Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Elliot John Palmiere

Eric and I, our family and friends all breathed a sigh of relief on May 26th when we welcomed our baby boy, Elliot, into the world.

We decided before I even got pregnant that I would be induced around 37 weeks with this baby. While I'm generally not a huge fan of medical intervention, we were desperate to meet this little one before the 38 week 5 day mark when we lost Annalee. As we got closer and closer to the end my anxiety went through the roof. I was scared to go to sleep- to go hours without knowing whether or not the baby moved (there were a lot of 2am doppler checks). As uneventful as my pregnancy was, I was so happy when it was over and he was here. The minute he came out wide awake and crying was he most reassuring, joyous moment of my life. I hate that I look back on his pregnancy as such a traumatic event, but it was worth every minute of stress. I treasure plenty of the little moments with him in my belly, but it may take me a while to fully appreciate the entire nine months.

He's nearly four months old now and he is the most chill baby. He makes us laugh every day- he's smiling and chatting and wiggling his way around. There have been so many moments since the beginning where I catch myself staring at him and wondering what Annalee would've been like at his age. Would she have looked like him? Would their temperament be the same? I think I will always wonder. It'll be a fine balance to ensure that Elliot always knows his sister, but never feels like he's living in her shadow. Without Annalee, there would be no Elliot and I thank her everyday for keeping this little boy safe and bringing him into our lives.


It's been too long since I've posted anything here. So much has happened- the birth of our son! Annalee's first birthday! More to come on both of those...

I think I've been avoiding this space a bit again. Posting here means really facing my feelings and with new mom hormones and the overwhelming joy of a new baby, I haven't been up for dealing with grief. Grief is exhausting and when you're already running on adrenaline and broken sleep, it seems like a better idea to put it on the back burner and power through.

Lately though, I've been thinking more and more about this space and what we've been through and it feels like it's time to get back to it. I'm not doing myself any favours by ignoring things and I feel like in a weird way, I'm seeing our experience with fresh eyes. We're no less devastated about losing Annalee, but I find more joy now. I'm excited for our baby boy to know about Annalee and for her to watch him grow up.

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.