Thursday, 30 May 2013

Life without Lukas.

A couple of nights ago, Lukas appeared to me in a dream.
He looked exactly as how I remember him.
In my dream someone bought him back home, I open the front door and there he was.
My little bundle of joy wrapped up in a blanket, wearing the same clothes that he was buried in.
He wasn't moving or crying, but I was so happy that he was home.
I picked him up and the joy I felt of having him in my arms again was something I had never experienced before.
I was so happy.
I cuddled him and kissed his chubby cheeks but then I woke up and it was over.
I wanted to cry after that dream, but I didn't, I forced back the tears. I have been doing that a lot lately.
I don't know why. I guess I'm just trying to be strong.
I have moments out of nowhere ,where I just want to cry but I tell myself not to. I'm just trying to get by as normally as possible.
I'm confused, confused between feeling relieved that life has gained a little bit of normality with everyday things, but dreadful that this life after Lukas has passed is not the one we wanted.

Life has to go on...but without Lukas.

Every day is a mental struggle, I think of him 24 hours a day and even through work or a little bit of distraction, hes always there.
Its all I do now days. I'm not sure how long I'm suppose to feel like this.

Does it get easier?

Will I accept it one day?

 I don't know, for now all I want is him back. I want him to be part of our lives. I want to love him here on earth and not in heaven.

I don't like this life without Lukas. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Screaming from the inside

I feel like I'm screaming from the inside.
I want to run away to an isolated place and scream towards the skies.
I'm functioning from the outside but my brain is short circuiting from memories that are on repeat.
I rewind , I fast forward, I pause.

This process of wanting to know answers is tormenting me, why does it have to take so long? Why did my baby die? Can someone just please give me a dam answer!

I cant sleep, I cant think about anything else. I miss him so much.
These feelings are in-describable.
Its a sadness so painfully deep into my soul that a part of me feels like its dying. My heart is drenched in tears.

I look fine in other peoples eyes but inside I'm raging with uncertainty and fear. I don't feel strong, I feel like any day I could just collapse in my sorrows. I'm just surviving.
Surviving in a world that just keeps rotating.
Day after day, time just ticking away and I'm sitting here frozen as everything around me keeps going.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Pain

These last couple of days have been painful. I see pregnant mothers everywhere, it reminds me how happy I was when I had my baby boy still inside me. I would look at the mums walking around the mall with their babies, knowing that soon I could hold my own baby in my arms too, now I avoid looking at them. I know several mothers that will soon be able to take their healthy newborn babies home and it makes me feel so empty inside. I'm sad, I'm not jealous or angry, its an emptiness feeling. A feeling so empty that I will not be able to enjoy the pleasures of mothering a baby so innocent and precious, a baby that is healthy , a baby that is alive. At the same time I feel selfish and insensitive of the thoughts surrounding my grief like I should bottle all these emotions, that I should banish their existence.

My baby passed now its time to get over it.  Don't dwell on it. Don't be sad. Don't think why me? Don't drown in sorrow. Don't imagine what life could be like. 

But I am...

I'm not changing nappies or feeding him as much as my body yearns to nourish him.
I'm not dressing him or bathing him, I dressed him once and that was for his funeral.
I'm not waking up in the middle of the night to attend to him, I wake up because I'm over flooded with grief only wishing I could just hear him cry. 
I don't have friends coming to visit him to give him cuddles and kisses, I have to take them to where they can visit his grave.

I've had more then one person say to me - "at least you have a child"
Yes that is true. I do have a child and I am forever grateful that I have my daughter by my side. I will never forget the moment I gave birth to my beautiful daughter 10 years ago and the privilege I have of seeing her grow.
Yes I did all the beautiful mummy/baby things with her. Yes I did bring her home alive.
I love my daughter more then anything in this world, but all the happiness and love I have for her can not cover my grief. It can not replace the fact that I have lost my son, that she has lost her brother, a baby brother that she was looking forward to more than anything in her life.

It can not replace that fact the I have lost one of my children when I'm meant to have 2.

Life is so precious. Babies are precious. Never take time for granted. Enjoy every second, every breath, every cry and every kiss.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

So many ideas and one bad dream.

I've recently been so overwhelmed with so many ideas of how to keep Lukas's memory alive . I've had to tell myself to slow down, there's so many things I want to get done. My sister had an awesome idea to get silver heart shaped lockets for all the women in our family, I'm still in the process of getting them. Once I have them I plan to get them engraved with his name and place a photo inside them. It will be a way we can always treasure him and have him close to our hearts. I have photo albums that I need to do, I have photos that need framing to go along with his hand and foot prints. I need to get started on his memory box where I can have all his little treasures safely kept. I promised my son yesterday that I will get them all done.

I had a horrible dream last-night that everything in Lukas's room was packed away. His clothes, his cot, bassinet, changing table, toys, drawers...they were all gone. It was empty and I was furious. It didn't feel right. Its like he was to be forgotten and never remembered. His room is so special to me, every morning I take a moment in there to admire all his things. It may sound silly, but I feel closer to him in there, possibly because he was there before we had to say our last goodbye. I can still smell him sometimes, I don't know if its just me going crazy but I can. I feel sad when I'm in there but I also feel happy because I know he was real, and even though hes not at home physically he will always be home in our hearts.

These are a few treasures I have displayed in his room. The bookmark was designed by Anjelina my daughter and they were given out at his funeral service. The blue little bunny was from his grandma, the stone says "A little life, not a little loss". It was in the Sands pack that we received at the hospital along with the red candle and other things. Sands is a beautiful non-profit organisation here in New Zealand for bereaved parents of baby loss. They are great and their support packs are wonderful, and I have kept everything because it came in such a sensitive and traumatic time that I appreciated it so much. The blue candle was lit during his stay at home.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Time standing still

It's been 5 weeks today since Lukas came into our lives outside of my womb and left too soon. For every month, week and day that passes there isn't a moment where I don't think of him. It feels like time is standing still yet it go's by so quickly. These last few days have been difficult, nights have been restless. There are so many questions. We are still to hear back from the coroner, all I know at this point is there will be a meeting coming up sometime in July with the medical team that cared for him along with the coroner. I want to know answers but I'm also dreading that day.
Why would my perfect baby just be so cruelly snatched from us? Why would he be taken away from a life where we would love him more then anything? Perinatal asphyxia due to unknown reasons: that's what the autopsy says. But why? Why did he find it hard to breath once he was cut from the umbilical cord? Could something have been picked up from the scan? Why did this happen to us? Why??? Did the docters do everything they could? What if we had left him on the machines for a little longer? Was there a chance that he could of picked up? So many questions and no answers.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Back to "normality"

I go back to work today. I'm slowly letting myself get back into routine. I'm picking up a few shifts to ease my self into it. I'm dreading the residents asking me about my baby as most of them wouldn't know what happened. I feel saddened with the fact that what I was waiting for is not here and the change we were so desperately waiting for is not the one we wanted. I feel like I should be home changing his nappies, feeding him, hearing him giggle, playing with him, teaching him, holding him, hearing him breathe and watching him sleep. But I'm not doing any of that.

It doesn't feel right. My life feels incomplete. But life has to eventually go back to normality.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mother's Day

Its been 4 weeks exactly since my little Lukas flew away on the early hours of a Sunday morning. I remember waddling over to the room at roughly 2:30 am to see how we was doing. I opened the door, the nurse looked at me straight away and said "great timing"  she was just about to get me and my partner because things were not progressing well. I remember the tone of her voice when she said it, as if she knew exactly what was going to happen. She told me to be back as soon as possible. I felt dead, my instinct was telling me this was not good, the walk back to the parents room felt like a million miles, my voice shattered with fear as I told my hubby what the nurse had just told me. He cursed. He got up. He looked as weak and tired as I was. We walked back to the room holding hands...

That's the memory I woke up to this morning.

My daughter ran into my room this morning excited to get started in making me breakfast in bed. She was so proud that she had learnt how to make french toast that she couldn't wait to make me some for my annual mothers day breakfast in bed. Shes 10 years old, my baby, my girl, she still gives me kisses and hugs constantly and I love it.
She walks in with a breakfast tray, a large hot coffee in my favorite mug and her proudly made french toasts, a card, a box of chocolates and a little heart shaped crystal in a silver gift box. I tell her breakfast looks amazing and I open up my mothers day card. It reads To Mummy from Lukas and Anjelina. I can feel my eyes tearing up. I continue to read. Dear mum, you are the best mum in the world. I love you mum and thanks for everything you do for me, I love you mum. Anjelina. Dear mummy, I love you and I miss you too. I wish I could be here right now with my family. You will be in my hearts forever, Happy mothers day,Lukas. She had written a message on behalf of her baby brother which just blew me away, it was heartbreaking, it was beautiful. I truly believe they have a in-explainable bond. What makes me feel happy is that she acknowledges that she still is a big sister. I told her I loved the card and that I love her more then anything, We snuggled up in bed eating chocolates until late morning.

We went to see Lukas in the afternoon, The day was perfect ,warm and bright with not a cloud in the baby blue sky. We stopped to get flowers and a brand new windmill. The drive to the cemetery is always a quiet one, its a drive of sad memories as I recall the day of the service. Lukas was in his tiny white coffin in the back seat with his big sister looking after him, her eyes not for a moment drifting away from him.

We placed his new flowers and windmill for him, rearranged and tidied up his little spot. We step back to admire him and remember him. We leave... but I don't want to. I want to stay. I cry all the way home, I feel grateful that I have a beautiful child next to me with unconditional love towards me but I'm devastated that I cant have my son next to me too. I want both my children in my arms. I want to have mornings snuggled up with both of them, I want kisses and hugs from both of them, I want trips to the park not the cemetery in perfect weather with both of them, I want to be able to tell them both everyday that I love them more then anything, I want to see both of their smiles, both of them play, both of them grow.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Lukas's Story

Our baby boy was born full-term at 39 weeks and 5 days. The following story is what I remember of those 26 hours that Lukas was alive. Since writing this story in May 2013 we have been given a diagnosis of Lukas's cause of death. Lukas suffered from prolonged birth asphyxia due to a diagnosis of a "spontaneous"and critical condition of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (pphn), regarding I did not fall into any of the risk factors the true cause is "unknown"  we will never know exactly what happened or why . He weighed 4.270 kgs and measured 53.4 cm.

The beginning: 9 months of beauty

The moment I found out I was pregnant again (after a early miscarriage) I was in so much joy. I knew this pregnancy was going to be special. I couldn't wait to start showing my bump because it was something I was so proud of. I felt so comfortable being pregnant and during those 9 months of beauty I took as many photos of my growing belly as I could. I loved the sensation of my baby kicking and tumbling around inside me , I loved how my hubby, daughter and I were creating a bond with this little boy straight from the start. They would place their hands on my belly as we watched TV. Justin would always be surprised with every kick and say "that's my boy". My hubby couldn't wait to have a son, my daughter couldn't wait to finally be a sister, I couldn't wait to be a mum to a boy.
I had a completely healthy pregnancy with no complications, concerns or complaints! I never had morning sickness, my pregnancy was amazingly perfect.  Lukas was a healthy strong little boy for 9 months which is why the outcome minutes after his birth were so tragic, devastating, confusing and just cruel.

The labor and birth : A perfect moment

I started having contractions the night before Lukas was born. I remember sitting on the couch watching TV at about 10 pm when I started to feel very minor cramps. I went to bed and had a rather restless night as little contractions kept waking me up. At about 5 am I noticed that I had a show, I eagerly told Justin that I was pretty sure our baby was coming by tonight. We were so excited. My daughter got up as usual to get ready for school and we shared the news with her, her face just shone with happiness, she wanted to stay home but we sent her to school like any other day as I knew we were still a long way to go.  I made a phone call to my mother to tell her that baby was on the way, and as we had arranged months prior she took the first plane from Auckland and arrived by lunchtime. The waiting game started, by 10 pm that night contractions were getting stronger and so it was time to drive up to the hospital. We all hopped in the car, Anjelina and mum were coming too as I wanted them present at the birth as well. My midwife didn't quite believe me that I was in labor at first because of the irregularity of my contractions, she said it was possibly just a urine infection but who's better to know when your in labor then yourself, to her surprise I was already 6 cm dilated.  She broke my waters to get things rolling and after another 2 hours of a very smooth and controlled labor with nothing but gas, Lukas had finally arrived at 1:05 am, 13th April on a Saturday morning.
I heard his feisty cry and the moment I saw him and lifted him up to my chest I fell in love in an instant. He grizzled and talked, he was very vocal, his eyes were wide open, he was perfect and beautiful. I was completely over the moon that he had finally arrived. Justin and Anjelina were admiring him by my bedside, Anjelina was overwhelmed in tears of joy and love. I rocked him in my arms against my chest and told him he was alright and that mummy's here, I looked into his big brown eyes and I kissed his forehead. As I held him in my arms the umbilical cord was cut. Little did I know this perfect moment was soon to end, it would be the first and last time I see his beautiful eyes open, the first and last time I hear him, the first and last time I touch his warm skin against mine.

The Shock : "We have a flat baby"

The midwife was rubbing him with heated towels. She kept rubbing and rubbing  Suddenly she took him off my arms and placed him on the baby table , she gave him gas, she pushed the emergency button. A herd of docters and nurses came rushing in, I laid there all exposed, legs open, bleeding, exhausted, in shock and confused as to what was happening. It felt like complete chaos.  I look over to my left and all I see is a blue baby. My mum and daughter are told to leave the room.The nurses kept reassuring me that "he was going to be OK , I didn't respond.  A docter yells out "we have a flat baby" he grabs him and runs out. I'm left lying there, wondering what in earth is happening. I don't remember much from here as its a blur, I think I was in denial as to what was happening or maybe it was just complete shock. The midwife comes back to check me, she's worried about some fluid I'm leaking, the docter checks it, stitches me up and it turns out nothing to be worried about, I get up, I don't know where Justin is at this point, I have a shower, I feel dizzy and sick. I get changed, the midwife tells me Lukas needs to be transferred to Hamilton where they have a more equipped neonatal intensive care unit. Mum and Anjelina have to go home so Justin drops them off. I tell my daughter that everything was alright and that we will see her soon.  I'm left alone in the room for what felt like hours. I get up and walk over to the other unit where Lukas was. He doesn't look well, his skin is a blue tint and hes hooked up to wires and tubes and a ventilator, hes so cold. The pediatrician gives me what sounds like a speech, I don't understand any of it. I start feeling like I'm drifting away, her voice sounds like its miles away, I feel ill. I start swaying and tell her I think I'm going to pass out. She gets me a chair and a drink. I come back, she tells me a special team from Waikato are travelling here by helicopter to transfer him, I ask if I can be with him, she says no because there would be too much weight on-board. The team arrives, they seem too patient and oblivious to how I was feeling inside, I wanted them to fix him right there and now, they talk among themselves, all I could do was watch. Justin comes back, the nurses tell us it would be a good idea to start making our way to Waikato, I kissed my little baby, and touched his hand, he grasps my finger which would be the first and last time I feel his grip, I took some photos and told him I'll see him soon. Justin packed my bags and only 2 hours after giving birth to Lukas, I walked to the car park and we made our 2 hour drive to the hospital . It was a foggy and gloomy night, I fall asleep....

The next 24 hours: Joy, Hope and Loss

We arrive at the hospital. We make out way to the NICU ward. They had just arrived a couple of minutes before us. We see Lukas and he's looking much better already. The docter gives us an update, he's unsure to what might be causing him not to circulate enough oxygen around his tiny body, it could be his lungs, it could be his heart. We don't know. I want to touch him, but we cant stimulate him too much as hes so sensitive, I touch his hand and there's no grip this time. They have had to paralyze him so he doesn't fight against the ventilator. I remember the docter telling me that I needed as much rest as possible because in a couple of days my milk would come through and he would need feeding, that never happened. I feel sick again, I need to sit down. Everything is such a blur again. We leave the room and spend the next couple of hours just pacing around the corridors  We start making a few phone calls to family and friends. It all seems like a nightmare, and I desperately want to wake up. The team keep updating us about his progress but I don't understand anything. All I see is them poking him with needles and giving him drug after drug. By this time I don't know how we were even standing, I was past the point of exhaustion that I was just running on adrenalin, fear and hope. Sometime in the afternoon, one of the nurses tell me that he isn't doing too good. We rush into see him, it looked like he was having a seizure or was it just the ventilator at full blast? The docter says, "I'm afraid we might loose him" and asks us if we want a Chaplin to come in. I don't hesitate , I was willing to hold onto any hope. Lukas's heart stops, the team are working on him doing CPR,  I break down in tears and shock. I stand behind Justin's shoulder and I silently start praying. I tell God please to not take my baby away and that I would do anything to keep him alive. The Chaplin arrives, he starts talking to us amongst everything that is happening, it was strange but a rather comforting distraction. he asks us if we would like Lukas to be baptized, I say yes. The docters have managed to bring Lukas back. We are relieved, the chaplain then baptizes him with sterilized water and says a short prayer, he tells us we did a good thing. He then wishes us the best and leaves. Me and Justin stand over Lukas, hes so beautiful. The next couple of hours his sats are up and down, for awhile they are steady and even reach 100. We get a few visitors that day. Mum and Anjelina travel up with family friends. They don't stay for long, I ask mum if she would like to see Lukas but they were working on him and putting even more intravenous's. She could only see him from the door. I don't want Anjelina to see him.  After an hour or so they leave. The evening arrives and he seems reasonably stable according to the sats, but then there is another problem. Hes bleeding too much from the intravenous needles and his blood isn't clotting, they tell us he needs plasma which then means more pricking and poking his fragile body. We retire to our room for an early night. We go to bed hopeful that in the morning everything will be ok. We fall asleep, I get up at about 2 am, I'm so achy and I need a shower. I then tell Justin I'm just going down to see how Lukas is doing. The docter says "good timing" as soon as I walked into the door. She was just about to get us...Lukas is not well. I walk back to our room, it seems miles away. My heart is shaking, I'm shaking. I tell Justin what the nurse just told me. My voice is filled with fear. He gets up, he curses, we walk down to his room together holding hands.

An Angle is Born

Over night Lukas deteriorated a lot. His sats were so low. The nurse tells me it would be a good time to start spending the last couple of minutes with him in my arms. She says his organs are shutting down and his brain activity is nil. It was only the machines keeping him alive. I'm devastated but I'm ready to hold my baby, Justin hesitates and gives Lukas another a minute or 2 while standing over him. I can see his eyes holding onto every last hope. The nurse says in a quiet voice "hes dying". Shes asks me if I want to hold him, I don't hesitate and say yes. She gets a heated blanket to place him on my lap, her and another nurse start pulling out all the tubes, they leave the morphine till last. I look at him with my heart open and take in every second into my soul with nothing but pure love. I cant believe how perfect he is, his hands, fingers and toes are perfection. He's long, a perfect sized baby. I start crying a never ending river of tears, my tears roll down and land on his beautiful face. I tell Justin to take a photo because I want a picture of this moment. All the tubes and drugs were off his body by this point. I tell Lukas that "mummy loves him" and I kiss his little forehead. The docter puts her stethoscope to his chest, and says "There is no heart beat". Justin starts crying and tells me he's gone, he repeatedly says hes sorry, my voice is frozen. The nurses leave to give us a moment with Lukas. I hold Lukas in my arms, I rock him. I say nothing, I only look at him. The nurse comes back and talks to us about a postmortem. We agree to it, they clean him up and place him in a baby bed, I wrap him up nicely in a blanket, we then walk back to the room with Lukas. The nurse gives us a hug and lets out a sob, she tells us shes so sorry. We are informed that the police will be visiting us as its the process in cases of unknown cause of death. We make phone calls to let everyone know. We wait hours for the police to arrive. I'm nervous. During the time we are waiting, I went through what seemed endless emotions. I went silent, I went into denial, I was sad, I wanted to run away, at one point I couldn't even look at him. Justin was going through similar moments. We embraced each other and we told each other to be strong and that no matter what, we were going to get through this together. Two policemen and a policewoman arrive in uniform, it seems so unnecessary but its protocol. A nurse is present the whole time to answer any questions, they ask to look at his body for any trauma, he has a few bruises and stitches from attempted intravenous's but that's it, hes perfect. They are as confused as us as to why this happened to "our good looking man" as the Sergeant called him. We walk to the morgue, even the word sends shivers down my spine. It seemed so far away, we get there, I cant believe any of this is happening. I'm meant to be taking my baby home, not dropping him off at the morgue. We get there, we stop at the entrance and I sob again, they roll him in....
We are then told to give a statement of the events that happened, Justin does most of the talking as I am unable to think,the police tell us they are sorry and leave. We go back to the room, pack our things and head off home without Lukas.

Click here for Part 2 : Saying Goodbye

Intro: Raw words

I have always been a writer. I have diaries, poems and letters of when I was just a child enraged with teenage hormones. I have them stored in a box in my closet like embarrassing distant memories. I look at them every now and then and take the time to read my pain, my love, my anger and my dreams of a yet to be woman, and as much as I was feeling serious at the time they were written, they are nothing but humorous to me now. I've decided to write down my journey on this sad and hard road called Grief that I'm currently travelling on for that reason , not that I will find it funny 10 years from now, but to look back at the memories through my words. Words that are written down at such a raw and emotional time can be so powerful and magically capture the true essence of feelings at the time. Writing has helped me in many different situations, it has helped me through the ups and downs of life..and I can can see no better way to ease my pain of this devastating experience that I have recently gone through and the effects that I am going through and that I will forever go through.