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.