Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thank you National Geographic

I was watching a documentary on King Tut the other day. ("King Tut's Final Secrets" if you're interested.  I found it on Netflix)  It was mostly about the CT scan on his mummy trying to figure out once and for all definitively why he died, but they also mentioned the contents of his tomb.  They talked for several minutes about the two mummified babies.  For some reason Howard Carter thought the smaller one was stillborn and the larger died shortly after birth but you can't really tell that from the mummies.  Both were smaller than a full term baby.  Anyway, in talking about this, they described the babies' deaths as "terrible tragedy" and it was so nice (especially in light of comments and controversy around the stillbirth of little Jubilee Duggar) to have it recognized as a tragedy when a baby dies.

They also ended the documentary with a quote, that sums up the reason why I write this blog, the reason why I do things in my daughter's name:

‎"To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again. It restores the breath of life to he who is vanished." ~Egyptian Book of the Dead

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Turns out she's LITERALLY always with me.

New studies show that, amazingly, cells from the fetus stay in the mother's blood system for decades after that baby's birth.

The best part?  It's not just full term births, but any pregnancy.

"And, says Carol Artlett, who studies fetal cells at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, even if a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, even if there is no baby, the cells of an unborn child will stay in the mother for decades."

There's some debate about whether this ultimately proves harmful or beneficial for the mother, but the idea that there is a part of Cora literally always with amazing.  I love that her siblings are too, but it's most amazing when thinking about Cora because I don't have her in my arms from day to day.  She's in my very cells.  I just love it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

1st or 20th, it doesn't matter.

I'm heartbroken for Michelle Duggar and the death of her 20th child.  I'm not going to call it a miscarriage, because she was far enough along that she will have to go through labor and delivery.   Her baby will be stillborn.  It makes me so sad.

But what makes me so sick over it is the horrifying comments she's getting.  Like, "it's what she gets for getting pregnant again."  I have to admit, the idea of that many kids seems a little crazy to me, and I really did worry about her health and the health of her baby after the complications of her last pregnancy.  But nobody deserves this.  It's not for the best when a baby dies.

My loss was my first, and futher along than hers.  But that doesn't mean that Cora's death was any more tragic or that I have a right to my pain any more.

I wish people would stop being so hateful.  No mother deserves this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Family portrait when one is missing

How do you take a picture of your family when your family isn't complete?  I've seen families include a portrait of their lost one, but I don't really feel comfortable doing that.  We went for a subtler approach.  In 2009, for Cora's birthday, we bought a Shining Stars stuffed beagle with a code to name a star.  So we named a star near Orion's belt for our Cora Rei (okay, I know it's not really legitimate but that's okay).  Anyway, we then took a family portrait on Cora's birthday and included the puppy to signify her.

Well, we got a great coupon for The Picture People, and since it'd been so long since we'd had a professional portrait done (we hadn't had one since!), we got one done today.  And the puppy joined us again.
I don't know how long I'll include him.  As long as I can.  It'll probably be weird once I stop having young children, but I don't care.  It makes me feel like she at least got to be in our family portrait somehow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Imaginary Conversations

The holiday season is hard.  It starts with Halloween.  I found myself having imaginary conversations with Cora.  It started with talking to Erin about what she wanted to dress as (Rapunzel) and wondering what Cora would want to be.  She had red hair, would she have wanted to be Ariel?  Or would Ariel have been old news?

"But Mom, I want to be Rapunzel!"
"But Rapunzel has blonde hair, and so does Erin."
"So I always have to be Ariel because I have red hair?"

It has continued on with conversations with Erin about what she is grateful for, and what we should take to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and then what she wants for Christmas.

I hate that these conversations have to be imaginary.  It hurts that I didn't get to have family traditions and experiences with her.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grief all ties together.

My dad had to put our old dog down this evening.  He was a lab/pointer mix, and he was 12 years old.  He's been pretty sick the last 3 days, rather suddenly, so he and my brother decided it was time.

It's interesting how that grief has affected me.  I'm not the type that views animals as children, but they ARE members of the family, and they DO have a way of grabbing your heart.  And it hurts when they have to go.

Missing Mesh (his name was Gilgamesh) has sort of had a domino affect and made me miss my other dog, Princess, who died in 2003 (she thought I was her puppy.  She and I had a really close bond), and now I'm really missing Cora.  I'm learning as I go through this that there are many different circumstances for grief, and many different expressions for grief, but in the end it's the same.  It always hurts.

So rest in peace, Gilgamesh Ruff Hill.  You will be very missed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day

The big one was for Cora, one of the angel ones was for my family and close friends and the other was for my wonderful, enormous online support community.  It made me sad that there were so many that I hit the limit for the number of tags Facebook allows on a picture.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Walk To Remember

The 2nd Saturday in October every year is the Walk To Remember.  The organization puts together bereavement packages for hospitals to give families there for miscarriage, stillbirth or dealing with infant loss. This year we were lovingly sponsored by our dear friend Aubri.

So the walk is started with a memorial service and balloon release, and then a walk around the lake there at the park.

Today was 34 degrees and freezing rain, so we didn't stay that long.  And sadly, since the temperature dropped from the time the balloons were inflated to when we were supposed to release them, they didn't float (they're actually now on my ceiling, we'll let them go later).

But we went, and it was good, even if we were only there for a little bit.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2 sisters

Erin's been really interested in family relationships lately.  With Allison's birth and having grandparents and other family in town, it's been fun trying to help her understand how we're all related.  Her favorites are her brother and sister though.  lol

So yesterday in the car, she announced that she had 2 sisters.

I said "Yes, you do have 2 sisters.  Who are your sisters Erin?"

"Baby Allison!" she squealed.  She loves her baby sister.

"Yep," I answered, "Who else?"

She paused for a second.  "Not Patrick," she said, thinking, "He's my brother."

"It's true.  So who is your other sister?"

"Um..."  she frowned for a second, and then her eyes went wide. "Baby Cora!"

I love that she is aware of her big sister.  I wish they could have grown up together, but the best I can do for Cora is have her siblings know who she is, right?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Her outfit (new baby mentioned)

Allison is a month old today and I decided to take some pictures.  I was trying to figure out what outfit to put her in, when it occurred to me that she hadn't worn Cora's would-be coming home outfit yet.  It seemed perfect.

So here is Allison in Angel Sister's outfit.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Her shelf, finally

It finally is up.  It is currently the ONLY decorative thing we have hanging on any of our walls.
The wing broke off my white angel. :(  It'll be fairly easy to glue it, I just need to find the right kind of glue.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A moment in the car

I tell people that when Erin was born, I felt like I had to start over in my grief process, because I didn't really have any idea what I was losing when Cora died.  I hadn't ever had a child, so my life didn't really change with her death.  I didn't have any experience with my own child so I didn't have any idea what it was really like.  I lost an idea.

But then Erin came along and every noise she made, every movement and every look made that loss so very real.

It hasn't been that bad since.  A new baby makes me miss that experience with Cora, but it's not so crushing.

However, I do have moments.  And I had one of those in the car today.  I went out to run an errand, just me and Allison.  A time to get a moment to myself.  Allison was asleep in the back, so I didn't have to really worry about her.  And then this song came on the radio ("If you get there before I do" by Collin Raye).  It was one I'd heard before, but not for years, but I remembered it enough to start crying halfway into the first line.  By the time the chorus started, it was all out sobs:
If you get there before I do
Don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
I don't know how long I'll be
But I'm not gonna let you down
Darling wait and see
And between now and then til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love, me
I hope she's listening.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cora's visits

When Erin was born, I was nursing her one day and she unlatched, looked over my shoulder, and grinned the biggest grin you've ever seen.  She was only a few days, maybe a week, old, so smiling isn't something she was really readily doing yet.

But I knew that was a real smile, and I had the distinct impression that the smile was for Cora, who had dropped in for a visit.  It happened a couple times more too.  Patrick did it too, but not nearly as often.

Allison has been doing it a lot.  It really warms my heart.  I want my kids to have a connection to their big sister.  Last night at about 3am I was burping Allison, and she looked up and smiled the most amazing smile. I treasure those little moments.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Safe and sound (newborn mentioned)

Allison Reine arrived yesterday evening, August 27th, at 5:39 pm.  She weighed 7lbs4oz and is 21 inches long.

There were a couple scary moments right at the end of delivery (including her being born with the cord around her neck twice!), but she is here safe and sound, healthy and beautiful.

She doesn't have red hair, but she does look just like her sister (as have all Cora's rainbow siblings!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Finally found a good answer...(pregnancy mentioned)

I was grocery shopping yesterday, and Erin announced to the cashier "Awwison will be born on Saturday!"  So then I had to explain to the cashier that yes, I was being induced on Saturday which naturally lead to the question of "oh, are you overdue?"  I hate having to explain.  I hate not acknowledging Cora though.  But then it came to me.

"No, I have a history of loss, so they don't let me go to my due date."

To which she responded, "oh, well it's good that they're keeping an eye on you then!"

I didn't have to explain the anxiety I get.  I didn't want to explain the dreams (like the one last night where I dreamed I had to explain to Erin why Allison wasn't coming home.  My first one like that this pregnancy.  Thankfully, Allison's being very active today!).  But apparently the answer I gave is a socially acceptable amount of information.  I hate more than anything how talking about a baby's death suddenly make conversation so awkward, but we were able to just continue on like I hadn't said anything horrible.  Now I know what to say for the next 2 days!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Made it through (pregnancy mentioned)

Well, I made it through my loss milestone.  Allison is active enough to keep me sane, even though she's playing games with me.  She'll be really quiet just long enough to get me anxious, and then beat me up.  But it's okay.  I can make it 5 more days...

And luckily I've escaped all the nightmares I had with Erin and Patrick so far.  That's such a relief!

Friday, August 19, 2011

38 Weeks

38 weeks was the last day in my pregnancy with Cora that she was alive.  I woke up that morning (Sunday, April 30th) to get ready for church and when I stood up I realized that I could breathe.  Sure enough, looking in the mirror, she had dropped.  I was excited, since it was something that was supposed to be a precursor to labor.  I would be having a baby soon!  I had random erratic contractions throughout the day, but nothing in a pattern or really very intense.  I contemplated calling into work that evening (I worked at a gas station convenience store), but decided that standing during my shifts might help things along.

I just felt "off" all day, and didn't know what to make of it.  I was having a lot of discharge, and when a friend came in (she was an off shift coworker) to visit and get a movie and candy, I mentioned to her that I wondered if my fluid was leaking.  She offered to finish my shift so I could go to the hospital, and I said "No, it's probably nothing, I'll wait and see what happens in the morning."

I've never regretted any words more ever in my life.  She stretched during that conversation, so hard it hurt.  That's the last time I distinctly remember her movement.  I think she might have moved a little after that, but that was the last time I specifically remember it.

The next morning when I woke up there was nothing at all.

I'm 38 weeks today.  Allison is very active, which is comforting.  But I have to admit, I'm scared to go to sleep tonight.  I'm scared for what tomorrow morning will bring.

And I miss my baby girl so much it hurts.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Sometimes it surprises me how much of an impact Cora has on people that, quite frankly, I've never met.  I'm not going to call them strangers, because in reality these ladies are my friends.  Some of whom are very dear to my heart, near sisters.

I received this in the mail today and was instantly brought to tears.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another first I'll never get.

Cora should be starting Kindergarten on the 22nd.  I should be buying new clothes and crayons and pencils and paper and a backpack and wondering where on earth the time went.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Home to My Heart

((From All Dogs Go To Heaven))

All I have is a picture in my mind how it would be
If we were together
Let's pretend that you're far away
Let's say you write to me
And you promise in your letter
That you'll come home
Come home to my heart
When you come home
We'll never be apart
If I keep dreaming of you
Start believing it's true
Soon you'll come home
Soon you'll come home
Soon you'll come home
To my heart

Soon you'll come home
Home to my heart
Soon you'll come home
Home to my heart
If I believe...

Saturday, August 6, 2011


It's been a crazy couple of months, complete with moving and then flooding basement and then restoration of the basement.  I'm finally getting things put back together (the carpet got finished yesterday so everything is all done).  So I'm redoing my scrapbooking room, and I can't help but pause and look through the scrapbooks.

I came across the page I made while pregnant with Cora.  It was more painful than I expected it to be.  I haven't looked at that page since I made it, I don't think.  It was hard to go back and read of the happiness and the hopes and dreams that I knew would ultimately be dashed...but I didn't know then.  It was hard to look that woman in the face and reflect on who I was and how I have changed.  Most of the changes have been good ones, but it has been a very very painful process.

My heart aches to be the woman that that woman thought she would be.

edited to add:
I just picked up an 8x8 album that I had been making an alphabet book with.  I flipped through the pages to figure out what I'd done and what needed to be done, wondering why I had stopped working on it.

And then I saw this
I feel like I should finish it...but how can I?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

2 weeks (pregnancy mentioned)

Tomorrow I'll be 36 weeks pregnant.  That gives me 2 weeks to the fateful day in my pregnancy with Cora.  I fell asleep the night of 38 weeks, and woke up to no response.  I have 3 weeks until my induction (23 days actually).

I keep trying to keep my mind off it, but part of me feels like a ticking bomb.  Like all I have left with Allison is 2 weeks.  I made it past 38 weeks with Patrick, all the way to 39 weeks and 3 days.  I keep telling myself that.  Patrick made it here, safe and sound.  He's healthy and happy.  Allison can make it to 39 weeks.

But I close my eyes and I see that fateful ultrasound showing Cora's still heart.  And I can feel Cora's still body in my arms.  And I dread it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Then and now (pregnancy mentioned)

My very last picture taken when pregnant with Cora was at 34 weeks.  I've shared it before, but I love it because I look so very very happy in it.
I'm 34 weeks today with Allison.  The anxiety is starting to creep in a little.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My "Cora ring"

At about 33 weeks pregnant with Cora, my right foot suddenly started swelling.  Like, ballooned up out of nowhere.  It was that same way until a few days after delivery.  Anyway, my other foot and hands swelled ever so slightly too.  Enough that I couldn't wear my wedding ring.  I had a slightly bigger right-hand ring that I had been wearing in place of it, but one day even that one wouldn't fit.  I tried to put it on on my way to work and couldn't, and being an emotional, hormonal, sick pregnant woman I started to cry.  My poor husband didn't know what to do.  He finally got me calmed down and drove me to work.

It was a Saturday, and he happened to have the day off.  About half an hour into my shift he comes waltzing into my work place with a grin on his face.  He'd gone straight to Walmart, and bought me a $15 sterling silver band, 2 sizes bigger than my regular size.  Now, we had no money, so $15 was kind of a big deal.  And of course it made me cry again.   I wore that ring to the end of my pregnancy, and was a little sad when it didn't fit anymore.

I didn't have any swelling issues with Erin and Patrick.  But here I am 33 weeks pregnant again, and my foot again is going crazy, and my wedding ring and right-hand ring don't fit.  So I just pulled out my "Cora ring."  I have many fond memories with this ring.  Sad ones too, but the good ones now outweigh the bad. It's kind of bittersweet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's all much more emotional than I thought (nursery again)

So yesterday as I was sitting painting my nursery, I had a sort of mini breakdown.  I just had to stop and cry.  Cry for my first nursery and all the memories that didn't get made in it.

Today I'm realizing I'm having a hard time not having everything absolutely perfect.  I'm sure that's more of Cora's nursery arising.  I didn't have the ability to get her nursery exactly the way I wanted, because I was in an apartment and we had no money at all.  And of course, my irrational brain is connecting that nursery imperfection with her death.

I need to make myself relax and just let some things slide.  But really I just want to cry.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The nursery (pregnancy mentioned)

I'm really excited to start painting the room that will be my nursery.  And yet I keep avoiding it.

The only baby I had an extra room for for a nursery was Cora.  We were in an apartment so I couldn't paint, but I did decently well.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it worked.

And I didn't get a picture of it before Cora died.  So the only picture I have is months later when we stored everything we needed to move in there and just shut the door.

So I'm feeling a little bit skittish about starting another nursery.  Especially a real one with paint and everything.  So I keep putting it off.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cora's shelf again.

It still isn't up.  It's a little hard, but okay at the same time.  It's a great emotional improvement on my part, I think, that I'm getting everything else unpacked first.  Once I get my bedroom completely unpacked, all I have left is my craft room and the pictures that go on the walls.  So Cora's shelf will go up as soon as my room is unpacked.

Still don't know where, but I'll find a good spot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Proud of myself (pregnancy mentioned)

Okay, a little back story.  After Cora died my husband and I took stock of the things we should keep and things we should return.  We knew we'd have more kids, so we decided the furniture and clothing we'd keep, but the bath stuff, and the diapers and wipes we'd return.  Needless to say, returning several packages of diapers and having to explain why was rather traumatizing.

When Erin was born, I didn't buy any diapers at all until we got home from the hospital.  I just couldn't buy another package of diapers until I knew I needed them without a doubt.

With Patrick, I plucked up my courage and bought a package the day before I was induced.  And freaked out.  It was such a hard thing for me to do.

Well, today I was at Target, and I bought a package of newborn diapers.  At 28 weeks.  I did freak out and had to have a friend remind me it wouldn't jinx things.  But now that I've gotten through that, I'm proud of myself.  I can't believe how well I'm doing emotionally this go around.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New neighbor noticed Cora's sticker on my car

This evening we were over our new house cleaning things up, figuring out which light switch plates needed to be replaced, etc.

As I was walking out, the new next door neighbor was out and came over to say hi as I was getting the kids in the car.

She asked about the sticker, and I got to talk about my Cora.  It was nice to have it out in the open.  I mean, it's a part of my life, so I want people to know, but I don't want to spring it on people.  I was glad I had that sticker on my car.  I was glad I got to talk about Cora.  And Suzy was so sweet.  She's got 2 adult kids, so could understand that it would be a devastating thing.

She told me she was proud of me for having 2 kids and being pregnant again.  Made me feel good.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One step further away.

Matt and I closed a house purchase on Wednesday and officially took possession yesterday afternoon.  We are thrilled with this chapter in our lives, and being able to get out of an apartment and into a place all our own.

But sitting on the floor of our family room yesterday, as excited as I was, it was bittersweet.

This house is the 4th place Matt and I will live in.  Cora was conceived, lived in my womb, and died, all in our first apartment.  I am moving further and further away from her and it just breaks my heart.  I wish so much I could be painting a room for her.  Instead, I'm packing up her mementos and shelf, trying to decide where it will hang in our new home.

Maybe I'll put it in the nursery, so she can watch over her baby sister.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Plans for next Memorial Day

Yesterday I reflected a lot on the Memorial Days of my past.  When I was younger, my mother had a garden full of bearded irises, and every Memorial Day we'd cut a bunch and take them to the cemetery.  We put some on my great-grandmother's grave, and a couple other ancestors buried in that cemetery, and then we'd go around and put them on random graves...especially if we found the grave of someone who had been in the military.

I liked putting them on children's graves.  Even then I felt a sense of profound loss for those families and wanted those babies to be remembered.

Tomorrow we're closing on a house, and this fall I plan on planting iris bulbs everywhere.  They're one of the few flowers I'm not allergic to, and I just think they're breathtaking.

Next Memorial Day I want to cut a bunch and take my kids to the cemetery.  We have no relatives buried here in Colorado, but I plan on putting them on the graves of military servicemen and some children.  Maybe the children's ones will have a small note from me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The worst thing

I have a really hard time talking to other people sometimes.  I'm sure I've posted similar posts several times, but seems to come back to me a lot.  Especially in discussions of worst fears and worst-case scenarios.  I'm getting better at not saying anything, not increasing anxiety, but I still feel it.

My worst fear is not that I will be a bad mother, or that I won't love Allison as much as I do my others.

My worst-case scenario is not a csection (although, I have to admit, that one is 2nd).

My worst fear and worst-case scenario are the same: That this baby will die, leaving me with empty arms and a broken heart again.

I wish I could go back to that innocent ignorance where the baby dying wasn't something that ever entered into my mind.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Never thought I'd be here. (pregnancy mentioned)

I've reached an amazing emotional place in my pregnancy recently.  I can picture myself holding this little girl at the end of my pregnancy without and instant anxiety attack.  Ever since Cora died, I thought I'd be incredibly anxious all through the rest of my pregnancies.

With Erin and Patrick it was true.  Especially with Patrick since I went a week and a half past my loss point.  That 10 days was pure Hell.

And I wasn't ever able to think about delivery/birth with either of them.  Not in more than an abstract idea that I knew would eventually have to happen somehow.  I was too scared, because of all the unfulfilled daydreams I had about Cora.  I just couldn't let myself, or my mind went automatically to the "what if this one dies too" realm.

The day before yesterday I was laying on my couch with my hands on my belly as she kicked me, daydreaming about what it will be like to hold her, and what she will look like, and it was peaceful.  It surprised me.  But it's allowed me to enjoy this pregnancy in a way I've not been able to before.  With Cora I was just too physically ill to enjoy it, and I spent all my time anticipating when the pregnancy would be over.  This time, the medications are working so much better and while I'm still not feeling great, I'm not feeling as terrible as I did with Cora, so I can just enjoy having Allison here, right now.

It's such a great feeling.  And I never thought I'd ever feel this way ever.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is really bittersweet for me.  Cora's due date, May 14th, was Mother's Day that year, so whenever anyone asked when I was due, I always answered "On Mother's Day!"  I was so thrilled.  Of course that day ended up being really hard because it was just a reminder of what should have been when my loss was so fresh.

But the truth is, Cora made me a mother.  Regardless of the fact that she didn't stay for me to actually mother.  I am a mother, first and foremost because of her.  Even if I didn't have my other children, I would be a mother because of her.

So I celebrate her on Mother's Day.  I wasn't a mother before she came along, and I was after.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Butterfly release

There was one butterfly that didn't emerge until this morning, and it was exceptionally cooperative for pictures.  I felt like it was Cora's gift.  I knew there was a reason it snowed yesterday.  She wanted me to give that last one a chance.
My very very favorite picture

Monday, May 2, 2011

So, it snowed... our birthday plans for Cora got modified.  It didn't stick at all, and actually warmed up a bit but not warm enough for the butterflies, so I decided to hold off on that part until tomorrow.

We had our picnic at home
 And cupcakes, which aren't weather dependent!  Erin insisted that Cora needed a candle on her cupcake.  When I said "But she's not here to blow it out!" Erin said, "Iss okay Mom.  I bwow it for her."  It has been amazing today having Erin talk so much about her sister and really being able to share Cora with her.
And what kid doesn't love a good cupcake?

5 years

Happy birthday to my Cora!  I can't believe it's been 5 years.  It feels like just yesterday, and yet an eternity at the same time.

And a cute little video of Erin talking about "Cowwa's birfday."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

We have butterflies!!

Two of our butterflies "hatched" this afternoon.  The other 3 won't be too far behind.  It looks like we'll have butterflies to release on Cora's birthday!  I'm so excited!!

Words I'll always regret

Saturday, April 29th, 2006 was a surprise baby shower for me and Cora thrown by 3 of my friends. It was just the four of us, but we had a great time. At one point someone asked me if I was feeling ready. I had been so incredibly sick my entire pregnancy, and wasn't not feeling particularly well that day either, so my response was "I almost don't care about getting the baby, I just don't want to be sick anymore!" I immediately regretted saying it.

Sunday, April 30th, 2006 I was 38 weeks. I woke up that morning to get ready for church and she had obviously dropped. I had more room between my breasts and my belly than I'd had in months, and I could breathe. I wasn't having anything notable in regards to contractions though. Everyone at church noticed I'd dropped and people were excited. Cora was the last at the end of a baby boom, so everyone was waiting for me to deliver. I decided to go to work that evening, as standing/walking might help to get things going (I worked at a gas station/convenience store so there wasn't really a place/time to sit). As the shift went by I was starting to get anxious but I couldn't figure out why. She was active during her active time, though maybe a little slower/less strong. I'd heard that was normal though. My discharge was crazy though. A coworker/friend came in on her off shift to visit and get some candy and asked how I was doing, and I told her that I thought I might be leaking fluid (I wasn't) but I wasn't sure. She offered to finish my shift so I could go to the hospital. During that conversation Cora stretched. It hurt. It was the last time I remember feeling her move.

Anyway, when Bree offered to take my shift, I responded "No, I'm probably freaking out over nothing. I'll wait and see what happens in the morning."

Then next morning she was already gone.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ages and mental pictures

A topic recently came up on my stillbirth support forum asking how we picture our babies.  It was interesting, the varied responses, and it made me think about it.

To me, age is a physical characteristic.  Cora does not dwell in the physical realm, and therefore does not have an age.  When I picture her at this moment I generally see her as a young woman.  When I picture my life as it would be I picture her at the age she would be.

It's kind of interesting how I came up with the young woman image.  The one and only dream I had about her she was a young woman.  She was beautiful.  I cherish that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Can't help but relive it: The first of the "lasts"

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006 was my last OB appointment. I'd had quite a bit of bad braxton hicks contractions and cervical pain, so even though I was only 37 1/2 weeks I asked him to check me. I was 2cm dilated and 70% effaced, and he could feel her head (but she pulled away). 

I was living in Idaho, and my parents would be in Utah that weekend for my brother's graduation that weekend, so I asked about them maybe inducing me so my parents could come up. He answered that he couldn't without medical reason, especially since I wasn't even 38 weeks yet, and just a few days could make a difference.

I was a little disappointed, but I understood. As I was leaving he said "Well, see you next Wednesday. That is, if I don't see you before then!"

She died Sunday night.

I understand why my doctor answered what he did, I do.  I don't truly blame them for what happened.  But a few days did make a difference, and I often wonder what my life would be like if he'd answered me differently.  I'm quite sure it would have ended up in an emergency csection, and there's a possibility she still wouldn't have survived.  But I still wonder.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Might, maybe, may

So, our caterpillars are forming chrysalids!  They started yesterday.  The information says that it takes 7-10 days in the chrysalis before they come out as butterflies, and Cora's birthday was 11 days from yesterday, 10 days from today.

So we might actually have butterflies for Cora's birthday!  I'm not expecting it, but I'm allowing myself a little bit of hope.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The stages of grief (reposting an old post)

(((I originally posted this almost exactly a year ago today, in anticipation of Cora's birthday.  Not surprisingly, I'm feeling the same way again)))

I majored in psychology for 2 years before I had to stop (I won't get into why I had to, but I just want to say it wasn't because I wanted stop, or that I didn't want to finish).  Anyone who has studied psychology even passingly has probably come across the Kubler-Ross model of the 5 stages of grief.  Now, many people try to use this as an example for people dealing with grief of the death of a loved one, but it doesn't really fit.  Ms. Kubler-Ross was actually identifying the stages of grief for someone who has received the diagnosis of a terminal illness.  For the death of a loved one, I actually like this one.

Either way, though, it's a bit misleading.  They outline a process where you progress forward from one stage to another.  When you move to the next one, you're "done" with the previous one, and at the're "done" grieving.  In my experience that's not it at all.  Each one of those stages is very valid, but I think I'm going to call them "phases" instead.  Grief has several different emotional "colors," and each phase is dominated by one of those emotions.

But moving from one to the other doesn't mean that you're "done" with the one or that they go in order or in any way that makes sense.

To me it's like the universe is playing pinball, and I'm the ball.
Something triggers it, and my grief explodes in an unpredictable pattern, going through one or another phase and not stopping at others at all.  Sometimes I can see it coming, and I brace myself, and I am lobbed gently through the pins, only touching one or two for a brief moment before gently coming to rest again.  Other times it comes out of nowhere, and I violently ricochet from one to another and back again, bouncing around, dizzy, and it takes a while to recover.

When I first lost Cora, after I'd recovered from the shock enough to think for a bit, I thought of the model of the stages of grief.  I was grateful for my knowledge, because I felt a little more "prepared" for my journey.

The universe has had the last laugh though.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Remembered again

I just got a message from a friend with this picture in it that she took over the weekend.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


So our caterpillars finally arrived yesterday.  I've accepted the fact that they probably won't be ready for Cora's birthday.  I've decided we'll have a picnic dinner at the park and have cupcakes, and fly our kite on Cora's birthday, and then we'll release the butterflies for her whenever they're ready.  That way she gets two days.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Relief (pregnancy mentioned)

I had my ultrasound today.  I always get anxious beforehand.  After the awful ultrasound with Cora, though, I don't really blame myself.

My main concern, though, was cord placement.  Cora's was obviously around the neck, and they didn't tell me, and I really had no clue what I was looking at.
So I was anxious that this one's would be too.  It would feel like a death sentence, I think.

Thankfully, baby girl's cord wasn't around her neck.  It was in front of her belly, between her and her placenta, right where it should be, thank goodness.  She's also apparently "perfect."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Worried and upset.

One week ago I ordered some live caterpillars to raise and watch turn into butterflies with the hope that we'd have live butterflies to release on Cora's birthday.  It takes about 3 weeks to go from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.  Cora's birthday is 3 weeks from today and our caterpillars haven't arrived yet.  I'm going to be so sick to my stomach if they don't arrive in time for us to have butterflies for Cora's birthday!  I seriously want to cry.  This was the only plan I had, and I can't bear the thought of not doing something.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not since Cora (pregnancy mentioned)

I felt Skittles for the first time from the outside today.  Matt was there, getting ready for work, and I was telling him about it.  He didn't make any effort to try to feel him/her.

He hasn't really done those sorts of things since Cora died.  I don't know, maybe it's his way of dealing with the anxiety of me being pregnant again?  I miss it though...him being involved.

There were a few times I was able to get him feel Erin and Patrick while while I was pregnant with them, but it wasn't until much later into the pregnancy.

The one thing that he has not ever done since is put his ear to my belly to try to hear the heartbeat.  He did that all the time with Cora.  He did that after my shower when I started feeling like there was a problem...and there was no heartbeat to be heard.  So I don't really blame him for that one.  I don't think I'd ever do it again either.

I wish we could go back to the blissful happiness we both felt when I was pregnant with Cora.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Glad she's not forgotten (pregnancy mentioned)

Yesterday on my facebook page I posted a link to an online baby pool to predict Skittles' gender on my ultrasound next week. (here, in case you're interested)

Anyway, a friend of mine posted "It has to be a boy since we are twins and all. lol 2 girls then 2 boys. :)"

It made me feel so good to have her remember that I DO have two girls, even though the older one isn't here with us.  Totally made my day.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

5 years ago today...

...was my last picture pregnant with Cora.  I really wish I had taken more.