Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I've been having flashbacks lately.  Flashbacks not to the trauma of Cora's death and birth, but to the trauma of my pregnancy with her.  I don't think I can really explain it.  There was on day, the worst day, just about 10 weeks along, when I spent almost the entire day laying on the bathroom floor.  I was actually throwing up once and hour, though after the first couple of hours all it was was dry heaving.  But in between I'd lay on the floor gagging, having stomach spams.  I was crying, but I was so dehydrated I didn't really have tears.  I truly, deeply, believed that I was going to die, and I remember at one point begging God to just let me die quickly rather that this long, drawn out end.

By the next morning I was throwing up blood, and I called in sick to my job, called the mother of the boy I babysat in the mornings, and told them I was going to the hospital.  Matt came home during the hour between morning classes to see how I was, and when I told him I was throwing up blood he went pale.

That moment won't happen again.  It didn't happen again.  I start anti-nausea medication the moment I get a positive test now.  But...that is my fear.  I've been feeling lately that it's time to have another baby, but I can't.  Right now, I just cannot handle the idea of being so sick again.  I look at my two rainbow babies, and the desire for another baby feels selfish when I think of the cost to them.

I hate that every time I think about the short time I had with my beautiful Cora, the trauma is what comes to mind.  I did have happy moments, but I have to dig to remember those.  I think that's one of the hardest parts of her death.  I never got a time with her when I truly felt well and happy.  And that just breaks my heart.

I also have so few pictures of me when I was pregnant with her.  I never felt photographic because I felt so awful.  Looking back at the pictures, it's not true, but that's the way I felt anyway.  Here's one, my first trip to Yellowstone.  I felt SO sick during all the driving, but I managed to look happy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the Cora Vinca

Yesterday I was googling Cora's name, just to see what I could get, and I came across this article talking about Cora Vinca periwinkles.  And I decided I had to have some.  I was going to Walmart anyway, and I went out to the garden center not expecting much.

Low and behold, they had some!  So of course I bought some.
And I also had to take a pic of the flower in my angel pot.  I thought it was done blooming.  I love this color.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The name

In 2006, when Cora was born, the name was ranked 384 per million babies.  I'm not sure Cora counts in those statistics, since she wasn't born alive and therefore had no social security listing.  Anyway, the name as of last year was ranked 303, so it's getting more common as the trend for "old fashioned" names catches on.  That means it's randomly popping out at me more.

I teach the 6-year-old primary sunday school class in church.  All the kids 3-7 meet together first for singing & sharing time, where we sing songs and the primary presidency does a little learning activity.  Yesterday, we had a couple visitors, and so we sang a welcome song.  The visitors were the song leaders nieces so she was fairly excited.  She introduced them "This is Esther, and this is Cora."

It was like a stab in the gut, and I had breathe slowly to keep from bursting into tears.

Needless to say, it was VERY hard to sing "Here we are together with Cora."

I'm just very glad that she wasn't in my class.  I don't think I could have handled that right then.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the zoo

I don't know that I can readily explain the love I have for zoos.  I just adore them though.   It's one of those things that I love sharing with my living children, that I just ache that I can't share with Cora.

The Denver zoo has a carousel, and you can "adopt" one of the animals.  With your adoption fee, you can choose which animal that you want and they will put a plaque above your animal (where the post goes into the ceiling).  Of the ones that have been adopted already, most of the plaque are in memory of someone.

I would love to do that.  The plaque would say "In Memory of Cora Rei, born sleeping May 2, 2006.  For all the zoo trips we never got to take."

But the smallest adoption fee is $5000.  I don't have $5000 to spare, and if I did, it would probably go towards paying of credit cards/car/student loans, or as part of a down payment for a house.

Maybe someday.

I just want something that will stand after I'm gone, to tell the world that she was here.  That's why I wish so much we'd been in a place where we could have buried her, to have given her a headstone.  So that people could pass by, and see that once upon a time there was a little girl named Cora Rei, whose parents loved her dearly and miss her every single day.

Maybe someday.

Until then...I'll write her name on flowers (this was a lily at the zoo)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the other baby

I've talked to many other baby loss moms who were pregnant with them when they were pregnant with their angels, who were due around the time they were.  I believe I've mentioned before that I was pregnant with my best friend, and that her Katy was born nearly 2 months after Cora.

I've talked about how looking at Katy sometimes hurts.

Well, maybe that comes from not living in the same state and therefore not spending much time around her.  In the past four years, my contact with Katy has been a couple hours here, and a couple hours there.  But this weekend we spent 2 whole days together.  My group of high school friends spent the weekend at another friend's grandfather's summer home.

And not once did I look at Katy and think "that should be Cora."  I guess after spending a week watching Erin play with her cousins, I saw Katy as more of a cousin than a sister-that-should-be.  I think I made a breakthrough.

Do I still wish Cora was there?  Yes.  I think any of my friends, if they had been asked, would have said that.  I mean, seriously, how cute would TWO curly-haired redheaded 4-year-olds running around be?!?!?  But when I looked at Katy this weekend, I was able to smile and appreciate Katy, instead of wanting to cry because she wasn't Cora.

So in spite of the fact that the weekend ended with EVERYONE getting very sick, it was still a very good one for me.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Silence helps no one.

Today I watched the first episode of Losing It With Jillian.  There a heartbreaking moment when Jillian is talking to the mother about her weight history.  She said she'd always been 10 or 15 pounds overweight, but it really started coming on with the death of her son, 22 years previous.  Her little boy lived for month and a day on a respirator.  It just broke my heart.  She explained to Jillian that whenever she tried to talk about her grief and her little boy with her husband he answered "I just can't."  She expressed how very alone she felt, like she alone had gone through the ordeal of his death, and that now it was as if he had never existed.

There was a really touching moment, when the mother sat her family down together and "introduced" Jillian to the little boy she had lost.  It was so hard to see her husband break down as if it was the day that little Jimmy died.  Jillian asked him why he felt he couldn't talk about it, and he said "It just kills me."

To which she said "It's killing you either way, whether you talk about it or not."

We live in a culture that doesn't deal well with grief.  From just about every direction there are messages to "get over it," especially if it is a baby that has died, especially if the baby died before birth.

But hiding those emotions, never letting them out, is like a cancer, and it soon consumes you.

That is why I have this blog.  Because I need to talk about Cora, and about how I feel.

At the store today Erin asked me if she could have a baby sister.  There was a woman walking nearby who had a little girl and a teeny baby, and we were talking about that little girl's baby sister.  I explained to her that she does have a sister, her name is Cora, and she lives with Jesus.  Erin repeated "Cowwa, sistoh," and seemed to accept my answer.  There was another shopper nearby, who glanced over at me when I said "lives with Jesus."  She was older.  I didn't meet her eyes, I didn't want to see the pity there.  But now I wish I had, because what if she had been another angel mom?

Erin and I talk about Cora a lot, actually.  She's been very interested in sisters lately.  It hurts me so much that she doesn't have her sister here to play with.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's not a want, it's a need.

I have on occasion had people ask me why I continually buy things for Cora or do things in her memory, and it's so hard to explain.  These people usually leave me angry, because there's usually a "you should focus on the children you have with you," thrown in there somewhere.

Truth is, something magical happens when a woman conceives: she becomes a mother.  It doesn't happen when the baby is born, it happens at the beginning of the pregnancy.  Those same people would acknowledge the fact that yes, I am Cora's mother, but they really still don't understand.

We have millions of years of racial instinct evolved in us.  That instinct prepares a woman to take care of an infant when the pregnancy ends.  And it's not just an infant either, but to rear the child to adulthood and then help care for their babies.  It's a driving force that instinct.  

When Cora was born, my body acted as if I had that infant to care for.  My milk came in, among other things, as if I had a baby to feed.  That was the only thing, though.  Everything in my being had been preparing to care for an infant that wasn't there.  I am her mother, but I can't be her mother.  I need to mother her, and it's almost physically painful that I can't.  Like any other instinct you have, it's hard to ignore.

So I buy trinkets and collect pictures of her name.  Does that mean that I ignore her siblings, or don't appreciate them?  No, because I mother them every day.  I feed them, change them, clothe them, clean them, talk to them, cuddle with them, comfort them, play with them.  Every minute they are awake, I am fulfilling my instinctual obligation toward them, and loving every minute of it (even the hard ones).

But that doesn't erase the instinct to mother Cora.  And I can't do any of those things for her that I just listed off for her siblings.  Oh how I want to, though.  How I NEED to.  It's built into me on a chemical level.

Monday, June 7, 2010

At least...

I have always hated it when other people have tried to comfort me with any statement beginning with "at least."  I felt it belittled my pain.  You would never tell someone who lost 2-year-old "At least you didn't really know them yet."

But I can tell myself "at least."

I was up all night last night with my little Erin (whose birthday is today, poor thing!), who was very sick.  She threw up several times, and it was SO HARD watching her be so miserable.  As someone who has done WAY MORE than her fair share of puking in the last 5 years, I could totally empathize with her as she cried pitifully between heaves, how afterward she comforted herself with "It's okay Erin.  It's okay.  It's okay."

I hated that I was powerless to do anything for her but clean it up, wipe her off, and tell her I loved her.

At least I won't ever have to watch Cora be sick.  At least I'll never have to hear her cry because she's fallen down and hurt herself, or as I clean out a scrape, or she gets shots.

But in reality......I'd take all that in a heartbeat if it meant I got to have her here in my arms alive.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I need a little help

Photobucket stripped the music off the memorial video I made for Cora.  So I want to make another one.  Only, I'd like to include more of the impact she's made AFTER she was born, so if any of you so feel, could you take a picture of her name somehow?  It doesn't have to be in sand or on a flower, just any way you feel like.  If you could then email it to brcannady (at) gmail (dot) com I'd really appreciate it.

I'm making some more of  my own too.
I love this one.  I love that Erin is in it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meet you at the sunset


Some people say men and women grieve differently. Others say that we as a human race grieve differently to each other. Some people believe that we all grieve the same just at different stages of time.
If you have a partner how has this grieving process been for you both? Do you differ much in how you live with grief? Has it torn you apart or brought you closer together? Have you learned anything about your partner that you did not know beforehand?

At first, the grief was different than it is now, 4 years after the fact.  At first everything was so intense, we were both in shock.  I think Matt's main concern was my wellbeing, however.  I had a history of severe depressions, so he was worried I'd go off the deep end I think.

I have some very vivid memories of him expressing his grief.  One night, about a week after Cora was stillborn, I held him as he sobbed on my shoulder.  He confessed to me all the trivial things that were the reason we were being "punished," that made it his fault.  It was proof that he felt guilty, just as I did.  I, the mother, who was connected, who felt her, who should have known something was wrong.  His reasons were completely ridiculous, and I was able to wholeheartedly tell him so, but it made me realize that my grief wasn't mine alone.  That it was shared.

But he's very quiet about his grief most of the time, especially now.  He doesn't like to "advertise" it, as he says.  I need to talk about her, to remind the world that I am her mother, too.  I mean, when I walk through the store, everyone can see Cora's sister and brother.  It's very obvious to the world that I am their mother.  I don't need to vocalize it to prove it.  But they don't see Cora, and I need to be Cora's mother, too.

He allows me my remembrances.  He respects them.  So I try to respect his need to keep his grief quiet, most of the time.  He says he "just doesn't think about it."

Part of me wishes I had that talent.  Part of me wishes I could turn the hurt off.  But then again, I like to think about my Cora.  And missing her proves to me that I still love her, and that's something I would never wish away.

As to how it has affected our relationship...well...he once said to me "we survived the death of our child, we can survive anything."