Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday party planning

Would you believe that in less than 3 weeks Tandi turns one?

We are having a Hello Guvvy party :) It's going to be big! Every one of you is invited. Look here's your invite:

I think there will be a LOT of people and we want Tandi's birthday to bless others so I sent this note our with the invite. Hope people don't think it's too cheeky! (Keena is Lily's cousin)


I’m soooooo excited for my birthday and have been counting down the sleeps to my party, but I’ve also been thinking a lot about my buddy Keena.

Keena lives in Kayamandi and is only a few days older than me (she is actually called Ke Nako coz she was born during the World Cup). I know that I’m going to get really spoilt on my birthday but it makes me sad that Keena won’t be, so I’ve decided I’m going to share some of my presents with her.

Keena has plenty of older brothers, sisters and cousins so if you have any spare toys or clothes at home please think about bringing them along so that her whole family can be spoilt for her birthday.

Lots and lots of love
Tandi x

PS This is a picture of my buddy Keena, mommy and me!

Be prepared for many requests for advice on party food and kiddy entertainment in the next two weeks. I am Captain Clueless!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I won I won

:) ok ok before you start chucking rotten veggies at me, just calm down. And for your information (helen!), maybe you'd ALSO win sometimes if you ever entered anything.
Ok but I digress as usual. I didn't win a competition, I won a blog award from Nes. Nes discovered my blog a short while ago and is so encouraging and wonderful and complimentary and lovely that she is inspiring me to write more. Thanks Nes :)

Here is my award:

And the rules that go with it:
1.) I have to choose five other people who deserve it and pass the awards along
2.) Regale you all with seven random facts about me
3.) Let the people that you give the awards to know
4.) Thank the person who gave you the award

So first of all my 5 people! I've written their twitter names but linked to their blogs so you can find them either way. Sorry boys, but these are all women that I care about and am inspired by:
@meganstow - she is a very caring mom of two. She's a tough cookie with a big heart. AND it's her birthday today.
@Angelsmind - Angel is kind of this maternal figure to all of us. She has a massive capacity for love. Plus she's arty and creative and drove all the way across Joburg to meet me.
@HoneyBza - what an incredible woman. She is motivated and dedicated and is changing the world! You can help her!!! read more here:
@mandimadeit - Mandi is super creative and really caring. Actually she and Angel remind me a lot of each other.
@nixgrim - Nicole started a support group called Babies Born Sleeping some years ago. She has 'survived' loss. What I mean by that is that it doesnt define her. She is not hard or bitter. She is empathetic. Sometimes sad. But she lives her life. I think where Nicole is now is where I am getting to. Hope so!

Okay, 7 random facts about me:
1. You probably wouldn't recognise me in real life. I don't mean in terms of looks (ok that too, I mean come on - that header photo was 5.5 years and 2 babies ago!!) but personality wise. I'm a shiny, happy, cheerful, chirping, competitive, teasing, challenging person in real life. Not sure what I portray on here, it's definitely accurate, but it is one facet of me - the facet that I don't really allow people in real life to see.
2. I'm a pastor's wife. TheBand and I lead a congregation called Urban Liberty. It is AWESOME! Seriously. You would love it. Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady, you would!!! Don't panic, I'm not about to wallop you with my bible (it's an iphone app and we don't want to be destroying the beloved iphone) but I am Christian and unapologetically so. And you can't help but love me anyway... can you!?
3. I detest making the bed. It's just one of those things.
4. I have lost my reading and writing mojo and am fighting to get them back. By this time last year I'd read 30 - 40 books and this blog had seen a lot more action. Why have they gone? Is it the busyness of motherhood? of life? of being my own boss? partly. Is it the easy satisfaction and interactivity of twitter? I don't know. Since I learnt to read I've been an avid reader. It's weird that this whole year I've finished only one book. I'm now reading Shantaram at The Band's insistence. Hopefully that will kick start my reading again.
5. Okay, I'm mildly embarassed to share this, but what the hell? Some time toward the end of last year I gave myself a makeover. After two years of pregnancy and many months of fear and self-protectionism, I realised it was time to be me again. I don't want to be a dowdy, pastel-ensconsed, butternut smeared mommy, walking around in beige stretchy pants and sensible shoes. I want to be a foxy lady for my man :) and for me! I'm working on it - exercise, clothes choices, make up, etc and am feeling good :)
6. I am excited about life again. I feel like I am standing at the beginning of something amazing. Family-wise, church-wise, career-wise. Life is sweet. Incredibly so. I am hearing God's voice more clearly. He is challenging me in ways I don't want to be challenged and yet every time I obey Him, He opens up the next door and pours out His blessings. Sorry non-Christians. You probably think I'm moggy. But it's astounding and I'm grateful and stunned.
7. I can wiggle my ears. One at a time or in sync. It's a gift. :)

Life with an 11 month old

is beautiful.

I am so in love with this little girl. She is entertaining and so clever!

A few weeks ago she took her first steps. She waves hi and bye. She loves to say "mama" and "dada" and "Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv". And she ADORES The Guv - that poor cat puts up with a lot!!

She loves to shower or bath and her latest thing is to waddle or crawl over to us in the middle of her playing and give a tight hug, and then resume playing. Heart melter of note.

She's still little. Less than 9kg. But strong!And so very beautiful.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's not fair

That I blog only when I really need to these days.

It's not fair because so many of you, Dear Invisible Readership, have followed my story for so many years now and these days you only see the toughest parts of my life and that really isn't accurate at all.

There is an odd twilight zone that BLMs with RBs find themselves in. Haha ok, ok, BLMs = baby lost moms (stupid term - they weren't misplaced and anyway, what about dads?) RBs = rainbow babies ( ie Children born subsequent to a loss). I really don't love the lingo!
Where was I?

Ah yes, the twilight zone.

On one hand people who were uncomfortable in your grief (& you yourself) want to pull you into normal life, forget all the sadness, move on, live. And on the other, you feel a longing to remain in griefland and the kinship you have with fellow grievers. There's a guilt even, to celebrating life. I could write an arb fluffy post and potentially hurt someone whose world is falling apart.

The frustrating (if you're the one suffering) and I guess good (if you're not) reality is that life carries on inevitably and incessantly. It's at once unfair and right.

I will be posting a few newsy, merry posts featuring pics and news of my beloved Kernel soon. Please ignore them if you're in a place where they will cause you pain. I hope they don't. I hope instead they bring you hope.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

death be not proud

Today began with an sms from a friend telling me her friend had gone into labour the previous evening and given birth to her daughter at 24 weeks. The little girl lived for less than an hour, lying on her mom's chest.

I agreed to go chat to her this afternoon.

In the meantime I got voice message from the hospital. There's been a stillbirth. Would we come.

Wednesday is the day I will be on call.

I went.

It was awful. The part with the mom was wonderful. She was lovely. But to see that baby. That baby who should be full of life and noise and colour, instead devoid of all this and more. Too soft. The mom didn't want photos and it was the right call, but she wanted hand and footprints and with the help of a very very kind nurse, I took them. I think that moment will haunt me always.

Or will I become immune? Hardened? I can't even begin to describe it and you wouldn't want to read it.

But it meant everything to the mom. I took a photo of her baby (you could just see the bundle) with a teddy bear and gave her the photo and the teddy as well so she had a keepsake.

We spoke - I loved that part. She was lovely. Asking all the same questions I did. Feeling guilt and despair and kinship with me and I with her. Common ground like no other.

This evening I went to the mom of the 24 week old. No baby, just mom and dad. It was good. The mom needed to talk and needed the freedom to talk to someone who understood without explanations. Again - the kinship of shared tragedy.

Home to Tandi who has missed me and is battling to sleep. She has cried and cried this evening and TheBand has now closed me out the room. Rationally I understand his approach, but not tonight. For ME that's not the best thing. For me to hear my little girl's heart breaking tonight is the last thing I need. But I don't feel like fighting over it. And so I went and sat in the dry bath and sobbed. And then I came here to blog. Hi all - this is coming to you live from my hellish day.*

* what would a hellish day be without issues from blogger. Hence not live in the end... written last night and posted today

Monday, June 06, 2011

Babies Born Sleeping

It's odd that I haven't really blogged about this or tweeted about it or even hardly spoken about it. Babies Born Sleeping is a project I've been in the process of setting up alongside some really wonderful women.

TheBand doesn't know much about it, nor do my family or friends. I have unconsciously kept it separate from the rest of my life. I've confined it for fear that it might spill over, perhaps even burst through the very neat, convenient and surprisingly sturdy wall I've been building round my heart. Today it did.

I'm such a narcissist. Forgive me, invisible readership. This is not about me. it's far bigger than that.

Round the corner from my house is a smallish public hospital with a high risk maternity ward. The aim of BBS is to be there for moms who go through stillbirth.

The tragic reality is that the maternity ward of a public hospital is a busy, chaotic, under-resourced place.

The tragic reality is that moms of stillborns recover from labour in the same ward as all the other new moms with their visitors, their smiles and, of course, their babies.

The tragic reality is that these moms would have little to no understanding and no answers offered as to why their child is dead, whether it was their fault and whether they can have more children.

We hope to be able to be some semblance of comfort to them. We will pray, we will listen,we will most likely cry with them, we will ensure that their babies are wrapped in a soft blanket and given a hat, we will take photos where possible and we will honour their babies.

I went to the hospital today to meet the matron. We are prepared now and its time we got started.

There is no morgue at this hospital and so dead babies are left in the laundry room. The. Laundry. Room.

Today my friend, who was showing me around, showed me this cluttered, untidy, utilitarian room. She pulled out a plastic crib from under a counter explaining that this is where babies are placed before they are collected by a funeral director. And then she swore in shock.

There was a baby. He was wrapped in plastic. Plastic. Stored in the laundry room. Stored.

The rest of my day was a busy one. Work. A friend came over to tell me about her blossoming romance. And then.

And then the friend I'd gone with to the hospital smsd to check on me. Isn't it always human kindness that breaks us?

I'm not crying for me, or even Sophia. I'm crying for the tragic reality of our public health system. The tragic lack of dignity. The countless additional wounds that moms will suffer.

I hope and pray our project will bring even a small bit of dignity and love and hope.