Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's my blog and I'll vent if I want to

Ok well at least I'm not a puddle. Actually, I'm more p'd off than anything else.It annoys me (esp when I'm riddled with flu) to be told that u can only get sick if 
your mind is not in the right place. Shoh. I guess that makes Stephen Hawking prettydumb then!? Ugh. 

Anyway, that's all fine, illogical (what with microbiology and all, but whatever). 
What really gets me is that belief that if something bad happens to you it is 
because there is a lesson for you to learn. If the same thing keeps happening to 
you it is because you are not learning your lesson. 

Can I just put it out there what my thoughts are when hearing something like this? 
Ok I will

What self righteous, short sighted crap. How quickly such a belief would change 
should you yourself ever face true sorrow. 

I wonder what lesson, then, I had to learn by losing my daughter. Or does this belief indicate that Sophia had a lesson to learn? I wonder what lesson would so flippantly be ascribed to those suffering the horror of multiple miscarriages 
or the heart wrenching pain of infertility. What of those who simply can not 
overcome cancer? 

It's just such a smug view and one that is so easy to hold when life is peachy for 
you and you are healthy, but certainly not one I believe that anyone who has faced 
tragedy could possibly concur with. 

I don't believe there is a simple "here's why it happened" answer. I really dont 
sit too often with the whys. I believe firstly that God never wanted Sophia to die, or for me to suffer. I don't think God is a sadist who sits up there with a 
proverbial magnifying glass frying us like ants to teach us lessons. 

I believe we live in a fallen world where bad things happen. Yes, God is sovereign and He allows them to happen, but I don't believe He delights in them. 
I believe God's heart breaks to see my sorrow. I believe that He uses all 
sorrows though.

I believe that when I get to heaven and am reunited with Sophia I will be
in a place where I will have the grace to bear all the why's. I believe that there may be a million good things that come from sophia's death - that God can use it in many ways in many different lives, but this side of heaven I don't have the grace to know them - until i am with her they could never be enough for me. And sure, among those many reasons the Band and I may have had some lessons to learn, but these lessons, whatever they may be are not the simple and sole reason for my daughter's death.  

That would imply that people who live through hard lives do so because they have lessons to learn. well what of those real shmucks who have a smooth time of it? I guess they need to be reincarnated to learn their lessons.

And anyway, what's the point of all these supposed lessons? Greater consciousness or some such thing? If it's about lessons and God simply punishes us until we get it right than He should have just created us enlightened and saved He and us both the trouble. No, I believe that God created us for relationship with Him. We live in a fallen world and He never promised us a smooth ride, but He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. He does promise us hope and a future. He is a loving God.    

Monday, April 19, 2010

The wedding

Thanks for all your support following my little meltdown on Friday night. It really helped seeing as I didn't have the... what's the word? The 'altogetherness' (or something) to actually share it with anyone face to face.

The wedding, in the end, was great. Sometimes in this grieving thing you have to be strong enough to set your own tone... some days this is possible and some days it is not. But Saturday it was. Some people asked "how's your lighty doing? You were pregnant last I saw you" and similar such questions and I told them, frankly, what had happened. Others knew and asked questions and I answered and steered the conversation elsewhere, but somehow I managed to be normal and this seemed to allow them to treat me as such. (*as any other grievers will know this is not a simple thing that you can do at will, but every now and then you can and it's a relief to feel strong enough*)

Anyway, one thing I have noticed, which I found really interesting (in a objective, looking in at my experience from the outside type of way) is that men seem mostly a whole lot more comfortable around me and the topic than woman. Many woman are incredibly awkward and yet men will even just bring it up out the blue. Interesting.

So one guy who I haven't seen in years, so much so that I didn't actually even recognise him, started talking to me. He said something along the lines of "So I know about what happened and I just want you to know that there are so so many people around the world but certainly in East London praying for you. My prayer group has been praying for you since the day it happened."

Hectic, hey?

Turns out he can really relate to that vulnerable feeling of knowing you're the subject of converation and pity. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer and given 6 months to live (in 2008 - he is now in remission). He said it got to a point where he just wanted to actually move somewhere else because he couldn't bear the looks that he got all the time (you know: the head tilt or worse, the eye avoidance). But he said his wife gave him good perspective: she said that "yes, a lot of people are thinking about you, but even if just a fraction of those people are praying for you, well, then it's worth it, isn't it?"

I like that. She's right.

I am also quite interested at the evolution of my process. I know that many have lamented the reactions of other people and their awkwardness around us ('us' being those who've lost children). And up to this weekend it had actually never really bothered me. I wonder if that's one of the stages of this thing. Because this feeling of vulnerability in relation to others is certainly quite new to me.

This weekend I will be in East London and my mom wants me to go to church with her. I am dreading it. I know all those people have prayed for me, but now that I am showing they will all be looking at me with concern and saying "look after yourself" etc etc. Which is perfectly normal but it is INTENSE!

There was a conversation in the work kitchen a short while ago... a friend said something about me having an internal thermostat and the other people were like "Oh! so are you??" type of thing. Everyone is very happy etc etc but then came the inevitable stern finger wag and the "Jy moet rerig na jouself nou sorg. Jy moet aseblief versigtig wees!" (You must really look after yourself. You must please be careful!)

I KNOW!!!!!!!!! I KNOW THAT!!!! please please for the love of all things sacred PLEASE don't assume that I would be anything other than downright frikken paranoid! I haven't had a sip of alcohol, not a sip. Not a sip of coffee or tea. Not a sniff of real sushi. Nothing. I shout at drivers when I'm the passenger to ensure that they drive at snail's pace over speed bumps. SPEED BUMPS!! BUT(!!!) I didn't cause Sophia's death and I couldn't have prevented it and do you not realise that this warning implies exactly that to me??

Fear not, I smiled at the nice aunty and nodded. I didn't scream out the above paragraph. I was restrained. She means well. Course she does. But the above paragraph is what I screamed inside my head.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stripped naked

I am in Riebeek Kasteel for my brothers wedding. The wedding is tomorrow and tonight we all had snacks and drinks at a nearby restaurant. I had no idea how rough it was going to be for me. 

I saw some people for the first time since Sophia and many people for the first time since i've been pregnant again. It has been horrible. 

Everyone is, of course, very nice, but it's the same look, the same concerned questions and the same false self-assurances over and over. 

Concerned frown, head tilt, "and so? everything going ok with this little one? You going for lots of scans? What's the doc say?" as if assuring themselves that it will be fine. THERE IS NOTHING I COULD HAVE DONE THEN AND THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO NOW. 

People who I've known of perhaps, but have only met tonight for the first time all seem to know. I can see it in the way they look at me, in the things they say or don't say. I am, as my boss's wife so tactlessly put it, "that woman whose baby was born at 38 weeks... Dead." I can't make the casual chat with strangers that is required at these sort of things. How can I when I am snowed under by that unspoken title? How can I be frivolous and chatty and cheerful and happy when I know that from the corner of thir eyes they are watching and wondering about me and how I'm doing and what the story is. 

I feel like my heart (which in real life I keep safely and firmly tucked away far from all but the most ardent seeker) has been plopped out on display for a room of family, family friends and strangers. It is horrible. By the time I eventually feigned tiredness and snuck out I could hardly breathe. I am lying here feeling sickened and dreading more of this tomorrow. 

Sophia is my daughter. My mourning her feels so personal, so private that I have even stopped sharing it on this blog. Tonight it felt like something of that was put on display. Of course it wasn't overtly, but it felt that way and maybe I feel robbed by that. I have very little of Sophia but my grief. It is a precious thing and never to be shared flippantly. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The kicker

Yesterday, as often happens, I suddenly realised I hadn't felt much movement. I was stuck in a brutal meeting and there was no escape. My heart was beating faster. I could no longer concentrate on the boring budgeting and then...finally she seemed to wake up and began kicking.

This is just how it is. It is exhausting feeling fear and worry so often. On the other hand, my overriding confidence freaks me out too. The truth is I am now expecting a healthy little baby girl come 9 July. I've always been an optimist, always expected good things. I'm overconfident by nature. And all these traits, which I thought were destroyed in September, have crept back with each milestone, each scan, even each kick. It scares me. There is no real comfort in "It's all going to be fine". We simply don't know. There's no sense in pretending we do. That's just a platitude, isn't it? And yet I can't help hoping. Guarding my heart has gone out the window. You can not guard your heart from your own child. Or at least I can't. I'm invested. If something were to happen again I really would not want to live. That is the truth. I'm not saying I'd top myself... don't worry. I would never do that. But my will to live, my joy, my hope, would be crushed.

A friend whose son was also stillborn in September recently became pregnant and over Easter weekend she miscarried. It's not fair. The stillbirth and the miscarriage aren't even related. It is simply two chance occurences. I can't even begin to process what she must be feeling. It sickens me. It hurts me.

Almost as if to compensate for giving me a fright yesterday, last night The Kernel kicked good and proper so that The Band could feel her for the first time.

Tomorrow we have a very big scan. It costs a packet and is at the Fetal Assessment Clinic in Cape Town. They will look indepth into all the usual things that the 23/24 week scan ussually assesses but in my case they will be specifically trying to analyse the placenta, how it is growing, blood flow to and from, etc. I'm quite nervous. I would almost even say that I am a little self-conscious or ashamed or something (not the right words) of my placenta. I know, ludicrous. Of course it is. But it is a part of me and happens to be the part that failed me dismally last time. Placenta's are freaky things. Not pretty at all. But they are VITAL and I really need this placenta to be healthy. So, if it's not too gross, please pray for this placenta :) The Kernel needs it!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010



I started to write a summary of what's been going on in SA and a brief history of Malema's craziness but it was making me too tense and so I am giving up on it.

Here is the latest: the video in which he resorts (as usual) to inane racism, the victim this time is a BBC journalist. Oh the shame. Every journalist should have stood and left in solidarity with him.

Please be praying for this country, with all that is going on we are in the most delicate place we've been in for 16 years.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

To my gran

Dear Noon

It has been so so long since I’ve written to you and this is the first time I’ve typed to you, I’m sure.

How are things? What is your news? And now you really can’t say nothing!

I guess you already know the news from this side. Or maybe you don’t? In many ways I hope you don’t. Too much sadness. When you died so suddenly, just days before I was due to see you again, I felt robbed. I felt robbed that I never told you my plan to name my child after you. I felt robbed that I never got to share my pregnancy with you, but now I see God’s wisdom in it all. Sophia’s death would have broken your heart. My heartbreak would have been excrutiating for you and now I am thankful that you never had to know of it. I’m grateful too that I never told you about my name plans, because they changed when she died. I couldn’t have both Sydney-Ellas in heaven with me still here.

I’m glad you never knew of Pierre’s his awful death. That would have hurt you so much and I’m so so glad that Phoebe outlived you. In some ways her death would have been the hardest of all for you – others may not understand that, but I do. I really do.

Today marks 7 months since my little girl was born and today I miss you so so much. I think in some ways I delayed some of my mourning your death, knowing I would have to deal with it once Sophia was born – I had so wanted you at her birth and it would be bitter-sweet without you, but then, of course, her birth was marked with tragedy and I’ve mourned ever since.

At the end of the month we are all going to be in Kei Mouth and when I think about it my heart always lifts in excitement, but then it drops again when I realise that neither you nor Phoebe will be there. It just will never be the same. The last time I was there, we had a baby shower for Sophia. Now even she will not be with me.

I wonder what things are like where you are. I believe that you, Sophia and Phoebe are together – my three girls. WOW what a reunion it will be – I long for that day.

Don’t get me wrong Noon, and please don’t worry too much. There is still much joy in this life. Stef, as you know, is an incredible man. My best friend and a source of joy and strength. Also this little one on board – I fall more in love with her with every little kick and nudge.

It’s amazing how different the character of two babies can seems – even in the womb. In some ways this baby seems more shy, quieter than Sophia. With Sophia I think she was like you and I – an adventurous, feminine tomboy. She would have climbed trees and journeyed to Antarctica.

This little one, I suspect, will be a gentle lady.

Noon, one day I’d love to bring both my girls to lunch with you. You were intent on making me a lady (you! Who declared that many foods simply tasted better when eaten with your hands!). We’d go to The Quarter Deck – The height of elegance in East London – and we’d have cloth napkins on our laps, a good glass of white, those incredible hot rolls with garlic butter. You’d order the sole and finish off with a cup of coffee. I don’t remember what I ate.

I wonder if you know what’s happening here? Mostly I don’t mind if you don’t know. You and Sophia – I don’t want you to be sad for me. I really don’t want that. I don’t want you worrying about me. But here is some stuff that you would want to know:

Firstly Mark has finally moved back to South Africa! You wished for this day for years and years and years and finally it has come. Two weeks from today he is due to be married to a girl named Sara. Imagine – you would have had to stop calling him Marky Boo – that was the deal, remember? You were allowed to call him Marky Boo until he was married. (Who knew it would take him so long! )

And so Matt and his new wife – Karen (you knew her) – will be in the country as well and the whole family will be together in the Cape. If you were here you’d have bought your outfit about 6 months ago when they first got engaged! You would be SO excited. You would come stay at our house for a bit and would absolutely proud of it and of me and you’d come with to my next scan and would DEFINITELY cry – “Happy tears” you would assure me.

But no, you are where you should be, surrounded by so much love and so many who are so precious to you. I am so grateful for the years I had with you – they must have been such difficult years for you – almost 20 years after your husband’s death – and yet you never complained, never lost your joie de vivre, your sense of adventure, your giving spirit. I don’t know how you maintained such grace, but you did.

Please give Sophia an extra big hug for me today. I long for her in a way that words could never really touch on. I am so grateful you were there to meet her and that Phoebe is there too to watch over both of you.

I love you Noon, God bless, love me