29 June 2011

Rocky Balboa turns six months old

Our little man is six months old today and I absolutely cannot believe it! This time last year a lot of really crazy and scary things were happening in our lives, but at the same time I was also just over a month pregnant, and completed thrilled at the prospect of finally becoming a mommy.

In celebration of N's 'half birthday' today we scheduled a play date with his buddy J. Little J's folks were in the same antenatal classes as DH and I and we became firm friends pretty much from day one. I'll never forget the first class, when J's mom and dad walked in (she was a month further in her pregnancy than me) and sat down on the couch in the Storks Nest. The couch leg snapped immediately and the two of them landed gently (luckily) on the floor. It was hysterical and a great way to break the ice for our first class!

Anyway, I left work a bit early and we headed off after his lunchtime bottle. When we walked into their lounge, J's mom proudly told me that J (who is four weeks almost to the day older than N) had started a pre-crawl 'drag' and could now maneuver himself around on the floor! She was super excited and wanted J to demonstrate his new-found talent for us immediately. She plopped him down on the floor and tried, in vain, to get him to move. He was clearly much more interested in staring at the lady with a baby standing in front of him, and just lay there on his tummy with both legs and both arms in the air - skydiving style. "Oh well, I'm sure he'll show us his new moves in his own time," I said and plopped N down on the floor on his back (he is sooo NOT a fan of Tummy Time - to the extent that I am worried he will never ever crawl - but that's a whole different story for a whole different day…). Within seconds of me plonking N down, his buddy J went into drag-maneuver overdrive and was suddenly right next to him. Before we knew what had happened he reached out and grabbed onto N's face (I think he thought N was a toy that might squeak if he squished it really hard). Unfortunately he managed to grab a bit too hard and his nail gouged into N's skin, drawing blood. Needless to say N gave off more than just a little 'squeak' and when she saw the blood poor J's mom looked like she was about to sit down and cry herself! 

Once I settled N down and wiped away the little smudge of blood under his right eye I managed to calm J's mom and reassure her that he was okay! It was a helluva start to a playdate, but he is absolutely fine with just a tiny scratch under his eye. 

The whole thing freaked me out less than I thought it would. I know its par-for-the-course with kids and it won’t be the last time I’m sure! But it is still always hard seeing your little one in pain. We've had to endure it a few times so far in N’s life - with blood tests, vaccinations and a biopsy to boot! And consoling them when they are in genuine physical pain is heartbreaking. After his little mishap today, I realized that when I became a mom I signed up for a lifetime of consoling. I realized (especially as he’s a boy), that there would be a lifetime of scratches, bruises, bumps and cuts…and that doesn’t even begin to include the emotional pains that life brings with it. As much as I want him to grow and learn, I also wish I could keep him small and as protected as possible from all the dangers of the world. I only have to think about how much pain I have in my heart from losing you mom, and I wish I could spare my son this kind of hurt. 

I remember thinking, when we brought N home from the hospital how much I wished I could put him back into my tummy. Don't get me wrong, I loved having my baby here, but it was so much easier knowing how to protect him from the world when he was tucked away inside me.

But I know I can't protect him from everything. It's part of living... and I guess loss and hurt (both physical and emotional) remind us every day that we are truely alive.

24 June 2011


I stood staring, not for the first time since his birth, at the beautiful little person lying infront of me today and I was completely in awe. How did I get so lucky?

He is so perfect in so many ways and I feel both privelidged and terrified to have been given the unbelievably important task of being his mommy. I looked down at his perfect little features and he looked up at me with the biggest most beautiful smile. In that moment I promised myself, and him, that no matter what life throws at me, I will do everything in my power to give him the best life possible. I will try every day for the rest of my life be the best mom I know how to be.

He deserves nothing less.

23 June 2011

Those difficult days

Some days are just hard. I can't always explain why a day is hard...it just is. Sometimes it starts off okay and then someone or something will remind me of you - and the rest of the day is just unbearable. Everything makes me cry. It scares me how something really small can throw me off so entirely - to the point where I can't seem to 'get it together' for the rest of the day. I guess that's what grief does to you.

Yesterday was one of 'those' days. I woke up with a horribly sore throat and a crazy sinus headache and I knew that the mean bug that's been doing its rounds had finally caught up with me. This was my first experience of being sick and having a little one to look after - and it's not easy. Everything in your body is telling you to sleep and rest and yet there is still this overwhelming desire to care for, entertain and cuddle your little sausage...it's not fun.

But, while I'm sure the horrible flu didn't help matters, that was not what made me sad. No, what made me sad was the realisation that my little N is going to be six months old next week. Six months. That's half a year that he has been in my life. Half a year that you have missed. He is already completely weaned off of the breast now. He is eating three solid meals a day - and absolutely loving it. He is nearly triple his birth weight. And you've missed it all.

It gives me such an overwhelming sense of sadness to think that you haven't been here for all of this. Sometimes I feel like I can barely breathe. You were so excited to meet him. You wanted me to have a baby before I even knew I wanted to have a baby. Now our baby is becoming a toddler, and you've missed it. Sometimes I just want to freeze time. I look ahead to all the special moments that are coming in the near future - his first tooth, his first words, his first birthday, his first steps...you are going to miss them all.

You have been gone for nine months. Saying that out loud seems ridiculous. I have cried every day for the past nine months. That's a lot of tears. And to be honest, I'm really tired of crying. I'm tired of being sad. I'm tired of grieving.

I just wish I knew how to make the sad go away.
I wish I knew how to stop missing you.


10 June 2011

Our birth story

In a perfect world I would've started this blog right after our little N was born. But, between the chaotic madness that is life with a newborn, and I suppose the fact that I was still so raw and in such a deep state of mourning after your passing, I never got around to it. So we're getting going a little late. Five months late to be exact. Wow. Five months. I can't believe that five months have already flown since the night he came into our world.
The night he was born was both the scariest and most amazing night of my life. Everyone's 'birth story' is important to them (and pretty much only them) I guess. But I need to write our down so that I am sure I will never forget it - and this is as good a place as any to do that. I remember thinking the entire time how much I wished you were there, mom. I know in my heart you were with me...but there were points were I wanted nothing more than to have you holding my hand, telling me it was going to be okay.

I was diagnosed with a low-lying placenta early in my pregnancy, and we knew there was no way we were going to have natural birth. And I can't say I was entirely devastated about this. In my heart I think I always knew I was a ceasar-kinda-girl, even if I didn't say so in so many words. I guess that's not something many women are willing to admit. But hey, if I can't be honest in my own blog then where can I be? It's not that I had or have anything against natural birth. On the contrary, I have a world of respect for the women who bravely put all their faith into mother nature's hands, go forth and 'puuuush'. I just never thought I had it in me to do it. But, as fate (and maybe a little luck?) would have it, that decision was taken out of my hands. According to our gynecologist, Dr C, attempting to have a natural birth would have been extremely dangerous for both mom and baby (especially as I had already experienced a bad bleed and ended up in hospital for two nights at about 34 weeks).

Our ceasarean section was scheduled for 37 weeks, on 4 January 2011. Dr C didn't want to take a chance and push it to the usual 38 weeks, as he was afraid my placenta would abrupt and I would have an even more serious bleed next time.

Christmas Day came and went in a blur. You had only been gone three months and it was our first Christmas without you. It was a hard one. There were no special 'mommy touches' and to me it felt strained and sad. Add to this the fact that I was 36 weeks pregnant and feeling like a beached whale in the middle of a Southern Hemisphere summer and . . . let's just say it wasn't the most festive Christmas I've ever had!

On the night of 29 December, at about 9pm, I sat down on our bed and felt what can only be described as a large gush. My first thought was "oh, this is that pregnancy incontinence thing I've heard about!" But when I stood up and saw what looked like litres of blood pouring down my legs, I realised it was time to go. I stood calmly at the top of the stairs and shouted down to my Dear Husband (DH), "Babe . . . we need to go to the hospital. Now."

Things got a bit chaotic then. Poor DH went into 'crazy' mode and was rushing around, throwing suitcases into the car and then yelling that he couldn't find the car keys! Eventually we jumped into the other car (the one without the bags in) and headed off. I was scared. Dr C had told me that this kind of bleed could be extremely dangerous and, if I was to start bleeding, the urgency of getting to the hospital quickly (which was 20 minutes away) could not be emphasized enough. As fate would have it, about 3 minutes into the drive we had a problem. There wasn't enough petrol in the car to get us to the hospital and we were going to have to stop. I'm not a hugely religious person. But I started praying. I was lying in the back seat with my legs in the air and towels, drenched with blood by now, wrapped around me. Needless to say the poor petrol attendant got the fright of his life when we pulled up with my DH yelling at the top of his voice and throwing cash at him!

Time flew after that and we were at the hospital in what felt like minutes. I was wheeled straight up to the labour ward. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and the minute I hear N's heartbeat I relaxed a little. Dr C arrived not long after that, wearing shorts and a t-shirt (it was around 10pm by now) and came in and told me it was ceasar time! He hooked up my IV, the nurse was struggling to do it, gave me a huge smile and told me everything was going to be okay. But despite his best efforts to calm me, I got nervous again. This time DH was the calm one. He kept reassuring me and telling me that it was going to be fine. He also told me that dad was waiting in the coffee shop downstairs . . . and for some reason it really helped knowing that my daddy was right there too.

Once I was all prepped - catheter and all (yuk!) - we were off to theatre. Like most women, the thing I was most nervous about was the epidural. But, in hindsight, it was probably one of the the least stressful parts. I was made to lay on my side and, with my DH seated directly infront of me and looking me in the eye the whole time, they numbed the area and inserted the needle. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't too bad. What was bad though was the almost instant nausea that hit me like a ton of bricks. As soon as I started going numb (which feels like your body heating up from the feet up) I started telling them I felt sick. Very sick. They gave me something to stop the nausea - and that's about the time the vomiting started! I basically vomitted throughout the entire birth. And about that . . . vomiting whilst lying on your back, numb from the boobs down? Not. So. Cool.

Most of the birth (which was super quick once they had me numbed) was a bit of blur. But when they hauled our little N out and I heard him scream, well, I have never heard a sweeter sound in my life. He was ok. He was here. All 3kg's and 51cm's of him.

Although there was nothing technically wrong with him at that stage, they weren't particularly happy with his colour and wanted to get him on oxygen as soon as possible. So it was literally a minute or two that they had him in the theatre, quickly holding him up for me to see and then rushing him off to NICU, with my DH trailing behind them.

They wheeled me into recovery and then into the ward. And it was over. By now it was around 1.30am. My little boy was in the NICU and DH went home to get some sleep. And that's when the tears came flooding. I was alone in the dark ward (everyone else fast asleep) and my baby was gone. He was taken out of my womb, where I had been working so hard to keep him safe for the past 36 weeks . . . and I couldn't see him. I was devastated. I wanted to see him and hold him and know he was okay. I wanted to feed him. There was a woman lying in the bed next to me who was still pregnant (she was obviously booked in for pregnancy-related complications). She was hooked up to a fetal monitor and all I could hear in the darkened, silent ward was her baby's heartbeat. I remember feeling so jealous. She still had her little one tucked safely inside her belly. I felt so alone.

By about 2pm the following day they still wouldn't let me see my baby. I was a wreck. He was not allowed to leave the NICU and I wasn't allowed to go in until they had taken out my catheter and IV. Dad and DH had been in to see me and baby N and had taken photographs and videos of him on their cell phones for me . . .

Needless to say by the time Dr C came around to check on me he was appalled to find that I hadn't see my baby yet. He instructed the nurses to remove the catheter and drips and bring me a wheelchair.

And then finally, we met. Lying on the bassinet in the NICU he looked so tiny and so perfect. I have never felt such a strong desire to protect anyone in my life . . . and I doubt I ever will again.

I have never loved anyone more.

01 June 2011

Our journey begins

I have been meaning to sit down and get this started for so long now. Finally, I have built up the courage to get going. It's not easy though. I miss you so much and actually sitting down and writing a letter (because that's what this feels like) is hard. I don't want to have to write to you and know that my words are not actually ever going to be read by you. No. What I want to do is pick up the phone and talk to you. I want to drive to your house, share a cup of coffee with you and tell you about my day. I want to tell you, in detail, about how incredible my life has become since the arrival of our little baby N. I want to ask your advice about so many things. But none of those things are going to happen. So, this blog is my way of attempting to fulfill some of those 'wants'.

My reason for doing this is twofold though. The first part is, hopefully, to satisfy (albeit even just a little) my desire to share N's life with you. But my other motivation is my desire to document his life. I can't believe he is five months old already and how quickly his little life is flyling past! I am terrified that I'm going to forget all the precious moments, special times and tiny details as he grows up. So this, I think, is a good way to make sure that I don't. This way I will be able look back and remember these moments...and who knows, maybe one day he will want to sit down and read about them too.

Mom, wherever you are, this blog is as much for you, as it is for me, our N and anyone else who might find that they can relate to our story.

Becoming a mom is without a doubt the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me. But losing you before our baby boy was born was by far the hardest and scariest thing I've ever experienced. Life can be so bittersweet...but I guess you know that better than anyone.

So here begins our bittersweet journey...