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.
There are so many things I've been wanting to say - mostly thank you so much for saying lovely things about our khallila (little darling) Z and her photo. I want so much more from that little face, but I know the hankering doesn't do me (or her) any good. "I love you just the way you are, my darling" - I guess that is the bit of parenting that I still aspire to - loving without being pushy, without wanting more.
Last week things kind of overtook me - more media around the sentence being handed down, then my step-daughter gave me a cold, and now that I'm feeling on the way to human again, there is an enormous pile of exam marking to be done. Mrph. But there are good things in there too, like finally deciding how we're going to spend christmas and new year and having to rush crazily to book ferries and accommodation, and pleasantly dithering over where I'll plant new little vegie seedlings, lovingly germinated from seed by my best friend. And, as always, a good amount of standing in the front garden staring at the full moon and one particular star, and getting weepy all over the pomegranate bush.
The sage flowers are finished, and the succulents are making pink plastic-looking blooms. This little cactus-y plant has a history - it came to us from the house around the corner, where six grown-up siblings were having a garage sale of their 92-year-old mother's house, where they'd grown up. We'd bought some furniture and pots and it was the end of the day, so they insisted on giving us all the left over plants. Their mother has dementia, and is now in a home, hopefully with some good plants around her.
El Prima is away on a work trip, and without her here to harangue me to bed, I'm aimless, pottering until far too late. After all my false hope of last month's TTC efforts, this month was decidedly low key - I was half surly about the whole process and the twisting effect it has on our hearts. So it was mainly grim determination, rather than hope, this month, and my body rewarded my cynicism with a 24-day cycle - sparing me the agonising over faux-symptoms and whether or not to test that those last days usually entail. Which means I'm booking another flight to Sydney...
This paper-thin year is nearly done. I had been sulkily refusing to acknowledge the existence of 2011 (what kind of ridiculous futuristic concept is that!) but we're heading steadily towards it regardless of my sulking. Please let it surprise me in a good way.
Our gorgeous baby girl made the newsagain yesterday. I knew there would be some media, but I didn't realise that it was unusual for people to read their own victim's impact statements. And I didn't mean to make the judge cry.
It certainly didn't feel "brave". It felt like the relief when your ears pop as the plane goes up and the pressure equalises in your head. The main difference is that for one day the sadness was not just in our heads, but everyone else could feel it too. It meant that right in the moment when the cameras were turned on me to document my sadness, I momentarily felt better - so much better that I felt like a bit of a fraud for making such a fuss. But I held her photo in an envelope in my hand and thought, she's worth making a fuss over. Indulge me as a mum and let me make a fuss about her, because, god knows, we won't get to do that in the future. I guess this is why I preferred to speak for myself rather than just be the silent victim (not that I would judge anyone who makes a different decision - this was just what I preferred in our particular situation)- because I didn't want us to be painted into a stereotype and have others put their "tragic" gloss on our situation.
I know so many babylost mamas don't get this kind of acknowledgment, and I feel kind of greedy for hogging the limelight like that, but part of my reason for speaking was that I wanted to make Z visible and to make it clear that while stillbirth is an awful thing to happen, it is not unspeakable. Like Sally, it irks me that the media often seem squeamish about talking about stillbirth, which leaves families who experience it feeling like freaks, because everyone thinks that (as Ceil Drucker put it so well) stillbirths "went out with hoop skirts".
People want to respect your privacy, which is a kind thing, but for me, I want everyone in the world to be aware of what happened, because, yes, it is horrific, but it is such a huge part of our lives. She's our baby, and even if she's not here, we're so proud of her. To me, it is important that people get some idea of this grief - that it is enormous and crushing, but also really ordinary and everyday for us - that we fold it up with our washing and rinse it out when we brush our teeth. When we laugh, I want to know that her little cells are laughing within mine, and that when I see something beautiful, it is all the more beautiful because it feels like she is a part of it, and all the more heartbreaking because she is not here to see it.
What I don't want to get drawn into is investing too much in the particular sentence dished out to the accused. We made a deliberate choice while I was still in the ICU not to put any energy into getting angry at him, but to focus on us getting better, taking care of our girls and remembering Z. I've spent enough years as a lawyer to know that there is no point expecting a court outcome to "fix" things. He is being held accountable for his actions, and after yesterday I feel like he has some idea of what impact his actions caused.
We've felt a huge wave of love in the last 24 hours from family & friends and from so many people who've seen the news. She's made her mark, our gorgeous girl.
(Oh, I'm so nervous about putting her picture up here! But you are all lovely and deserve to see her.)
El Prima - my *ex* partner & aaineh number one. Yep, she's a lady. And so am I. Scandalous. Even better, she's Lebanese - and not just in a euphemistic way.
"the girls" - El Prima's two teenage daughters, Snacky & Snazzy, who live with us, and put up with my poor attempts at stepmama-ing. Her eldest daughter is 20 and living in another city. Snacky moved up to Sydney to study in Feb 2012 after finishing high school. Snazzy still lives with us (or at the house, with El Prima) and visits me and Ali where we are staying with friends,
Z - (aka Haloumi or khallila) our baby daughter, who died from placental abruption at 34w in the car accident on 27 December 2009.
Ali - long awaited little brother to the girls and to Z, born in May 2012
*edited on 13 July to add*
[where did my ticker go? It broke - I guess pregnancy tickers don't magically transform into "x days since our baby would hypothetically have been born, had she not died 6 weeks before" tickers. And I'm not sure I need a little program to tell me anyway.]
*edited on 11 Jan 2010 to add*
I think the reason why I'm leaving this ticker up here is because it is important to my mourning right now. We've had a funeral for our beautiful little girl, but in accordance with El Prima's faith (and my wishes) we will have a further, more public, ceremony around 40 days after she died. In some kind of wierd coincidence, 40 days was almost exactly how many days were left until her due date at the time she died. (I think that counts as irony of the saddest kind)
So while the significance has changed so radically, we are still counting down to something, even if it is not what we expected.
The fine print
I'd be a very bad lawyer if I didn't point out that everything I write here is copyright - please don't reproduce or borrow from it without my permission. Thank you!