Friday, April 22, 2011

the cute things toddlers do

Jack is a pretty animated little dude. He tries to comfort people if they are upset and he likes to make people laugh. He also likes to give hugs and kisses, when he's in the mood that is.

Yesterday, Jonathan got home and Jack went to hug him. Jonathan picked him up and was saying hi to him when I came up to give him a kiss. I kissed Jack and then Jonathan. Jack then puts one of his hands on my head and one on Jonathan's and pushes our faces together and makes kissing noises. It was priceless. He repeated the process several times.

Totally melted our hearts!

Friday, April 15, 2011

What we wish you knew about pregancy loss

I found this on-line, and most of it is so true for me and everything I've gone through in the last month. I can't believe it's been a month already because it feels like it just happened a few days ago. My body still hasn't recovered physically even though the doctor said it would only be 1-2 days. That was crap.

Anyways, here is the letter I found and I'll add a few comments here and there. (The letter is in blue, my notes are in black.) While some of this doesn't apply to me or the things I have encountered, it's remarkable how much of it does.

What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss:
A letter from women to their friends and family
by Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer
I assert no copyright for the material. Please use it as you see fit to help women who have endured this terrible grief. Thank you.

Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002
When women experience the loss of a child, one of the first things they discover they have in common is a list of things they wish no one had ever said to them. The lists tend to be remarkably similar. The comments are rarely malicious - just misguided attempts to soothe.

This list was compiled as a way of helping other people understand pregnancy loss. While generated by mothers for mothers, it may also apply similarly to the fathers who have endured this loss.
When trying to help a woman who has lost a baby, the best rule of thumb is a matter of manners: don't offer your personal opinion of her life, her choices, her prospects for children. No woman is looking to poll her acquaintances for their opinions on why it happened or how she should cope.

-Don't say, "It's God's Will."
Even if we are members of the same congregation, unless you are a cleric and I am seeking your spiritual counseling, please don't presume to tell me what God wants for me. Besides, many terrible things are God's Will, that doesn't make them less terrible.

This may be the one that bothers me the most. Because believe me, after going through this, I have several questions I'll be asking God when I meet him. Like why did I even have to know I was pregnant? We weren't trying, I had awful cramps and though I was starting my period, why not just end it then if it was going to end? Why did we have to see that little heart beat? If it was going to end, why let us get attached and know that after seeing the heart beat the risk of miscarriage goes down to less that 5%? WTF? And why did I have to carry the baby all the way to the end of my 1st trimester? Why did I have to have the horrible pregnancy symptoms with a dead baby for over a MONTH? How is that fair? So yeah, when people say that it's "God's will" or in his "plan", it makes me want to hit them. Screw whatever plan there is. I just want my baby back.

-Don't say, "It was for the best - there was probably something wrong with your baby." The fact that something was wrong with the baby is what is making me so sad. My poor baby never had a chance. Please don't try to comfort me by pointing that out.

I have a child with special needs. I KNOW what it's like. I live it every day and I am thankful for my special needs child every day. And while I have no idea how I'd handle 2 with special needs, that doesn't mean I would have loved her any less or sent her back or wanted her any less.

-Don't say, "You can always have another one."
This baby was never disposable. If had been given the choice between loosing this child or stabbing my eye out with a fork, I would have said, "Where's the fork?" I would have died for this baby, just as you would die for your children.

First, it's not really anyone's business if we are having sex to have a baby, having sex just for the fun of it, or not having sex at all. I've always found asking about other people's sex lives a bit weird. If people want to talk about sex, I have no problem with that, but asking about other peoples sex lives can be weird. And the truth is, I don't know if I can just "have another". No one really does. But I have had very similar issues that my mom had and it took her three years to get pregnant with me when she was 26. I'm about to be 32. No, we don't know if we can just have another. Thankfully, people haven't actually said this to my face. It is a concern in the back of my mind though. And we aren't trying for another anytime soon. I hesitate to wait too long because of our age and because of the problems I've had (endometrosis and fibroids and cysts) but I also need time to grieve the loss of my baby and to get my body back into physical shape so that I can have an easier time supporting a pregnancy.

-Don't say, "Be grateful for the children you have." If your mother died in a terrible wreck and you grieved, would that make you less grateful to have your father?

This one has been said to me. And how does being sad about loosing a baby make me ungrateful for my beautiful son? If you know me or have read this blog then you know how grateful I am for Jack. It has nothing to do with not being grateful for him, it's about being sad for the baby that I lost.

-Don't say, "Thank God you lost the baby early and before you really loved it." I loved my son or daughter. Whether I lost the baby after two weeks of pregnancy or just after birth, I loved him or her.

Thankfully no one has said this to me, but if they did they would get an ear full. My baby had a heart beat, she was alive. I saw her living in me, felt all of the pregnancy symptoms in the book, puked almost every day. Believe me, you don't do that for someone you don't love!

-Don't say, "Isn't it time you got over this and moved on." It's not something I enjoy, being grief-stricken. I wish it had never happened. But it did and it's a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours.

-Don't say, "Now you have an angel watching over you." I didn't want her to be my angel. I wanted her to bury me in my old age.

-Don't say, "I understand how you feel." Unless you've lost a child, you really don't understand how I feel. And even if you have lost a child, everyone experiences grief differently.

This one doesn't bother me much. I have been amazed at how many people have been through this. It doesn't make it any easier, but at least I know that I'm not alone in it.

-Don't tell me horror stories of your neighbor or cousin or mother who had it worse. The last thing I need to hear right now is that it is possible to have this happen six times, or that I could carry until two days before my due-date and labor 20 hours for a dead baby. These stories frighten and horrify me and leave me up at night weeping in despair. Even if they have a happy ending, do not share these stories with me.

My neighbor did this, and it didn't help. I think it was with the intent of telling me that I was lucky that I lost the baby early and not at 7 months. And sure, I'm glad that I was able to have a D&C instead of go through labor and delivery. Had it been only a few more weeks I would have because I was right at the cut off. However, it doesn't mean that I am any less sad or that loosing the baby in the 1st trimester is any easier.

-Don't pretend it didn't happen and don't change the subject when I bring it up. If I say, "Before the baby died..." or "when I was pregnant..." don't get scared. If I'm talking about it, it means I want to. Let me. Pretending it didn't happen will only make me feel utterly alone.

There have been very few people that I've actually wanted to talk to about it. I still feel somewhat like hibernating in my house but I am starting to be more social, mostly because I know that I need to and I have a 2 year old to entertain. So if I don't bring it up, please don't either. (at least for the next few months) I will most likely just shut down and not say anything. There are a very few people who can bring it up, and they know who they are. Also, I don't want to be hugged for 5 minutes or asked how I am every 3 seconds. I've been giving generic short answers. I don't want to have to comfort you or reassure you in my time of grief. If I do bring it up then yes, please don't ignore it, but I'd rather you ignore it than hound me about it.

- Don't say, "It's not your fault." It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility and I failed. The fact that I never stood a chance of succeeding only makes me feel worse. This tiny little being depended upon me to bring her safely into the world and I couldn't do it. I was supposed to care for her for a lifetime, but I couldn't even give her a childhood. I am so angry at my body you just can't imagine.

Again, no one has said this one, but it is true. I know logically that it wasn't my fault, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel somewhat responsible for the child that was inside me.

-Don't say, "Well, you weren't too sure about this baby, anyway." I already feel so guilty about ever having complained about morning sickness, or a child I wasn't prepared for, or another mouth to feed that we couldn't afford. I already fear that this baby died because I didn't take the vitamins, or drank too much coffee, or had alcohol in the first few weeks when I didn't know I was pregnant. I hate myself for any minute that I had reservations about this baby. Being unsure of my pregnancy isn't the same as wanting my child to die - I never would have chosen for this to happen.

This is another that hasn't happened, but if it does I will have some BIG words, that my child shouldn't hear, to say. Unplanned doesn't mean unwanted or unloved. We changed all of our plans for this baby and we can't change them back. It sucks.

-Do say, "I am so sorry." That's enough. You don't need to be eloquent. Say it and mean it and it will matter.

-Do say, "You're going to be wonderful parents some day," or "You're wonderful parents and that baby was lucky to have you." We both need to hear that.

-Do say, "I have lighted a candle for your baby," or "I have said a prayer for your baby."

-Do send flowers or a kind note - every one I receive makes me feel as though my baby was loved. Don't resent it if I don't respond.

I could not believe the outpouring of text messages, emails, and phone call that I got in those first few days and still people asking how I'm doing. It's been amazing and overwhelming. I didn't respond to any of it at first, I just couldn't. I had Jonathan answer the phone for the 1st week even. Just know that I do appreciate it and don't take it personally that I didn't respond because I didn't respond to anyone.

-Don't call more than once and don't be angry if the machine is on and I don't return your call. If we're close friends and I am not responding to your attempts to help me, please don't resent that, either. Help me by not needing anything from me for a while.

If you're my boss or my co-worker:
-Do recognize that I have suffered a death in my family - not a medical condition.

-Do recognize that in addition to the physical after effects I may experience, I'm going to be grieving for quite some time. Please treat me as you would any person who has endured the tragic death of a loved one - I need time and space.

-DO understand if I do not attend baby showers/christening/birthday parties etc. And DON'T ask why I can't come.

Please don't bring your baby or toddler into the workplace. If your niece is pregnant, or your daughter just had a baby, please don't share that with me right now. It's not that I can't be happy for anyone else, it's that every smiling, cooing baby, every glowing new mother makes me ache so deep in my heart I can barely stand it. I may look okay to you, but there's a good chance that I'm still crying every day. It may be weeks before I can go a whole hour without thinking about it. You'll know when I'm ready - I'll be the one to say, "Did your daughter have her baby?" or, "How is that precious little boy of yours? I haven't seen him around the office in a while."

It has been really hard to see my pregnant friends post updates on facebook. And to see cute tiny baby pictures too. It's not that I'm not happy for those people, it's just that it's a reminder of what I could have had. What I would have had. And it's really had for me to hear people complain about being pregnant. I know that it's hard, I'm not the biggest fan of pregnancy, but I would give just about anything to still be pregnant.

Above all, please remember that this is the worst thing that ever happened to me. The word "miscarriage" is small and easy. But my baby's death is monolithic and awful. It's going to take me a while to figure out how to live with it. Bear with me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I shouldn't have made that last post

Of course right after I made that last post bragging about how great Jack has been sleeping, he's been up at 5:00 am for the last 3 days. And last night we had to go in twice.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Big boy bed!

So let me just state for the record, that I was right about him needing a bigger bed. Jack is sleeping SOOOOO much better now. When he was still in his crib, he was waking up several times a night and would sometimes be up for over 3 hours at a time. We would have to go in 2-3 times a night minimum. It was killing me, especially being pregnant and already being exhausted from that. But for over a week now, we haven't had to go in. He has been up very early a few days, like 5 am early, but I would much rather get 5 or 6 straight hours of sleep than be up 3 times a night. The "little" guy just needed room to stretch out.

So, here is him in his bed!

He LOVES it. From the second they put it up, he was all over it. I put him to nap in his crib, which was still up, and he did well. That night we were planning on putting him in the crib again, just so he could get used to it being there, and he climbed right into his big bed and went to sleep. It was the easiest bed time in months.

The first 2 naps in the new bed took a while to get him to sleep. But now I can lay him down and leave and he will eventually go to sleep without fussing much. And bed time is much easier too. He was so ready to be a big boy. *sniff sniff* Because lets face it, I was ready to leave him in that crib until he was 8 if he was sleeping well in it.

And I really like the furniture too. It's very dark, black actually, and we (AKA: I) need to pain a few shelves. We also still need to move his seizure cam and get it set up to record again. But overall, it's awesome.

And yeah, Jack though it was pretty funny that daddy can fly.

Thank God for better sleep.

And me... I have had one heck of a time recovering. I was told 1-2 days and I'd be back to normal. 1-2 days my ass. It's been 2.5 weeks and I'm still working on it. I won't go into the gory details of one afternoon last week, but lets just say I had to call Jonathan home shorty after he got to work and it ended in an emergency trip to the OB's office to make sure that I wasn't hemorrhaging. Then we had Jack's birthday party, which turned out well (pictures to follow eventually). And then my back went out completely.

Staying at home with a 35 lb toddler who doesn't always follow directions well with a back that doesn't cooperate, hasn't been easy. From what I've read, this could very well be related to the surgery and my body trying to get back to "normal" or how my body is just reacting to stress. I don't know and honestly I don't really care, I just want it fixed. I've gone to the chiropractor twice and had a therapeutic massage which was extremely painful, but I'm really hoping that I feel better in the morning.

Oh, and phantom kicks while my uterus goes back to it's normal size are just cruel.