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Journal :: September 2005
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01.09.2005 (thu)
In the morning I went to the post office to pick-up an order from Amazon but it turns out that it wasn't the one I was expecting.
We started ordering lots of stuff at the same time because big boxes tend to disappear less than single items that anyone can stuff into a pocket, so I was waiting for a large box. But this time they sent all the items together but one - a book was sent on a separate shipment and it was this and not the big box that arrived today. I guess I have to wait a few more days.

Later in the afternoon my parents stopped by to see the new table and chairs and then we went downstairs for tea. My inlaws arrived while we were there and so did Pedro who managed to leave earlier today to take me to the doctor.

My blood pressure was a bit high again for some reason and nothing else has changed - the baby is fine but I'm not dilating at all and have had no contractions for a week. They plugged me into this machine that measures the baby's heart rate to see what happens when he moves and check for contractions and the results were normal but, again, didn't show any contractions. I thought that the closer we get to the due date that there would be an increase in the frequency of the contractions but apparently not. So I have to continue the no salt diet, keep my feet up as much as I can but at the same time try to walk a bit everyday.

We left the clinic at 7.30 and came back home. Hubby rushed to his computer and started working again, only this time from home. He tried to stop around 11 PM but it was past midnight and he was still getting calls about work. Damn slave drivers.

While he was working I decided to defrost the freezer. I guess I'm getting into nesting mode with all this cleaning frenzy. When you actually feeli like defrosting the freezer you know you're not your usual self. Still, it had to be done, and it's one less thing to worry about on the weekend, since we already have a couple of lamps to put up in the bathroom and a family lunch on saturday.
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03.09.2005 (sat)
We went out to lunch with Pedro's family since his grandmother's sister turned 80 today. I asked for the food to be cooked without salt but I'm sure it had some (at least the potatoes did). It's impossible to ea out and keep this salt-free diet. But I hope it won't do much damage.

After lunch we came home and went into DIY mode. We decided to assemble some lights into the bathroom mirror, so we had to do all the preparation work (remove shells, from mirror, make holes on mirror frame, sand down and paint where the shells took out bits of the old paint, assemble lights on frame, etc). It took most of the afternoon.

By 7 PM we went to the park so I could walk for a while (something I'm supposed to do every day now) and when we got back hubby went back to the mirror. By 11 PM he realised he didn't have everything he needed, but he was in such a frenzy about finishing the job that I suggested he could drive to the mall and pick up what he needed, as long as he got there before midnight. He did. When he got back I helped a bit, sticking the wire onto the wall but then he hit another snag because the wiring didn't quite work as he had planned. I eventually went to bed but he stayed up till half past three figuring out how to do it properly.
And I used to be the obsessive one!
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04.09.2005 (sun)
We went to see Hitchhiker's Guide but unfortunately I didn't like it much. It's not what I would call a complete disaster but I think the funniest things in the book are the details and those have all been lost. Plus the casting isn't quite right on some of the characters and Marvin was funny but I seem to remember him having a bigger involvement in the plot and wittier lines than just 'I'm so depressed'. Pity.

After the movie we walked around the mall, for my daily exercise, and hubby bought a couple pairs of pants. I bought a pencil with pink feathers on top. (yes, you read that right)

When we got back home Pedro finished the wiring for the mirror lamps and then helped my hang a couple of frames and take down the curtains in the baby room so I could wash them. So the DIY weekend continued.
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05.09.2005 (mon) - 39 weeks
I was feeling nervous when I got up this morning, so I had breakfast and went out for a walk.
Since the baby doesn't seem to want to get out by himself, I was advised to walk at least one hour a day. So I just went for a walk around town. I feared I'd stop in every shop and end up not quite exercising but I managed to just keep going non-stop for the full hour, so it wasn't bad. And frankly, I think it's working because the baby is no longer pressing on my bladder as much and now it hurts a lot more when I roll over in bed - it really feels like some internal organ is being yanked out. I guess it's preparation...

I watched the movie Million Dollar Baby and didn't like it much. Not that there's anything wrong with it but I'm not in a mood for dramas at the moment, and half hour of movie set in a hospital is a bit much.

I met my mother when she went out for lunch - having the use of only one hand means she doesn't feel like trying to cook everyday - and we went over to her flat afterwards. It's the usual mess, but at least she now has a good excuse for it :)

At 5 PM I came back home, had something to eat and watched the rest of the movie while Jones, who is acting more needy than usual, kept trying to climb on top of my belly.
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06.09.2005 (tue)
It's starting to look like yet another package has been 'lost' in the mail. I hate postal services.
I went to the post office saying I was expecting a package that should have arrived a week ago but it's always the same thing - don't know anything, there's nothing they can do. Well, they could stop stealing my mail, that's what they could do.

At 5 PM my mother came over and she went with me to class. When it ended we met up with my father and walked home. My mother left us halfway through to go do some shopping for my grandmother who is over 80 years old with two hip replacements and bad knees and yet still lives on a third floor with no elevator.
My father and I proceeded home. I had to stop a few times because I was having contractions (that's the whole point of walking - to get the system going) so it took almost an hour to get home, which is what I was expecting anyway.

My father was still supposed to drop by to pick-up my old table and chairs but he couldn't find a place to park so he gave up. We'll try again tomorrow.
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07.09.2005 (wed)
I was planning on taking another walk this morning but I ended up being stuck with giving technical support about email accounts to a client until noon. Somehow I feel this is going to be a bad day...
At half past twelve my internet connection went down, which didn't help either, but fortunately it wasn't down for too long.

I arranged to meet my mother later on and she'll go with me to the doctor. The good thing about it is that I won't be tempted to go across the street and buy cake when I get out :)
I've been craving cake to the point where I sometimes can think of nothing else. But I've been resisting so far, telling myself I have to wait till my birthday.

So now I'm going to cook lunch, which consists of boiled fish, green beans and carrots with no salt. Yummy, isn't it?
No wonder I want cake... I've been on this stupid diet for almost a month now. But tomorrow I shall be revenged!


So I got a little stressed this morning because of work and I immediately started thinking 'this is going to be a bad day'. Unfortunately I had no idea just how bad it was actually going to be.

I counted the baby's movements in the morning. He moved 10 times till 10.20 AM and then a couple more times after that. Then I had to deal with the clients and their email problems and after that I checked the mail and there was the post office warning about picking up the order from Amazon which seems to have turned up after all, despite the delay.
I was really happy about that and started feeling maybe I was just exaggerating before.
It seems stupid but in my experience, when one thing goes wrong usually two or three others follow in the same day and so I'm already dreading what's to come. But it's such a superstitious thing to think that I just said to myself 'you're being stupid' and moved on.

In the afternoon I stopped by my parents' flat to pick up my mother and we walked to the doctor's office for my weekly appointment. We arrived early and sat for a bit in the waiting room before going in. I was hoping that there would be some change since last time and made some remark about how I was sick of being pregnant and just wanted the baby to get moving.
Then I went in and did the usual stuff - check blood pressure and weight and then do the routine ultrasound. The doctor started saying the usual stuff . here's the head, the body is in this position, etc. But then he started asking me if I was sure the baby had been moving alright. I said yes, I felt him move this morning. He didn't say anything else and shut the equipment off. While I was getting dressed he left the room. I started to worry - he had never done that before.
When he came back he asked if we could take another look with the ultrasound, which he did really quickly, and then asked if we could go to the Emergencies at the hospital because there seemed to be something wrong with the baby but wouldn't say anything else. We left and as soon as I got out of there it finally hit me - he didn't see a heartbeat.

My mother was calling my father to see if he could drive us to the hospital and I called Pedro to tell him something was wrong. I told him what I thought it was even though at this point I was still hoping that there was a way out of this.

I finally called my in-laws and they drove us to the hospital. I had to wait again and when I finally got in, the doctor that saw me started once again with checking blood pressure and getting a urine sample. I was so stressed out by now that my blood pressure was to the roof and just wanted to know what happened and felt this was a waste of time. But part of me knew it was all over and there was nothing to be done.

They finally took me to another room to do an ultrasound and I said 'what we need to know is if there's a heartbeat' followed by a nervous laugh, like it was a stupid notion that there wasn't one.
The doctor started checking and saying things like 'in a case like this we like to be sure' which was the final confirmation.
As soon as they were sure, the first doctor jumps in saying that she had to talk to me a bit later on about performing tests on the baby because it's important to gather data about why things like this happen and describing in minute detail (although I'm sure she felt she was giving me the short version) what sort of procedures they wanted to do. I said I didn't have a problem with it, partly because I don't and partly because I hoped it would shut her up but it seemed to only encourage her. She then followed into how we had to have a funeral because it was a full term baby and I just felt like I was being given electric shocks one after the other. In the space of two minutes they tell me the baby I've been carrying for 9 months is dead and they want to do an autopsy and they I have to arrange for his funeral and now I had to be admitted to the hospital and they were going to induce labour, which could take up to three days. Some of these doctors shouldn't be allowed to deal with people. But maybe that's the technique - give you all the shocks at once and let you digest it later. I didn't feel anything. I was completely numb. I don't think at this point I was ready to believe what was happening.

I went out to the waiting area to meet Pedro and he broke down completely. Through all this I was more worried about him than anything else. I had spent the whole pregnancy full of doubts but he was completely in love with the idea of being a father and now I had to destroy that. I felt somehow it was my fault, that I should have noticed something was wrong, that I should have somehow been able to prevent it. I felt I had failed and was completely useless. I guess I still feel that to a certain extent.

After talking to Pedro for a bit I had to go back in and sign the paperwork authorizing the autopsy and all the tests they wanted to do. Then I had to strip, put on the hospital gown and lie down in the hallway while they drew blood and connected the IV. My mother and mother-in-law were with me throughout all of this. The doctor that has been following the pregnancy also showed up and I could tell by his face that he was in a certain amount of shock as well. The nurse that works at the clinic also came over to see me. They were saying how something like this had never happened before to any of the pregnancies they follow. Lucky me.
These were the first of a great number of visits I was to have when the news started to spread.
After a while they took me up to the fifth floor and put me in a room with another woman. She was also inducing labour because there was something wrong with her baby. It was soon apparent they were keeping us special cases away from the other pregnant women.
I was shaking uncontrollably and they took my temperature which was 37¼ and felt it was normal enough so they didn't do anything about it. But since I couldn't stop shaking I asked for another blanket and after a while it finally stopped, but it started again every time I had to get up to go to the bathroom.

My brother showed up and I felt sorry for him because he almost passed out. He was trying to keep it together but I know he's really sensitive and this was quite a shock to everyone. Once again I started feeling responsible, like I've let everybody down.
They left a bit after 9 PM. Pedro stayed a bit longer and then went away as well.

I tried reading for a bit but I couldn't concentrate and finally removed my lenses (I was forced to by hospital policy) and turned off the light.
But shortly after I had another visit from the nurse that has been giving me the pre-natal classes. I couldn't see anything so I didn't even know who it was at first. It was weird seeing everything so blurry.
She stayed for a bit and said those things that people say at times like these, when there's really nothing anyone can say and then she left.
While she was there the nurses came in and my temperature had gone up to 38¼ so they plugged in a new bag into the IV with some mild painkillers.
I didn't have a watch so I don't know how long went by, but some time later I had to call the nurse again. The painkillers weren't working. She checked to see if I had dilated yet and it was all quite delayed but she called the doctor and came back with a different IV bag. This time it worked and I felt very groggy and almost fell asleep, even though the pain didn't disappear completely. I had to go to the bathroom several times and after this second drug I felt really dizzy when I got up.
After a while the pain started coming back stronger than ever and the contractions were really close together. I called the nurse again and she checked that the bag was empty and I thought she'd replace it at least but she didn't do anything. She just said 'now you have to wait a bit' and left. She didn't even check to see if I was dilated or not this time. Since I'm stupid I did what I was told and waited. The pain was quite unbearable and I just felt like crying. I kept trying to concentrate on the breathing and relaxing but that's a bit of a joke, really. It only works up to a point.

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08.09.2005 (thu)

I know I should have called again but I didn't and then suddenly I started having these really severe contractions I couldn't control. I was already pushing involuntarily. I still went to the bathroom again because I couldn't take lying down anymore and noticed there was blood. So I went back to bed and called the nurse again. I told her about the contractions and the blood and she checked the dilation and said I had to be taken downstairs. At this point I stopped having any control - I was doing the breathing but couldn't stop my body from pushing by itself, I couldn't speak and could barely think.
Somewhere along the way I heard one of the nurses say I was dilated to 8 cm and they asked me if they should call anyone and if it was the number in the file. I could barely say yes and then they started moving me again.
Since I didn't have contacts I couldn't actually see anything - I didn't know where I was or who was around me.

Apparently they took me to the deliveries first and then moved me to emergencies - once more so I wouldn't be put together with other pregnant women. Then they left me alone in a room while I was just trying not to panic because of the pain.
They made me move to a different bed - something at that point almost impossible - and left me all alone once more. I tried calling someone because I felt something was already coming out, but there was nobody around and, since it was a different room, I didn't know where the bell was. I felt completely helpless.

When someone finally came in and checked me, they told me to turn so I' d be on my back instead of sideways and not push. Since I was having a particularly severe contraction there was little I could do but I tried. Then they finally told me to push, so I did. I pushed twice and the head came out. I felt myself being torn apart and couldn't help screaming. Then I pushed again for the shoulders and after that it was over. There was such an intense sense of relief after that.

When they pulled the baby out all the fluid came out and then the placenta.
The doctor saw right away there was a knot in the umbilical chord which was the reason the baby died. They asked me if I wanted to see the baby and I tried to look but without the lenses I couldn't actually see anything. I just saw a foot. Then they took him away and started stitching me up because there was a certain amount of tearing (which I was not surprised to learn because I felt it).

The doctor gave me a shot of anaesthetic and I had to have quite a few stitches and it was terribly uncomfortable. I asked what time it was because I had no idea. It was a bit after 6.30 AM. I had spent the whole night in pain and gone through the whole thing without the epidural which I has specifically said I wanted. I felt a bit cheated because I had gone through all this pain for nothing.

After that they left me alone again and it started to really hit me and I cried for the first time. My baby's dead and I didn't even have the chance to see what he looked like.
After going through the whole pregnancy and the delivery, no matter how much I complained at the time, I now knew without a doubt how much I wanted this. Even as I was trying to see the baby and knowing he was gone and there was nothing I could do, I still wanted to pick him up - I wanted my baby. And it was such a strong feeling that I never thought possible. I would have given anything to make this whole thing not true.

Time went by and nobody came and I had to pee so I checked around me for the bell. They gave me a bed pan - another lovely experience - and changed the pad that I now have to wear because of all the blood that will be coming out for a while. Then I asked if they had called anyone. Apparently they called home but nobody answered. I figured Pedro stayed with his parents so I gave his phone number. There was also no reply. I finally gave my mother's number and she answered and called pedro herself who had his phone in silent mode. I was running out of phone numbers I know by heart at this point, so it's a good thing someone finally answered the damn phone.

They told me I couldn't get up for six hours and I think I still waited almost an hour before anyone turned up. But at least I wasn't in pain anymore.
I started having visits a bit after 7 Am - first a doctor that works with my in-laws who stopped by on her way to work and then my mother and husband some time after that. My mother brought me birthday presents, which was weird but I guess fits into her whole 'trying to cheer me up' attitude.

My birthdays have always been bad ever since I was a teenager. So bad in fact I even wrote a song about it. When I was younger it was just stuff like I'd invite people over and nobody would show up - even my best friends would call and cancel - and later on, on two consecutive years, people in the family died around my birthday. It became such a depressing thing that for years I stopped celebrating it. Then last year my cat died the day before and so it seems to go on although I never thought it would get this bad.

Then they gave me breakfast and some time after took me up to another room where I was going to stay until released. This time, at least, it was single room.

From this point on I was never alone. My mother, husband, brother, in-laws, etc, were taking turns to be there at all times. My father also came over later in the afternoon. I think he had been avoiding it till then but my mother kept pressuring him. He's pretty broken up about the whole thing, like everyone else, but his away of dealing with stuff is more along the lines of denial and staying away from things. Men always feel like it's shameful to cry or something, which is one of the most repressive things in our society.

I was still hanging on to the whole 'it's OK, don't worry about me' attitude. I think I felt responsible for causing so much pain to all these people and didn't want to make it worse by breaking down.

I was finally able to get up around 1 PM and went to shower and change. I still didn't have my bag cause Pedro insisted on staying with me the whole morning and only went home to eat lunch and bring me my stuff when I already needed it. The problem was that I didn't have any underwear and couldn't walk around without a pad because I would drip blood all over the place. So I had to keep my legs closed and walk to the bathroom really slowly to keep the pad in place. It was pretty pathetic.

Then they brought me lunch and the first pill for stopping the milk. I have to take 2 a day for the next 12 days.
Later in the day the baby's blood test came back and they gave me a shot to keep me from producing anti-bodies against RH + blood.

Everyone left at the end of the day except for Pedro who stayed with me till 9 PM. Then they examined me again and afterwards I read for a while till I felt sleepy. I was really tired because I hadn't slept at all the night before, so I did manage to sleep for a few hours but I woke up around 4 AM and couldn't get back to sleep after that.

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09.09.2005 (fri)

I spent the rest of the night just lying there, staring at the ceiling and the whole thing finally hit me. I never thought it would be possible to feel this much pain. Compared to this utter sense of loss and desperation, all the physical pain from the night before was nothing. All I could think was 'I want my baby' but I knew how impossible that was and it tore me up inside.

Around 7 AM they came in to change the sheets and then I was alone again for a couple of hours. When they came in with breakfast I was crying again and took a lot of self control to be able to say anything. But from that point on people kept coming and going so I just shut down again.

The doctor came in to examine me and I asked if they were going to release me today as I had been told yesterday. He said no, I had to stay for 48 hours, which meant another night. I was pretty upset about that because I just felt I needed to go home and start confronting things - I felt the need to put all the baby things away and start dealing with what happened and what I'm going to do next instead of being surrounded by stuff that reminds me of all the plans I had and how I'm never going to have that now.

The other thing I became sure of was that I need to try again. I went through the beginning and the end in less than a year and I need all the stuff in between that I'm not allowed to have now. I don't want to replace the baby - I could never do that - but I have all these feeling and needs that I have to find a way of expressing and that can only be fulfilled by actually having a baby that I can take care of.
I kept saying that I was never going to go through another pregnancy, but after a result like this all those discomforts seem laughable. I'd go through ten times that to have my baby be alive right now.

The worst part is that I did everything right - all the exams, followed all the recommendations - there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent this from happening. But I still feel guilty - maybe if I had set a date for the delivery instead of waiting. The baby wasn't descending and I started walking everyday to make him descend and it ended up killing him. I thought I was doing the right thing and all I did was make it worse. How can I live with that?
I know there was no way I could have known but that doesn't matter. It makes no difference and it doesn't hurt any less.

After realising they were not going to let me leave I went to have a shower and change into my own clothes and prepare to sit and wait for another whole day.
The weather had changed. It was cloudy and there was a little rain. It felt appropriate somehow.

Pedro and my mother were with me all day again. My in-laws were out taking care of the funeral. We opted for cremation. I couldn't bare to think of the baby decomposing slowly underground. I have too much of an imagination and it wouldn't feel over. The funeral was set for sunday morning. I said I'd prefer it if people didn't go because I don't think I can face it with lots of people around trying to make me feel better. I'd end up worrying about everyone else and trying to keep myself under control and that would just make the whole thing unbearable.

Another doctor came by in the afternoon and this one said that if everything was OK till 7 PM they would let me out. I think basically my mother talked to him and said she would take responsibility or something like that. So he went to deal with the paperwork.

Some time later the hospital psychologist came over to talk to us. It wasn't easy to say it all out loud and she didn't say much we didn't know already except maybe that we don't need to force ourselves to explain everything to each new person we meet. Because that's my worst fear now. I think I'll be afraid to leave the house because I may bump into someone who doesn't know yet and have to tell them, or someone who does know and feels they have to give the same speech I've heard a million times these last couple of days about how I need to move on and so on. I realise people don't know what to say and they want to be sympathetic but there really isn't anything to say and talking about it just keeps bringing everything back. I think in a way I feel I've been branded and now everyone will feel sorry for me and I don't want that.

My doctor dropped by around 4 PM and said I could leave the hospital - there was no point waiting around if everything was OK. So my mother went to take care of the paperwork and I got dressed and prepared to leave.

It was raining when we left. I waited by the hospital door while Pedro went to get the car. It's really uncomfortable to walk because of the stitches.

When I got home I changed into some comfortable pants and sat on the sofa for a while trying to figure out how I felt about being home. It wasn't as bad as I feared.
We had some more visits - from my sister-in-law and Pedro's cousin - and then everyone left and I went to the baby room and started putting things away while I still had the nerve. I took the clothes out of the hospital bag and put them in the drawers and pilled up everything else around and on top of the bed so as to concentrate the whole thing in one corner of the room.
I think I still need to take the bed apart because through all this something really stupid has stuck in my head - a superstition passed on by my cleaning lady that it's bad luck to have the baby bed assembled before the birth. I don't believe in this sort of thing but it keeps coming back to me, and since I can't blame anyone for what happened, an inanimate object is the next best thing, I guess. When you don't have any logical reasons for things, illogical ones start creeping into your head. I guess a stupid reason is better than none at all.
Apart from that it was fairly OK because none of those things actually belonged to the baby. There's no connection between the two. They were just there, waiting to be used but never were.

And that's the other thing - no matter how awful the whole thing is I know it could have been worse. I think losing a baby that's 2 or 3 months old is still worse than what I went through. Or if someone had killed him. There's all sorts of scenarios that would have been marginally more painful even than what I feel now, but that doesn't help much.

I still spent the rest of the day finding things that were connected to the baby all over the flat and gathering everything up. I've spent the last few months focusing on nothing else so the whole place has little things that have some connection to the pregnancy. I also started realising that it'll take a while to adjust to all the stuff I can do again - I can eat salt, I don't have to disinfect all the fruit and vegetables anymore, etc. I have to keep telling myself 'I can do this now', ' I don't have to do that anymore', and it stings a bit. Part of me wants to still be pregnant.

We spent the rest of the day watching TV and trying to do normal stuff. What else is there to do? We need to adjust to the fact that it's going to continue being just the two of us. Considering that it was always just us, I never thought I'd feel such a huge gap. All I can think about is 'when can I start over'. But I know next time I'll panic all the way to the end. I know something else might happen and I'll have to go through this all over again. But giving up makes me feel desperate. The only way I can go through this is if there's still hope I can be a mother one day.

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10.09.2005 (sat)

I slept until 7 AM and then had to get up. I decided to do my whole beauty routine as a sort of desperate effort to make me feel better - if I don't look like a corpse when I look in the mirror maybe I can start to feel more normal as well. Plus, it takes my mind off things for a while.

Then I had breakfast and watched some tv show. Half way through it I broke down again. Mornings are the worst. It's like starting over every day and then having to go through the whole process of sadness and acceptance all over again. Not that I expected it to be better so soon but it just hurts so much that I just want it all to go away.

Pedro got up and decided to go shopping because we were out of food. I said my parents should probably do that but he insisted he had to go out and do it himself. In the end I think it was more painful than he anticipated, especially after realising there was a couple with a new born at the check-out next to his. There's no way to escape it. Everyone else's life goes on. Ours is the one on hold at the moment and facing reality can be tough.

When Pedro got back we went on watching 24 season 3, stopping in between episodes to talk and try to make sense out of things. It was a long day.

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11.09.2005 (sun)

I had to get ready to leave as soon as I woke up today. I knew it was going to be really hard, going to the funeral of a son we never even got to see. We agreed we'd ask to see him if it was at all possible. I don't think I could spend the rest of my life with this image of a generic baby, without knowing what he looked like.

Since I knew I was going to be completely destroyed after this I put on my armour with considerable care - painting on the face of a normal person to hide what's underneath.
We left at 10.30 AM. Pedro's sister drove us and her parents and my parents followed in their own car. We got to the cemetery around 11 and had to wait around for at least half an hour. The crematorium looked like one of those buildings where they burned people in WWII, which didn't help. I was feeling uncomfortable because of the stitches and could neither stand nor sit down properly.

They finally called us and we went to the viewing room. They brought in this tiny coffin and asked if we wanted to see the baby. We said yes and they opened the lid. The baby's head was hanging to one side and the man tried several times to straighten it until he succeeded. I had to look away at this point. Then I finally moved forward and looked at him. It was devastating because he looked absolutely perfect. I spent a while looking at his little hands and was trying to look at his face for as long as I could so I wouldn't forget. I was crying and so was everyone else around me but I think it helped. I couldn't bear not knowing.

They closed the casket again and took him away.
We moved to the waiting room but a man came over shortly after saying that because the baby was so small there would be no ashes left so there was no point in waiting around. It was painful to hear but it was probably better that way. Except that I couldn't help thinking we just left him there.

So we drove back and tried to deal with it for the rest of the day and kept trying to do normal things like eating, reading a book, watching TV, doing laundry and stuff like that.

It's over. It's really over now and nothing's going to fix it.

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12.09.2005 (mon)

I keep waking up early. This time I had clothes in the washer that I had to hang out to dry. I couldn't even do this simple task without weeping. Mornings are the worst. Especially today that was the actual due date.

It's not like I don't know what happened when I wake up - I always know, even when I'm just half awake for a few moments in the middle of the night - but when I get up in the morning it's like I have to go through everything all over again.

I had breakfast and read a bit, always trying to fool myself into a sense of normality, and then I felt I needed to write down everything that happened in the last few days. It's a form of letting everything out but also of keeping a record of something I don't have the right to forget. And even though I don't believe I'll ever be able to forget it, I know the pain will become less sharp over time and I'll eventually be able to feel a certain degree of peace and maybe even joy (although at the moment that seems impossible). So I need to take these feelings while they're fresh and preserve them somehow. It's like pouring it all into a bottle and sealing it. I may never feel up to looking at it again but it exists. I feel that to just try to forget what it's been like would be disrespectful to the baby. And even though I have to try and move on I can never deny that he existed and I loved him more than I ever expected and now he's gone forever and it hurts like hell.

But it was really hard writing all this and after describing the birth I had to stop. I asked Pedro if we could go out because I didn't think I could stay home all day again. I still can't walk properly or for very long but I needed to be out in the world for a little while.
First we went to the mall and tried shopping but my heart wasn't in it. So we went to the beach but the sun by this time was so strong that we gave up within five minutes. We drove to the park instead and sat on a bench under a tree until we got too hungry and left.
It seems that we managed to pick a day that coincided with some kindergarten's outing so there were children everywhere. I tried not to let it bother me. In the end I want my baby, not someone else's. But it does hurt to know other people keep having perfectly normal babies everyday and we were the statistic - the one in a million that goes wrong. It just feels that after this nothing bad should ever happen to us, but unfortunately that's not how it works. There is no cosmic balance.

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19.09.2005 (mon)

It's been a hard week. I've been trying to keep busy and I'm starting to have moments when I forget. But that just makes it worse because as soon as my brain is free again it comes back and seems even more painful.

Physically I'm still not OK but I keep testing my limits everyday because I need to start exercising. I've lost 4 kg since I came home but I need to lose 8 more and rebuild my muscle mass, especially the abs, because it's non existent at the moment.

This morning I dismantled the baby bed. I couldn't bear looking at it anymore, like it was waiting for something. I can't keep waiting for something that may never happen. There are no guarantees that a second try will work out any better so I have to prepare myself for the possibility that all this effort and investment was completely useless because for the next year at least it will be true.

We've been working on the songs, as a way to pass the time, and I've written a new one and started a second one. I'm a bit afraid of what's going to come out of this but it's one of the few ways I can express myself so I'll try not to censor too much.

I've also decided to put the site back online because I need to write. I don't care if anyone reads it or not, I've always done it for myself, so I can keep a record, but if it's online it means I have to acknowledge that I've thought and said certain things and can't pretend I didn't. It makes it more real somehow and it makes me face up to things if I'm going to continue being honest. Plus, I don't care that people know about all this. At least I don't have to keep explaining it over and over again. It's easier to write than it is to say the words while looking at someone's face while trying not to cry.

I went out to lunch with my mother. It was actually the last thing in the world I wanted to do. I must be stupid because I keep saying yes to these things. I know people are concerned and think it will do me good to get out of the house and everything, but it's too soon and I just end up having to talk about it, in public, where I don't want to start crying and it just makes the whole thing turn into complete torture. I wish they'd just leave me alone. I can deal with things on my own and having to be reminded all the time of every single detail or being told once more I have to move on, simply doesn't help.

Plus I think it's my mother who needs to talk about it, and since my father won't, she tries bringing it up with me. It's just making it worse.

I guess I have to start putting on a happy face before leaving the house and learning to say 'I'm fine' and change the subject as soon as it comes up.

During the afternoon I started exercising. I can't do much yet but I had to start.

Later my parents came by to pick up our old table and chairs and that helped clear the room some more, which has now been converted from baby room to exercise room. It means I have to go in there everyday and get used to it being empty.

At night we went shopping. I felt I needed to compensate for the lousy day. I bought a couple of tops and a bag, all very inexpensive, and then we went to the supermarket to buy food.
When we got home we had dinner and watched Lost. The way this show never goes anywhere is really getting on my nerves. I'm not sure I'll bother watching a second season unless I have absolutely nothing to do.
Desperate housewives, on the other hand, I like more every week.

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20.09.2005 (tue)
I woke up with a loud crash at 4 AM. I got up but couldn't figure out what it was. It may have been a neighbour or something. I was having a weird dream anyway, so it wasn't so bad, waking up.

When I woke up again, in the morning, I realised my brain had been dealing with what it will be like during a second pregnancy and hit hit me exactly how much constant panic I'll be in the whole time, knowing I can't predict or prevent anything from going wrong again.

I spent the whole morning completely stressed out and feeling I was waiting for something, that there was something I should be doing. I get that a lot now. I should be taking care of a baby - I was completely ready for it, both physically and mentally, and now I have nothing to do. It's just how I react that's different: some days I can't stop crying and some days I feel on the verge of a panic attack. Either way I know I should keep myself busy with other things but I can't really focus and can't actually face certain tasks. So I start feeling useless and lazy and the stress increases.

Today I'm supposed to re-pot the plants, try writing the verse for the song I've been working on and try to stop thinking that I'm useless, I have to decide right away what to do with the rest of my life and go out and get a job.

The last one is actually the hardest. I feel I need to contribute in some way - I have to make some money instead of leaving all the responsibility on Pedro's shoulders - but at the same time I can't face going back to what I was doing before because it's more about dealing with clients than doing the design work and I don't feel up to that right now.
I've been thinking about signing up at a temp agency or something because at least I wouldn't feel bad if I didn't like the job and had to leave. Plus, finding a proper job now while I still want to get pregnant again would mean that I'd eventually get fired (because for at least two years I'd be working under renewable 6 month contracts or something like that) so there's no point in going through all that trouble for nothing.
But most important is that I know I shouldn't be dealing with this yet because I'm not even physically recovered yet and I can't speak to anyone without feeling like I'm going to burst into tears, so how am I going to work? It's just typical masochistic behaviour, I fear.

In the afternoon I decided to look up stuff about a second pregnancy - how long I should wait and so on. I ended up finding a lot of stuff about people who've been through the same kind of thing and so basically I spent the rest of the day reading these articles and testimonials and crying my eyes out. But I think in a way it's better than avoiding the issue.
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21.09.2005 (wed)
I got up a little after 9 AM. I watered the plants, sat at the piano to write a bit more of the song I've been struggling with and forgot to eat till it was almost noon. I forced myself to eat because I had to take the pill - it's the last day - and then worked on the song some more. It's the most depressing song I've ever written, but I guess that can't be helped at this point.

at 2 PM I stopped and had to get ready to leave for the dentist. I didn't have lunch, just drank a liquid yogurt, and left. I was feeling nervous to have to go out and face people. My mother used to work at that clinic so they've known me since I was a kid. When I called to make the appointment I told the receptionist what happened and I guess I hoped she would tell everyone else so I didn't have to, but she didn't. So when I got there it didn't take long till someone asked 'so, where's the baby?'. I couldn't speak. I just shook my head and tried my best not to cry. She understood and didn't say anything else but it left me on the verge of losing control, something I really didn't want.

It's been exactly two weeks since it happened and I still can't talk to people. Time seems to be moving so slowly and I keep telling myself I'm OK now but I can't stop feeling this overwhelming sadness. It's always there, under the surface, always waiting to come back up at the slightest chance.
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22.09.2005 (thu)
I couldn't sleep last night so I got up and went to the living room to read for a while so I wouldn't keep waking Pedro up. I kept having flashbacks to the birth and couldn't get it out of my head. Since it happened exactly two weeks ago it's hardly surprising that I'd be thinking about it, but I really don't want to. The outcome is always the same no matter how hard I try to imagine it differently.

This morning I woke up the exact same way and had to get up to make it stop. I seem to have got the crying under control when I'm home alone but my heart rate goes up and I feel this intense anxiety all the time. So I exercised to waste all the extra energy and help me to calm down.

I was done a bit before 12 and getting ready to shower when our cleaning lady arrived.
After the shower I swallowed a liquid yogurt, because I really couldn't be bothered to cook anything, and decided to repot the plants, at last. The cleaning lady made a remark about how, where she comes from, women don't do anything, such as handling plants, for a month after giving birth, which is her polite way of saying I should be resting and not carrying heavy pots around. I told her I couldn't bear to just sit around all day doing nothing. I'd go completely insane.

I repotted 3 of the plants and then got too tired to carry on. I'm hoping I can do some more later on, after I've had some time to rest.
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23.09.2005 (fri)
I have no idea what I did this morning. All I know is that I got up at 9 and didn't have breakfast till 12. What happened in that time is a complete mystery. I think I wandered around the flat pretending I was doing something but not quite doing anything.

I had breakfast and did my exercise till 2 PM. Then I sat at the computer and started a new layout for a site. I talked to Pedro earlier and it seems his job is not secure so I feel that I have to keep things going in case he becomes unemployed within the next year or so. My only problem right now is that I fear I'm unable to concentrate on anything right now and i keep forgetting stuff unless I write it down immediately.

At five I got ready to go out with my mother. I didn't feel like it much but she's making an effort to get me out of the house and I can't keep telling her no. Besides, she just got the cast out of her hand and she obviously needed to talk about that, so it would be rude not to go. So we went out to this tea house that also has some good hot chocolate. My father met us there later on and complained about how tired he is and that my mother doesn't let up. I do understand what he means. She has this bubbly way about her, this constant giggle going on that has got to be a fake, and that gets extremely tiring after a while. It's a defence mechanism and I know this because I also have my nervous laugh - like when I was in the hospital and they were doing the ultrasound and I said 'well, what we need to know is if there's a heartbeat' and i did this little laugh, like it was a joke and immediately thought 'I have to stop laughing when I'm panicking'. I think it's just a way the brain keeps you from actually recognising the reality of what you're going through.
So I get it, but it still gets on my nerves sometimes, because it's false.

When we were walking back home we bumped into this couple that has been friends with my parents probably since before I was born. They haven't seen me for years so they were going 'look how big she's gotten' which is something I haven't heard for at least 15 years and something you don't expect to hear anymore after you turn 30.
And then they asked me how I'm doing. It's such a normal question with such a standard answer. All i had to say was 'fine, thanks'. But I couldn't. I really need to learn how to lie.
But fortunately my mother started going on about her arm being broken so the conversation never went anywhere else. But I understood finally the expression about the elephant in the room that no one talks about. I think I'm going to feel that a lot from now on.
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24.09.2005 (sat)
Why can't I make this pain go away? Days and weeks go by and it still hurts just as bad.
And every time I go outside all I see are people and their babies. It seems like everyone in the world has a baby except for me. Which in a weird twisted way is true - my baby was the one in a million that had to die so that everyone else's could live. And I don't even think 'why me' cause that would be too self-centred. I think 'why him'. He didn't deserve to die and I just wish I could apologise to him for failing in my only duty as a mother, which was to protect him, to keep him safe.

So I get up each morning and try to go on with my life. I try to do all the normal things I did before but nothing works. I get up and I go into what was to be the baby room and I exercise. And between sets of sit-ups I look around me, at the pile of baby stuff that we bought and I think of him in that tiny coffin - his hair and perfect fingernails - and I cry. And then I pull myself together and do another set of sit-ups. I'm hoping that someday I won't cry anymore but I can't even imagine how long that will take.

Sometimes I take some of the clothes of the drawer and will them to fill themselves up but they always remain empty. So I cry some more and put the clothes back in the drawer. I can't stand feeling this empty anymore.
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25.09.2005 (sun)
Yesterday was a hellish day. I think it was one of the worst days so far. I just couldn't react like I normally do. I just sat there staring at nothing for hours and feeling complete desperation.

Today I was a bit better but I didn't exercise because I didn't want to go into that room. It's like all my pain is being stored in there and I just couldn't face it. It makes no difference if I empty it because it will still be THAT room. The one that I decorated and planned to spend all my time in now, and even just going by and looking in just hurts too much. Because it's empty, because now it will never serve the purpose it was supposed to.

So I stayed away. Instead I spent the day at the computer looking up pixel art sites. I've always loved pixel art and have been wanting to do a project. P. gave me a book last year called 1x1 and I started going through the websites of the artists featured in the book and found some really cool stuff. I'm planning on starting small: choosing a scale and drawing each object separately before attempting to build a house or anything larger. It should keep my mind busy enough for a while.

P. has been sick all weekend so his parents dropped by this afternoon to check on him. After they left I went back to the computer but my back started hurting too much so I stopped and migrated to the bathroom to do all the girly maintenance stuff.

The worst part is that I do manage to have fairly normal days on occasion, but there's always that feeling at the back of my head that something's wrong. I feel like I'm living two different lives at the same time - what I do and what I should be doing - and my head keeps shifting between the two. It's like inhabiting parallel universes and the reality you're in keeps switching between the two. And then the tears can come at any time and with no warning. I just want to go through one day without crying - just one...
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26.09.2005 (mon)
This morning I had to call Carla and apologise for not calling her on saturday, which was her birthday. I was just too destroyed to be able to speak to anyone. We arranged to meet on thursday. Let's see how I handle going out by myself this time...

In the afternoon I repotted the rest of the plants. I threw some out - the ones that I felt I couldn't save - washed all the empty pots, which took ages, and cleaned up the mess I made. That took most of the afternoon and was completely exhausting. I still didn't exercise.

Then I sat at the computer and started doing isometric pixel objects. Since I was just beginning I based myself on other people's designs - copy in order to learn has always worked - and only after getting the dimensions right would I start making changes to the objects. I made a table, some chairs, a sofa and a door.

I also started drawing in a little notebook. I know it seems unbelievable, considering I went to art school, but I never actually learned how to draw. My drawing classes were a joke. And although I have notions of perspective and so on, and can probably draw something fairly accurately from observation if given enough time, I never developed confidence in the lines and could never draw characters or things from memory or imagination. I have to look at an object to draw it properly. Which doesn't help if what you want to do is make cute little cartoon teddy bears, for example... So I started practicing that. I believe I should have something I'm not entirely ashamed of in about 20 years.

At night I went out to post a letter. I only feel comfortable going outside at night, when there's less chance to bump into people.
Unfortunately there was a man holding a baby in front of the post office. I didn't think this sort of thing would get to me but it really does. I just have this almost uncontrollable urge to hold all the babies I see on the street. It's really freaky. So I tried not to look, pretty much in the same way I try not looking at a squashed pigeon in the middle of the road, and walked on.

I think I understand a lot of weird feelings I didn't before, like how it's possible for women who lost their babies to kidnap someone else's child. And how easily it must be to go mad. It's just a matter of letting go, of not fighting it too much.
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27.09.2005 (tue)
The nights are getting colder and I think I'm getting sick. At 4 AM I had to get up and put some pants on. I was freezing. When I woke up this morning my throat hurt and it's been hurting all day. Since P. has been ill since friday I'm not surprised, but I don't have any other symptoms so it could be just from the temperature change.

I continue to be completely scattered. I got up and turned the computer on and was going to have breakfast. But I stated drawing and then I decided to draw on flash, so I got my tablet and by the time I noticed it was part 11 o'clock and I still hadn't eaten anything. I spent over two hours perfecting the drawing and completely forgot about everything else. I wasn't even hungry.
Lately, eating had become a pure matter of necessity. I just grab whatever is there when I can't take it anymore and move on. I'd stop eating entirely if it didn't hurt so mush after a whole day on an empty stomach.

So I had some cereal and around 12 I did my exercises.

I finally did an exercise CD so I didn't have to keep jumping the slow tracks so I was able to do 16 minutes of step followed by some sit-ups and weight-lifting. I've managed to go from sets of 15 sit-ups to sets of 50 in less than a week, so it seems to be going well, even though I notice no difference at all - the stomach is looking just as wobbly as it did the day I got out of hospital. But the volume has been reducing and I can almost fit into some of my old pants, so there's been some change. but that's because I've lost 5 kg already. Another 5 to go before I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

The only reason I bother with all this is because I plan on getting pregnant again in about 6 to 9 months and I need to have a normal starting weight so I don't blow up to 90 kg by the end of it. It would be too unhealthy and I'm perfectly aware of just how difficult it is to maintain your weight while you're pregnant.

And as I write this my mind is going 'yeah, well you can make all the plans you want, but you know what? You have absolutely no control.'
I hate that and I hate the fact that there is nobody I can blame and beat to a bloody pulp for all this. It would make me feel so much better.
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28.09.2005 (wed)
I'm sick. It seems I got P.'s virus after all. It just took a few days to manifest.
I spent most of the day in bed, reading Anansi Boys till it was over. It's a really great book and I was a bit sad that it was over because now I'm going to have to wait a long time before the next one comes out. So I think I may read American Gods again.

I had to call Carla and cancel our plans for tomorrow. She seems to be sick as well. I guess this year the damn flu got to us before we were able to do the vaccine.

I managed to go to the drugstore but it was hard because I felt dizzy and just wanted to go back to bed.
Plus there was a pregnant woman there and I had to fight the urge to tell her what happened to me, like I have to do every time I see one. It's terribly cruel of me but it's meant more as a warning than anything else - don't get too confident cause you never know. It's still awful to feel like doing that, wanting to go around ruining people's day. Good thing I have a certain amount of self control.
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29.09.2005 (thu)
Still sick. Spent another day reading and went through a whole book today.
I'm getting a bit tired of not feeling up to doing anything else but stay in bed. I just hope I'm better tomorrow because I need to start exercising again.
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30.09.2005 (fri)
I was feeling a little better this morning so I came back to the computer and picked up the pixel objects again. I started making a house so I can place all the objects I've been making and make sure they're all on the same scale. I already noticed that I need to make the sofa a bit larger.

At night we went out to do some shopping. The car had to be fixed (again) and pass the inspection and we only got it back today. As would be expected, it came back with one thing fixed and a new one broken: the central lock stopped working properly. It only closes once in a while. So when we parked the car to go shopping we had to close each door from the inside and then the last one with the key. I hate that car.

I bought some jeans that fit because I'm sick of wearing my pregnancy clothes and then we bought food and all the other essentials that have been running out and had it delivered.
I was quite worn out by the end of it. I guess I'm still not completely recovered.
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