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Showing posts from March, 2011

Mini-Sticks

Today, after spending some time in my sanctuary, Hugh announces to me, "this is the best day ever." There are 3 other times I have heard this statement from Hugh.  The first was our wedding, the second was Calder's birth and the third was Tripp's birth.  Today, it was that Calder was playing mini-stick hockey.

The game got a bit intense just before lunch.  I heard Calder cry out and begin bawling at the same time Hugh began repeating, "I'm sorry," over and over.  I ran over to see what happened and Hugh briefly stated that he had raised the "puck" and hit Calder in the face.  I assumed he had hit Calder with either the sponge puck we have or the sponge ball.  NOPE.  They had upgraded the puck to one of Cleo's tennis balls.  A few seconds later, Calder's crying had tapered off and he stands straight up and announces, "Daddy, puck up high.  Calder's eye."  Hugh "accidentally" hit Calder in the eye.  (Okay, Mr. Wor…

Counseling Session #2

Yesterday, our counselor, Brad, asked me to stop trying to get better, for the next 6 months.  I told him, "but I want to get better," and he simply stated, "you will, but you can't make yourself."


I think about how I felt about my life before I had Tripp.  I loved my life.  I was happy.  But, I didn't wake up every morning and will myself to be happy.  I just was.


The grief isn't going to go away because I want it to.  I need to get through the ugliness of it and in order to do that, I need to get through one day at a time.  Everyone's been telling me, "time heals" and I need to let it.  I can't worry about getting better.


So, I am fine tuning what I am doing.


First, I am not Hugh.  I can't do what Hugh does to get myself feeling "better".  What Hugh is doing works for him.  I need to do what works for me.


Second, there are moments when I just want to be sad.  I want to wallow in it.  I am allowed.


I was describing to Brad …

Choice

Yesterday, I made a choice when I got out of bed to have a good day.  Up until that moment, I would get up and hope to have a good day.  Hoping was not working, so for Hugh, Calder, and myself I made a conscience choice.



"I discovered I always have choices and sometimes it's only a choice of attitude." Judith M. Knowlton


Yesterday I chose to be happy.  I didn't have a plan on how I was going to do this when I woke up, but as the day progressed, I realized that I would try and do what Hugh has been doing.  When a thought about Tripp came into my mind, I didn't let myself dwell on it.  I pushed it to the side.


It worked.


There were times when it was hard.  In the late afternoon, I was finishing our 2010 photo book on iPhoto.  This meant I was looking through pictures from last year.  I spent half of 2010 pregnant.  I pushed out thoughts and battled for a bit, but then I just shut the computer and moved on to something else.

I have a book that I write important things…

Odds and Ends

Last night we went to watch our niece, Madison's, last hip hop dance class.  She was terrific!  She is so coordinated and athletic.  She loved that Calder was there watching and kept looking over at him and coming over to hug him!  Calder loves Maddy and was chanting, "Maddy's dance"all evening.  Of course, I forgot both of our cameras!

* * *
Hugh goes back to work this Friday.  He is ready to go back.  Hugh needs to be busy and now that he is sleeping better, he feels like work is a good place for him to be.  I am nervous about him going back.  I know he will be fine, in fact he will be really good, but for 6 weeks we will have been a team in our grief and I have done a lot of leaning on Hugh during that time.  He will be gone for at least 8 hours a day and probably more.   I think that is more time than I have been alone since Tripp was born.  I have already made plans for a play date Friday morning and will work on making sure I have a full week planned for next wee…

I wonder

I wonder what I would be doing right now if I had Tripp at home.  Calder is doing a puzzle with Hugh and I am on the computer.  I wonder, would Tripp be sleeping, eating, crying? Would he need be changed or need to be cuddled?

I wonder what kind of baby he would be.  Would he be the perfect baby I imagine?  Probably not.  Would he be like Calder and be crappy at breastfeeding and sleeping?  Probably.

I wonder what he would look like.  He didn't look that much like Calder when he was born, but they change so much.  Who would people say he looked like at 5 weeks?

I wonder how I would be managing with 2 kids at home.  Would I be overwhelmed or taking it in stride.  Probably overwhelmed.

I wonder how heavy he would feel in my arms and if he would be out of premie sleepers yet.

I wonder what color his eyes would be.  They were so dark it was hard to tell if they were blue or brown.

Honoring Tripp

This afternoon I have been doing a bit more thinking on suffering.  I can acknowledge that humans all suffer and that I am not immune to that suffering.  It doesn't make me less sad, but does comfort me a bit.  I will still be saying, "its not fair", but hopefully less than I did before.

"If I really love (the people I have lost), then I must fulfill their wishes with a calm mind. . . the best way to keep a memory of that person, the best remembrance, is to see if you can carry on the wishes of that person." The Dalai Lama (page 146)


After reading this, I began to wonder what Tripp's wishes would be.  Tripp would have wanted me to be a good mom.  I can't physically take care of him, but I can take care of Calder and in that way be a good mom.  Tripp would have wanted me to show him unconditional love and I can do this by remembering him and thinking about him with love.  I can't really think of any other wishes Tripp may have had, so I think I will …

Earth Hour and Suffering

In my post, Four Weeks. One Month., I talked about how I have begun to question my beliefs and I spoke about how I needed to do some reading and thinking about what I believed.  My friend, Deena, lent me a couple of books and last night, by candle light during Earth Hour, I picked up The Art of Happiness by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.  I flipped right to the chapter titled Facing Suffering and began to read.  
The Dalai Lama talks about how suffering is "a natural fact of human existence."  (Page 136)  This idea is part of The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
The Dalai Lama talks about how we shouldn't ignore or avoid suffering.  We need to face suffering because it is part of our daily lives.  People suffer in many different ways.  Death is just one of the ways.  The book talks about how Western Society has done it's best to remove any suffering from our lives.  We have nursing homes for the elderly and poverty doesn't exist here the way i…

Too Much Thinking

I had kind of a rough day yesterday and I woke up sad this morning.  Because of my rough day, I went to bed upset and consequently didn't sleep well.

Hugh and I talked last night and he said that he keeps busy so that he doesn't think about it too much.  Our brains are wired completely different.  If he sees a couple with a toddler and a baby, he will think of Tripp and then can push the thought out of his head to focus on what he is doing.  I can do that sometimes, but sometimes I just hang on to that thought.  I can carry it with me for minutes or even longer.

I knew Hugh's brain was wired different years ago.  I would ask him while we were lying in bed or while we were driving somewhere, "what are you thinking?"  There were times he would answer, "nothing," or "I don't know".  At first I thought he must be lying.  Seriously, how could you be thinking NOTHING?  But over the years, I continue to get the sincere answer of, "I'm n…

Guest Blog - Luke

My brother, Luke, is guest blogging today.  He is currently training to be a territory manager for Richie Bros. Auctioneers.  Luke works out of the Saskatoon office and lives with Hugh, Calder and I.  His job has currently taken him to Morden, Manitoba for a yard sale




I've had a pretty amazing chance to get extra close to the three of you over the past 10 months, what with me slothing around your basement from time to time.   The hardest part for me in this whole situation is seeing the amazing, caring, and generous people that I love so much in so much pain.  To say it isn't fair is a gigantic understatement!  


I had a chance to hang out with Tripp a couple of times, which I feel very privileged for because thats a lot more than most people.  I even had a chance to be alone with him in NICU where we had a little chat.  The convo was a little one sided, but I got to tell him how he was actually one of the cutest babies I'd ever seen!  No lie, Calder is cute as hell now, but …

Hugh's Project

As you know, Hugh is better when he is busy, so we bought some tile on Tuesday night and he finished this project last night.  It took about 11 hours and cost about $170.  Hugh loves how it looks and is wishing he would have done it years ago!









Hugh can't stop staring at his masterpiece!

Guest Blog - Billy

Last night I sent out an email to all of the members of our immediate family inviting them, if they wanted, to write a post for my blog.  Hugh's brother, Billy, responded immediately.Billy is working up at Cigar Lake.  He works up there for 2 weeks and then is home for 2.  Billy went to work the Wednesday before Tripp was born.  When we found out how sick Tripp was, Billy took the first plane home to be with us on the Monday and we were so happy he did.  We are glad he got to meet Tripp and that he could be with us during those days.I am up north for the first time after Tripp passed away and it has been the hardest time of my life, being so far away and isolated from from my entire family. The hard times I find are just before bed when I am sitting alone in my room and have nothing to do and nobody to talk to face to face up here.  I know I could pick up the phone and call somebody, but its easier for me face to face. Its so hard up here being away from everybody right now, but I…

Exhausting Morning

Hugh and I did it.  We wrote down every single detail we could remember from Tripp's story.  It was completely exhausting and emotionally draining.  We took turns writing.  It was too hard to write for any extended periods.  We did a lot of crying.

I really think the brain forgets things to protect you.  If I was thinking of all of these details, all the time, I would never heal from the loss of Tripp.  By forgetting some of the finer points, I feel like my brain is helping me heal.

I know that I won't re-read that document for a very long time.  But it will be there when I need it.

Saving Details

Today we are shipping Calder off for an all day play date at my friend, Kerri's to play with Dylan.

I have been worried about forgetting details, so Hugh and I are going to spend the day at the computer writing down every single thing we can remember about our 5 days with Tripp.  I know it will be emotional, but part of me is looking forward to it.  It will be good to have those details saved in a place other than my memory.

Tonight, I will be posting a guest blog. . . Stay tuned!

Okay

Hugh and I were laying in bed last night.  Eyes wide open, thinking.

I was staring at the family photo I recently put up in our bedroom.  We took it at the end of November.  As I looked at it, the only thoughts that kept entering my head were, "our life was so easy then" and "that doesn't even look like me. . . I am not the same person now, as I was in that photo."

After a few moments of silence, Hugh turned to me and said, "are you going to be okay?"  I said, "yes", without even thinking about it.  This immediately started me thinking about it.  Every part of me knew that I was going to be okay.  I was sure of that.  I turned to Hugh and asked him the same question.  He calmly answered, "yes".   After a few seconds he added, "I will only be okay if you are going to be okay"  I felt a peace in the fact that I am going to be okay.  "I will be okay, I am just not sure how long its going to take me to get there."  …

Abbey, Delayne, and Kerri

Probably not surprisingly to anyone, I am struggling when I see babies and pregnant women.  Those two things are a concrete reminder to me of what I lost.  The bottom line is that they make me sad.   Sometimes, they even bring me to tears.

Right now, I can't even fathom wanting to hold a baby.  The last baby I held was Tripp.  I can remember exactly how it felt.  I remember how heavy he felt and how it felt to have his chest cavity expanding, in and out, on my arm.  I just can't handle the thought of that memory getting mixed up with that of holding another baby.

Abbey
Abbey is my sister-in-law (she married Hugh's brother, Billy) and she gave birth to our nephew, Pace at the beginning of December.  We got to spend a ton of time with Billy, Abbey, Maddy (Abbey's daughter) and Pace over the holidays and into January.  We had time to imagine our kids together and to laugh about Calder bossing Pace and our baby around at future family functions.  Then when we had Tripp, we …

Update

My incision is feeling much better.  I noticed a big difference in how it was feeling at about 2.5 weeks after Tripp was born.  Now, if I do too much, it gets a bit sore by the end of the day, but nothing that would deter me from doing anything.  I am eating!  I still have moments where it gets hard.  My appetite is directly linked to how I am feeling.  I used to stuff my face when I was sad.  Now, my stomach gets upset and I don't feel hungry.  Strange how that changed.  Nevertheless, food is going down!Hugh and I are both starting to sleep lots better.  It is taking us less time to get to sleep and we are waking up less during the night.I don't know a ton about postpartum depression, but after my 3 really down days last week I had one good day and 2 o.k. days.  For the last 3 days I haven't had that heavy weight hanging over me and I don't feel it today either.Calder still occasionally asks about the baby.  Yesterday he said, "baby tummy".  His vocabulary i…

Cleo

The last month has been a stressful time for our whole family.  It shouldn't have surprised me today to learn that our dog, Cleo, is stressed, too!

Cleo had been shaking her head all morning and pawing at her ears, so I made an appointment for her to see the vet.  Cleo has allergies and the vet figured that the ear infection is a result of her allergies flaring up.  He said that stress can cause this.  Cleo feels safest when Hugh and I are around.  One month ago, Hugh and I were away from home for 4 nights and then we had a houseful of people.  Cleo was completely out of sorts.  We then, almost immediately, shipped her off to my parents when we went to Edmonton and she was there for 2 weeks (we just got her back yesterday).  She loves my parents and the farm, but it isn't us and it isn't home.  Poor stressed out Cleo!  We left the vet armed with medication and a new found appreciation of how sensitive our puppy is.

 I know she is our dog, but  she is a great dog (and other…

Due Date

Today was the day I was going into labour.  Actually, I would have been quite happy going overdue, so I guess maybe today wouldn't have been the day, but it was the day the doctor's predicted.

Calder was born at 36 weeks 6 days.  He was about 12 hours away from being a full term baby in terms of time, but because of his size (5 pounds 7.5 ounces) they called him premature.  Calder ended up spending 1 night in NICU, solely due to the fact I was given morphine too close to the time I delivered.  Calder was a completely healthy newborn, just a bit small.  His size was a factor in the difficulties we had with breast feeding.  Between that, my tremendous supply and his crappy sucking, we didn't have much luck with it.  We were regulars at the Breast Feeding Center and Calder even saw a speech pathologist who gave us exercises to help him improve his latch and suck.  I wanted to have a different experience with my second pregnancy.  There was nothing I could do if this baby had …

Good Saturday

We spent most of Saturday in the company of our good friends, Danielle and Jordan.  Jordan (with some conspiring with Hugh) booked both of us girls a day at the spa.  Hugh and Jordan planned a relaxing day in with Calder and their son, Jack.  I was nervous to go to the spa.  I was worried about how much time I would be alone and I was worried that if I did feel out of sorts I wouldn't have Hugh to lean on.  

Danielle and I headed into the city for our first appointment at 10 am.  We had our pedicures done side by side and were able to chat.  After that we had a break and we went for lunch at Earls.  Here I got to share some tears with Danielle as I told her more details about Tripp's story.  We hadn't got the chance to talk about it yet and neither of us felt like it was a story to be told over the phone.  It felt really good to tell Danielle.  Not only is she a great friend (our husband's would describe us as 2 peas in a pod), but I hadn't told Tripp's story …

Grief vs Postpartum Depression

When we had Calder, Hugh and I learned about the signs of postpartum depression and we both watched for it.  We knew how serious it was and how real it is for many moms.

We hadn't really thought about it since we had Tripp.  I guess partly because we had other things to think about and, to be quite honest, it was also partly due to the fact that we didn't bring home a baby to remind us about it.

A few days ago a friend sent me an email reminding me of how real postpartum depression is and Hugh and I have both done some reading on the symptoms to refresh our memories.

All of the symptoms that I am experiencing on the postpartum list are on the list of symptoms of someone who is grieving.  If I wasn't grieving, I would say I have postpartum depression, but I am grieving and these symptoms I am experiencing are completely normal for someone who has experienced a loss.

So do I have postpartum depression or is it just the grief.  Your guess is as good as mine.

I will tell you …

Four Weeks. One Month.

Tripp was born on Friday, February 18.  He would have been exactly 4 weeks today.  He would have been 1 month old today.


This morning I got up around 8:30 am and did a good job of accomplishing tasks, reading to Calder and bossing Hugh around.  At about 10:30 am Hugh could see the grief was starting to consume me, so he gave me a hug and suggested the 3 of us head outside for a walk.  I didn't want to go, but I did, because I have learned that when I feel that consumed by sadness, I need to listen to Hugh.


The walk was nice.  Fresh air is good.  I came in, still sad, but doing better than I had been before we left.  After lunch, we put Calder down for his nap and I curled up on the couch.  I had been saving an old episode of Oprah that Garth Brooks was on and for the first time in a while, I just felt like vegging out in front of the t.v.


Garth Brooks talked about being a parent, his show in Vegas and he sang a few songs.


"Unanswered Prayers" - Garth Brooks
Sometimes I than…

EI

When I was on Paternity Leave when I had Calder there wasn't enough income tax taken off.  Because of this, last year I got hit REALLY hard with a huge amount owing at income tax time.

This morning I was determined not to let that happen with this Maternity Leave.  I had looked at my EI statement earlier in the week and noticed they were virtually taking no taxes off, so I went online to view my claim.  There was absolutely no information there about changing the amount of tax deducted, so I grabbed what little paperwork I had from my claim and called the number given.

After 20 minutes and hitting every automated option, not only did I not get any answer about tax deductions, but I also wasn't able to get to talk to anyone.  When I hung up the phone I realized that I do have LTSP, but this time the stupid people were the Federal Government.

I went back online to view my claim and see if I could find a different phone number.  I had no luck.  I then searched the Service Canad…

Another Tough Day

There isn't much else to say other than the title.  I just felt sad today.  Hugh and my mom both pointed out to me today that I need to start making some plans.  Even plans as simple as a to-do list that I can knock a couple of things off of every day.

My mom and Hugh know me and they both understand how I need to plan.  Before Tripp, I needed plans for each day, plans for the week and long term plans.  I need plans.  Now, I have no motivation to make a plan.  Not for today, or tomorrow, let alone for next week.

This afternoon Hugh made plans for me.  I felt like doing nothing and he made me get out of the house and do a couple of things.  And when I say made, I mean he encouraged me.  We all know I won't do anything I don't want to do.  Although, I didn't want to do anything today, I knew I should and therefore I made myself do it.

It was good to be busy.  I need to do things even though I don't want to.  We have plans with friends all weekend and I think when M…

Anger. . .But Not the Grief Kind

The Five Stages of Grief (Kubler-Ross Model):
1.  Denial
2.  Anger
3.  Bargaining
4.  Depression
5.  Acceptance


Wikipedia States:
K├╝bler-Ross claimed these steps do not necessarily come in the order noted above, nor are all steps experienced by all patients, though she stated a person will always experience at least two. Often, people will experience several stages in a "roller coaster" effect—switching between two or more stages, returning to one or more several times before working through it.


I have been in the grief stage of anger most of the last 3 weeks.  Feelings of "why me?", and "it isn't fair" are a kind of anger.  I think I was in a bit of denial at first and sometimes still float back there, but mostly I am stuck in the anger stage.  I am not feeling a screaming, want to throw something, or hurt someone kind of anger.  The statement "Why Me?" completely sums up the anger I am feeling.  I am in no hurry to leave this stage.  In fact, I a…

Things I Should Do

My mom sent me an email this morning after reading my post from last night (Ides of March) that contained all the pictures.  She wrote:


I felt like you did your blog, for me and people like me this morning....you didn't want to drag us down with your grief and sadness....I hope you will write what YOU need to help cope...if writing about the things that made you feel good helps...then great, but if you need to share your pain...then share...we can take it...



My mom was right.  When I sat down to write last night I was tired and felt tired of writing about all the sadness.  It wasn't that I wasn't feeling the sadness.  In fact, I had a really bad day yesterday.  In the afternoon, I had done some reading about blogging and micro-blogging (which is what they call tweeting and facebook status updates) and they suggested to keep the writing upbeat.  Between that and not wanting to thinking about what specifically was making me sad, I decided to try and write a more positive, upbe…

Daddy-O

Calder has started calling Hugh, "Hugh" or "Hughie" on a regular basis.  "Hughie" is not impressed.

Calder started saying these words when his buddy, Dylan started calling Hugh, "Hughie", but that was months ago and for some reason Calder has really gotten into it now.

Yesterday, Calder called Hugh by his first name for the 20th time and Hugh had had enough.  As Hugh was correcting him, Calder said "Daddy-O?" (emphasis on the "O" part).  Hugh reluctantly said, "fine, Daddy-O".

Calder currently screaming "HUGHHHHHH" and calling him "Daddy Hugh".

I guess when compared to being called by his first name, "Daddy-OOOOOOOOOOO" is an improvement.

If Hugh could ever contain his laughter when Calder blasts out "Daddy-O" or "Hughie", he might have a better chance of deterring Calder from saying it!

But what do I know?

Ides of March

Today was a tough day for me.  Here are some of the things that made it better.
This morning Calder and I headed to the zoo to meet some friends.  It was absolutely beautiful outside and the fresh air was wonderful.  Calder threw a fit when we put him into the van.  He didn't want to leave!

I love to bake and so this afternoon I assembled some banana oatmeal muffins with chocolate chips and walnuts for a friend who is grieving the loss of her mother.  It is nice to feel like I am helping her out, even if in a very small way.

Hugh and Calder headed outside this afternoon to splash around in all the melting slush.  They must have had a blast, because Calder came back drenched after falling in a huge puddle for the 2nd day in a row.  Hugh brought him in and striped him down, but then immediately had to take off outside to grab some stuff.  Calder started crying and put one boot on.  He was trying to get back outside to play with Hugh!

Calder and I spent a few moments smiling and laughing…