"... These words are my diary, screaming out loud. And I know that you'll use them however you want to..."

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Mother? Or not a Mother? That is the question...

This past Monday, I went to glamour day at a local salon with my bestie from My Life In Purple. This picture is the result of that day. It was brought to my attention by another wonderful lady that went with us, that it was a fitting picture of me at this time in my life, where I am looking up.

Next Sunday is Mother's Day.... Huh. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think I would like to just put a boycott on the entire day.

I have been seeing a grief counsellor who was assigned to our case at the hospital when I delivered Kherrington. At the end of our session last month, she pulled out her schedule to make an appointment for this month. She looked at the calendar and said "How about the week after Mother's day? I think it would be a good idea." I thought, "Okay..if you say so!", thinking that Mother's day will affect me on the same level that her due date did. As just another day on the calendar, that once meant something, but no longer applies to my life.

As the day gets closer, I have mixed opinions. I'm not okay with the fact that Mother's day is no longer a day that is for me. I feel like a mom on one small level. I carried my child, I set up a nursery for my child, I gave "birth" to my child, and I held my child. But that is the end of it, those moments were temporary, and fleeting. After holding my child, I had to give my child back, with only pictures, her ashes, and fading memories to cling to. As each month passes, those days, and my role as a mother, seem farther and farther away. I think of my child daily, wondering what kind of trouble she's getting into, and missing being the one to see her get into that trouble. Part of me wishes that Mother's day would just come and go, without me realizing it. I could just realize on Monday that "Oh, yesterday was Mother's day, fancy that!". But alas, I don't think that will happen.

The topic of Mother's day came up in a conversation I had with my husband last weekend. We talked a bit about our confusing roles as "parents" at this time. We agreed, that if we are going to do anything, we'll plant a tree for Kheri instead. This Sunday (May 2nd) is International Baby Lost Mother's Day, I think that will be a fitting alternative to Mother's day. My child was stillborn, yet she was still born. As I am a Mother on some levels, but not a mother in the physical "reality" sense. Mother's Day, it seems that is just beyond my reach.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet Kherrington Faith...

Well, I have been having a dilemma for about the last 3 weeks or so. I have been wanting to share pictures of Kherrington for many reasons, and not wanting to share them for other VALID reasons.

Kherrington spent 3 days dead in utero. As a result, she didn't look quite the way they said she would. The doctors said that she would look like a sleeping baby except her lips and fingernails would be blue. This was FAR from the case, and I have yet to see pictures of any still born baby with blue lips. Most still borns, Kheri included, have DEEP red lips, and they are a tell tale sign to those of us who have seen it before. Kheri's lips looked almost like someone gave her crimson red lip stick. Also, her skin and hair were damaged, and we were told not to unwrap her.

We loved her the way she was. She was beautiful to me, too beautiful for earth. But I have been hesitant on displaying her photo due to the graphic nature of the pictures, until now. An old friend of mine, from "back home" in Ontario, wrote me an e-mail last week. She is currently 35 weeks pregnant, and had some professional pregnancy photos taken. During her session she found out that the photographer is a member of "Now I lay me down to sleep" . This is an organization consisting of professional photographers that volunteer their time and resources to go to hospitals and photograph still born or sick/dying babies. They also take pictures and touch them up. There is also another website, consisting of forums and other resources. I did some further research and discovered that there are two photographers in our province, one right in Fredericton! Needless to say, I am going to be passing this information on to my social worker. I can't believe that the hospital is not aware that this organization exists. I hope that other Moms and Dads that are in this unfortunate situation in the future, are able to benefit from my discovery.

I contacted the photographer, and sent her some pictures. She e-mailed me back a few hours later with this first "touched up" picture of our angel. She is going to touch up most of the pictures we had taken. It is an amazing gift, and we still have the originals. I am not going to publish ANY of these on Facebook, at least not yet. I know there is still a "stigma" around pictures of dead babies, but on this blog, I feel comfortable.

So, with that, let me introduce to you, Kherrington Faith Gavel.

An angel who grew her wings on February 3, 2010, and we got to say hello and goodbye to on February 6, 2010(6 pounds, 13 ounces).

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Memorial Tattoo

Well, I actually did it!! I went to a local artist, and she did a custom tattoo for me. I had it put on tonight, and WOW. I have to say I love it! Even though it is only a few hours old, I thought I would post a picture of it.

** A note for those who may be considering your own tat. It hurts like CRAZY on the top of your foot, and the front of your ankle. But the pain is temporary, and it doesn't hurt anywhere near as bad as giving birth to a dead baby.**

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A wish list...

I stumbled upon this today. I can't remember EXACTLY where I found it first, as I have seen it more than once. If I knew where it came from I would certainly give the author credit. I am contemplating posting it as a Facebook note as well, but that would mean I would have to put it "out there". I've decided to start here first, where I am understood.


I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had her back.

I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that she was important to you as well.

If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. My child’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

I wish you wouldn’t "kill" my child again by removing her pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you more than ever.

I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.

I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.

I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that she is dead.

I wish you wouldn’t expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy". Neither will happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.

I don’t want to have a "pity party," but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

When I say, "I’m doing okay," I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.

I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

Your advice to "take one day at a time" is excellent. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle at an hour at a time.

I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.I wish very much that you could understand – understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I pray daily that you will never understand.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A piece missing

While driving in the car last week, I found myself singing along with the Lily Allen CD in the player. Then I froze when I realized that I haven't done that since Kherrington's death. I used to sing in the car, and while I was pregnant with her, I made a point to sing or talk to her while driving every day.

For a few moments, I had this weird feeling. It is a feeling that I have experienced before, but never like this. For a brief period of time, I felt as though nothing had ever happened, that I was never pregnant, and that Kherrington had not died. For a moment, I felt sort-of like the "old me". Then I felt incredibly guilty, and suddenly missed her so much. How could I have had that feeling? It is funny, how life carries on and the days get easier, and then something happens to re-affirm reality.

Then I started thinking about how I am different now. I wonder if my laugh is the same, or if my smile comes from my heart. I have been forcing smiles for so long, the real ones are such a relief when they happen, because I don't have to think "OK, you need to smile now, or else people will wonder". I now look at my body (in terms of pregnancy) as a dangerous place. In any subsequent pregnancy, I will likely not imagine the baby in there all warm, healthy, and bouncing around in the fluid joyfully kicking my bladder. I will see the baby in there as being helpless, and the kicks will be wonderful when they happen, and when they don't, I know I will likely panic.

While talking with my best bud Iris from My Life In Purple the next day, she said something that is very accurate. She said "You're still Marjorie, or 'Mo', but now, there is a piece missing". I am still the basic Me, but a piece left with Kherrington that I know I will never get back.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My first Tat??

For about the last month or so, I have been contemplating the idea of getting a memorial tattoo for Kherrington.
I've decided that if I were to get one, it would be on my ankle. It would likely be similar to this one. I think I like the idea of an anklet, with script writing and of course a lady bug. My BF over at My Life In Purple suggested having a lady bug walking up my foot to my ankle leaving behind foot prints (just like the ones Kheri has left on our hearts). I really like this idea. Of course, the writing would have to be a small and delicate font. I have been searching the Internet and I have found some, but nothing that I really like. Perhaps I will have to visit the local artist to see what they can draw up.
What do you think?? Any suggestions???

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Two months since

So, I have managed to get WAY behind in the blog world. You see, the weather has been SO nice here over this past weekend, that I signed in this morning and realized how far behind in my reading I was. So you all know, I have read/watched all the blog posts, but I didn't comment on them. I wanted to read them all before moving on to type this post.

So, here we are again, the "6th" of the month. It is two months later, and most days I feel like the current weather outside. Sunny, warm, and breezy. The snow has melted, the grass is starting to "green up" and the tree tops are getting thicker by the minute. We have spent the last three days outside, doing much needed yard work before the bugs get bad and we spend all of our time slapping and swearing. Mostly, we are optimistic, or as optimistic as we can be. I went to the doctor last week, and got the "all clear" on the physical front.

On the emotional front, I think I'm doing better. There is the occasional trigger, but rather than crying, I just feel sad, or bitter. You see, there are MANY of my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who are due to have their babies over the next 2 months. I have quoted this as a "bittersweet symphony". I am not bitter, or angry that they are having their babies. I am actually relieved that their pregnancies are progressing well, and the babies are born ALIVE and HEALTHY. But I feel bitter, because I don't have her. I feel jealous, and I envy them. Mostly, it just makes me wonder what I am missing. Kherrington would be 2 months old, so I wonder what her quirks would be. Would she like to be read to, or sang to? Would she be a night owl, or would I actually be able to get some sleep? Would we have taken her to the park yet? Would she be smiling a lot yet?

I also find myself getting angry. I feel angry when I hear of other women who are blissfully going through their pregnancies and seeming to take it all for granted. These are the women who are complaining that their cribs are too hard to put together, or they didn't get what they hoped for at their baby shower. I know, that baby loss barely enters into their mind. They take it as a "fact" that their baby will come home. I remember what that felt like. The excitement, the anticipation, the day dreams and all the planning. I am jealous that in another pregnancy, I will not have that feeling again. I am sure I will be waiting, but I will be waiting for the next kick or movement, and waiting for the bottom to drop out. Waiting for the worst, but hoping for the best. I know I will not have that joy that these women are experiencing, but I will try my best.

I return to work May 15th, and I am trying to get myself ready for that. I am trying to get myself physically ready. I am practicing my "script" that describes our loss. I am getting myself ready to support a co-worker who is due to have her baby any day. Her baby, will be the first newborn I will encounter and hold since Kherrington. I am so happy for her and her husband, since they have experienced a loss before this child, it gives me hope. I am grateful that they are allowing me to meet their child, and not hold back emotions. I have not decided if I am going to go see her in the hospital, or wait until she comes home. We'll see how things go when that day comes.