Thursday, 12 May 2016

Monday, 9 May 2016

Mother's Day

When Annalee was still in my belly, I didn't really consider myself a mom yet. I figured I wasn't really a mom until I had my baby in my arms. What I've come to realize is that the moment you fall in love with your baby, you're a mom. When you start putting their needs above your own, you're a mom. Even though I didn't get to bring Annalee home, I'm still a mom and it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

So to all mamas- whether your baby is in your belly, in your home or in your heart, Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Is This Your First?

Ugh. This question.

I cringe a little every time someone starts to ask about this pregnancy because it's only a matter of time before they ask 'Is this your first?'

I always want to say no. I always want to talk about Annalee and tell them about our daughter. At times I have, but that leads to more questions and those inevitably lead to me having to say that she is no longer with us which then leads to a lot of awkward 'I'm sorries,' and that all seems like a lot for the girl who's doing your nails to take in.

So now I say that this baby is my first and my heart breaks a little each time, but then I have a little private moment to myself and I think about Annalee, who will always be our first :)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Pregnancy After Loss

It is, in a word, terrifying. I think being pregnant again may be the hardest thing I've ever done. That's not to say that I'm not excited or happy, it's just no longer carefree.

When I was pregnant with Annalee, everything was so easy. I was that woman- the one who had a textbook pregnancy and loved every minute of it. I don't want to say that I was naive- I was aware of what could happen- I just never thought it would happen to me. This time around is completely different. Now I'm that woman. The one who worries about everything. In the early days, I was scared to sneeze. Every twinge, cramp and disappearing pregnancy symptom spelled disaster. I hate that the first place my mind goes now is tragedy. I'm only just coming around to the idea that this could really happen for us. In 7 weeks, we could actually be holding our healthy baby. Just when I get comfortable with that thought, this little one will grow or sleep and won't move for 20 minutes and I'm straight back into panic mode.

Of course it's natural to worry after a loss, but I think so much of my stress comes from not knowing what happened to Annalee. Whatever did happen also seemed to take place during the night, so now, it would seem I've trained my brain to wake up every couple of hours and not go back to sleep until I've felt the baby. This poor kid is constantly being poked and prodded until it gives me a little nudge to let me know it's okay.

Then there's the stress of the effects of my stress on the baby. It's a horrible cycle. All I can do is hope that there are enough happy and calm moments to make up for the ones that aren't.

Again, none of this means that I'm not excited. It's like I'm two different people. One is a grieving mom who is still so heartbroken and feels hopeless. The other is hopeful and optimistic and full of happy pregnancy hormones, eagerly waiting the arrival of her baby. And all day, every day, I just go back and forth.

Seven. More. Weeks.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Grief: 8 Months In

Grief is so confusing.

The social worker gave us a pamphlet about the stages of grief and I remember looking at it and thinking 'ok, just get through denial and then you can deal with guilt (and so on a so forth).'

Yeah, no.

Grief is not linear. You don't deal with it one stage at a time. We've gone from guilt to anger to disbelief, back to anger, to acceptance, back to guilt and around and around again. We've jumped ahead stages, taken ten steps back and skipped some of them entirely.

There are weeks now- instead of days- where we feel good. Those are the times I avoid writing here. Those are the times where I just don't want to deal with it. Sometimes it's easier to just keep my head down knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before the sadness hits. When it does, it usually lasts a few days. There are a lot of breakdowns before bed and a few at work.

As far as progress goes, I'd say I no longer feel anger. That one seemed to be short lived. However, I still go back and forth between the rest of them fairly often.

I think trying to rationalize grief or put some sort of process behind it is a bit pointless, if not counterproductive. It's a tricky bastard. The more you try to predict it, the faster it changes.  In our experience, you just feel what you feel and deal with it as it comes.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A Sibling for Annalee

We're so excited to be expecting again!

After having Annalee, before we even left the hospital, Eric and I both had to know how long we'd have to wait before trying for another baby. It was like we were overflowing with love and without Annalee, we needed somewhere to direct it. My doctor told us to give ourselves some time to heal emotionally (and me physically), but there was no reason we couldn't start trying again right away.

Neither one of us was willing to wait until we were emotionally healed- I'm not sure if that will ever happen. Because it took us a while to get pregnant with Annalee, we figured we'd start trying a few months later and it happened almost immediately! I couldn't believe it!

I remember sitting in Annalee's room and telling her that one day we'd like to have a brother or sister for her. It didn't mean we were moving on or replacing her- she had just brought us so much joy, that we couldn't fathom a life without a child. I asked her to help us out and give us her blessing when the time was right. There was a real element of guilt for me when I thought about having another baby. I wanted to make sure we took the time to honor Annalee, but when I got pregnant again so quickly, I knew that she was happy for us.

Our little girl and this little baby have helped us heal in ways I never thought possible.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

What Happened?

We received Annalee's final autopsy results in December and they confirmed what we already suspected- her death was unpreventable, but they don't know what happened. There really couldn't have been a good answer, but I think this is the answer we were hoping for. It confirms that there's nothing we could've done and it eases a bit of worry for future pregnancies; At the same time it makes it that much more confusing and unfair. I'd like to think that at some point we'll be at peace with the results, but I still find myself asking why? Why us? Why our healthy baby who we loved and wanted so much?

I'm not sure I'll ever stop trying to figure out what happened- however pointless it may be.