Marking the Day …

I feel like an ungrateful brat.

I’ve spent most of the past two weeks celebrating the holidays with family and friends. We had a fantastic Christmas – Topher was ecstatic to see his drums under the tree Christmas morning! – but despite all the blessings we’ve been showered with – I can’t help feeling sad.

Today was my due date for the baby we lost in May.

I should be happy.

I have a healthy two-year-old who makes me laugh at least a hundred times a day, and I have approximately ten weeks left until I can hold our daughter in my arms. She’s active and – as far as the doctors can tell at this point – completely healthy.

But I still feel like a part of me is missing.

Like a part of our family is missing.

My goal for the weekend is to shake the blues by working on Topher’s big boy room – and hopefully be back with a more positive post or two next week!

Until Forever

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Ever since Nathan and I started telling people that we’re expecting our second child, we’ve been asked two questions. The first one I completely understand: “When are you due?”

But the second one floors me every single time I hear it: “So does that mean you’re getting rid of your dog?”

I’ve always had pets. My parents got a dog shortly after they were married and added a cat to the mix when my sisters were young. After I was born, we added to the zoo: More cats and dogs, fish, hamsters, rabbits, budgies, turtles, guinea pigs, and of course I had my horses! I was taught from a young age that pets are part of the family too – so I can’t even fathom the idea of “getting rid” of a dog just because you’re adding a new human member to your family. I don’t understand people who consider dogs “part of the family – until.” Until they have kids. Until they move. Until they get bored and decide they’d rather do something else with their time.

We got Chloe nine months after we got married. We knew we wanted to have Baby #1 a year after that so we started teaching Chloe to be a kid-friendly dog from the very beginning. It helped that her breeder had young children who were an active part of the socialization process when she was a baby, but we’ve always handled her all over – ears, tail, paws. She’s never been allowed to nip or bite and she’s never been remotely possessive of any of her toys. Of course we were concerned how she would adjust to having Topher in the family when we brought him home from the hospital but we needn’t have worried: He was “hers” from the first second she sniffed his little face. Everyone who came to visit in the days after he was born had to deal with a constantly whining little white shadow at their feet – “Be careful! That’s MY baby!” (It got to the point where we actually had to put her outside when friends came over because we were worried they’d trip over her!) If he was crying in his crib Chloe would pace back and forth between his room and wherever Nathan or I were, whining, until we got up to get him. (It made the limited amount of sleep training we did that much more difficult!)

Chloe and Topher are the best of friends. They play tag and hide and seek, they sit in her bed and read, they dress up in costumes. Topher plays fetch with Chloe and he can get her to sit and shake a paw on command. The first thing he does whenever he gets home is tell Chloe where he went and what he did while he was gone – he usually races in the door so fast that we can’t even get his wet boots off. Topher’s decided that he’s going to start a band when Santa brings him drums for Christmas – Nathan’s going to play his guitar, Topher’s going to play his drums, I’m going to play the piano (Santa better bring me one of those, too!) – and Chloe is going to play shakers.

She may not be the best behaved or most obedient dog in the world, but as far as Topher is concerned – and as far as Nathan and I are concerned – she’s part of the family. Until forever.

*Alyssa from The Curious Pug posted this on her blog a few weeks ago: Dogs are Family for Life – Then and Now Photos of LifeLong Friendships. I don’t think my misty eyes were entirely due to pregnancy hormones …

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day this year was … bittersweet. I told Nathan I didn’t want to do anything special to celebrate but he refused to let me stay in bed and mope. “You’re still Topher’s mommy,” he said. “It’s his day to honour you.”

Topher’s favourite Diego episode of late has been the Bobo’s Mother’s Day – so this year he actually got it, if you know what I mean. He knew Mother’s Day was a special day for mommy, and when Nathan got him out of his crib in the morning he made a beeline for our room and crawled into bed with me to give me a Mother’s Day hug. “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOMMY!”

Nathan took him shopping the day before and Topher picked out a “special Mother’s Day gift” (as he called it – thanks, Diego!) all on his own:  A Winnie the Pooh letter H.

I think it’s perfect – and hilarious! – that Topher would pick that out. He’s obsessed with letters these days … he can actually identify a handful of letters on his own (X, O, K, D, C, T, I, N, M, H, A, B) and will read his books to Chloe, saying “Look Chloe, there’s an X!” or “Where’s the T? Oh, there it is!” (Though “there it is” is pronounced more like “There did is!” and is always shouted …) He knows that H is for Holly – so that makes it extra special.

He also planted five marigolds and painted a flower pot at his Thursday/Friday dayhome and made a card with his handprints. I love things like that – I’ll totally be happy if he paints me a picture for Mother’s Day when he’s 25!

The day was pretty full with a meeting at church (which Topher and I tried to attend, but had to leave because someone kept yelling things like “BABY! See the baby, Mommy? Baby sleeping! BABY! Touch it?” while Adam and Shandy were trying to talk (Shandy was rocking their son in his carseat).

I keep telling myself that it’s good that Topher loves babies so much – but now that I’m not so sure I want to have another, I don’t know.

We had a picnic in the park for dinner:

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Topher started to get a cold on Sunday morning so he looks a little loopy but he was sitting relatively still at that point – and when it comes to pictures of me and Topher, I take what I can get :)

Thanks for the sweet comments/e-mails re: my last post – you guys are the best! I really appreciate your support/encouragement and wish I could hug every single one of you! I’m doing better – I’m back at work now, and things are starting to get back to “normal” – but I think it’s going to take awhile for me to sort things out in my head. I know it’s not my fault – that there’s nothing I could have done – but I can’t help trying to figure out why it happened. And I can’t help being terrified to try again.

Maybe I’ll feel differently in a few months, who knows …

Unbearable

A few weeks ago I said I wanted to be honest in this space. I wanted to be vulnerable and I wanted to be real.

It’s harder than I thought it would be.

I had a special post planned for Monday.

We bought Topher this adorable little t-shirt: “Big Brother Team Captain”, it said. He wore it to Grandma and Grandpa’s house Saturday evening – he was so excited to share the big secret he’s been keeping.

Of course Nathan’s parents were ecstatic – they’ve been waiting for a second grandchild practically since the day Topher was born.

Then, Sunday morning – I started bleeding.

Just a little spotting, at first.

Then more.

And more and more and more.

We spent Sunday night/Monday morning in the hospital but by the time the doctor finally got around to examining me – we already knew the diagnosis.

“Your pregnancy has terminated,” he said.

So cold. So clinical.

He gave me a prescription for T3 and sent me home with a dismissive “It’s so early, everything will happen naturally. Come back if the pain gets unbearable.”

Unbearable.

Monday – I couldn’t move. I laid in bed and cried.

And cried and cried and cried.

We had only found out about the baby the week before.

The day after the Expo, to be precise.

One week – but I already loved my little bean.

I don’t know what I expected – but I didn’t expect the pain.

Nathan had to carry me to the bathroom – then hold me while I sat there, shivering, shaking, trying not to be sick.

I’ve never seen him cry so much, or so hard.

Only one week – but he loved our little bean, too.

Physically – I’m getting there. I can walk to the bathroom under my own steam now, and Topher was thrilled to see me standing in the entryway, waiting for him when he got home from Jaime’s yesterday. “Mommy’s AWAKE!!!” he said, like he was completely shocked to see me functioning again. Last night I sat on the couch with him to watch some of his beloved Diego – and we ate dinner as a family.

But the other pain still feels unbearable.

I feel numb.

Like there’s no colour left in the world.

The few people we’ve told – family – have tried to be understanding. Encouraging. “You’ll have another one,” they all say.

But the way I feel right now?

That’s not even a possibility.

I’m terrified.

If I could think of a word that means more terrified than regular terrified – I’d put that.

I don’t want to go through this again.

I know there was nothing we could have done – we didn’t do anything wrong, “it just happens”. One in four, the doctor said.

But I can’t help but wonder – is it because I’m so small? Did I exercise too much? Maybe I shouldn’t have been lifting Topher?

What if I’m defective?

I debated whether or not to even post this.

I guess I just wanted to say … This is what I’m going through. It’s hard and I’m hurting.

I don’t have anything encouraging to write as a conclusion, so I’m going to share a video instead.

* For whatever reason, I can’t get it to embed – so click here.

I know I’ve shared this song before. It doesn’t help to listen to it now – but I know it’s truth.

“This is what is means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life – and you survive. This is what it is to be loved, and to know that the promise was when everything fell we’d be held.” (Held – Natalie Grant)