Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In The Arms of Angels - Author Unknown


Daddy please don't look so sad, Mama please don't cry
I'm in the arms of angels and they sing me lullabies.

Please try not to question God, don't think he is unkind
Don't think he sent me to you and then he changed his mind.

You see, I am a special child and I'm needed up above
I'm the special gift you gave him, the product of your love.

I'll always be there with you, so watch the sky at night,
find the brightest star thats gleaming, that's my halo's brilliant light.

You'll see me in the morning frost, that mists your window pane.
That's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.

When you feel a little breeze from the gentle wind that blows,
thats me, I'll be there, planting a kiss on your nose.

When you see a child playing and your heart feels a little tug,
thats me, I'll be there, giving your heart a hug.

So mama please don't look so sad, Daddy don't you cry.
I'm in the arms of angels and they sing me lullabies.

November 7, 2008 - Not Goodbye, Nicholas

Still November 7, 2008

As I said in my last post, we were able to spend precious, precious time with our sweet boy after he was born. I am so grateful for that, for those amazing (although heart wrenching) memories.

The nurses kept asking us if we wanted to see a Chaplain. I remembering this incredible feeling come over me. My husband and I are not religious so I was a little hesitant in accepting the offer of having a Chaplain present. However, once she walked through our hospital room's door I felt at peace, calm and confident that we had made the right decision. The first thing the Chaplain said to me that afternoon was "dear, the majority of the people I visit are not religious. That doesn't take away the fact that Nicholas is one of God's children. I am not here to judge, I am here to honor your sweet baby boy." That is a statement I will take away from that day and hold on tight to. She was amazing, she was gentle and she gave us what we wanted.

We had a Naming and Blessing Ceremony for Nicholas. Just my husband, Nicholas, myself and the Chaplain. It was reassuring. It somehow gave me peace that his beautiful little life had been validated.

Soon after, our lovely, tender nurse wrapped our baby boy in the blanket I had brought for him and left our room. She said that she was going to take Nicholas to the "quiet room". All I could imagine was him laying there, all alone.... or with other dead babies... my heart was breaking into a million and one pieces.

My husband and I decided to stay the night at the hospital. I was back and forth as to whether to go home..... gosh, I didn't want to go home... and I didn't want to stay. Home was a good 45 minute drive and I was still bleeding quite a bit.. so we stayed. They moved us to a private room. I wondered about every door we passed on the way; "is that the quiet room? is that where my baby boy is?" Our beautiful nurse told us that we could see Nicholas again if we wanted to ... we decided that we had already said goodbye and we didn't know how to do it again.

The nurses found a cot for my husband to sleep on. We didn't use it. We collapsed into each other arms that night and sobbed ourselves to a restless sleep.

The next morning... we left the hospital. Empty handed. Empty hearted.

It's not goodbye buddy... we love you "to the moon and back" (as your oldest brother says) xoxo

Saturday, March 28, 2009

November 7, 2008 - Nicholas Arrives

The days leading up to Nicholas' birth were so surreal. I'm convinced that I was in complete shock... and in complete despair. I often wish that I consciously connected with him more during those last few days. Instead, I felt shame. Not ashamed of my sweet baby boy, never that, but ashamed of myself. Ashamed that I had let this horrible thing happen to my baby. Ashamed that my body couldn't keep him safe. I changed in the dark. I wore the absolute baggiest clothes I could find and I physically cringed when my husband would touch my belly. I disconnected because that is what felt safe for me at the time. I didn't want to bond any more than I already had with this baby for fear of completely breaking down. I now know that was the stupidest thing I could have done... our bond was already as strong as strong could be and I wasted precious time.

Secretly I cherished the kicks, the nudges, the hiccups and the bubbles those last few days, but never again did I say "Oh my gosh, watch my belly, he's rocking and rolling again". It's very difficult to put into words why.... I think all of you know the feeling. Complete helplessness. Deep and utter sadness. Those days were so incredibly hard. I couldn't understand why he was so active and seemingly okay when the opposite was true - he would not have that "life" when he wasn't connected to me. It truly is amazing what we do for our babies... how we nourish them, grow them.. and love them so.

It's funny, everyone always seemed to ask how I was sleeping, if at all. I never had any problem sleeping. I was so completely and totally drained that closing my eyes and falling asleep was a relief. My problem was waking up. It literally hurt to wake up... to reality. Every day we would wait for the phone call from the doctor to say that the ethics committee had met and made their decision. Every day I held my breath as the phone rang and rang and rang. I was very angry at the fact that an "Ethics Committee" held the fate of our family and our precious baby at their mercy.

We finally got the call and went into the hospital on Thursday, November 6, 2008. We got to the clinic early and there only a few people walking the halls. I was in autopilot... I remember one pregnant lady sitting across from us. She had seen my bag and pillow and commented on the fact that we were going to have our baby that day.... little did she know.

I have never, ever cried so much or felt such immense pain as I did when I felt our sweet baby boy go...

I was given something to relax me and then the induction began. It seemed to take forever. I was feverish and nauseous from the gel the doctors were giving me every few hours. I was given an epidural where I could manage the dose... I remember forcing myself or my husband to press that button... I wanted to feel this labour. I wanted to work for my Nicholas. This was the last thing we were going to do together... and I wanted to remember every (although painful) minute.

Fast forward to the next day... Friday, November 7, 2008. My body seems to have shut down. I am not dialating, I am not contracting. I can't even do this right.
Then suddenly I feel the tremendous urge to push. He's ready. I'm not. I'm not ready to push him out of me. I'm not ready to let go.

I remember these young, inexperienced (in bedside manner anyway) interns coming in to assist with Nicholas' birth. They were anything but gentle. Not that I cared, really. I didn't care about anything at that point, except for holding my beautiful boy in my arms. I'll never forget the feeling of him slipping out... slipping away. I howled.... just howled. It was over and I was lost. I couldn't keep him safe any longer.

He is just beautiful. The first thing my husband and I noticed was his red hair. Our first born has red hair and Nicholas was the spitting image of him. He smelled so clean and fresh. His skin was so smooth and perfect. His lips so red and kissable. I couldn't get enough of him and yet I felt myself detaching.... shock has a funny way of protecting was needs to be protected. I thank God for shock. It allowed us to savour the precious time we had with our son. To love him. To caress him. To just "be" for at least a few hours before we had to say goodbye.

Goodbye. What an impossible thing to do.

to be continued...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

October 31, 2008 - Continuing the Journey

October 31,2008

We spent 3 earth shattering days at home waiting for the MRI to be scheduled so that we could truly begin our journey. It is very difficult to accept that there is so much "red tape" and beauracracy to muddle through when a family's life is being ripped apart.

Anyway, it was scheduled for Friday, October 31 - Halloween Day here in Canada. My husband and I headed downtown once again and prepared to hear more bad news about our baby (we had already been told the worst, this was just 'confirmation'.)

We got to the appropriate area and were met by a technician who was to take us up to the MRI waiting area. I'll never forget this guy. He most obviously did not read my chart. He asked us how we were... I said horrible, thank you. He continued to assure me that the process of the test would be just fine and not to be anxious about it. I think I must have looked at him like he had 5 heads... Are you kidding me???? Do you really think that the process of the test is what I am upset about??? It continued on. He really couldn't understand the tears streaming down my face or my snarky comments. Who can blame him, really? Except for the fact that every tech should damn well read what their patient is in for before he goes through the same old garble of why the MRI will be just fine. Are they not trained in sensitivity? We knew what the outcome was going to be... the test was just a formality. I knew my baby was going to die and he's telling me that being stuck in a tube for over an hour (when you can't move) is going to be just fine. I didn't give two you know what's about the test itself.

The test itself took over an hour... and it was 'fine'. I just remember thinking that I wanted to try to enjoy that time. It was just me and Nicholas in that tube (and my husband touching my head so I wouldn't freak out) we were together and he was safe inside me.... and I so desperately wanted to keep it that way.

We came home to our other two boys dressed up like a dragon and superman for Halloween - bittersweet, I tell you.

The next step was to wait for the results and for the Ethics Committee to meet and decide on the fate of our family and sweet baby Nicholas. The days that followed proved to be some of our darkest days yet.

To be continued...

Monday, March 23, 2009

For a Short Time

This piece is in a book that I read earlier in my journey.... it has stuck with me.

"For a short time I had
Your body in my body;
I carried
your belly in my belly.

And now, though I have
your heart in my heart
and feel
your soul in my soul,

I will never again have
your hand in my hand.
I miss your life in my life."

By Johanna - April 27, 1989 - For her Angel, Sarah Rose

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bittersweet Spring

It is such a gorgeous day today... spring has finally arrived (although I hate to jinx it). I just find this "turn of the season" very bittersweet. On the one hand, the sun, the fresh air, the new blooms and sounds and sights of birds and animals emerging from a long, dark winter is refreshing, almost hopeful and on the other hand it's terrifying. This new season is just another tangible reminder that the world insists on going forward - while ours has been turned upside down. There is new life all around me, new life I want to be sharing with Nicholas. Gosh, we had such different plans for this new season...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Daddy Loves You

Your daddy loves you oh so much
I see it in his eyes.
Every time we speak of you,
He looks up to the sky.

We talk about you often
And wonder what you’d be
If you were down here with us,
With your family.

Daddy is so strong,
His strength surrounds us all.
We lean on him for comfort,
He doesn’t let us fall.

But daddy hurts so deeply,
He misses you so much.
He feels blessed to have known you
And to have felt your touch.

He’s proud to be your daddy
And to have held your hand in his.
He kissed and held you close that day
Forever you’ll be missed.

We love you buddy… xo xo

Monday, March 16, 2009


Yesterday was a tough day. If you ask me why, I don't know exactly (except that my sweet Nicholas isn't here with us). My oldest son was invited to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese and parents were requested to stay to keep an eye on the kids. To say I wasn't looking forward to it is an understatement, however, Evan was so excited! I think I was mostly dreading the small talk and fake smiles. As soon as we got there I noticed the mother of the birthday boy.... pregnant! Of course she had to be pregnant, right? I really just wanted to throw up right then and there, but marched over to introduce myself. She said "hi, we used to do gym class together with the kids... you were pregnant with your second, I guess?" I just nodded and smiled and tried desperately to keep the knot in my stomach from jumping out of my throat. That was it! No more small talk for me.... I actually ended up having a nice time with Evan. He had a blast, if anything can make me smile it is that.

Then we set out to Evan's hockey game. I am comfortable there.... all the parents are aware of our situation and are mostly sensitive (actually, they just avoid the subject all together). Soon after we arrived my SIL arrived with their new baby. Uhggggg! Gosh, I was just having a super emotional day anyway and then there she was in all her cuteness (and aliveness). A few (hidden) tears and several deep breaths later, I was okay. Okay enough to say hi to the baby and make a few little cute jokes, but not okay to grab her out of her mother's arms and snuggle.

I feel like I have been jipped out of that too. Out of a close relationship with my niece... out of the relationship my SIL and I once had. I really hope to one day get it back, it just hurts, hurts, hurts! I don't know if it's jealousy, envy or just plain devastation... a little of everything, I suppose.

We got home and I felt like I had been hit by a truck.. completely and utterly exhausted. It's amazing how grief can do that to you. I was in bed by 8pm.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nicholas' Touch

I wrote this poem back in January... it's a "re-post". It's just exactly how I'm feeling today.

Nicholas' Touch

Your soul, it touched my heart today,
Like it has many times before.
It feels so real, just like you’re here
I ache to feel it more.

Your time with us was much too short
But an impact you have made.
Our lives have changed, our views have too
Our memories won’t fade.

You were given to us for a reason too deep
For anyone to understand.
I believe you came into our lives
So we could forever feel your hand.

Sometimes I cry because we lost you
And other times I smile.
Because I know deep in my heart
You’re with us all the while.

I’ll always remember your smell, your touch
Those kicks that made me squirm.
You were so strong and brave my boy
Those feelings again, I yearn.

We forever have an Angel now,
Someone to watch over us.
I guess that makes us the lucky ones
In that I have to trust.

My comfort is that you went without pain
And although I miss you so.
My heart, my life is full of love
For our boy we had to let go.

They say things happen as they should
“Life works out for the best”.
I don’t believe that “they” were forced
To face the ultimate test.

Losing a child at any stage
Tests a mommy’s soul.
The pain, it reaches much too deep
It doesn’t leave her whole.

For part of me went with you,
And part of me will stay.
To be a mommy to your brother’s
There is no other way.

I hold them both much closer now,
For you have taught me how.
To see life as a special gift,
That we should live within the now.

I love you buddy
So much it hurts
And that love will continue to grow.
I must believe that there will be one day
We’ll meet again and know…

Your soul, it touched my heart today,
That I know for sure.
I cherish those times we come so close,
For my heart begins to soar.

Please know, my love
You will always be
Engrained in all we do.
You touched our lives like a precious gift,
That precious gift is you.

Mommy xo
January 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Letter

This is the letter I sent to those implying that I am not "okay"....

Dear _____________,

As you know it is often more effective for me to communicate through writing, so here it goes.

First of all, I have no doubt that you love me and that you want to support us through this difficult time. For that, I am extremely thankful. I truly am sorry that so many people are affected by our situation. I wish I could take everyone’s pain away or just take it on myself.

A few things really bothered me about what transpired last week. I was genuinely hurt by the insinuation that I may not be “okay” – actually, more so by the reason behind it. I would completely understand the concern if I wasn’t able to get out of bed in the morning, if my kids were unhealthy and unhappy, if my house was a disaster, if I wasn’t able to make meals for my family and get them off to work and school, if I wasn’t seeking outside support, if I wasn’t getting out of the house (or out of the country)…. but because I didn’t get overly excited about the itinerary? I had already received the information via email, had printed it out myself, looked it over in detail, and spoke to ____ on the phone about it and thanked him, so I really just thought of it as a formality.

The other thing is that I am very comfortable in saying that some days I am not “okay”. In the support networks I have become involved with this is a very real and healthy way of grieving. We are only 4 months out from losing our son, 4 months out from having to make the unimaginable decision to let him go, 4 months out from holding him in our arms and saying goodbye. Not to mention that I am certain I am still postpartum (if that term even applies when there is no baby) with many hormones out of whack.

This experience has changed me on so many levels and so to hear things like “the old Leanna would have” stings really bad. The old Leanna would have her 3 beautiful boys here with her like they should be. I would give anything to have the “old Leanna” back. Don’t get me wrong, I am still me, but I am also trying to navigate through this journey we have been forced to take to find the new me as well. It’s hard, so very, very hard to understand all this and yes, sometimes I am fuzzy, sometimes I may not say the right things. Our world will forever be different. I will never be “okay” with the fact that my son isn’t here with us, but I am confident that I (we) will find some purpose and some peace. My hope is to eventually travel this road with dignity and grace. I just may struggle and stumble sometimes on how to do that.

Love forever,

Monday, March 9, 2009

I did it

So.....I did it. I met my niece. This has been something I've been both dreading and looking forward to for 4 months. In the end, it was the right thing to do.

My sister-in-law and I were pregnant together. She was due 5 weeks after I was due with Nicholas, so we were very excited about our babies being so close in age and growing up together. She ended up going into labour 4 weeks early and had the baby just 4 weeks after we lost Nicholas.

I remember feeling like my feet were slowly coming back to earth.... until we got the call from the hospital that my brother and sister-in-law had their baby. Wow! Talk about a set back... I was a disaster for the next few days. Here I thought I had 4-5 more weeks to get used to the idea of another infant in our family (not that it would have been easier... I just wasn't ready).

Anyway, for the longest time, I couldn't bring myself to say her name let alone see her and hold her. I did send gifts and spoke with my brother and sister-in-law on the phone and they were so understanding about it all.

This weekend I just did it. I wasn't sure if I would be able to hold her or how I was going to be in general. I took my other boys (as a buffer). That was actually difficult as well. Here they are holding a baby (a baby that should be their brother)... and it's like they knew. Once they were finished holding her ... "mommy, it's your turn!" I thought, now is as good a time as any. I took her in my arms and she was sleeping. I really wish she was awake the first time I held her because all I could think about is how Nicholas just looked like he was sleeping.... it was so, so hard, but I'm really glad that I did it. I wanted to meet her. I want to have a special, POSITIVE, connection with her and I think that we may be on the right path.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Okay

"Maybe one day we will have the old Leanna back"..... this was a statement I heard yesterday. I just want to scream "NO, you will never, ever have the old Leanna back". I have changed so totally and completely that the "old" Leanna couldn't come back if she wanted to.

"I don't know if you are okay" was another comment. "What do you mean by that?" I asked. The instance I was given to describe that I may not be "okay" was absolutely ridiculous. All I can say is, "seriously, I'm not okay because of that???!

As far as I'm concerned I'm okay. I get out of bed in the morning. I look after my boys, I feed them, I play with them, I read with them, I get them ready for school, I look after other people's kids... we do crafts, circle time, I keep the house clean and organized, I am getting out, I am starting to see some friends again, I've started exercising again, I have a wonderful relationship with my husband..... I'm OKAY, or at least as okay as I can be right now.

There is no doubt that I have changed, that my world has changed and that my perspective and outlook has changed on many different levels. I realize that may be hard on others. That it may be easierif I was "the old" Leanna, but unfortunately, this is what our life has been dealt. I am dealing the best way I know how right now. My hope is to emerge from this journey a a "bigger and better" person. I pray that I have the courage to do that and that each new day brings me closer to that transformation. I am constantly evolving... I just wish that I would be granted the time by others to learn who this new me is.

Okay... I'm done venting.. thank you for listening!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Special Visit

Yesterday I had a visit by a very, very special lady in my life. She actually lives across the country in British Columbia, but made it a priority to come and see me while she was in Toronto. How honoured I was. She is my aunt and we have always shared a strong connection. She is such a kind, soft and gentle soul....

Since losing Nicholas I have shared a lot of my feelings with her, but there was something much more "real" and comforting to have her sitting next me to share my tears... my memories of our sweet little boy. We looked at pictures and scrapbooks and just talked and cried. She truly shared my grief and sadness. She also shared some meaningful truths that are sometimes difficult to see when you are experiencing such a deep loss.

I have often felt like I will never be the same woman because when Nicholas died, a part of me died with him. How can you ever be the same when you have lost such a huge, significant part of yourself? When I told my aunt this she said "yes, but a part of him stayed with you also". Maybe the part of him that stayed with me is somehow meant to fit into the part that I lost...maybe the memories I have of our pregnancy, the memory of holding him in my arms for the first and last time the memory of admiring his daddy's love for him, are supposed to fill the empty part in my heart.

She also asked me what gives me peace right now. My first reaction was "nothing!" But that's just not true. My family gives me peace. My husband, Jim, our two lively, energetic and happy boys here with us, and of course, our Angel who is watching over us. I feel totally and completely safe within our home and within our family. I feel safe to "feel". I am able to smile and even laugh with ease because it's not a front... and in the next moment cry uncontrolably.

Nobody else, ever, will share the bond that Jim and I have simply because we lived (and continue to live) every step of this nightmare together. I'm certain that it's because of that bond, that because we understand the excruciating pain that lies beneath the surface, that we are able to feel so freely with one another. In other instances, with most other people, I feel fake. I feel like I am putting on this happy face to make everyone else feel better. What most people don't get is that I would just like an acknowledgment of our son, of our situation. To totally ignore the fact that our lives have been shaken to the core irritates me so much. I am not looking for pity, far from it, but a little respect would be nice.

Thank you Auntie Christina, for your peaceful insight, for your love and for your never ending support. I appreciate you so much.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I saw this quote and loved it....

"I would rather have had one breath of his hair..
one kiss of his mouth..
one touch of his hand..
than an eternity without it.."

author unknown

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Going Through the Motions

I just read Emily's (from stepping stones)blog titled "love the one you're with" and it got me thinking....

Too often I feel like I am just "going through the motions" of life. Our world has been turned upside down, inside out and most days I don't know which way is up. But I must continue to push on. I choose to push on for my 2 beautiful boys here with me. They deserve their mommy, a mommy who chooses them.
There have been times that I feel like I have been jipped out of this grieving thing as I have a 5 and a 3 year old to care for. Many days I have felt like crawling under the covers and crying all day long, but that is not an option. It is bittersweet. They force my butt out of bed, they force me to laugh.... and it feels good. There is nothing like an uncontrolable, contagious child's laughter to make you smile. I am so incredibly grateful for them, for our family and so "going through the motions" just isn't good enough. Sure there are going to be bad days, bad moments and that is okay. I am just hoping that those bad days get a little less (or at least a little easier to manage).

Thank you Emily.... for getting me thinking.