Monday, December 31, 2012

Bad Kitty Blues

We had our 16 week appointment last week the day after Christmas.  We found out that Baby Bear is another girl.  I feel closer to her knowing what gender she is, but honestly I would have been fine either way.  I am just so glad that she is looking healthy and growing well.  We saw her suck her thumb and try to pick her nose.  She is funny, so different from Grace, not as shy and more playful.  Grace would always shake her little fists at us, like I am sleeping stop pushing on me!  My two girls.  Now Mark and I just need to decide on a name!

I ordered her nursery furniture a few weeks ago and we have now assembled the changing table and the crib.  I guess I can order the sheets and decorations now that we know she is a girl.  I will post the nursery transformation pictures later.

I feel like I am the biggest drama magnet ever, but I think that I am just having a really bad run of luck.  Which honestly I can handle as long as Bear stays healthy and keeps growing and kicking (which she is actually doing right now as I am writing this).  My kitty Louie can no longer live at our house, and I am so sad.  He has been pooping outside the litter box for 6 months now, we have changed litter 4 times, added extra litter  boxes in the locations he was pooping in (Baby Bear's room), switched his asthma medications in case the pills were stressing him out.  We (well Mark) cleans both litter boxes daily.  We started to find cat urine on flat objects a few weeks ago, on the mat leading into the litter box and then a bag that was on the ground.  Yesterday I caught him urinating on the Christmas tree skirt.  I know that logically we have done all we can, and that we cannot live with a cat who uses our carpet as a litter box.  I don't want Baby Bear crawling on the floor of her room and finding a cat turd.  However I also feel like a failure for not being able to rehab him back to the box.  I contacted a rescue group yesterday and am waiting to hear if they can help find a new, less stressful home for him.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Missing her so much at Christmas

This was by far the hardest day I have had in a long time.  My grief was so raw and so fresh, like in the early days.  Just saying her name makes me cry.  I opened a few gifts and then just laid in front of the tree sobbing.  What I really wanted wasn't in any of those boxes.  I want my daughter.  I want my baby girl and I want her RIGHT NOW.  It hurts to breathe, it hurts to be, everything just hurts.  Why can't I just have my girl with me?  Why did I have to be the 1 in 2000 that loses their baby?  Nothing makes sense.  Nothing about this stupid day matters.

Grace,  I love you so much.  My world is so sad without you.  I wish you were here today and every day.  I wish you had presents under the tree and stuffers in your stocking.  I wish your ornament on the tree said Baby's First Christmas and you were here to have your picture taken with it.  My darling, no matter how long you are gone, my love for you will only grow larger and larger.  You will never be forgotten.  I am so sorry I could not save you.  I am so sorry you are not here.  My heart is broken....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Acts of Grace

When Grace died we asked friends and family to remember her by performing acts of Grace no matter how big or how small.  Many people said they did, and would sometimes e-mail or tell us what they did, others we hope did something, but they never shared their acts with us.

We have made several donations in her name since she died: food for a food bank, bereavement materials for other BLMs and dads to the hospital where she was born, and monetary donations to March of Dimes and other baby centered charities.  This year for Christmas I spent the money that I would have spent on gifts for her to buy items off the wish list from the Banner Cardon Children's Hospital.  We went down about 10 days ago and dropped of the items.  They were greatly appreciated and I love the idea that they will brighten the day for a sick child or the parent of a sick child.  I would like this to become a tradition with the donations being targeted to kids who are as old as Grace would have been.  This year my gifts were for the NICU and infant patients.

Our good friend Sally also allowed us to share in her Act of Grace.  She bought a toy chest for a local woman's shelter called Seeds of Change.  They are a small organization for women in highly dangerous domestic violence relationships where the abuser or victim also has substance abuse issues.  They just opened a new transitional home for women who have children.  Sally decorated the chest and inside on the middle section she stenciled Grace's name.

She also bought toys to fill the bins.  We went with her to deliver the toys and the chest to the transitional home.  The women and kids were so grateful and it was a beautiful moment.  Sally shared that this was in honor of our baby Grace that died.

I will write an update on the situation with my  mother soon, but this one is just for my precious girl Grace.  I love you and miss you always sweetheart.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This crap week is over and I still can't sleep

Woke up at 3:45 am, have not been able to get back to sleep.  I am worried about Bear, his/her movements were not as easy to feel yesterday and sometimes I was afraid I was just imagining them.  Why does this have to be so hard?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to be when your world is crashing?

My mother is off the ventilator and breathing on her own.  She is apparently aware of her surroundings and can remember taking too many pills yesterday.  I have spoken to her nurse, but not to her.  I have nothing left to give her.  I am a husk, a shell of who I was before and there is nothing left.  I have to take all my energy and put it towards my baby.  My world is crashing down, drama at work, serious illness with relatives, losing my health insurance in 1 year, financial concerns.... I want to be nurtured and feel safe and secure and I do not.  I feel like I am standing on quicksand and have no way to turn.

I know I need to make some changes.  I cannot live like this.  I cannot be pregnant like this.  I want to retreat into myself for a year, but I cannot.  I have financial responsibilities.  So what else can I do?

I know that I have to terminate my relationship with my mother.  It is painful to do so, but I cannot allow her mental illness to affect me this way.  I cannot allow her to hurt me and therefore hurt baby bear.  I need to find a new place to work.  I need a change, a different environment and I need to listen to my heart and spirit telling me it is time to move on.  These are scary things, but they have both come to hurt me and I need to protect myself and my baby.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Here we go again: Mother drama

My mother called last night to yell at me.  She was mad that I sent a Christmas card and letter to my godmother.  She is mad at my godmother, for not being supportive enough to me after Grace died.  I admit that my godmother did not call or e-mail or visit (although she lives on the other side of the country).  She did send some nice cards.  I was hoping for more, since my middle name is Ellen which is her name and Grace has my middle name.  But she lost her son a few years ago.  He shot himself in the head one night at her house, he was 30.  He woke her up at midnight to say goodbye and apologize for what he was about to do, and then he went into his bedroom and killed himself.  She has never been the same since.  I have told my mother that perhaps losing her son and never really processing the grief has made it impossible for her to be close to us with our loss.  I think that she gave what she could and I respect that.  My mother does not.  However she never told her best friend of 40 years this, she just did nothing.

So last night I get told I am disloyal and a bad daughter for sending a Christmas card to the woman I am named after.  I should never communicate with someone who hurt my mother so badly.  WTF I thought she was upset about how I was treated, now this is about her?  I am not hurt.  I will reach out to whomever I want at this crappy holiday season without my baby girl.  I will tell whomever I want about Baby Bear.  We need love and hope and prayers and faith right now and I will take it from any and all corners.  I then got an earful about not driving 4 hours to see her Christmas Day (even though I work the day before and day after).  Of course last week she told me she was spending the holiday with my brother by choice.  Now I have abandoned her and am an ungrateful bitch.  I told her I had a crappy day and could not talk to her anymore and hung up, which was true I have euthanized 9 animals in my last 2 shifts.

So today I am pissed and trying not to let this affect me, but it does.  36 years old and still wanting Mommy to love me, fat chance of that happening.  My Dad calls around 1:30 pm, he found her in her bed minimally responsive and covered in vomit.  He called 911.  She is in the emergency room where they had to take measures to save her life.  This is not the first time this has happened.  She was in a medically induced coma for 2 days on a ventilator in 2005.  She has been threatening to kill herself to me since I was 7 or 8.  She has been treated for drug overdoses again and again.  I have not cried at this news.  I have no plans to drive to Tucson or take time off work for this.  My heart is walled off and protected from this hurt.  Maybe it will sink in later, I don't know.  I have complete compassion fatigue for her and her drama.  I don't know how to help and even if I did I am not sure I would have the energy to do so.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My heart breaks for the families in Newtown, CT

The news this week just shook me to my core.  To know some of what those families are going through, to have your baby go to school one day and not come home.  To have them shot by a mad man for no reason on a Friday just before Christmas break.  I have lost a child, I have held her sweet lifeless body in my arms and kissed her and hoped that she knew how greatly she was loved.  Now there are 20 new mothers holding their children's lifeless bodies and hoping that they weren't scared at the end and that they knew they were loved.  My heart goes out to those women and their husbands.  I wish you did not have to join this sorority of baby loss and child loss.

I have always been an advocate for gun control, but after this and the Batman shooting and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, why are there still people who think that guns are the answer?  We cannot keep guns out of the hands of man men, so let's keep the guns away from everyone.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hospice... Grandma.... New Grief.... New Guilt

I got a call today that I was not expecting, although I probably should have been.  I had a palliative care nurse go out to check on my Grandma and fix some issues with her medications.  She called back to say Grandma was doing very poorly, low heart rate, lowish blood oxygenation, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, she has lost 9 pounds in the last month, etc.  It was time to put her on hospice.  I knew that she was having some bad days where she did not want to eat and would sleep mostly, but after some adjustments to her Alzheimer's medications she seemed more alert.  Heck she called ME Tuesday and we spoke on the phone.  She wanted to make plans for Christmas, and we talked about what gifts she would like to give people.  How can she be dying now?  The nurse explained that towards the end they can have really great highly functional days interspersed with bad days like today.  I came home and called my Mom and then just cried with my husband.  I am not ready to let her go.  I know that she is old.  I know that her mind is not anywhere near what it used to be.  I know that her appetite is poor and she cannot do the things that she loves easily: go shopping, read books, do crafts... I know that her quality of life is declining.  But I am still not ready to lose her.  I know that I am being selfish, but right now I don't care.  I want her to meet her great grandchild who is growing within me now.  I want to have pictures of her with me and Bear and my Mom, four generations.  I have one of me when I am about 3, my Mom, Grandma and my Great Grandmother.  I wanted that so badly for Grace, and I did not get it, I though with Baby Bear I may get that chance again, but now who knows.

I know that end of life medicine is not an exact science, she could live a few more weeks, or months, or rebound and be here for Christmas 2013.  As I so cruelly know nothing is life is guaranteed.  Also the Hospice designation is not what I thought it was a year ago.  I thought about people with terminal cancer on morphine drips dying slowly in a fog to protect them from the pain their bodies emanate.  I my Grandmother's case it means she gets more visits from doctors and nurses.  She does not have to eat or take her medications if she doesn't want to and every effort is made to make her comfortable both physically and mentally.  I know that it is the right decision.  I don't feel guilty about that.  I do feel guilty about all the projects I wanted to do with her: labeling her collection of photographs spanning 60+ years, recording her stories, asking her about her pregnancy with my mother, her good memories, things like that.  I have spent so much time in the last 4 years running her to doctor after doctor that I did not have the time for these important things.  In the last year I have been pregnant and then a grieving mother and my energy for these projects was not there.  Now I may not have the time with her.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I had a really hard appointment with my hypnotherapist today.  She feels that my low grade depression and grief over losing Grace is negative for Baby Bear.  She says that the baby feels my sadness and anxiety and does not understand it and could feel that it is directed in some way at him/her.  It was hard to hear that grieving my sweet Grace could be bad for Baby Bear, but in a way I already knew this.  The unfettered joy that I felt all through my pregnancy with Grace has been absent with Baby Bear's.  I love Bear, I am so excited for this pregnancy, but it is different.  I don't want it to be, I don't want Baby Bear to always be the baby that came after our loss, but that is the truth.

We did something called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).  You tap certain areas of your body while saying statements that you want to make stronger emotionally.  The first dealt with losing Grace and all the sadness I felt.  It is so hard because letting go of the sadness makes me feel like I am letting go of Grace, and I never want to let go.  Next we dealt with my fears that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, something will happen to Baby Bear.  I really don't feel like I am going to bring home a living baby in June.  As my therapist said like I am Charlie Brown and Lucy is going to pull that football away at the last minute.  I focused on being confident in Bear and myself.  I visualized hearing Bear's first cry.  I thought about how strong I was and how strong Bear was.  We call the baby Bear because during my self hypnosis to boost my fertility I always saw myself walking in a forest by a stream and this filtered light would come through the trees.  Who lives in the forest?  Bears of course!  I started thinking that my baby has such a strong spirit animal, a Bear, so my baby is going to be very strong.  Also we both have Grace looking after us, like a guardian angel, so I know we are going to be okay.

Bear is strong, Bear will live.  I am strong, I can be strong for my baby.  We have the greatest, strongest, sweetest spirit in the world looking after us.  I miss Grace and I love her so much, and as hard as it is I need to change my focus from my grief to baby Bear.  It does not mean that I am forgetting her, I could never do that, she lives on forever in my heart, but I have to let my sadness go.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost done with the First Trimester

So as of Friday I am 13 weeks pregnant with Baby Bear.  We have started to tell people about Bear and they are happy for us and praying and hoping just like we are.  I am starting to show just a little bit and my clothes, especially my jeans.  The Christmas season is upon us and last year I had so many dreams about how this year would be.  Of course they are just as shattered as my dreams of motherhood.  Baby Bear has given us something to hope for again, but missing Grace never stops.

I have been trying to memorialize this pregnancy even more than I did with Grace's: we take short videos of every ultrasound, Mark reads to Bear almost every night, we have told more people about Bear at this stage of pregnancy than we had told about Grace and I am trying to journal and keep a pregnancy memory book.  As much as I would like to say that this was for Bear to know how important he/she was to us, honestly it is for us, so if Bear dies we have a lot of memories and videos of his/her life.  I would do anything to have a video of one of Grace's ultrasounds. 

At the end of it all though I am tired and grieving and feel like I am not doing a very good job at anything.  Not writing on this blog enough for Grace, not doing enough to keep myself healthy for Bear, not doing enough chores to help around the house, etc.  I am trying to give myself a break, but I feel like I keep promising to do everything better.

We had an ultrasound last week and I was so scared.  Scared that Bear would be dead.  The nurse asked if I was nervous and I said yes, she did not even check for Bear's heartbeat with the Doppler and just went to get the doctor.  I was even more scared then that this meant that she knew something and did not want to be the one to break the bad news.  The doctor came and started the ultrasound and there Bear was, alive, heart beating, kicking up a storm.  Then he measured Bear and Bear measured 13w 4d, but I am only 12w 4d.  I am 3 inches taller than the average American woman, but my husband is an inch shorter than the average American man.  So could it just be that Bear will be tall like me? Could it be that Bear is just ahead of some average growth curve and this is normal? My OB was not worried.  I resisted the urge to google possible causes of long babies.  What a mess.  I keep reminding myself most babies live and are healthy... sometimes in helps.