Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Capture Your Grief- Day 21, 23, 25.

Day 25- Earth Remembrance.

Eric and I decided not to have a funeral for Annalee. She brought so much joy to our lives and we wanted her to be remembered that way, so we threw her a party. Close family and friends gathered in our backyard to celebrate our little girl.

We planted a sweetheart mayday tree for her and added a little bench with the words 'stay and keep Annalee company.' I can't wait to sit out there in the spring when the tree is full of pink blossoms.

Day 23- Love Letter.

To every single person that has called, texted, e mailed, dropped off food, sent flowers, written cards, commented on social media, read this blog, talked about Annalee, thought about Annalee, thought about us and our families: we love you and we thank you.

Day 21- Sacred Space.

It might seem a bit silly, but our sacred space is our living room. That couch has never seen so much activity! We've told Annalee's story so many times in here, we've cried so many tears and watched so many bad movies. This room is where we've healed.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


An unexpected side effect of my grief has been a sometimes overwhelming sense of anxiety. I've suffered from mild cases of it in the past, but nothing like this.

It started to manifest early on as hypochondria. I was convinced that because there were no obvious reasons for Annalee's passing, it had to be something wrong with me or Eric. It was a sign that one of us was unhealthy and wouldn't be able to raise our baby. Every little mark, ache and hormonal ailment spelled some sort of serious health issue. Only after multiple healthy lab tests did that fear began to wain.

Crowds also became an issue. I've never been a big fan, but the difference now is that it mostly applies to crowds who know what we've been through. Even a large gathering of friends can sometimes feel panic inducing. I'm going back to work tomorrow and this is my biggest hesitancy. I love my job and I work with amazing people, but I'm nervous to venture past my floor. The funny thing is that I've seen plenty of my coworkers and they've all be so gracious. I know that I'm making of a big deal out of nothing, but that doesn't stop the 2am heart pounding night sweats.

Like pretty much everything else- it's a band aid that I just have to rip off.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Capture Your Grief- Day 15. Wave of Light.

Last night, after lighting a candle for Annalee, we went to the Calgary Tower for dinner. Neither of us had been up there in years. It was fun to look over the city and point out different landmarks. Afterwards, we got to see the tower lit up pink and blue for pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. It's funny how had this not happened, we would've had absolutely no idea why they chose those colors, but instead we joined so many other parents mourning their little ones. It was an emotional night, but it was heartwarming to see everyone's candles lit and know that we're not alone in our grief.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Capture Your Grief- Day 10 & 11

Day 11- Glow in the Woods

'When orbs appear in a particular location, it's also a sign that angels are hovering nearby...'

We see you, Annalee :)

Day 10- Words

Capture Your Grief- Day 7. Memory.

There was a moment, right after Annalee was born, when they put her on my chest and for a split second I forgot what was really happening and only felt pure joy. It didn't last long, but it's my greatest memory.

I still remember what her skin felt like, how she smelled and that curly hair!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Capture Your Grief- Day 3 & 4

Day 4. Dark + Light

Eric and I decided pretty early on to keep Annalee's room intact. It felt like such a welcoming space. We'd go in on our own and sit in the rocking chair and talk to her- it was a sad place, but also one filled with love. Since then, I've changed out a couple of the pictures and put a few of her stuffed animals away. Now I use it most often to do yoga- I light candles and turn on the fun lights that we bought for her and I try to find some peace.

Day 3. In Honour

It turns out that October is also breast cancer awareness month which is kind of a funny coincidence. I lost my grandma to breast cancer 17 years ago. She was such a force in all of our lives. She was so kind and so funny and she had satin bedding which, as a kid, was the be all end all. When I'd stay at her house, she'd let me snuggle up in her bed and we'd watch All My Children.
I'm not a religious person, but I do believe in spiritual guides and my grandma has always been mine.
When we first lost Annalee, I found myself furious with her. How could someone who had watched over me for so long let this happen? But that anger very quickly turned into reassurance. Annalee had someone to welcome her and to hold her. Now, I'm lucky enough to have both of them with me.

Today I honour both of my angels.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Capture You Grief-Day 2. Intention.

My intention is to be gentle with myself. 

I healed physically so quickly after Annalee that I sometimes forget that I gave birth only 14 weeks ago. There's a frustration that comes with not being able to jump back into a normal workout routine immediately after something so traumatic. I wanted so badly to have some normalcy and some form of release, that it was tough to not get back to spin three weeks later. That a hike that would normally be easy, was challenging. That your body is so different now than it was before- that even if you've lost the baby weight, things are wider and weirder than before.

I find I have to remind myself to be kind to every aspect of my being- body, mind and heart. It's ok to be busy and distracted, but when I've done too much, accept the fact that spending an entire day on the couch binge-watching Netflix might just be the right thing to do. It's ok that some days I don't want to cry, but when I need to, give myself permission to really let it all out. Everything I feel is ok. There is no wrong way to get through this. 

Most importantly, to remember to be grateful for my body. This ol' thing carried and nourished a beautiful baby for almost 39 weeks and then did everything it should've had I brought that baby home. 

Our bodies are amazing things and they deserve kindness.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Capture You Grief- Day 1. Sunrise.

Eric is not a morning person. I'm kind of a 9am morning person. Neither of us are 'up to see the sunrise' people. However, when I was deciding what photo to post, I realized that this one was taken just after sunrise on June 21st.

Annalee was born at 10:31pm and we were bound and determined to spend every single second with her. For the first few hours, we were still so high on adrenaline (and me on morphine) that it was no problem, but once that wore off, we were exhausted in every possible way. I really struggled with whether or not we should sleep. I didn't want to waste any of the precious time we had with her, but labor and heartbreak are tiring (to say the least) and we couldn't stay up any longer. So with Eric on one side and Annalee on the other, we slept.

Our incredible night nurse spent that time taking hundreds of photos of Annalee for us. She had props and the whole nine yards. She did all of this knowing that there was a professional photographer coming in the morning. We are forever indebted to her. Because of her, we've never once felt like we should've taken more photos.

The day we entered the hospital was rainy and gloomy. The day we left was sunny and beautiful and I imagine the sunrise was probably stunning.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month/Capture Your Grief

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month- something I never even knew existed until three months ago. I saw a neat thing on Instagram called Capture Your Grief where those who have lost a child reflect on 31 different topics each day of the month. I wasn't sure if I wanted to participate because there are some days where I don't want to grieve- I just want to make it through the day, but October is going to be a crazy month for us. I think it'll be good for me to spend some time each day reflecting on our journey and perhaps dealing with some unhealed wounds.

If you know of anyone else who has lost a baby (and based on our experience, it seems like everyone knows someone), there are a couple of good things happening in Calgary this month. On October 15th, the Calgary tower will be lit up in blue and pink to honor all of those babies lost. On October 18th, there's a Healing the Mother's Heart yoga workshop at the beautiful Junction 9 Yoga Studio.

Also, if you do know someone who has been through this- no matter how long ago- this month is a good reason to check in with them and send them some extra love :)