"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fierce with Love (Six Months without Haloumi Cheese)

27 June 2010
Something is different today. I woke in El Prima's arms, like last Sunday, but this time without sadness pulsating through my head to the tune of K's announcement that A had died. Today I can get up and decide what to do without tears, I can pull on my new, soft elephant t-shirt for the first time and think "maybe I can do this, maybe I can be like an mama elephant*, and be all the more fierce with love because of my loss".

So what happened to make this small welcome change? Partly the elephant t-shirt, a birthday present to myself. Partly spending Saturday night with friends, so that we could release balloons for little A, to mark his paris funeral. Partly having an hour holding our dear friend's 4 week old son, and drinking in his living baby features and living baby noises.

But a big part of it is also coming home to a parcel from sydney containing this:

I can't remember exactly when my friend Leo had started up our little stitch and bitch group - but it became a force of its own. Our formula was very simple - we'd lug sewing machines & sewing boxes over to someone's house, and spend the day eating pastries, drinking tea and talking, and eventually get around to sewing something.

Nearly every scrap of fabric in the banner I remember from a project - pajamas for Nik's son, a gift Leo was making, a dress for Cathy's daughter, the apron Belinda was making for her sister in law. And linking them all together - the green backing and the letter "O" is the fabric I found in a cupboard in a sharehouse in Brunswick over nine years ago. there was metres and metres of it, so at my last stitch and bitch before we left sydney, we cut it down the middle and I left them with half. As their little note said, Haloumi was a definite part of our stitch & bitch sessions together - both when we were wishing for her and when she was there in my belly, encouraging me towards another pastry. I wept, but my heart swelled and I felt humbled to be the recipient of so much stitched love.

* apparently a ridiculously huge proportion of first elephant pregnancies end in stillbirth, often after 22 months gestation. If you can find a reference for this then you are more dilligent than me. I promise you I read it somewhere. [<-- I would be in fits if any of my students tried to reference in this sloppy manner!]

When words failed me

and we were on opposite sides of the world, knitting seemed like the only thing I could do for K & N.

Flying home to this sad winter, with their baby boy in the luggage hold rather than bouncing in their laps, I thought a little bit of extra warmth wouldn't go astray.

Thanks P for the beautiful yarn.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Of Chickens, hatching and counting

** Thank you for your thoughts for our friends K & N and their loss of beautiful little A. We're resolving (as some of you kindly suggested) not to let this sink us further, but to hold strong for K & N and offer them all the love and help we can. **

Image from here.

El Prima got two job offers this week - very welcome news after months of searching. In my excitement I posted the news on FB before she'd received the formal offer, sending her into a spin of nervous worry that the offer would be withdrawn, that they would change their minds, that somehow, she'd have the rug pulled out from under her feet again.

It was silly of me, for we do not count chickens at our house anymore. But what do we do with good news - news that may still all go wrong, but for now, is worth celebrating? How do we celebrate it without jinxing ourselves, without inflating our hubris only for cruel-humoured deities to pop it at our expense?

We look at what we have right now, and we gently pat these warm, unhatched eggs. Not counting, just loving these little possibilities as they are right now. Who knows what will happen. Whether or not they ever peck their way out of their shells and into a chickeny future is not for us to know. But right now we have eggs, and we're going to enjoy them for their sheer eggy possibility.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

F**K NO, Universe, you have to be kidding me

I've just found out that dear friends of ours living in France have just lost their little boy - he was just over 6 months old - to SIDS. He was due just a month before Z, and we were so excited when we found out that we were pregnant at the same time. He was born just before Christmas, and we saw the first photos of him on Facebook on Christmas eve at my dad's house - resting the laptop on my huge Z-filled belly.

And now he's gone - or is lying cold in a paris hospital, while K & N try and get their heads around the fact that their beloved first born son just will not wake up.

What is it about death, that it has to be so damn permanent and non-negotiable? There is no 'maybe' left, only 'never'.

So I hope his little spirit is somewhere warm, somewhere good. And that he might just bump into Z and make knowing baby eyes at her. "You too, huh?"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Poetry + Art First Aid

Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow 1 from here.

Yesterday I tried all kinds of things to quell the weeping, and this was the only one that really worked - to memorise one of my favorite poems:


Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,

Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and cut the rind off;
In the centre you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,

Where the same brown paper parcel -
Children, leave the string untied!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,

But the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee,
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
He lives - he then unties the string.

It has provided comfort before, but there is something about being able to recite it in my head whenever things get too much that gives a settling feeling. I haven't yet memorised the whole thing - just the first two stanzas, but even that gives a little sense of completion.

I think I understand a link now between our loss and this terrible sense of being unable to follow anything through - it is as though my hope mechanism, my ability to imagine completing something, has been damaged. To take the hard small steps to get there, I need to be able to imagine getting there. And I'm hesitant to do that because all that we imagined for Haloumi was lost in a silly moment. I need a little splint for my broken hope bone, a poultice to lay upon it. And time for the bone to knit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here we are now

Most of the shock has worn off now, and we're just doing the daily grind of grief. The sadness is still huge, but we have to live with it now, work with it, breakfast with it and somehow go on.

Every now and then I think of a new part of the accident I hadn't processed before - my dad coming to the hospital, and I was so bossy telling him to go straight to El Prima (in another hospital across town) - when he must have been so shocked. He and my stepmum had been having dinner with family friends, and of course he wasn't answering his mobile during dinner when my sister was trying to call him to let him know what had happened. She had to ring around the family until she finally hit my stepsister, who knew where they were having dinner and called the landline.

Dad came to see me and then El Prima, and my stepmum went to the Children's hospital to be with the girls. She stayed there all night with them, until they were released the next day. Snazzy drew a picture of it later - of her and Snacky in their hospital beds, with our stepmama on a campbed between them, and tears on all their faces.

It still seems insane that such a tiny quick little moment of impact can send such huge ripples of loss through all our lives.