Archive for the ‘still birth’ Category

Baby Day

June 29, 2007

Today is baby day – the long awaited moment when our new grand-daughter will be born. This day, although two and a half weeks preterm, has been chosen because of the previous loss.

Mothers who have had an early still-birth are known to stress increasingly once the comparitive time of the previous pregnancy is reached and these stresses can affect the foetus, so when this is likely to happen an early elective is often chosen, so long as the new baby is of reasonable size and development. Just to add to the mix, the new little one is still doing her internal flip-flops and changes position from breech to normal almost daily. Because of this, it won’t be known whether the elective will be natural or sugical until the very last minute.

Because of the circumstances surrounding the birth of the first child, everyone is in a high state of anxiety. Schmootle is a bundle of nerves and although her rational medical mind tells her that all will be well, her heart responds differently and as a result she has frequent and escalating emotional meltdowns. With her, everything is seen at the surface; what you see is what you get. Her man responds differently and although he has a double burden of grief for his lost children he hides this under a veneer of slightly irritable “Oh, for heaven’s sake, what now?!” The Manpet and I respond in our ways, too. Although I’m certain that the past will not be repeated, I’m most concerned for Schmootle’s mental state should anything go wrong. And birthing is always an anxious time anyway.

Coupled with this is the on-going stress of the property sale. We have recently listed with a new agent after two unsuccessful years of marketing, and while some would think that our previous agent was lax, this was not the case. He worked hard for us and spent a great deal of money on advertising and a huge investment of time in showing the property to a whole string of potential purchasers, but to no avail. The whole nature of the property means that it will appeal to a very small sector of the market and this naturally has its consequences. So we are re-tendering with new agents who will re-brand it and hopefully swing a deal our way.

The new tender process begins on Monday and the preparation time coincides directly with the baby’s arrival. You could argue that we should have waited, but in all honesty, we are getting near the end of our tether here. Some study has shown that the three most stressful events in our lives are the death of a close family member, separation and divorce, and selling a family home. Generally, selling a family home takes a maximum of three or four months, so our two years on the market puts us right up there among the experts in the field.

One of the main stresses of having the property on the market is having to constantly have the house and gardens in perfect condition. I never was a devoted housewife and dust balls have always been close acquaintances, so the constant dusting and vaccing and tidying away to invisibility of all extraneous personal possessions goes totally against my natural sloppiness. Same with the gardens; I would much rather give in to my inner eye that says “Hey… a wee garden here would look just wonderful!” than maintain those already here, so over the years, a great sprawling conglomeration of beds has sprung up all over the big house paddock.

When we first put the place up for sale, we worked like demons to get it all clean and tidy, spick and span, both inside and out and even managed to keep it that way for quite a time. But you can only do so much and still lead a nearly-normal life so over the two year time span, things have gone back a little, especially outside. In preparation for the latest tender-thing I’ve spent the past weeks in a frantic spring clean of the house and a very cold and wet re-vamp of the gardens, which are at their winter worst. I tore out yesterday and bought a whole lot of colour spot plants to whack into the bare patches. Petunias were the choice of the day and their wonderful colours glow brilliantly in the dull winter light. I’ll put them in the raised beds outside the kitchen and study windows where the plant-eating critters seldom intrude and hopefully they will still be there when the punters come to view.

And this post, rabbiting on as it does, is something of a distraction. If I put my mental energies in here, I won’t have to think about what is going on down the road.

Days in the sun.

June 6, 2007

We have just returned home from four sunny days away in the bus. The bus, you ask? Ah yes, the bus. I will write about that one day soon when I have more time to spare.

The main reason for the break was to spend a weekend with Schmoo and the Man – in all probability the last weekend we will have with them as an unencumbered couple. Because in four short weeks, their baby is due to be born. Talking and even thinking about this child is still a little like walking on cracking ice, because although we are all so much looking forwards to this new little one, there is a lurking feeling of what I can only describe as guilt hovering somewhere in the background. Quite why guilt should be present at this time is a bit of a mystery, but there you are. There is no explaining the human heart. I try not to explore too deeply in that painful area but I can only imagine that, deep within my psyche somewhere, there is a feeling that things might be different if only I had….what?

And there my mind sticks. Because my logic tells me – as it rightly should – that there is not a single thing on god’s green earth that I or anyone could have done to prevent the awfull consequences of March 2006.

Schmoo blames herself. She denies it, but little hints creep out sometimes, little words that indicate to me, the ever vigilant mother, that she feels responsible for the death of little Pea. She even admitted to feeling guilt over being pregnant again, which must be a horrible thought to blight a new pregnancy with. I do my best to reassure her, but I know how the mind works, niggling and sniping at un-guarded moments.

This baby, like the last, is stubbornly presenting as breech. And the one thing that Schmoo will not countenance is turning her, because it is thought by her ob-guy that that is what may well have set off the whole disaster last time. And you know, I know, he knows and she knows, that thousands upon thousands of breech babies are turned, completely without any negative consequence every single year. If the wee one doesn’t turn, a Caesar will be flavour of the day.
You could say that she is being un-necessarily cautious, but in this, I support her to the hilt. To encourage her to do otherwise would simply make her re-live those horrible days all over again, even if this time all goes like clockwork.

And it is still a possibility that she will turn. After all, her mother was also stubbornly breech. Her other prefered position was transverse – she would lie like a giant lozenge, right across the width of my belly, roundy head at one side, roundy bum at the other, little feet kicking strongly at my stomach. She was turned but had reverted to her head-up bum-down position by the time I got back home from the hospital. But on the day of delivery, there she was, head down, ready to go. And this baby may well do the same.
I tell Schmoo this and she looks at me, hope shining tentatively in her eyes.

“Really?” she asks.

“Really.” I say.

All you can really do is to hope. And, if you have a mind for it, to pray.

Sorrow and Joy

March 19, 2007

Today, the 19th of March, 2007, is a day of sorrow. It is the first anniversary of the the still birth at thirty-seven weeks gestation, of our first grandchild, our first mokopuna.
His actual death occured sometime during the days just before the sixteenth. Our darling daughter Shmoo, had not felt the baby move for a time and woke during the night, certain that something was terribly wrong. She had been an anxious mother-to-be, going for frequent scans and checks and unwilling to waken her sleeping partner Mike for what would probably turn out to be a false alarm, had dressed and driven to the hospital over a high mountain range in the dead of night where her worst fears were confirmed.

The events of the following days and weeks are seared into my heart forever. The details aren’t necessary here and indeed, it would be impossible to convey through the written word what went on, except in the most superficial manner. Mike was a huge support to Shmoo, never leaving her side during the following days that lead up to the actual birth of Little Pea. How he managed this without breaking down I will never know, as he was still grieving the suicide of a son from an earlier relationship.

Going into the dimly lit room after the birth and seeing our daughter lying with their wee, dead baby tucked snugly into the crook of her arm was the most utterly heartbreaking moment of my life. And you could clearly see what sort of a person he would have been. Most new-born babies are a little blank and although the etheric life forces are fully present, the still incarnating individual is yet to mark the new face with the expression of their individuality. But not this little chap; already, you could see strong expression on his face, the broad forehead, the stubborn, set little chin indicating his character. He would have been one of those small, determined children who stamp their way through life, crashing through all obstacles and opposition.

We all wept, impossible to hold such searing pain within. Weeping for ourselves, for each other, for the loss of such potential, weeping for Little Pea. We each cuddled him, handling his cooling body with the greatest of care. He felt so fragile physically, his head lolling, the neck without tone.

The specialist established that the reason for the loss was a condition known as a foetal-maternal bleed – a very rare occurance.

Shmoo and Mike had the wee man cremated and they laid his ashes on the ground in a special place somewhere out near the coastal lake.

But today is also a day of joy, as our daughter and son-in-law are once again expecting a child. A girl-child this time, Nam, due to be born some time during Matariki. It has taken a while for us to allow ourselves to feel joy as the hurt of the last birth is still present, but the scans show a perfect healthy baby and the risk of another loss due to the same condition is statistically so slight that it virtually doesn’t exist. But the apprehension is still there, hovering in the background. I wish I could banish that and just feel the warm positive joy that should accompany a new soul’s journey to earth.

How can the human heart simultaneously hold such conflicting emotions?