Monday, June 30, 2014

I married his Daddy!!

This past Friday I married Hayden's father.

Nick and I had been "engaged" for sometime. We exchanged our desire to marry each other quite awhile ago, before Hayden was even a 'glimmer in his daddy's eye'. Instead of an engagement ring we got matching hand tattoos of each other's initials and I rarely called him my fiance because I find that word sounds so cheesy. At the same time, I didn't like calling him my boyfriend either because our relationship was so much more than that. It was about time we did what we had to do so that I could be considered his wife.

With Nick returning to school and a variety of unexpected expenses we never really had the financial security to start talking about a wedding. I also hated any time I tried to plan anything as it was not "me" to fuss over silly things or organize a fantasy event for such a simple legal process. Pinterest was my moral conflict. Our getting married was a personal choice and I never imagined walking down the aisle, a big fancy dress, or serving a bunch of people food as a part of that. Friday we did it our way, and with the help of friends and family it was even more special than we planned.

When I told Nick I wanted to go get a marriage licence I was sitting in the bathtub. In the weeks of my recovery after giving birth to Hayden I spent a lot of time sitting in the tub. I needed to soak a few times a day to properly care for my stitches and relieve some pain and discomfort. I have always been one to really try to be a bath person- the idea of soaking with bubbles and oils while reading a good book has always been an appealing one but every time I set out to do it I last about 5-10 minutes before getting out. It is just so boring! I get restless and give up. I didn't have a choice in those early weeks after losing Hayden though, so the bathroom door was kept open and I talked to Nick as I sat there.

We decided to go to Service NB the next day to get a marriage licence. I told him I just really wanted to do it, now that we lost our son and bonded deeper than I ever thought possible it was time we made this official. And in doing so it would further honor our son. We got married BECAUSE of him.

We originally thought we would run down to the court house in our everyday clothes and just do it alone (or as alone as possible as there was an obligation for witnesses). I am happy to say it didn't exactly turn out that way.

My friends are the most incredible creatures. They drove hours to be with me that day. They did all sorts of magical things for me to create a wedding that was more than just us signing legal documents in our flip flops ans teeshirts.
Look at me getting all dolled up!! This was all THEIR doing and I am forever grateful!

 I wore Hayden's necklace (ofcourse) He was with us the entire day. It was his 3 month birthday! We chose the date to turn the number 27 in to something a little lighter on the soul.

I saw a rainbow the evening before as I was following my friends into a store, rushing because it was about to close. They told me I NEEDED a silver belt and were determined to locate one, I staggered behind as I stared into the distance at it. An overwhelming feeling came over me. He was happy for us. A sign from the sky that our son was attending our wedding.

His father is the most important thing there is to me. So often  my boots are heavy and I am lingering over the edge of reason with this grief. He is always there with me, sometimes he is about to fall too but either way I know he is always holding me. I found some words recently that touched me deeply because they were so true, I paired them with a photo for added emphasis..


Hayden's (newlywed) Mama :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cheers to Birth!

I'm sitting here with a glass of wine. It tastes awful. All the alcohol I could shove (and did shove) down my throat since Hayden died was both desperately needed and surprisingly disgusting. There were many nights during my pregnancy I so longed for the taste of a cold beer. I dearly missed that clumsy little feeling of a good buzz. I don't need to even say this but I would give up alcohol for the rest of my life to have my baby here in my arms, crying his little red face off as I scramble to find something that will comfort him. It's funny now, looking back- all the complaining I did! Like as if pregnancy was a cruel joke. Of course in truth I loved every bit of it but I sometimes think of the things I would say and shake my head.
Sharing pictures of my final days with him, a side shot 'selfie' in the mirror with words like "Hayden, I love you but GET OUT!". So funny because it was so uncomfortable and I was so HUGE and I just wanted to end it. What I wouldn't give to have him with me one more day, kicking the crap out of my ribs and making me almost (and sometimes actually) pee my pants from his heavy head on my weak bladder. I guess what I am trying to say in a round about way is that everything in life is meaningless now. Does that make sense? Everything I wanted, everything I loved, everything that made me happy, EVERYTHING in general is now bittersweet and much less important than the one true joy I knew. After we left the hospital empty handed with an empty car seat we silently drove straight to the liquor store. What else was there to do? We couldn't go home just yet. Everything in our apartment had Hayden written all over it. The crib, the blankets, the clothes neatly folded, the play pen in the living room, the stroller at the door. There was a pot on the stove still with Raspberry leaf tea I was drinking profusely to bring on labor and strengthen my uterine muscles- and whatever else that stuff was supposed to do. The bathtub was still full of the water I sat in to ease my painful contractions, wet towels on the floor, evidence of a woman about to have her baby and leaving for the hospital in an excited rush. Our apartment was a crime scene of what should have been, evidence laying everywhere of the fate we were supposed to have. So we silently drove to purchase wine and beer. We spent that night at Nick's parents house unable to go home. My grandparents were in Saint John and planning to make their way to visit before going back home up North knowing the baby would probably (hopefully) be here. When I called (or my mother called, I cannot remember) my grandmother from the hospital to tell her that Hayden was dead and I was going to deliver him soon my grandfather was in surgery getting stints put in. I guess I never had the chance to think about it until now but she was sitting alone in the waiting room of a hospital an hour away as her husband was undergoing a relatively safe but you-never-know kind of procedure as she found out that her only granddaughter whom she raised from a little girl was about to give birth to a dead baby. I wonder what she was thinking and feeling. They met us at Nick's parents about 20 minutes after we arrived. We were alone in the house for 20 minutes at first pouring our glasses. It was early in the afternoon but no one questioned our choice of beverage. My grandfather is an emotional man. A big, strong, hulk-type cry baby of a man. I sat on the couch and showed him pictures we took of Hayden the night before, I left my phone with them because I couldn't take it anymore and walked out of the room allowing them to "meet" their great-grandson the only way they could. We heard my grandfather let out a wail and say to my grandmother "That is one strong man to be able to hold his son like that".
I knew which picture he was looking at. And yes, he IS a strong man.

No matter how many glasses of wine I consumed in those early few days I could never get "drunk". I did what I could to numb myself but shock and grief were too overpowering to allow my body to truly react to any alcohol. I am not trying to say that I have become an alcoholic since losing my son, just to clarify, in no way is that the case. But really, what would you do?

I'm kind of stalling because what I really sat down to write was this:

There is a feeling that has been lingering lately and I need to figure out how to express it. Earlier this evening I shared this raw thought to my fellow BLM's (new acronym I learned - "Baby loss mama") on the incredibly supportive Facebook page "S.O.B.B.S" (Stories Of Babies Born Still- if you are reading this blog and looking for a support network check that out!). I posted it there because I knew they would all understand even though I couldn't quite get it out right yet. I received an incredible response from many other women thanking me for finally saying what they so long felt like saying. Some of these women talking about babies they lost 25 years ago (that's the same amount of time I've been alive!). Here it is, I'm going to say it publicly and hope I don't offend anyone...Why do women who give birth to living children receive credit for their incredible labor process and women who give birth to dead babies don't? Maybe this doesn't make sense to you yet so let me further explain. When someone we know and love gives birth to a baby we congratulate them on their strength through hard labor and perseverance through the pain. They are women of force and credibility! They did it! It's beautiful and amazing and we tell them that it was. We tell them it was because IT WAS. They do deserve every credit they receive because I can tell you first hand, birthing a baby is no
picnic! When women experience a stillbirth they are said to have "experienced" a stillbirth. My stillbirth was more than an "experience", let me tell you that! I gave birth too! I cried, I pushed, I screamed, I grunted, I felt the excruciating pain. I almost squeezed Nick's hand right off and stared desperately at him for the will to go on when I didn't think it possible. For crying out loud I busted a blood vessel in my freaking eye pushing out that 8.3 pound baby! I had a REAL birth even though it was a stillbirth, where is my gold star? Stillbirth but STILL birth. I don't remember anyone telling me I was amazing for that (except Nick). I'm just "strong" because I am waking up everyday after losing my baby. Really, I am not strong because of that..I have no choice! I experienced the beauty of birth too..I felt my child move through the birth canal until his body finally left mine.. that intense and spiritual separation..only difference is my baby was dead. Isn't that something?? Am I not like everyone else who went through the incredibly powerful struggle of labor and birth, that beautiful and horrible thing that makes us  WOMEN? Yes I am and it's time someone started congratulating me for that instead of simply telling me they are sorry for my loss. In my loss I gained too. I gained the status of a Mother. I gained access to the same club every woman out there with living children received. I did it too! And I did it knowing I would not keep the product of my pain. To me, that is even more commendable. To all of you beautiful women out there who have birthed dead babies, CONGRATULATIONS! I am proud of you for making it through that beautiful and sad journey of labor. Giving birth when you already know you will not hear that first cry of life from the child you carried in your womb for so long is a truly powerful and life changing thing. Birth, no matter the outcome is serious business... Cheers to that!!

Now that my wine bottle is empty and the fruit flies are beginning to congregate it is time I signed off,

Thank you again for reading,


Hayden's (slightly drunk) Mama

Monday, June 9, 2014

My traveling musician

I haven't written in awhile, I guess I have been holding off for a number of reasons. The first reason being that in the wake of recent events I did not know what was the most import thing to say. It's not that these "events" were of too much importance and could not stand to compete with each other in the race for the focus of my next "blog" but simply that I was battling between writing about something that was positive or something that was negative- both of those things come to me sometimes almost simultaneously. Khalil Gibran puts it very wisely and I came across these words of his at the most perfect time for me to completely soak in to them, to stain myself with them, to become one with them because this is truth and this is my truth right now.

The second reason, the more personal reason, is that I began to pick away at myself towards defeat in saying that these "blogs" held no real purpose anymore aside from my own self-satisfaction from writing- "Why don't you just get a journal then?". I know I thought my initial birth story touched people deeply as it was pretty descriptive and raw and on a subject that is not often talked about. I know that is the initial response and that the rest of this journey is kind of obsolete to anyone else but me. you heard the unspeakable, the unbearable, the unbelievable- and now you move on. Who would want to hear my whining and my personal philosophizing on the subject of grief? Am I a broken record? Am I now just on the borderline of self pity? Hovering over the edge of a traumatic experience that is now 10 weeks and 4 days since past? Quite frankly, who gives a shit anymore? Do I want to subject myself to the continued blog that goes un-noticed? Why would I put myself out there like this to the online community if I think that no one is going to read it anymore?

The reason I am writing again is because I now KNOW people are. Over 17,000 page views since I created this blog 2 weeks ago. I don't know if that is a substantial number for anyone who has a serious online presence or not but it seems like a substantial number to me. I have received messages and emails from people all over North America thanking me for writing. It didn't hit me until I was about to go to bed last night and checked my e-mail. I received a beautiful e-mail from a complete stranger who made me realize that my documenting of the loss of my son is important. She hadn't experienced this herself, in fact she wrote me as she held her sleeping baby in her arms. This woman gave birth to her living daughter the same day I gave birth to my dead son. She told me that my story has changed who she was as a parent and thanked me for making her a better mother. She told me she thinks of me and Hayden each time she is on the brink of insanity from 24/7 care for her infant and changes her outlook from frustration to appreciation as she imagines what it must feel like for me to continue life without having those moments. After reading that email and calling Nick out from our room to read it too I spent the the first few hours in bed wide awake thinking about what this impact on other people meant for me and for my baby who is not here. Nick slept peaceful with his arm over me nuzzled into my neck and I could not drift away for the life of me as I marveled in what this new found feeling meant. "Hayden was here."

Another email from a complete stranger came today from a woman in South Carolina  who recently had a healthy baby, she told me she had been following my blog and that she has told all her friends and family about Nick, Hayden and I. She told me how strong I was, how much of an inspiration I was, and then she signed off with these last words - "I'm so glad you shared your story. You deserve some recognition for how wonderful you and your family are, and I just wanted you to know that it reached all the way down here. Hayden's getting a little taste of the South :)."

My son, my precious creation, my little Hayden who was only alive long enough to know the world from the inside of my womb has his name and legacy floating around in places I could never imagine myself having the chance to travel to in my life time. What a little globe trotter!! I always thought I knew exactly what Hayden would have been like. Curious, talented, wise, a traveler of life, an open and free spirit. I knew these things about him before he was even born, when he was still just a life inside me growing and dependent completely on my body. At my baby shower we did a game where everyone wrote down what they predicted Hayden would be when he grew up on a little piece of paper and placed it in a "time capsule jar" which he was supposed to open on his 18th birthday. No one knew what the other had written yet when I looked through them later that night with friends THREE times people said he would be a traveling musician! (One said a traveling horticulturist which I guess still adds value to  the globe trotter theme). How is that possible? What are the odds? His legacy is like music now, and his story and mine are reaching people in places I never thought possible.

I know this will never be easy, I knew that from the beginning, but I know now that it even though it does not really get better good things come from it. I have a voice now, I have a reason to write and a purpose to speak out. I can help women "become a better mother" and I can help other's who are going through the same tragedy feel they are not alone. So for those of you who have thanked me for my story, for my honesty, my bravery and my strength, I now thank YOU for the encouragement that this all means something and matters. And, most importantly, for letting Hayden have an impact on this world.

-Hayden's Mama xox

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stress won't make a "Rainbow"

I would call myself a moderately private person. That is to say that I don't mind having an open life, I do have a Facebook account and, obviously, this blog, but I am modest enough to keep my personal life personal. Today I am going to deter from that a bit because I've had a bad morning and want to "talk" (write) about it and also think this may relate well to other women out there who have recently (or ever) experienced stillbirth. 

Yes.. SEX. I am going to share a little bit about that.

For me, there has been an indescribable strong desire to become pregnant again since shortly after losing Hayden. I know that for some that may seem strange and for others completely normal. In my research of the various emotions we feel after losing a child in birth there are many people who cannot imagine trying to conceive another baby so soon and others who desperately need that. There is also the contrast of some needing to feel that closeness with their partner and others who cringe at the thought of being touched. Whatever you happen to feel after this unfair fate is totally fine, there are no rules to this. 

In the first week after Hayden I so badly needed to feel intimate with Nick. The depression, shock, grief, and incredible feeling of emptiness was more than I could bear and to be as close as possible was all I wanted. Unfortunately, the injuries of natural labor prevented a lot of that. What a sick joke. What a huge "F-You* to be added on top of everything- the actual PHYSICAL inability to consummate our love for each other after a tragedy. It took me almost 5 weeks to heal and that was really difficult for me to accept. The waiting...If Hayden were here and we were busy adapting to new parent life, fawning over our beautiful baby and filled with the every day joys that came with his mini milestones I am sure "sex" would have been the farthest thing from our minds. Instead, we were left with nothing. Nothing... after 41 weeks of pregnancy, 41 weeks of dreaming, 41 weeks of waiting, 41 weeks of planning...nothing. 

In my need to try for another baby ASAP (our "Rainbow" baby, as we call it in the stillbirth and miscarriage community) I decided to get on top of my fertility understanding. I downloaded an APP on my iPhone called "Kindara" ( check it out here ) which is a gem for anyone interested in learning about how their cycle works and looking to increase their chances of either getting pregnant or staying unpregnant. My first period after birth came on the 18th of May, about 7.5 weeks after Hayden. I started taking my temperatures every morning to follow my natural cycle as it took its course and find out when the best chance to conceive would be. I guess the only issue is that when you get in to the "fertile" stage you will only know that you ovulated the day after you ovulated when you experience a temperature spike. Today I found out that I ovulated yesterday and yesterday was the ONLY day we did not try to conceive. I had an absolute melt down this morning when I charted my temperature and realized I missed out on my first great opportunity to get pregnant. I've heard it is common to be moody on your ovulation day and yesterday I was just cranky and we were both tired, I didn't even realize we forgot until after we were both practically asleep. I drove Nick to his job site this morning so I could have the car today, it is raining and gloomy and I didn`t want to feel isolated with such a heavy heart. The morning traffic on the way home was brutal and I spent 30 minutes in a barely moving lineup of cars alone with my thoughts. Thank heavens for my dear friend (also) Sam who took a desperate early a.m call and talked me through my panic, and for my Mother who did the same.

Today I feel angry with myself, I feel dissapointed and depressed. I borrowed one of those Birth Date Wheels from my doctors office which calculates when your baby would be born based on ovulation/last period etc... I looked at it ALL the time "Oh!! Look!! We would have our baby by January if I get pregnant now!" (what I said last month before my period even returned) or, more recently,  "Nick, check it out, we could have our baby on your birthday in February if we get pregnant during this cycle!"....Now, now that I probably screwed up my chances this month the only thing I have to be hopeful for is the possibility we conceive our baby next, and to be honest, there is something I don't like about that possibility. If we get pregnant on my next cycle then we would be having another March baby. Something doesn't feel right about that. I had a March baby and he died. March is now a very dark month for me. I would prefer to leave that Month alone for the rest of my life if possible, and hopefully, if it is considerate enough, it will leave me alone too. 

I know, I know I know.. everything will fall in to place when it should/ it will happen when it is the right time/ blah blah blah.

I am sorry to be so demanding here Mr. Life, God, Lady Fate..but I NEED this. I am counting on the joy, excitement (and yes, fear) of becoming pregnant with another sweet baby. I want my smile back and I don't want to wait too long. 
Here I am at the end of my 1st trimester with Hayden- so full of excitement and wonder

Thank you for reading, sorry for the details..


Hayden`s Mama

Monday, June 2, 2014

Note to self: Don't grocery shop at 9:30am

I guess I should refrain from going to the super market early in the morning. I didn't realize that was the prime time for pregnant women and women with newborns to shop. I just wanted to get some milk for my morning coffee and instead I got a landslide of emotions reminding me how screwed up this is. I should be in there browsing the aisles with Hayden sleeping peacefully in his car seat on my cart. I was so excited that he would be born in the spring and had a beautiful wrap all ready to "baby wear" him on strolls in the trail. Nick and I watched tons of YouTube video tutorials on how to wear your baby in one of those wraps and practiced with teddy bears and laughed at the complication it was. My baby isn't here but all these other babies are. Some days that is so hard to face. Sometimes I feel like I am standing in a room with thin walls and no where to escape and I can hear the flood approaching. It's loud and it scares me because I know the walls won't hold it back and I know I am going to drown. 

Seeing all those happy women and all those sleeping babies today ruined it for me. I was going to ride my bike to yoga this afternoon but now I don't feel like leaving the house. I guess this is to be expected. Everyday is a new challenge and sometimes it is too hard to face and other times you can pull through. This truly is a "journey" and has all the ups and downs I was told it would. 

I must say, the weather has been helpful lately and riding my "new" bike around has been very peaceful. The breeze through my hair as I glide around corners, scaring squirrels up trees and feeling the heat in my muscles as I peddle is really therapeutic. Maybe I will take my bike out again today, even though I missed my yoga class I can still enjoy this day.

Writing these blogs are also therapeutic, and I know after I publish this one something heavy will be lifted. I would encourage everyone who is embarking down the path of life after loss to document their journey and to write their daily feelings....and to ride their bikes! :)


Hayden's Mama