Sunday, January 30, 2011


I have a hard time looking at baby pictures sometimes.  Pictures of sleeping (live) newborns just bother me.  I couldn't put my finger on it for a while, but after hearing someone tell me that Cora "just looks like she's sleeping" it hit me: I hate pictures where, to me, the babies look dead.  So I especially hate black and white newborn photos.

It bothers me most when it's pictures of my own children.  Maybe it's because the thought of Erin and Patrick dying too is so traumatic to me.  Maybe it's because they're supposed to be happy pictures of my children and I hate that the pictures make me cringe.

The ones that come most to mind to me are Erin's blessing pictures.  I'd been planning on having my mom make a dress for Cora from the leftover fabric of my wedding dress and my veil, but we were waiting to see how big she was at birth before my mom started.  And then of course it became a moot point.  So my mom made it for Erin.

And I hate the pictures.
Part of me wishes I'd thought to try to wake her up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pregnancy reflections

I've said before that most of my memories of my pregnancy with Cora are not all that pleasant.  First and foremost comes to mind the day before my husband took me to the ER where I was formally diagnosed with hyperemesis.  I spent the majority of the afternoon laying on the bathroom floor, since I was sick often enough that I didn't feel like continuing back and forth between the couch and the bathroom.  I literally, seriously, believed I would die.

But there are happy memories too.  Like the "big" ultrasound, during which she was sitting with her rump in my pelvis and the cord between her legs and she would not move.  We could see her entire spine down to her tailbone, and each complete thigh bone, but we could not see her gender.  It was frustrating, but we were so thrilled to have our baby pronounced "absolutely perfect."

Then there was the next appointment when my doctor snuck me into the room with older machine just to take a "quick peek" to see if we could see her gender.  It took all of 30 seconds to see.  I remember the giddy grin on Matt's face as he talked about having a daughter.

I remember endless rounds of push-you-kick-me, and looking forward to showers because she always became active then.

I don't have many memories like that of my pregnancy with Erin.  I think I was pretty much a zombie during the entire thing.  Besides the actual positive test, I don't actually remember the ultrasounds (and there were more, because of the loss) or the NSTs that I know we did.  Between positive test and labor it's one big blur.  I kind of regret that.  But at the same time, since I get Erin and so many happy memories since her birth, I guess it's better that I more vividly remember my short time with Cora of the two pregnancies.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Am I "stuck?"

The past couple of weeks I've had a couple people approach me out of love and concern.  They are worried that I'm "stuck" in my grief, and that maybe I should look into professional counseling.  I've been thinking about it, and I'm frustrated.

Yes, I talk about Cora.  Frequently.  It's the only way she's a part of my life.  If I don't talk about her, she's gone.

Is it my sole focus?  No.  My main focus is my living children, who need me. ((actually, my main focus lately has been not throwing up, but that's another story)).  I play with them, I teach them, I change them, I feed them, I love on them.  But yes, Cora comes up when I talk to these trusted people.  I don't have to always talk about Erin and Patrick, because...well...they're there, wanting to talk to them and show them their toys.

Now, I have been a little depressed lately, but I really don't think that has anything to do with Cora.  That has everything to do with not being able to play out side, and throwing up everything I eat.

So I'm frustrated.  I hate feeling like I'm not safe talking about Cora with people anymore.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It affects everything. (pregnancy mentioned, sort of)

Sometimes it becomes really obvious just how much Cora's death has affected my life.  But on days like today, it's REALLY obvious.  I belong to a Due Date Club on forums.  And I stick out.  My perspective is totally different.

~When discussing birthing preferences, I need to be in the bed hooked up to the heartbeat monitors.  Why?  Because without it I start flashing back to the delivery without it.  When there was no heartbeat to hear.  I need the comfort of the sound, to reassure myself that things are different.  I'm also going to be induced early because of that same anxiety.  Labor and Delivery are an incredibly stressful time for me.

~When discussing baby showers...well, I'm not expecting to have one, as I've already got a girl and a boy.  But Erin's and Patrick's were both after they were born.  I have an incredibly hard time with sitting there and everyone saying "when the baby comes" while my mind is screaming if.  Cora's was 2 days before she died.

~When discussing nurseries...well...Cora's was the only one I have ever had.  With both Erin and Patrick we've lived in places where there wasn't a separate space for a nursery.  We will be moving in June into a bigger place.  We're not sure of details yet, but it'll be at least 3 bedrooms so the baby can have a separate room.  Which means a nursery.  But I can't even get my mind to start thinking about decorating a nursery.  

~When discussing finding out the gender...I have to.  I have to.  It's an emotional imperative.  I got to get to know Cora before she died.  I can't imagine not knowing who she was until after she died.  The same thing goes for names.  I hear people saying "we'll decide on a name when we see the baby and see what fits."  I got to call Cora by name.  It made her a person, and I have memories specific to her and not to "a baby."  I've tried to get names decided on as soon as possible after finding out the gender for that very reason.

~Some of the girls are discussing the 12 week mark, and "being safe" and it drives me crazy.  Cora died 12 days before her due date.  12 days.  I just want to scream sometimes.  There IS no safe point.  But I also don't want to say that all the time because I don't want to be a downer.  I envy their innocence and I don't want to destroy it any more than my presence and Cora's picture in my signature already do.

I wish I could go back to those days sometimes, when things were "safe" and I could just expect everything to go right.

Monday, January 17, 2011

As if I needed something more to worry over (pg ment)

I had my first OB appointment today.  When I went in last week for the ultrasound to make sure everything was okay after the bleeding, they also checked my progesterone.  I don't think I've ever had my progesterone checked before.  I got a call back saying my levels were a little low and I started prometrium.

Well, today going over the paperwork, she told me that they weren't just a little low, but they were quite low.  She wanted them around 20.  Mine was 9.7.

I had another ultrasound and everything looked good.  Great heartbeat, no other issues.  But I can't get that number out of my head.  I wish she hadn't told me.  It's one of those cases when too much information can be a bad thing.  In my mind I almost feel like it's a losing battle and it's just a matter of time.

This sucks. There's no other word for it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All sorts of anxiety. (pregnancy mentioned)

The times I had ultrasounds with Cora I was just excited beforehand.  There was no real worry.  There was vague worry about things I'd heard from others about missed miscarriages and things like that.  But not to the point where I was terrified.  I was mostly just hugely excited.  Until that last ultrasound anyway.  I hoped I was freaking out over nothing but deep down I knew she had died so I did not want to walk into that ultrasound room and have a doctor tell me what he told me.  What I knew he was going to tell me.

Now, I have that same feeling of dread before ultrasounds, even when I have no reason to think there's a problem.  But today it was worse.  I had some bleeding this weekend and of course it just made me scared.  They got me in for an ultrasound this morning, and the dread was nearly what it was like with Cora.  I expected to hear those words again.  "I'm sorry, but there's no heartbeat."

There is a heartbeat, though.  Little Skittles is measuring just 1 day behind my dates, which is the closest any of my babies have been.  I teared up with relief, and the tech was so nice.  I keep staring at my picture, so thrilled that there's really a baby in there.  A living baby.  There's no clear reason for the bleeding either, everything looks okay.  I am so very very happy.

But I hate that one bad ultrasound has ruined that excitement I used to have.  I wish I could have that back.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Truth

The truth ISN'T that you will feel "all better" in a couple of days, or weeks, or even months. 

The truth IS that the days will be filled with an unending ache and the nights will feel one million sad years long for a while. Healing is attained only after the slow necessary progression through the stages of grief and mourning. 

The truth isn't that a new pregnancy will help you forget. 

The truth is that, while thoughts of a new pregnancy soon may provide hope, a lost infant deserves to be mourned just as you would have with anyone you loved. Grieving takes a lot of energy and can be both emotionally and physically draining. This could have an impact upon your health during another pregnancy. While the decision to try again is a very individualized one, being pregnant while still actively grieving is very difficult. 

The truth isn't that pills or alcohol will dull the pain. 

The truth is that they will merely postpone the reality you must eventually face in order to begin healing. However, if Your doctor feels that medication is necessary to help maintain your health, use it intelligently and according to his/her instructions.

The truth isn't that once this is over your life will be the same. 

The truth is that your upside-down world will slowly settle down, hopefully leaving you a more sensitive, compassionate person, better prepared to handle the hard times that everyone must deal with sooner or later. When you consider that you have just experienced one of the worst things that can happen to a family, as you heal you will become aware of how strong you are. 

The truth isn't that grieving is morbid, or a sign of weakness or mental instability. 

The truth is that grieving is work that must be done. Now is the appropriate time. Allow yourself the time. Feel it, flow with it. Try not to fight it too often. It will get easier if you expect that it is variable, that some days are better than others. Be patient with yourself. There are no short cuts to healing. The active grieving will be over when all the work is done. 

The truth isn't that grief is all-consuming. 

The truth is that in the midst of the most agonizing time of your life, there will be laughter. Don't feel guilty. Laugh if you want to. Just as you must allow yourself the time to grieve, you must also allow yourself the time to laugh.Viewing laughter as part of the healing process, just as overwhelming sadness is now, will make the pain more bearable. 

The truth isn't that one person can bear this alone. 

The truth is that while only you can make the choices necessary to return to the mainstream of life a healed person, others in your life are also grieving and are feeling very helpless. As unfair as it may seem, the burden of remaining in contact with family and friends often falls on you. They are afraid to "butt in," or they may be fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing. This makes them feel even more helpless. They need to be told honestly what they can do to help. They don't need to be told, "I'm doing fine" when you're really NOT doing fine. By allowing others to share in your pain and assist you with your needs, you will be comforted and they will feel less helpless. 

The truth isn't that God must be punishing you for something. 

The truth is that sometimes these things just happen. They have happened to many people before you, and they will happen to many people after you. This was not an act of any God; it was an act of Nature. It isn't fair to blame God, or yourself, or anyone else. Try to understand that it is human nature to look for a place to put the blame, especially when there are so few answers to the question, "Why?" Sometimes there are answers. Most times there are not. Believing that you are being punished will only get in the way of your healing. 

The truth isn't that you will be unable to make any choices or decisions during this time. 

The truth is that while major decisions, such as moving or changing jobs, are better off being postponed for now, life goes on. It will be difficult, but decisions dealing with the death of your baby (seeing and naming the baby, arranging and/or attending a religious ritual, taking care of the nursery items you have acquired) are all choices you can make for yourself. Well-meaning people will try to shelter you from the pain of this. However, many of us who have suffered similar losses agree that these first decisions are very important. They help to make the loss real. Our brains filter out much of the pain early on as a way to protect us. Very soon after that, we find ourselves reliving the events over and over, trying to remember everything. This is another way that we acknowledge the loss. Until the loss is real, grieving cannot begin. Being involved at this early time will be a painful experience, but it will help you deal with your grief better as you progress by providing comforting memories of having performed loving, caring acts for your baby. 

The truth isn't that you will be delighted to hear that a friend or other loved one has just given birth to a healthy baby. 

The truth is that you may find it very difficult to be around mothers with young babies. You may be hurt, or angry, or jealous. You may wonder why you couldn't have had that joy. You may be resentful, or refuse to see friends with new babies. You may even secretly wish that the same thing would happen to someone else. You want someone to understand how it feels. You may also feel very ashamed that you could wish such things on people you love or care about, or think that you must be a dreadful person. You aren't. You're human, and even the most loving people can react this way when they are actively grieving. If the situations were reversed, your friends would be feeling and thinking the same things you are. Forgive yourself. It's OK. These feelings will eventually go away. 

The truth isn't that all marriages survive this difficult time. 

The truth is that sometimes you might blame one another, resent one another, or dislike being with one another. If you find this happening, get help. There are self-help groups available or grief counselors who can help. Don't ignore it or tuck it away assuming it will get better. It won't. Actively grieving people cannot help one another. It is unrealistic, like having two people who were blinded at the same time teach each other Braille. Talking it out with others may help. It might even save your marriage. 

The truth isn't that eventually you will accept the loss of your baby and forget all about this awful time. 

The truth is that acceptance is a word reserved for the understanding you come to when you've successfully grieved the loss of a parent, or a grandparent, or a beloved older relative. When you lose a child, your whole future has been affected, not your past. No one can really accept that. But there is resolution in the form of healing and learning how to cope. You will survive. Many of us who have gone through this type of grief are afraid we might forget about our babies once we begin to heal. This won't happen. You will always remember your precious baby because successful grieving carves a place in your heart where he or she will live forever. 

~Author Unkown~

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


There's a song that comes on my Pandora by Christopher Cross called "When You Think of Laura."  The chorus says: When you think of Laura, laugh, don't cry. I know she'd want it that way.

Last night it came on, and I wasn't really paying attention, and I heard "When you think of Cora."

I was having a hard day yesterday, and I needed my little girl, and she made herself known.  I love that she sends me little messages.

A dear friend of mine says she's sure that our separation is hard for Cora too, and that she misses me as much as I miss her.  I feel that too, and that's why she sends me these little messages and comes for visits.  She knows how hard pregnancy is on me and I always feel her around more often.  She's been so close lately.  

I think her siblings can feel her, too.  The other day, Erin started randomly talking about the things on Cora's shelf.  Her picture, the picture of Daddy holding her, her handprint, and Patrick looked up and clearly said her name. The first time he's ever said it.  But it comforts me to know that they know she's here too.