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.
Just a quick post to put up a photo of Ali looking suave (I think!). He's had to spend some time under UV lights in the special care nursery for jaundice due to ABO incompatibility, but we're home now and he is feeding beautifully and charming us completely. We are feeling so so lucky. He looks a lot like his sister - everytime I kiss him I get another little reminder of how soft her skin was too. I've written something for Angie's Where I am right now project, but it'll take me a while to sit down and type it up. Thank you so much for your congratulations - I really wasn't sure whether we would ever get to this point. xxxxxxxxx h
He really truly is here - making little faces in his sleep as he naps on my lap after a big feed. Ali John - born at 3:44pm on Monday 21 May, weighing in at 4.26kg. His birth story will take me a little while, but I'm going to paste in my post from over at glow in the woods which explains a bit:
(I'm having trouble posting a photo using blogger on my phone - will add one once I get laptop up & going)
Hi everyone - I cannot thank you enough for providing kind & wise words & a safe space to think all this through and I credit it with helping me go into labor (almost) spontaneously. We did have the VBAC we were after, but ironically, only after El Prima and I had a big weepy discussion about it and I accepted that we needed to have him sooner rather than later - and if that meant another caesar, then I was okay with that.
Two other things helped - one was realising that we did have another medical induction option open to us that didn't increase the risk of rupture, namely breaking my waters, and the other was listening to my own body and realising that, of all the hippy non-medical induction techniques we were trying (Accupuncture, aromatherapy, curry, orgasm, walking etc) the one thing that consistently brought on strong BH contractions was nipple stimulation. After El Prima and I resolved that we needed to have this baby ASAP, we spoke to our midwife, Jan, about it on Sunday morning. She completely understood why, and gave us a practical plan to make it happen - that she would come that afternoon, do a stretch and sweep, hoping that would kickstart things, then we would go into the hospital first thing Monday morning asking to have my waters broken, knowing that if that didnt then result in natural labour, we'd have to go for a c section.
With that plan agreed, el Prima and Snazzy & I went for a big walk, and with a big scarf to keep it discreet, I kept up the nipple stimulation all the way there & back. Part way to the bakery, I realised that the BH contractions were now coming regularly and getting more painful (sorry, "better" to use Jan's phrase), so El Prima started timing them. I'm going to hav to write up the full birth story soon, but the upshot was, I was 3cm dilated by 10pm that night, we went to hosp at 7am the next morning, they broke my waters when I was 5cm dilated at about 2pm that day, surprised everyone by being fully dilated 12 minutes later (!?!?) and pushed out our 9 pound son by 3:45pm. If I sound a bit excited by it, I still am - it was the craziest, most painful, most mind-bending thing that has ever happened to me, perhaps with the exception of being mama to z.
I feel so lucky to have had the support, and the good outcome that we did - i keep looking st hin to check he's really alive and ok. Getting a chance to experience this birth with him was a bonus - I'm so glad el Prima was willing to take the leap of faith with me, and that we had such an experiences midwife & medical team who could make it happen in the safest possible way for our baby. I also realised that my dream of a completely natural spontaneous birth was something I lost along with losing Z, and it was okay to grieve that, and to accept that my reality was now different. Thank you everyone who commented here for helping me get to that place. Xxxxxxxx
To be honest, I was really a bit scared to start nesting. But then our dear friends S and C offered as their baby gift a whole day of spring cleaning to help get our place in lovely shape for Adzuki to come home to. And somehow, having someone to work alongside, and who were really imagining a living breathing baby in our house, unleashed the nesting monster. All the nesting we never got to do for Z, because we were moving interstate and she died before we moved into the new house - and a whole lot of new nesting for this baby. For so long, we had just been in survival mode. We'd unpacked in such a random way - I was discharged directly from the rehab hospital to our new house, and friends and family had unpacked all our furniture the day before.
El Prima and I were never the biggest fans of housework to start with, but grief sucked much of the remaining house pride out of us. Just getting back into work, getting the girls to school, dinner on the table, bills paid, laundry done, and then starting IVF took all our energy. And when you've been given an acute appreciation of how the people you love can be gone in an instant, well, dusting just really doesn't come very high on your priority list. And El Prima and I really didn't need another thing to argue over. Oh look, we had all kinds of good excuses, but essentially we'd given up on the notion of having a lovely clean house - it was all just too overwhelming. Somehow, having S come and clean broke that pattern - and as the one day of spring cleaning turned into about three and a half, and El Prima and I started getting into it, I realised I could start caring about this house again - that looking after it didn't have to be an act of drudgery but could be an act of love and care - for ourselves and for Adzuki.
That doesn't mean that our place is now spotless, but it is so so much cleaner before, and with this new energy, we've been able to let go of lots of stuff we don't need, and to re-arrange and tidy up the stuff we do need. Who knows if our hearts will be broken again, but I figure - we're already so in love with Adzuki - holding out on preparing for him to come home living and breathing wouldn't make things any easier if he didn't make it. If we're jinxed, we're jinxed already by loving him so much. The first thing I bought for him back in November was this vintage kimono - it is now hanging on the wall near his drawers and change table, hot pink with hope. We're now at 38 and a half weeks - ready when you are, little one!
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!