Posted by: irishdad | April 24, 2010

Birth Certs

I just came across an article from a couple of weeks ago, via a link in Twitter.

It discusses a movement in Pennsylvania in the US to allow parents of stillborn children to have birth certs issued for them.

Thought provoking stuff. We had a painful time registering the death of our Littlegirl…in the same office at the same time that people were bringing their babies in to get birth certificates, but I’m not sure where I stand on giving birth certs to a stillborn child.

I can see how it would validate the child to the outside world as being more than a pregnancy that didn’t end well, and yet, if your baby is stillborn one of the most painful aspects is the fact that the child never drew so much as one breath.

Read the article and see what you think. It certainly strikes me as unfortunate that the issue is so politicised and appears to be being hijacked by so many other parties.

Posted by: irishdad | March 7, 2010

A pox on my house

For the last two weeks or so we’ve been celebrating the joys of Chicken Pox. Our son is just now down to his last two scabs. People always talk about Chicken pox like it’s a walk in the park but we found it to be a really crap illness. The little fella was miserable for about a week – I slept on the floor in his room as he was waking up so often – and he looked like he’d been rolling around in a combination of nettles and lit cigarettes. Thankfully he’s almost completely better now.

Since I created the draft of this post yesterday, our little girl is now showing a couple of suspicious spots around her body. She’s 12 weeks now and hopefully if she has the pox she won’t get it too bad. So much for immunity.

***

It’s strange to see spring coming around again. This time last year spring was reminding me of how the world just carries on regardless when our children die. Snowdrops and daffodils were starting to bloom, though I also recall stepping over egg shells and tiny chicks who had fallen from their nests…who didn’t make it.

Now spring is here again, and we have come a long way in the 16 months since our littlegirl died. She’s still an everyday presence in our lives and memories still come rushing back at unexpected times; preparing the dinner, sitting on the bus going to work…you know the routine…completely out of the blue you remember some painful detail of birth or getting the news, or the general hugeness of living without your child hits you.

Today we’re supposed to go to the christening of a friends child. We said we would go but I’ll be ringing shortly to cancel as I just don’t think we’re ready to make our ‘big group debute’ at this time. We’ve only been out in company 3 or 4 times since Littlegirl dies so we don’t feel prepared yet to go to a occassion that will be all about babies. (And perhaps all about how wonderful our new baby is – without mentioning Littlegirl) I hope they understand.

Our friends baby who was desperately sick over Christmas is not really out of the woods yet. Since she was sent home from the hospital after her initial spell there she’s had trouble feeding and hasn’t gained much weight in all this time. Her parents are under such terrible stress and fear as she needs to gain strength before facing another operation. Tube feeding with special feed has been started in recent days so hopefully that will be beneficial.

In other news, I’ll be losing my job at the end of the month. This makes it twice in two years that I need to search for a job. The revenue coming in from the projects I manage just isn’t there this year, so I’m out. This time my search will take place in the midst of this country’s deepest recession in years, what an exciting challenge! Thankfully we have some savings and will be able to weather the time it may take to find a new job. We’re very lucky in this regard as so many people are struggling at the moment.

Posted by: irishdad | January 28, 2010

still

Still.

That’s the best way I can sum up how things have been over the past few weeks.

Much of the chatter in my mind has calmed down since the baby was born. Sleep comes easier and runs deeper than it did for most all of last year.

While last year I feel like I spent hours each day thinking of Littlegirl and our lives since she died and fretting over my wife’s pregnancy, this year I’ve just been a bit blank. Maybe I was always like this and just didn’t realiseūüôā or perhaps I’m just taking a break from being stressed and occupied with loss.

Our new baby is fantastic and we love her to bits. Her older brother is being great too with only a few accidental knees to the head and one finger biting incident to account for so far.

Last week we registered the baby’s birth, returning once again to the place where we registered Littlegirl’s death not so many months before. A lighter occasion this time, but still with the ghost of experiences past.

We also took the dust cover off the double buggy we had bought in anticipation of Littlegirl’s arrival. It had been ‘up on bricks’ for a year or so covered by a sheet in my mother in law’s house, waiting in pristine condition for someone to use it.

On the whole things have been great. It has been nice to feel somewhat normal again. We meet other parents of new children and they chat to us and we can talk to them….we’re in the gang again. They always ask how many kids we have, and we’ll tell them three and their ages and generally say nothing when they say how tough it must be to have 3 children under three years old…

Posted by: irishdad | January 6, 2010

News, and a link

First: our friends baby, who was extremely sick, is now home and quite well! She’ll need a third operation between the age of 3 to 6 months but on the whole should be fine. Hooray for life.

Second: This may warrant investigation, but I don’t think the following piece in Time magazine on how Fa.cebook is changing the grieving process quite applies to the baby loss gang. Perhaps I’m wrong.

That is all. I am in work.

Posted by: irishdad | January 1, 2010

New Year

Staying in is so the new going out.

A quiet evening was had in the Irishdad household. Young son is oblivious to the occasion, dear wife is tired and tiny baby is on a strict routine of sleeping 23 hrs a day and feeding the rest of the time.

As Irishmam went to bed earlier, I watched and enjoyed Frost/Nixon while drinking a bottle of Riesling. Then, shortly before midnight I looked out the window and saw that it had started to snow. How pretty.

So, here’s a couple of photos from this evening of the blue moon rising and the schnee, plus a link to a great track by Alice in Chains – one of my all time favorite bands of all time. Be warned, the song is not one to make you reach for your happy shoes. It is beautiful though and reminds me of some of the lower days of the past year.

A blue moon rises

Midnight snow, 01 01 '10

Good Morrow.

Posted by: irishdad | December 31, 2009

hard to explain

First up, our friends’ baby has taken a very positive turn and is off the ventilator.¬† I say tentatively that she’s through the worst.

***

Back to 2009, and I’m finding it hard to ‘define’ the year. On paper it has been the worst year of my life as I’ve been grieving the death of my daughter, but how can I reconcile that with the birth of¬† a precious adorable third child?

I don’t know. It has been the worst of times. It has been the best of times.

I can’t decide whether we should be drinking champagne tomorrow evening, or just letting new year’s eve slip by while giving two fingers to 2009 and all the pain and tears we endured.

Really, it should be a combination of both. I now truly understand why the birth of a child should be celebrated. We should dance in the streets when a baby is born.

Also, we should probably give ourselves a little credit for simply getting through the year. Anyone who reads this blog has had a tough year and goddamit gets little credit for having got up each day and kept things together. So for that reason alone, we/you deserve to say ‘I survived 2009, now gimme that bottle’.

On the other hand, the coming year brings a new decade and we leave our beloved children that much more in the past. I know, I know, they are in our hearts and will always be with us. But their dates, their conception and births, are now in a nine or an eight -or beyond, while we move into TEN without them. We’re being dragged into the future whether we like it or not.

I think I’ll raise my glass, bidding adieu to¬† 2009 and farewell, with respect, to the worst days I’ve ever experienced. I’ll raise again to my wife and my children living and deceased, and to all of you who have read or commented on this blog during the year.

I wish for a positive 2010 for all of us.

Posted by: irishdad | December 28, 2009

An update

Just a quick update – our friends’ baby who has been extremely sick for about a week now, underwent a second operation yesterday as the doctors felt that without it they would not be able to take her off life support.

She made it through the op, and now a further 24 hours have passed, so they hope to take her off the ventilator later today or tomorrow.  Small steps, but in the right direction thankfully.

Posted by: irishdad | December 24, 2009

Not even a mouse

I haven’t posted much of late as I’ve been busy looking after Littleboy and my good wife, who came home from the hospital a couple of days after her section.

Our baby girl was slightly premature, but thankfully she came home today. The doctors were delighted with her progress so she’s been discharged and is here beside me now. What a great gift for Christmas Eve…and such a difference from the complete misery of last year.

Our happiness is tempered by the knowledge that the baby girl of a friend of my wife’s, born just 5 days before our own child, is critically ill in hospital.¬† She hadn’t been feeding well, so when mother brought her to the doctor¬† earlier this week he detected heart problems and called an ambulance immediately. A heart op followed that same day…and now she’s on life support with two more operations ahead of her.

In short, her parents and family have been landed in hell and there’s nothing they or anyone else can do but wait and hope that she’s strong enough to pull through.

I understand that there are suggestions that as she’s made it through 36 hours the doctors are hopeful that she’ll be well enough for a second operation shortly.

S0, if you have a moment please spare a positive thought for this little girl and her scared, bewildered parents.

Finally, I wish you all the best this Christmas.

Posted by: irishdad | December 15, 2009

It’s a….

…Girl!

Littleboy and Littlegirl have a baby sister!

Everything went smoothly today. Our little baby was born at 1126am, weighing 5, 11. She’s being kept under observation as she’s a little short of breath but we’re told this is to be expected for her gestation (36 weeks and 6 days)

I’ll write more tomorrow, for today I’m just a bit numb about it all. Obviously glad everything has gone well but my overall feeling is just that I’m tired! (relief, methinks)¬† All the recent sleepless nights are looking for payback.

I’ve a glass of quality Crozes Hermitage that I bought on Sunday in a fit of optimism, and a hunk of nice cheese. After that I’m going to sleep.

Thanks to you all for your well-wishes over recent days, it has really meant a lot to me and Irishmam.

Bis morgen.

Posted by: irishdad | December 14, 2009

two sleeps

I’ve been trying to write a post that expresses my thoughts about the last year…but I can’t come up with anything that makes sense.

This year has been the worst year of our lives. Hopefully it will prove to be the lowest of our days.

Now, just over a year after our second child was stillborn, we have so much to look forward to. Our third baby is scheduled to be born on Tuesday morning (15th December). Call me selfish but I’d really like it if things went pretty much normally for us. A birth without drama, a live healthy baby.

The last few weeks, even months, have been difficult. Neither of us have slept well for as long as we can remember so we’re just getting more and more tired. From time to time one or both of us will be so stressed out we’re just about keeping a lid on things, be it from worry about the pregnancy or all the reminders of Littlegirl’s death and birth and the days around that period that this time of year brings up.

Now, we’re nearly there and our thought turn to nerves about the actual birth and the fact that we’ve thought so little about the prospect of actually having a baby in our lives that I at least feel very unprepared for what is to come. I don’t know what to expect or how I’ll feel about it all. I suspect its going to be tough to reconcile my happiness at the birth and how much it reminds me about how hard things were with Littlegirl – and how much we have lost.

I know that this is a lovely problem to have!

So, tomorrow my wife has one last check up with the doctor in the morning, and we’ll go over to the hospital in the evening to get her settled in for the night. On Tuesday we’re told that we are first on the list for Caesareans.

Who knows, maybe by lunchtime we will be taking our first steps into another new chapter in our lives.

*******************************

Having recently done a gardening course I’ve concluded that grief is like making compost! You take all the horseshit you’ve been dumped with and all the cuttings of social stress that come with the loss. Every layer of difficulty gets piled up in your mind, sometimes to be dug over, generally just to undergo its own slow transformation into something that can hopefully provide the basis for healthy growth in the future. It takes time. It can’t be rushed, and shouldn’t be tampered with. It needs a little air now and then or it become unhealthy.

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