Won an eBay auction
It was a pick up item
I meet the woman
We talk about our children.
I mention Avery
She tells me she had a stillborn girl
Who would almost be 4
Our SIDS and kids counsellors were the same
I cooed over photos of her two babies
Made her cry
And then i asked this stranger if I could give her a hug
And she said yes please
So two strangers embraced
Feeling blessed in the way the universe works.
Another Touch of Avery Magic
Won an eBay auction
There has been a lot going on. So much so that something has had to give, and unfortunately this blog has been the one to suffer.
Not everything has been going well with Caelan and it has been distressing. Very distressing.
When Avery died, one thing I grieved so much about was our breastfeeding relationship. I’d loved what I had with Tara and longed so much to have had that with Avery. Then to take the lactation suppression tablets made me break that little bit more.
So when pregnant with Caelan I imagined feeding him, and in some ways connecting and feeding Avery too. I looked forward to it so much and could not wait for skin to skin and breastfeeding to start in theatre.
But this relationship has been rocky and bumpy and I’ve needed an army style 4wd to navigate the path.
As it stands tonight, my milk has not remained full enough in my breasts to be the lone nourishment for him. It kills me to even admit it. I have worked hard to get attachment working, milk production boosted, but due to his needs I started comp feeds. I could have looked at donation, but for various reasons did not. I resolved to feed him as was needed… 10 minutes breast, 10 minutes other breast and then a full quota of formula.
But this week he only gained 40 grams and the concerns are high again. Added to the fact that at 9 weeks he is not smiling.
I have done everything asked and tonight I am staring the barrel of a formula tin to feed him on formula as his source of food, and breast for comfort after feeds. It is the furthest from what I want, but I’m doing it. I’m doing everything asked of me. And it just does not feel enough. I wonder if they think I am just not doing what they say. Or that I might be just breastfeeding him only and not formula feeding at all.
I have spent the last 2 hours hysterically crying. But I am not depressed. I am sad. Very very sad. But depression and sadness are not the same and I know the difference. My anxiety is slightly higher, but depression is not there. My psychiatrist agrees.
However sadness is. Grief over losing yet another part of my parenting journey. Sadness over missing out on this relationship with Avery and Caelan. Shame in my body letting me down again. Is it hormones? Is it what I am eating? Is it his suck? Is it diet? Something else all together?
Sadness is overwhelming. But it is not all encompassing. And there is a difference. And I am focussing on that difference.
I can smile. He brings me joy. Tara is amazing and resilient, and we are getting there.
In hindsight this will just be a speed bump, but right now, this is my Everest.
I know I know… the blog has been neglected. I’m sorry. For you and for me, because so many things have been happening, and I have just not been recording them.
Life has been more than a little bit crazy the last few months.
Hospital, Traveling, Hospital, Doctors, Hospital, Baby, Home, Hospital, Drs, Nurses, Hospital, Home. Holidays, Drs, Drs, Drs, Home…. I am sure there is more in there, but my mind is too much mush to actually remember.
It has not been smooth sailing since Caelan arrived. In fact, it has been an ocean of treacherous waves knocking us all about. The waves are still rocking, but I see calm waters ahead. I just have to hope the boat is sailing forward, rather than drifting back.
Caelan had issues with jaundice after we left hospital, and apparently had issues with breastfeeding that I did not pick up soon enough, and very quickly things deteriorated. High jaundice levels, no milk, and a lethargic baby saw us end up being admitted to RNSH paediatric department for an 8 day stay. We thought everything was on the up and up, until a week later I saw a dr for a weigh in with Caelan only to find that he was back to birth weight again.
He was 5 weeks old at this point. As you can imagine, this was devastating. I had been working hard on the breastfeeding – taking motillium, and expressing, and topping up, and feeding more, but it was just not happening. So, we started on formula top ups. I’d been doing everything I could, but it was just not working. I just cannot explain the pain I was in emotionally. I actually think I have just blacked it out right now, as I cannot even confront the fact I am on this path. Breastfeeding, a many of you know, is so so important to me. I fought so hard in hospital during our stay to have only breastmilk pass his lips, and we saw weight gains – that suddenly fell when he was fed from the breast only. And when his weight dropped back down to his birth weight, I had to swallow hard and reach for a tin.
My aim is still to have him back on the breast 100% over the next couple of months. I am still on motillium, I am expressing, and feeding, and topping up with formula. He is drinking more from the breast now that he has been and I am remaining hopeful.
Seeing your baby waste away in your arms is shattering though, and I knew something had to be done. I know I can feed a baby – I fed Tara until she was over 2… but there is just something not working right when Caelan is on the breast, and I was struggling to do EBM only. My brain was not coping.
I know I will get there, I know Caelan will get there, but it is hard.
I have booked in to see the Paediatrician next week, as well GPs and my Psych as well. It’s tough. Life is crazy.
On our final day in hospital a little Avery Magic came floating into our room.
Her name is Natalie. She held my hand when Avery was born. For 21 months I thought about her and ‘Scottish Claire’ and what they did for me that day. Hospital midwives who were with me. I’ve wanted to see them both, to hug them and say ‘I’m ok’. But it’s hard to make contact without feeling like a stalker, or mentally unstable, or just needy…
Besides, would either of them remember me? Remember what we went through? Or is it just a one sided memory?
While waiting in post natal ward I asked about them both, only to find Claire had just left the week before on Maternity leave, expecting twins!
But I found out Natalie was still around, and on my very last day she just happened to come into work half hour early… And my lift home was running late. Finally our paths crossed.
She walked into my room and together we birth burst into tears, embracing each other in a big blubbering hug, tight, firm, full if joy and heartbreak. Remembering Avery, celebrating Caelan. 21 months had gone, but we were instantly back in time.
She met and held Caelan, as she did my first born, Avery. She once again became part of our story.
No wonder she is part of my heart. A blessing in blue scrubs, who held me once again.
A baby has been born!
Sorry I’ve been silent, but I’ve been baby gazing!
Here are the important stats!
Caelan James Charles Tatton
45.5 cm length
33.6 cm head circumference
APGARS 9 and 9
I’ll add more info soon!
I have been dreading this letter. I knew I would have to write it, but it breaks me on so many levels.
Soon, very soon, you will become a big brother. A brother who will never be here in family photos of all of us together. A brother who will never play with their younger sibling. A middle child who will never be caught in the middle.
I am on the final count down of this pregnancy. Time is both moving too fast and too slow. I am lost in worlds of anguish and excitement, anxiety and joy. I am thinking about you, and at the same time, pushing you so far from my mind that I do not have to confront the reality that time has moved forward from you.
I cry lots. And yet, considering what is going on, I don’t cry much at all. I cry at all the doctor appointments. I cry when I miss counselling appointments. I cry at the psychiatrist appointments. I cry sitting on the couch. But they are perhaps once daily. Once every couple of days even. Not all encompassing. When those moments are past, they are gone. I might feel a bit numb, but I don’t dwell on them. I can’t.
I am not even that scared of the caesarean. I know what to expect. I know how it will go down. I will be ready and prepared, and I know you will be in that room – in spirit and in memory. It will, afterall, be the same room you were born into. You will breathe live and love and emotion into that room…
And a powerful cry. Please make there be a powerful cry.
I do not fear that wee babe will not make it. I know the Fawn will be ok. But there is that small doubt that crawls into the deepest recesses.
And Tara. You need to just surround her in warmth. Because she needs it right now. She needs me, and her daddy and her little brother as the new sibling comes forward. It will be so tough for all of us, but part of me thinks that it may be hardest for her. She is still so little. With a big heart, and big-people knowledge, and big-people fears. She battles so hard to hide all of that. And sometimes it just spills out.
We are packed. My bags, baby bags, all the “stuff”. Except your photo. I need to have that with me. I need to choose one and have it in the room with me. You need to be with us in vision as well as memory. I need to see you. Compare your baby photo with the FawnBaby. Compare Tara AND you with FawnBaby. To see all of my children in the same room.
This is so hard. But we can do it. I know you will guide us. Your magic is everywhere. Your spirit strong.
And you will hold me as I take a giant leap of faith into parenting the youngest one of our family. With a world of love by our side.
Not long now.
Not long now.
(No… not tomorrow!)
I wrote recently about the anxiety attack Tara had when we had our photo shoot with the wonderful Adam from Cavanagh Photography. This photo session was organised by a lovely friend of mine from online. I felt so blessed that Natalie, Adam and Kim wanted to offer such a sweet gift to my family, to honour our up and coming child, this time before… the time after Avery… these moments.
Adam was so warm and friendly when we met. I had spent my time messaging with his wife, Kim, previously, but when I drove into the park, there was Adam waving us along. It was a HOT day. Humid and crazy. Tara and I had just been in the car for the last two hours and were a little frazzled. I needed to get changed. I needed to do my make up. I needed to get Tara organised. I needed to fix my hair. The fact that this took some time never once flustered Adam (even if it flustered me!). He just organised his gear and waited for me to get ready.
At one point I sat down on a kerb to do my make up, slipped and fell backwards into the garden bed. And was promptly stuck. Like a turtle on her back. I tried to get up, but I was lodged. And like all good photographers, Adam laughed first, and helped me second. I would have done the same! And all the ice was broken.
Once we were ready we headed off across a bridge to an island for some photo taking. Tara was excited, I was hot, and Adam was enamoured by Tara’s antics. We were in for some fun.
For the next hour and a bit we played in long grass, avoided stinging nettles, and laughed far too much. Tara’s anxiety was fairly easy to managed through this part, though, you can see in some of the photos the pupils dilating and the eyes getting bigger and bigger. Her face becomes more harsh in comparison to the first photo and you can see how much her body is in hyper vigilant mode.
Adam made it so easy to play for the camera, and we just had fun. Tara made Adam laugh the more she played up, which made it easy to smile throughout the photos.
Eventually we changed locations and headed to the beach. 5 metres of fabric, me in my underwear and a gusty coastline provided some great photos. Tara was busy collecting 2 million tiny shells to really pay attention to what was going on – that was until the powder paint was brought out.
Oh my! So much fun. We covered each other in the fine powder over and over and over again. By the end of it we looked like green zombies as the sea spray fastened the paint to our skin. It really was a fun way to finish off our afternoon.
We slowly climbed the stairs back to the cars, Tara running ahead, and Adam and I talking about photographers, Heartfelt, Avery and anxiety with Tara. I waddled, Adam walked and Tara ran all the way back.
We said our goodbyes, I offered a Adam a painted powdery hug, but he wisely declined! And we were off…
So… for your viewing pleasure, let me present the first of a collection of photos from our wonderful shoot.
So, this baby is going to be here soon. One way ore another, it is going to be here and we will be taking the next steps as a family. I have lots of people who say things like “this will be perfect” or “you’ll have a happy ending” but the truth is, while yes, the likelihood is that everything will be perfect, there is still that chance, that underlying fear that of course something will go wrong.
I feel my anxiety rising. It’s simmering under the surface and is starting to simmer over. My heart palpitations are back, after being absent for some time. Tears spring freely at the drop of a hat, and headaches are coming more often than not. It is hard.
Yesterday the Divine Miss T and I headed up to the Central Coast for a Maternity photoshoot with Adam from Cavanagh Photography. A dear friend organised it for me and we decided that it would be a great way for Tara and I to have some time together before this baby comes. Time to reflect, to be together, to share something super special.
While I’ll do a proper post about the shoot another time (when the photos come!), what was evident as the day progressed was that, while she has made great progress in the last 6 months, her anxiety is like mine – simmering under the surface. As the session with Adam progressed, Tara’s anxiety got higher and higher. While we had talked about this day a long time in advance, and prepped her for it, I did not think hard enough about what I was asking her to do… Pay a lot of attention to belly babe, and have photos with Avery’s case. To be present with both of her siblings, and focus on the bump.
To Adam, Tara was just a 7 year old girl playing for the camera, but to me I could see her spiralling. It started with the bouncing. She starts bouncing on her toes and gets a little hyperactive. Slowly she started not listening, or doing her own thing. She started pulling faces for the camera, not following any direction, or doing the complete opposite. Then she started with eye contact avoidance – refusing to look properly at us, or the exact opposite – staring so intently her eyes look like they are going to pop.
It got more serious when she started not listening on a bridge, running around. Her view of danger started to pervert. She did not understand that there was any sort of risk at all. Her voice was high pitched and crazy.
We moved locations, and headed to a beach. A beautiful white sandy beach. Tara was absolutely excited to go there, and play with paint, but when we got there, she got more and more unhinged. Her ears shut off completely and she started to not hear anything at all. She waned with her desire to be in the photos and I stopped asking.
We played with the paint and she loved it and she calmed down a little – and then we headed to the water. And she went crazy, trying to run into the scary waves and get wetter and wetter. She had no concept of the danger and how severe the water was. I was pulling her away, and she was trying to run and dive towards the waves. I refused to let her go and all she did was run run run to the water. She could no longer hear me saying that the waves were dangerous and we needed to get out. She was oblivious to everything. And it scared me.
Eventually we got back to the car and said our goodbyes to Adam and headed back to my sister’s house. In the car Tara started to calm and the anxiety crash started to set in. Her language was fast and furious, her demands hard, but her exhaustion was stronger. In the end she started making up songs about Avery before lamenting over what we have lost as a family, and what she does not have with her 19 month old brother. And suddenly the hysterical tears hit and sobbing overwhelmed us both. The burnout wiping her out.
Massive cuddles and lots of talking she calmed down. We had a shower together (we were covered in paint!), and reconnected. Talking, hugging and listening to one another. She ate her body weight in pasta and we crawled into bed together where she was still restless. Eventually her body betrayed her mouth and she finally fell into the deepest of sleeps.
And I breathed deeply, hugged her tightly and whispered into her ear that I love her. Over and over again… while my heart palpitated and my breath hastened… and I tried to quell my own simmering anxiety… just below the surface
Every time I use my phone, his face is there. Snuggled against my chest, nestled next to my heart. I look at the photo and feel many blessings. And utter sadness.
And now… now my thoughts start wandering to what is coming.
The welcoming of a new wee babe into our family unit. A baby who will be Tara and Avery’s baby sister or brother. Their sibling. A piece of them as much as a piece of us as parents.
Except, we will never, ever have a full family portrait. I will never get photos of my three children together. And it breaks my heart in ways I never thought the idea of a photo would.
For 18 months this photo has been everything to me. My children. Avery and Tara.
And now… where do my thoughts roam? Where does this baby fit into this photo? It does not. And I will have photos of Tara and this baby… but Avery will always be missing - never to be a part of the new images.
The thought breaks my heart over and over again… To a point, I cannot actually think about it. I cannot actually let my mind go there because it is far too painful. It is a physical pain that aches through my heart and makes my uterus cramp with a ferocity that takes my breath.
Will my love for this new babe want me to add their photo to the welcome screen of the phone? Will I feel like I am betraying Avery by doing so? Will there ever come a wave of peace with moving on?
How will my heart expand with the love of this new babe, while still honouring and missing Avery?
There are no answers. Just more tears. Just more confusion.