Lilypie - Memorial

Saturday, 29 December 2012

This song is very touching - from the viewpoint of a daughter. Although, I won't see Clara grow up, the feelings resonate with me and reminds me I am a mom.

Mamma, I'll beI'll be your beacon through the darkest nightsI'll be the wings that guide your broken flightI'll be your shelter through the raging stormAnd I will love you 'till forever comes


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Made it Through

I knew that it was coming. I knew it would be one of the toughest days of my life. My first Christmas without Clara. I had to fight through all the difficult moments throughout the month but I made it through. I can't say I'm a stronger person because of it but I survived and I'm still standing. And boy am I glad its over.

It might have been a bit cowardly but I avoided the majority Christmas parties I was invited to except 3. The first one was for my project team - they work so hard despite the project being a huge resistance type project. They deserved every opportunity to be appreciated and so I sucked it up, organized a team celebration and attended it. It was a great success except for what I had to endure. Someone talking about their daughter's pregnancy and how their son-in-law could now feel the kicks. I tried to hold back the tears but I couldn't - I remembered that time in my own pregnancy and the tears started rolling. The second party was for my husband's work - luckily I survived that one and without tears.

The last party was my family get together on Christmas Day. It started off being a difficult day - I've been thinking a lot about what it would be like right now if Clara had lived and how everything isn't what it should be. We went to the cemetery to wish Clara a Merry Christmas and headed over to my Mom's. No one acknowledged my daughter, it was tough - but who wants to be sad on Christmas day?  What a roller coaster of emotions.

I think there should be a mandatory book for people who know a baby loss mom. The insensitivity I've faced the past several months have been horrible - each episode impacting me for hours afterwards. People need to understand our pain and acknowledge our babies exist. In this past month, only 2 people outside the BML club acknowledged my pain during this month. Again there are tears but I am so grateful that they did -  it really does help.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

7 months

The months are starting to roll by so quickly and I start to wonder where they have gone. It's been seven months now and I feel like I've just scratched the surface of mourning. The past couple of months, I've thrown myself into my work and have worked harder than I've ever worked in my life. A minimum of 10 hour days with a side of working at home on the weekends. Granted I've been given a lot more work than I can chew but in a way it keeps me from reflecting. The reflection piece is hard. I reflect a lot in the car, driving to and from work. I reflect while I'm walking at work to meetings. I reflect in moments when I'm alone without prefilled time with exercise, tv or cooking. My mind always goes back to Clara - what I've lost and all that I'm missing. It just plain hurts.

You can't go any where without seeing a baby or being reminded of all things baby. Like today, in the pool was a mom and tots class - that should have been me. It's still a wave of ups and downs - my latest down is the news. A pang of jealously hits me with all the pregnancy news. Then there are the stories of loss and it pains me to know that there are parents experiencing the excruciating pain of their child's death.

It's been 7 months and I still miss her like crazy every day - the pain is still there but over time in morphs in different shapes and forms. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The December Blahs

The holiday season used to mean so much to me - a time to celebrate with family and friends following the same old traditions. As soon as I owned my own house, it would mean the start of my yearly runs to the nursery to buy my fresh tree - I even wanted to have the smell of Christmas. This is a completely different year. I remember I was shopping for baby items several months ago and on the sale rack was a christmas bib with "my first christmas on it". I remember reflecting forward to Christmas and how great it was going to be to celebrate it with Clara. I even imagined her in her cute little dress. Little did I know, I would be sitting here without her and very much not into the holiday season.

There's no Christmas tree, no decorations, no holiday parties, no hint of Chrismas in the air at my house this year. I don't want to acknowledge the plain fact that I have to live through my first holiday season without my daughter. Just the thought of the day scares me.

I used to love gifts, the anticipation of the surpise that was under the wrapping. Today, I only want one thing that I can't have.

Being a baby loss mom changes you more than any one can understand.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Pain

Pain. It's something someone can experience emotionally and/or physically. I sit here and I think I never really knew what pain was until Clara's death. I think of the countless combinations and permutations of pain that I rather endure then the one that I'm suffering in right now. I never thought something could hurt so deeply and for so long. So many people tell me that the pain will lessen over time but I can still reach the same pain I felt 6 months ago. The only thing that I have managed to do is find different and maybe better ways to cope over the months.

I miss my daughter everyday and that's the pain I will have to bear for the rest of my life.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Forever

"The only thing that lives forever is love" 
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

It's been a rough few days. This cycle last year was the one where I would become pregnant with Clara. She's always on my mind but more so as I past each milestone. If things would have worked out, I would have a 3 month infant in my arms. I would be in a very different place.

Lately, I'm allowing myself to open up at work and and being able to tell more people about my loss. One of those people got me a gift, a book geared towards loss. It was so nice to have someone acknowledge my daughter and recognize my sadness - in means so much when everyone else stays silent. It really saddens me when everyone else has swept my loss under the proverbial rug but the suffering doesn't end.

In the book was the above quote about love being forever. It had me thinking that in a way Clara is alive in my heart, in the love I have for her. It sounds silly but I do feel like in some way she is with me. We are bonded together forever by love. She came and went from this world to quickly but the love still remains - for that I'm grateful.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

6 months

Today marks Clara's 6 month birthday. 6 months since I held her in my arms. 6 months since she's been gone. 6 months was the amount of time I was lucky enough to have her in my life.

Mommy loves you baby girl!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Post About Hubby

Everyone knows that there is no such thing as the absolute perfect marriage. Each individual has his or her own quirks that drives the other crazy. At the end of the day, what makes a marriage tick is the support you can provide the other. There are many people who have been there to support me through the past several months and I'm truly grateful. But, I wouldn't have made it this far without my husband. He's the rock I can depend on when I'm down and ready to call it quits. He wants to see me happy again and I believe he is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. Everything to do with Clara, he's been supportive. He lets me talk about her as much as I want and he continues the nightly "Clara ritual" with me. I love that we are able to incorporate her in our daily lives.

He grieves a lot differently than I have so far but it's nice to know that he thinks about her a lot too. At first, I wasn't able to grasp that in order to get through the first few months after our loss, he had to keep his mind busy. I now understand and have given myself permission to do the same. Grieving as much as I did previously is draining, unsustainable and really pushed the boundaries of my mental health. At the same time, I needed to do what felt right for me at the time. Little baby steps. Irregardless, I now understand hubby's grieving and that helps me digest his reactions over the months.

My hope is that our luck turns around and that one day that we can make the switch from recovery mode to living our lives again. One day at a time ....

Saturday, 10 November 2012

When Will it Get Better?

Life is a series of highs and lows. When you are down in the low, it feels like life can't get better from here. There is only one thing that could make me feel better and that would be my daughter. But Clara isn't here. Why can't my luck turnaround and bring me a little light with a sprinkle of hope. But alas, here I am today down in the dumps with no sign of lifting. How my life would be so different playing with my newborn? I wouldn't ever have to feel this way - I would be the happiest person in this world. I wouldn't be going to a stressful job but I would be up in my elbows with baby throw up and poop.  I wouldn't be getting my 8 hours of sleep nor would I be sitting on my couch crying while writing this post. This has me wondering when will life ever get better? How long can I suffer like this? Will I ever run out of tears - it certainly feels like I should have by now.

We talked about karma a little at work and how people thought it did exist. I added my two cents "if karma existed, I must have done something really awful in my life". What could I have done in my past life to deserve the experiencing the loss of Clara. At the end of the day, no matter what anyone has done, no one deserves the excruciating pain of the loss of a loved one.

I'm really trying to move on with my life, never forgetting her. I function at work and at home but there are days just like today where it feels like nothing will ever work out for me. I've used up all the good luck in live I'm ever going to have. 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

And being ok can disappear in a flash. The tears were rolling on and off this week starting on Monday. Again, at work everyone huddles to talk about their children. I was able to compose myself and handle it the best that I could until someone mentioned the hellish situation they were in with a toddler. They used the phrase “welcome to my world”. If I were able to be lucky enough to bring home a living child, I vow never ever to complain about my situation no matter how much crying or screaming there was. I know hell is a matter of perspective but to say that around someone who would give their left arm to have their daughter alive and screaming, who's hell is missing their daughter every single day?
Not to mention that that I still have post-partum symptoms. The last several weeks I have been shedding hair like a cat - serious hairballs around my home. I mentioned this to my doc and he went into the medical terminology of why this was happening but my ears shut off when he said the words post partum. I'm post partum without my baby:(

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Not Alone

The past few days have been ok. I have to learn to accept these days without guilt. Part of this ok feeling is the new people that are becoming apart of my life. Yesterday, I met two baby loss moms IRL - each of us found one another through an on-line forum. I think the most important thing about surviving this tragedy in your life is knowing that you are not alone and there are people out there who get it. Each of our stories were  different but in the end we all lived through the same hell of saying goodbye to our little ones. It was a nice change to talk to people who understand and you don't feel compelled to make someone understand what it was like. It's also nice to know you are normal. For example, the whole work situation and ALL the continuous kid/baby talk - at times, I thought I was overreacting or overly sensitive. My therapist said that I would have to adjust and that I can't control these situations. But these gals see it from my perspective, as insensitive. Wow,  I never thought I could say that out loud but gosh darnit it's mean. Is it appropriate to talk about your baby learning how to walk around someone who has just lost their baby girl - when I say it that way, yes it's insensitive.

In terms of being apart of a community, I've tried the support groups but they just didn't really help me. They were prescribed to talk about baby loss  within a certain time window and it always felt the same. It was always the 5-7 women crying around a tissue box in a stuffy room. I couldn't take it anymore. But with these two amazing women, it felt more natural. So, for now I'm feeling ok.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

5 months

It's been 5 months since we said hello and goodbye to Clara. It feels surreal that 5 months has come so quickly, its almost unbelievable. I knew it was today but I put it aside in my mind, I was distracted. We had a review appointment with my doctor today to review the karyotype and RPL screen results. There's nothing they could find in our chromosomes that would indicate the reason for our loss nor could they find anything in my blood work. It gives me some relief that there is nothing inherently wrong with me and that it wasn't my body that caused the clot in Clara's umbilical cord. Although Scott predicted this outcome, I just needed to know for my own piece of mind. I was so nervous this morning as Dr. D was reviewing our results, Scott said it looked like I was going to cry. I guess I couldn't have handled myself if we got bad news.

It wasn't until the afternoon when things started to go south. I've been pretty good about not crying at work lately - I think I'm getting used to the children banter which goes on quite a bit at my office. The other day, I even survived finding out someone's 13 month daughter has the same birthday as Clara's due date (isn't the universe funny?). But today, it felt like the child banter wouldn't stop and I broke down - the 5 month milestone of mourning sets in. I had to leave the room to cry uncontrollably and then I took a stroll to clear my head. I ran into my boss and continued crying - I think she only catches me at my worst moments.

I really don't blame anyone who can trigger me into the painful place - they don't know any better. They don't know that I birthed Clara, held her and had to bury her. They don't know that while they go home and tuck their children in, I'm at the cemetery visiting my child. How could they possibly know the heartache of being separated from their child every single day and wishing things could be different?

5 months and I miss and think of her every single day.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, my first. Before loss, I never knew this day existed and this year I've become apart of this group of BLM. A group that has no choice but to be strong but nonetheless inspirational. Hopefully, next year I can be in a stronger position and give back to this community  that is helping me through it all.

***


Foggy. That's how I would describe my life these days. I live in a haze. I'm afraid to look forward because it is unknown. It’s hard to imagine a future that could be filled with happiness without Clara in it. After all I have endured, I can’t picture that life will give free pass from any future tragedies.  I think that every BLM deserves a free pass but yet it doesn’t matter what I think. I never knew such deep pain existed. I remember when my grandmother died, I cried myself to sleep for a few weeks but with time it did get better. With Clara, it’s been almost been 5 months post-loss and some days I feel I’m still in the thick of it. I mean, I have moments when I allow myself relief from the grief and even smile or joke. But in a snap of a finger, I could drift back to my sadness.
Day to day living is hazy. I get up, go to work, make supper and I may get to the gym. There used to be purpose to these activities and now I feel I’m just going through the motions. I guess it keeps me busy so I don’t have so much time to dwell. It’s all distractions from the pain. The only purpose is when I go to visit Clara and bring her flowers/decorations for her grave.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, my first official holiday without Clara. A holiday where you are suppose to reflect in thanks for all the wonderful things that we have in our lives. I am trying my best to be thankful that I was able to have Clara in my life, even for a short while. She taught me so much about what it means to love unconditionally - I could not imagine a life that did not include her in it. I'm happy that I have someone so special that fills my heart.

At the same time, it has been tough trying to grateful when she isn't here with me at this very moment. This morning Scott asked me to listen to how quiet it was, not even a car rolling by on the streets. As with most of my thoughts, leading back to our daughter - I thought how sad that our home was without the cries of our little one. I don't dwell on our loss as much as I use to but that succinct feeling that she is missing is always constant.

I still cry almost everyday but I'm just starting to learn and live the words "be kind to yourself". At the beginning of all of this, I thought "what a cliché thing to say". Now, I know it means that you should not feel guilty in allowing yourself relief from the sadness - it's ok to distract yourself with movies, work, working out and normal activities of daily living. Grieving is tough and can become overwhelming. It's just took me awhile to understand that relief would never diminish what Clara meant to me - she's my entire world and always will be.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Still Here

This is my third week back at work and it amazes me how raw my pain really is. The very thought of Clara at work can bring on a flood of instantaneous tears. It’s this way at work because I have no control over the situations that I’m placed in. I can’t hide from the world of kids and babies. The coping strategies that I had when I was at home, no longer apply in the broader world. Some days it feels like I’ve taken 10 steps back in my grieving.  I’m just left with tears and the fact that I have to grow some pretty thick skin.
The other thing that is pressed on me is the idea of creating goals/objectives and how I want to grow professionally. This is a tough one – at the moment, I really don’t have any. I can’t see my future through the thick clouds. It’s not such a great question for a person that is trying to take each day as it comes, accepting the good days and struggling through the bad. It’s tough for me to even contemplate the future, it’s even harder to fathom that I could ever find happiness again. So for now, I leave the future out of my thoughts.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Surviving

Every day feels like a test of my ability to survive. I didn't realize going back to work would be as difficult as it has been and today would make it day 5 of my return. When you work in an environment with parents who have young children, you can't escape it. The photographs, the chatter of their little ones and the happiness. This morning there was talk of little girls birthday parties, baby's first steps and the resemblance of their children. I don't expect people to understand what I'm going through but it's hard. Everyone acts normal as if nothing ever happened to me but something did! I wish they could all just try to put themselves in my situation and show a little more compassion. So yes, I ran to ladies and had a good cry. Why can't one thing in my life be easy. It's like the universe doesn't think I've suffered enough, I have to kicked when I'm already down.

In addition to a rotten day at work, my husband promised me he'd be home on time so we can go visit Clara. I doubled checked with him late afternoon just to be sure. Well, he's late and didn't even bother to call to let me know. I'm content to go on my own, as I've done all summer but he promised. I just needed to be loved and supported today. I feel like I'm in a whirlwind spiral into the bottomless pit. I'm angry and hurt. I feel so alone and so awful. Is this a case of it will get worse before it gets better? I just don't see anything better in the horizon.

It's days like this, I wished I never got out of bed. Each day is a struggle to survive to the next. I don't want to struggle. I don't want it to hurt so bad so often. I don't want to try so hard each day to appear strong. When will I stop trying to survive and actually feel alive again? When will this pain stop feeling like you are dying a slow and painful death? 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Four Months


Four months seems like an eternity. It feels like it was so long ago and yet some days, I can bring myself close to the pain I felt just a few months ago. It sucks. I miss her. I don't cry everyday any more and I accept when I'm having a good day. On the weekend, I even had a good hard laugh with my husband - I can't even remember the last time I laughed. Laughter seems like such a foreign concept yet it used to come so easily.

Yesterday I went for my first run in almost a year. I stopped running when I was pregnant with Clara. The OB had said I could keep running if I wanted to but I didn't want to chance something happening so I stopped. I remember being envious of runners passing me by on my walks, I missed it and dreamed of the day I could run again. Now I would give it up forever if I could have her back. These past four months since, I have thought of running but never could bring myself up to do it. So, I let go of the guilt and ran. At first, I felt anxious but as I ran, I realized it felt good. Perhaps, one of the hardest part about grieving is allowing yourself to do things that you enjoy and to begin to live again.

Today, I went back to work. It's been a tough day filled with many tears. No one knows what to say or how to act but the look in their eyes says it all. Pity. I thought I was a lot stronger than I was just a few months ago but a little look of pity and small talk about what happened brought me back to sobbing. The ugly can't breath type of sobbing.  I've learned that being your first day back after baby loss doesn't by you a child-free conversation day. I guess why should anyone act differently? Perhaps the hardest part is the people who you were pregnant with are on maternity leave enjoying their newborns while I'm back at work when I should be doing the same.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Next Steps

This next step, I feel is one the biggest. My maternity leave is coming to an end and I'm expected back at work next week. It feels like I have to go back to the way things were before Clara was born but yet so much has changed. Somehow, it feels like the impact of this event should somehow change the pattern of my daily life and yet it doesn't. Everything that has changed is internal - the person who I have become. Although, I think I have come a long way since May, I still feel like something is broken within me. I only push forward because I'm not given any other choice.

Then there is the anxiety of actually going back to work.  The first few day will be the toughest, to see the looks of pity, the uncomfortable conversations about baby loss and some people offering non-meaningful condolences. At the moment with the exception of my husband, I can't talk about Clara with tearing up. So, I expect it to be a bit of tear-fest next week.

In the recent weeks, I have made some big decisions which bring about a great deal of apprehension into my life. Scott has been really supportive and usually comes around to agreeing to my new ideas albeit sometimes it takes some convincing.  Through it all, he somehow remains positive when I tend to gravitate to the worse case scenario. I mean after all that has happened, why wouldn't I? He knows too well how I will react in certain situations and tries to coach me through it. At least I have someone trying to keep me sane through all this madness.

Wow, so far September is shaping up to be a crazy month. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Clara's Rock

  

Emma is a fellow baby loss mama whom I connected with through Glow in the Woods (an invaluable resource). She recently celebrated her son's first birthday and as a monument she wanted to paint rocks for other baby loss mama's. So I requested a rock for Clara. The outcome was beautiful and I feel comforted that my baby's rock is along side the other rocks that Emma painted, a place where our babies will be remembered. Thank you so much Emma! Through some of my dark days, it's amazing to find some light in the BLM community. 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Day of Healing

Clara's due date came and went. We started off the day by visiting the cemetery. We bought a new windmill to sit along side the flowers that were already there. We sat at her grave site, remembering our precious little girl. 

After lunch, we took a drive up to the Forks of the Credit and took a small hike on the Bruce Trail. I think Clara would have liked it. The last time I went hiking on the Bruce Trail was when I was about 23 weeks pregnant so it seemed like the natural thing to do. Hiking in the wilderness always provided me with a sense of calm. Perhaps, nature has elements of healing. I'm starting to regain my love for the outdoors and finding beauty within this world.


We ended off the evening with a home cooked meal with just the two of us. Just us, the people that loved Clara the most, remembering the life that could have been.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Eve Before the EDD

August 30th - Clara's EDD. It's tomorrow. The past few months, I've been looking at this date with much anxiety and fear. How will I feel? How will I cope? I must admit the days leading up to the EDD have been difficult, the tears are coming much more easily this week than the week prior. For now, I'm feeling a sense of calm. Perhaps fear of the day is worse than the day itself. I hope so.

Scott has taken the day off work, I'm not sure why I asked him to but it just felt like what I needed at the time. I haven't decided what we are going to do but perhaps I'll just see where the day takes us. Whatever comes our way, it will be a way to remember our little girl.

The last few weeks, I have been looking for different ways to connect with Clara to replace some of the good ol' crying spells. I have the small rituals at the cemetery and I have discovered the world of BLM blogging. Lately, I've been going for long walks with my new Clara playlist that I've compiled. I've found a good mix of songs that remind me of her or expresses my feelings for her. I suppose it's the best version of Mommy/Daughter time I'm going to get. Below is a YouTube link to one of my favourites, Gone Too Soon by Daughtry. Clara, not a day goes by that I don't think of you. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

One of Those Days

Dear Clara,

It's been one of those days for Mommy, where I just want to be alone and think about how much I miss you. Sometimes living life without you is too overwhelming. When you were here with me, I just wanted everything to be perfect for you. I had designed the perfect room. It would have been a yellow room with huge zoo animal decals. I wanted a room that oozed happiness. I picked out a nice rocker for us too when you needed to be comforted. When I came home from the hospital without you, I couldn't bear to let go of some of your stuff like the ducky outfit you were supposed to come home in. I saved some of your other things in hopes that it will some day be a part of your little brother or sister's life. I will always try to find ways to incorporate you into our family's life. Forgetting you would be like forgetting how to breath, it's just not possible.

Clara, part of my funk today is that I feel such immense guilt for starting to move forward with my life without you. Somehow it feels like I'm leaving you behind and I would never ever want to do that. I know you would want Mommy to keep living and to be happy. It's just so hard when they only thing I want is you. It's the very thing that I can't have, not in the way I want. So baby girl, if Mommy appears to be doing better or looking forward it doesn't mean I love you any less or that I'm not missing you like crazy. Nothing will ever diminish what you mean to me or change the way I feel about you. I guess that's what I wanted you to know.

Good night sweet girl.

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Upset

This would have been my last few days at work if Clara hadn't died. I would be looking towards a year off with my little girl. In my mind, I had already planned our first camping trip for the following summer. I would be 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and the original EDD approaches more quickly than ever. August 30th - how many times have I repeated that date in the past 9 months? I know the odds are that she would not have been born on that date but when you are pregnant, you look towards the EDD with such hope and expectation. Now, I'm not sure how to feel about it. Now I think of it as a milestone in my grief - the past 3 months I have been using it as such. "If only I could get past the EDD", maybe that it will be a turning point. I have asked Scott to take the day off but I'm not sure what we will be doing - I'll have to think about that a little more. But I want it to be special - a day for remembering her and celebrating the joy she brought into our lives.

I think what upsets me most is the fresh flowers I left for Clara last Wednesday (the ones pictured on Wednesday's post) suddenly disappeared on Saturday. I looked around and all the other items at the different sites were left untouched. Who would remove flowers from my little girls site? Is there no respect for my little angel? Haven't I already lost enough, without her flowers going missing. Does the person who moved/damaged them even know the impact they are having on that little girls mama? Do they even care? I replaced them yesterday but it's just one of those little things that doesn't help with the pain.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Three Months


Today marks three months.Three months since I held my sweet baby in my arms. Three months of missing Clara. Three months of crying. The hysterical cries have vanished and are replaced by more quiet rolling tears. I find myself having a few good moments every now and again. At times I allow these moments to come and go and at other times, guilt flows through me. Guilty for moving forward and re-starting my life without her as the focal point. Even still, I don't have a choice but to keep going. I have to for her.

I have stopped counting the weeks since she's been gone, it's just to painful to remind myself of the growing gap of time. I have started walking again - I think of running and cycling but something is preventing me from doing so. Now that I'm contemplating this, I'm not ready to do things that make me feel "great" but opting for things that make me feel "ok" or even "good". Perhaps the last truly great feeling I had was when she was alive and I don't want to lose that just yet. I want to hold on to it and not let anyone or anything come between or after it.

I wrote the following a few days after I got home from the hospital. I didn't want to forget any of the details of my most cherished moments of my life.


My favourite thing I did for my daughter
I got to dress her. My sister Lisa brought a bereavement kit from the hospital that she worked in with many beautiful clothes. Scott, Lisa, Jessica,  Rebecca, Sara and I went through all the different options that would be what Clara will wear forever. Our first option was a stylish white hat with a white sweater but we were concerned it wouldn't fit - this option still sits in my memory box. In the end we picked a white dress, with a pink hat, pink booties. Lisa helped me put on the pink hat. The dress was a little big for Clara but we made it work. It was long white dress with sleeves that had lace on the ends. The top 2 inches were elastic with baby pink stitching with ties on the back to close the dress. The final thing, Mommy got do for Clara was put on her booties. I started with the left foot, I turned the bootie inside out to start because I didn't want to hurt her. Then I tied the little laces. Lisa held up the right foot so I could follow the same process. The last item was her receiving blanket, a baby pink blanket with white polka dots. Lisa with all her experience wrapped her up in a sweet little bundle.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

It's in!


This is the final resting place of my beloved daughter, Clara. This past week, her marker was placed. On the upper part of the heart is my and my husband's initials. Somehow, having my initials there reminds me that I am her mother and a piece of me will always be with her. It also symbolizes our union as a family. The writing on the bottom comes from the third line of my husband's poem, for you we'd give the world.The image at the bottom is a tricycle, representing what would have been one of our family's hobby - cycling.

This is the place where I come when I miss her the most. It's one of the ways I get to perform my limited Mommy duties. I visit with her. Ensure the grass is watered, fertilized and green. Ensure everything looks as it should. Another way of loving and connecting with her.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Could Have, Should Have, Would Have

Could have, should have, would have. So much of grief is concentrated in the contemplation of those words. The dreams of what could have been, where we should be today and everything we would have to celebrate. Spending time contemplating these thoughts bury me deeper into my sadness for Clara. These days, my coping strategy is not allowing myself to go to these thoughts. Its a way to control how much time I spend grieving or it becomes all consuming and frankly unbearable.

It the early days, these same thoughts were what could I have done to prevent this tragedy. If I had known, I would have done anything to have prevent it but at the time you don't have a crystal ball. You just believe you are doing everything you should be doing based on the knowledge at hand. I'm starting to let go of the guilt. I could continue allowing myself to feel guilty but it's not going to bring her back. Even still, I'm going to have to relive my hospital documents with my doctor on tomorrow and once again have someone reassure me that its not my fault. The truth is I know I'll never have the answers I need so I just need to learn to let it go.

Perhaps to move forward I need to focus on what I did do right during my time with Clara:

  • I let her know how much I loved her all the time
  • I ate well and never skipped a meal or a multivitamin
  • I incorporated gentle exercise into the pregnancy even when I didn't feel well
  • I talked to her often and sang to her
  • I rubbed my belly with such maternal pride
  • I was so proud of how she was growing
  • We created wonderful memories that I will always treasure
I will always miss her but I need a balance of grief and remembrance.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

New Perspective

When you experience such an intense loss, it gives you a different perspective on life. I was just watching the Olympic Mens relay where the Canadian team initially thought they won bronze to later find out they were disqualified.  I understand their disappointment as they poured their hearts and souls into training for these events but yet at the end of the day nobody died. It's the same when I see people squabble over the little things. One instance in my recent memory is watching my sisters fight (in tears no less) about cleaning the sink after they finished up with the dishes. I would normally think this is ridiculous but attached to that I think no one has died. As long as you are still able to hold the people you love, what else matters? This is my new perspective. Sad but true. I think a year the person I was a year ago would have been more empathetic but it's becoming more of a challenge. I suppose this is a part of figuring out who I am post-loss.

It will be interesting to see how I integrate this into my professional and personal life. At work, I was always anxious about meeting my deadlines and worrying about producing stellar results - a bit of a perfectionist. At home, I had my routine - come home, prepare dinner by a certain time and prep for the next day. I like executing things on a certain timeline or on time - I think time limits have always made me anxious even if they were self imposed. I liked control. What I've learned from this whole baby making business is that I have no control.

Personally, I'm not sure how I've changed. Not sure if its the grief talking or the new me. For example, laundry - my DH is ok waiting until he's reached his stash of what he calls the emergency boxers (the ones that should be in the garbage). This use to bug me to no end because it meant that I would have to keep on top of the laundry. I no longer care. I used to like cooking and eating but what's the point when you can whip up a sandwich in less than 5 minutes. Ok - it sounds like the grief talking. But it will be interesting to see how I come out of all of this with my new perspective.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Clara

She's become every breath I take
She's become every step I take
She's embedded in every fibre of my being
She's held in all my thoughts and deep within my heart
She's my strength
She's everything that I am 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Small Steps

My husband is back at work after having the week off. My sister and her husband were also here the past week but have returned home. I think having Scott and more family around helps with the healing process. In their activity planning for the week, it gave me a reason to get out bed in the morning. I was able to look at scenery and appreciate its beauty. I think this is a huge step since the weekend we went camping and I quarantined myself to the tent. Another huge step is a went for a walk, the same route I used to walk with Clara - although it took all my strength not to turn around and jump back into the safe haven of my bed. I'm starting to feel her strength bringing me back, making me stronger slowly. I feel the depth of her love when I'm afraid. She's alive in my heart.

In my grief, I'm now in the world of progressing and regressing. I'm making some positive steps but at times I find myself drawn towards habits I had during the initial weeks of my loss. Sleep is either a hit or miss these days. Last night was a miss and I cried out for her. Perhaps it was the anxiety of my husband going back to work? It's a concious struggle now not to let myself slip into the dark thoughts that lead to more dark thoughts that leaves me in the pit of despair for hours at a time. It's so easy to find the pit but so hard to keep the dark thoughts at bay. I suppose this is where I heed the advice to be patient with myself and accept each day as it comes.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Little Gifts

Integration, the first step. I need to believe Clara is with me in every step through this journey. That every good moment, that she somehow is responsible for these small gifts. Her love is somehow transformed into the love of family and friends. This weekend, we went to the cottage with friends. I know I'm not the festive and bubbly person I once was . They are understanding and patient. They are a distraction from the constant pain. Clara cannot love me here on earth but I choose to believe she can love me through other means. I just need to open my eyes to these connections. That I will always feel my daughter's love and feel connected to her. She has shown me the strength and intensity of a mother's love - That in itself is a gift.


***


As much as I try to stay positive, something always has to hit me smack across the face. Triggers - I didn't think I had them. I mean I see children and I'm able to manage - I don't want other people's children, I want Clara. So, my mom took us out for lunch and I thought I knew who was going to be there so I can prepare myself if necessary. Well, the "pregnant" relative shows up unexpectedly. I've never felt betrayed. So, I raced to the washroom within 5 minutes of her arrival to cry my eyes out.  I felt so low and ashamed. I felt so unloved and so hopeless. So, the lesson is I can't handle pregnant women. They are so full of hope. It reminds me of how I felt when I was pregnant and how it was all taken away to replaced by grief. It reminds me how much I wanted Clara in my life and how much I miss her.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bad Day

It's a continual series of ups and downs. And today I'm feeling down. I really can't believe that this is my life. The life that is continuing without Clara in it. How will I ever again see beauty and joy in this world? Everything is tainted by grief. A perfect beautiful baby whom was so loved was taken away from this world. How does this happen? How am I suppose to accept this? How will I live without ever understanding why this happened to her, to us? 

This month should have welcomed my daughter and now I live in the month with dread. Dread of her due date and all that it was suppose to stand for. Joy and happiness is replaced by pain and suffering. This is a world in which I never thought I would have to live in. I never knew I could hurt this much and for so long. I don't know what to do to make it better. The pain is constant - a lesser degree at times but always there. Sometimes I don't know how to make it through the day, I suppose its one step in front of the other. Today grief has overcome me and overtaken my day and I have no choice but to roll with it. Hopefully, tomorrow will see a better day.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Mourning

Mourning. It's a life long journey. It has many faces and you will never know ahead of time which one you will encounter on a given day, given hour or even a given minute. The multitude of combinations of human emotion that you may feel and the varying length of those emotions are unknown. Sometimes, it creeps in and you know it's coming and at other times it just hits you from out of no where. The underlying theme, as much as I say it, is that missing piece of your heart that you may never recover.

This blog is a place I come to when I'm feeling overwhelmed by my emotions and is a mish mash of my thoughts and feelings. It also somehow it makes me feel closer to Clara. I know I still grieve a lot but some good moments are starting to come slowly. I know my jouney is longer than some others but I'm ok with that. There is no set timeline and everyone is different. I just wish everyone else knew that. Judgement of others comes so easily and it's not until you are placed in a similar situation that one will truly understand. Mourning is a journey that has no end.

I'm forever grateful to other baby loss mamas that have blogged about their jouney to healing, it gave me great comfort in the darkest hours of my life. It made me feel less alone in my own journey.  The forums have been helpful in which other baby loss moms have taken the time to comfort me in my weakest moments and in my plea for help. There are some family and friends that have been my sounding board when I feel devastated, hopeless and defeated. Today, I ordered my Molly Bear which will be made to Clara's birth weight. There has been so many outlets for my grief and I'm grateful. These resources will continue to be there as I need them in my journey but I am hopeful that they will no longer be my crutch in life. That somehow I will be able to stand on my own two feet. 


Now, it`s time to figure out who the ``new`` me is and figure a new ``normal`` to my life. It`s a hard road ahead, sometimes I walk this world feeling like I`m in this dream world and nothing is real. I need to readjust and try to determine what is important to me, the things that make me want to live again. I realize I haven`t lived since Clara died. There`s glimmers of life but I haven`t been living. I have to learn to let go of all the guilt and integrate Clara into my life in a meaningful way. A new way of mourning and loving her. I need to try to focus  on the love that we share and relish in the joy she brought to me in her short life instead of drowning in the sadness of her death. As many have said it, this will come in time.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Daddy Misses You Too

Dear Clara,

Daddy was thinking of you today. He read my blog and was looking through pictures of our family trip to New York City. I saw Daddy crying because he misses you so very much. It hurts him so much that he needs distractions from his pain. Can you imagine, your daddy loves you that much that it tears him up inside to think of what he's lost. And Daddy isn't very emotional to begin with.

Our trip to NYC with you was such a blessing - it was intended to be our baby moon. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to take you there. We even bought you your first onsie on this trip, it said "daddy's little princess". Your daddy was so proud of you. Daddy had so many plans for you himself. He wanted to show you his model airplanes and teach you geeky mathematical things. Everyday, Daddy and I debated who you would love more but I know you love each of us unconditionally.

Well, I just wanted to let you know daddy loves and misses you too!

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Friday, 27 July 2012

Missing You

Dear Clara,
Mommy is missing you so much right now. There is a constant ache in my heart. My life doesn't feel right without you in it. My life doesn't seem real. Clara, I think about you all the time. Sometimes, out of no where a wave of extreme sadness overcomes me and I don't think I can survive without you. Mommy loves you so much and was eagerly waiting to spend time with you. I wish with all my heart that things could have been different for us.

I guess I just want to remind you how special you are and how proud I am of you. You will always be my beautiful baby girl.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Time

Clara should be here. Every step I take on this journey of grief is always taken with Clara should be here. But she's not. It's such a wonderment how the human brain allows a person to move forward after a piece of their soul is missing. Time allows a person to adjust and integrate the pain into just a memory. The depth of my grieving is changing and transforming slowly but I can feel the change over larger periods of time. It scares me immensely to let my mind wander away from the pain, the pain that ties me for now and to the meaning of loving Clara. I love my daughter no matter what but I feel the grief is the only thing I have left of her and to lose that connection - I can't even imagine. It's terrifying.

I'm grateful that I have given myself all this time to grieve heavily. I know it will be a lifelong journey that I have no choice but to accept.  I also know that the pain will ease over time.  It will scab over but I will be able to pick at the pieces to reach the feelings of my loss. My life has changed, I feel it will every step I take. The person who was is no longer here. I'm now a mother that has to live without her child. The person that has to move forward despite the loss.  I still have to live while my daughter wasn't given that opportunity. Time is passing and I can't stop it no matter how much I try. I can't live on an abandoned island to avoid the triggers that remind me of what I've lost. I have to eventually reintegrate to my old life - live it as before she ever existed. I hate time and I hate my brain for allowing me to go forward. It feels like denying to the world she ever existed. Yet I know it's what will inevitably life will return to the same daily routines. 

If she was here, I wouldn't have to be here documenting my journey. I would be happy and enjoying her. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

What I Want, I Can't Have

Before I was pregnant with Clara, people including my husband were at a loss as what to get me for Christmas and Birthdays. The truth is I'm not a person that wanted for too much. I like doing things, swimming, running, cycling, hiking and travelling. I'm not a fashionista and according to my family I'm more of a tomboy. My husband and I wanted to enjoy our lives before starting our family in addition to establishing our careers (in restropect it seems trivial now that really all that I want is a family more than any of those things). We were active, participating in triathlons, camping and lots of hiking. We travelled to far off places like Peru, Malaysia, Thailand, Syria, Jordan, Panama. We felt happy and accomplished.

The next thing we wanted to do was to start a family. It seems so easy for so many people, right? I mean I come from a family with seven girls. I was naive. My innocence has been taken away in so many facets that I've never dreamed possible. I mean I was so great at planning every aspect of my life, why would family planning be any different. It was a struggle to get pregnant mixed in with many tears cycle after cycle. Then, a miracle. My precious daughter. All my dreams were coming true. Then, it got taken away just like that by what everyone is calling a fluke accident. I have spent so many hours contemplating what combination of events would cause my daughter to be so active. One theory is that the "accident" is caused by fetal hyperactivity. As much research I do, I'll never have the answers I need. It sucks and even if it was detected, there's no medical intervention that could have untwisted her umbilical cord.

Now there is only thing I want in this world that I can't have. I want more than anything to have my daughter back and to be able to snuggle her. I want to mother her as a living baby. But above all, I wanted her to experience all the great things this world has to offer, what Scott and I could offer her. She deserved everything and got nothing. She was innocent in all of this. I would sacrifice anything to have her back but that's not how it works. My therapist is starting to get tough by reiterating that fact she's not coming back. Of course, I cry but I know she wants to move me towards acceptance. Everything about baby loss sucks.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Hell in Repetition

Every morning is the same. I wake up and something is different, something is missing. As I leave the fog of dreamland, it all comes back to me - my daughter is gone. The ache in my heart  becomes noticeable again and I feel each broken piece with such acute pain. I feel like I'm suffocating and I begin each day crying for her. I reach out to my baby lost mama internet community looking for comfort. I think I do this to distract me from the acuity of my own feelings but Clara is always there. After awhile, I always allow myself to go to the "dark place" and I let myself cry. I cry for her, I cry for myself and I cry for the future I wanted to have with her. After the storm, I'm able to get back to the distractions and sometimes before the day is over, I will find the dark place again.

The other night, I had a dream and I felt my daughter's presence - it felt so real. I wanted to stay in that dream forever. I'm not sure if she was physically in the dream but I remember feeling her and feeling peace and happiness. So each night, I look forward to sleep so that I might have that chance to dream of Clara. 

Then when I awake, I live the same as I did the day before.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

2 Months

Dear Clara,
I can't believe how time is passing by so fast. It's been two months since you were born. The day daddy and I got to meet your sweet little face and hold you in our arms. Mommy is so sad that you couldn't stay with us but I will always carry you in my heart. You will always be loved and you will be forever missed.

I think about you all the time and I must admit that I feel lonely without your company. I always felt so special getting to spend all my time with you and knowing that you were growing stronger each day. I loved that I was able to talk to you whenever I wanted and that I know that you felt the love that I had for you.  I miss rubbing my belly and hoping that you could feel me. I was so proud to walk around this world with you in it. I felt complete.

You are the only one that knows what mommy's heart sounds like day in and out. It feels like in a way you stole part of my heart when you left me. I'm glad you have that part of me and I want you to hold on to it. I will live the rest of my life with that piece missing but it will remind me of you and I will look to the time we had together with much fondness. I'm glad you were a part of my life and all the happiness that you brought into my life. As your daddy and I used to sing to you "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine".

I guess today, I just wanted to let you know how special you are to me and hope that you can feel my love.

Your Mommy

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Living in Two Worlds

Losing your child feels like you are living in two separate worlds.

There is the world with the reality that Clara is gone. The one that causes the massive sobbing cries that brings me to my knees with the fact I'm going to miss a lifetime of raising her. The debilitating feeling of how I'm ever going to get through the intensity of the pain. The pain is so deep, I find myself googling "how to survive life without baby", "help me survive stillbirth" or "when does the pain go away". I know I'm not going to find the answers I need from google but how else do I get through the dark moments. After 8 weeks, I sound like a broken record "I want her back", "I miss her" and the infamous "why?". I don't even remember what life was before she was conceived. I just need my baby girl.

Then, there is my alternate world, the one if she had survived. She would have still be growing inside me. I would have finished her nursery. I would be happy. Then I fast forward in time, imagining her in her car seat amoung many things. In my alternate world, we're a happy family. Even when I go back to the past, I think of how I imagined myself carrying her in the sling that bought for myself or Scott carrying her in the baby carrier I bought for him. I actually had Scott assemble the carrier and pretend he was carrying Clara in it. It feels stupid now that I thought the there would be a happy ending to my story. In my alternate world I will always think about what Clara would have been doing if she was with us. It's strange that I will now and forever live in two worlds.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A New Friend

Dear Clara,

I went to visit you today at the cemetery. I bought some items to decorate your burial site to make it more of a happy place for you. It was hard. The woman in line in front of me was buying toys for her children. I must admit I got teary-eyed because I would have spoiled you rotten if you were here with me. Actually, your whole family would have made sure you were never left wanting for anything.

While I was there, I noticed that they were preparing another spot for another little angel. You will soon have another friend near you. Clara, I hope you teach the new angel the ropes because I know that you are a kind, warm and loving child. Give him or her comfort from being separated from their loved ones.

Today is your grandma's birthday. Your aunties and I got her a watch. I was sad that you weren't there and that I'll never get to her the words "Happy Birthday Mommy" from you. I know in my heart that you do but never to hear the words from your lips makes Mommy sad. I really hope that you know how much I love you and would give up anything including my own life for you. I miss you every day.

Love, Mommy

When I saw that new grave site today, my heart sank even further in despair. I didn't even know that was possible at this stage in my grief. Another family that is saying goodbye to their child suffering through the same agony that I feel. Those feelings in the first few weeks where you think you would rather die to be with your child rather then live through the anguish of grief. Waking up every morning reliving the horror of losing your child you were looking so forward to meeting. No person should ever have to ever endure life long suffering of a lost child, it's cruel. And today, my heart goes out to that family.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Waiting

It feels like I'm waiting for her to come home, walk through that door. She's some where out there. Yet, rationally I know she's not coming home. The idea of living a life without my precious daughter is something that I cannot wrap my head around and if I think about it long enough it becomes this overwhelming and I feel as though I'm suffocating. I think of how life should be different, how I still should be pregnant and finishing up her nursery. I think of how I should be preparing for my 1 year mat leave so I can raise this precious child. I think about all the things that I will now miss that she's gone - swimming lessons, the camping trips, the travelling, the bike riding, her first day of school, going to her graduation, her wedding. So the idea of waiting for her becomes soothing. It's the only way I feel like I can get through my day without being tormented by her death at every waking moment.

I've been spending weeks now looking at blogs of other mother's who have lost their babies. It's amazing how every post resembles the feeling I have day to day. One mother wrote about how mourning is the only way left she knows how to love her child. I feel that this grief is the only way to show Clara how much I wanted her, how much I love her and how much I miss her. I keep making goals in my head to resume my daily activities but I keeping pushing the deadlines further away. Grief is a tough job.



Thursday, 5 July 2012

My Garden

One of the last things I remember doing when Clara was still alive was gardening. It was the week before the May long weekend and the weather was perfect. Scott did all the heavy lifting of the soil and the pots. I just had to sit down and shovel. I worked on the potters first and then moved on to the veggies and herbs. I was tired and reserved the flower garden until the following Tuesday. The last Tuesday were I heard her heart beating at the OB's office. So unaware, so oblivious, so naive. Those are the days I that will never have back as long as I live.

I was looking at my garden this morning and reflecting. Since Clara died, I haven't been the most enthusiastic about the care of my garden and yet everything still grows. A little water and some fertilizer every few weeks. My oleander is in bloom, my tomatoes are growing and my herbs look like weeds. So little care, yet everything continues to grow. While Clara was growing inside of me, every action was with her best interest in mind (although I did give in to some of my salty cravings). The food I ate and the activities I did was to ensure she would grow into a healthy baby. Scott would always encourage me to eat more broccoli, it was nice to know he had her health in mind too. Every night before going to bed, I would tell Scott that I needed a glass of milk, "for the baby". For six months, all our thoughts and efforts were focused on the baby. Yet unlike my garden, she no longer grows.

My Reality

I think reality is starting to sink in. This weekend I went out for dinner with some good friends. At dinner, we saw a little baby girl with the same stroller we had bought for Clara (or was it for me?). I wasn't so upset about the baby girl but more about the stroller. The one I would have pushed Clara in. Alas, I never will. There are many more hopes and dreams that will go unfulfilled with her death. She's not here with me and she will never be. Reality is a tough pill to swallow.

Yesterday was a tough day, I thought if I grieved hard enough somehow the universe will return her to me. It sounds stupid but grief is irrational as is her death. It's still hard to imagine my life without her and not think of all the things that could have been. All the happiness she would have brought to my life ... It's all gone. The future that will never be.

Friday, 29 June 2012

A Funny Thing About Odds

I think I worry a lot. No, I know I worry a lot. Despite my worries, I never took one minute of my pregnancy for granted and I'm happy about that.

When I found out about my pregnancy. I worried about the beta numbers and the doubling times. The betabase was a great way to obsess. You know just in case it was a chemical pregnancy or even worse an ectopic. Chances are high into week 4 of your pregnancy. But the betas were rising nicely.

I had minor complications that required increase monitoring but nothing serious. Before the first ultrasound, I was researching blighted ovums and molar pregnancies. Hugely nervous. But there she was with a yolk sac and all. The 6 week ultrasound, baby was measuring on track with a heart rate of 100 bpm. Wow, amazing  that Clara measuring about 0.6 mm at the time could have a heartbeat. Then I worried her heartbeat wasn't strong enough. I mean the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester are still pretty high.

Our 7 week ultrasound, in all her 0.88 mm glory had a heart rate of 119 bpm. The risk of miscarriage drops as soon as a heartbeat is detected. Phew, we made it through another milestone.

12 week ultrasound and IPS screening. Heart rate of 156 bpm, measuring 12w2d. Clara past her IPS with flying colours, 1/6500 risk of downs. She's truly my daughter, we're both a bunch of over achievers:) Now, we are past the first trimester, the riskiest part of pregnancy. Phew, another sigh of relief.

19 week anatomy scan. Again everything was perfect! My daughter was measuring right on track. Oh by the way, we are having a GIRL. I knew it in my heart, I had several dreams leading up to that ultrasound that confirmed it. Now, we are past the 20 week mark, 99% chance of taking home our daughter. We start calling our daughter by her name.

24 weeks, viability! I'm getting more accustomed to the idea, I'm bringing home my baby girl. We start cleaning out the nursery. We buy an overly extravagant stroller (Uppababy Vista). I obsess over 10 paint swatches of yellow and which etsy decals I'm going to buy. I'm geared up to have this baby!


25 weeks. If Clara was born premature at this point she has a 50% survival rate. One more week, it would be 50-80%. But we never made it that far. All this time, I was worried about premature labour. Never in a million years did I think that my daughter would have issues with her umbilical cord. The risk of an umbilical cord accident causing stillbirth is 1/1000 but is usually a result of nuchal cord or a true knot. In Clara's case, it seems to be even more rare.


In more support group, it seems like everyone has a story about how rare their situation is, 1/1000 or 1/10,000. If it's so rare, how are we all in the same room. Suffice it to say, I no longer believe in the odds. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Moving On Doesn't Mean Forgetting

"Moving on doesn't mean forgetting". This is the most common phrase that has been said to me over the last few weeks. It's almost been 6 weeks since we've lost Clara and I still mostly live within the confines of my home and my mom's home with sporadic visits for counselling and doctor's appointments. Somehow taking myself out of the living world makes me feel better. I see myself doing things that I once enjoyed before being pregnant but it's the guilt of moving forward that prevents me from execution. Guilt of enjoying something outside of the joy that she brought into my life. Guilt that if she did mean the whole world to me, how would  there life outside of my grief for her. I don't think I'll ever truly "move on" and there won't be a day that goes by that I don't "forget her". How could one ever forget their child, I would assume that would be nearly impossible. As the other mother's with baby losses say the best one can do is to move forward.

I give myself pep talks. "Clara wouldn't want to see you suffering like this". "I have to live my life for her now". But the problem is that she isn't here. I know at some point I have to make a reappearance in the real world but for now I need to grieve in my own way. It's such a lonely process even with my love ones surrounding me. I'm not the mess that I was the initial few weeks since she died but talking about her does bring on the flood of tears. I miss my daughter.

This week I feel numb - sometimes it feels like it never happened and Clara will be with me soon. Sometimes I wonder if the pregnancy was a dream and that scares me. I want every part of the pregnancy to feel real and I want Clara to feel real. I hate that time is playing with my mind. I hate grief. I hate that I can't sleep. I hate that Clara isn't here with me. I could write a laundry list of things I hate but I'll stop at that.

Clara: Today is Daddy's Birthday. I wanted to wish him a "Happy" Birthday today but I can't even imagine saying the word "happy" without you. I wish you were here so we could celebrate. I'll just have to try harder tonight. I know he misses you too and we'll be thinking of you when we eat his birthday pie. That's right, your daddy likes birthday pies - not a big fan of cake.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Camping without Clara

Dear Clara,
Daddy took mommy camping this weekend. Originally, we were all suppose to go to Sandbanks this weekend, for daddy's birthday present. It was close to a hospital just in case we were worried about you. I wish we had the opportunity to take you. We saw a father and son camping trip and I just thought of all the fun things we would have done together.

This weekend was really tough without you, I didn't have the distractions that I have at home. Daddy wants us to enjoy life and the summer, he says it's what you would wanted. I just want to have you here with us. We would have shown you all the joy the outdoors give us but without you how can I enjoy it. My life seems forever changed and I'm not sure what joy I can get out of this cruel world. Cruel. The same world that lets life go on without you in it. You are my world and what gave me joy within it. Nothing will ever seem to be the same, the innocent naive joy. Now everything is tainted with you gone, my heart broken. How can I ever find joy from this world? There are no words to express how much I miss you.

Everyone wants Mommy to get better with good intentions, but does everyone understand what you meant to me and our future together. Did they understand the connection we had, we were a team. My being is now incomplete without you, part of me is gone and will never be recovered. You are irreplaceable. You are the love of my life and while you were here everything made sense and had a purpose. My purpose is gone, missing and it will take a long time to pick up the pieces. I now understand what people mean by say "it is with a heavy heart" when the announce a loss. But it feels like my heart and entire body is heavy with losing you.

Love,
Mommy

Friday, 22 June 2012

5 weeks

It's been 5 weeks since I delivered Clara. I feel numb and lost. I'm scared because the memory of my daughter is fading further and further into the past. Why does life have to move on, I certainly don't want it to. I want to feel the raw emotions that I felt in the first few weeks - the deep mourning that connects me with all the love I have for her. The reality of waking up every morning without her is still excruciating.

It's time to tell her story, so my memory doesn't elude me as time marches forward.

On Tuesday May 15, at my regular OB appointment - all things went well. I heard the baby's heartbeat, he measured my fundal height and Clara was just stirring before the appointment. Wednesday at around 2 pm, I felt one kick during a meeting. I went for a swim and hadn't noticed her moving in the evening. Next morning nothing, drank apple juice and thought I felt some gurgles. So, Scott and I were attending our third prenatal class. In speaking with the instructor, I was concerned with the decrease in fetal movement. She saw the concern in my eye and instructed me to leave the class and go to the hospital.

At the hospital, the nurse couldn't find her heartbeat. So I was concerned but google helped calm some of those fears. When the OB did the sonogram, I could tell my the nurses eyes that she was gone. All I kept thinking was there was no possible way. We were 25 weeks, past all the danger zones of the first trimester, late term miscarriage. We had a 99% chance of bringing home our little girl. I screamed but I don't think reality quite sank in yet. What did I do to cause my little girl to die? We had the choice of inducing right away or going home and coming back the next day. I choose the prior.

I was induced at 1 am on May 18. Scott went home to grab some supplies and came back shortly. Scott tried to sleep that night in our room but I stayed up all night. Shock, that I would have to deliver my baby and she wasn't alive. At around 8 am, my sisters Sara, Jessica and Rebecca came to see me. The doctor on duty just kept on giving more misoprostal without even checking in on me. I decided on an epidural for pain management. Clara was born into this world at 10:34 am. We were introduced to my daughter at 11:30 when the OB finally worked his way to see what had caused her demise. It was something to do with a clot in her umblical cord. Later we found out it was from excessive twists in her umbilical cord ... the lifeline to my baby. A perfect little girl gone from this world, due to an "accident" - and will anger me for the rest of my life.

I held Clara with as much joy as I could muster - a product of Scott and I. We explored our baby girl, a round face, a nose that was a cross between Scott and I. She had a mole above her right breast. Long legs, long arms, long fingers and toes. Her thumb was an exact replica of Scott's. She was absolutely perfect.

My mom, dad and Emily came to the hospital too. We all held my baby girl. Julie and Tim skyped in too to meet my precious little girl. I held my girl for as long as I could - Scott tried to feed me lunch as I didn't have to let her go. We called for the clergy to baptise Clara and we did so around 3 pm.

My sister Lisa arrived from London, On around 5:30 pm and also got to meet Clara, help make the foot moulds and help me dress her.

We took pictures of Clara.

At 6 pm, my family said goodbye to Clara and Scott and I stayed behind to create memories of our family of 3. We lied in the hospital bed with Clara between us. I on the left and Scott and the right. We told her stories about our vacations, how we met, when we got married. Scott taught her 75 digits of pi - that's what he wanted her to learn one day. At around 9:30 we decided it was time to say goodbye. I kissed my little girl and sang her "hush little baby".

Scott and I left the hospital without our little Clara. The most unreal feeling of leaving your baby behind when all you wanted was to start a new life with that little one. All we have left of our girl was a memory box.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tiny Feet

Dear Clara,
It impresses me how your tiny feet are responsible for some of my fondest memories of you. How I miss your precious little feet kicking in my belly letting me know that you are happy and healthy. I relished in each kick.

At 16 weeks, sitting at my desk at work is when I first felt you kick mommy. It was a low kick meaning that you were facing forward in the breach position. Tap, Tap, Tap. I sat there wondering if I was imagining things but looking but looking back, it was truly a kick. As you grew stronger, the kicks were able to be felt by the outside world. At 18 weeks, during our drive to New York, daddy felt your light little taps.

I could always tell what position you were in by the way you kicked. Sometimes, there were people (mostly your aunties) that wanted to relish in your kicks. Sometimes, they got to feel those tiny little feet but sometimes you were facing away and only mommy could feel you. I felt special, that only mommy could relish in those sweet little feet. One time, after dinner at your grandmothers, I sat by kitchen counter and was so happy that I could feel your little feet for two hours. You were full of energy.

I wanted desperately for your dad to feel you too. Every time there was the slightest movement, not matter how small, I would grab your daddies hand. One evening while lying in bed, you went on for about 30 minutes just for your dad and I. We were so happy. Full of expectation to see those tiny feet flop around our home. I wish with all my heart that things could have been different.

Your sweet little feet.

Love,
Mommy

Monday, 18 June 2012

One Month Since Birth.

Dear Clara,
I can't believe it's been one month since you were born! You were the most beautiful baby girl I've seen in my whole life. I was so proud of how brave you must of been to fight to stay with your mommy and daddy. You are a fighter, just like your mom.

There isn't a moment that goes by where I don't miss you. I will always carry you in my heart and remember all the love you gave me. I will always cherish our precious memories together. You are the very best thing that ever happened to me.

Love you forever and always,
Your Mommy

Sunday, 17 June 2012

One Month

Today marks the one month point in which they could not find my daughter's heartbeat. Tomorrow, will be the one month mark since I gave birth do my baby girl, Clara. Happy One Month sweet pea, mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

I'm afraid that each day that passes, my freshest memories of her gets further and further away from me and that frightens me to no end. I want to relish in the fresh memories of my short but very sweet time with her. They say grief isn't a linear process and I'm learning the hard way that this is true. I wish it were linear, that I had a road map that told me what to do, work the steps. I've been reading many many baby loss blogs, searching for answers and I've come up empty handed. It seems everyone deals with their grief in a different manner and bounces around the different stages of grief. The only commonality is that it takes a lot of time and even still the loss is still profound many years later. I've spoken to a woman who lost her son 22 years ago and I still see the sadness in her eyes wondering what career he might have chosen. A life time of memories lost and we are left wondering what might have been. Even now, I wonder what you would have looked like all grown up. At the rare moment, I'm out of the house I stare in envy of mothers and daughters - I wish a million times over that I could have had that with Clara. They are truly blessed.

Perhaps, I'm searching for hope. Hope that life can get better, that my life with Clara was "as good as it gets". I will always miss my daughter but I just can't imagine living my life with all this love to give and no one to give it too. I want to know if there is light at the end of this tunnel but alas, no one can predict what the future holds.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Physical Goodbye

Clara was buried in the Garden of Angels with all of the other infants lost. This is the same cemetery that my grandmother was buried and that brings me great comfort, if that is possible. I can't believe it's been 1 month since I lost my world, my purpose.

That morning, Scott and I went early to the funeral home to say goodbye to Clara's physical being. We opened up her little casket where we placed a few items with her. This includes a necklace from her Auntie Sara and Uncle Diyan, photos of her family, my baby necklace, Scott's stuffed lamb and the book brown bear. The rest of the items where placed on top of her casket, an elephant form Auntie Jessica, Sophie the giraffe from Auntie Lisa and a penguin from Auntie Rebecca (stitched I <3 CDJ). Brown bear is a book that I taught Rebecca to read when she was young and it's the same book I wanted to teach my daughter to read.

So Scott and I read Clara the book together, I sang her a lullaby and we kissed her and let her know how much we loved her. That was the physical goodbye.

Each night my husband and I talk about our favourite memories of our girl and we tell her a bed time story. Her spirit still lives with us and we will never have to say goodbye to that!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Time Standing Still

Time is standing still. The world keeps on moving. Each day I grieve heavily for my baby girl that I've lost. In a way, it's the grief that connects me to daughter. That she was real and she meant the world to me. Happiness is fleeting. This unchosen journey of losing Clara, where one minute I was the happiest I've ever been to what I am today - lost. The loneliness I feel without her is becoming unbearable. How do I muster up the strength to find a new way to feel connected to her? I'm lost in the world of baby lost mothers. It feels less lonely but it's also scary as it feels like it's normal to lose a child. I'm afraid. I'm scared. I feel like I'm drowning.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Daddy's Letter

I just wanted to share the letter my husband wrote to our daughter. My favourite line is "I love you more than I ever felt possible". A child changes you and the loss of that child makes the world a different place. I feel so alone without her. During my pregnancy, I lived each day for Clara and each day passes without her, I'm struggling to find a new purpose without much luck. How do I live without my little girl? The little girl my husband and love "more than we ever felt possible".

Dear Clara,
I want you to know just how happy you made your mom and I. For the last six months, we have talked about you everyday, about our hopes and dreams for you and our future. We talked about our plans to take you to amazing places, to teach you and let you choose an instrument to play, take you camping and buy you a bicycle. Every single day your mom and I smiled and laughed, kissed you and felt you kick. Your happiness spread to your aunties, grandparents and friends. We were happy to bring you to New York too. We already miss you so much. It doesn't seem for to your mom and I, but we want you to know we love you and love each other. I don't know how else to say it but I love you more then I ever felt possible. I want you to know about our family. how your dad is a Caucasian from Alberta who lived in Westlock and Edmonton, likes to bike and loves life. Your mom is Chinese born in Canada, her heart is amazing, she would do anything for anyone. Our whole extended family is amazing and you are part of that family. There are so many things to share with you, I don't know where to begin. Just know that when the sun is setting, wherever we are, we will love you and think of you, miss you and celebrate you.
Love Daddy

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Clara's Great Nama Dawn Johnston

Clara's great nama past away this past Monday, June 4th - Dawn Johnston. Her obituary can be found in the below link.
http://www.gonebutnotforgotten.ca/2012060811369/lethbridge/johnston_dawn.html

Clara's middle name was given to her by her daddy after his nama. We both wanted Clara to have a strong meaningful name - people to look up to as she grew up. Scott's nama was one of those people who was strong, determined and not to mention smart. She defied convention for her time, travelling away from home to earn a nursing degree. She also believed in discovering the world and travelling - which both Scott and I loved to do. She was well read and above all she was someone that my husband looked up to himself. That was enough for me. There are only a select few people in this world that I find inspirational and Clara Dawn has two of those people in her name.

Clara: If I only got to see you grow up, I know that you would have exceeded my expectations for you. You would have aspired to be like Clara Hughes and your great nama. I know you would have been a sweet soul yet determined. We would have like to show you the world and now I would have given it all up to see your face again. Your great nama now joins you and I hope you will find your inspiration within her. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Private Mommy and Daughter Time

Clara: I just couldn't get to sleep tonight, I'm laying here thinking about you and our special times together. I want to document my special mommy and daughter times together so I will never let those memories fade.
1. Elevator Rides - Mommy used to take the elevator at work to the fifth floor. Most often, we'd be alone. This was my special ride with you baby girl. I remember rubbing my belly and telling you "I'm so lucky that I get to be your Mommy". I still think that is true.
2. After swims - After a good workout in the pool, I'd hit the showers. I did this on average about twice a week while you were in mommy's belly. I would imagine you would be an excellent swimmer and dream about the infant swimming lessons we would take together. However, the majority of the time I would just say "I hope you had fun swimming with mommy". I just wanted to have the healthiest pregnancy possible to give you a head start in life.
3. Stolen moments - At any point that I found the two of us alone together, I would rub my belly from side to side telling you "mommy loves you, mommy loves you, mommy loves you".
4. Car rides - for some reason, you were quite the active baby on the drive to work, perhaps breakfast woke you up. I spoke with you a lot in the car. Daddy remembers looking in the rear view mirror and seeing me talk to you. I don't quite remember what I would say to you but near the the end I started sing to you "hush little baby". You now are mommy's sweetest angel in town.
5. Making dinner for daddy - I must admit as soon as I knew you could recognize sounds, I inflicted you with the voices of Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. This would be played while making dinner for your daddy and waiting for him to get home. I just wanted to make sue you were cultured:)

The Happiest Days of My Life

That's what my daughter Clara gave to me in her short life, the happiest days of my life. I think back on the experience of being pregnant with her and those have been the best memories that I've ever had. Watching my belly grow and knowing that she was growing too. I think feeling her move and knowing she was full of life is the most fulfilling feeling one can have. I started feeling her move quite early, 16 weeks. But even before that she was active on all our ultrasounds. She was restless and stubborn just like her daddy. Each ultrasound took a long time because she just couldn't stay still! It has me wondering what traits did she get fom me? Either way this precious life was made from the best parts of her mommy and daddy. She was something really special.

I remember Clara and I preparing for her Auntie Julie's weddings shower, we made quite a bit of food for it. We worked really hard to prepare. I look back on photos of the event and I can see that I was glowing and that I was full of life, hope and happiness. Every activity we did together felt amazing and was full of excitment, knowing we would be living in the outside world together soon. Now, i feel those feelings I had will be lost forever. I mourn for the life we could have had. The vacation to Yellowstone that I wanted to take her on or encouraging her to sign up for the kids of steel.

 I went to my first perinatal loss support group meeting yesterday. I talked to Clara in the car as I had done when I was pregnant. It felt nice, I felt connected. I know she is giving me the courage to go and get help and that I need and to to think about the positive things she brought into my life. It's going to be a long and difficult journey through my grief. I just hope she continues to provide me the courage to keep moving forward.

 Clara: there's not a moment in my life where I don't miss you. You will always be alive in my heart!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Where does love begin or end?

They say "love has no beginning or end". This is what I have been contemplating today. When did my love for Clara begin? I knew I always wanted to have children but did I love her before she was born? Or did I love the idea of raising children? Either way, I knew I had a tremendous amount of love to give. I knew I would sacrifice my life for my children and would do my very best at raising them. That seems almost like a fantasy now that Clara is gone. But the one thing I know for certain is love has no end. My love for my daughter lives within me and is something that will never cease.

Monday, 4 June 2012

My Life Without Clara

Where do I go from here? I'm sure that there are many grieving mothers that ask this question. I've been doing a lot of reading about other mother's losses and I wish with all my heart that it would somehow shed some light on my on path to grieving. But it hasn't. Like all mothers, we hold are children dear to our hearts and I can't even imagine trying to move on without my precious child in my life. It defies the law of nature, a parent grieving for a child. For now, I feel stuck. I feel guilty, angry and so much sadness.
How do I begin to celebrate the life of my baby without her in it? I would want her to be proud of who her Mommy is and already I feel like I'm letting her down.
Clara: I want you to give Mommy the strength to make you proud. Always remember how much mommy loves you!