes it safely into this world.
And then I think of my most recent loss and I feel a little bit defeated. And sadly, I had an appointment last week and they told me that we would not be able to try again for a little while because they found a fairly large cyst on my left ovary and they want to remove it, and they can't if I'm pregnant, so we wait some more, at least another 3 months to start trying again, and then however long it takes for me to conceive, and then the pregnancy, when I will be a wreck. So, I will not have a baby in my arms for over a year...if I'm lucky enough to have another one, and that is a hard pill to swallow.
I have to have faith though, that it WILL happen for us, one day. I have not been defeated...yet.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Never "was" Always "is"

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one that does this...When I refer to my daughter I always say "Is" My daughter's name "is" Alexandra. I never say that her name "was" Alexandra, because her name still is Alexandra, even though she's not here with me.
I kind of feel like, my little girl would have been a lot of things and she's going to miss out on a lot things, a lot of days would have been important, and people refer to her birthday as "the anniversary" even though that drives me crazy...but there is one thing that we gave her, that identifies who she is, one thing that can't be taken away from her, one thing that will never be a "was" it always just IS and that is her name.

Friday, February 25, 2011

February 24th, 2011

It was Steve's birthday, a big one no less, he was turning 30. I had planned a surprise party for him for Saturday, but with everything that was going on, I decided that it would have to be cancelled. I was extremely sad about this because I wanted to have a special celebration for Steve, he deserves to be celebrated. He wasn't upset about it being cancelled though, he doesn't really like parties anyway. Still, what a terrible way to spend your birthday, waiting for bad news, hoping for the least bad, but still bad, word to be delivered.
It was around 6:45am and I had just gotten into a deep sleep. I was dreaming, in my dream, I heard my name being called, as I came back from my dreamy state, I realized that my name was actually being called. I was woken up by a man that had come to collect some more blood. This is the blood that we would be waiting for next. By 9am I had learned that my ultra sound wouldn't happen until 12:45, so I was left to do some more waiting...and thinking. Why was this happening to us? This isn't fair.
Around 10am, after I had taken a fairly cold shower and was waiting for Steve to arrive, I had the news given to me that the blood work had come back. The doctor said the news wasn't good. She explained that my levels had dropped and because this was a tubal pregnancy, my body was taking care of it and I would lose the baby. This was the best of the worst to me because I didn't have to make any decisions, my body had, once again, taken away my choice...but this time, in a way that would cause the least amount of pain. I expressed to the doctor that this was better than having to have my tube removed and she said that that was true if I was looking at the bright side of things.
Before she left she talked about if we wanted to try again, how long to wait physically and also that we should wait until we are ready emotionally. When she left, I wondered, how am I supposed to feel right now? My eyes stung from crying, but still filled up with fresh tears. As I pushed it aside I badly is this going to hurt, once it kicks in? When I'm at home, alone, with no baby to look forward to - again. How much will the pain eat at me this time? Despite my very strong pro choice stance, I had a hard time not seeing this little thing, that had lodged itself in my tube, as a baby, my fourth baby and the second baby that I would never get to meet.
But, there was not time to worry about that right now, I had to hurry up and wait. Because they were still doing the ultra sound and it would be a few hours after that before we would find out if I could go home or not.
Steve arrived shortly before 11am and we took turns playing spider solitaire on my laptop. When the time finally arrived for me to go for my ultra sound a porter came to get me. Steve walked behind me as the porter pushed me in a wheel chair. Apparently I wasn't allowed to walk on my own. The porter parked my wheel chair in the hallway outside of the place where they do the ultra sounds. I was amazed at how different this stay was than the stay that we had when I delivered Alexandra...even though I was in the same hospital, the experiences were worlds apart.
The ultra sound showed much of the same things that the others had shown. Nothing in my uterus, something in my right tube. Based on this fact, and my increased bleeding and lowering HCG levels, what was going on was very clear.
It was explained to me that this is called a tubal miscarriage. In my googling research I learned that they actually call it a tubal termination, though they don't like to say that to a mother about her very wanted pregnancy. No matter what you call it, it is another sad experience for my family. Another attempt to grow our small family, to no avail. Another emotional smack in the face.
After several more hours and close to dinner time, I was finally allowed to go home to Dayne. Feeling tired, sore and sad, I cuddled with my only living child until he fell asleep and then I cuddled with Steve until I fell asleep.

February 23rd, 2011

When I got up, I quickly realized that I wasn't ok. I was bleeding more, was dizzy, lightheaded, and I felt horrible. I took a long shower, not by choice, but because I had to sit and even lay down in the shower several times to get through it. I was throwing up, couldn't stand, could barely even sit up. It was 6:30 and I crawled to the couch with the phone, calling my sister. "Something's wrong" I said, before I broke down in tears. I explained my symptoms in between sobs, all the while thinking, "This isn't fair."
Out of pure desperation to be reassured that my baby was where it should be and everything was alright, I went to my ultra sound. As I sat there I quickly became aware that my baby wasn't where it should be and everything was NOT alright. There was nothing where it should be. Instead, they thought that they could see the baby in my tube. An ectopic pregnancy. After speaking with the ultra sound technician and then the doctor there, I broke down again. I cried and told this poor ultra sound tech that this wasn't supposed to happen, we just lost a child, we couldn't be losing another, it's not fair. She handled it pretty well, she was concerned that Dayne was there with Steve, waiting for me in the waiting room. She asked if she could get Steve and send him in and take Dayne to get something from the treasure chest. I was so grateful for her to be so understanding. When Steve came in I was dressed and sitting on the chair. He was smiling until he saw his face. He asked "What's going on?" And I could speak. I sobbed and looked at him, choking out, "It's in the tube." and then "I'm not a bad person" He cut me off at that moment and told me to be strong, he said I had to be strong, that this wasn't a punishment, and I needed to stop thinking like that. He was firm and I felt...alone. I looked at him and said "Steven, I'm not strong" And he laughed, hugged me and said "I know, but try" It wasn't the response I was looking for, but it was one that came from a place of love. Once I was calm, we left there, dropped Dayne off with my sister and headed back to the doctor at the walk in clinic that I had been to the day before.
He explained that the pregnancy looked like it was an ectopic, that this is considered an emergency and I needed to get to the hospital. He gave me all the paper work I would need to have them shuffle me past the waiting room into a private room where they would do more ultra sounds, check my blood pressure a million times and make me keep a clip on my finger that measured my heart rate for hours and hours.
I don't know how long I was in that room for. Several doctors saw me, several nurses, and even a few people from admitting. They told me about my options if this ended up being an ectopic, they still weren't sure, the ultra sounds hadn't shown them very much. In the end, I was left in that room, with Steve by my side, hoping for the best case scenario, which was for my body to flush everything out on it's own. And if that failed, the second best scenario, which was a medication which would flush it out. The other option was most likely losing that tube, which didn't feel like much of an option to me.
So we waited. I asked the doctor if I would be able to go home soon, I explained that I wanted to be with my son, he would be missing me. And I was informed that we had to wait.
You're always waiting at the hospital, nothing is ever just explained and done, it's always explained a million times by a million different people, and then you wait and eventually, slowly, things happen. When the waiting finally seemed to come to an end we were told that the blood work that they had taken was essentially useless. The HCG levels were low, too low to see a baby in my uterus, where they hadn't seen one. And this meant that we had to do some more of their favorite thing...wait. They admitted me and told me that I would wait for a bed, in a room on another floor. The room that I would be spending the night in, and possibly another night after that. They had to take more blood in the morning and then wait for those results, to see what was going on with my HCG levels.
It was about 8:30pm when I was finally settled in my new room, Steve had left to get me a few things and then come back with Dayne. They visited until almost 9 and then went home. When I was alone, I read, and stared, I wondered why we had such bad luck. I wondered why I couldn't have another baby, I wondered if I ever would.
You don't really sleep in a hospital, with nurses coming in and out, they check your blood pressure and heart rate, ask if you need anything, it's not a restful time, to say the least. But I tried to get some rest. Who knew what the next day would bring.

Another Tragic Moment

Most people didn't know that this past December Steve and I decided that we would try again. We both always planned on having a family with two or three children, and we felt like maybe it was time to try again. So, around Christmas I went off birth control. I was excited to try again, I told Steve that Alexandra was waiting to choose her baby brother or sister.
We both thought that this would take some time, but I excitedly charted out when I should ovulate. Imagine our surprise when on February 10th, a home pregnancy test came back positive. Steve was on a trip to Edmonton at the time so I sent him a cute email with a picture of the test and congratulated him. He was happy, I was over the moon.
As the next days went by I felt like something wasn't right, something just seemed off. I didn't have the same symptoms that I had had for any of my previous pregnancies and this alarmed me. Everyone told me not to worry, that I was extra paranoid because of our loss. And to be honest, I felt that way too. We had a doctor confirm the pregnancy on Valentine's day and I set out making my first prenatal appointment, which of course, wouldn't happen until 11 weeks. I made the appointments for my first trimester screening and happily told a few family members and friends.
On February 22, my sister's birthday, we dropped our son off at school as usual and went to the cemetery as usual. On the way home I talked to Steve about my fear and he tried to reassure me in the best way he knows telling me to calm down and not think about all the bad things that could happen. Dwelling on what COULD go wrong will get you nowhere. When we arrived home I went into the bathroom to change into some more comfortable clothes and that is when my fear came true. Spotting.
Panic ran through me like a freight train. I was horrified. I left the bathroom and told Steve "I'm spotting" he had no idea what this meant or what it could mean. I frantically hunted for the phone to call my doctor. My family doctor was booked throughout the day and they encouraged me to wait until later in the day to see him. Something in my head wasn't following what the nurse on the phone was saying...didn't she get it? I was spotting, this is urgent, someone needs to tell me what's wrong.
I opted for a walk in clinic, where I saw the same doctor that gave me the pregnancy test on Valentine's day. He ordered and ultra sound for the next morning and demanded that I consider myself on strict bed rest until he could sort everything out. I was fine with that, I was terrified, I didn't want to move around. That night I did something that I wouldn't really call sleep. It was more of dozing on and off from about 11pm until 5:30am, when I gave up. My stomach didn't feel right, I was anxious, I thought that I could sleep when I got back from my  Ultra sound.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Loss

Do you ever get the feeling that people just don't understand the magnitude of your loss? Like when you tell someone for the first time and they're like "Oh, that's terrible....So, guess what I did this weekend?" and you're left standing there thinking "HELLO! I just told you that my baby died! Don't you GET IT???"
I try so hard to think about the intention behind someones words before I get upset or offended, but when those words are "Well that really sucks, but you're strong, you'll be fine." I can't help but think "No, there's no but in there, it sucks and that's it, my strength or lack thereof has nothing to do with anything and no I most certainly will NOT be fine!" What is the intention there?
On some days I think that it's just the fact that people have no idea WHAT to say to me. It's so awkward and so unexpected that they just stumble and trip over everything that they want to say. Some days I think that people are just jerks and don't understand the fact that just because my baby wasn't born living doesn't mean she wasn't real.
Some people just don't seem to care and I can't help but be offended...of course you should care! This is my daughter, my little Alexandra, she lived and then died and you should understand how serious that is.
I want everyone to remember my daughter as a little girl that lived. As a perfect living child that was tragically taken from us. I want them to think about her every now and then and understand how hard this is for us. And the most offensive thing of all is when someone doesn't understand that and doesn't recognize my daughter for the living child that she was, just because she didn't take a breath.
It's not fair.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Been Awhile

It's been a while, hasn't it? I haven't forgotten about you, my wonderful readers, my friends on this journey with me. I have been busy these days. Alexandra's birthday is coming up and we are planning her party. If she were here with us, it would have been a grand affair, with a princess theme. Our little girl would have worn a big, pink, puffy dress with a tiara, no doubt. There would have been a million pictures. I would have documented every single moment. I'm sad that I don't get to have those moments. I'm sad that I don't get to have those memories.
I was at the doctor the other day and he told me that in all of his years, I am the first person he has ever met that had a baby die due to an actual knot in the cord. He's been doing this for decades and I'm the daughter is the first. He commented on how this was just horribly, horribly bad luck. And I wonder...why did WE have such bad luck? Why did my baby have such bad luck?
But, I try not to dwell...I try really, really hard not to get caught up on the why. There is no answer to that question. Maybe one day, when I die, I will be given the answer, but as long as I am living, there will be no answer for me.
I don't get to plan Alexandra's princess party, but I do get to plan something. We are holding a fundraiser on April 30th...the day that I have no doubt, would have been Alexandra's birthday party day. We are raising money for the pregnancy and infant loss program in my city. We will be celebrating the memory of our little girl. Alexandra has pushed this family to grow and gain strength and she will continue to be the driving force behind everything that is to come. And wherever my little princess is, she is looking down on her family smiling, I know that she is. She is happy that we have all come together to help the families of all her angel friends to come.
We can't stop this tragedy from happening, but we can help to cushion the blow.
There will be more to come about this fundraiser, as we work to pull it together, but in the meantime, I wanted to stop by my safe place, and let my gentle readers know that I am here, I am ok and I have not forgotten them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Love You Forever

The book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch has always been one of my favorite children's books. It has always given me goosebumps and rarely do I get through it dry eyed.
It was one that I would read to my birth son when he was little, one that I received as a baby shower gift when I was pregnant with Dayne. And then it was the book that Dayne and I talked about reading to Alexandra when she was born. Only, she was not born living, so Dayne never got the chance to learn all the words of that book and never got the chance to read it to his baby sister.
If I had thought about it, I would have brought that book to the hospital with me and read it to her. I wish I had thought of it. I think I will take it to the cemetery and read it to her there...Or maybe I'll go sit in her room and read it aloud, so that she can hear it. Sometimes I think about turning her swing on and reading the book, like I used to do while Dayne was a baby, swinging in his swing.
Yesterday I went onto Robert Munsch's website so that I could show Dayne all of the other books he has. We have been collecting them and there are so many that we still need! While reading his biography I discovered that he wrote the book Love You Forever in memory of his TWO stillborn babies that he and his wife had in 1979 and 1980.
I could NOT believe what I was reading, I knew that there was something special about that book and now I know what it is. It's really an amazing book that teaches that love transcends everything, even death.
It made me wonder...what other celebrities know this pain that we all know?

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be."
Robert Munsch - Love You Forever

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011

I have many random thoughts running through my mind today, so here I talk it all out.
I can't believe that it's 2011, I wonder if this year will be better. Will good things happen? Will more bad things happen? I remain hopeful...and so far so good.
Yesterday Dayne had a birthday party to attend, so Steve and I went for a late lunch at Boston Pizza. They had hearts taped all over the door and windows. It's a fund raiser for the heart and stroke foundation that they do every year for Valentine's day. Steve and I read the hearts while we ate and at the end of the meal, when they asked if we wanted to buy one, of course we said yes. So, on a wall or a window at Boston Pizza there is a heart that says simply "In Memory of Alexandra Elizabeth Monique" and has a little picture that Steve drew with a halo and angel wings. If she had been here with us, we would have taken her for lunch with us. The meal would have been me taking cold bites of food while I played with her, just like when Dayne was little. She couldn't be there, but it made me feel good that we found another way to include her.
This afternoon Dayne and I are hanging out at home. While he has a snack and plays in the living room I sit on one of my loss boards, seeing page after page of women asking questions about what will happen to them next, when they lost their precious babies, reaching out to someone...anyone, for help, for guidance. I remember a woman that reached out to me. I came home from the hospital, broken by the news that my baby had no heart beat. I made an announcement to the same people that I had asked for help to wake my baby up, just a few hours before. I felt stupid and lost and I needed someone to help me, though I didn't know who that person was, or how that help would come to me. My inbox began to fill up with condolences and I read each one. One in particular was the help that I needed. A woman who had been in my shoes, who reached out and told me every little detail of every single thing that would happen. What to watch for, what I could expect...what NOT to be afraid of or alarmed by. She told me about how she felt and what she had gone through, and all of words stayed with me, during our darkest hours, I knew that someone who had been there had helped me prepare for what was going to happen, I knew that she was thinking of us and that we were not as alone as it may feel.
Alone...It's funny how alone a person can feel when they are surrounded by people just like them. I remember feeling more alone than I have ever felt, and yet, if I look, there are pages upon pages of women that are right there with me...Lost and grieving and feeling perfectly alone.
I will forever be grateful for the woman that reached out to me, and I hope that I can one day help someone else in such a monumental way. And in the mean time, here I am, blogging away.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Long Time No See

I've been taking a break from writing, as I'm sure some of you have noticed. I haven't really had a lot to say and beyond that, I have just felt like holding some of my feelings in...for myself. I felt like writing today though, so here I am.
I've been feeling more sensitive lately, missing Alexandra and not really wanting to express my feelings. Seeing babies hurts me, hearing about them, hearing about pregnancies, seeing the baby things in stores and on TV, etc. It all stings. And why does it still sting? I wish I had an answer for that.
As well, I find myself sensitive to the things that people say. I can look beyond the things and I can understand that my feelings should not impact how someone else feels about certain topics, but it's like a bee sting...It's sudden and it hurts and if you're anything like me, you'll have a reaction to it that can sometimes last a week.
I often feel like there are things that people can never really understand unless they have lost a child. When a conversation goes to one of these things I often feel like the answers I hear from those around me would be drastically different if these people were sitting in my shoes. I try to tell myself that I'm wrong, but when you're surrounded by people that have not lost a child and they say the same thing that you did before your life changed, you kind of start to feel like you have the inside information that nobody actually wants...or wants to think about seriously enough to really go "there" in their own mind.
This probably doesn't make sense, and I'm being vague on purpose because if I delved into each conversation that I'm talking about, or each person that said something that I know I said before we lost Alexandra, this post would go on for pages and pages.
People just don't know though. You don't know how much that baby means until you've lost it. You don't know how hard it will be, until you've been there. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is entitled to one and I hope from the bottom of my heart that they never get first hand knowledge to test those opinions.

Alexandra, my precious little girl, Mama misses you.