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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.