Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tears, and could it be, some hope?

Yesterday was hard.

Dave and I went to Edinburgh to find a new suit for him because he didn't feel that the suits he had would be suitable for Isla's funeral. I wanted to get a couple of things to wear in Montreal because it is actually summer there now. I also wanted to get something for my BFF's unborn baby and 3 year old daughter.

This is where things went wrong.

After a nice lunch in a character hotel, we went to a baby clothes shop. I was focused on getting something I saw months ago for this baby. Dave freaked out. We left. Then I freaked out. Then we saw a pregnant woman. We made it to the top of the street before I started crying. I cried because I would not buy cute little things for Isla and because my bump was gone. Ugh. It hurt. My heart hurt.

We finished what we needed to do and got the fuck out of Edinburgh. When we got back to the town we live in, which as provided us with a space to actually mourn in, I was exhausted. Since my body is more or less back to normal (which pisses me off. My stomach is soft and flat. My engorged breasts have settled down and are soft again. Looking at me, you would never have known I was pregnant last week), it makes it hard to remember I gave birth last week. I was tired. After receiving an offer to talk from my MIL's co-worker who went through a similar thing last year and who has just given birth, then my MIL telling me everything will be alright and we'll be happy again, I lost my shit. Like, boo hoo on the steps. Dave took me to bed and I cried and cried and cried. I miss my daughter. I'm tired. Life will never be the same.

So we slept. Sleeping helps a lot.

When we woke up, I knew we'd have to make a decision. That night there was to be a meeting for bereaved parents organized by a group named SANDS. They support parents who have lost children through stillbirth and neonatal deaths. On the one hand, we just lost Isla and maybe it was too soon to go to this. But on the other hand, talking to others who have gone through what we have might helps us to learn how to cope with the trauma and learn how we can live and be happy again even with broken hearts.

After thinking about it, I knew we wanted to go. So we went. And it was brilliant. Everyone was so helpful and kind. They could not believe that we were there after we had just lost Isla last week. They called us brave and strong. I don't know if I believe that yet. I just know talking about it helps me cope and cry and relieve stress.

We talked and listened for over 2 hours. I would definitely go again. I borrowed a book I had coveted in their library and I'll read it after I read this one. I need to read and listen to stories, particularly positive ones. They help me. I want to be positive again. I want to be happy again. I want to mourn Isla properly and cry and grieve and despair for her, but one day, think about the beautiful baby I had the pleasure and honour of carrying her for nearly six months. Yes, I want to get there.

Dave's beautiful sisters are in town and they'll be coming to the funeral with us. I'm so happy they're here. They bring levity to this house of mourning. The only thing is that right now, I'm not great with the effortless banter they all have. My thoughts are always so far away. But it's nice talking to them. I'm so looking forward to seeing my family and friends next week. I need them now more than ever.

It's my darling's birthday today. I told him next year's will be better. I sincerely hope it will be.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

I was just thinking...

No one knows what to say. And they say things like "I can't find the words" or "no words are enough". But you know what? The fact they took the time to say that and just convey how sorry they are means the world to me. I know it's hard but I'm truly touched by how our friends and family, and even the midwives and doctors have rallied around Dave and I. Even people who read this blog, whom I've never even met have reached out and it touches my heart. The perfect words would be great, but the simple act of sending an email or calling long distance just to check up on us has meant the world. Thank you.

After reading Lara's blog yesterday, I realized that I'll always be the mother of a child that died. Even if I have 10 more children, my first one will be the one that died. And that killed me. And after I thought abut it a bit more, I felt like I'm now a member of a club that has so many members, yet we're afraid to talk freely in public because what happened to us is so sad. And that's tragic. It's a club I'd rather not be a part of but I am and I have to find a way to reconcile that. Then I felt shit thinking about that because I stopped thinking about Isla, who will never be all the things we envisioned for her. Her life has ended. Ours can still go on if we want it to. I need to properly mourn my little girl.

I will be going home next week due to the generous offer to bring me home from my BFF Dal and at the insistence of Dave and the whole world. I know I'll need this time to be around my closest and dearest. Dave is worried about me. The last two days have been the darkest yet. He wants me to go to recuperate and because he feels like I've been needing to go for a long time. He thinks that when I return home to him, we should start working on getting our life back. I've lost all faith, but deep down, I know he's right. Last night I told him I only get out of bed for him now. He said that I've always been the reason for him getting up in the morning and until recently, he had two. That made me cry. I hope that one day I'll be able to get up and be thankful for all that I have again. One day.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Sakura means cherry blossom in Japanese. Every year in Japan, the Japanese make a huge deal of viewing cherry blossoms and appreciating their short yet uplifting beauty. I was happy to see upon moving to the UK, that there are plenty of cherry blossom trees around which makes me feel close to a time in my life when I was quite happy.

Isla was born and died at the end of cherry blossom season here in the east of Scotland. We hadn't figured out an appropriate middle name for her but having found the place where she'll be forever remembered, and realizing that there were cherry blossom and plum blossom trees around, we should have given her the middle name of Sakura. From when she was conceived to when she was born, she gave us so much joy and beauty. For over 5 months, we dreamed of her, talked to her, hoped for her and loved her. We met her briefly and we appreciated our time with her, much like the Japanese do with their beloved cherry blossom trees. Every year, when the blossoms come out, we'll celebrate her birthday and our love for her. Our Isla Sakura.

Monday, 24 May 2010


On Friday, May 14th, I was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pains that had started on Monday, got better and returned on Thursday afternoon. Dave and I were concerned and we were hoping to get an explanation and a plan to get better and to just go home and recuperate.

This was not to happen.

Upon examination by two doctors, I was told that I was dilated to 2cms and that my amniotic sac was visible. The doctor said that a miscarriage was likely and that nothing could be done to stop it. We cried in disbelief. How was this possible? Here I was, more than halfway through my second trimester and I was in danger of losing our baby. I didn't believe it. I couldn't. I imagined weeks of bedrest and emerging triumphant around the 38 week mark with a healthy baby.

This was not to happen.

Over the weekend, my pain subsided that gradually got worse. For 5 months, I avoided any kind of pain relief but in the hospital, I took drug upon drug to slow the contractions down. I got injected with steroids in the hope that if the baby came early, his/her lungs would be supported. What kept me going was hearing the baby's heart beat every 4 hours and feeling him/her kicking against my womb letting me know s/he was ok. But I could feel the baby descending. For some reason, the body was getting lower and lower in abdomen.

Early Monday morning, after suffering through the worst night of contractions, Dave was called back to the hospital (he wasn't allowed to stay with me that night) and we were given the news that I was 4 cms dilated and all my waters had gone. I was going to have our baby.

All my visions of labouring standing up or kneeling disappeared as I lay back and got high on gas and air. Breathing through the pain was so hard and I was trying not to go with it because our baby wasn't meant to be born.

I felt our baby crowing and I pushed out the head. When the next contraction came, I pushed out the rest of the body. I gave birth to a girl. She was taken away and I had to concentrate on getting the placenta out. It would not come.

They brought back our tiny baby to us. She was wearing a tiny red and white hat. She was about the length of my forearm with long arms and legs and big feet, Dave's feet. I looked at my daughter's face and told Dave that she looked like me. She was alive, gasping for air. She fought for her life. She was 23 weeks old and 1lb 1oz.

She was taken away and I had to continue to push out the placenta. I was told that I had another hour to have it come out or I'd have to go to surgery. After some time, the doctor was called in and I was told that she was going to try to pull it out. The pain was unimaginable. Though I was high, I could still feel the pain. I was screaming, but trying to relax my body so she could get it out. She couldn't. She said she was causing me too much pain and that we'd go to surgery. I begged her for one more shot. She obliged me. I sucked on the gas and air, I howled, I relaxed my legs, and she pulled it out and I cried and cried and cried. It was over.

After some time, they brought our daughter back to us. By this time, she was no longer breathing. She was now in a knitted pink dress, wrapped in a white knitted blanket with a pink and white hat on her head. She was beautiful. We cried for her and for ourselves. The midwife had taken pictures with a digicam and told us to do the same. Dave was appalled and hurt but it made sense to me. Even in my stupor, I knew I wanted something to have of her.

Though we didn't previously know the sex of our baby, we had names picked out. Isla for a girl. We knew this prior to even conceiving. So we called her Isla. And we told her her name and hugged her and kissed her. Isla.

I got cleaned up and put in a new room specifically for bereaved parents. The room of tears and broken hearts. The Snowdrop Room, I think it was called. They brought Isla to us for one final goodbye and a very nice chaplain to came to us and he blessed Isla and named her. I don't know how long we spent holding her, crying over her and talking to her. She was so beautiful and we loved her so much.

That was a week ago. We have been living in a cocoon at my in-laws place since I was released from the hospital last Wednesday. I'm afraid to go out and be around people. So we spend our days talking and crying and sleeping and grieving. Our plans down the toilet and no baby inside me. When we hug, I'm aware that we no longer have our much loved baby in between us. In fact, looking at me now, you'd have no idea I was over 5 months pregnant last week. I hate it.

I don't think I can tell this story again, not detailed like this. Dave and I know the minute details and I'm grateful we can always share with each other. I want to heal. So that's why I've posted this - to heal and to help others out there who might find this. I hope that one day, we'll be close to feeling whole again.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

How we found out

It was Sunday, January 16th when I took two tests early in the morning. At that point, my period was about 2 weeks late, but I knew that didn't necessarily mean anything. My periods have always been regular, but I was having serious cramping everyday and I sincerely thought my period was imminent. I believed this despite being late and beside being knocked out by exhaustion and nausea so bad I called in sick to work. I mean, I wore my Moon Cup everyday in preparation for my period for goodness sake! But, I was practicing the Fertility Awareness Method of birth control/family planning and I was taking my temperature ever day. And the main way of concluding you’re pregnant is recording 18 days of elevated temperatures post ovulation. So I think I waited until day 20 because I wanted to take the tests on the weekend. We were busy on the Saturday so I knew Sunday would be the day.

Some months previously, I ordered a thermometer and it came with ovulation and pregnancy tests and I had about a dozen of each. I also knew that to be able to actually believe my fate, I’d have to buy one of the big gun pregnancy tests, so I chose Clear Blue (mainly because it was on sale). So I had these weapons in my arsenal and knew I’d have conclusive evidence of my status one way or the other.

I went to bed on Saturday and tossed and turned all night. Finally, at around 7:30 Sunday morning, I went to the master bathroom and peed in a cup. First, I put the cheapo test in it and laid it on some toilet paper and did likewise with the Clear Blue test. The cheapo test changed immediately, but I wanted to give both time to marinade. So I made myself of bowl of oatmeal and went to the living room to watch early morning TV and pass the time.

After about 30 minutes (I don’t know how I held out that long), I went back the bathroom and looked at them. Holy shit.

I crawled back into bed and gently nudged Dave awake telling him he had to go to the bathroom with me to look at the tests. He rose crazy haired and blurry eyed and stumbled to the bathroom. My heart was banging in my chest. He said “I knew it” and two fat tears rolled down my cheeks as we embraced.

We were going to be parents.

We both knew instinctively that it was way too early on a Sunday morning to celebrate. So we crawled back into bed and fell into a deep slumber amidst our excitement and bewilderment.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Love is love

I read something the other day that really hurt my feelings. Thanks to a commenter (Kay) on this blog, I found out that a woman I’ve greatly admired, Jill Scott, basically dissed interracial relationships She said she winced when she found out a Black male friend of hers was married to a White woman. She went on to mention the African-American experience and to raise the slowly healing scars of slavery.

Many of you know that I’m happily married to a white man (Scottish, no less) and I have a great appreciation of stable, happy and loving relationships of all kinds, but interracial ones are particularly attractive to me because they are so immediately identifiable. The majority of the men I have been dated have been white with a few forays into other races (equal opportunity dater here!). I’m not going to get into my past, but I will say, before I started Dave and had started my dating sabbatical, I had decided I wanted to put more energy into dating men with a similar ethnic background as me mainly with the hope that we'd be starting on the same page. Of course, the best laid plans get cast aside and I fell in love with a funny man named Dave rather than just a white guy named Dave. So since I’m in this loving and stable interracial marriage, I always appreciate seeing those in likewise situations on the street and in the media. We both get excited in fact because those folks resemble us. And it’s especially strong when we see biracial kids with their honey complexion and massive hair. So yeah, I’m pretty protective and proud of interracial love.

On the flipside, I can appreciate arguments in the Black community that “Black love” needs to be upheld and celebrated because it’s becoming an endangered category. It’s true – monocultural relationships are easier in the respect that individuals can truly comprehend and empathize with what the other has gone through and can perhaps better understand the trials that particular group has to go through (this goes for white folks too). I do feel a twinge though when Essence magazine puts on their annual “Let’s get married” contest solely to celebrate Black love (mind you, this would NEVER go down in a white mag). Is the love I share with a white guy not as beautiful as the love shared by two people of the same race? That’s what this contest seems to deny.

But back to Jill. Am I so out of the loop that Black females still feel like a victim when they see a “brotha” with a “Malibu Barbie”? Was her article written borne out of old hurts? Black women are not helpless or incapable of love with men (or women) outside their race, right? I think it’s a sad, sad state of affairs of a woman feels so beaten down in love that she can’t be happy if her male counterpart has found love and happiness, even if it’s with a person outside their race. Love is love, right? Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Luckily, I found something that brought me back up. Love being celebrated here. Of course I love seeing pictures of beautiful women with natural hair and I was especially happy to see some white guys in there. The blogger, Black Girl with Long Hair wrote a post for Clutch magazine explaining how disheartened she was by the media’s recent pre-occupation of the sorry state of the love life of the black woman so she had a contest inviting readers to submit pictures of them in their natural hair state with their honeys. She aptly called it “Love is in the hair”.

If you’ve been following these media stories about Black women in love, or even if you haven’t, what do you think about the latest contribution to this fascination? What do you think about interracial relationships? No hating please!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Scene from a Marriage

Back in the day, during our courting phase, Dave and I used to send each other massive emails. We were simultaneously getting to know eacher and flirting our socks off. These emails have diminished in quantity because we moved in together and talked everyday. We still do volley emails back and forth, mostly about crappy work stuff or the myriad of things that are on my mind. No matter how trivial, hairbrained or far out my ideas and hopes are, he's usually unquestionably supportive. He's a sample of a recent exchange and just a tiny example of why I love my man so much (start from the bottom):

Kaki to David show details 16:46 (18 hours ago)
Thanks baby. I love you.

From: David Sent: 06 May 2010 16:46 To: Kaki
Good idea. I think you'd be good at it.

From: Kaki Sent: 06 May 2010 16:42 To: David
Oh yeah, once we’ve settled I’m going to buy a kick ass camera with a SLR and possibly take a photography class as well. Just so you know.

From: David Sent: 06 May 2010 16:36 To: Kaki
hmmm, that's pretty cool actually.

From: Kaki Sent: 06 May 2010 16:34To: David
No, they peel on and peel off:

From: David Sent: 06 May 2010 16:31 To: Kaki
Won't that damage the walls?

From: Kaki Sent: 06 May 2010 To: David
I know how I’m going to decorate the spare room and probably the bathroom now...wall decals! Reusable wall stickers. I cannot wait. I’ve found some beautiful stickers and they are large. I’m looking forward to doing some easy (and affordable) decoration. Aren’t you just excited???

Big hearts.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Next Adventure

Over 4 months ago, I took a test and learned our family of 2 would increase to a unit of 3. Since January, I've felt a myriad of emotions ranging from happiness to anxiety to sadness and now, joy and excitement. I have so many things on my mind and I'm feeling like putting it out there in the universe rather than keeping them locked away in my private diary. So many people blog about their pregnancies nowadays, so I know I'm not alone. I aim to write more regularly because I've learned that keeping things bottled up just does not work when you're pregnant and homesick. I don't think I'll write exclusively about pregnancy and baby stuff, but I might. It's my pregnancy and I can do what I want to! But yeah, great and exciting things ahead.