Monday, 26 December 2011

The storm during the calm

After a lovely, big and chaotic family Christmas, we're home again. I am so grateful that our first Christmas without Pip wasn't as devastatingly horrible as I thought it would be. 

While it was still very difficult and while I still felt that hole in my heart, the day itself passed quickly. I think the busyness of the day helped to ease the hurt a little.

It's boxing day, the day after Christmas and somehow I just can't bear to look at these bright and happy ornaments any longer. So down they come and back into the box they go for another year. 

I used to be that girl who had my tree up in November and would maybe start thinking about taking it down in January when everyone around me grumbled about how long we've already had it up for. I loved Christmas. It hasn't even been 24 hours and now Christmas is already neatly packed away. Out of sight, waiting in the darkness for next year to roll around.

Maybe what this is, is a delayed reaction to Christmas. Now that I am in a quiet moment, by myself and in a place where I can think about my girl uninterupted, I realise that the storm hasn't truly passed. It's still there.

It's easy to get caught up in thoughts like Will it ever pass? It's a lot harder to try to stay positive for another day and to continue hoping for a better tomorrow. But sometimes hope is all there is. 

This too shall pass. Hang on to hope for a better tomorrow.

Dear December, no offense, but you suck. Can we please fast forward to February next year.

Yours Sincerely,

Sunday, 25 December 2011

So this is Christmas

Hello my girl,

So today was Christmas day. Daddy and I spent it with the family at Nanna's place. I was expecting it to be a very difficult day and it was in parts, but on the whole I was surprised that it was relatively good. The blur of activity helped and the chaos and madness of children, Santa and presents helped it go faster too.

Both your Nannas remembered you in very special ways. Daddy's mummy gave us little crystal angel ornaments for our tree. Mine is a pink one and daddy's is a bright blue one. Almost aqua! I think you'd like them. She also gave me a lovely little angel candle and when she did, she sang a little song about angels looking down from heaven over us. That made me a bit sad because I thought about you and wondered if you were there with us in spirit. Nanna and I had a little cry and daddy gave me a big cuddle which helped me feel better.

Your other Nanna, my mummy, gave me two little angel pendants for you. One is silver with white crystal stones that I will wear with your other pendant and the other was a little gold one with a tiny golden angel. I love them both.

The Christmas tree was up today and there were special ornaments on it for everyone. My special friend sent me some beautiful ornaments for you and kept one of the same on her tree to remind her of you. I feel so blessed to have such beautiful and thoughtful friends. She sent me a silver apple and an angel ornament for you. An apple for my Pip and an angel for my angel. Even so, I couldn't bear to put up a real Christmas tree in our house. Putting one up this year was hard enough, so I simplified and stuck some branches of Christmas berries in a vase, which looked pretty enough to pass as our make-shift tree.

Nanna (my mummy) also rescued some red apple ornaments from a friend who wanted to find new homes for them and put them on our tree for me to discover. I've been looking everywhere for red apple ornaments like the ones I remember from when I was a little girl, but I haven't been able to find them anywhere. I had the biggest smile on my face when I saw them hanging on the tree. Two little red apples for my girl. They were old and one had lost it's stem, but they were still perfect and beautiful to me.

Mummy's friend Jeanette, whom I'm sure would have been like another Nanna to you, gave me a golden yellow shooting star ornament. It was perfect and I loved it from the moment I saw it. Daddy said he saw a shooting star on Christmas eve. Did you send him one? I didn't ask him what he wished for because his special wish may not come true if it was no longer a secret. How perfect that all your colours somehow found their way to us.

The strangest ornament for you this year is perhaps the tiny little angel figurine I found in a charity shop many years ago. Before you my lovely girl, I never really understood angels, I liked them of course, but I was never really drawn to angel things. Yet one day, many years before you were even here, I found this tiny little angel in a purple dress, with green wings, who's holding a red ball in her arms and knew that I had to bring her home. She wasn't worth much money, but I loved her from the moment I saw her. I found her the other day when I was trying to be brave about hanging up our christmas ornaments. Then it struck me that it looks like she's holding a red apple. It made me hope that you are with angels who are keeping you close and safe. I love her even more now and despite parts of her missing some paint, you guessed it, I love her all the same.

Were you watching when Santa arrived? Your cousins were so excited to see him walk through the door to deliver presents! I'm sure you knew that it was secretly Uncle Matty dressed up as Santa, but it was fun all the same. I hope someone will tell you someday about Santa. Maybe one day I will get to tell you myself? It made me sad to think that every year there would have been a photo with Santa and you would have been able to tell him what you wanted for Christmas if you'd been a good girl. Does heaven have a special Santa for the children without their families there? I really do hope so. 

I wonder if there would have been presents under the tree for you if you'd still been here. I'm sure there would have been. There still were, but they were presents of a different kind. Presents for me to remember you, not presents for a baby to play with. Although this wouldn't have been your first Christmas, it would have been our first Christmas with you. It seems so wrong that now it's our first Christmas without you.

Maybe if you'd still been here, I would have had an excuse not to have gone climbing on the rocks with Daddy, your cousins and Mika. I was so very careful when I was pregnant with you, doing everything I knew of to keep you safe. I don't think Daddy would have let me go with him if you were still here even if I wanted to, because he was very over protective of you and me. He called us "his girls" and always hovered over me (and you).

I would have stayed far away from the Christmas drinks. Also not safe for you, my love. But since you're not here, I had a little champagne and white wine. It was nice enough, but I would have rather had you here and not had any at all. 

The big hole in my heart was still there today. Having everyone here and being surrounded by love and family helped to make it a little bit better. I never stopped thinking of you, but somehow my heart found a little bit of peace.

I thought of all the other angel mummies and their babies. Are you all friends in heaven because we are friends on earth? We think about you everyday and talk about you with each other. You will always be our children and today especially, you were missed so much. 

I hope you felt a little bit more loved today, because we were all thinking of you, my little love. Christmas will never be the same for me again, but just like my new normal, I seem to have found my new Christmas. So this is what it's like. This is Christmas without you.  

I miss you my beautiful girl.

I Love You, always and forever, all the way to heaven and back,
Mummy xxx

Monday, 19 December 2011

Keep me in your heart

Nothing really much to say that is different to any of my previous posts this December. 

Christmas approaches, my heart is heavy and belly is empty. I see pregnant women everywhere, even the lady that sold me stamps at the post office today for my Christmas mail was rubbing her belly as she processed my transaction.

I don't know where I got this picture from, or when, but when I found myself absentmindedly going through a folder on my computer, this one jumped out at me and might as well have shouted BOO!

It speaks to my heart today.

My darling girl, you are always in my heart. I miss you so much today and everyday.

Monday, 12 December 2011

With Brave Wings She Flies

The longer I am on this road, the more I realise I don't know. Every single day I discover another thing I thought I knew, which really, I didn't really know until that moment. It's a bit hard to explain, but some of these things are smack-you-in-the-face obvious, some are a bit ridiculous and others are just plain strange. 

This week, I discovered that one of those things I didn't really know is how much I worry about my Pip and how she may be, even though she is no longer. Now this may sound strange for a woman who is grieving the baby who started to grow then died suddenly inside her. I guess that doesn’t really make sense, but perhaps the closest way to put it is I need to know that my child is alright, wherever she may be right now. Be that heaven, a parallel universe or just dead. I know that sounds awkward but it's just so hard to explain this feeling without sounding stupid. So I will leave it to be what it is.

I have been dreading this week just as I have been dreading the approach of Christmas. I'm that person you probably know who loves Christmas, Birthdays, name it, I probably love it! 

Until now. 

For the first time in forever, I'm not excited about Christmas. I'm not even really looking forward to it. Part of me is sad that I seem to have become the Grinch that doesn't really like Christmas or maybe I'm morphing into that Bah Humbug person. But the other part of me understands that it will never be the same again. And that is okay too.

I've been finding a lot of comfort in my fellow babyloss mamas blogs. There are so many amazing ideas out there on how to honour our babies. I read them all and file mental notes on what I can probably pick up on soon or in the future. So when I came across Fran’s 12 days of Christmas posts, I loved hearing from all her different guests on how they honoured their children. 

Which is how I stumbled upon her blog giveaway for day 8 (part 2)

The moment I saw this necklace that was donated by Beth Quinn, I was in love. It wasn't in a coveting sort of "must have that" love, it was just that feeling that made my heart sing in a way I thought impossible in a time when everything hurts so much. 

If you read Fran's post, she explains Beth's concept behind the necklace: 

"...her piece “with brave wings she flies”  was created from knowing that everyone she has there own story .. life isn’t always easy … every she is going through or has been through a life experience that has challenged them in some way  .. and sometimes we just need a little reminder that we are brave and we can fly .. making it through our journey of life .."

I remember reading this at the time and the more I looked at the picture, the more I thought that if by some miracle I won this with my very ordinary entry post, I would take it as a sign from the universe that Pip is okay. And so I entered my name along with the 129 other hopefuls to have a chance at winning this beautiful piece of art.

I was so convinced I didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning that I actually didn't even really pay attention to the time when the winners of her giveaways would be announced. I just vaguely remembered that it was sometime during that weekend. 
On the Monday morning, I logged on to see who the lucky person was and almost fell of my chair when I read this. I literally had to read it about five times to make sure that it wasn't a joke!

And even then, I still couldn't believe it. I emailed Fran in a blurry haze of tears and asked for confirmation and told her what winning this necklace, with those words, at this time of my life meant to me. Then cried some more.

It really seemed too good to be true. I was entering a giveaway for the first time on her blog and to be honest, I'm not really the kind of person who wins things!

Over the next few days, both Fran and Beth were in touch and I only said thank you about a hundred times to them both, I must have sounded like a broken record. But how else do you express a sense of gratitude like this?

I know there may be some out there who probably think I'm reading too much into this coincidence, but I still love the thought that perhaps this is my girl telling me that she is indeed okay and will wear it when it arrives to remind me that she is somewhere better now, pain free. Maybe someday when this heartache isn't quite so severe (will that time really come, I wonder?) I may be able to wear it for myself as a symbol of this experience and a reminder that I too, have flown before and maybe, just maybe, can fly again. Broken wings or not.

Thank you so much Fran and Beth Quinn, from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Three months on

My darling girl,

Three months ago today I had no idea that it would be the day that you would leave us forever. I knew the day would come when it would happen and yet spent everyday hoping that it wouldn't. Nothing - absolutely nothing - could have prepared my heart for the agony of loosing you. 

I hate those words. Who comes up with them?

Miscarriage. I didn't mis-carry anything. I carried you with love, joy and pride for every moment I knew you were here with me and long after you were gone. 

Loss. I didn't loose you like a person looses their keys. I will always carry you with me in my heart. 
The lead up to this day has NOT been easy. I've always looked at milestones as markers of progress. Usually happy markers. But I can tell you that this marker has royally sucked.

If everything had gone well, I'd be five months pregnant now. You'd be swimming and dancing and kicking your little hands and feet. Instead I have a ginormous hole in my heart and an endless supply of tears. Let me tell you that your mama is not a woman who usually cries a lot, but after you died my girl, the tears just seem to keep coming.

I know you are always here with me and I hope you will always feel me close to you too. Today I cried and cried at the strangest of moments. It was just another day at work, but grief doesn't recognise professional boundaries. I cried when I drove to work, I cried when I drove home from work and I cried as I drove around in between appointments at work.

Just when I think I'm healing and that this crater in my heart isn't so big anymore, there comes the rain and along with it another mudslide of emotions. Just another day in the life of your mother who misses you more than I can even verbalise. 

I thought that the missing you feeling would grow smaller as time goes by, but today my heart is missing you terribly. This pain doesn't seem to be growing smaller. Some days I'm tricked into thinking that my heart is healing, just a little bit and that maybe, just maybe I'm having an okay kind of day. Then all of a sudden, just when I'm not looking another explosion of grief sneaks up on me and just like that the hurt is back.

I knew today would be hard. I even had a plan to help me get through the day! I wanted to do something a little bit special in your memory, so I dragged daddy along to the shops this evening and together we stood for ages in a florist shop while I tried to pick out just the right combination of flowers for you.

We almost had all your colours. Red for love, yellow for hope and baby pink for our baby girl but it's hard to find an aqua flower. Aqua for your March birthstone, of course. After a very long time of picking different flowers up and putting them down again, walking around, picking some more up and putting some down, picking the ones I'd put down up again etc. Probably also much to the annoyance of the florist in the store when we declined her help politely. (I mean what else does one say?)

Florist: Can I help you there?
Me: I'm trying to pick out the perfect bouquet for my baby who died 3 months ago. Can you suggest anything? 

Finally, I felt I had it mostly right. No aqua this time sweetheart, but I promise I'll have something aqua for you next time. Red gumnuts (it felt like an Australian version of baby's breath. The florist didn't have any baby's breath so this seemed like a good alternative) and pink and yellow gerberas. I wonder if I'll be able to find some apple blossoms one day for you, those would be perfect for my Pip.

I had to wait a few days for the gumnuts to burst open and I didn't think that the gerberas would last very long because they usually fade fairly quickly and their fragile petals bruise easily too, but your flowers still look as beautiful as the day we bought them. I love looking at your flowers and can't help but wonder if you like them too. 

Are there flowers in heaven, little one? What are your favourites?

I wish so much that you could have stayed my darling girl. I miss you so, so much every single day and night. I've said so many little prayers and sent up lots of love just for you. I hope you felt that little bit more loved today for it.

P/s: I love you even more today than I did 3 months ago,I didn't think that was possible! 

Rest in peace my beloved angel.
Love Always,
Mummy xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Angry yet grateful

Today I am a mixed bag of emotions. I've spent most of today quietly working on a quilt which is to be someone's Christmas present and I am trying to decide what the hell I'm feeling. 

I feel a bit guilty that I've put Pip's quilt aside this time of year to work on other Christmas presents. I've finished making most of the stuff I've wanted to make for the crafty secret santa exchange. But then I was suddenly inspired to start making this (double bed sized) quilt in October and now I'm on a race against time to finish it before Christmas! Am I crazy? Yes I probably am. 

I have been feeling a bit out of sorts, so when I feel a bit out of sorts, I withdraw, find some personal space and see where I end up. Usually I find myself in the company of my other baby loss mama's at their blogs. I read their words and cry with them. It's not fair that a child should die so soon.

Then I get angry when I read about these beautiful mothers struggling through milestones like thanksgivings, christmas' and birthdays. I am really not looking forward to the 23rd of March 2012, the day I should have been anticipating with great delight and anticipation because it was Pip's estimated due date. Would she have been an early baby or would she have been late like her mummy? 

My heart aches when I hear about other pregnant couples we are friends with preparing for the arrival of their little ones. Nurseries being decorated, shopping for baby things, pregnancy cravings, aches and pains and the most difficult of all to cope with - pictures of scans with happy healthy babies. I have happy sad moments when I see those scans. So happy and grateful that this little person is growing healthy and strong, but so very sad that my little person did not reach that milestone.

I get angry when I see these beautiful cakes, works of art that my beautiful grieving mothers have made in the memory of their children. There should be parties, off-key Happy-birthday- to-you's and presents. Instead there is only emptiness, tears and heartbreak. I don't think I'd be strong enough to bake Pip a cake on the 23rd of March. I'd probably end up throwing it at a wall if I didn't ruin it by crying a river into it first during the baking process. 

I love seeing how my angel mummy friends remember their children everyday and especially at Christmas. I love the photos of all the intricate and beautiful ornaments they have chosen so carefully, special colours, special inscriptions, special designs, some especially ordered and handcrafted to hang on the tree. Friends from near and far reaching out to each other offering special words of comfort, letters, cards and extra shoulders to lean on. 

Then I am so angry that I used to love going Christmas shopping. Now I walk into store after store drawn to the ornaments like an obsessed woman and instead of finding one for my baby with excitement, I'm looking for one with great sadness. An angel to sit on my tree. An angel for my baby who should be here with me. 

I have my angry at the world moments, of course. I see beautiful families and adorable children wanting their parents' attention. For God's sake, pick your child up and give them a cuddle, tell them they are precious, beautiful and loved. Instead I see tired parents yell at their equally tired children for wasting their time. One mother I saw swooped down on her son and smacked him like I've never seen a parent smack a child before. 

Ah christmas...a time for joy and cheer.

I sit at my desk and make things for my friends to show them that their children are never forgotten, always in the hearts of those who remember. And there are tears, always more tears. But also great joy at having found another heart out there that understands, other mothers, women and friends who have been where I am and somehow have found the strength to continue on. 

And then I am flooded with gratitude for the amazing friends the child I never met has brought me in touch with. My wish is that no one, no mother, no father, no family should ever, ever have to live with the pain of their baby dying. Whether this be by pregnancy loss, stillbirth, miscarriage, or whatever other heartbreaking option there is available out there. I really wish it didn't exist at all. But while that may happen someday, in my world today there are too many people who have felt this pain. And so there are the baby loss groups, secret groups on facebook and the internet with those who have walked this path before. 

Then the pain becomes a little easier to bear and my heart is filled with gratitude. It would have been wonderful to have been friends with each and every one of these people in another "normal" way. But I am grateful to be going through this journey alongside them.

Today is a happy-sad day. It's an angry at the world, yet grateful for what I have day. A very mixed up day indeed.