Saturday, December 6, 2008

Still here...

We are still here and doing well! I went private for a few months because someone in my real life found me. I asked this person to try and understand that this blog wasn't meant for their eyes, but it didn't go over too well. I was left feeling really violated and frustrated. Going private was the only way to protect myself at the time.

C is growing up really fast. He's already 10 months old (almost 11!) and starting to walk and talk. I swear it happened overnight. Some recent pics of him from Halloween and his first hockey game:

Friday, July 4, 2008

Someone Came Before You

Thank you for all the kind words, it means so much to me. Gregory's 2nd birthday was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I really believed that it would be easier than last, but maybe it doesn't get easier. I sometimes think that I don't want it to get better. I want to feel that raw grief if only to remind myself that Gregory is real. I don't know if that makes me normal or crazy.

And if you need a cry, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Someone Came Before You, by Pat Schwiebert. It's the We Had An Angel Instead for the babies that came after the baby that died. Connor is still a bit young for it, but it's still a lovely addition to his library. It's beautifully illustrated and the story is just so sweet. They do an excellent job of keeping it simple enough for a younger child but it's still really appropriate for an older child. They include tips for talking with your living children, resources for dealing with grief, and suggestions on ways to keep the memory of your baby alive as a family.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I should be cleaning up the mess from a birthday party.
I should be thinking about potty training.
I should be talking about pre-school.
I should be chasing after a toddler.

Instead I'm sitting here crying, unable to breathe. I miss you so much my whole body aches. I can't stop thinking about the last time I held you, the last time I saw you, the last time I laid in bed and rubbed my belly while I sang to you. This isn't fair. Two years later and I'm still not able to fully accept that I won't ever get the chance to watch you grow up. I wonder what I could have done differently that would make it all right. I wish I could have woken you up this morning with kisses and birthday presents. I wish I could show you just how loved you really are.

Happy second birthday my sweet Gregory.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Everything smells like death

Two whole years since I felt you move for the last time.

I miss you so fucking much. I feel so sick I can barely breathe.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Building Cathedrals

The Most Important Person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral--a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body...

The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation...

What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother!

-Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

Wishing you all a Happy Mother's Day, filled with peace and love.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just a Friday Afternoon

I'm still living in a sea of boxes. My "office" is really just the room where everything that doesn't have a home yet lives. I've got my desk, the half assembled kitchen table, a bookcase, a folding chair, two bikes, a 9 foot tall cat tree, a litter box, a foosball table with no legs and bunch of boxes.

I found a portrait of Gregory that the hospital took for us. I am amazed at how much my boys look like each other. My sister looked at the picture and gasped. I can' t stop staring at the photo. I feel a new ache. I will never see my boys play together. And Connor has this odd place in the family. He's the oldest, but he's not. He'll grow up like a first child, but he's not. I wonder how Connor will see Gregory. Will Gregory always be something abstract to him? One of my grandfathers died before I was born - I know that if he'd lived a much longer life, we would have adored each other, but we never met. And while I heard about him and saw pictures, I can't say I ever felt the loss. My other grandfather died when I was five. I missed him terribly for a long time. I just don't know if you can love someone the same way if you never met them or knew them at all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A small (and overdue) update

Happy Monday! It's been a while since I've posted, I apologize. I've been back at work for about six weeks and everytime we settle into a groove of just how this all works, the boy decides to mix it up. Here's to hoping this groove lasts a while! Pic of Connor with my 16 year old brother-in-law Gerard last week.

I can not believe how fast he's growing and changing. He needs me less each day as he takes steps that make him stronger and more independent. This is what growing up is. But I get to watch it and take it all in and enjoy it. I guess that's what parenting is! He's already close to 12 pounds and 2 feet long. He is captivated by the fishies on his swing and bouncy seat. He smiles and giggles and coos and has this magic that makes my heart soar in a way I didn't know was even possible. And it's such a joy to see M and C together. It changed the way I love Marc to watch him be so tender and protective of this little person. Just when you think you can't love any more, your heart just expands.

We are having C baptised at the end of the month and we're required to attend the parish's baptism class. We went on Wednesday of last week with only one other couple. The priest is from another country and I'm trying to blame that (at least in part) for what happened. He was saying something about how you don't go to heaven if you haven't been baptised and then went on to mention dead babies and I lost my cool and interrupted him and then excused myself and left the room. He apologized and I was sobbing and I apologized for snapping at him but GOOD GRIEF what is wrong with me? I have been kicking myself for almost a week over it all. I know I'm kind of a crazy person to begin with and throwing in a dead baby didn't help, but I've never lost my cool in public like that, personally or professionally. And I've had people say some assy things to me. I'm still so mortified at my public display of insanity. I just think it came down to me not being able to deal with someone (least of all a priest) saying something outdated like unbaptised babies going to limbo. I know the Catholic Church's teachings on dead babies, and that's not it. I can't imagine a God who would create a life knowing it would end before baptism and not bringing that soul back to Him. The Catholic Church preaches that all life is precious to God and teaches that abortion is wrong and a life is a life at conception - it's totally hypocrital to even insinuate that my Gregory didn't go right to God's arms the moment he passed. I know in hindsight that I was probably a bit unfair to the priest by snapping at him, and I'll never know for sure what he was going to say. Given that stuff he said before and after that was grossly inaccurate, I feel less bad, but I still feel bad. And I hope that the other couple's daughter won't be in Connor's kindergarten class!

I've been following the story of Matt Logelin the last couple of weeks. He lost his wife Liz the day after his premature daughter Madeline was born. I keep thinking of him and his daughter and their incredible loss long after I've walked away from the computer. It's so unbelievably tragic and awful and terrible. The death of a spouse is so different from the loss of a child, but the depth of grief is the same. Bottomless.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I feel like I've started mourning for Gregory in a different way than I used to. I look at Connor and see Gregory in him. I rock Connor to sleep and remember that I never got that chance with Gregory. We were changing Connor's diaper and I felt compelled to point out that this particular bag of diapers was purchased when we were expecting Gregory, and how odd it was that Connor was wearing them instead.

It makes me feel like I can't win. If I push these thoughts of Gregory away, if I ignore my compulsions to point out odd little facts, it's like I'm pushing Gregory away. If I don't push them away, I am worried that I will take away from Connor's existence - will I always compare him to Gregory? (Is compare even the right word?) I feel like a shitty mother for it. I know that had Gregory lived, the whole comparison between the boys would have been healthier and more normal. As Connor grows older, I'm sure we'll create new ways to honor Gregory's memory as a family. I suppose that's a natural part of the grief process.

When Gregory died, I struggled with how to answer the children question (as in, 'do you have any?'). Most of the time I would answer "I have no living children" or "I had a little boy, but he passed away". I am at a loss for how to answer this question now. Do I say one child or two children? Inevitably, they'd ask how old the children are, and I'd have to point out that one of them is dead. When I was pregnant and someone would ask if this was my first child, sometimes I'd say yes, sometimes no. It depended on whether or not I felt like explaining. Initially I said yes, but in the back of my mind I felt like I was betraying Gregory. Then I started saying yes without even really thinking about Gregory. One day I woke up and started saying that this was my second child. I didn't even really think about it all. It's just what felt right. Sometimes it was uncomfortable when the follow up questions came, but not always. Hopefully soon I'll find an answer that just feels right. How do those of you with living children (older and younger than the child you lost) and subsequent pregnancies answer this question?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweet Scarlett

Please keep my friend LeAnn in your thoughts and prayers today. Her sweet baby girl Scarlett passed away this morning. Scarlett had been ill since she was born last fall. That family has been through hell and back in the last few years and to lose Scarlett in addition to it all seems unbearably cruel.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

8 days old (or what should have been 35w1d)

Connor Michael (formerly Bubba) was born on Friday, 1/18/2008 at 5:35 pm EST weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs, 6 oz. and measuring a lengthy 19 inches. He spent his hospital time in the NICU since he was only 34 weeks gestation. When I went to the docs, they found my fluid had dropped from a 10.5 to a 6 and my placenta was looking a little mature and they felt he was safer out than in. Despite the steroids, he did have RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome for those non-nerds out there) and needed surfactant to help him breathe without grunting. He was off the CPAP in less than 24 hours and is home with us for 2 nights now.

I am totally and completely in love. It was really tough to see him hooked up to all the wires and I had a small emotional meltdown on Saturday morning when I saw him. Poor Marc - he is such a good husband. By Saturday afternoon my hormones and my emotions were so crazy that I had a complete breakdown over a plate of fried chicken. I really feel like my body totally betrayed me again. In recovery they said that my placenta was really mature and that I had small amounts of keytones and protein in my urine. I'm hoping to find out more when I see the doctor on Tuesday for an incision inspection. I do realize that had I not had the monitoring I did when I did, this probably would have turned out really badly. My recovery is going well, it's amazing what having a living child to take care of will do for your overall health. I was up and moving less than 24 hours after surgery, pumping and running around and getting out of the bed on my own. With Gregory I needed help moving around for more than a week after surgery.

And speaking of my Gregory, oh how my heart breaks. God, this is bittersweet. Every time I pick Connor up, cuddle him, kiss him, love him, I'm reminded of how I got so fucking jipped. It's been worse since last night. My original OB's office didn't send my records to the new OB's office in time for my surgery and then there was some confusion, so they sent them straight to my house. I got an envelope from them last night and I opened it up. All of Gregory's monthly ultrasound reports and my bloodwork from his pregnancy...and HIS FUCKING AUTOPSY report. Because every mom wants to know how much her dead son's brain weighed. I got as far as "intrauterine fetal demise" and "the fetus weighed 2030 grams" before I screamed for Marc who promptly took it away from me. My wonderful friend Stephanie, who at one point was studying for a career in mortuary science, said she'd read the report so I wouldn't have to. The only thing I want to know is his blood type. It's something he would have gotten only from me or only from Marc. Connor is O+ like me, so I'm curious if Gregory would be like me as well or A+ like his dad. I miss him so much, but I do realize I wouldn't appreciate the newest blessing in my life quite like I do had I not been blessed with Gregory.

And back to that newest blessing - he's home for two nights now and is the sweetest thing. He is nursing like a champ and sleeps well all day. It's of course a different story at night! The cats got a real up close look at him yesterday. Two of them liked the way he smelled so much that they decided to taste him. They are confused as to why they are locked out of our bedroom, but we don't want any cuddling accidents when we have to step out of the room. And I am a terrible mommy as far as pictures go. My camera is still packed away in one of the many boxes that are waiting to be unpacked, and I've luckily been able to borrow my sisters' camera. They are so nice for lending it to us! I don't have anything updated because I don't have the software on my computer to upload it, so you'll have to settle for the ones from the day after he was born.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


So I got dose 2 of the steroids. I must have called or visited over 25 individual pharmacies. T.arget doesn't do injectibles. All of the 24 hour W.algreens needed a minimum of 48 hours to order the drug. One pharmacy needed 2+ weeks to get it from their supplier. I thought I had struck gold when the very expensive family owned pharmacy down the block said they could fill it immediately. I explained it was betamethasone injectible, not the cream. She kept telling me to just come in, she'd have no problem filling that right away. So down the block I walk, drop the prescription and my insurance card off, she takes down my information and consults with the guy in the back. They tell me to come back in 20 minutes. I walk down to the bagel shop on the corner - my cell phone rings. It's the pharmacy. They can't fill it because it's an injectible form, and they've never even heard of the medication. Are they fucking kidding me? I go back up the block to pick up the prescription and try a million other places. My sister was kind enough to chaffeur me around for the day from pharmacy to pharmacy.

My friend M. called to check in and recommended a pharmacy that was able to fill all her bizarro high risk pregnancy medications. I called and sure enough, they have it in stock. I told the woman I could hug her and started tearing up. It took them ten minutes to fill the prescription. So off to doc office #1 to try and get the shot. No one there is insured in prenatal, so they can't give me the fucking shot. Are you kidding? Back up past the pharmacy that filled it, which is in a northern town, back to the OB's office. I get there, and no doctors are there to administer the shot. This is laughable at this point. They send me to the city office around the corner from the hospital. We drive past the pharmacy again. We spent 6+ hours in the car and drove more miles than I could imagine. But the OB shot me up in 4 seconds flat, and it didn't even hurt.

And yet the adventure continued while I spent all of yesterday quietly alarmed that little baby boy Bubba was not moving as much as he had in recent days. Was it that I was in the car and didn't feel it as much? He had moved a lot in the hospital - maybe he moved into a position where I couldn't feel every movement as easily? Turns out that a common side effect with steroid injections is decreased fetal movement for 2-5 days. So nice that I was told. My kick counts were good this morning - over ten movements in 35 minutes. We'll be doing them 3x a day minimum until he's born, per the peri.

I have an appt for a BPP and consultation with both docs on Friday at 12:30. He may be born by that evening if anything is alarming - particularly lower fluid or more nuchal loops, I imagine. I think we'll be discussing having him this month, and no later. Friday night he'll have 72 hours of betamethasone shots in him, which is the ideal, and he'll be 34 weeks. That's really pretty damn fantastic.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Hello from the new apartment! We are finally moved in and have spent some time setting up Bubba's room. The place is still a wreck and I have more bumps and bruises on my legs from slamming into boxes and furniture in the dark than I know what to do with. The holidays were low-key and nice, and I've been sleeping a lot.

We've been having a bit of an adventure in the last week. I went and saw my friend C, the ultrasound tech at a local hospital last Wednesday, just to get a peek at everything. I've been having some trouble finding a new OB, since no one can see me until February (I'm DUE in February, so this is not really so helpful, especially given my history). C. is pleased overall, but mentions that little Bubba is breech and my placenta is anterior. Then she mentions my fluid looks a little on the low side. She tells me it's not really anything to panic over, but I should drink ten 8 oz glasses of water a day and come back and see her in 2 weeks to check the AFI. (The fluid came in at an 11.6, for the record, and the baby was measuring normally.)

So my fabulous friend M. recommends her wonderful OBGYN practice to me. They get me in immediately and I went to meet with Dr. Norm McDonald yesterday (he only sounds like him, he looks like a skinny Santa Claus). We discuss my history and he thinks I need to start having weekly BPPs, minimum. Fabulous! I give him the sono records from last week and he sends me down the hall to his sonographer. She notes the same details C. did - breech presentation, anterior placenta, and a AFI of 10.5. She also notes a double nuchal cord. (It's believed that Gregory died partly as a result of a triple nuchal cord.) The doc points out that this normally isn't a big deal, plenty of babies have them, I agree, but he is concerned because of the apparent drop in fluid + history. Off we go to the exam room where he listens in with the doppler and we discuss my repeat section - ideally he'd like to schedule it for 38 weeks or so, IF I make it that far. BUH?! Now I'm concerned. He wants to play it safe, so....

Off to the perinatologist down the hall we go! I have another ultrasound where the other sono tech confirms that yep, he's breech and posterior, and he's got an anterior placenta. And yep, uh-oh, the fluid level doesn't look fabulous. She asks if I've been leaking fluid at all. I tell her that I've been noticing some thinner discharge, but it didn't seem to meet the criteria of leaking amniotic fluid. Now it's time for the first invasive vaginal exam of the day. Dr. Perinatologist is a few fingers deep before she realizes the nurse isn't in the room. This is just awesome. Some fun lab tests and a meet-and-greet with my cervix later, and I can get dressed. They draw some blood and I'm off to talk to Dr. Peri, where I'm told I'm being sent to the hospital for some prolonged monitoring and steroids. OH JOY.

So after 4 hours in the doc office, we stop off at home so I can cover my butt for some work stuff since I don't know if I'll be home anytime soon. I have small nervous breakdown #1 at this point because no matter how long I've waited to hold Bubba, I'm realizing I'm not mentally prepared to meet him this way. He's early and I'm concerned for his health. We head off to the hospital which is in a less fabulous part of town and we're sent to fill out paperwork in the lounge area of OB triage. Only one seat is available in this large lounge, and some thug-in-training actually gives me a dirty look for sitting there. Sorry asshole, I'm pregnant and an actual patient, don't make me punch you in the mouth. I'm in no mood. We're taken back to evaluation and they start taking my history and setting me up. I'm eventually brought to a room where I undress and get hooked up to the monitors. Dr. Peri is thrilled with the tracing after about 30 mins or so and says she's sending me home after I get my steroids.

Ten minutes later she's back - nope, I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying overnight. She didn't realize I might be leaking fluid and we're playing it safe. At this point I start having nervous breakdown #2. She's talking to me about my scar from Gregory and I'm trying to hold back this floodgate of emotion and I tell her I want to go home. 33w4d with Gregory, we were involved in a car accident and I had to stay in the hospital for premature labor and get steroids and this was all way-too-fucking deja vu. It's only one day off. After that with Gregory, it was all down hill... She decides I'll probably be calmer at home, and we compromise. She sends Dr. Resident Winnie Cooper in to do painful invasive vaginal exam #2 to check for fluid. She needs to do a ferning test, so she whips out the cold metal speculum from hell and proceeds to crank me open like I'm a car getting jacked up to change a tire - click click click click - meanwhile, it feels like Freddy Krueger himself is in there ripping me open and I'm contorting in ways that might normally make me blush all while screaming "FUCK! THAT HURTS!", which I'm sure the guy in the coma on 12 heard. Yay, no fluid is leaking! After that, the shot in the ass was a breeze.

They release me, tell me to drink lots of water, and give me a prescription for dose #2 of the steroids, which I have to have by 9am. It's already almost 10pm. I also have to come in to see Dr. Peri and Dr. Norm on Friday - I'll be having twice weekly monitoring in their office for my fluid levels and Bubba's cord until they decide it's too dangerous and they'll pop him right out! I leave and head to the 24/7 W.algreen's where I'm told that they can't fill this prescription. Well, crap. I call the next closest 24/7 pharmacy where I'm told the exact same thing. It's now 7:09 am and I have no idea where I'm getting this prescription filled. I could scream. Couldnt they have just sent me home with a needle? I don't know what to do and I do not need this panic.

Hoping to post again before little Bubba makes his grand entrance!