Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today was so hard. This was the last day Tim will be taking Evan to playschool, as he goes back to work next week. I went with him so I could ease back into the whole thing. As soon as I saw the teachers, I started to cry. They both hugged me. It's so hard to see people for the first time, who last saw me pregnant. I don't know why this is, but somehow I know they know what happened, they feel awful for me, and I just lose it. So that was hard. I worked at the daycare right across the hall as well, and dodged a few staff walking back and forth. That was really hard. I don't want to talk to them, I don't want to have to put on a smile, feel their pity, I don't know how to explain it. Anyway, After that, I had coffee with a friend, a mom from the playschool, also whom I hadn't seen since summer. She cried with me, I brought pictures of Isla, she let me talk, vent, and show her Isla's album. It was emotionally draining, but didn't feel bad to do. It's nice to talk about her. She's always on my mind anyway, may as well say some of it out loud. After that, we had some errands to run, and at the dollar store, there was a woman in the parking lot who I knew from playschool and I dared not make eye contact, though I'm sure she saw me. Probably wondered where the baby was, but I walked quickly away, into the dollar store... where another playschool family was shopping. Oh the joys of a small town. I hid in the back section until they left, or I thought they had. I managed to slip past the mum, who I'd seen shortly before going into the hospital. I know it must sound so odd to be freaked out about seeing people. I mean, the "worst" that could happen, is they'll say "I'm so sorry".. no biggie.. it's the whole ordeal, really. The "Oh! You must have had your baby..." And I have to say "Yes.. [awkward silence] ...and she died"... And then I have to deal with the reaction, and almost console them. It's just an interaction I'd rather avoid, indefinitely.

Tonight, Evan and I were in the bath. We brought the Potato Heads in to switch it up from dinosaurs. We realized the small potato heads fit perfectly into the storage back ends of the big potato heads, and so we started talking about having babies, and pretended the little potato heads were being 'born'... Evan said "Now, this potato head is going to have a new child, a new baby will be born..." and then he said "and it's not going to be a dead one, it's not going to be a dead child"... I reeled inside. Not in a sad way, really, just more of a "holy shit, I can't believe he said that" kind of way. I mean, I'm glad he feels he can talk about it, because I don't want Isla to be a taboo topic for him, which he initially thought it was, I think. He asked where she was once, early on, and immediately put his hands over his ears, which he does when he feels scared/threatened/in big trouble... I realized then that we had to talk, and get her 'out in the open'... so, I'm glad he felt comfortable enough to bring it up, and I guess I'm glad he realizes that most babies aren't born dead, or die, and that babies can be born healthy. He wanted to name the baby potato Thomas, which was our boys name, and when later, a girl was born, I asked him if her name should be Isla, and he said "no, we already have an Isla". I agreed, and we moved on. I'm glad he recognizes too, that we "have" an Isla. Even just in spirit, he recognizes her as a part of our family, and that makes me happy. She is, and always will be his baby sister, and he will know all that we can share with him about her as he grows up. Evan would have been an amazing big brother to Isla. I picture the two of them all the time, in the car, in the bath, at the dinner table etc etc... I think it's part of the grieving process, that I fantasize these scenarios, and they're not always horribly sad. Sometimes, I imagine Evan complaining about Isla taking his toys, chewing on things or whatever, and I hear him in my mind, and I laugh at the thought. It gives me hope that one day, Evan will have a baby brother or sister to complain to us about. Hope is a hard thing to come by these days, but I know it's out there somewhere.

I love you my baby girl, miss you and wish you were here every single second.



Monday, October 29, 2007

I wrote to a friend tonight, and in it I tried to explain how I was feeling. I'm copying it here because it sums it up pretty vividly for me.

My world is kind of a ball of confusion right now, with very little feeling certain or guaranteed. Basically, I'm killing time. I wake up dreading a whole day to fill with meaningless crap until bedtime. I remember getting excited as a child on Christmas Eve, when it started to get dark, because it meant Santa was coming soon. I hate that now I feel excited (for lack of a better word) for dusk because it means I've licked another day.

I'm so terrified somthing is going to happen to Evan now. Now that I know how cruel life can be, and I only have one child, I am certain something awful is coming for him. I don't know if it'll be in the form of an accident, or an incurable disease, but somehow, I can't shake the feeling that I'm not meant to have him for his whole life. I feel awful, like some whackjob bereaved mother writing that, but it's true. I feel like I can't hold on to him tightly enough, can't rub his cheek enough, hug him enough, kiss him enough, tell him enough times how much I love him. I feel scared I'm going to lose him, and it sickens me, and sends waves of panic through me often.

I really wish I could be anyone but me right now. :(

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ah baby girl I am missing you tonight. What a hard day, all the baby girls at Old Navy... about as old as you would have been. The adorable little clothes you should be wearing... Some days it seems to be bearable, and I can take in a full breath, fully fill my body with air, And others, there is such a weight on my chest, I feel suffocated by it. I cannot fill my lungs, the emptiness inside me is unfathomable. I am starting to feel angry about what happened to you. Angry at Barb, angry at the doctors, angry at myself, my family and just anyone around, really. I feel so cheated out of being your mom. You were so cheated out of living a full life... becoming this amazing person I know you would have. I've just had another birthday, my 34th. I have lived 34 years, you lived half a day. It is so unfair. So unbelievably unfair. I feel sick when I think about how it should have been me that died, not you. I would put myself in your shoes in a heartbeat. God how I miss you. Everything feels so unnatural without you here... How can a mother go through life living a life of 'should haves' instead of doing them? How can I get up and go on with my life every day when my beautiful daughter has died after 12 hours of life? I can hardly imagine how the rest of my life will play out. I miss you so much my baby girl, god I hope you are out there somewhere and that someday I will have the chance to hold you again. Know how loved you are sweetheart. The other day your big brother Evan told me "Mom, I think you're special" and I smiled and said I thought he was pretty special himself. Then I asked him what he thought 'special' meant. He said "special means the best!" And certainly, he is pretty special himself. You, my darling angel are special too. You are my best girl, and no matter what always will be.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It has been 39 days since I gave birth to you, my daughter, Isla Noelle. This is the first time I've written about the experience. You were supposed to be a vbac homebirth, an amazing experience for our whole family. We had a pool, candles, food, everything planned. All we had left to do was clean, I kept waiting for the nesting to kick in. On Friday, September 14, I noticed at bedtime that you hadn't been moving around much. Come to think of it, I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a really strong kick. We'd been at Ikea all day, with Evan and friends, and not really been paying attention to your movements at all. Around 11pm, I drank 2 strong, sugary iced teas and waited...I got one kick, which gave me enough reassurance to go to bed. The next morning, I had another sweet drink, and still nothing. Tim got up and we left for the midwife's. She said flat out that she was worried. Well, shit, me too. She found your heartbeat quickly, in the 150s, and we all let out a huge sigh of relief. I was nervous at how nervous she was. We called the hospital nearby, and they recommended coming in for a non-stress test. We got there, the midwife came, and the NST revealed a similar heartrate, though without any variation, which concerned the staff. They put an empty pop can on my abdomen, and flicked the tab a few times. I guess this sends waves through the fluid and usually, babies react, heartrates fluctuate and babies move around. None of these things happened. The OBGYN on that day checked my cervix for dilation and the possibility of an induction, as I'd wanted a vbac. I was not at all dilated, and you were still posterior. No chance. And they wanted you out. I was prepped for a csection. Though it was technically an 'emergency', it wasn't, in that I was given time to call family, tell them what was going on, go to the washroom. No one rushed, they worked around my needs, it was leisurely and comfortable. There was no urgency, really, no sense of doom. I requested to wait on cutting the cord until it stopped pulsating, not have my arms strapped down, so I could hold you, and to delay eye ointment so we could see eachother right after you were born. After they cut me open, everything changed. No one really spoke, or said anything except "it's a girl". I distinctly remember not hearing any crying. I remember the anesthetist next to me looking more and more concerned, and eventually leaving, to go help with the doctors and nurses on the crash cart. Then I heard resuscitations and I remember asking 'is my baby going to die'? The anesthetist said "she's very sick"... and I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes. The next parts are such a blur, and honestly, I don't care if I remember them or not,so I'm not going to detail them. They told us they were going to take you to a cooling unit thing at the Stollery, a place that could possibly help with possible brain damage. Then the neonatologist came back and basically told us there was no hope, no brain activity, and we should think about discontinuing life support. What a fog it all is. What a whirlwind. I was wheeled into the NICU in my bed, and held you. You had tubes coming out your mouth, and I can't believe how calm I was about it all. We knew you were going to die, and yet, I was able to talk, smile and make decisions. I realize now I was in a complete state of shock. In no way could I comprehend that my newborn daughter was going to die. My body was protecting me, because I'm sure, could I have really understood the magnitude of it all, I'd have killed myself. The next few hours I floated in and out of awareness, I was so drugged up, so exhausted and so stunned. Marcia, the hospital's chaplain, came in and did a blessing for you, and I don't remember a word of it, I'm sad to say. I held you close. I took off your sleeper, pulled down my gown, and just held you against me, skin to skin. God you were perfect Isla. Your tiny shoulders, still with lanugo on them, so soft. Your perfect, tiny ears, your hair, so soft and so dark! Your amazing little hands. How tiny they looked next to Papa's as he held you. We kept you with us all night, passing you back and forth between Daddy, Auntie Sandi and me. When we knew your time was getting close, we came together, and thought deeply of you, loved you, cried for you. It was so very hard to say goodbye to you Isla, so incredibly hard. I don't even know how I did it. I think I should be grateful for the drugs, really. Somehow they kept me from dying from the unimaginable pain and agony that I was going through. I can hardly write about it yet. I hope one day I can write about it, with a smile for you, instead of just this wicked horrible grief that is currently my entire existence.