Monday, September 16, 2013

Do you have any kids?

Do I have any kids?

It is the most loaded question anyone can ask these days. It seems harmless. People ask me places like work. I'm new. Do I want to bring up my son on the way into a meeting? No. So I say no.

And then a little part of me feels like I am betraying him. I want to say yes. His name was Oliver. He was 31 weeks when he died and I miss him every day.

I have told a few coworkers that I have gotten to know. He isn't a secret. Given the opportunity I would talk about him constantly, but I can tell that it makes people uncomfortable, and I don't want that for Oliver. I don't want people to think I'm talking about him so that people will feel sorry for me. I hear myself when I mention him, and I don't think people realize that I'm a mother. I want to talk about my son. How much he looked like my husband. He was so tall. We had so many hopes for him.

I would love to say to my coworkers yes I had a son. Let me tell you all about him. Like you I am a mom who loves to tell you about her child. But for now I will say no. And reach up and touch my locket and know that I will never forget him.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Emotional water table

I live in Calgary Alberta, for those of you who don't know me.

Earlier this year we had a pretty significant flood.

It rained a lot more than usual this spring and when the water came rushing in with the river, there was no where for the water to go.

The city struggled, homes were evacuated, then the water recessed and people went home. To assess the damage, and save what they could.

Then about 2 weeks later, there was a heavy rainstorm and some areas of the city flooded again. Because the water table was still so high. The water had nowhere to go.

That's how grief is. The bad thing happens, and you mourn. Then slowly you start to rebuild. You take your life back one second at a time.

But the water table is still high. All it takes is a little rain, and you are flooded. Your emotions are like the water, right there near the surface . They seem like they have recessed but the grief will never be gone.

Most days, I don't cry. Not a lot anyway, not like at first. Many days I have fun with my friends. We laugh and talk about the future. Someone's wedding. Someone's job. it makes me feel like things are piecing  back together. But all it takes is one little thing. Sometimes it is the stroller we had ordered. Sometimes it's a pregnant lady. Sometimes it's the babies Oliver was supposed to know. His friends, who will grow up without him. And that's all it takes to cause a flood.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Due Date

My due date should have been Friday of this week. The closer it gets, the worse I get, and the more it seems unfair. All the moms with babies don't even know how lucky they are. How it could have been them. 1 in 140 pregnancies result in stillbirth. (Globe and Mail article statistic).

When you first get pregnant, the doctors tell you "congratulations, but you need to be aware of how often miscarriages happen" but then the risk of miscarriage ends. you relax. You start to plan the rest of your life. You hear about SIDS and how to prevent it, what lowers the risk etc. But no one tells you, that in that 3rd trimester everything can go wrong. That one day, for no apparent reason, they discover your baby has no heartbeat. In my case it was less than 24 hours after I heard his heartbeat,

The morning before Oliver died, I had this moment where I was perfectly happy. It was Friday morning, and David drove me to the doctor for a routine checkup. My blood pressure was good, and the baby's heart beat was strong. It was finally FINALLY starting to be spring. I was 31 weeks along, with less than 10 weeks to go, and as we pulled up at home we discovered that overnight the blossoms in our yard had bloomed. And there was this moment, this perfect moment where everything was wonderful, and perfect and good.

And the thing that was the best about that day, was knowing that this Friday was so close. The (approximate) date that I got to meet the little life that I already felt I knew so well. My baby bear. The bear cub.

And now as this date gets closer and closer, the loss almost feels worse. It feels sharper and more real than it did in the first foggy few days we left the hospital with nothing but a box. At first all I could do was sleep, Then there were a few good weeks. The hormones from the pumping kept dumping pacifying relaxing chemicals into my brain. And I felt like I was really possibly helping.

My goal with pumping was to do it for the 6 weeks that I was told it would take my body to heal, So I pumped for just over 5 weeks and took most of the last week to gradually wean my milk production. As the happy hormones have faded, the world seems to have sharpened a bit. All of a sudden the seconds that I am alone feel emptier, and cold. The times I am distracted seem more like my old life, the life where we didn't have a son. Before.

And now he should almost be here. Friday is the day I should have been looking forward to for what felt like my whole life, and instead I am dreading it. Instead of holding my son in my arms and feeding him and protecting him and singing to him, I am holding his memorial. I am going to look out at all the faces of all the people who would have loved him, who loved him already, and together we will mourn the fact that we will never know him. No one will ever hear his voice, or get to touch his face again, or watch him grow.

On Friday it will be real. He should be here, and instead he is gone.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


This is a hard post to write, because we have received a lot of support from friends and family who are religious, and I want to start off by saying I have appreciated all of it. The people who have told us they are praying for us to me have the exact same message as the people who say they are keeping us in their thoughts. I hear that as a message of love, it doesn't matter who is listening. In my opinion, the fact that our friends and family continue to send love is what matters and I appreciate every thought, good vibe and prayer.  I thought it was important to say that, before I write what I need to say here.

I don't believe in God. Not in the traditional sense of thinking there is some being controlling my life and causing things to happen. I think god is an idea created by people, to make reality a little less scary. And I totally get the appeal, if I could believe that this was all part of some master plan, that there would be some reason for everything it would make me feel less vulnerable. Less like tragedy could strike at any time.

But I can't believe in God.

I can't believe that everything happens for a reason. It is not possible to convince me that Oliver being dead is part of any sort of plan. Like in the grand scheme of things it is ok. It is not ok and it will never be ok.

I wish I could believe in God, or heaven. If I could believe that someday I would be able to see my baby, and hold him and know him, I would. I would give almost anything to believe that. I am grateful to the people who do believe in heaven. I want them to be right.

I think if I could believe that he was in heaven somewhere safe and warm, being taken care of, and that I could go there, it would make things easier. Or maybe it would make things harder, because I would want to go there right now.

I do believe in science, and matter. I also believe in what I will call a soul, for lack of a better word. I think there is an energy component to people that makes up who they are. As you age, your cells die and new cells are formed. Your soul is what makes you "you" during your whole life. it is why you are the same person you were as an infant even though every cell in your body is not the same.

I believe when you die, that energy, just like the matter that makes up your body, dissipates back into the universe. There is no second chance, no reunion in heaven, no afterlife. You get one chance to live, once chance to do things, interact with people, to be. I think the idea that life is all we get makes it mean more. If you only live once, you shouldn't waste time. Oliver taught me that bad things can happen, at any moment, for no reason with no warning.

Our time on this earth is so short. I think of how unfair that it is that Oliver never got any, but even if you live to be 100 it is still relatively so so short. I think you have to live like you are going to live. A lot of people think saying Carpe Diem (or the painfully trendy YOLO) is just an excuse to do dumb things, and not think of the consequences for the future. I think it is a little more long term tan that. Thinking of the fragility of life isn't going to make me cash out my savings to go on a trip today, but it does make me want to treasure every second that I have with the people I love, because I don't believe I will see them in a magical afterlife. This is it, we get one life so make it count.

In trying to console myself about Oliver, I try not to think of the fact that I will never see him again, or never hold him in my arms, or know him. I try to think of all the endorphins that flooded both of our brains when I was happy, and all the kicks we shared, listening to his daddy sing or eating ice cream or drinking tea. I think of the joy of seeing his little flutter of a heartbeat for the first time on that monitor, and the excitement we felt planning for our lives as parents.

There doesn't seem to be a lot out there to console bereaved parents that is secular, and doesn't offer the promise of a reunion someday, so I needed to write this. Just in case. Just in case someone else needs to be reminded that life is just a series of brief interactions, of people enriching each others lives and enjoying the time we have. We have to honor the babies who are dead by continuing on, and enjoying the gift that we have of getting old, and of living. And knowing that however briefly they were here, we are better for loving them.

The beautiful walk we took last night. The world can still be a beautiful place. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dear Oliver

Dear Oliver,
This last week has been better. It has been easier to go out in to the world and do things. More than once I have gone the whole day without crying. I still miss you every second of every day, but I'm starting to look forward now. I have to. I have to think about going back to work, and the future.

At first the idea if the future offended me. The idea that the world could just keep going without you was horrible. How could people just go to work and do things and live their lives? I was mad, that the whole world didn't end just because mine did.

In the last week it has been easier to think of the future. I hate that you won't be in it. I hate that when we buy a house you won't have a bedroom. When I have another baby you won't get to know your brother or sister. When I think of our future in 5 or 10 years, it hurts knowing you should be there. But when I do those things I will carry you with me. When we buy a house you will be in all of it. We will put your pictures up on the walls, and think of you in every room if the house. When I get pregnant again, we will make sure that the brother or sister you have, knows about you.

Right now I am just thinking about you and how beautiful you made my life and how much I love you. Tomorrow you would have been full term. You would have been huge, and I should be waddling uncomfortably around the house right now. There are so many things that should be. You should be here. I'm sorry that you are not. But here it not I will always love you.

Love mama

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

I never thought father's day would be a hard day for me. I have a great relationship with my dad, and I was looking forward to taking my kids to home depot to buy tools for David, and helping them make breakfast in bed for him.

Today is a hard day for us. It is hard to think about being a parent when you never got to do any parent things. No late night feedings, no diaper changes. For David this means never getting to hear his son's voice. Never getting to tell him how much he was loved.

But he knew. Oliver would kick me so much whenever David would sing. He recognized his voice, the voice of his daddy telling him things through my belly. He loved the high notes especially.

I will never forget the first time David felt Oliver kick. He was working on a song for an audition, and every time he would sing a high note I would feel those little feet getting excited. Up until that point I could feel him move, but he hadn't kicked hard enough for David to feel. Since David wanted to feel those kicks he put on his favorite tenor and sat with me and felt his son be excited about music.

Thinking about that moment makes me cry now because I'm sorry that they won't get the opportunity to sing together. David will never get the chance to wave to his son from stage. To teach him to sing or to sing him to sleep.

The only consolation I have is knowing that Oliver got to hear his daddy sing. He got to hear his daddy talk to him and tell him about all the things he was excited for them to do together. At night before going to sleep David would put his hand on my belly and talk to his son. He would talk about all the plans and dreams we had for him, and tell him about his day. He would tell his son all the things he wanted to do.

Endorphins cross the placenta, which means that when you are pregnant, anytime you are happy, those same endorphins that flood your brain with happy feelings go to the baby as well. So every time David took care of us, Oliver got to feel all the love and happiness.

I want to wish David a happy father's day today. He was the perfect father to Oliver, and the way he took care of me when I was giving birth was amazing. He deserves every moment of congratulations. Calling yourself a parent when you don't have a baby can seem fake. But it isn't. You are still a daddy even if your baby was taken too early. And David was the best daddy Oliver could have had.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

One month

One month ago today Oliver was stillborn.

I can't stop thinking about a one month old baby. What he would be doing. All the things he would be learning.

And at the same time I should still be pregnant. He wasn't due until July. I should be hugely uncomfortable, spending my days getting ready for him, re washing the cloth diapers to make them soft, preparing freezer meals, putting the finishing touches on his room.

And instead my days are just empty. I am empty. They say I need to heal, and work on myself but I don't even know what that means. How do you heal when all you can think about is your baby, and how you would give anything in the world to just hold him for a moment.

It is true that every day gets a little better. But better just means I am more able to distract myself. It means fewer hours crying in bed, but not none. I can walk into his perfect finished bedroom without crying sometimes, but then out of nowhere it hits me, that he will never wear all the clothes, or hear the stories or sleep in the crib.

And it isn't fair. Sometimes it feels like the more I want something the harder it is to get, and the more I see it everywhere.

It doesn't help that I live on a pedestrian route 2 blocks away from an ice cream store. So many moms with strollers, and happy families walk past my house every day. It doesn't help that I'm 28 and at my age so many of my friends have kids. It's so hard to see all the babies and pregnant ladies.

We tried for 2 years to get pregnant. For 2 years I would look at friends and strangers with babies and feel like it was a club I was not part of. Feeling like you are supposed to be a mommy is horrible. Listening to moms at work complain about their kids, and you just want to tell them you would give anything to have their problem.

And then I got pregnant. I felt like things were finally going right. Finally I would get to shop for diapers, and read stories and check under the bed for monsters. I would fall asleep at night imaging feeding my baby, and trying to imagine how much I would miss sleep, but knowing that I didn't care.

And then all of a sudden it was over. All of a sudden my future and my plans and dreams were just over. With no warning or reason. Now the nursery that I walk past every day is just waiting for a baby who will never come. The pregnant friends whose babies were going to be friends with Oliver just make me think of how much I lost. The pregnant strangers who still feel the baby kicking, who give me strange looks when I stare, probably just think I am some crazy lady.

The last month has been a string of impossible days, interrupted by some wonderful distractions. I thought reaching a milestone would feel like I had accomplished something. I survived a month in the world without Oliver. But instead it just feels empty, just like any other day.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dear Oliver

Dear Oliver,
Fridays are hard for me. Before you died Friday was my favorite day. You were due on a Friday, and every week I would look forward to finding out how you had changed during the week.

Now Friday reminds me of what should be. Today you would have been 35 weeks along. We would have had your stroller by now. Your room was all set up for you. Everything was ready. All your diapers were delivered, and I would probably be buying you clothes every day. You were hard not to buy presents for.

Your due date is 5 weeks away. Thinking about how close we got makes me cry. I should be pregnant and uncomfortable and counting down the days until I got to meet you.

Oliver this morning I miss you more than any words could ever say. I want you to know that I am wearing the locket with your ashes inside, and that I take you everywhere with me.

I think of you constantly. I wish I could watch you grow and make you birthday cakes and drop you off at school. I wish I could change your diapers and teach you songs and read you stories.

Instead I will wear you close to my heart and carry you with me always. Every story that I read or place that I go you will be with me.

Love mama

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The freezer

The freezer at my house is full. I have just about 150 ounces if breast milk to donate to the milk bank. If you or someone you know is reading this because you lost a baby I urge you to consider weather or not you could donate.

For those in the US I might have to do some more digging to provide the info but if you are in Canada it is incredibly easy.

We rented the pump from London drugs. It costs $3.50 per day to rent and we have decided to consider that cost our donation to the milk bank.

You do have to have some bloodwork done, but if you are like me one more blood test now is nothing. At least I didn't have to drink the horrible glucose drink first. In Canada, the bloodwork is all free, so I am not sure if you would have to pay in the US.

The best part of donating the milk for me so far is having a schedule. My full breasts are literally what gets me out of bed in the morning. The days that are good it can be an inconvenience to pump every 4 hours, but the days that are impossible, the pumping is keeping me going.

On Friday last week it was one of the hardest days since I came home. We counted how far along Oliver was from Friday, so every week I would look forward to Friday and my email from baby center telling me how much bigger he was. How much more he was doing. That he went from a lemon to a lime. That he could hear and dream.

Last Friday David was at work and I was alone in the house. I couldn't get my mind off of the loss. Sometimes, like now, I can think of Oliver as an incredible gift that we had for as long as we did. But on Friday last week I couldn't shake the feeling like the universe stole my baby from me. The feeling of loss can be overwhelming.

The only think that helps is the pumping. When it is really bad, and the timer goes off on my phone to pump, I think of the mothers whose babies are in the NICU who don't have milk to help them. If I can save one mother from this grief, then all the pumping will be worth it. When I pump sometimes I think of Oliver and how this gift is his, but just as often I think if the baby who would be just about his age, who is fighting to stay alive.

It gives me the power to do something to help. No one could do anything for Oliver to save him, but I can help some other baby. I can do something.

And some days that purpose is all that keeps me going.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dear Oliver,

Dear Oliver,
This week is not going well for me or your daddy. We both miss you so much, that it makes everything worse.

Before we lost you I was an optimist. I would say relentlessly positive. I tried to find the good in everything. I always thought that if I worked hard and did the right thing that things would work out. That it would all be ok.

And then we lost you. Now I am afraid if everything. I'm afraid of losing anyone else that I love. I have never really lost anyone before. I had no idea it could happen so fast and be so sudden. It makes everything seem more fragile and it is terrifying.

Before you died, I was looking forward to everything. I couldn't wait to show you everything. And now I feel like you have touched all of those things and they just make me sad. You were supposed to be a stampede baby. I was going to plan huge birthday parties for you and take you on summer trips with your friends.

We were going to go to the lake, and take you sledding and go on walks and enjoy every second of every day. And now all those things remind me of you. When I see the bike at the store that I wanted to buy for you, or the park we were going to go to every day, it just makes me feel like my world is over. Everything I wanted is gone,

I will miss you every day for the rest of my life.

Love mama

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hospital bands and healing

The hospital checked me in and put one of those bands on my wrist, with my health number and name and date of birth. David got one too, since he was a man walking around labor and delivery.

When we came home from the hospital David cut off his medical bracelet and put it into Oliver's box.

I couldn't. I'm still wearing mine 3 weeks later. Somehow it makes me feel like this is still happening. Like losing my baby isn't something that is over, it is constant and ongoing. Somehow I feel like if I take the medical bracelet off, I am supposed to be healed and it will be over and everyone will expect me to be ok. And I know I will never be ok.

I also know the adhesive on this bracelet has held up well to 3 weeks of showers, but it isn't likely to hold up to 3 more.

One of the things David and I decided to do to honor Oliver was to each have a keepsake holder to wear some of the ashes. I bought a locket with an emerald ( the May birthstone) and David ordered a hollow pendant that is designed to hold ashes that is shaped like a music note, so we could each carry Oliver with us everywhere.

We want to do some work to them before putting in the ashes though. A locket is not the most secure or waterproof vessel, so my plan is to put the ashes in, and a hair or 2 from the memory box that the hospital gave us. And seal them in to an epoxy and then close the locket. That means it will never open, but it will be safe and sealed and Oliver can be protected.

I have decided that when we seal up the locket and I have his ashes with me, I can take off the hospital bracelet. I know taking off the bracelet doesn't mean it is over. It will never be over. Living without Oliver is something we will both have to do every day for the rest of our lives. But taking off the hospital bracelet means that the feeling of actively losing him is over. And the part where I carry him with me always is beginning.

Friday, May 31, 2013

How we are doing.

People keep asking how we are doing. It is a common question, I doubt anyone really thinks before they ask. Especially because they are concerned, and they want the answer to be that we are doing well.

But we are not. How do you answer that question? I'm not dead, so that's good. Even though my heart felt like it was going to stop, it didn't so I kept going. (I suppose I should add that I don't want to die, I am just surprised that I haven't) when you are pregnant one day, and then the mother of a stillborn baby the next, you feel like a part of you is just gone. It would be like if you woke up one morning and found out you didn't have lungs anymore, but you were still alive anyway.

The physical feeling of missing your baby hurts. Every time you eat food and he doesn't kick. Or you stand up, and your weight doesn't shift. Or you see something that you want for him in the future, and you remember that he doesn't get one. He will never swing on those swings, or wear the shoes or call you mommy. It is like losing 2 babies, the one inside you, and the one you were so excited to meet.

So what so you say when people ask how you are? When there is nothing that they can do?

Today I am spending the day crying at home. I'm not saying this so that people will call, or check on me, or contact me. I'm writing this for the woman who has lost a child, who survives one day, and the next day finds that she just can't face the world. Because some moments feel ok. You watch tv, and go to the store and spend time with the people you love and in those moments you feel like you can survive. Then you see the stroller you ordered or hear a child ask for their mom, and your heart breaks all over again, and it's like there is no air in the room.

Today I can't get how much I miss Oliver out if the front of my mind. Today is going to be full of crying and pain and the empty feeling of knowing I never get to see his perfect face or hold him or feed him ever.

Today I am not ok.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Dear Oliver,
This is your family. Your grandma took this photo, after trying to take it and taking about 10 videos by mistake.

This was a beautiful moment where we were able to smile.

Right now I am having a hard night, but I want to focus on the love you gave us, and the fact that although I will always be sad that you are gone, I will always be grateful that we had you at all.

Love Mama

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dear Oliver

Dear Oliver,
This morning I woke up and you just felt like a dream. A perfect wonderful dream. It took so long for me to get pregnant with you, sometimes it felt like it would never happen. Sometimes i think the more I want something the harder it is to get. 

Your daddy and I knew we wanted to have a baby a long time ago. After trying for 2 years, I finally took Clomid to see if that could help me get pregnant. It didn't work the first time, so the second time I took it I was worried it would never work. 

During the 2 weeks before I could take the pregnancy test I was away for work in Toronto. I knew I couldn't handle taking yet another negative pregnancy test alone in a hotel room, so your daddy and I decided that we would be together when I took it. I flew home Friday night and my plan was to take the test on Saturday when I woke up. 

Saturday I was so excited I woke up at 5 am and took the test. I didn't wake up your daddy first because if it was negative I wanted to go back to sleep. But it wasn't. It was positive. I ran down the stairs to the bedroom where your daddy was sleeping and i woke him up yelling "It's positive! It's positive! You are going to be a daddy!"

Your daddy was so excited and happy. It was the best moment- together at 5 am realizing our dreams could come true and the baby we wanted for so long could be real. 

It was such a snowy day and we decided to go for a walk through the park by our house. As we walked we talked about how happy we were to have you in our lives. We talked about telling our friends and our family- and how happy we were that you were finally in our lives. We talked about what to name you, and how much fun we would have taking you to the zoo and the park and to the lake. 

That morning was perfect because we had all the possibility in the world in front of us and you made us so happy. Happier than I ever knew I could be. From that moment that i saw that test- I knew that being your mommy was the most important thing I was ever going to do. Being a parent is what we are built for. Oliver I was so excited to teach you about science. Biology is what runs our life. People think it is fate or some sort of plan, but it is all biology. Biology is what makes us want babies, want partners, want shelter and food and comfort. It makes us a herd, and we turn those herds into communities. So the first moment I found out I was pregnant, it was like I had finally fulfilled my purpose. Your daddy and I were on our way to being a family. 

Writing this now, and knowing that all those dreams for you are just over, is really hard. I think about how I am never going to be able to take you to the zoo or the park or the lake. You will never get to grow up, or have a family of your own. I want you to know that on that morning, before you were even a person, you were just a bunch of cells, doing what your biology said to do- but we loved you already. You made us happier than we had ever been before and the love we felt that day for you and for each other, we will get to keep that always. 

Love Mama

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pumping to donate

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to give information on how to pump in order to donate.
Most of the information that I found was either how to start a supply for a living baby, or how to stop the production. A lot of what I did in the first few days was the opposite of what the "stop production" information said.

Oliver was stillborn on Sunday May 10, and my milk came in overnight on Monday night, about 18 hours after the delivery. My breasts felt incredibly full, but when I went to pump nothing came out the first time. I had tried to hand express just to relieve the pressure in a nice hot shower but that did not help either. David went to the drugstore to rent a hospital grade pump so the first time I tried to pump was Tuesday in the middle of the day, and I got nothing.

Slowly I was getting a few drops, literally not enough to go through the funnel and into the collection bottles. But I knew that there was something in there, and the minimum pump rental was 10 days so I decided to give it all 10.

Then all of a sudden on Thursday I went from 4-5 drops to an ounce of yellow colostrum. I was so excited! That was the first positive feeling I had since losing Oliver, the first moment where thinking of my body didn't make feel totally betrayed.

Over the first week, getting on a pumping schedule was hard. When there is no hungry baby asking for food, it is hard to remember to produce! I tried setting alarms on my phone, but the convenience of the snooze button meant that they were off by hours in no time. Add to that the fact that I mis-read the instructions that said to sanitize the pumps once per day, so I was totally sanitizing each time. (better more than less though!)

As I have continued to pump my supply has gradually increased, but only if I look at my daily yields. The amount from each pumping session has not been as reliable, probably because of the somewhat irregular time intervals as well as other factors like food and temperature of my breasts, which are suddenly extremely sensitive to cold.

A tool that has helped me increase my supply by monitoring the pumping schedule is a baby app called Feed Baby Lite. A warning to those using it, it is a pretty painful reminder at first that you don't have a baby to feed. I turned off all the notifications, but I did enter Oliver's picture and name. I thought it might make me too sad to be reminded to feed him, but instead it is reminding me that I am doing this FOR him. That this gift is his.

For those looking for some advice on frequency and volume, I only have my experience to go on, but I set the app to alert me every 3 hours. My goal was to pump every 3.5 hours, so the 3 hour alert gave me time to make sure my equipment was set up and a show was queued up in the DVD player. The app goes 3 hours from the end of the last pumping, so if you are reminded at noon, start at 1230 and finish around 1 ( I am doing one side then the other all in one session ) the app will remind you again at 4, 3 hours after you finish.

I only pump once in the middle of the night. Once I fell asleep and poured almost an ounce of milk all over the bed, and I have noticed that the morning gives me a better yield anyway if I don't pump a lot overnight.

I hope this post can help give some information to someone who wants to do the same thing I am doing.

If you are reading this and you are not sure you want to pump and donate, I will tell you, it is inconvenient, and can be frustrating and sad. But I sit in bed pumping and think of Oliver, my beautiful baby and how he can help save another baby. I think of mothers whose babies are in the NICU, fighting for their lives and how if I can spare just one of them from going through this it is all worth it.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dear Oliver

Dear Oliver,
I'm missing you a lot tonight. Some times I feel peaceful, like I can be at peace with the fact that you were never sad or cold. Sometimes I tell myself that if something was wrong, it is better that you didn't have to be in the nicu alone or in pain.

But not tonight. Tonight I miss you more than I ever knew I could miss anyone. I imagine what it would be like to hold you alive in my arms and plan for your future the way we should.

Tonight I would give anything for one day, one hour with you. I'd you had been born alive you would be 2 weeks old, or maybe I would still be pregnant and you would be kicking around in me, keeping me awake and growing and being a healthy baby.

I miss you every second of every day. Even in the moments when I can catch my breath and feel like someday my life will be normal, I still miss you. I miss the way you kicked when your daddy sang. I miss your beautiful face that I only got to see for one day.

I miss you and I love you, so I will do what I can to survive another week in a world without you.

Love Mama

2 weeks

My Story:

2 weeks ago I went in to the doctor because I knew something was wrong, and discovered that my baby boy who was at 31 weeks gestation, was dead. 

The doctors showed us the ultrasound and where his heart was and that it was no longer beating. 

And I thought my heart would stop too. 

It felt so impossible to believe, less than 24 hours before I had heard a doppler of the baby's heart, beating just fine. He was healthy, normal, perfect. And then he was gone. 

I had no idea that there was a risk he could be stillborn. I thought a baby would be safe unless something happened to him or her. I was so afraid of falling in the shower, or getting in an accident in the car. I had no idea that in an instant he could just be gone. 

It took me 24 hours to induce the labor, and on Mother's day I delivered him, at 12:05 pm. 

I had no idea what he would be like. The nurses told me we could take as much time with him as we needed, and asked if we wanted to hold him. I knew we would need to hold him so we could have some closure, but I didn't know that I would want to. I didn't know that he would be a perfect baby, who just looked like he was sleeping. 

We got to spend a full 24 hours with him at the hospital. We read him a story and sang songs to him. We told him we love him and that we will always love him. 

I got to watch my husband hold his beautiful son for the first and last time, and watch my mother hold her grandson in her arms, just in time to say goodbye. 

I thought it would be the worst day of my life, having to deliver a baby who was already gone, but it wasn't. 

It was not the beautiful and joyful day that it should have been, but there was beauty and joy and sorrow all together. It was certainly the most profound day of my life. The day I became a mother. 

The day I got to see that my baby bear had his daddy's nose and eyes, and my chin and long legs. Feet with normal arches, not high like me or flat like his daddy, but the perfect average. He was perfect. 

The last 2 weeks have been like being in a weird dream. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from our friends and family and strangers. I keep waking up expecting to be kicked. Every bite of food that I eat makes me sad because I won't feel him wiggling around as the sugars go through my system. Every place we go makes me hurt, because I can no longer imagine how fun it will be to bring my baby next time. 

Notes about this blog: 

This blog may be disjointed for a while, but I hope it does some good. If you are someone who knows us, who would have known Oliver then I am sorry. I am sorry you won't get to know the magical little life that I knew. If you are here on this site because you have lost a baby of your own then I am sorry in a different way. I feel your pain.

I plan to post about my journey, as well as my incredible husband David's journey because it might help someone going through this to know they are not alone. I also plan to post about my decision to encourage the breast milk that inevitably comes in after delivering any baby. 

Mothers of stillborn babies are typically told how to discourage the milk and stop the supply because for many it is just a constant painful reminder of the baby they no longer have. I felt like the milk belongs to Oliver, and that pumping it and donating it to babies in the NICU was a way for him to connect with the world. Since he will never make friends with a stranger, or go on a date, or get married and have a baby of his own, this was a way he could touch some lives, and bring some good into the world.