About Me

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My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.

Monday, July 30, 2012


*This post I will be cussing A LOT!

I went in for my first NST. I was actually thinking it may decrease my stress level. The problem is that I had to return to the hospital where I delivered Camille. My husband, son and I went to the hospital at 10am this morning for my AFI. The good news is that it has gone into the normal range. Low normal but still normal by like .5 a point. I had to wait for a good hour before being seen. I was in a part of the hospital I had never been and I was with D and Kai so it was kind of okay. Except that it was still hard just going to the hospital. BUT then the FUCKING nursery song comes on when a baby is born. That sends me into a total fucking panic. It happens at least 2 times while waiting. I have to tell the ultrasound tech why we are there...Cue tears.

Than we head up to labor and delivery....NOT STOKED. We check in and the lady tells us...sorry no kids allowed....why didn't they fucking tell me that when I scheduled the NST? So D and Kai have to leave and I am directed to sit in a chair in the hallway outside the door where I found out Camille had died 1 year ago. Once again I am alone. What kind of fucking hospital only has 3 beds in the labor and delivery triage? I am waiting and waiting...Yes I am crying. Then I see one of the nurses from my OB's practice and she sees me crying and I tell her it is the first time I have been back. She has had a baby since the last time I saw her about 6 months ago....at least it is distracting. They take some other moms into the room. I am still waiting.
Now at this point I have pretty much used up all my calm your shit down mojo and the anxiety is starting to creep in. I am crying but not out loud. Than another mom comes in who is in labor so of course I get bumped....I get it. BUT...

So I tell the lady who originally walked me in that I haven't been seen yet and she said that scheduled NST always take second priority. She doesn't know my story. I don't tell every nurse walking by that I'm having a rough go because my baby died last year you know? I had been waiting forever...I finally couldn't take it anymore and am sobbing in the hallway and go up to the lady and say I have to go, I cannot stay and she says well we were just going to have you go down to the 4th floor and do your NST there....WHY DIDN'T you have me go down there 2 FUCKING hours ago? This other nurse asks me if I am in pain and I tell her no and tell her it is my first time back since my daughter died and I am not okay and I need to go.

I get to the 4th floor and I have completely lost my shit with snot and tears and crazy all over me. I go into my own personal hospital room and the nurse stays with me the whole time. We talked about Camille and death and stupid people and I was there for a very long time. I know the baby was doing well cause I could feel her moving about and kicking me but let me tell you, when they strapped that monitor on me I felt like my brain was going to explode. Last time one of those was on me there was nothing except static and my own heartbeat.

I got out of the hospital by around 2:45...yeah seriously 10-2:45 which is a long time to have to keep your shit together ...well obviously I didn't. That place is like my own personal war zone. PTSD is REAL and I have got it bad. I was supposed to go to my group therapy today but I couldn't make it. I came home and told Kai he had to play or watch videos on my phone since he wouldn't nap because I HAD to sleep. I woke up after 5pm and just cried and cried. I calmed down a little but have been beyond exhausted. I went to bed tonight...exhausted but couldn't sleep and just cried and cried.

I know that this pregnancy has been difficult, stressful, anxiety ridden, but the closer I get the crazier I become. Pregnancy after the death of your child is the most challenging experience that I cannot even begin to describe. I don't know how to manage the next several weeks. I am at my wits end and I have sooo much time left. I worry about all the cortisol I am dumping into this baby from my anxiety but I don't have control. I wish I could wake up and just have my baby here.

And to think I am supposed to do this again Thursday....I have to call and see if I can go somewhere else. I have to do something because I cannot do this twice a week. I am doing the best I can, sometimes it is good enough, other times it isn't. Today was a day I knew would be hard, I didn't know it would send me spiraling. I didn't know it would send me into a full on panic. I didn't think it would be as horrific as it was. When I am in that space I have no tools to talk myself down. By the time I reach the point where I was, I am beyond all those rational self-talks. I wish this was easier.

I am exhausted. I have to work in the morning and I feel like I got run over by a bus. I wish I could make this better. I just want my baby to live.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tragedy That Is Not My Own

Yesterday I found out about a tragic event that took place the night before. There was a family who was out riding bikes and walking along a paved pathway very close to our home. There was a father riding his bike with a two year old on the back, his son was on his own bike close behind. The mother and their older daughter were walking on the trail. They crossed the street at a cross walk to get to the other part of the trail when the father and daughter on the bike and the little boy on his bike were struck by a drunk driver. The father and daughter went up on the hood and then off, the boy was drug for about a block. The driver left the scene but later returned. The little boy who was 7 died. I was talking about it with several of my patients yesterday. I went home and told my husband...I started to cry. It is just SO tragic. I wonder if the mother saw the whole thing. The father and little girl are in the hospital but I think they are stable.

We were driving to Santa Cruz last night and my husband says to me. "Can you imagine what that family must be going through right now?" I started crying again and said "I don't have to imagine, I know"
I know the mother can not breathe right now.
I know that the father wishes that he had died instead.
I know that the family has been twisted and destroyed in a way that is difficult for anyone comprehend.
I know that they are in the pit of hell with a darkness that surrounds them.
I know the sound of silence that screams of pain and anguish.

I wish I didn't know...but now a tragedy like this hits me in a way I would never have understood before Camille died.
A family has been devestated by the death of their child.
It breaks my heart.
I feel so deeply for this family.
Such a senseless and unexpected tragedy....I am SO sorry for their loss.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bravery in the Form of Fabric

One of the major areas of guilt for me surrounding Camille's death is that I never made or bought anything specifically for her. We did not know she was a girl until she was born. She was born in June, it is very hot here and we knew if we had a boy we would have everything we needed. We purchased white onesies, newborn diapers and some Aiden and Anais receiving blankets. For Kai and many of my friends babies, I have made each of them a baby quilt. I never made one for Camille. Time just got away from me and I never got around to it. This breaks my heart beyond measure. I know I love her with all of my heart, but I have no physical representation of the planning and anticipation that went into her coming to our family. We thought we were being smart, that we weren't being frivolous. Now the fact that I never purchased her one tiny dress squeezes my heart and makes my breath feel shallow.

Kai's  loved, washed, and well used 3.5 year old quilt

I know I have not written much about the pregnancy with our precious much loved and desired rainbow baby...I promise some posts are to come....but, one thing is very clear to me....The way I knew I needed to send out cards for Camille's birthday is how I feel I MUST make this new baby girl a quilt. The problem has been that I just couldn't even think about it, let alone begin it before Camille's birthday. It just felt so wrong to be doing it for this baby when I didn't do it for Camille. I told my therapist the week of Camille's birthday that I hoped that I would be able to focus a little more on this baby after Camille's birthday passed. The focus of every day is bringing this baby, living and breathing into our family. What I meant was that I really wanted to start the process of doing things that showed in a physical manner that I believed that this baby will come home with us....which is a difficult task. The belief and the hope are two different things.

Last week, with tears and a heavy heart I headed to the fabric store. It took a lot of effort, I might even call it courage to drive over there with intent to pick out fabric for a baby quilt. Once I was in the store, I was fine. I have been in a fabric store a hundred times. The fabric store is not my nemesis, my guilt is. That overriding feeling that I didn't do enough to show my love for Camille before she was here. I picked out fabric and it felt fine. I found some pieces that I really like and honestly it will be different in a lot of ways than some of the other quilts I have made, but this also seems appropriate. Of course now I must set upon the daunting task of actually completing the project...but I must... I will post photos once I begin...But I am glad I made the initial steps toward my goal.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pregnancy Update~ Some Good News, Some Bad News

I am 30.5 weeks pregnant. They want to induce me at 38 weeks which means I am on the 7.5 week count down. 7.5 weeks sounds much sooner than 2 months.

I had my perinatology visit this morning.
I will start with the positive things:
1. The baby is measuring in at 3 lbs which means she has doubled her weight in the last month. She is measuring in the 39th percentile.
2. She moved head down.

The bad things:
1. I have gestational diabetes. I am pretty sad about this for multiple reasons. Really it scares me. I have not had this with either of my other two pregnancies. I asked why this would be taking place and if the things I list below could affect it.
     A. Familial history (my father has type 2 which he developed in his 60's and manages with diet)
     B. Starting my pregnancy 20 lbs over my usual weight (I got pregnant 6 months after giving birth and had not lost my pregnancy weight)
     C. Increased stress on my adrenal system secondary to grief
     D. Being pregnant for almost 2 years straight puts a big strain on my pancreas
The answer to all of those is yes. I will have to start doing finger sticks and managing my blood glucose. The thing is, my doctor said that the recommendations may not be that different than what I am already doing. I asked why I have not gained excessive weight (22 lbs so far) and the baby is not measuring large. The MD said it is most likely because I eat healthier than a normal person. So although my pancreas is not working optimally I am not straining it regularly the way other people probably do. What concerns me is that I am eating really healthy and my pancreas continues to not function in an adequate way. Another concern OBVIOUSLY is the impact this could have on the baby. Google has all kinds of things to scare any mama let alone a BLM regarding gestational diabetes.

2. My amniotic fluid is low. I have to go back in a week. My doctor seems somewhat unconcerned about the GD but concerned enough about the fluid levels for me to return in a week. 7.5 was my measurement and 8 is lower level of what they want to see. The question both my husband and I had which of course of ALL the questions we asked did not think to ask this one: Is gestational diabetes and low fluid level correlated...Well google says yes. Weird but GD can make you gain a bunch of weight and have a big baby with excessive amniotic fluid or you can be gaining regular weight and have low amniotic fluid levels. Low fluid levels has its own risks and obviously my doctor wants me back in a week.

He did do a doppler on the fetal blood flow and everything looks good, no restrictions etc...but guess what? I have to go back in a week because it still concerns him.
I am FRUSTRATED. I am worried. I have so little control over any of this. What was also difficult for me was that during our discussion with our doctor Daryl actually started to cry. It is hard because I see him cry very very rarely, a handful of times in the 14 years we have been together, I know he worries too. He asked are we still going to have an healthy alive baby at the end of this. The MD is very hopeful and he definitely helps decrease our stress....but....we are still stressed.

I can continue to work 2 days a week, but he wants me laying down most of the time when I am home to help fluid levels. He also wants me to take two 15-30 min walks a day to help with my GD. Two different problems highly correlated and treated with opposing activity guidelines. The doctor is not freaking out but my high risk pregnancy just stepped up a couple notches.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Camille's 1st Birthday

I have been trying to process what it is to be 1 year out from the death of my daughter. I keep thinking, I can't believe I have continued to breathe for an entire year without Camille here.

The month of June was full of anxiety and sadness. The week of her birthday I was a complete sobbing mess. This year was a leap year and so instead of her birthday being on Friday this year it was on a Saturday, 2 days after her death day (Thursday). I kept thinking Thursday would be the worst day. Saturday came, I woke thinking "okay, today is going to be okay", I went for a walk in the morning and I just cried. I cried 3 different times that day, big fat sobbing tears.

We decided we would try and make it a day like any other Saturday. We went and got bagels and then we went and walked around REI. Kai loves going in the tents and looking at camping equipment. I asked Kai what we should do for Camille's birthday and he said "we should bake chocolate chip cookies because they are my favorite", so we made cookies. My dear friend who is also our doula and has been present at both of my births was in town with her 9 year old for Camille's birthday.

We received lovely cards, flowers, bread with jam and honey, a book on religious/inspirational quotes, as well as some gorgeous sounding wind chimes and generally it was a positive feeling for me to know that many people had not forgotten our daughter. I did not care whether the remembrance was because they remembered or if it was inspired by the card we sent out. It was mostly just important that people not forget.

I wondered how I would feel after sending off the card for her birthday. The card had Camille's picture on it and sending that out made me feel very vulnerable. It was important that I send a photo because people can dismiss an idea or a thought much easier than a person (or so I thought) Seeing an actual photo of our daughter, I thought would help people visualize that Camille was not just an idea, she was a person, someone we love and will miss for our entire lives. I wondered about the response I would receive. In the end I felt very good about the card and the response was interesting. What I found was that the response to the card was similar to the response after Camille's death, either people acknowledged it or they did not. I realized at one point that the cards in the middle of our table pretty much represented the same individuals who had been present throughout the year. The absence of response was also a representation of those who consistently have chosen not to be present. I know some people were a little shocked when they opened the card but some of my favorite responses besides people telling me she was beautiful, was that they felt honored that they got to see a picture of her. That made me feel really good. The fact that Daryl was on board and happy with the card that we sent out was also very validating because he is not a very open person.

In the evening of her birthday I had decided to order some wish lanterns. We decided to go to Daryl's baseball field because it was very open and I didn't think we could burn anything down in the immediate vicinity. We sent up 3 lanterns....Errr rather we attempted to send up 3. We got to the field and the sprinklers were on...the field was completely sopping wet. The day had been extremely hot but wouldn't you know it the wind picked up at 9pm....Go figure. we couldn't get the lanterns to light and ended up in the dugout 3 of us trying to get the dang thing to catch on fire. We finally got one to catch but it ended up burning a hole in the side of the paper and we had to stomp on it to get it to go out. We would tell Kai, okay think of a wish but than the lantern would be burning as it skipped across the field with all of us chasing after it and he is yelling "I hope this baby comes home to live with us" at the top of his lungs and I am saying "no... wait don't wish on that one" We got the second one to go up into the sky and fly away. It was very pretty and it felt successful. The third one died a firey heap on the field as well and we ended up laughing about what a joke it turned out to be. I didn't feel sad that it wasn't perfect...It was what it was and we tried...at least we got one to go up and some laughs out of the event.

Papa sending up wish lantern for Camille: Notice the almost full moon in the sky.
The photo that makes the wish lanterns look impressively successful
So how do I feel after getting through the 1 year mark of the loss of my baby??? I was talking about this with my therapist and she asked what I hoped it would bring. I said I hoped that some of the grief would lift, that I may than be able to focus on the baby that I am growing more (like I don't completely perseverate on this baby constantly)... the truth is, it isn't easier, I don't miss her less. It does not feel as if something has lifted. The anxiety and stress and heaviness leading up to her birthday has passed which in itself is a relief. Do I think of Camille less? NO! I think of, love, care for and nurture my son everyday, I think I do the same for Camille, she just isn't here. In the weeks following her birthday I have cried a couple of times. I feel really glad that we did something to honor and remember our daughter that WE remember everyday. I was very worried I wouldn't get the cards done. I feel glad that I did. The truth is 1 year doesn't feel like 1 year. It feels like yesterday that she was here and an eternity without her. I just miss her so much. I don't think that will ever change.