Sunday, 30 November 2008

Staff Party 2008

Rudi and I went to The Company's staff party last night. It's always a big party and I really enjoyed a lot of the bands that played for us. They were all local, but some of the best local talent around, including Freshly Ground who just cleaned up at the MTV Europe music awards. I absolutely loved their performance and would definitely go and see them again. You could tell they were the most popular act because everybody sang along to their songs and were generally going crazy.

We were also treated to Watershed, Tasha Baxter, Nia Nel, Gang of Instrumentals (although I'm not mad about their music), Dr. Victor and Mango Groove. I used to listen to Mango Groove when I was a teen and I really enjoyed hearing all their old songs (they haven't made an album in a very long time, so we were treated to their original hits).

A lot of my friends from work were there and it was lovely seeing everyone again. Since we've moved to the new building I've lost touch with a lot of my colleagues that I enjoy spending time with. When you work in the same building there is always a chance of bumping into each other and catching up, now the only opportunity we get is the year end function.

It was lots of fun, but at the end of the evening Rudi and I realized we forgot to check the level we parked in when we came in. Looking for the car was such a mission. Luckily one of the gentleman working in the parking area helped us find it. We got in around 2am. I haven't been awake at 2am for a very long time (I know I'm old and wrinkly!). Somehow I can't believe there were times that I was out partying and I missed the sun coming up!

Photos of our evening and my friends and I can be found here.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Busy busy

Luckily I got a good night's sleep last night. I was so exhausted from dealing with the crisis at work and being emotionally exhausted that I hit the hay at around 20:00 and slept right through - even though Rudi said the neighbours were noisy and they woke him up. I slept through all of that.

My landlady SMS'd me last night to tell me she had left me a voucher for a back and neck massage on my kitchen counter. Sweet!

We're still super busy at work. We needed to do check all the complaints again and rectify the ones that weren't properly resolved. What a mission! We did manage to get through all of it though. We didn't think we could do it all today, but we did! My team can really pull together when they need to.

It's our staff fucntion tomorrow night. It's usually a huge jol (party) and Rudi is super excited. I feel like I'm getting old. I don't enjoy hanging around in pubs, partying and clubbing anymore. I go to bed early and get up early every day. Even on weekends. I have grown up problems now like money issues and car trouble (I don't have any car trouble right now, touch wood, but I have a car - so I could have trouble). I miss being a kid. Who doesn't? I don't necessarily miss school (I swore I would never say I wish I was in school again), but I miss not having to worry about much. School had enough worries for me too. I'm talking about before that.

*sigh*

Oops, more work coming my way. Got to fly.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Doctor's Bills...AAAAAARGH!!!!

Here's a tip. Don't ever open a doctors bill in the morning. I received the pathologist bills that I have been waiting for and hastily opened them this morning so that I could pay them as soon as possible.

Imagine those cartoon characters that have their eyes popping out of their socket. Oh. My. Fuck. The bill is almost DOUBLE what I anticipated. To be exact the bill for the pathologist is R5649.30. Can you say 'Payment Arrangement'?

I gave them a call and they agreed that I can pay them off over 12 months which is around R475.00 a month. That, at least, is manageable.

Rudi thinks I'm pregnant again because I'm irritable. Last time he identified my pregnancy by the amount I was eating. I don't feel sick or anything and I guess my next period will only come around December. I'm not sure exactly how to work it out, but my cycle is usually 32 days and if I calculate from the date of the termination then I am due 7 December. It's not impossible that I am pregnant, but I'm not going to get excited. I've been under a lot of pressure at work as we have HUGE problems and are trying to wade through PILES of complaints. Nobody is even going to the loo today (yet somehow I'm finding time to blog) because we are so swamped.

One of my colleagues was admitted to hospital yesterday. She's been coughing a lot for a long time and we kept on telling her to go to the doctor, but she kept putting it off. Yesterday Jubba told her to leave work and go to the hospital. The latest news is that she has blood clots on her lungs and that she is diabetic. I remember how devastated I was at the possibility of being diabetic, I hope she is OK.

I have stopped writing this post for about 4 hours because we're so freaking busy. I have to get my work up to date...no time to dawdle on blogger!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Landlady

I was going to do a list of things I'm grateful for - like I found at Wenchy's blog, but I'm in a super bad mood so I'm not sure it's the right time for sunshine and rainbows. Although on the other hand some might say that this is the best time to sit down and think about the things you appreciate.

On a good note our landlady and her husband came around yesterday and they have agreed to do various things for us around our new place. The have agreed to paint the whole place out as I complained that the walls are very difficult to clean. We offered to do the paint work if they supplied the paint, but when they came around her husband said they would get someone to do it. The landlady also agreed that we can paint something other than white. YAY! We also mentioned the crack in the glass shower panel which they want to get fixed, the toilet that doesn't seem to flush properly and the fact that we needed one set of burglar bars in a specific window in order to be insured. They made a list of everything and said they would get back to us. She also brought us flowers again, but I think this time they were brought because they only recently learned that we lost our baby.

While we were corresponding yesterday my landlady sent me the following e-mail:

From: Your Landlady
Sent: 25 November 2008 09:04 AM
To: My Tenant
Subject: Don't think ... just answer

If you could go for

a) a back + Neck massage close to tygervalley

or b)

a classical musical- performance in town with Rudi

which one would you choose?
(ps I only want an a or b )

Of course I chose a. Neither Rudi or I like classical music...she didn't say why she asked, but obviously I'm going to make assumptions. I really should learn to keep my expectations low though. Maybe it was a "personality type" test. They are such nice people though. I feel like getting them a box of chocolates for Christmas...Maybe some Lindor balls (Leebeesa's suggestion).

Nothing else to report at the moment.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

If I were an onion...(meme)

If I were an onion, these would be my layers. I first saw this on mommanat's blog and then stole it from Exmi since everybody was doing it:

LAYER ONE:

Name: acidicice
Birthdate: August 4, 1981
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa
Current location: Cape Town, South Africa
Eye color: Green
Hair color: Blonde
Height: 1.70cm.
Righty or lefty: Left!
Zodiac sign: Leo

LAYER TWO:

Your heritage: South African, derived from Irish people and probably some British
The shoes you wore today: Nike flip flops
Your weakness: Anything I shouldn't have, really.
Your fears: Darkness, death and the death of a close friend or family member.
Your perfect pizza: Bacon, feta and avo (after) with garlic. You can't go wrong!
Goal you’d like to achieve: Losing enough weight to feel comfortable in my skin

LAYER THREE:

Your most overused phrase on AIM: LOL (boring, I know)
Your first waking thoughts: 9 more minutes, really (my phone snoozes for 9 minutes at a time)
Your best physical feature: My eyes and perhaps my hair
Your most missed memory: Being carefree and happy like when I was a kid

LAYER FOUR:

Pepsi or Coke: Coke
McDonald’s or Burger King: We don't get Burger King here, so McDonalds by default
Single or group dates: Group - we're past the "alone time" thing
Adidas or Nike: Both
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: I don't like ice tea
Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate
Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee

LAYER FIVE:

Smoke: Used to, no more.
Cuss: Like a sailor. I shock people
Sing: I can
Take a shower everyday: Yes
Do you think you’ve been in love: Yes
Want to go to college: I'm torn. Seems like a lot of work. I already work.
Liked high school: Not too bad.
Want to get married: I already am
Believe in yourself: No
Get motion sickness: Sometimes in the back of the car
Think you’re attractive: Sometimes
Think you’re a health freak: Definitely not
Get along with your parent(s): No
Like thunderstorms: I'm scared of thunder
Play an instrument: Chopsticks count?

LAYER SIX: In the past month…

Drank alcohol: Yes.
Smoked: No
Done a drug: Yes
Made out: When last?!
Gone on a date: Yes
Gone to the mall: Yesterday after work.
Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Not a fan
Eaten sushi: Don't do that often
Been on stage: No
Been dumped: No
Gone skating: I can't.
Made homemade cookies: No.
Gone skinny dipping: No
Dyed your hair: No, I'm so overdue
Stolen Anything: No

LAYER SEVEN: Ever…

Played a game that required removal of clothing: Yes
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Yes
Been caught “doing something": Yeah
Been called a tease: Yes
Gotten beaten up: No
Shoplifted: Yes
Changed who you were to fit in: Yes

LAYER EIGHT:

Age you hope to be married: I already am
Numbers and names of children: 1, James (deceased)
Describe your dream wedding: It's too late for that now!
How do you want to die: In my sleep
Where you want to go to college: Somewhere I don't have to show up
What do you want to be when you grow up: I have no idea. Am I not grown up already?
What country would you most like to visit: France

LAYER NINE:

Number of drugs taken illegally: 5
Number of people I could trust with my life: 3
Number of CDs that I own: I have no idea. About 40?
Number of piercings: 2 right now
Number of tattoos: 1
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: none
Number of scars on my body: 2
Number of things in my past that I regret: Too many

Monday, 24 November 2008

The other episode

I had another episode on Saturday night that I forgot to blog about. I was watching TV and the Clicks (a chain store here in South Africa) played their Christmas advertisement. Clicks always have huge Mother's Day and Father's Day campaigns and advertisements and I was suddenly reminded of how much I was looking forward to celebrating my first Mother's Day. Rudi and I were sitting on the couch and I just suddenly started bawling. The poor man couldn't understand what on earth was wrong and I can understand his confusion. I <3 Christmas and I had just seen a very Christmassy advertisement.

I explained to him why I was upset and he said that there is no reason why she shouldn't still celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day. He said that there is no reason for us to forget. I know that many, if not all of the mommies on My Parenting Community will agree with him, although somehow it still feels weird.

I still don't consider myself a mother, even though I acknowledge, miss and love the baby that I had. I suppose my definition of a 'mother' is different from other people's. I suppose my definition of a 'parent' is someone with a living child. That is not necessarily correct. The dictionary says:

mother [muhth-er]

–noun 1. a female parent.
2. (often initial capital letter) one's female parent.
3. a mother-in-law, stepmother, or adoptive mother.
4. a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent.

and the dictionary definition of parent:

parent [pair-uhnt, par-]

–noun 1. a father or a mother.
2. an ancestor, precursor, or progenitor.
3. a source, origin, or cause.
4. a protector or guardian.
5. Biology. any organism that produces or generates another.

That doesn't really clear it up. Mother's Day comes before Father's Day usually. Can't wait to see what Rudi will do. I hope it won't be like my birthday...perhaps breakfast in bed and a last minute present after asking me what I want on the day. Pffft.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Weekend

So I had a rough day on Friday. After receiving the photos at work I broke down and asked my supervisor if I could leave early. At the beginning of the week both he and my manager said it was OK if I needed time off and I really did on Friday, although it always seems dodgy on a Friday doesn't it?

I went to my grandfather's house and went to view the photos there. I agree with My Evil Mother and grandmother that it looks like it would have been a boy. I feel a certain peace about that, because I was unsure. My family and the doctors were giving me conflicting information and this confused me even more. For all I know girls look like that at some stage too (hence the doctor's hesitance to say), but to all of us it seems that the baby was a boy. He definitely had my nose and my mouth. He would have been a handsome fellow. I was very torn up after viewing the photos and had the support of my family.

Friday evening we picked up my cousin (she's visiting from London) and we had a very chilled out evening together. Yesterday when we took her back we ended up spending a lot of time with the family which was nice. We bought two pedestals from my cousin for our bedroom and her mother gave us a really nice painting which fits in perfectly with my bedroom's colour scheme. When we got home I was inspired to move the entire room around and once I've sanded down my dressing table and white washed it to match the pedestals our room is going to look really nice. I hope we get this done...you know how a person ends up procrastinating and never completing something like this. Our room looks much less empty and bare now. It kind of looked like any other room with a bed, but there was no character. It's developing that now and that makes me happy.

Today we have a family braai (BBQ). It's become tradition since my cousin has left for overseas for us to have one big get together while she is here so that the entire family gets to see her. I'm going to leave work now and we'll head over that way. I'm quite looking forward to it.

I'm having an OK day today. We'll take the baby pictures with as the family are curious to see. My Evil Mother has also requested to see them and I am torn. I want her to see them, he was after all her grandchild too, but I don't want her to have a copy of them. I'm afraid she might show them to other people - perhaps even claiming the baby was hers to get sympathy and attention. I know it's a horrible thought, but I would put nothing past her. Perhaps I should go and visit and take my laptop with to show her, then I wouldn't need to print them out or save them on an external device. I feel sorry for her in some capacity at the moment. She feels extremely left out of this huge event that has happened in my life, because I left her out. She was emotionally and financially unavailable to me when she was putting me through hell - now I'm going through hell again without her, because I have learnt I do not need her. I have enough other family to love and support me, although I don't know what I would have done without my grandparents. I want to buy them big Christmas presents this year, because they deserve it. Even if that means I'm broke until the end of January.

My grandfather popped on yesterday morning and saw my cousin for the first time. He told her that I've been so brave and that he is very proud of me. I wanted to cry. I am so proud of him for what he is going through with his treatment at the moment. Why do we not tell the people we love how we feel? Why didn't he say this to me? Why haven't I told him that I am proud of him? We tend to tell other people the good things about the people in our lives, despite them needing to hear it most.

I think everyone should make a concerted effort to tell their loved ones, friends and colleagues about the things they do right. I'm going to do try and do this while I am counting my blessings and not taking things for granted.

Friday, 21 November 2008

I take for granted...

Just like people who have suffered from terminal illness realize their mortality, I have realized the fragility of the things I take for granted.

I take my relationship for granted. I know I shouldn't, I really do. One minute my husband thinks I'm the sexiest girl alive, carrying his baby. Something he has always wanted. Every time I tell him I feel fat or ugly, he tells me that I'm pregnant and beautiful.

I took for granted that I would have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby. I didn't want to be pregnant, but I was getting used to the idea and even getting a little excited (although for some reason I was reserved about that). People are buying you so many gifts you feel blessed and you start to eye and coo over the baby things in the shops. You start seriously considering working all the expenses into your budget and marvel at the way your entire life is about to change.

Then the carpet is pulled from beneath you. Everything is not OK. Your husband thinks you should do one thing and you feel you should do another. Now your marriage is on the line and you realize you could lose this person you love so much yet take for granted almost on a daily basis.

A few tense weeks pass and finally you and your husband agree on what the right thing to do is, but then your child is gone. Then all the plans you made fall apart and all the gifts lay there and won't fulfill the purpose they were intended for as soon as you had anticipated.

Your husband is still there, but he is hurting too and dealing with it in his own way. You are eternally grateful that you did not lose him as well, but with the emotional roller coaster you are on you want to kill him sometimes and smother him at others. Your husband loves you, but he cannot fill the void that has been created. He cannot undo the past any more than you can. So you love each other the best you can and hurt together, yet separately in most ways. I suppose as long as you are not hurting each other everything will be OK.

I try my best to acknowledge him now and make sure he knows how much I appreciate him. I'm not sure if he takes me seriously though, just like I might not believe him because of my own self worth issues. Sometimes when I say goodbye to him I want to kiss him again, just in case. You never know when it is the last time you will see someone. He is on the road all day and something could so easily happen to him and he could slip away from me as well.

Sometimes I wonder if I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that this child was not going to come into this world. I never bought a single thing for the baby. I bought a packet of wet wipes, reluctantly. I wonder this, but at the same time I know I had no possible way of knowing that this would happen, especially so far into my pregnancy. I took for granted that after my first three months were over everything would be OK and the symptoms would be the most of my worries.

Cook your husband a special meal.

Go and give your kid/s a hug and a kiss.

Cook your dog a steak, or your cat a fish.

Count your blessings.

Don't take anything for granted.

I'm not going to anymore...

UPDATE: The geneticist from Tygerberg mailed me the photos of our baby today. I completely broke down at work and had to leave. I came to my grandparents house to come and see the photos. I knew I couldn't open them at work, perhaps that is why I was so devastated. I also agree that I think it was a boy. It certainly seems that way on the photo. He definitely had my nose and my mouth. He was beautiful. I'm am so sad that he is gone and I really wish he wasn't.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Cycle

*sigh*

Yesterday was a hard day. I was OK at work, I only cried once, but after I got home I couldn't stop crying. I went to church and continued to cry there and went home and cried some more. At least I know what set me off yesterday. A lady at work lent me the "What to expect when you're expecting" book. I had it returned to her while I was off. She knows full well what happened, I even know who told her, but she still came up to me yesterday to ask me why I had returned the book. It's like she wanted ME to say it. I wanted to kick her ass. That is what set me off crying at work.

Rudi was late to pick me up yesterday and I was extremely irritated and he wasn't very pleasant when I got in the car. I tried my best in a calm manner to ask him to let me know when he is going to be late so that I don't wait outside on the street for him (it's not safe). He immediately jumped on his high horse and went off at me which just made me feel more annoyed and irritated...

I touched on the anger phase of me grief cycle yesterday. I went on a course that defined the stages of grief and taught us that it is important to know what stage you are in so that you can address your emotions and deal with them accordingly.

The stages are (comments below made by me mostly while in these stages):

Denial

I went through this stage for a little while. "This can't be happening, I'm healthy, we have no birth defects in our families". The gynae/specialist or being overly cautious, it's all a mistake.

Anger

Touched on this one last night. Why us? Why do other people have healthy babies? People that don't even WANT babies have babies and give them away. Why couldn't I have my baby?

Bargaining

If it's just the baby's feet we can handle that. We can fix that. Let the other things on the scan be a non-issue. Please God let the doctor be exaggerating or mistaken and let everything be OK (this before the specialist scan in the half an hour or so while I was waiting for her)

Depression

I don't think I've had this to the extent that I'm going to get it yet.

Acceptance

Getting there...I can't NOT accept what has happened, just as I cannot change it. It's a fact and it's not disputable. How to deal with it...that's a different issue.

You can go through these stages for years. You can be stuck on one stage for the rest of your life. A lot of people get stuck on anger or depression which is completely normal. You can go through these phases in any order and even after the 'acceptance' stage you can go back into depression or denial. I've got a feeling I'm a in the denial stage right now because I'm trying to put it out of my mind while I'm at work and I feel that I'm going to slip back into the bargaining stage soon ("God, just please bless us with a healthy baby quickly, then I'll feel better and go to church every service, etc.")

Life has carried on and I'm going through the motions. The following Alanis* song describes it perfectly:

Reborn and shivering
Spat out on new terrain

Unsure unconvincing
This faint and shaky hour

Day one day one start over again
Step one step one
I'm barely making sense for now
I'm faking it 'til I'm pseudo making it
From scratch begin again but this time I as I
And not as we

Gun shy and quivering
Timid without a hand

Feign brave with steel intent
little and hardly here

Day one day one start over again
Step one step one
with not much making sense just yet
I'm faking it 'til I'm pseudo making it
From scratch begin again but this time I as I
And not as we

Eyes wet toward
Wide open frayed
If God's taking bets
I pray He wants to lose

Day one day one start over again
Step one step one
I'm barely making sense just yet
I'm faking it til I'm pseudo making it
From scratch begin again but this time I as I
And not as we


Try to listen to the song on her site. It's beautiful and really sad. There isn't actually more I could say...

*lyrics courtesy of alanis.com

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Difference

My second day at work definitely went better than the first day. For one thing I forgot to bring a new box of tissues, but I managed not to cry. All this despite the fact that someone came to me and spoke to me about the whole thing directly. His wife found out she was pregnant shortly after I did, so we were comparing milestones and such. I've always like him...I think I even might have had a crush on him at some point. He's a really nice guy, but I managed not to cry in front of him, even though I wanted to. He had his own theory about the soul of the baby and why it left us. It's nice to hear other points of view.

This is such a weird place to be in. I was going to be a parent...and now I'm not. I was going to be a mother...and now I'm not. My entire life was going to change...and now it hasn't. There was all this expectation and build up...and now...nothing. Just sadness and heartache.

The only thing that has really changed is my focus and how other people are towards me. People treat me like I am a fragile now, which I suppose I am at the moment and I don't mind it. Rather that than someone (like Jubba) saying the wrong thing to me and me being fired for stabbing him with the scissors on my desk.

I never wanted a baby before. Now I'm thinking perhaps I'll have two. I've also learned to be VERY careful what you wish for. It haunts me that I used to say 'I've always wanted to be pregnant, I've just never wanted a baby', because that's exactly what I got. Pregnancy without a baby. This is of course before I knew what hell pregnancy would be for me, during the time I was still buying into the smiling faces on the pregnancy magazines. I have been very careful not to say "I want a baby, but I don't want to be pregnant", because I would love to have my own healthy baby.

I've become slightly more tolerant of seeing pictures of babies and seeing baby things, but not comfortable as yet.

I really hope I fall pregnant before the other people at work that are currently pregnant have their babies. I think I would feel better if it happened that way, but I shouldn't set my heart on anything either. I can just hope and pray that we conceive again quickly and that the next baby is meant to stay with us.

Oh dear. So much for not crying at work.

I'm helping out in another department since they have a bit of a backlog. A change is as good as a holiday they say. Better get back to work before they think I think I am on holiday!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Back at Work

I'm officially back at work today. Rudi and I hardly slept a wink last night, so I'm exhausted (Note to self: Take prescribed sleeping tablet tonight). I've been crying at least half the time I've been here. Everyone has been so sweet. I told my manager I would be OK if everyone just stopped asking me if I'm OK. I know they mean well, I really do, but I'm not OK and I'm just being reminded of it.

I cried in my manager's office. He was really supportive and said he will arrange more time off if I need it and that he wishes everything of the best for me for the future, etc. My supervisor also called me in and reiterated what my manager had said.

Offering me additional time off is great and everything, but what do I do at home? I have to carry on with my life and come back to my work some time. It might as well be now. Honestly, I would much rather sit in a corner and cry or curl up under a duvet and hibernate. I cannot lie it has been really hard and I want to run, but I've glued myself on this seat till four and I will remain here all day. Tomorrow I will come back and the day after that and the day after that.

Tonight I can collapse into my husband's arms and feel loved (if he's in the mood *wink* to make me feel loved...man...you know what I mean). It could have been worse. I must remember that too. What about that accident that happened where a mother and her pregnant daughter were killed because a truck fell off a bridge on top of their car? Imagine being that baby's father. To lose the woman you love and your baby. If I had lost Rudi through this process I would not have survived it. Whether or not he's been a model husband, he's been there. He only went fishing (at the worst possible time) that one time and afterwards we had a good talk about it and I realized he needed a little space and a little time alone to deal with the loss he felt. Sometimes I wish he would tell me how he is feeling so that I know I'm not going nuts, but I need to understand that he has his own way of dealing with this and doesn't need me pushing him right now.

Two quotes from the song 'Torch' from the latest Alanis Morissette album are so true for me now, of course for her the song is about a lover:

These are things that I miss
These are not times for the weak of heart
These are the days of raw despondence
I never dreamed I would have to lay down my torch for you like this


One step one prayer I soldier on, simulating moving on


I am sure I could find a million lyrics from her songs that will help me grieve. I had almost forgotten how she allows me to go inside myself and scratch around in the dark places I dare not dwell. It's officially on my 'to do' list.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Healing and Fun


So my bruises are healing and so is my heart. My bruises are healing at an alarming rate, whereas my heart is taking a little longer, but that is to be expected.

Rudi and I have decided to start trying again as soon as possible. Most likely late December/early January.

I hope it doesn't take too long. I can't wait!

Rudi and I went to Ratanga for the church's Family Day yesterday. It was tons of fun. The photos can be found here. We had fun and we went on the Monkey Falls twice (it's my favourite ride and totally worth the wait!). I can't remember The Cobra being frightening from when I was previously there, but it was! (The queue took forever) I must be getting old! We also went on The Diamond Devil and The Stargazer. The Stargazer was like a 'super tube' that you went on a little inflatable boat. I was scared that I was going to get stuck as a another large lady got stuck not too long before me, but I ended up shooting out at the bottom and my cap flying off! It was nice to have a day of fun in the wake of all the misery.

I'm also really chuffed that I remembered my sunblock and didn't get burnt! We also had a HUGE ice cream called 'The Ratanga Stroller', it must be the biggest ice cream I have ever seen in my life. It was delicious.

It's back to work tomorrow. I'm so not in the mood and it seems I'm working the weekend as well :(

My cousin has arrived from London and she's coming over next Friday for a catch up. I can't wait.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Getting better

So I finally stopped being stubborn and went to the doctor yesterday. Today I am R600 poorer. I do feel like I'm starting to get better though. My throat is slightly less sore and my sinus' seem to be clearing themselves out. Yummy.

The weather is starting to clear up which is great news for us as we're going to Ratanga tomorrow. If the weather is good Rudi will be able to go on any ride he wants. My favourite has always been the Monkey Falls. I'm sure Rudi will want to go on the Cobra first. The only ride I don't think I'll go on is the swinging ship. That thing scares the hell out of me. I was terrified the last time I went on it.

Monday it's back to work. No maternity leave to look forward to. Only hard work and Jubba breathing down my neck. Fun. Ugh. Maybe I should become a stay at home stay at home. A home executive (honestly I'd probably suck at that). We couldn't afford to live in our lovely home if I did that...Ah fuck it. I'll just sell my soul to The Company for the comfort I live in.

Golly...look at the time. The days are just slipping away from me. I hope I'm MUCH better by tomorrow. I would love to take photos, but I wouldn't want my camera to get wet on the Monkey Falls! Maybe I should buy some Ziploc bags...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Doctors...GRRR

Physically I still feel like crap today. I'm going to the doctor later this afternoon since I'm convinced I need antibiotics and the only way to get my hands on them is to pay my doctor over R200.00 to write the name of the medication down on a piece of paper. Then we'll see how much the medicine costs. Last time I needed antibiotics the medication alone was R250.00. Ugh. Too many doctors bills.

I checked online and it seems that my medical aid covered most of the expenses in the hospital save around R200.00 which I can cope with. They paid out around R9000.00. It's about time they coughed, instead of me.

Emotionally I've been numbed today. No crying. Sadness...and anxious to see the photos that the geneticist will send (I really hope she doesn't forget), but otherwise numb. I am really not looking forward to going back to work on Monday, despite the fact that I'm not doing anything constructive at home. Other than cleaning. Cleaning helps distract me, although I don't have to think very hard while doing it.

I hope I feel better by Saturday, antibiotics usually take a day or two to kick in, so if the weather clears up Rudi and I can have a fun relaxing day together. Hopefully we can forget the sadness for a little while.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Grief

I wonder when it will stop hurting. I'm at a point now where I cannot look at baby things or toys or babies. On Saturday (when everything sunk in) Rudi took me to a 'fun day' type thing that they were having near where we live. I was already upset and then I saw a tiny pair of pink baby shoes with a butterfly embroidered on them in white. I just couldn't handle it. Suddenly everywhere I looked there were babies and toys and nappies...

I just opened the parenting community site and the first thing that came up was picture of one of my pregnant friend's belly and I had to click away. I had to close it. I couldn't look anymore...I couldn't go and look at the forums (which was my original intention), I had to close it immediately.

This has got to go away. I have more than one pregnant friend at the moment (3 that I see regularly - two of these at work) and I cannot be weird with them. I cannot be angry with them...I cannot resent them. I am endlessly envious of them and their healthy babies...but none of this is their fault. I might need to see someone or speak to someone. There is enormous online support (the parenting community were extremely supportive and warm)...perhaps I should find an online community that deals exclusively with grief so that I do not stumble upon the other things that I cannot face right now.

I have to head back to work on Monday. I'm not looking forward to facing the world. I've kind of holed myself up and surrounded myself with family and close friends. I've got to be OK. I can't break. I need to be OK.

Dark clouds and illness

I spent the entire day alone yesterday for the first time since we found out that there was something wrong with our baby. It wasn't easy. I broke down at some point and felt like the walls were closing in. I wanted to run. Instead I took a shower, washed and dried my hair. I still didn't feel better, but fell asleep. Sleep is a wonderful escape. Now that my hormones are not going crazy I'm not dreaming so much anymore. I'm sure the sleeping pills the doctor gave me aren't hurting either.

I think I have a cold or the flu or something. My throat has been extremely sore since Sunday, I've been coughing, my ears are blocked and sore and my nose is blocked. Luckily I am already booked off work, but I wish that could focus this time on mourning and grieving instead of focusing on all these physical issues. Maybe my emotions are manifesting themselves physically, since the gravity of everything hit me on Saturday for the first time. I know that happens with Rudi.

Our church is having a family day at Ratanga Junction on Saturday. Rudi has never been and begged me to get tickets. He wanted to go while he was on leave at the end of the year and I would have had to stay home. I'm pretty sure pregnant ladies aren't allowed to go on all those rides...but now I can go with him. I'm just hoping that I feel better by that time and that I'm not still sick.

My cousin, Carmie arrives from London on Saturday for her yearly visit home. I'm excited to see her. While she was in South Africa we didn't see much of each other, but somehow since she's left to live and work overseas I want to see more of her. Always wanting what I can't have I guess. My goodness I'm dying for something sweet to eat...

I better start getting ready. My grandfather has gone for his chemo drip again today and he's picking me up on his way home. He's been dreading it for days. I wish there was something I could do to help him feel better. I suppose I can only spend time with him and let him know I'm there if he needs me <3

Speaking of love, I love my husband now more than I ever have. This whole thing has brought us closer together and opened up a new level of communication for us. I suppose every cloud has a silver lining.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Spiritual Experiences

The memorial service was held on Sunday after our church service. My mother in law, sister in law, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, My Evil Mother, Rudi and I were all there. My mother in law brought flowers and a slab of chocolate. My aunt and My Evil Mother cried more than I did. It was short and dignified. Since the beginning of all of this I’ve had a few significant spiritual experiences. Some of them are difficult to explain to someone who is not New Apostolic, but I’ll try.

On the day that I was admitted to hospital I received many phone calls from family and friends with words of encouragement and assurances of prayers. My grandfather’s family specifically came through which is strange because they are not particularly close to us. They all told me that they are praying for our protection and Lynne who had to go through the same experience as me told me I will not be alone in the hospital room and that I need to remember that.

As the general wards were full I ended up in a private room and had a small TV in front of my bed. While I was watching TV I saw a reflection which looked exactly like our church’s symbol. Looking behind me I only saw a chain with a triangular shaped handle hanging from it (used by ladies who have had epidurals to assist in turning themselves). This of course does not resemble our church symbol at all, but when reflected in the TV it looked that way, making me feel like I was not alone in the room.

In our faith we take communion at each service (twice a week if you attend both services) and we eat a small wafer while partaking in the sacrament. The communion is served by priests who take the wafers out of silver cups and put the wafer into your hands. As the priests do this they attempt to separate any wafers they feel might be stuck together, so if you receive two wafers it almost always has a significant meaning. For instance, the first time I partook of communion after I found out I was pregnant I received two wafers instead of one, which indicated God’s acknowledgement of my baby to me. On Sunday our rector (who had been specifically moved back to our congregation even though he was booked somewhere else so that he could perform the memorial) served communion. It is the first time I have ever seen him do so. He happened to be placed in front of the block where I was sitting. Someone happened to skip him while going up for communion which resulted in him serving me with communion. He said he picked up the wafer and tried to separate them as they normally would and couldn’t. When he looked up I was standing in front of him. After I received the wafer I also looked down at it as I noticed it was much thicker than usual and the two wafers were stuck together as if glued that way. Both the rector and I felt that the chain of events leading up to this was a sign that our baby was also now partaking of Holy Communion in his place of rest, may he rest in peace.

I have been spending a lot of time with my grandparents while I have been off. Before I went to hospital I could not be alone with all the uncertainty and questions floating about in my head I was in a permanent state and needed to be around my loved ones to keep me calm and sane. I would sit howling on my own driving myself crazy. My grandfather being on chemo also appreciated the company. On a number of occasions my grandfather asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Evan Almighty’ and I kept telling him that I hadn’t. Yesterday I was there for the first time since we lost James and he asked me the question again. For some reason I asked him if he would put it on for me. I had what Oprah might call an ‘Aha’ moment while watching it yesterday and felt like it contained something that I desperately needed to hear. At some point Samuel L. Jackson (who portrays God in the movie) says ‘When someone prays for patience, God gives them an opportunity to be patient. If someone prays for courage, God gives them an opportunity to be courageous’, this telling me that God does not put circumstances in our way to break our spirit, but to strengthen us in ways we never thought possible. I have an opportunity, I just need to figure out what the opportunity is.

I really needed to start interpreting the situation a little differently and turning all the negativity that had been in my head into something positive. I thought it so strange that I have never lost a friend or family member close to me to death. Now I have lost a child, much closer than anyone else could have been. Perhaps this will prepare me for circumstances I will face in the future which I could not have faced before. Perhaps God wants me to appreciate and shower with love and care the healthy baby I will be provided. Honestly before I fell pregnant I did not want a baby. Now I want nothing more. I will take no chances next time. I will not look at any medication. I will lie over the toilet for months, suffer through infection, and do what I need to do, but take no chances with our next child.

I do not know how long we will wait before we try again. We may just wait out the year and start trying again next year. The gynae wanted to see me again in February. Perhaps we will wait for that check up.

I realize that this has been quite a religious entry, but I needed to express my spiritual experiences. I needed to record them because I do not want to forget exactly how I felt when these things happened to me. It is so easy to lose perspective which is why I blog. Reading back on past experiences sometimes just gives you the perspective you need to be in a better emotional place in your life when you forget how blessed you are.

Saturday, 08 November 2008

James: Part II

***WARNING***
Some readers may find content graphic or upsetting


It hit me this morning for the first time. Yesterday I was feeling guilty for not feeling worse. For not having cried yet. I know I'm supposed to, but it hadn't happened. This morning it happened. I cried. Not a snivelling, silent cry either. A full blown snot and howling cry. I know I'm allowed to. I've given myself permission to feel however I want to and not to hide my emotions and bottle them up. Unfortunately Rudi was at work and wasn't here to comfort me, so I hauled out my laptop.

Let's first cover what My Evil Mother did that upset me. Just after I had come out of theater her and my grandmother went to look at the baby. Rudi and I were alone and he shared with me that he keeps having this vision that there is nothing wrong with the baby. That we had made a mistake and we couldn't fix it now. I tried to re-assure him that the scans were clear enough even for a layman to see that there was something wrong.

When My Evil Mother re-entered the room she kept saying 'He's perfect. He's so beautiful'. I kept asking her what she meant that he was perfect and she said 'He had 10 fingers and 10 toes, etc'. This confused the hell out of me, considering that Rudi had voiced this fear not minutes earlier. I asked her if she looked at his hands and she said yes and that he had 10 fingers...eventually she said you could see that the hands were frozen in a claw like position. We had asked My Evil Mother to take a few photos with my phone in case I changed my mind about seeing the baby later on. Eventually Rudi couldn't take it anymore and asked to see the photos. After seeing the photos (video clips actually, My Evil Mother has no idea how to operate a phone) Rudi seemed more calm though. My Evil Mother said the same thing she said to me to my uncle and aunt who immediately started saying things like 'They should sue the doctors for giving them the wrong information'.

After finally mustering the courage to look at the pictures myself I had no doubt that we had made the right decision. In hindsight My Evil Mother was possibly trying to be positive and not to upset me. I did phone her and told her that she is no longer to discuss it with anybody as she seems to be giving people the impression that we terminated a healthy baby. She said that she didn't know how to handle the situation and that she didn't know what else to say. I believe her. It is a difficult thing to go through and there isn't a manual telling you what the 'right' thing is to say.

We had agreed to let the geneticist have a look at the baby, even though we decided not to have a post mortem done. She called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to know about her findings. I agreed as I wanted re-assurance from a medical professional as well. She found that the baby had no anus which was causing the obstruction in the bowel. The baby had no way of disposing of waste. She had an x-ray taken and was able to see that the bottom of the spine did not close as it should and the nerve endings seemed to be problematic as well. She could not ascertain at first why the hands were a problem, but on closer inspection of the x-ray she was able to see that the skull and spine were not properly connected causing the brain to have problems sending messages to the hands. The geneticist asked if we had determined the sex of the baby from the amniocentesis (which we did not) as she could not ascertain the sex upon examining the foetus. Sexual organs should have been well developed at this stage of the pregnancy. We have decided to stick to it being a boy. She asked permission to keep the photos she had taken, I granted her permission and requested her to e-mail some to me as the video clips My Evil Mother took were of very poor quality. She agreed to do so. I will not post the photos of the baby on my blog as I feel that they may be quite disturbing. From the photos the club feet are evident, but it is also clear that one leg is much longer than the other and seems to be facing the wrong way. It almost looks like the leg is broken, which is what they most likely would have had to do to correct that.

I cannot imagine the amount of surgeries and pain this baby would have had to have if the baby had managed to survive. I don't think the baby would have survived considering it was unable to rid it's body of waste. Rudi and I are completely at peace with our decision though and we know that we did the right thing.

A part of me wants to start trying to fall pregnant again immediately. Another part of me is too afraid to. I don't know what we're going to do, but I do know that I do not want to go back onto the pill again. Maybe that was one of the reasons this happened. I fell pregnant really quickly after going off the pill and who knows if that interfered with the development of our baby. I know women fall pregnant on the pill or shortly after going off of it all the time, but you never know what caused the problems with my pregnancy and I'd rather not take the chance. How we are going to prevent pregnancy will have to be a done on a trial and error basis with available contraceptives.

Rudi just got back from work and wants to go fishing. I feel like chopping his head off with a bread knife. He could clearly see that I am upset and need support, but he chooses not to be with me. I told him that I don't want to be alone and that I need him, but he wants to go fishing. I'm seriously fucked off with him right now.



A cactus that I have which is flowering now. Ironic, yet it gives me hope somehow.



The beautiful flowers I received from my colleagues at work.



Where they attempted to administer a drip (and failed).



This is where they eventually managed to put the drip in nicely, it's a bit swollen, but not nearly as bad as my arm!



Where they attempted to administer the epidural.


And so my battle scars will heal...now I just have to figure out what will heal my heart. A memorial service will be held for our baby tomorrow after church. That will be the last goodbye.

Thursday, 06 November 2008

James/Sebastian

***WARNING***

Some readers may find descriptions graphic.


On Monday we went to Tygerberg hospital to go for the scan and to make our final decision. It was as we feared and they found another problem on top of all the other things that were suspected. The results of the scan were as follows:

The baby's head was lemon shaped and a cause for concern.
The spine could not properly be assessed as the baby was lying inside my pelvis.
The baby had bilateral club feet.
The bladder was not properly formed.
There was urine leaking into the bowel.
The bowel showed signs of obstruction and was causing swelling of the abdomen.
The baby was unable to move the wrists or hands.

We didn't have any indication that there was a problem with the hands at all until Monday. Finding another problem over and above those things that were suspected confirmed for us that letting the baby go was the right thing to do. They could not tell us whether or not the problems with the bladder/bowel could be fixed until after the baby was born. The club feet were operable, but no guarantees about the child's capabilities or quality of life. There is no cure for the problems with the wrists and hands. The geneticist at Tygerberg said she has never in her 30 year career seen a combination of these symptoms and it is a unique case. We knew then that it was time to let the baby go and scheduled an appointment with my gynae to discuss termination. He made an appointment for us the very same afternoon.

We went to see my gynae and advised him that we decided to terminate the pregnancy. He didn't have to say so, but you could tell that he agreed with our decision. He immediately prescribed medication to start inducing labour (Cytotec).

I was admitted into hospital Tuesday at 17:00 with cramps. The pain was minimal (similar to period pains, just right through to the back) and I could cope. A gel was inserted to soften my cervix and to prepare for the next day. I managed to sleep well with the assistance of a sleeping tablets and no painkillers.

The next morning the doctor came to see me and injected another gel straight into my uterus. Within a few minutes the nurse decided to call Rudi back to the hospital as I started having contractions and she thought I needed his support. The doctor said he will be back around 10:00 to monitor my progress and insert more gel into my uterus. I was given an injection for pain which made me very drowsy. Around 10:00 the doctor had not come yet and the pain killer had started to wear off. At around 10:30 the nurse decided to give me another pain killer despite the fact that the doctor had not yet come around. The doctor did come around 11:00 and saw how much pain I was in. I was screaming like someone who was having their fingernails pulled off. He decided that I could have an epidural as the process was iniated successfully, after which he would insert more gel into my uterus. The contractions were about two minutes apart and excruciating. In between contractions I was dozing off due to the painkiller. It was such an odd feeling - excruciating pain one minute, falling asleep the next, only to be rudely awakened by another contraction.

He attempted to give me the epidural in two different places, but from what I could tell he could not find 'resistance' against the needle (He said this to the nurse). To my surprise the epidural did not hurt, it just felt very strange to have something wriggling around in my spine. They asked me to lie down and after about 10 minutes the contractions had gotten worse and it became evident that the epidural had not worked. My doctor immediately arranged for me to be rushed to theater for an evacuation and scrape. By this time the contractions were so bad I was screaming for them to make it stop and to please help me. I'm surprised I didn't swear. I thought I'd be inventing new swear words with the level of pain I was experiencing. Poor Rudi looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He didn't know what to do. I felt bad that he felt so helpless and tried my best between contractions (if I was not dozing off) to assure him there was nothing he could do but be with me.

I think I might have been scaring the other patients with my screaming as the nurse kept on saying "OK Mrs. {insert surname here} every time I started having a contraction and screaming my head off. I remember the theater nurse telling me it was around 13:10. The anaesthetist asked me a few quick questions and told me to expect a burning feeling in my arm, which I did not feel.

Then they woke me up and it was all over. It was almost 14:00.

My Evil Mother and grandmother had been called and went to see the baby as Rudi and I decided not to, but we wanted someone to go and look. (I will discuss in another post what My Evil Mother did that makes me want to wring her neck) I asked My Evil Mother to take a few photos with my phone in case I decided later that I wanted to see the baby. The biggest shock for us was that we had a little boy, not a little girl as we were told, hence me not referring to the baby's sex earlier in the post. We were kind of stuck for a boy's name so we are not sure whether it will be Sebastian or James.

Last night I felt good physically and didn't require any painkillers. This morning I feel a bit like I've been through the wars. It hurts everywhere they stuck a needle in me and my girlie bits are sore too. Luckily the bleeding has subsided.

Emotionally I think I am still in shock. I don't think it has really hit me yet. I cried a little after I came out of theater, but I think it will sink in later (probably when I least expect it).

The geneticist at Tygerberg wanted to look at the foetus, out of professional curiosity I guess. She told us they will not be able to tell us the likelihood of future birth defects without performing a post mortem on the baby. We enquired about it today and the post mortem will set us back approximately another R3000.00 (it could be more). After much deliberation we decided not to have a post mortem done. It will not change what happened and will most likely not prevent anything specific in the future. The initial report (from Tygerberg on Monday) said that the likelihood of re-occurrence or future birth defects may be as high as 25%, but they did not comment on the cause. 25% is pretty high considering there was only a 2% chance that something would have been wrong with this baby. The fact that the geneticist said it was a unique case gives us some hope that it might just have been bad luck.

So when we do try again we will be taking a risk and we will need to pray that we have a healthy baby.

I'm booked off till next Friday and will try to update my blog as often as I can.

Sunday, 02 November 2008

Halloween 2008

You can go here to see all the halloween pics.

I'm not coping very well today. Burst into tears at church and couldn't stop crying for a while. Not 100% sure why, nothing in particular set me off.

Not looking forward to the trip to the hospital tomorrow, but it's got to be done.