Friday, December 07, 2007

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting - 2007

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting will be held this Sunday, December 9th. Held annually the second Sunday in December, The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe as they light candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

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As per the The Compassionate Friends web page, The Worldwide Candle Lighting is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe - It creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

As history, The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. A memorial message board is available during the event at TCF's USA website Hundreds upon hundreds of postings are received each year from all over the United States, as well as dozens of other countries. Some messages are in foreign languages.

Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured in the past in Parade Magazine, Ann Landers column (where my mother found out about it), Guideposts magazine, Annie’s Mailbox, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites. Information on the Worldwide Candle Lighting and planned memorial candle lighting services is posted on the TCF website at each year as the event nears.

The United States Senate has, for many of the 10 years of the Worldwide Candle Lighting, joined in the remembrance by unanimously passing resolutions declaring the second Sunday in December of each year National Children’s Memorial Day to coincide with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child . . . that their light may always shine!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

13 weeks... And I can't seem to shake the fear

I am 13 weeks today... Officially (or unofficially, if you are a strict mathematician and go by being exact with 13 weeks, 3 days) into the second trimester. Officially "out of the danger zone" for miscarriage.

But, I am still having such a hard time being happy about this pregnancy....

...No, no. I don't mean not happy - I am happy. But, I am still having a hard time being comfortable about this pregnancy. Feeling comfortable... Feeling safe...

I have had repeat betas, all goods one. I have had three u/s's, all showing (and hearing) heartbeats, on-target growth, fetal movement. I cannot wear my regular pants anymore. I have felt what felt like movement already, last week later at night while trying to fall asleep (that percolating feeling, which I know from my PG with Chris is not gas).

But, none of this seems to alleviate the fear that, with everyone knowing about this pregnancy (which is getting rather hard to hide now anyway), something is going to go wrong. That I am going to have to un-tell everyone...again...the hardest to tell being Chris.

Days before each appointment are spent in an anxiety-ridden panic state:
  • Sleep is minimal for days leading up to the appointment, which brings on additional nausea.
  • I begin to make up scenarios in my head of how will I react to finding out the baby has died. Will I cry or be angry? Will I be able to drive home? How will I tell everyone? How will I face everyone? How will this loss end?
  • I get short with the Hubby, nit-picking such little things he does, when he has been so great taking care of things I don't have the energy to do myself.
  • I recoil from Hubby as he touches my tummy, talking to the baby growing in there.
Then, after the appointment ends and we leave with u/s pics in hand, I feel guilty for the things that I am preventing myself from doing:
  • Talking to the baby myself in those days leading up to the appointments, in fear of getting to attached and having my heart ripped out again.
  • Allowing Hubby to have his time with the baby...telling him/her the stories and singing the songs he used to tell and sing to Chris when I was pregnant with him.
  • Feeling the joys of carrying another life with me every day.
After my last m/c in 3/06, I remember feeling such guilt for not praying enough for that baby to stay with us. I talked with my therapist about it - how I always carry this guilt that maybe if I had hoped and prayed enough for that baby, instead of feeling so guarded toward the PG to protect myself from the pain again, that maybe the baby would have stayed with us. I know the guilt is irrational... That there was nothing I could have done to save that baby.

Yet, here I am with that same fear...and that same guilt for feeling that same fear... Even with knowing that up until now, this baby is doing just fine. He/she is growing and thriving...and, has a much greater chance of surviving and being born.

All of the doctors involved are so positive, so reassuring that things are going to progress just fine. Why can't I allow myself to feel that?

I have built such a strong defense mechanism for myself...and it is so impenetrable, that I am having a hard time living one day at a time, enjoying the time I have with this pregnancy.

I miss my naiveness I had when PG with Chris. It was a time when I felt nothing could go wrong...that loss could never possibly factor into my world. When morning sickness, as awful as I felt at times, still meant that I would bring a child home in the end. That m/c could never happen to me.

I know all too well now that anything can happen... That just because God has allowed this PG to happen, the "natural" way, does not mean I will bring a baby home. That just because I felt like I was going to puke at any moment, the baby may not necessarily be alive.

I wish I could find that total optimistic side of myself again... I used to always think the cup was half-full. I feel so different now...always waiting for the world to fall in on me.

Maybe these feelings will change once I start feeling movement consistently...have a little reassurance between appointments that he/she is moving around. That won't happen for a few weeks more...

Until then, what do I do?

I want this baby more than anything... To finally give Chris the sibling I always wanted him to have. To finally give the grandparents another grandchild to spoil. To finally give our family the gift of a new life.

How do I stop myself from fearing the worst?