Refrigerator Rhapsody
by Karla ° Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I need some comic relief in my life right now. These past few days have been intense! Let me tell you about my weekend refrigerator extravaganza.

Two weeks ago, while my
Bro was visiting, our dinner went to the crapper because my stupid fridge froze everything. (Ok. Only my dinner suffered. Everyone else who ate MEAT had a hearty BBQ meal consisting of burgers and various meat stuff. My carrots and lettuce froze).

Thinking nothing of it, I had another beer, turned down the temperature in the fridge, laughed it off, and called it a night.

Fast forward one week.

It’s Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining and the beers are chilling. The beer clouds rolled in signaling it was time to venture out on the deck and indulge in the “ignant fluid!”

CRAP!

They are piss warm! What’s going on? I yelled for Mark to investigate. I just add beer to the fridge; I don’t understand all of the intricacies as to how the fridge makes them cold.

He does some manly checking. Pulls the fridge out,
flexes his muscles, touches and pokes stuff, and decides we need a new fridge. Whatever!

Unlike
Kurt, not all of us have the patience to wait for repair men and have the urge to shop for fridge magnets.

We rushed like crazy fools to Sears to buy a new piece of hardware for our kitchen before the beer clouds rolled out and the sun set. I mean, how do you live without beer on Saturday? Surely they deliver one hour before closing right? We were desperate!

We were in and out in 20 minutes. I’m not picky. All refrigerators look the same. There was a fridge on sale that had a pop can holder (a clever disguise for a beer holder). I was sold! Beers were waiting at home and the sun was still shining. We had to embrace all of the above.

Unfortunately, they didn’t offer delivery service on the fly. Even after explaining our predicament of sunshine and beer drinking on the back deck, the sales man just shook his head and said Thursday was the best he could do (I think I saw a tear fall as he sympathized about our predicament).

Defeated and annoyed with shopping for large expensive furniture, we drove home and decided our deep freeze was the solution to cold beers on our deck in the sun.

After a few drinks we remembered the poor hunk of junk in the kitchen that we would soon be offering our good byes to as our new shiny white Kenmore arrived. Being the rebel that he is, Mark gave it a good kick on his way downstairs to our deep freeze for a beer.

Would you believe it started working?

Who’da thunk it? We cancelled our order from sears and giggled like school girls (and boys) at all the meat we had just BBQed in an effort to save it from the garbage bin. (We did bid all the thawed bacon adieu however…that took too much effort too cook when the beer clouds were cheering us on).

Lessons learned. We didn’t have to spend $1000 on a new fridge, we were still able drink cold beers, and kicking the crap out of an appliance really does work!

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My Birth Story
by Karla °

We left the doctors yesterday with more questions than answers and a new issue to deal with and overcome. We never expected what we had to discuss yesterday, but I think before I can delve into all of that information, I need to share my birth story. Much of the discussions with the doctors wouldn’t make sense without the background on how Ava arrived in this world.

I have shared this story with only one person. She has been a tremendous help while trying to understand and deal with such a tramatic birth. Not only did her understanding and passion for pregnancy and childbirth help me to understand my body and what was happening, but her compassion and caring offered a strength and comfort like no other.

Thank you
Wash Lady for being there for me. Thank you for caring, thank you for understanding, and thank you for all your advice and support. I am now ready to share my birth story. This was taken from the email I wrote, but I have updated it with some more details that I have remembered, as well as the timing of everything.

:::

I’ve tried for a few days now to try and compose an email describing the events around Ava’s birth, but I am having such a hard time even bringing my fingers to they keyboard to relive the day. It’s still fresh in my mind, but I fear putting it down on paper, forever etching the days memory in print.

What if I can’t honour Ava or retell the story in a way that I can be proud of? Ava WAS born after all and that makes her birth special no matter what. I just don’t want it to come across as me retelling the horror show I had to endure. The problem is, I just can’t shake away the trauma and horror and that’s mostly what I keep reliving in my mind…maybe if I get it off my chest, I will be able to see things in a more positive light.

I want to tell you what happened because I know you understand childbirth in a way that no one else I know does. Your kind and gentle ear is what I need most right now, and if you have any advice or words of wisdom you wish to share, I am all ears as well.

I will apologize in advance if my story sounds disjointed or incoherent. I need to just let my fingers to the walking right now. Elegant sentences, proper grammar and articulation will have to take a back seat or I fear I won’t be able to continue if I don’t spill this out as quickly as possible…

I woke up at about 3:00 am on Thursday April 14th to go to the bathroom. This certainly wasn’t uncommon seeing that I was 38 weeks pregnant and four or five trips to the toilet a night was something I had grown used to. This morning was a bit different. My legs were slightly crampy and achy like they get the first few hours when I start my period. Not deep or painful aches, just a slight ache, like the kind you may feel when it’s damp outside. I stayed awake and went on the computer. I actually posted a comment on AC’s blog and wrote an email to a fellow blogger friend. Around 4:30 am I decided to go back to bed. At 6:30 I awoke with my husband. I noticed I had a slight cramp in my stomach that came and went in a matter or seconds. It occurred to me that I might be starting labour, but the cramp was definitely not painful or uncomfortable. I prepared my half cup of coffee like I normally do every morning and went back to the bedroom to lay in bed and watch the news while my husband go ready for work.

While sitting in bed watching TV, I felt the cramp again. I counted about 5 seconds for how long it lasted. Again, not painful, just a tiny cramp. I glanced at the nightstand clock and noted the time, took a sip of coffee and went back to the news. Exactly 4 minutes later, I had another cramp about 5 seconds long, and another 4 minutes later. I thought that was very odd considering my expectations of early labour were contractions much further apart and of course, sporadic intervals between them.

Still not uncomfortable, I got up and went to the office. Around 7:15 my husband emerged from the shower and I calmly told him that I might be starting labour. I explained what I was feeling. His face showed extreme shock, excitement and nervousness all wrapped together in one. He asked if he should stay home from work, but seeing how NOT painful the contractions were, I encouraged him to go to work and that I would call him if I needed him to come home. I still wasn’t convinced I was actually in labour. To be honest, I figured I was experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions because they weren’t really painful at all. I don’t recall ever feeling Braxton Hicks contractions my entire pregnancy so I thought it was about time I felt “something”. I also didn’t think I was in labour because I had no other obvious signs like losing my mucous plug and my belly hadn’t even dropped. Remember my 38 week belly shot? I went into labour 5 days later and my stomach was still the same.

Around 7:30 my husband left for work. (The 1.5 hour commute). I decided to have a warm bath to relax and see if that helped my “crampiness” as I’ll describe it. It seemed to. I even tried walking around a bit, and the contractions sort of subsided…but to be honest, I think I was too nervous and excited to know for sure. I decided to blow dry my hair and put on some make up in case I really was in labour. I know that sounds really vain, but what the hell, I knew we would be taking pictures and wanted to look my best if my daughter was making her grand entrance. By now, the contractions were a little more intense and I started to moan through them, even though they were only lasting about 10 seconds, still coming every 5 minutes apart or so. Again, I was surprised, but still not convinced I was in labour. It just wasn’t that painful, and my legs felt crampy more than anything. I also figured that if my so called “contractions” were only lasting 10 seconds I had a ways to go before the 4-1-1 rule of contractions lasting a minute in length for one hour and being four minutes apart before going to hospital.

I puttered around until about 9:30 when I called my husband and decided things were getting a little more painful and I wanted his support. Contractions weren’t lasting a long time, but seemed to hurt a bit more. If he caught the next train out of the city he would be home by about 11:00. I felt confident I could handle myself for an hour and a half and insisted he didn’t take a taxi home.

The next hour window is a bit of a blur. All of a sudden the contractions were getting quite intense. I just laid in bed and moaned and kicked my legs through them. I couldn’t time them. I was actually passing out and sleeping between them. I do remember trying to control my breathing. It felt like they were right on top of one another, but time and my surroundings were meaningless. I was trying too hard to focus on breathing through the contractions. I was alone and getting scared now.

Finally at 11:00 Mark arrived home. He rushed upstairs and as soon as I tried to get out of bed I threw up. He timed two contractions and they were a minute in length and less than two minutes apart. I was shocked because only about four hours had passed since I felt my first contraction, and if you will believe this, still not convinced I was in labour. We didn’t even make the requirements to go the hospital yet, so we called the labour and triage unit at the hospital. Based on our answers, they suggested I come to the hospital if I wanted pain medication (which I did at that point) but otherwise, they weren’t concerned. My water hadn’t broken, I could still walk and talk through a contraction. My heart sank however when they asked if I felt the baby move. I hadn’t even thought of that. Of course she had been moving all night, but once my pain intensity grew, I couldn’t focus on much else but the pain. I honestly couldn’t remember. I think at that moment I started to realize something wasn’t right. Things were progressing too fast. We asked if we had time to get to the Toronto hospital (as opposed to the local hospital here), and the nurse said it was up to us. We decided to travel to Toronto because the local hospital didn’t have our medical records, nor where they equipped to deal with emergencies like Toronto was.

Trying to remain calm, Mark packed up the car and kept telling me how proud he was of me and how well I was doing. It was now about 11:20. My contractions were definitely increasing in intensity and length at an alarming rate. By 11:30 we were well on our way. I called my house to get ahold of my mom and let her know we were going to the hospital, but we weren’t sure if I was in labour yet (denial is a powerful thing).

Finally, around 12:30 we arrived at the hospital. We parked and walked ourselves to triage and I immediate collapsed on the floor from the pain of a contraction. I then proceeded to throw up everywhere. Mark went downstairs to admitting while I waited alone in triage. At 12:45 (established by cell phone records) he called my mom to let her know I was at the hospital and they were just checking me out to establish if I was in labour.

While waiting for Mark to return to triage with me I remember having to pee, but even while going to the bathroom I threw up again all over the bathroom floor as the contractions fell over me. The nurse just kept telling me to breath…breath…breath….

By the time Mark came back upstairs I was already in a bed in triage attached to a fetal heart rate monitor. I was in the room for about 10 minutes before Mark returned and he helped me breath through a contraction. I remember yelling at him that he had bad breath and to stop breathing on me. Not long after that, a nurse came to do a vaginal exam to see how far along I was. I was 5 cm dilated! Mark asked them if we were having a baby today, and they laughed and said YES! I remember being so relieved I was in fact in labour because I still wasn’t convinced yet. I was in pain of course, but the pain wasn’t unmanageable, just intense. I really did think they were going to send me home because only a few hours had passed and I couldn’t believe how quickly everything was happening.

Once they said I was five centimeters, I asked for an for an epidural and they said the anesthetist was on the way. I was still hooked up the fetal heart monitors. I could hear Ava’s heart beat. I remember finding that very comforting and I became super excited that I was about to meet her soon. At 1:15 I was taken to a labour and delivery room where a nurse attempted to give me an IV for an epidural. I remember feeling sad at this point at this point because here I was 5 cm dilated and I still hadn’t even had a moment of massage or gentle touch from my husband through my labour. I know these things never go exactly as planned, but I never envisioned this scenario in my head at all. The nurse was a bumbling fool and couldn’t get the IV in. The anethetist was actually in the room as well just waiting for the nurse to get an IV in, but she was making a mess of my veins. There was an OB in the room who wanted me hooked up to the heart monitors again because she thought my trace from triage was “tacky”. Here I was having contraction on top of contraction while trying to sit still to get an IV in me from the nurse while the OB was wrapping the heart monitor thing around my tummy while sitting on the bed. At 1:30, Mark called my mom and told her to hurry because Ava was coming fast and furious.

Things get fuzzy for me here. I remember another doctor entering the room (who I later found out is the reason Ava was born alive, but I’ll get to that part later). Time now was 1:45. This new doctor immediately took over. I was screaming for pain medicine now. The doctor just looked at me and said that there is a line to draw between fetal well being and my comfort right now. He asked if my water had broken. I said no. He asked if I was sure, and, to the best of my understanding, it hadn’t. He did an internal exam. I was 7 cm. I went from 5-7 cm in a matter of minutes. I was becoming delirious at this point I think. I had people holding me down, Mark screaming for someone to at least give me some gas, but they ignored us. No one was telling us what was going on. The doctor asked me if he could break my water. I said I was scared to have him do that because I knew that meant my contractions would become more instense and I still hadn’t received any pain relief yet. He told me it was important that he did so and tried to reassure me that I could have pain relief “soon”.

I now know that once he broke my water, it was then that they discovered the meconium. He inserted an internal heart monitor to the baby’s scalp and all I remember hearing is “That’s Maternal”. Next an ultrasound was performed and the doctor yelled “That baby has no heart beat”. Everything went silent. Next I heard “C-section stat”. Mark was screaming for someone to tell us what was going on. I was screaming because I was in pain and more afraid than I have ever been in my life. Five minutes elapsed from the time the new doctor entered to the room and broke my water, attached the internal monitor and performed an ultrasound. At 1:50, I was wheeled away for the Operating Room.

They wouldn’t let Mark come with me. He later told me that a nurse took him aside and explained that an alarm was about to go off and not to be afraid, but a whole bunch of doctors were about to come running down the hall.

I remember someone pinning me down and holding an oxygen mask on my face telling me I needed to breath for the baby. I was hyperventilating at that point. I couldn’t catch my breath. The last thing I remember saying was to make sure they took good care of my baby… Then the world went black…..and the lights have never fully come back on….my baby wasn’t going to make it, she was born at 2:11pm. Her apgar scores were 0 and 0.

As soon as I came to after the operation I was asking about my baby. No one would tell me anything. They wheeled my bed to another room where Mark had to deliver the news that Ava wasn’t going to make it. She had passed meconium and they couldn’t get it out of her lungs fast enough. She was given epinephrine to help jump start her heart, but it was already too late. She had not been able to fill her lungs with air for far too long.

They tried to save her, but they couldn't. There was nothing more they could do. Our daughter, our beautiful baby girl would only be with us for a short time.

She was put on life support so that we had a chance to say goodbye. That was when we learned that legally, as her parents, we had to be the ones to decide to remove her from life support. That was hand's down most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life.

I didn’t freak out during my short time with her. I just cried and hugged and kissed Mark and held my baby. I marveled at how beautiful she was, how innocent she was, and how perfect she looked. I was in shock.

I later learned the doctor that took over and called for the c-section has just happened to be walking by my room and didn’t like the sound of the heart beat from the monitor. No one else heard whatever it was that he heard. He could only describe it was his experience and years of practice that signaled to him something was not right.

I’ve been over the events of the day a million times in my head. I’ve played the blame game with myself a million time over as well. I know I can’t do that to myself, and on some levels, I don’t blame myself. Even IF we had been at the hospital sooner, it was purely chance that doctor happened to be walking by when he did. I know Mark and I made the best decisions we could with the information we had. I just don’t know where “acceptance” fits into everything.

We do not have an official cause of death. An autopsy was performed, and my placenta was sent away for further testing, and we are just awaiting the results. We are trying to prepare ourselves in event that they do not find any answers. I don’t know how that makes me feel, because an answer would mean I will have closure. I’m just not the type of person who accepts “what is” without facts and answers to back it.

I think I have to stop now. Thank you for letting me unload. It fells good to get some of this off my chest. Truth be told Wash Lady, I haven’t been able to talk about this with anyone else (except Mark). I apologize for burdening you with so many details, but again, I feel like you understand and I can feel your compassion.

Thanks for listening.

Hugs
Karla

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Searching for Answers
by Karla ° Sunday, May 29, 2005
Tomorrow morning, at 9:00am sharp is the moment of truth. Tomorrow we meet with the doctors at Mount Sinai to learn the results of Ava’s autopsy and to hopefully discover an answer to the burning question that continues to haunt us. “Why did Ava die?”

As much as I am anxious to finally be able to discuss this horrific incident with the doctor, to hopefully find some answers and perhaps find closure on everything, I’m dreading a return to a place full of big beautiful pregnant bellies, a place full of excited expecting moms, each one of them sporting a belly symbolic of so many hopes and dreams, their faces beaming with an undeniable pregnancy glow.

I’m seething mad thinking that I have to sit amongst these women and be surrounded by all their joy and excitement while I patiently wait, sans baby in hand, for my six week postpartum checkup and Ava’s autopsy results.

Although we will be discussing the findings of the autopsy, we are fully aware that they may not have discovered anything and we will be left hanging with an explanation as lame as “sometimes these things happen”.

We have a lot of ground to cover tomorrow. Besides all the obvious questions, we’ll be reviewing the events that took place from the moment I arrived at the hospital to the moment Ava was born. We want copies of all my medical records (particularly the tracing done on Ava’s heart when I arrived at Triage that supposedly showed she was distressed and no one noticed), copies of the internal audit review the hospital is required to do when a tragedy of this scale occurs, as well as a copy of her autopsy results.

We certainly aren’t looking for someone to point the blame on, but my husband and I both need to obtain this information for our own peace of mind. Although I know we may be surprised at what some of it will say or how the “facts” that have been recorded differ from what we remember, it’s still important to us that we know of everything that happened (even if from the hospitals perspective).

I truly need to find some closure from the information we will learn tomorrow. The anticipation and tension that has been building as we await this doctors visit is starting to eat away at me.

I’ve been dealing with some frightening thoughts as I try and prepare myself for the reasons surrounding her death. Although I thought I had moved passed the phase of self blame and self punishment, I’m beginning to worry that they discovered it was in fact, something I did (or didn’t) do while I was pregnant with her that caused such an unfortunate outcome. Knowing it was something I did will be incredibly difficult to navigate and recover from, but I feel like I need to prepare myself for anything and everything, even IF I did everything in my power to keep my baby girl healthy inside of me.


All the thinking, racking my brain for an answer and trying to image the unimaginable really hit hard the other night. While having a discussion about the birth control pill with my husband, we disagreed whether or not one needs to wait a full cycle before having unprotected sex for the pill to be effective.

I didn’t think unprotected sex after a few days on the pill was a wise idea and he thought that once you began taking the pill, it was effective from the get go.

My mind started racing to the god awful staples that are half assed holding my uterus together right now and the dangers of getting pregnant so soon after a c-section.

Even though we were just discussing the issue at hand, the most dreadful words I could have spoken escaped my mouth. All sense of reason, sensitivity and tact were left behind as I said them and they hit hard, like the ultimate blow to the stomach, or shot below the waist. I wasn’t playing fair, but I screamed them anyways.

“I can’t handle killing another baby this year!”

My husband and I just stared at each other. Silence hovered over us, eyes locked, neither of us knowing what to say.

The damage was done. The words were spoken. They stung. They were inappropriate.

It was when my lips started to quiver signaling the onset of tears that my husband gently placed a hand on my lap and ever so softly said “Please don’t say that.”

I offered up my most sincere apologies…and just buried my face in his chest and cried and apologized. Although thinking back, it’s really Ava that I need to be apologizing too.

I need to apologize to her for not being strong and looking to her for strength when I was at my lowest. Most importantly, I need to apologize to her for the decision we had to make to remove her breathing tubes, because I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself.

That is why tomorrow is so important. I need some answers. Without closure, how will we ever know if we made the right decision? They can tell me “sometimes these things happen” until they are blue in the face, but as far as I am concerned, that is just not acceptable. Babies just don’t die and I need to know why mine did!

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A Shower for Mark
by Karla ° Friday, May 27, 2005

Since learning to type, my handwriting has truly gone to the dogs. I cannot write with a pen and paper for an extended period of time without becoming frustrated at how slow and messy it all looks (not to mention that a pad of paper doesn’t add cute little red or green squiggly lines to your document indicating you have a typo or grammar error.)

My penman ships skills are pretty much limited to writing lists and thank you cards.

I like to keep a list of errands for the week on the fridge. This morning I asked Mark to check the list and add anything he needed because I was heading out to the mall and would pick it up for him.

He examined my list and yelled upstairs to me that he just needed a razor and added it to list for me. (He now wears a “five o’clock shadow and requires some sort of gizmo to trim his facial hair to achieve such a look). I yelled back that I already added that to our list. Reading the list again he said, “No you haven’t”. Positive I had, I ran downstairs to point it out to him.




“OH!” he exclaimed. I thought that said “Shower for Mark

Oye! I mean, I know it’s the weekend and all darling... and I know you were hoping to go out tonight and have been *studying* that Kama Sutra book of yours….but if I actually need to start making lists about personal hygiene then I think I have some serious issues to resolve.

Incidentally, he thought the second item below “Shaver for Mark” said “our fountain for downstairs”. Funny how men see something like that and just shrug it off. Although it really reads “Air Freshener”, the fact that he didn’t even question why I would be buying a fountain for the basement is beyond me….

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Nina's Picnic
by Karla ° Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The other day, my wonderful friend Nina stopped by for a picnic lunch. She arrived at my house with the cutest picnic basket, a stunning bouquet of tulips and the biggest most heartwarming smile one could offer.

After a welcoming hug, she proceeded to set up our gourmet picnic outside. Nina’s attention to detail is second to none. She brought a fresh baguette, fresh fruit, including a perfectly sliced orange and kiwi platter topped with delicious red and green grapes, raspberries, cherries and strawberries, mini pumpernickel buns with fresh spinach dip, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, veggie dip, and two different flavored wraps. A very tasty roasted red pepper and black olive wrap and a delicious hummus and shaved carrot wrap.

To drink, she brought white cranberry and peach juice mixed with bubbly club soda and a few raspberries for added flavor and eye appeal.

The picnic set up was completed with a mini portable radio for background music to compliment our afternoon lunch and great conversation.

Thank you for your amazing lunch and company Nina. Thank you for your encouraging words, open heart and listening ears. You are a spectacular person and I’m truly honoured to have you as a friend.

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My Little Brother
by Karla ° Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I find that statement to be rather amusing. My “little” brother is actually quite a bit bigger than me. He is almost a foot taller and about 100lbs heavier. Little is hardly the right word to describe him. However, since big brother would suggest he is actually older than me, I will simply refer to him as Bro.

When he was much younger, (and smaller) I used to pick on him something fierce. I was the feisty five year old who insisted on beating up on her little brother, and the sassy six year old who thought wrestling and teasing those smaller than me was a fun past time.

Afterall, I was so much cuter than him…


I got to wear the "grown up" life jacket instead of the dorky water wings...


Mom didn’t take pictures of me with a funny looking mohawk sitting naked in a flower pot…


And I took care of him when he ran too fast and bonked his head on the wall.


It’s no wonder I had the Big Sister Superiority Complex.

I still remember quite clearly my parents warning me that someday all my tauting and teasing would come back to haunt me. And it did! Shortly after toddlerhood, Bro grew like an evil weed a bean sprout. How quickly the tables did indeed turn. I experienced my fair share of razzings and lost wrestling matches once he became taller and stronger than me.

How clever I thought I was when he started high school and I could finally start fighting back with the only weapon I had against him and his muscles…his teenage insecurity and the fact that he was now a “minor niner”.

I was such an evil big sister. On his first day of high school I posted this photo of him all over the school with the words “Have You Seen This Boy?” bolded printed across the top.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOY?


I think it’s a blessing in disguise that we only had to share the halls of Penetanguishene Secondary School for one year.

While Bro was a rebel and a risk taker throughout his teenage years, I was much more subdued and quiet. While I sat at home collecting china for my hope chest or helping old ladies cross the street to keep myself out of trouble (insert big red flag signalling a sarcasm alert right here!), Bro would demonstrate his feistiness by doing crazy things like pretending to be blind so he could take the dog along to the bars with him (and for those who have never met lil’ bear, she is about as far away from seeing eye dog caliber as an elephant is to walking a tight rope) to boldly faking a heart condition and needing his “heart pills” to avoid a night in jail.

Although we’ve both grown (up) throughout the years, he still has a spark and determination about him that will unquestionably lead him to great accomplishments and successes.

We are polar opposites on so many fronts (he tells me I have “pimping shades”, I tell him that his sunglasses look fabulous), but at the same time, when it comes right down to it, we share so many of the same beliefs and values that it often shocks me how similar we really are. He is now about to start his own business and I couldn’t be more proud of his initiative and drive to succeed. I wish him nothing but the best of luck as he embarks on this exciting new journey in his life.

Here’s to you Jay! From your Big (Little) Sis!




p.s. It’s our little secret that you’re still fascinated with bubbles!

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So what's different?
by Karla ° Sunday, May 22, 2005
Upon arriving home from work Friday night, Mark was quick to comment about how fantastic I looked. He complimented me many times and asked what was different.

Realizing the sad truth, this is what was different:

I showered
I combed my hair
I blow dried and styled my hair
I put on nice clothes (not just comfy pants and baggy sweaters)
I put on a necklace
I put on earrings
I put on makeup (venturing as far as applying mascara. Way too risky to use if tears threaten to turn you into a racoon face).

Since Ava passed away, I don’t remember the last time I actually did my hair and put on makeup. Perhaps the Karla that everyone knew five weeks ago is starting to come around again. Who knows, I might actually go the whole nine yards and even add a spritz of perfume today.

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High Tech Road Trip
by Karla ° Thursday, May 19, 2005
How did people plan road trips, vacations or get around before Microsoft’s MapPoint?

This piece of software is amazing!

You can plug in where you want to go and all the stops you want to make along the way and at the click of a button it will map your route for you, provide you with the fuel cost, driving distance and time and even plot out all the gas stations, restaurants, ATMS, bars, and landmarks along the way for you. Heck, you can even customize what TYPE of restaurants it should display. (Let’s eliminate all those nasty sushi places cluttering up my map!)

It is fully customizable in terms of dumping in the cost of fuel per litre (or gallon), providing highway routes or local roads to drive depending on your preferences and it even lets you add when you want to schedule a stop over.

So far, to get from Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, British Columbia and back to Calgary we will be driving for a total of about 24 hours and clock in over 2000km (or about 1280 miles). It’s a good thing we decided to fly out west and not drive. The total trip from Ontario to BC and back is over 8700km (5,405 miles) and over 85 hours of driving! YIKES! That is a heck of a lot of time to expect me to sit still.

Maybe I’ll run into good old Stephen Harper while we’re out west and have a little chat about his inability to sway Ontario to vote Conservative!

Speaking of Conservative, what a smart move Belinda made crossing over to the Liberal party. It’s too bad she didn’t beat Stephen Harper in the leadership election. It’s also too bad that no one checked out the .com version of her web address before buying the domain name (
www.Belinda.ca). It appears if you enter www.Belinda.com you hit a porn site! Nice one Belinda!

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Was it enough?
by Karla ° Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Here is a true testament to how quickly my emotional state can shift. Just this morning I was joking about stuffing my body into a pair of my favorite jeans while trying to loose the baby weight, and not long after that post my mood has shifted to pure, unequivocal anger.

It truly is frightening how fast and strong your emotions can shift and change and overcome you. I was just sitting here thinking about Ava and admiring her beautiful little face when I started to feel the ever familiar sense of anger boiling from within.

I started to get angry about how I was introduced to my baby girl and the decision my husband and I had to make only seconds after she was placed in my arms.

We had to make the call to pull our baby girl off of life support.

She couldn’t survive for an extended period of time with it, and she could not survive without it.

I’m still haunted by this decision. I know it was the only decision to make, but it haunts me nonetheless. I remember when the pediatrician explained to us that we had to give them permission to remove the breathing tube I immediately felt myself being removed from my body. The movie camera of my life slowly started to back away for the long shot to capture the dramatic moment of truth. I turned to my husband and said, “Does that mean what I think it means?” He turned and looked at me with the most horrified and saddened eyes I have ever seen. His eyes said it all. We had to muster up the strength within to speak the most unfathomable words we would ever speak. A bleak “ok” escaped my husbands quivering lips. Only seconds after meeting our baby we had to come to grips with the fact that she was going to die in our arms.



This is a picture the hospital staff took of us. They captured a tender moment where my husband is about to kiss me. Gentle kisses and soft touches were all we could do as we tried to come to grips with what was about to happen.

A nurse told my husband that she was surprised that we didn’t scream and freak out, but that we just held and kissed each other. Of course we just held each other! We had so little time with our daughter, and so little time to hold her that it wasn’t worth wasting those precious moments freaking out. We didn’t want her time with us to be consumed with screams and fear. There was plenty of time for that later.

When later did arrive, and we let it all out, it hit hard. I arrived home from the hospital and I just screamed for Ava until I was blue in the face, my throat was raw and I collapsed to floor exhausted and defeated.

Through all the torment, screaming and pain that we are still sorting through, I’m thankful for one thing. I’m thankful that even though her time with us was short, we managed to give and show her as much love as we could. As far as she knows, love, hugs, gentle touches and kisses were what life was all about. Her purpose was to spend nine long months inside my womb to experience the gentle love and touch of her parents. In her eyes, that’s all she ever knew and I just hope that is enough.

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SMUG
by Karla °
This morning I feel like the smuggest woman on the planet. I am walking around with a big smirk on my face. Yes, today ladies and gentleman, less than five weeks after having a baby, I tried on my pre-pregnancy sexy jeans, and THEY FIT…sort of….

At least they fit past my knees and I can actually button them...even if I feel like I am suffocating.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I better go and put my comfy pants back on. I think I might be cutting off the circulation in my legs.

(I’ll be sure to wipe the smirk off my face as I peel my jeans off too).

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Mountain Getaway
by Karla ° Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The flights are booked.

The car rental is secured.

Seven glorious nights have been booked in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at a quaint little mountain inn.

Two nights have been booked at the most fabulous bed and breakfast in Victoria BC (close proximity to the ocean for some whale watching).

And two nights are pending reservation request confirmation in a stop over town about half way through the province of Beautiful British Columbia. We’ve decided to stay at the most dirt cheap little dive we could find while making our way to and from Victoria to save our accommodation budget for the mountains, but really, this is too much.

Below you will find an email I just received confirming my accommodation request for a little dive of a motel along the Trans Canada highway.


Your request sent to (insert cheap ass motel here) was sent successfully.
IMPORTANT: This is NOT a confirmation of your booking. A representative of (the cheap ass motel) will be contacting you with availability and details! This is a one-time mailing confirmation and we hope you enjoy your time In Kamloops! For your convenience, the following BCNetwork businesses look forward To making your visit more pleasurable.

Duffy's Cold Beer and Wine Store

http://duffy.kamloops.com/

Yee haw!

The sad part is, that’s about all we had planned to do in Kamloops anyways…

Bottoms up!

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Paint by Numbers
by Karla ° Monday, May 16, 2005
Paint by Numbers!

Remember those from when you were a kid? All the little shapes on the page neatly outlined and numbered with the corresponding legend indicating what colour to paint each shape on the page?

That’s what we could have used this weekend as my husband and I attempted our first paint job ever. Thankfully, his dad made the trip to the city to help us figure out what the heck we needed to do, what materials we needed to buy, and how to actually put the stuff on a wall.

I remember when we bought this house in April of 2004 we had BIG BIG BIG plans to have the entire house painted in about two days before we actually started moving our stuff in. We closed in August, and by the time we closed I was pregnant so painting would have to be put on the back burner.

Looking back, we were so naïve about painting. We’ve spent two full days on the bedroom already and it still isn’t finished. I have to blame my misconceptions about painting on those decorating shows on TV. How the hell do they get everything done so fast? They have a room painted in an hour on Trading Spaces. I suppose the paint fairies are all behind the scenes taping, cutting in and rolling while the rest of the actors workers bumble around on camera to make themselves look busy.

I wasn’t able to do much since I had the c-section not long ago (all the up and down motion would sure do a number on my stomach muscles), but at least I was able to help by painting the trim and doing all the cutting in.

We learned a lot from Mark’s dad. We learned that a nice even paint job can’t be rushed, that you make many many many trips to Home Depot throughout the day to buy all the things you need and keep forgetting, that people actually CLEAN their brushes and paint trays instead of being lazy and throwing them away like we had planed to do, that leaving the paint tray at the foot of the ladder is a disaster waiting to happen (yes, Mark stepped in it) and that NEVER, under any circumstances, haphazardly generate a playlist from your music collection when your mother and father in law are visiting without first verifying every single song for lyrical content.

Something about a song with lyrics like “Nasty Sex” while my husband, his mom, his dad and me are all hanging out in our BEDROOM is just SO INCREDIBLY wrong.

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She Soars
by Karla ° Saturday, May 14, 2005

“We are not Humans beings on a spiritual journey; we’re spiritual beings on a human journey.”

This quote by Rev. Glen Eagle inspired me to write this poem for Ava.

She Soars

Soar past the boundaries of a world where we can’t embrace
Begin your endless journey in a better place
Soar above the clouds up high
Don’t look back, don’t begin to cry
The sands of time will continue to flow
My little angel, I want you to know
I won’t forget

Soar to where the angels play
Up to the Heavens where we’ll meet someday
Soar to where you can rest peacefully
You are so pure,
You are so free
The waves will still crash upon the shore
My little angel forever more
I won’t forget

Soar to a place full of happiness
You are to perfect for all of this
Soar up high, don’t wait for me
In my heart you’ll forever be
The sun will still shine
The sun will still set
But I promise you my little angel, I won’t forget




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So What's Next?
by Karla ° Friday, May 13, 2005
I’ve been getting asked that question a lot lately. The truth? I have no idea.

Whenever I try and imagine life a few days, weeks or months from now my chest gets tight, my breathing becomes difficult and I get the most intense feeling of panic and anxiety.

I AM SUPPOSED TO BE HOME TAKING CARE OF MY BABY!

For a girl who was anal in school, accepted nothing but graduating top of her class and achieving a 4.0 GPA, had a well paying job and promising career (yeah that sounds pretentious, but I’m grieving, I have an excuse to toot my own horn a bit), most people are floored to learn that I fully planned to leave that behind and stay home to raise our children. From the time Mark and I were in high school we knew one of us would be staying home with our kids. Having a stay at home parent was core to our family philosophy.

I never, of course, told my employer that I didn’t plan on returning. Perhaps my reasons are slightly unethical, but hell, I wanted the benefits for the year of maternity leave and I wanted to continue the pension contributions as long as possible. Their pension program is amazing, and my investments are doing much better with them than my measly mutual funds that I have at the bank.

I am still on Maternity Leave right now, although I am not entitled to the full year of benefits. I don’t think I can return to my old job. In fact, I don’t want to. I want a fresh start.

I’ve had a passion since I was a child to someday write and illustrate children’s books. I’ve been considering trying my hand at it, but I can’t help but wonder if that would just feel like cruel punishment. A constant reminder of the child I don’t have with me right now. A constant reminder of all the bedtime stories I am not able to read to Ava (thank goodness I read to my tummy…at least my baby girl got to experience story time, albeit without being to stare in wonderment at the bright pictures...it still kills me that she never opened her eyes…she never did see me…).

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I don’t know what I am going to do with myself.

I do however, know that life is moving on, and putting one foot in front of the other gets a little easier with each passing day. For now, planning a trip to Western Canada will have to suffice. My instinct to “GET AWAY” is grabbing hold tight…and the beautiful Rocky Mountains are calling my name (that and the tanning beds!)

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Accepting Death
by Karla ° Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bullshit!

When is death “acceptable”? I suppose you could argue that murderers and child molesters deserve to die, but what about the death of an innocent baby?

Admittedly, I’m not a religious person. In fact, I’m a bad catholic. I don’t go to church, I don’t believe in the church and I don’t advocate organized religion.

Does that mean I don’t believe in God? Hardly! At least not until the passing of my daughter. Since that tragic day I have been left with no other option but to question my system of belief.

If we could step back in time to the day before Ava was born, I would have said I considered myself a more “spiritually” inclined believer. I preferred to think of myself in this light for several reasons.

Spirituality does not require membership with an organized and structured religion. This simple fact freed me from the confinements of the rigid ethics and beliefs of one religion, and allowed me to explore, consider, follow or discount the teachings and ideas of many different types of religions (or philosophies). Perhaps that sounds selfish, but I was quite fond of the idea of building my own belief system based on the ideas that were personally appealing to me from various religious beliefs, philosophical ideas, ethics and morals. By detaching myself from one religion that did not suite my needs or feed my soul, I was able to dig for something on a much more personal level that made sense to me and helped define me as a person, rather than have the systematic ideologies of one religion dictate what I should believe in and what kind of person I should be.

Perhaps my thought process and reasons for considering myself spiritual and not religious are pompous and simply a matter of perception (you say tomato, I say tomatoe), but at the end of the day, no matter what you call it, my quest and search for God was all a journey for one of the deepest and most profound of human needs, hope! Hope that tomorrow will be better than today and hope for a brighter future in a wounded and besieged world.

I didn’t believe that there was a God in the sky that would help guide me on that journey. I didn’t believe praying and going to church helped fulfill my human need for God (or hope…it all means the same to me). I truly believed that I was God. God was a personal experience that each and every one of us lives through every day and that we truly do control our own destiny. I believed that everything happens for a reason and that we could never make a “bad” choice, because our experience of God wouldn’t let us. Everything that happened was part of our journey towards a more fulfilled life. Each experience along the way was necessary to provide the knowledge and coping skills to be able to deal with the next experience. How we chose to live our life (or our experience) WAS GOD. Since we made our own decisions on how to live our lives, each and every one of us is in fact God. If we believe in ourselves, we can control our own destiny and live a purposeful life.

THAT was my definition of God. God was my own experience as I embarked on my life journey. Only I could control the ultimate outcome because only I had the power to control my own destiny. All my stops and knowledge gained along the way happened for the sheer purpose of providing the wisdom and strength necessary to grow as a human being on a journey called life.

Let’s fast forward to the present. To my current nightmare where I am trying to cope with the loss of my baby girl. If what I believed was true, then I allowed my baby girl to die. It means that I choose for her to die and I cannot acknowledge that is acceptable or that I am capable of making such a choice. My entire system of belief that carried me through life, gave me strength and helped to shape my true authentic self has gone to shit.

What do I believe in now? What kind of hope is there to strive for when you loose an innocent and perfect child? What kind of world or God allows this sort of monstrosity? Where does acceptance even begin to be OK?

This is just not acceptable. NOT! ACCEPTABLE!

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So where do I begin?
by Karla ° Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I have another blog that I used to write in. I took great pride in that blog (and still do as a matter of fact).

It’s called “We’re Having a Baby”. As the name implies, it was a blog that chronicled my pregnancy journey and all the joys and wonders (sometimes with a comical twist) I experienced.

Many people asked what I would do with that blog once the baby arrived. The name, afterall, didn’t make sense once the baby was actually born. I had decided I would simply change the name to “We Had a Baby” and I would post pictures of my beautiful baby girl and blog about all the wonderful things we shared and learned together and talk about my hopes and dreams and wonderful life as I started my amazing journey into parenthood.

I never for a moment dreamed I would have to change the name to “We had a Baby…and she DIED!” My baby girl did not make it. She sprouted wings only 7 hours after she was born and left me behind to come to terms with not only losing her, but this empty void in my soul that haunts every fiber of my being. A child, so innocent and so perfect. A life I hoped and dreamed for, gone forever.


This is my new blog. My attempt to move past the calamity that has become my life and search for that light at the end of the tunnel everyone keeps telling me exists.

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Links
by Karla ° Sunday, May 1, 2005
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About Me
by Karla °
My name is Karla Cadeau. I am a wife to the most charming and decidedly delicious husband a woman could every want, a seminal arbitrator to a pooch that is the master of finding all things that taste like sock, and mother to Nate, who is affectionately nicknamed Rockstar Baby because he was born with the sassiest faux-hawk and baby mullet I have ever seen in the whole wide world, or at least Ajax, Ontario, which is where we call home.

I am also the mother of two more babies that sprouted wings before I had the chance to get to know them.

In April of 2005, I held my first child, Ava, in my arms and watched her die. Sadly, I miscarried my second pregnancy ten months later.

Exactly one year after we said goodbye to Ava I became pregnant again for the third time. In December of 2006 my son was born via a planned c-section. Due to some breathing difficulties, he spent his first three days of life in an incubator on oxygen with a feeding tube in his stomach.

On Christmas Day, I receive the most amazing gift a mother could ever want and I was finally able to hold my son.

I am now a firm believer in innocence and magic once again.

I used to be a Web Developer and Database Analyst for a government lobby group in the financial district of downtown Toronto, but after losing Ava, I was never able to stomach the idea of returning to a job that I did not love and finally pursued my passion for the written word and entered the largely underpaid world or Freelance Writing. I started an on-location photography business. So, if you’ve got any special moments that you’d love to forever still and illuminate from behind time-freezing optics of a digital lens, count me in!

This website chronicles my journey of infant loss and miscarriage and being so swollen and pregnant that my boobs and stomach had to battle it out over who got to go where, and in what direction, to the long awaited birth of my son.

I am deeply devoted to my husband, vegetarian pizza and coffee. This makes me a swooning romantic wrapped in an enigma of sauce and mushrooms with a body fuelled by caffeine.

I’m still learning how to hang on tight when it feels like life leaves me dangling by the wisp of a thread, but the arrival of my son has been like receiving a bucket overflowing with Babylon and promised bliss, and slowly, the knots of sadness that have been so tightly bound around my heart are starting to untangle.
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Contact Me
by Karla °
Hi!

I would love to hear from you.

Getting letters is one of my most favourite things in the whole wide world, right along with getting my feet rubbed, because it makes me feel special.

Although I read every single letter that I receive, I am not always on the ball about responding to them. This is partially because raising a toddler is harder than understanding the physics behind Black Holes and Baby Universes, and also because my toddler is a Black Hole of Need that consumes all the time I have in the known Universe.

In a perfect world filled with of ribbons and puppy dog tails, there would be no such thing as sock-eating laundry monsters and mean-spirited people. If you're the former, I really miss my argyle-patterned socks, and if you're the latter, I've heard that flying a kite is therapeutic. Just sayin'.

Reach me at karlacadeau@gmail.com.
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