Thursday, 29 December 2016


I feel like jumping out of my skin. During the day, when I'm busy, I feel totally fine, but the minute it gets quiet or my head hits the pillow, I'm overcome with heartache. Crying doesn't even feel like enough sometimes. My legs shake like they're ready to run a marathon and I just want to scream at the top of my lungs. I'm truly happy during the day, but the night brings on all of the feels and it's impossible to put the sensation into words.

Right now, I'm in the part of the grief cycle where things don't feel like they're getting any better. Maybe it's the month, maybe it's exhaustion or maybe this is just how grief works- the sneaky little bastard.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Year 2

Christmas this year certainly feels twice as hard as last year. I feel like two different people:

Annalee's mom- empty, heartbroken and hurting

Elliot's mom- excited, full of joy and hope.

Last year we could just be sad. Our hearts were still raw. This year, we're happy and grateful for our friends and family and to have a healthy and happy son who makes us laugh constantly, but there's still a hole. A hole where an 18 month old daughter should be- waiting for Santa, opening presents and eating Christmas dinner.

I feel confused. I know Annalee is carried in so many hearts, but people have understandably moved on- or maybe not moved on, but the focus is on Elliot now, as it should be, but I'm still stuck. Stuck between being a mom of two, but only being able to witness one experience the joy of Christmas.

I just don't know how to feel this year and I suppose that's ok. We've got plenty of Christmases ahead of us to try and figure it out.

To the moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends smiling through the heartache this year, you're not alone. May you find a bit of joy during the holidays all the same.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Capture Your Grief Day 4: Support Circles

At Elliot's meet and greet, we handed out sparklers for friends who wanted to celebrate Annalee's birthday with us in spirit. Receiving photos of our friends and family taking a moment for her brought so much joy to the day. We're so lucky to be surrounded by people who never hesitate to speak Annalee's name; who never stop sending their love on the 20th of each month; who remember her and keep her in their hearts. 

Capture Your Grief Day 3: What it Felt Like

It's impossible to put it into words.

It is every feeling at it's most extreme at basically every moment of every day until you think your heart might burst.

That's as close as I can get.

Capture Your Grief Day 2: Who They Are

Our first positive pregnancy test. Our first ultrasound. The first time I got to experience the glory of maternity pants. The first time I was excited to see my belly grow. The first time we felt baby kicks. The first time we decorated a nursery. The first time we had to come up with baby names. The first time we dreamed about our baby's future.

She is who we'll always wonder about- who she would've been, what her smile would've looked like, how her giggle would've sounded.

She is the missing piece of our hearts.

She is our first daughter, our firstborn.

Capture Your Grief

We're over halfway through Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month (where is time going?). It feels so weird to be going through all of these milestones for a second time, but after months of pushing my heartache aside, I'm excited to participate in #Captureyourgrief again. As hard as it is to do, it always serves me well to speak about Annalee and our experiences. This event is such a good conversation starter and something I'm so grateful for.

It's also a good reminder to speak the names of those babies you or your friends have lost. Life gets busy and as parents of loss continue to heal, they may talk about their experiences less, but that doesn't mean they're not still grieving.

Lots of love to anyone missing their little one this month and always.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Happy Birthday Annalee!

This post has been incredibly hard to write (hence it being 5 months late). I can't believe that it's been a year. It simultaneously flew by and dragged on. I think a big part of me had set Annalee's birthday as a point to get to- just make it through the year, get through the birthday and all will be well. As it turns out, that's not really how it works. The pain doesn't go away after a year, in fact, celebrating the first birthday of a child that doesn't get to smash a cake or open presents feels a bit like starting back at square one.

The weekend before her birthday, we had some family over for an informal celebration. My mom brought wish papers and we all wrote down our wishes for her, lit them and watched them fly up into the sky. It was such a special and emotional moment. What's so heartbreaking/heartwarming is seeing our little nieces and nephews participate in these things for Annalee. I don't know how much of it they understand, but the fact that they include her as part of the family, even without seeing her, is so special.

Eric, Elliot and I celebrated Annalee's first birthday by making a family trip out to Forgetmenot Pond. I got a horrible stomach ache, Elliot had a huge poo explosion all over his car seat and it was so windy that we could only stay for about 15 minutes. I was feeling a bit defeated about it, but wouldn't you know that as soon as we sat down at a picnic table, a little robin wandered right into our spot and I knew she was with us. Perhaps the disaster of a day was her way of trying to make us laugh again.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Elliot John Palmiere

Eric and I, our family and friends all breathed a sigh of relief on May 26th when we welcomed our baby boy, Elliot, into the world.

We decided before I even got pregnant that I would be induced around 37 weeks with this baby. While I'm generally not a huge fan of medical intervention, we were desperate to meet this little one before the 38 week 5 day mark when we lost Annalee. As we got closer and closer to the end my anxiety went through the roof. I was scared to go to sleep- to go hours without knowing whether or not the baby moved (there were a lot of 2am doppler checks). As uneventful as my pregnancy was, I was so happy when it was over and he was here. The minute he came out wide awake and crying was he most reassuring, joyous moment of my life. I hate that I look back on his pregnancy as such a traumatic event, but it was worth every minute of stress. I treasure plenty of the little moments with him in my belly, but it may take me a while to fully appreciate the entire nine months.

He's nearly four months old now and he is the most chill baby. He makes us laugh every day- he's smiling and chatting and wiggling his way around. There have been so many moments since the beginning where I catch myself staring at him and wondering what Annalee would've been like at his age. Would she have looked like him? Would their temperament be the same? I think I will always wonder. It'll be a fine balance to ensure that Elliot always knows his sister, but never feels like he's living in her shadow. Without Annalee, there would be no Elliot and I thank her everyday for keeping this little boy safe and bringing him into our lives.


It's been too long since I've posted anything here. So much has happened- the birth of our son! Annalee's first birthday! More to come on both of those...

I think I've been avoiding this space a bit again. Posting here means really facing my feelings and with new mom hormones and the overwhelming joy of a new baby, I haven't been up for dealing with grief. Grief is exhausting and when you're already running on adrenaline and broken sleep, it seems like a better idea to put it on the back burner and power through.

Lately though, I've been thinking more and more about this space and what we've been through and it feels like it's time to get back to it. I'm not doing myself any favours by ignoring things and I feel like in a weird way, I'm seeing our experience with fresh eyes. We're no less devastated about losing Annalee, but I find more joy now. I'm excited for our baby boy to know about Annalee and for her to watch him grow up.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Monday, 9 May 2016

Mother's Day

When Annalee was still in my belly, I didn't really consider myself a mom yet. I figured I wasn't really a mom until I had my baby in my arms. What I've come to realize is that the moment you fall in love with your baby, you're a mom. When you start putting their needs above your own, you're a mom. Even though I didn't get to bring Annalee home, I'm still a mom and it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

So to all mamas- whether your baby is in your belly, in your home or in your heart, Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Is This Your First?

Ugh. This question.

I cringe a little every time someone starts to ask about this pregnancy because it's only a matter of time before they ask 'Is this your first?'

I always want to say no. I always want to talk about Annalee and tell them about our daughter. At times I have, but that leads to more questions and those inevitably lead to me having to say that she is no longer with us which then leads to a lot of awkward 'I'm sorries,' and that all seems like a lot for the girl who's doing your nails to take in.

So now I say that this baby is my first and my heart breaks a little each time, but then I have a little private moment to myself and I think about Annalee, who will always be our first :)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Pregnancy After Loss

It is, in a word, terrifying. I think being pregnant again may be the hardest thing I've ever done. That's not to say that I'm not excited or happy, it's just no longer carefree.

When I was pregnant with Annalee, everything was so easy. I was that woman- the one who had a textbook pregnancy and loved every minute of it. I don't want to say that I was naive- I was aware of what could happen- I just never thought it would happen to me. This time around is completely different. Now I'm that woman. The one who worries about everything. In the early days, I was scared to sneeze. Every twinge, cramp and disappearing pregnancy symptom spelled disaster. I hate that the first place my mind goes now is tragedy. I'm only just coming around to the idea that this could really happen for us. In 7 weeks, we could actually be holding our healthy baby. Just when I get comfortable with that thought, this little one will grow or sleep and won't move for 20 minutes and I'm straight back into panic mode.

Of course it's natural to worry after a loss, but I think so much of my stress comes from not knowing what happened to Annalee. Whatever did happen also seemed to take place during the night, so now, it would seem I've trained my brain to wake up every couple of hours and not go back to sleep until I've felt the baby. This poor kid is constantly being poked and prodded until it gives me a little nudge to let me know it's okay.

Then there's the stress of the effects of my stress on the baby. It's a horrible cycle. All I can do is hope that there are enough happy and calm moments to make up for the ones that aren't.

Again, none of this means that I'm not excited. It's like I'm two different people. One is a grieving mom who is still so heartbroken and feels hopeless. The other is hopeful and optimistic and full of happy pregnancy hormones, eagerly waiting the arrival of her baby. And all day, every day, I just go back and forth.

Seven. More. Weeks.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Grief: 8 Months In

Grief is so confusing.

The social worker gave us a pamphlet about the stages of grief and I remember looking at it and thinking 'ok, just get through denial and then you can deal with guilt (and so on a so forth).'

Yeah, no.

Grief is not linear. You don't deal with it one stage at a time. We've gone from guilt to anger to disbelief, back to anger, to acceptance, back to guilt and around and around again. We've jumped ahead stages, taken ten steps back and skipped some of them entirely.

There are weeks now- instead of days- where we feel good. Those are the times I avoid writing here. Those are the times where I just don't want to deal with it. Sometimes it's easier to just keep my head down knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before the sadness hits. When it does, it usually lasts a few days. There are a lot of breakdowns before bed and a few at work.

As far as progress goes, I'd say I no longer feel anger. That one seemed to be short lived. However, I still go back and forth between the rest of them fairly often.

I think trying to rationalize grief or put some sort of process behind it is a bit pointless, if not counterproductive. It's a tricky bastard. The more you try to predict it, the faster it changes.  In our experience, you just feel what you feel and deal with it as it comes.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A Sibling for Annalee

We're so excited to be expecting again!

After having Annalee, before we even left the hospital, Eric and I both had to know how long we'd have to wait before trying for another baby. It was like we were overflowing with love and without Annalee, we needed somewhere to direct it. My doctor told us to give ourselves some time to heal emotionally (and me physically), but there was no reason we couldn't start trying again right away.

Neither one of us was willing to wait until we were emotionally healed- I'm not sure if that will ever happen. Because it took us a while to get pregnant with Annalee, we figured we'd start trying a few months later and it happened almost immediately! I couldn't believe it!

I remember sitting in Annalee's room and telling her that one day we'd like to have a brother or sister for her. It didn't mean we were moving on or replacing her- she had just brought us so much joy, that we couldn't fathom a life without a child. I asked her to help us out and give us her blessing when the time was right. There was a real element of guilt for me when I thought about having another baby. I wanted to make sure we took the time to honor Annalee, but when I got pregnant again so quickly, I knew that she was happy for us.

Our little girl and this little baby have helped us heal in ways I never thought possible.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

What Happened?

We received Annalee's final autopsy results in December and they confirmed what we already suspected- her death was unpreventable, but they don't know what happened. There really couldn't have been a good answer, but I think this is the answer we were hoping for. It confirms that there's nothing we could've done and it eases a bit of worry for future pregnancies; At the same time it makes it that much more confusing and unfair. I'd like to think that at some point we'll be at peace with the results, but I still find myself asking why? Why us? Why our healthy baby who we loved and wanted so much?

I'm not sure I'll ever stop trying to figure out what happened- however pointless it may be.