Sunday, February 28, 2010
1 | How would you describe your presence on the Internet? Does your online voice differ from your real life voice? If so, how? And why?
I had my blog before Florence was born,I wrote about sewing, and knitting, home decor, all pretty light and fluffy, just pretty pictures really with a few words. I had a small following, mostly other crafty Mummies and customers from my little business .
Then Florence was born, and she died, and news was leaking out via Facebook, rumours were started and Woody and I thought the best thing to do was add our news here on my blog.
We had no idea at the time what an impact that would make, and I had no idea how that decision would change my blog forever.
I think my online voice is my real life voice. I'm as honest as I can be about most things, and my lack of writing skill means I can't really hide terribly well behind a more crafted voice. So yeah, I think this is me.
2 | Why did you begin blogging, or reading blogs? Was this before or after your experience of babyloss?
I was blogging already when Florence was born, and decided to keep my thoughts and feelings about her here in this space primarily because I didn't want to hide her away somewhere else. I had shared so many of the preparations for her arrival here, it just seemed too sad to move her.
This means that now my blog is a rather peculiar mix of grief and sewing, but that kinda reflects my life.
I worry sometimes that my sewing/crafty readers don't want to hear about the grief, and my babylost readers don't want to read about the sewing. I'm certain my initial dreams of a beautiful craft blog are totally scuppered now, and maybe the presence of my crafty readers stops me spewing my grief so violently, I just don't know.
3 | Do you write anonymously? Does anonymity - or would anonymity - change your expression of grief?
Nope, I am who I say I am. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be anonymous, but I know in reality I just couldn't keep it up.
4 | Do you have a responsibility in how you express yourself on the Internet? To whom, and why?
Yes, I think I do. My first responsibility is to my family. I will not write about Woody's grief, and I'm careful what I write about my living children, they deserve their privacy. I also do not write about extended family or friends likely to read and be upset.
Sometimes this is hard, and I've deleted many a post having a good old whinge about someone,but it's not worth it to hit publish. Usually just writing it down is enough to get it out of my system.
5 | Do authenticity and honesty matter to you, both as a reader and a writer? Or does unconditional support matter more? How do you think readers perceive your truth?
Authenticity and honour do matter to me greatly as both a writer and a reader. I hope readers perceive my truth for what it is. I'm a normal Mummy, missing her little girl.
6 | Have you ever been in the crosshairs of a troll? How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?
No, and I hope I never am.
7 | How do you feel before going online - either to write on your own blog, or to absorb the writing of others? How do you feel when you shut down the computer and walk away?
Hmmm, this is a tough question. I think how I feel changes so often. To read, I like some quiet time, I like to absorb what has been written by women (and men) who I have come to care about so very much over the past few months.
To write, well I guess I usually have something niggling away at me, and need to get it out. Once I have I generally feel better for a while, then I panic I've exposed myself too much, or I'm that boring woman droning on again about her dead baby, or that I've inadvertently upset someone.....I'm a worrier!
8 | Do family/friends know you write/commune online? If so, have they told you how they feel about it? How do you respond to their opinions?
Some do, some don't. I don't make a point of telling people. I'm usually pretty surprised when someone tells me they read.
My sil Julie reads and comments (Hi Julie), and I don't want to put words in her mouth, but I think she does that because she lives in the US with her husband (Woody's brother) and children, and we don't get to see them very often.I think in some small way my blog has brought us a little closer, and I'm glad of that.
I know some of my real life friends read, they tell me, actually when I think about it, there are quite a few real lifers who read, the lollipop lady (Hi Wendy) stops me sometimes to talk about something I've said on here.
9 | Have you ever met any other loss bloggers in real-life? How did it feel to share food and air and space, and how did it make you feel about your own storytelling and healing? If you haven't experienced this, would you want to, or not? Why?
No I haven't, but I'd like to. I feel very sad sometimes that many of the women I care so much about I will never meet.
10 | How did you/will you know it's time to read fewer grief blogs, and write less of grief? How did you/will you redirect your energy, creativity, and persona online -- did you/will you go offline? Disappear and start again? Or transition in your current space, hoping to find a new voice? If you've done this, how did it feel?
I really don't know, I'll probably just have more sewing here and less grief as time goes on.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Jess if you contact me jeanette dot archer at gmail dot com with your address, I'll pop the kimono in the post to you.
Oh yes, and calling Beth, and Samantha, you won the dress, and the bibs respectively from my last giveaway, but I haven't heard from either of you. Email me, and I'll get your gifts off to you too.
It's raining today. I like the rain, I can pull up my scarf over my nose, and tilt my umbrella to hide my eyes. I don't have to talk to anyone, and everyone is rushing by, so they don't expect me to stop and talk anyway.
Something is bothering me, something someone said.She didn't mean it to bother me, she has issues of her own and I think was merely protecting herself. A harmless comment really, people make those to pregnant women all of the time, but this pregnant woman is fragile, more fragile than she wants to admit, and the comment hurt.
I guess I'm gonna get a lot more of those too.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I've been watching a lot of "baby tv" recently. I kinda have this compulsion to watch, even shows like Saving Babies, which is about desperately sick babies.I watch, and I wince, and I cry and I wonder if they'll pull through (they always do...that can't be right can it? I mean do they film the ones that die then not show them?)
What I simply can't fathom about this particular show though is that these babies are so so poorly with often severe physical defects, unyet they are healthier than Florence was.
Florence couldn't even be stabilised enough to move her to a ventilator (she was ventilated by hand for five hours). The children's hospital though initially on alert to transfer her in, cancelled her transfer and advised withdrawal of treatment.
She had a perfect heart, a perfect brain, everything was perfect, she was beautiful and she was too sick to even get as far as those babies on tv.
Maybe I should just stop watching.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The waiting room is tiny. I walked in, and there was a face I recognised from school. Someone I've often exchanged "hellos" with, though not since Florence was born.
She immediately spotted the green maternity notes in my hand, or maybe she spotted my bump. She grinned so hard at me. I smiled, but I was terrified (and a little ashamed.)
I told the receptionist I was there to see the midwife...there is no privacy in that room.
The nice lady from school asked me when I was due, and told me she was due soon after.
I sat down, tried to ignore the radio which was playing some stupid love song, bit my lip hard and tried not to cry.
Finally in the safety of the exam room with my midwife, I started to relax. We chatted about the inquest, and she immediately put me at ease.
Then it was time to listen in to baby. I climbed on the couch, and after a few moments, there it was, a little heartbeat. M, my midwife smiled. I think I said, "so I have been feeling something then?"
BUT...I didn't feel relief, or excitement or anything much. I didn't cry.
I left the surgery and called Woody on my mobile. I chatted about the waiting room, about how M had agreed with me on a certain subject to do with the inquest, and finally he interrupted and said "did you hear a heartbeat?"...."yes"
I told him to put the kettle on, I'd be home in a moment.
Friday, February 19, 2010
This kimono has sat in my UFO box for such a long time. I whizzed it up on the sewing machine the other day, and now it needs a new home. I should warn you, my stitching on this is not up to my usual standards,but it's certainly serviceable. So if you have a little one you'd like this for just leave me a comment and I'll do a draw for a winner in a weeks time.
The kimono is made from cotton needlecord in a chocolate brown, and fastens with two little ties, one inside, one outside. The sizing on this is generous and will fit most 12-24 month olds. Looks lovely over a long sleeved t shirt or turtleneck, and with jeans or leggings.
And now for the winners of my last give away:
Using Random.org and some jiggery pokery with a pen and paper, these are the winners:
Green Dress : Ann-Marie Dewhurst
Red Dress : Beth
If you guys drop me a line at jeanette dot archer at gmail dot com with your addresses, I'll pop these in the post asap.
It's been a tough week. Wednesday was the inquest. The flashbacks had become more frequent in the run up, and I was feeling pretty low last week, but I also just wanted the inquest over with.
We were not quite sure where we were going. Funny how you can live somewhere for so long and not realise a building you've walked past hundreds of times is a building you might one day visit.
When we arrived, we were met in the waiting room by my lovely midwife, and the paediatrician that treated Florence and has been such a support over the past few months. There was also the pathologist, and another midwife who had come to support my midwife. Friendly faces.
The usher went through his list of attendees. I told him I was Florence's mother. The words caught in my throat and the sobs took over. I hate crying like that, but was soon ok.
We were taken upstairs to the court room. A large Victorian room, with huge windows through which the sound of the very busy road outside could be heard. I couldn't help noticing how the ugly modern office furniture sat so awkwardly in such a large an imposing room.
Woody and I held hands as we listened to the statements from everyone involved. Re living Florence's birth and death over and over from different perspectives. That was hard. I could feel the tears stinging my eyes.
Nothing new was discovered, as expected. We did find out that the staff at our local hospital were advised by the large children's hospital to withdraw treatment at 10.30, but the doctors continued for eight more minutes.
I was also relieved to hear from two statements how Florence was still alive when she was placed in my arms.
She was so very still, I'd never been sure if she'd already gone,but two paediatricians stated that Florence died in my arms. She was safe.
She stayed in mine or Woody's arms all that day.
The final cause of death is recorded as Massive Pulmonary Heamorrhage due to Natural Causes.
We'll ever know what those natural causes were.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Hannah: Park Slope bucket bag
Mummytothec's: Ladybird lunch bag
Ally: Chocolate Lollipop bucket bag
Becky: beige/blue bucket bag
Tulip: green pinafore
Albert: beige/blue lunch bag
Samaymay: Petrol pinafore
If you could all email me your addresses to jeanette dot archer at gmail dot com I'll get them in the post later this week.
Don't forget it's still not too late to enter the draw for the give aways a couple of posts down...just scroll, I've been busy today!
One brown lady bird corduroy with blue corduroy lining.
One pale beige/blue printed cotton with pale blue corduroy lining.
These are not complete, you need to sew them up using the lunchbag tutorial instructions in my side bar over on the left. They do not include an insulating layer, and you need to supply a button.
Next, Bucket Style Bags
Just like this one.
One in mixed green/brown florals (chocolate lollipop), with natural lining
One in blue floral (park slope), with natural lining
One in lovely beige, and pale blue cotton, with pale blue corduroy lining.
Again, you need to sew these yourself. They are pretty straightforward, though I'm not at all inclined to write out instructions, so if you want one of these then you'll need some sewing knowledge.
Lastly, Pinafores, just like the ones in my previous post.
Petrol blue, size 12-18 mths, with large flower applique pieces.
Green, size 18-24 mths, with large flower applique pieces.
Sorry guys, but again, no instructions, but fairly obvious to anyone with a little sewing experience. You will need bias binding for the arm holes and neck opening, and you will need either snaps or buttons to fasten the back of the dress.
OK, that's it, if anyone wants any of this stuff, just leave me a comment, I'll work on a first come first served principle for these,and sorry guys UK mainland only cos I'm gonna go bankrupt from postal charges otherwise. Please don't ask for more than one item.
And yeah, I know I said no instructions for the bucket storage and the dresses, but I might stertch to an order of work at the very least.
Come on, help me clear out my craft space!
So, the slight turn in the weather, the lighter evenings and the easing of my morning sickness all mean I'm feeling the urge to clear up and organise. (Not to mention the distraction from thinking about Florence's Inquest coming up this week.)
I sorted through my UFO box yesterday, and re discovered these little dresses I started to experiment with ages ago. I remember abandoning the project in favour of more urgent sewing,and because I wasn't entirely happy with the way they were going. Looking at them again with fresh eyes I can see that the pattern itself isn't really too bad, and I might return to working with it again.
Meanwhile, though these little dresses are not entirely successful, they are quite cute and it occurred to me that rather than chuck them in my rag bag, somebody out there might actually like them for their little one. (I could be really wrong about this though.)
Anyhow, both dresses are simple A line pinafores that fasten at the back with snaps (I've yet to add these, but I will do before I pass them on to anyone.). I think they'd look cute over a long sleeve t shirt or turtleneck over leggings or jeans, or even with just tights...they are short dresses, kinda 70's style, but that makes them ideal for crawlers.
Both dresses are sized to fit 6-12 month olds.
(And I should warn you, the colours might possibly run in the wash, so a colour catcher sheet would be a good idea.)
Hmmm, not sure I've really convinced anyone here!
Anyway, not to leave out the boys, I also found these half finished bibs. I just need to add snaps, and they are ready to use.
So, if you would like either dress or the set of bibs just leave me a comment telling me which one you'd like, and I'll pick a winner by the end of the week. Give away open to everyone who reads, I don't mind posting internationally.
While I have your attention, I also have in my UFO box several ready to sew lunch bags, and I really can't be arsed sewing them, so wondered, do you think they'd be worth giving away? The instructions to make them are right over there on the left hand side of my blog.(you might need to scroll down a bit) Just a thought...think I might have to ask people to pay postage for those though...pondering.
Let me know what you think please?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I do battle with the old me, the natural home birthing Mama that believes in her body and it's ability to grow and birth a living healthy baby.
I'm just not her anymore, though remnants remain and taunt me.
I look at my shelf of pregnancy books, not daring to open them. I know what they say, I've read them all a hundred times before.I did everything right. Florence's birth was perfect, no drugs, at home, upright, no tearing, no problems and then she died.
This baby will be born in hospital*, I'm not sure how yet. I'm not sure I care. I just want a living one this time please.
* Babies die in hospitals too, and Florence would've died wherever she was born. I'm going to hospital this time for lots of reasons,but mostly because I know I can't do birth at home again, too many memories.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Friday, February 05, 2010
Yesterday was our "dating scan". I've always hated scans, and generally had as few as possible, I had no scans at all with Eden, though I guess that was mostly down to my wonderful Dutch midwives and the Dutch maternity services of the time. (we lived in Holland briefly in 1998).
The only way I can get through certain appointments is to kinda disconnect my emotions from my surroundings and be an observer. That's what I did yesterday. Even the junkie pregnant Mama in the waiting room was just someone to observe, and not even feel anything for, not disgust, or pity, or anything.
We were called into the examination room, the sonographer was kind, gentle and motherly, just what I'd hoped for. There is nothing obvious on my notes identifying me as a dead baby mama, but I think there must be something on my computerised records because something about this lady made me think she knew.
The machine was switched on, and Woody and I both looked for that heartbeat. It was there. Baby was chilled, and grown, and my heart was beating out of my chest.
The dating scan is quick. We were back in the waiting room in no time. We bought one picture.The sonographer gave me a squeeze with her eyes.Then we went to do some grocery shopping.
Later that evening I went to a pregnancy yoga class. A happy place, filled with happy smiley pregnant women, all glowing and bountiful, brim full of hope and joy. I found myself smiling too, even laughing...all the while quieting the demons in my head telling me;
"stop smiling, you are not one of them"
"You are a failure and a fraud"
I partnered a lovely young woman for one excercise, and we chatted. She asked me about my children, and I answered slowly, carefully trying to find the right words, trying not to scare her. I told her I would have a six month old, but she died, and bless her, without skipping a beat she said she was sorry and carried on her bubbly chatter. Maybe I did scare her, I hope not. Just her little sorry meant so much to me.She didn't recoil in horror, she didn't demand I leave the room for fear of contaminating everyone with my dead baby germs. She just chatted to me, and was lovely.
That was the second time this week I've had to tell someone my baby died, it's never easy, and I always feel I've been clumsy and it's come out all wrong. I don't know how to get the words out right,but I can't just gloss over Florence, maybe sometimes I should,but she's my forever baby, she lived, she was real, and I can't ever deny her.
I cried silently in the relaxation part of the class. The teacher was talking us through and having us imagine a rainbow of colours travelling up our spines, to the crown of our head and then down in front of us. My rainbow orb hovered above my belly above my baby that I already love so much, and am terrified of loving. I'm afraid of the intensity of my feelings, I'm so afraid of never getting to hold this little one pink and healthy, but I refuse to let those demons in my head win.
I do deserve to be in that class, my baby does deserve to be loved and wanted, and I'm going to fight those demons with everything I have.