Monday, April 30, 2012

Calendar Page

Today I will turn the page on my calendar, April has ended.  My baby should be here with me.  Her due date is  on this page, I should not be able to turn the page and not have her in my arms.  But I have to...

Missing her so much today.  Baby Grace where ever you are, Mommy loves you so much and can't wait until we can be together again.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grandma's 87th Birthday

Yesterday was my Grandmother's birthday and the first time that I have been to see her since she moved into Memory Care.  I was nervous about seeing her.  She had some really bad behaviors last weekend, cursing at staff, throwing things, inappropriate eliminations etc.  I had her sent to the hospital to make sure that there was no medical cause for her behavior break.  When dementia patients have physical illness it can cause sudden, severe worsening of behaviors.  She was medically cleared so I made the decision to move her from regular assisted living to the Memory Care section.  Memory Care is a locked ward with a much lower staff to resident ratio.  It is set up to meet the special needs of Alzheimer's patients, but I was worried that she might not need that level of care and would be surrounded by residents that were much lower functioning than she was.  She was doing great and was on the same level as the other residents who were all dressed and clean and seemed happy.

We took her out for root beer floats and had cake.  All that worry and we had a great visit.  She doesn't remember that I was pregnant anymore.  I so wish that she could have met Grace and I could have some pictures of her with Grace.  I also hope that we will have more of her birthdays to celebrate in the future.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grace's New Urn

Another crazy busy week.  Mark and I have been planning Grace's memorial service.  It will be 2 weeks from today.  We need to find a priest, get the house cleaned, get the carpets cleaned, pick out flowers, prepare music, decide on readings, e-mail invitations, have her pictures printed, and most importantly select her urn.  We decided that she needs to be in her urn by the memorial, no plastic box from the mortuary.

Urn shopping was, as you would expect, hard.  I started right after she died.  At first just looking at urns that small sent me into sobbing fits,  I wanted my babies body back, not ashes in an urn!  I hated the plastic box the mortuary returned her to us in, so I kept looking.  As the weeks went by Mark and I started to develop an idea of what we wanted.  He wanted to make a sculpture of my hands holding a heart and her remains would be in the heart.  I  loved the idea, but was worried that he would never get around to making it.  Plus I was worried about ceramics being too fragile and one of the cats breaking her urn.  We compromised on having a metal urn being held in a sculpture of my hands.

I found tons of metal keepsake urns in the shape of a heart on the internet, but the capacity varied dramatically.  I have always hated the idea of ashes being separated, so we needed all of Grace's remains to fit into one urn.  We went to three different mortuaries to look at their selection of urns in person and to see if someone could help us find what we were looking for: a metal urn, in the shape of a heart, that could fit into your hand, hold all of Grace's ashes and be engravable with her full name and birth date.  It doesn't seem like a unrealistic set of requests.  The mortuary staff at all locations seemed pretty unmotivated to help us, we were shown the few baby urns that they have, then put in a room to look at catalogs alone.  I guess that was why we stopped looking for a while, it was too hard and we did not know where to turn.  But now her memorial was on the horizon and I would not have my beautiful baby in that plastic box when people come to pay tribute to her.

I found an urn on the internet that she would likely fit into, but it could only have 2 lines of engraving with 8 characters each, so her full name would not fit and we would have to leave off her birth date.  I was starting to come to terms with the idea that I was not going to find exactly what I wanted, and that this was pretty close, but then I realized that if I bought online I would have to transfer her ashes myself.  I know what animal cremains look like, at work I always offer to clients that if they buy an urn elsewhere and need us to transfer the ashes for them we can.  No such offer was made by the mortuary that cremated Grace and I was afraid to see her ashes.  I like to remember her how she was in the pictures I have, I did not want to think of her as cremains.  Mark and I went to one last mortuary to look at their urn selection Tuesday.  It is a  much smaller business than the other mortuaries we had been to, it was in a bad neighborhood and the outside was not as professional as the others.  The owner was so kind to us, she let us come after regular business hours to look at her selection of urns.  She worked with us for an hour.  She called her son who managed the urn inventory (and was out of state) twice to ask questions we had about the urns.  She called her distributor to ask questions about the urn we liked.  We found an urn that met most of my requirements, it would have to be engraved on the back, not the front, and she could transfer the cremains for us.  She set aside the urn for us and Mark brought Grace's remains the next day for transfer.  He watched as she moved our baby from her plastic box to her new resting place.  He said that it was done carefully and respectfully.  I am so grateful that we found this place and remembered that you can't judge a book by it's cover.

We feel such relief that she is in a beautiful urn.  The design has birds in flight, ideally they would have been butterflies, but the birds are lovely.  I think about her spirit being in the wind and birds fly on the wind, so it is good.  I love that it is metal and you can hold it easily and it gets warm and feels alive once it has been in your hands a few moments.  The missing her never stops, but honoring her always makes me feel a little better.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Long Week

It has been a while since I posted...  it was just a long week and I was tired.  I feel like two completely different people right now, maybe even three.  There is the grieving mother, trying to learn how to be without her baby, how to honor her baby and parent her memory.  There is the hopeful, trying to be centered, woman trying to conceive again, taking her temperature daily, peeing on test sticks, checking cervical fluid, reading books about fertility.  And finally the professional woman focused on your pet's health, being emotionally supportive and sensitive to your needs while ensuring that we provide the best care you can afford for your pet.  Ugh, all three of me sound exhausting.  Crap I just thought of a fourth woman: the caring wife, daughter and granddaughter making sure that everyone is okay and has everything that they need.

The part of me that is Grace's Mom just misses her so much.  I read "Finding Hope When a Child Dies" this week.  It had some excellent points about how we in our Judeo-Christian society lack appropriate language and coping skills to effectively deal with child loss.  How we tend to feel an overwhelming guilt about our loss, and how that is not a productive way to be.  Then it examines other cultures and how they deal with child loss: reincarnation, destiny, Spiritualist cities, mischievous spirits that displace our real children's souls in the womb, etc.  The finally it looks at us as initiates into a special society of child loss and through that initiation we can grow and become more powerful.  There were some ideas that made me feel better, the idea that this was Grace's destiny and there was nothing that I could have done to change her fate.  Maybe she was just meant to be a little baby, bring great joy to her parents and be so deeply loved.  Maybe that was all her little soul needed and we gave it to her and she could move on to something else, something better.  I also crave the idea that she will come back to us, but am not sure that would be healthy for a subsequent child for me to think that they are Grace's soul returning to us.  All in all I found the book more an interesting concept, but not hugely helpful to me.

The TTC (trying to conceive) woman has been through highs and lows this week.  My cycle is way wonky and very long this time.  Plus since it is my first using BBT (basal body temperature) charting and the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor it is stressful since everything is so new.  I am meditating about fertility, eating healthy, performing modified Maya Arvigo massage and doing yoga.  I have also been researching TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioners in the area that I could start to work with to improve my fertility.  I do feel more centered and it touch with my body than I have since I was pregnant, but then the Mom in me feels guilty that I am not thinking about Grace more and being sad more.  If I could just have her warm little baby goodness with me and being TTC again wouldn't life be perfect?

The professional woman is doing okay.  When things get to stressful at work the TTC woman yells at us and gets us to relax since no baby wants to start life in a stressed out body!  So I am late to a few appointments?  Honestly I have so little control over that it is not even funny, so let it go and do the best I can with that patient when I do finally get in there.   Complaining clients?  Well luckily I did not have any this week, but the other doctors did and I hate to see them stressed out.  Plus half the time the complaining people are just unbalanced.  One was complaining that our price on cat toothbrushes was 3 dollars more than  Okay so once you pay for shipping we are 1 dollar cheaper, but why are we really discussing 3 dollars in the first place?  I try to remember that we deal with these people a few hours a year and they have to live with themselves all the time.  Plus most of our clients are great, nice people, the jerks will just drown them out if you let them.

Lastly the family anchor.  She had a tough week.  Grandma wandered away from assisted living and was found at a business nearby and the police were called.  The police contacted me and we came and took her home.  It was scary since her assisted living did not even know that she was gone!  She is now on more frequent room checks and we are talking about moving her to the memory care neighborhood (locked down 24 hours, no in or our without a code).  It is way more expensive in the new neighborhood and I know that she would hate losing her freedom of movement so I am very torn, but most of all I need her to be safe.  I wish that she could tell me why she wandered, but she can't remember.  Another nice side story, when talking with the nurse at assisted living about what to do next she asked me how my baby was since she remembered that I must have just had a baby.  I cried while doing it, but I told her that my daughter was stillborn.

So you can see why I am exhausted.  Now off to church (need to shop for a priest for Grace's Memorial next month).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fairy Wings

Friday was hard, I was sad and missing Grace so much.  My office manager gave me a gift at the end of the day.  She had this little fairy outfit made for Grace when I was pregnant, it has wings, a tutu, a hat and a headband.  It is adorable.  She wasn't sure if she should still give it to me or not, but I am so glad that she did.  I am so glad that Grace still gets presents.  Oh I so wish that I could have seen her in her fairy outfit.

Her wings

Headband, wings and tutu

Hat for when the headband is too small

I am sad that she is starting to seem less and less real to me.  She seems like this amazing dream, and not a real baby.  I wish that I could hold her again, kiss her and smell her wonderful smell.  I wish that she was here right now crying and keeping me up at night.

We are starting to try again for another baby.  Not a replacement for my darling girl, but another chance to parent a living child.  It seems callous to try again so soon, but we are not getting any younger and had such a long hard road to conceive Grace.  I have been reading and researching fertility, and have found that we made some mistakes on our previous journey.  I did not educate myself enough about conception, I trusted doctors too much and test sticks and I was too stressed.  This time I will not fall down that rabbit hole again.  Grace has given me a confidence in my body that I never had before.  We can do this, we did with her and she was perfect and amazing.  I hope that she knows how she completely changed my life and that no matter how many other children we may have, she will always be my first born, my special, perfect little girl.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grace's Due Date is Today

Today was the day my baby was supposed to be born.  The date that I told people for months with a big goofy smile on my face.  The date that is circled with a big happy face on my calendar.  I know that she was likely not going to be born today, she could have been early or since it was my first pregnancy more than likely late, but today was the day that I held in my heart for her.  It has been 2 months without her and my heart is still breaking.  I hope that where ever she is she is safe and happy and knows how much her Mom and Dad love her and miss her.

Tears for my little girl

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Today Grandma and I went to the dentist.  It was a good appointment, no cavities for either of us.  Grandma did well and seemed to be feeling good.  Mark called yesterday to let them know about Grace since the last time I was there I was 12 weeks pregnant.  The dentist's office was one of the very first places I announced my pregnancy.  I did okay until the hygienist asked about my necklace and then told me that her new granddaughter's name is Grace.  I just said "huh" and did not say anything else, then cried a little while she finished cleaning my teeth.  I do wonder if Grace would have had my teeth.  I hope so since I never needed orthodontia and Mark did....

I hear other baby loss moms talking about how they dream about their children.  I never have dreams about Grace.  I wish that I did, it would be a way that I could have new memories about her.  Sometimes I can feel her though and that is pretty amazing.  I can feel her lying on my chest, just like in the hospital.  When that happens I feel so calm and centered, like for just that moment everything is okay because we are together again.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Easter is tomorrow and I am trying not to think about it.  I have ignored it all week, not made plans to cook anything, no desserts, no egg dying, no pastel colored candies, no chocolate bunnies, nothing.  Last year I did all those things and thought about the traditions I would like to start with a child and how wonderful all the holidays would be to see them through the eyes of a child.  I was so excited about this year since I was supposed to be super pregnant, be giving birth or have a tiny infant by now.  Of course none of those things is my reality now.  So my plan is to ignore Easter.  Very adult and mature of me, don't you agree?

My counsellor says that I need to say what I am actually thinking to people more.  Since I tend to get pissed off about things, but never confront people.  Today I did.  The head receptionist at my work is a nice person and a great employee, and a new mother.  She had her baby in August 2011, we were pregnant for the same time for a while, although I had not announced anything yet since I was so early in my pregnancy.  She loves her child, but I am not sure that she loves being a mother.  She complains a lot about how much work the baby is and how her husband is no help.  I am sure that it is incredibly hard, but I don't want to hear about it, my baby is dead.  I would not sleep for a month if I could have my baby.  I would do anything to have my baby back.  Her husband does seem like he is little to no help.  Yesterday she had to leave work early since her baby was crying and the husband could not deal with it.  This morning he calls her and wants her to come home again to deal with the screaming baby.  She said no and advised that if he was worried something was wrong with the baby to take him to the pediatrician.  He said  that he wanted her to take the baby to the doctor.  I got so mad, I could feel the fury oozing out my pores.  I just looked at her and suggested that her husband should call mine, since we would rather have a screaming baby than a dead baby.  She looked like I had slapped her and I walked away.  Grace died just 8 weeks ago and have people forgotten that?  Do I have to be such a bitch to remind people that I am broken and grieving?

I hate being this way, but my heart is broken and nothing really matters without Grace.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It doesn't rain much here in the desert, but when it does we can have the most spectacular storms.  The sky will go from blue to dark in an hour and then it will rain like the moisture can get out of the clouds fast enough for 15 minutes and then as soon as it started it will end.  I was meditating this morning and my mind went from a calm blue sky to dark and foreboding in seconds, just like a desert storm.  So much grief, so much loss are within me.  Missing my baby, missing my innocent joy about being a parent, worries about the ability to conceive again... everything came crashing down on me.  Plus my cycle is back in full force and I am sure that my menstrual hormones are not helping anything, although truth is I cry frequently anyway so maybe it is unfair to blame my hormones.

Then more emotional storms at grief counselling this afternoon with Mark.  It was a hard session, hard, but I think productive.  Mark and I generally get along really well, but since Grace's death we have had some spectacular fights.  We both apologize and move forward usually within 24 hours of the fight.  The same thing happened after our fight Monday night - I promised not to use the word infertility to describe our past issues with conception, he wants me to say fertility problems or issues, but never infertility.  He said that he did not deny our issues and was open to trying natural aids and supplements to boost our chances.  I thought that we had worked through the issue, I was wrong.  It all came up in therapy today.

Our counsellor said that we both talk about things to intellectually and that we need to tell each other what we are feeling.  Then the other person needs to really listen and validate the others feelings before describing what they are feeling.  It feels like such an imprecise way to communicate, but at least in session it really seemed to work.  Mark said that with our fertility issues and then Grace dying he feels powerless, and when I say that we have infertility he feels like our chances for conceiving again are hopeless.  He says that all we have power over is the words we use to describe our situation, so although for me it is semantics to use fertility problems vs infertility to him it makes a huge emotional difference. That made me understand where he was coming from much better.  I told him that I get mixed messages from him since he claims that I am the one who is negative about our future chances, yet when I bring ideas and research to him for helping boost our chances he often shuts me out.  What he didn't realize is all my research and time spent thinking about how to get pregnant are my way of being positive.  I also told him about the mantra I say to myself when I start to feel negativity about conception; I say to myself "I will be pregnant again, I WILL be pregnant again, I will have more children."

I have realized in the past week how much grief and loss I felt the past few years while trying to conceive.  I never dealt with those emotions in a meaningful away, I buried them deep and got ready for the next cycle of trying.  Once I got pregnant with Grace all that grief disappeared, once I lost her it all came roaring back.  So it looks like I will be in therapy for a while dealing with the loss of my beautiful baby, but also all the monthly losses from two years of trying to conceive.  Oh well it is better than talking about my issues with my mother....

So I leave your tonight feeling more raw then I have in a while, but also understanding my husband more, and feeling more connected to him.  Say it with me: I will be pregnant again, I WILL be pregnant again.  I will have more children.  Thank you all for reading and caring.

Me at 27 weeks... how I will be again someday.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Well I think that my cycle has finally returned.  As others have said it is very confusing.  I had this ridiculous hope that I would get pregnant again so quickly that I would not get a period again.  Stupid I know, but hey that is what denial is all about.

My hubby is also having his fair share of denial about our history of infertility.  He just says oh we don't have infertility, we had a pregnancy.  I am so scared about never having another pregnancy and his not acknowledging our fertility issues just hurts me so much.  I am trying to stay positive about our chances in the future, but I know that it will likely not be easy.  I need him to be positive, but not deny our history.

We went to support group tonight and it was not good.  The group was not a good mix of people for us.  Half the group were teen mothers.  I am not denying their loss, it is real and deep and horrid, but different than my loss.  One girl claimed to not even know she was pregnant until she went into labor with a full term 9 lb stillborn baby.  I guess denial does not have age limits.  We needed a more mature group whose experiences were more like our own and we got the still birth episode of 16 and pregnant.  Then we came home and fought.  I could feel it in the air as we left the hospital.  He was unhappy about group.  I told him that we don't have to go back, but he would not leave it alone.  I know he is hurting and he is not getting his grief out.  I keep trying to find ways to help him, but I think that I am going to take a rest from that and focus on me.  He needs to take care of his own grief for a while.

Well off to try and sleep.  We shall see if tomorrow brings my period in full force or if today's spotting was implantation bleeding -- see denial dies hard.