December 15, 2012

Today's news.

Since Amelia woke up this morning around 6ish, I'd been annoyed at her. I didn't want to get up, I didn't want her bouncing around and hurting me. Finally, she woke me up enough that I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep. So, bleary-eyed, I checked Facebook. Now I don't care about the sleep I so dearly wished for.

At least 20 parents are going to wake up every morning for the rest of their lives with a piece of themselves missing. Someday, they may get back to normality and annoyance at not being able to sleep in. Then they will hear of another tragedy in the news or their personal lives, and it will all rush back to them.

I hope the families of those who died at the hands of this person can someday find peace. I hope the children and teachers who had to witness it happening can someday come to terms with what they saw and heard.

May the children and adults who lost their lives rest in peace.

December 10, 2012

Trying!

Just a quick note to let you all that I've been trying to post for the past week or so, but my iPad doesn't want to upload the photos for me. As soon as I work it out, I'll get the post up.

Thanks for being patient!

Tenielle

October 07, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 7: What to say.

Today's subject is a lot lighter than yesterday's. Today is about the things you should say to grieving parents. As with yesterday, this is not a one-size-fits-all thing.

  • "I'm sorry for your loss" - Always, always say this. Use it to lead into other things, reword it to suit you, but always tell a grieving parent that you are saddened by what happened to them and their child.
  • "What was his name?" and other questions you would normally ask a new parent - Any parent wants to talk about their child. It's no different if the child has died.
  • "Congratulations on the birth of your baby" - There was a baby born. The baby may have died, but s/he was born nonetheless. My favourite card we received had a heartfelt congratulations alongside their sympathies.
  • "..." - I said yesterday that saying nothing was a bad thing. I'll now admit that's not always true. Just use your silence wisely. Sit quietly as they talk about their baby. Hold them in silence as they cry. Cry with them if you must, but do not overpower their own grief.
  • "Happy Birthday!" - Obviously you don't say this to the newly grieving parents. Someone remembering Ianto's birthday is one of the few things I found that picks me up on those awful days at the end of February. Someone remembered it wrong this year (they said it on the anniversary of his death, two days early) but it still made me happy! Including him on cards to other people is something we almost always do as well.
  • "Ianto", "him", "the baby", etc. - The opposite of yesterday's last point. Always use personal nouns when speaking of someone's child. Just because he died doesn't mean he's any less of a person.
Again, these are what I would recommend for someone like me. Always use your own judgement when talking to grieving parents.

October 06, 2012

Capture your Grief day 6: What NOT to say.

There are many things a grieving parent doesn't want to hear. This is just a small sample, not a definitive list. Some of the things I found offensive may be comforting to others, and vice-versa.

  • "It was god's will" - Starting off with the big guns here. I found it rather offensive for people to say this to us, especially as we are non-religious. What kind of deity kills someone's baby? Definitely not comforting. You go on believing in your big man in the sky (or whichever deity you believe took my baby away from me) and I'll continue mourning my son.
  • Related to the above "I'll pray for you" - No thank you. I don't believe in prayer, so you're not praying for me at all. You're praying for yourself, which is perfectly fine, but don't you dare say it's for my benefit. I got angry that the funeral cards had "thank you for your prayers" on them, for goodness' sake!
  • "There was obviously something wrong, so it's just as well he died before birth" - That may be so, he might have had something "wrong" that would have killed him anyway. I have had these thoughts myself, but that doesn't give you the right to voice them. Not comforting.
  • "..." Yep, saying nothing says a lot. Breaking off friendships because you don't know what to say to me hurts. Even saying something like "I don't know what to say" before changing the subject is a million times better!
  • "You must have done something wrong" - Say this to me and I will do something wrong. I will break you. I'm the only one allowed to have those thoughts, and I have tried for two and a half years now to come to terms with them.
  • "At least you can have more children" - Even after proving that I can have more children, this hurts like hell. I love Amelia to bits, but even so I still want Ianto. I don't want to replace him with anyone, I want to have him and the rest of my kids. Similar to this, there's "just focus on the children you do have". Do you have any idea how offensive that is?!
  • "It's not like he was a planned baby anyway" - Wow. Just wow. So surprise babies are somehow less valued than those who were planned for? That's not only offensive to grieving parents, that's offensive to anyone who has either had or been a surprise baby.
  • "It", "the foetus", etc. - He has a name. If you don't know it, call him "he". If you don't know yet that he was a boy, call him "your baby" or "the baby". He was a person.
There are so many more things I could put on this list. Just step lightly when speaking to grieving parents about their dead children. Take your cues from them. Sometimes silence is the best option. Some parents may want to hear it was god's will. If in doubt, just say "I'm sorry" and let them talk.

October 02, 2012

Capturing my grief

I'm going to be participating in the Capture Your Grief photo project this month. The aim is to take a photo everyday with a different theme, all based around the loss of a baby or child.

I'll be posting all my photos through Pinterest, and each Sunday I'll blog all the photos from that week. Some of the subjects will be blogged about in between if I feel they would be better done with words than with photos.

Here are the appropriate links

Themes and explanation of the project: http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2012/09/capture-your-grief-this-october-2012-for-pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-month.html

My Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/tenibear/capture-your-grief-photo-project-2012/

I look forward to sharing this with you. Please feel free to participate. Even those who haven't lost a child can do a few of the challenges, if you think about someone else's child!



August 20, 2012

Part of the family

Ianto is very much a part of our family. If someone asks me how many children I have, I never hesitate to answer "two", though the rest of my answer differs from person to person. Sometimes I'll add that Amelia is the only one who gets to live with us, or that her brother died before birth. Other times I'll leave it unless someone asks why I've only got one hanging around me. He's included on a lot of birthday cards we send, and the few times we've had to put notices in the newspaper he's been there with "(dec.)" after his name. 

He influences a lot of what I do. From his and Amelia's birthdays being part of my phone unlocking passcode, to having a lot of rainbow items around the house, he's there. Some days Amelia and I wave good morning or goodnight to his photos. She's been starting to point at his cabinet lately, though that may be that she wants to play with the teddy bears and other toys.

 

I've mentioned that I don't believe in a higher power, that I'm not sure there's an afterlife at all, but the memory of him is always around. He is represented in family photos by his teddy bear, his name embroidered on the front. Rainbows surround us, the symbol we've chosen for him. We love him just as much as Amelia.

 

August 18, 2012

Long time no blog!

Hello there readers/stalkers! Sorry I haven't written in a while. Life keeps getting in the way, even the boring parts are sometimes too action filled to give me time to write!

We're coming up to two and a half years without Ianto. In fact, today (the 19th) is three years since I got that very first positive pregnancy test and we began this slippery slope.

I'm writing this on my phone with 6% battery, so I best leave this and go to bed. Just wanted to check in and let you all know things are going okay. Not excellent - we're all sick and have had a death in the family last week - but we're surviving.

Love from Ianto and Amelia's mummy Teni.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

May 25, 2012

That Photo

On my computer, there's a photo of Scott and I bathing Ianto. I haven't shared it online, because it's not the kind of photo I would want the world to see. I'm haggard and obviously still in shock from grief and labour, and Ianto is flopped between my arm and the side of the bath like a ragdoll. Neither of us were supporting his head, so a gloved hand is propping it up. He has my blood on his face, I have some meconium staining my shirt, there's blood on the bed behind us. It's incredibly upsetting and undignified for us. It's equally my most hated and most treasured photo of him.

It's the only one you can see his arms, legs, and body uncovered in. All of the other photos, there's clothes or sheets covering him. I stare at those long, horribly skinny limbs and think how they should be fat and chubby, around my neck or draped on my stomach as I cuddle him to sleep. I look at his knees and elbows, hardly even visible, and think he should be throwing tantrums in supermarkets. His stomach, his chest... The blood had already begun to pool in his little body. They were starting to turn dark when this photo was taken. His chest was so flat, it's like the lack of a heartbeat deflated him.

I wish I'd taken more photos of his little body before we wrapped him up. Before we said goodbye to it forever.

May 22, 2012

Photoshoot for the Australian Breastfeeding Association

I'd have loved to have someone who thinks breastfeeding at any stage is "only for the mother's pleasure" at my photoshoot today.

There is NO forcing a child to breastfeed. I tried every trick in my book to get Amelia to feed on camera, but she wouldn't have a bar of me and kept jumping off my lap! I made it for a time she's normally very interested in "booby" but nope, she didn't want anything until we had left and were back in the car.

So you're probably wondering why I was trying to breastfeed on camera today. I saw a call out last week for "models" to be considered for the Australian Breastfeeding Association's 2013 calendar and jumped at the chance! I meant to send a photo in last year, but never got around to it, so when I heard there would be an actual photographer I got all excited and had to say yes.

Even if the photos aren't used in the calendar, they've been released to the ABA for whatever use they want, so they might show up online or in their magazine. I hope they get used somewhere, Amelia was extra-cute today.

On another bit of news now - we've moved house! We're on the other side of the same suburb, but in a slightly bigger house with a maaaassiiiiive kitchen! I love my new kitchen so much, I may have to divorce Scott and marry it.

I've also got a new website for my doula business - www.irisbirth.com - and I'm now about halfway through my course. I've taken to doing quizzes/exams at 3am, and getting fairly good scores, so I know I can take the physical exhaustion part of it.Right, that's all from me right now. Hope to have some more news for you soon!

March 24, 2012

The Party






Part One was published yesterday. This is a photo-heavy post, so beware!


I rose the morning of Amelia's party with my mind racing. I had so much to do before 11, when we planned to leave. Luckily for my sanity, Amelia woke in a good mood and I got some cuddles in before doing anything else.

Scott had gone to get ice to put all the drinks in, but I was impatient and helped Amelia open all her presents from us as soon as she was awake enough to appreciate them. I we had bought her a rocking moose and a few other things from Ikea, and I gave her a couple of books I had meant to give her at Xmas but forgot about.





Then came the boring but important stuff. More food!



I made the cake pops, swirled them in chocolate, and left them to set. I didn't have enough time to make the vegemite swirl, but I didn't think it would be missed. I got Amelia dressed in her special birthday dress, showered myself, and we set off. A hundred things happened before all that, but I can't remember any of it... I just hoped against hope there weren't too many other people at the park.


When we arrived, my fears were realised. There was another party going on! I sent Scott to ask how long they were going to be there, and if a lady sitting alone at a different table was able to move to make room for us. She rather rudely said no, so we had to change the plan a little. There was a cafe not far from where I wanted to be, so we set up there and hoped we wouldn't be kicked out. As it turned out, this was one of the best moves we could have made.

Amelia had fallen asleep in the car on the way, so I stayed with her until she woke, again in a good mood. People had started to arrive, so we made our big entrance.
 I'd bought Amelia's dress from Amazon, but had neglected to check the arrival date until I'd already paid. Of course, it was long after the party would be over. Someone somewhere (Ianto?) must have wanted me to get that dress, though, because it arrived far ahead of time! Everyone told me what a pretty dress it was, and I have to agree. Amelia was the most beautiful one-year-old girl to grace this planet.





The party was a roaring success, aside from the fact that most of my food didn't get eaten. So much money down the drain, all because I catered more to the kids than the adults. Not having much table space didn't help.









But what about the cake? I hear you ask. Well, see for yourself...


Isn't it gorgeous? I was so proud of myself, pulling it off so well. It's obviously not perfect, the icing not as smooth as I would have liked, but for my first real attempt at a themed and shaped cake, I'd say I did a bloody fantastic job!


After a while, the party wound down. People started saying goodbye, and Amelia was getting tired. She fell and smacked her face into the concrete at one point, which drew a little blood and a lot of tears. Luckily, some Mummy hugs and a bit of booby made it all better.


My friend Lily (who saw Amelia born) and I headed to the change room to get new nappies on our girls, and chatted about how everything had gone. When we came out, we were shocked. Everyone was suddenly gone! We'd only been away for a few minutes, but in that small window the remaining guests had left. It was eerie.

We stayed maybe fifteen minutes longer, chatting away and laughing about the suddenness of everyone scattering. Scott started packing up the car, drove Lily to the entrance of the parklands, and I was alone with the birthday girl once more. We were both sore and tired from the day, but there were birds to chase! She chased them, I chased her, and we fell about laughing before heading home. All in all, there's not much I would have changed aside from the food situation and the blood on her nose.
I hope you've enjoyed having me back. Here's hoping I don't go away for too long again...

March 23, 2012

One and Two year(s) old!


I really need to start writing posts as soon as I think of them, rather than think about it. Sorry you all haven't heard from me in well over a month. I've been fairly well, no big changes in our lives. Except... I have a one-year-old! And a two-year-old!

 I'm still trying to adjust to the fact that Amelia's birthday has been and gone. It felt strange being able to cuddle her for her birthday, as opposed to visiting a grave. Then again, I was so busy on Ianto's first birthday (remember, "Cookie" had flipped breech?) that we didn't even get to him. Having an actual child to sing happy birthday to is a hundred times better, too.

For Ianto's birthday this year, I decided to make up for last year and held a very small party by his graveside.

Yes, it says "Happy 2nd Ianto"... I couldn't fit the word "birthday" on, okay?
When we got there, I threw some glittery things around that said "Happy Birthday" while Scott put down a picnic rug. We sang the birthday song, and had a cake I'd baked and decorated. Amelia was rather fond of it, which gave me hope for her own party since I was making hers as well. After that, we just packed up and left, leaving a piece of cake for the birthday boy. At least graveside parties are easy and not too stressful!
Amelia scoffing some cake
I had to do a rainbow cake, didn't I? You'd be disappointed if I didn't.






And so, to Amelia's birthday. I had stressed for weeks - nay, months - over the details. I took over six hundred photos to get the invitations perfect. I bought two different editions of the Womens Day Kids Birthday Cake Book. I purchased a lot of different tools to put the cake together, and I pored over recipe sites for food ideas.I had to get it perfect.

The day approached fast, faster than I'd wished it. I spent most of the preceding two weeks collecting ingredients and supplies. I looked up how long things would last in the fridge, and pre-made a few things. I worried that I had too many sweets and not enough savouries. But my main concern was The Cake.

I had originally decided on the merry-go-round cake - challenging, but pretty - but soon changed my mind to something simpler. The One Shaped Cake. It looked easy, and the photo they had in the book was adorable. But it didn't suit. I scrabbled to decide on a theme for this cake, until the Ponies arrived in my life. Yes, somewhere in the interim, I became a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. After a few weeks of watching these adorable creatures, I decided to theme Amelia's cake on my our favourite character - Fluttershy.
The day before the party, I started baking. Cake one didn't rise properly. It was risen on one side but not the other. I started panicking a little. Cake two was substantially better, almost perfect. Cake three... Cake three didn't play nice to begin with, not baking all the way through, but I popped it back in and kept a close eye on the oven. Perfection. I let them chill a while, and cut them into the correct pieces later that night before doing a "crumb layer" of icing.

Then the time came to ice it completely. I'd spent weeks practising, and this was my only shot at it. I started icing...

Midnight came, and it was Amelia's birthday. I tiptoed into our bedroom, climbed onto the bed, and gently kissed my beautiful one-year-old on the forehead. She stirred a little, but didn't wake, and I went back to what I was doing in the kitchen, going to bed myself an hour or two later.

End of Part One. Part Two (The Party) coming tomorrow!

January 25, 2012

Do you doula? I do doula, I do!

I'm so slack on this blog (and yes, I know I keep saying it). I forget to come and update when things happen. For example, I had a fantastic post planned for after Xmas, because we had a great week, but I never got around to writing and posting it. In fact, my last post? Scheduled that back in August and forgot about it. 

 

 Now, I'm sure you've noticed the title of this post, and you're wondering what it's about. Those who are a little closer to me will know. I'm a student doula now. Wondering what a doula is? A doula is essentially someone who is there for a mother in labour, helping her to focus and try to get the birth she wants. If you re-read Amelia's birth story, you'll remember I had a friend as my doula. She's a student as well.

 

I actually started studying in November, but after a brief "new student" blast of motivation, I didn't look at anything through December. Until this week. I've finished my first (draft) assignment, refined my website, and started on my second module. I even got a call out of the blue from a prospective client, but panicked and lost confidence in myself. Still mad at myself for that one.

 

I'm hoping that once I get trained up a bit more and attend a few births, I'll be confident enough to give my name to some hospitals and midwives. And then I want to support women going through stillbirths/late miscarriages (or early, but not many women hire a doula before the second trimester). I obviously have the experience on this end, but I'm going to try to get some extra bereavement training. Although things went rather well with Ianto's birth, it might have been nice to have a specialised doula there too.

 

Also? Pelvises suck. Too many complicated bits and pieces to remember.