February 28, 2011

Happy birthday Ianto

My boy. My darling, sweet, gorgeous boy.

It's been a year since you slipped silently out of my body and into the cold world. Into my arms for such a short time. I wish you could have stayed with us, but you had to leave for reasons unknown. I can't believe it's been a year since I found out I had a son. A year since I saw your face for the first time and fell so deeply in love - a depth I never knew possible. I love you so much... So very very much...

Sigh... I haven't really planned what to say in this post, so please forgive me for being a bit all over the place. I just need something here marking his birthday. I'm sure I'll be back later to document what we actually did...

Here, have a poem I found a couple of days ago (I've linked the blog I found it on in the title):

"Forever A Baby"
Another year, still so small,
Growing older, yet not at all.
My mind strains to think,
Remembering toes so pink.
Though our time full of stress,
You my dear shall never depress.
Your days were so short,
Yet so long for your sort.
Always my precious son be,
Never grown up, forever a baby.

I just... I wish I had a little toddler here with me, smooshing his birthday cake all over himself. Instead I have a patch of dirt to go visit. Not even a headstone to look at. Just some toys whose colours have faded from a year of sun and rain, and some dirt. It's just not fair. I'm lucky enough to have another baby growing inside me who I'll meet soon, and I appreciate that so much... but it doesn't stop the pain. Crying at certain songs, or lines in TV shows... Torturing myself by watching videos dedicated to other stillborn babies (yep, doing that right now...) and listening to sad music. It just doesn't stop. One year on, and it still hurts. Some days are harder than others, but it hurts.

Why him? Why my son? It still doesn't feel real sometimes, you know. I look at his photos and feel disconnected. "That's not my baby. My baby's safe." No. He is my son. I love him from the split ends in my hair to the overly long toenails on my feet (I can't reach down to cut them!) and all the way back up again.

His hat still smells like him. Not the little white hat he was buried in, of course, the big blue and white one we had on him to begin with. It was a premmie hat, and it was still too big.

Happy birthday, Ianto. I love you, and so does Daddy. You've touched so many lives from me telling your story to anyone who'll listen. I miss you so much. Have fun, wherever you are. Whether that's heaven, some other kind of afterlife, or just in my heart and memories... Have fun for your birthday.

Dear Huggies...

If you offered a "this child is no longer alive" option, this wouldn't be so awkward... There's a reason I put his name as "Ianto (stillborn)" on your site.

Whoops. Thanks for the voucher, though. I look forward to using it! And I suppose you're not technically wrong, he is one year old today. Just, you know... not here.

February 26, 2011

A year.

A year ago right now, I was probably sleeping. I had about three hours until I had to get up and take Scott to work. He could have driven himself, but I wanted the car that day.

A year ago, at about five a.m., I drove Scott to work. As was my habit, I went back to my mum's place instead of home because I didn't want to be alone. I was tailgated by some idiot all the way up St Georges Rd and High St. White Nissan. When I got to Mum's I posted an angry Facebook status about it, then went to sleep on the couch because no-one else was up yet. Six o'clock.

Eleven o'clock. I wake up. Youngest brother is at school. Mum and oldest brother clattering around the kitchen, tv on in the lounge. I think about how much I love my family. Hug my belly, realise I'm 32 weeks today. Get up, grab a drink. Bloody hell it's hot today. 42 degrees, Mum tells me. Nah, I don't feel like another drink. Not thirsty. Mum says my car should be back from the mechanic this afternoon. She and brother leave to pick it up, come back with the car they left in. Not ready yet. I'm pissed off, he's had the car since August. A few days after I found out I was pregnant.

Noon. Having a great belly laugh with mum and brother. I wonder if I'm hurting the baby with all this laughter? Or maybe I'll feel some kicking soon, the baby kicks more when I'm happy. Don't give a thought to how I haven't felt her kick today, she's never been much of a kicker anyway.

Half past noon. Hate to love and leave, but I have to pick up Scott. We'll come back here for dinner. I'll get him to grab me lunch from work.

One forty-five. Send Scott an SMS - "can you bring me some food? Just my normal meal, but a frappe as well as the Coke." Geez I'm thirsty now. Should've brought a water bottle. Two fifteen. Where's Scott? Open the car door to get some more air flowing in the car. Ugh, still too hot! Close door, send Scott another message asking where he is. I'm pissed off now, dying of thirst. Should've brought a drink... Put my head down, feeling groggy...

Wake up to Scott shaking me. I've passed out, he says. Gotta get in the passenger seat so he can drive us home. I stumble over, feet feeling heavy. Fall into the seat, lay it back and open the window. Feeling groggy again...

Wake up briefly on St Georges Rd, wonder how we got there. The cooler air feels nice on my face. I sink back into darkness. Wake up out the front of Mum and Dad's, Scott shaking me. We go inside, I need to lay down. Lay on oldest brother's bed, Mum gets a wet flannel for my head. Black. Wake up - is the baby okay? Black... Is the baby... Black. "Tenielle, do you want to go to hospital? Maybe you should take her to hospital..."

Flannel is wet and cold again. Somehow get to the car, to the hospital... I'm 32 weeks today, I fainted in the car and I've been groggy since. Go up to the Maternity ward, they'll get you in for a check.

Sitting. Haven't fainted again since we got here. Woman in labour is let through to the birth rooms after waiting with us for a few minutes. I'm going to be doing that soon. Do you think if there's anything wrong I'll have to have the baby today? I'm excited by the thought. She'd have to be in special care a while, but what if I get to meet my baby tonight? Wow...

Finally called through. Bed 20. Drink this water, give us a urine sample in this jug, we'll be back soon. Wee in the jug, leave it in the toilet because I don't know what to do with it. Fiddle with the radio. Whoops, I didn't mean to break the dial off! Lay on the bed, have some water. Chat with Scott. He's on my left.

Midwife enters the room. I tell her what happened, apparently I passed out and kept asking about the baby. No, haven't felt any movement today, but I have a sleepy baby in there. I don't feel much so I'm used to going a few days without feeling anything. Maybe Wednesday was the last time I felt anything?

My favourite part of every appointment - "Let's just listen to bub's heart, shall we?" ...crackle crackle... More gel... Crackle crackle.... "Hmm, might be in an odd position. I'll just go grab the portable imaging screen."

Alone in the room. I dab the flannel on my forehead. I look calm, but I don't look to my left. What if...? No. Don't be silly. Midwife comes back. Black and White flash on the screen, hey I can see the baby's head! Aww how cute... There's the chest... Tiny flicker, disappears right away. She presses harder, trying to find that flicker again. Are you sure that's the chest? I'm properly worried now. A doctor comes in. She tries... We explain about the flicker... She can't find it either. "This is old equipment, I'll just go get the newer one."

Alone again. Scott makes a small sound next to me. My chest feels like an elephant is on it. We saw that flicker, the baby's okay. Maybe we were right and it has to be born early. Doctor comes back with two midwives and the new machine. More gel on my belly. Wait for the machine to boot up. Everyone chatters nervously, we did see that flicker. Just have to find it again. Machine's ready. Wand goes on my tummy... Five minutes pass, everyone holds their breath.

Finally... "I'm so sorry. There doesn't seem to be a heartbeat." More things are said, it's arranged that we'll go down to Radiology on the big machine. But that's essentially just to get the official report. Everyone leaves the room. Scott and I are alone again.

The door closes, instantly I choke on the breath I've held for the past few minutes. "Scott..." I look at him. He's crying silently. Says nothing, just embraces me and stares blankly at the machine's black screen. I still have gel on my stomach, going everywhere all over us. What's happened? What? Smudge...

Sitting in a wheelchair now. There's a baby crying in the room ahead. I still have some hope I'll get to hear mine cry. That doctor didn't know what she was doing. The person in Radiology will. Clunk, clunk, out of the birth suite... The guy pushing my wheelchair is happily chatting away. I hide my tears. Scott's gone to call work, he won't be in tomorrow.

Arrive at Radiology. So quiet. So alone. The wheelchair man turns the tv on for me. I'm vaguely aware of movement on the screen, but nothing else. What's happened to my baby? My Smudge? I still think there was a mistake. Scott comes back. I smile at the woman doing the scan, tell her the doctor thought there was no heartbeat but they need to be sure. More gel, more hard pressing on my tummy. We see the spine... "There's where the baby's heartbeat should be..." Her voice trails off as silent tears run down my face. Fuck. It's real. The baby has no heartbeat. Fuck!

Sitting in the wheelchair again, Scott's gone to tell work what's happening. I told him not to call my parents yet, tell them in person when you go pick stuff up. I look at the tv, the winter Olympics. Ice skating. That woman's mum died the other day. She cries. I cry. Wheelchair man comes back, takes me to the birth suite again. It's almost ten o'clock. My baby... I'm back in the room. Scott comes back in. His eyes are red. I've been told we're going to room 19 now. I pack up our stuff. Remember the wee jug in the toilet. Tip it down the toilet, leave the jug on the floor. They didn't check it.

Set up in room 19. This one has a tv. It takes ten minutes to work out how to turn it on. We're not talking about what's happened. Someone comes and says the report hasn't come up from Radiology. They don't want to induce without the report, do I want to go home and come back tomorrow? No way. You're inducing me tonight. We argue - who fucking argues something like this? - and I win. They'll be back soon to induce me. Scott leaves to pick stuff up from Mum's. I tell him to say it as gently as possible. Alone again... More tears fall. It's almost midnight. I lay on the bed and wait. Thirty two weeks. No heartbeat. What's the date? I have to remember the date... The day my Smudge... Died. My baby is dead.

Twenty sixth of February, two thousand and ten.

- Posted via BlogPress from my iPhone

February 12, 2011

The end is nigh...

The end of my pregnancy, that is. I have a little over two weeks until I'm classed as "term" and a little over five weeks until my due date. That magical "term" will be reached on Ianto's birthday, and I have no doubt that I'll be giving birth before my due date. I'm still thinking the 17th of March. The guessing's still open at Expectnet, so click the button on the right and have a guess yourself!

As for what we're doing for Ianto's birthday...I really don't know. I'd like to do something to "celebrate" but I can't think of anything. We'll definitely be going to the cemetery and visiting him, but that's as far as I get. Scott's working that morning, I'll have a hospital appointment that day... I just wish more "real life"people cared enough to warrant a party of some sort. Well, not a party, I suppose, but something. If you're another "babyloss" parent, let me know in the comments what you did for your baby's first birthday, or what you're planning to do. I think, since Cookie will be born close(ish) to Ianto's birthday, we'll have a special little cake or something at every birthday party. But this one, I'm stumped.

I got quite a bit of support for posting those belly photos last week. I've been so ashamed of my belly through this whole pregnancy - I'm a bit of a chubba to begin with, so I didn't think my belly was "pretty" or "neat" enough. Then it snapped. My belly is beautiful. No, it's not the "normal" shape of a pregnant belly - it's flat at the front, and almost disappears when I lay on my back - but it's grown two babies now. My front is covered in stretch marks. I don't care anymore. They really are my Mummy Badges.

On a different note, this blog will need a makeover of some sort once Cookie's born. I'm eternally grateful to Sarah for designing it last year - I've tinkered with it a lot, mostly out of boredom, but it's still essentially the same. I think I'll have a crack at doing it myself... Even if I fail, I have the default designs to fall back on.

February 03, 2011

Badges of honour

I love my belly right now.

Even if I'll never be able to wear anything that shows my stomach off because of the stretch marks.

Each silver and red mark is my mummy "badge" - from the high tiger claw ones Ianto left, to the smaller mottled ones Cookie's been leaving.

I dont love my body sometimes, but I do love its ability to grow my children.

Posted via BlogPress from my iPhone

February 02, 2011

Stillbirth sucks the big one

swearing in cartoonImage via WikipediaLanguage Warning: As always, I'm writing from the heart and just doing a stream of consciousness thing - but right now, I have a lot of swear words swirling in my head. Most will escape. Also, I'm being a bit mean here. Tough truths and all that. I've also scheduled this to post automatically in the middle of the day rather than 1am when I wrote it.

Fuck. I thought I was doing okay. I thought I was healing from the past year, looking forward to meeting my new baby. But no. Fucking stupid me had to go watch the video I made with Ianto's photos. I had to watch it right in the middle of a kicking storm in my belly from his younger sibling too. Idiot!

I miss my baby. No, scrap that. While I do miss him, I really didn't know him enough to properly miss him. Oh, I can attribute things that have happened to him, but they're not. Rainbows aren't fucking messages from my dead baby, they're just the after-effects of a big rainstorm. My pants falling down while leaving the hospital wasn't him saying "cheer up mummy" - I just didn't tie them tight enough because I forgot I didn't have a pregnant belly any more.

I want to touch his skin again. I want to see him - not in photos. But no. His skin doesn't even exist anymore. It's rotted away like the rest of his body. All that would be left of him now is his tiny little skeleton, broken into bits in the dirt - maybe with the rotting remains of his coffin. And definitely with the nowhere-near-rotting remains of the fucking disposable nappy we put on him. That's probably helped the process along quicker than it would have if he'd had no nappy. His head would be practically flat in the ground, since his skull wasn't fused together.

I hate these thoughts. I really do. It kills me to think of my baby like that. I'm so angry... I think this shit every single day. 339 days in a row I've thought these thoughts. It's been 339 days today since my dead baby was born, and it's 48 days until I'm "due" to give birth to his sibling. This is just not right.

I don't want to be me any more. I want to be some alternative me, who had a baby last year that was alive. Or never got pregnant to begin with. I don't want to be pregnant with my second baby. I want to either have my first with me, or have this one be my first.

Scott and I have aged so much. I watched that video, hand outstretched towards my baby, amazed at how young Scott looked. He looks five years older now - his face shows the pain he feels all the time. My face has grown longer, my eyes sadder. We both wear it all in our faces. The horror of losing our son. The wishing we could go back. The strain of being married to each other... I just want to fix it all. But I don't know how.

It's February. A year ago I had a living baby growing in my belly, and I had no idea of what was coming. The calm before the storm. If this baby dies, that's it. No more Tenielle. I'll be some horrible shadow that's only around because she doesn't want to hurt certain people. Ha! Five people in the entire world to live for. Five people keeping me around.

PS - For what it's worth, after writing all this out, I feel infinitely better. I'll still publish, because it's good to get this stuff out and have people see what it's really like in my head on a "down day"...