Sunday, March 26, 2006

One at a Time. Please?

Little overwhelmed since I got back here. Seems to be not much fun to deal with jet lag, a job search, grief, a custody thing, 5,000 mile move, missing Steve, allergies, and healing from a c-section at once. I've done a lot of crying. Seems this all has made me an extra sensitive sod; if you look at me wrong I burst into tears. So writing has been low on my list. Once my plate is a little less full, I'll be back.

the end

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Going home to Seattle today!!! I am very excited, but so sad to leave Steve. He will follow shortly though, so it won't be for too long, but still. So I have been soaking up all his Steveness the past couple of days, hence the lack of posts. I have a few things on the burner, but will have to wait until tomorrow or thereabouts.

Yesterday I reminded Audrey that I was coming today. She was elated and told me how many times she was going to hug me and tell me she loves me, and then, she asked me if the baby had popped out yet. My heart stopped. I thought she understood that Oliver had been born and died. She had even seen him on the webcam and called him the most beautiful baby in the world. As tears sprung to my eyes, I told her that we would talk about it when we see each other. I couldn't bear to go over it again. it was probably a memory lapse on her part, but I only hope that I can help her to understand what's happened. The important thing is that she gets her mom back for ever.

Ta for now.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Nothing Sweet About the Sorrow of this Parting

Steve and I argued in the car. We were running late, and I was getting more upset because I wanted as much time as I could get. Running late combined with Steve’s need to make an appointment was turning me into a grouch ten-fold.

“You’re not being yourself,” Steve said, “You’ve just got to calm down.”

I took a deep breath and bit my lip, as I pressed my forehead into the passenger door window. Of course I’m not myself. I’m on my way to see my baby boy for the last time in my entire life, and I’m running late. I didn’t respond to Steve though. I felt like a train wreck, snapping and saying horrible things filled with resentment. The anger has been building within me as has been the bitterness, fear, anxiety, frustration. So many negative emotions coursing through me, and I took it out on Steve. I reached across the car and grabbed his hand. “I’m so sorry, honey.” I couldn’t say any more. He squeezed my hand and smiled gently.

After parking the car, we made our way to funeral home. Sarah greeted us at the door with a smile and an offer of tear before ushering us into her office. Steve accepted the tea, and we sat down on the settee while she made it for him. I didn’t want to sit in her office. Why did she sit us in her office? Didn’t she know how little time I had? I will never see him again. I don’t want to sit and chat. But that’s what we did, or Steve and Sarah did, rather. Steve caught a glimpse of a pamphlet for the cemetery at which his stepfather had dug graves thirty years ago, and he himself had spent many a childhood day playing, so they chatted about that while I stared at the ground, toes tapping anxiously, arms folded. When there was a break in the conversation I looked at Steve imploringly, “Can we go in now?”

“You ready to go in?” he asked.

I nodded my head and stood up rapidly. Sara led us to a door down the hall and turned to us and said, “Now, Baby Oliver just looks like he’s sleeping,” before she pushed upon the door and turned the dimmer switch so that the room was pleasantly, but not overly, illuminated.

I nodded my head absently and waited for her to move out of the way so that I could be with my baby, but upon entering the room I found myself nearly paralyzed. The coffin was so much smaller than I ever imagined, despite the health visitor’s warning; I couldn’t look inside. Instead I pressed my face into the opposite wall and shook with sobs. I barely noticed Steve’s presence, though I have a feeling he was just as affected as I. But I could hear him talking to Oliver. I calmed myself down, and still I couldn’t make myself look at Oliver. Steve caressed his little face and told him how much we love him, but I paced in the background while Steve took a couple of pictures.

Finally, I approached the coffin. I stroked the engraved plaque on the coffin’s lid, which had been leant against the wall behind the casket. It read, Baby Oliver Harry R-W Died January 21, 2006. Such finality in the word “died.” My eyes lingered on it, and my heart seized when I tore my gaze from the plaque to the coffin’s contents. “It’s not fair; it’s not fair,” I moaned. This wasn’t my son, but he was my son. Oliver’s lips were a deep red color, which lent him a doll-like appearance, so unnatural and yet so real. “I can’t touch him, not like this,” I said, tears running in a continuous stream down my cheeks and onto the coffin’s lining.

Steve put his arm around me as we looked down at our little son and said, “It’s hard. He’s cold.” Eventually I got the courage to find his right hand, the one I’d held for so many hours in the hospital. Though warned, the temperature shocked me; his hand wasn’t just cold, it was near freezing. A fresh batch of tears sprang to my eyes.

“Oh, Oliver. You’re so cold. My poor baby,” I said in a whimper, picking up the hand I’d dropped so quickly. His little fingernails were a deep purple color. I tried to ignore it, as I tried to ignore how hard his cheeks felt when I finally brought myself to touch his face. I closed my eyes and put my hand on his head. His hair was just as soft as I remembered it. I tried to pretend that the skin beneath it was warm, and I stayed like that for several minutes. Bringing myself out of it and opening eyes, I felt the anger stirring within me again. I wanted to take him out of the coffin and shake him until he woke up; I wanted to put the lid back on the tiny box and carry it out with me and just keep Oliver’s little body forever. I wanted to kick and scream and make all of it just go away. Instead I stood silently staring at the little boy who’d once eaten so vigorously from my breasts, who’d cried only when getting his diaper changed except when daddy did it, who’d made the most adorable little turtle face. He was gone. Gone.

I looked over at Steve. His eyes were red and filled with tears. “God had to have a good reason for this,” Steve said, “Unless he’s just punishing me for being a terrible person.”

I fiddled with the lining of the coffin, rearranging it around Oliver’s little body, “Maybe he just wants us to grow from this, maybe someday we will help others who experience a similar loss. I don’t know, Steve. He’s not punishing you or anyone.” I moved toward him, and he pulled me into his arms. “I think I’m ready to go now,” I whispered into his ear.

Steve nodded his head and said, “I am.”

We each kissed Oliver’s forehead and told him how handsome he looked in his little outfit, gathered our things, and left the room.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Oliver's Life: A story of death (Part One)

I stood still staring in front of me while the hustle and bustle of the store carried on as usual. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, after all, how does one decide which outfit is best for her son to wear in the coffin. I could feel tears brimming to the surface and sobs aching to come out, but I stealed myself against all but the tiniest tear, which I quickly brushed away. We’d had so many clothes for him that he’d never even worn, but after he died, so anxious were we to hide the ghosts that we gave away everything but a few choice pieces. When the funeral director asked us about something for him to wear, it hit me like a ton of bricks that not only was my son lying in a cold mortuary but he was not even wearing anything and again the guilt that I had not been to the hospital to see him waved over me. “His spirit is not there; it is with you.” Encouraging words that came to me from more than one source, but the thing is, they haven’t done their job to encourage. I’m still stuck in the events of the past, so try as I might, I just can’t separate my son’s spirit from his body.

Saturday morning it wasn’t a necessity. Everything was as it should be. My back had started hurting me the night before, but I wasn’t going to let it or any healing scars keep me down. Our little family was going to hit the town. I wrapped Oliver up like a little Eskimo, slapped on some makeup and our little threesome headed to London. I was so proud of my little guy and the way people on Oxford Street craned their necks to see the little one in the stroller and then look up at me and smile. It puffed my chest. I was the luckiest girl – beautiful baby, handsome stroller pusher (Steve), and a rapidly healing body. We went all around town. Oliver, well, he did what baby’s do – slept, but his big excitement for the day was getting his diaper changed and nursed in Harrod’s. Not too shabby. And we went, of course, to Hyde Park. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and my back had gone to a dull ache to a raging, full-on scream, so we returned to home, we happy family.

Sunday, the pain in my back was worse. I was absolutely miserable. Holding Oliver to feed him sent me into a fit of tears, so Steve did everything else and I lay in bed in agony. “It’s probably from the epidural,” was the most widely accepted theory for my pain, but I didn’t much care what was causing it; I just wanted it to go away. Steve and I agreed that after he came back from work, where he had to go for a couple of hours, we would go to the emergency room, because being in so much agony that you can’t even hold your baby is just no fun at all.

So while Steve was gone, Oliver and I lay on the bed together. He blinked his eyes up at me and made adorable little baby sounds, and I writhed in agony. I called my mom, because there is no one like mom to cry to about your aches and pains. She listened sympathetically as I ached and moaned, eventually my back started to feel a little better, so we started chatting about other things, but a noise from Oliver caught my attention. I looked down at the little guy and saw that he had spit up. I picked him off the bed. He choked a little. I patted his back. He coughed a little and spit up came out through his nose. Then normality. I laid him back down and picked the phone back up, “That was a little freaky,” I said to my mom. “That’s why the whole back versus belly thing seems like a toss up to me – you have either SIDS the one way or they choke on their spit up the other. But anyway, I don’t know if I am going to go to the hospital anymore. My pain is starting to ease up and the midwife is coming to visit me tomorrow anyway.”

“Well, let me know what happens,” she said, and we hung up.

Steve called me a few minutes later to say that he was on his way and could Oliver and I be ready to go to the hospital when he got there. Funny, the pain came back right after I hung up with my mom. I decided to go after all and told Steve we would be ready. As I got ready, Oliver spit up again and choked on it again. This time his body went a little limp. I got a little freaked out, but I’m thinking, kids choke on spit up all the time. He came around, so I finished getting his bundled up.

Steve came upstairs and picked up the car seat bearing the little guy, and we headed out to the car. “Sweetheart,” I said, “Oliver’s starting to worry me a little bit. He choked on his spit up and went a little limp. I wonder if we should have them check him out since we’re there. I know the midwife comes tomorrow, and I can talk to her about it, but it’s just a little freaky.”

Steve shot an alarmed look my way, “You guys are both starting to scare me.”

A surge of pain hit my back, and I gasped in response. Happy I was to see that there was only one other person in the waiting room. We checked in and moments later a nurse came through the door calling our names. We followed her into a small examining room.
Oliver cooed as Steve set the car seat on the counter in the room, and the nurse, Jennifer, looked at him and smile, “Such a cutie.”

I smile my proud mother smile and then proceeded to complain to my heart’s content as she questioned me about my pain. When she was done, she went over to Oliver. “All right, let’s check you out, mate,” she said lifting him out of his car seat. She held him to her and with one hand pulled down the neck of his sleeper and pressed a finger to his skin. She looked up at us and said, “I’m just going to get a probe from the other room.” She left carrying Oliver with her. Steve and I smiled at each other, full of proud parent glow.

But when Jennifer came back a couple of minutes later, she was no longer carrying Oliver. How I wish I could go back to the blessed wholeness of my life before she uttered her next words. “While I was in the hallway with Oliver, he went blue. He’d stopped breathing. He is in Resuscitation now where they are working on intubating him.” As she led us to a private waiting room nearer to where Oliver was being worked on, though the pain in my back hadn’t eased, the rest of me was numb. Jennifer was just supposed to tell us that babies choke on their spit up sometimes you stilly worry warts, now here is two painkillers for your back, call me in the morning. My son wasn’t supposed to end up intubated.

Jennifer got us seated in the room, “I’ll be right back. I’m just going to go check on Baby Oliver for you, okay?”
Steve and I nodded at her robotically. It still hadn’t sunk it. This was a dream, or a nightmare. Either way, we’d wake up soon.

When Jennifer reentered the room, Steve and I sat up and looked at her expectantly, but she wasn’t the bearer of good news, that much could be read in her eyes. She sat on the sofa across from us and took a deep breath. “They are having to breath for him and pump his heart as well. His blood isn’t clotting, so the places they have taken blood and tried to get a line started won’t stop bleeding. Oliver is a very sick boy.” She emphasized the very and looked at each of us carefully to make sure we understood what she was saying.

I didn’t – yet, “But he is stable though, right?” I asked calling on my ER guided medical terminology.

Jennifer shook her head slowly and with sympathy repeated, “Oliver is a very sick boy. Right now his condition is very critical.”

And that last word was the one that hit me over the head with reality. I crumpled into Steve’s arms a sobbing mass. “He was fine. He was fine.” I repeated again and again. This wasn’t happening.

Jennifer pushed the box of tissues our way, “You guys can come and see him if you like.”

“I can’t. I can’t.” I sobbed. The idea of seeing my son flailed out on a hospital bed with countless people working on him was too much to bear. Steve held me closer and whispered to Jennifer that we needed a little time. She nodded and left the room after telling us she would keep us abreast of any changes.

“It’s going to be okay. Oliver is going to be just fine; you’ll see,” Steve said as he rocked us and pulled his fingers through my hair, but at that moment, I didn’t think so.

(I have to do this in two parts. The emotions that arise while writing it are very hard to bear in large doses, so I must stop here. Today, Thursday, March 09, 2006, would have made my son one month old. Tomorrow is step one in the saying goodbye to the little guy’s body. We have the viewing at the funeral home. Steve and I will be the only ones there.)

Monday, March 6, 2006

This Old Town

Writing the last part of Oliver's life is something that is just so hard to sit down at the computer and do. But I do it in my head all day. I constantly replay everything that happened in my head. I talk about it over and over with my mother. Steve and I constantly question everything and wonder the typical what ifs that everybody says are a waste of time but you do it anyway. I know it will take me a while with my laptop to actually write down what happened, but I'm not giving myself that time right now.

Steve works terribly long hours at his job - not his fault, so I am left to myself for days on end.
This isn't an overly exciting prospect to one who was supposed to be spending these days nursing, changing diapers and cooing, so I have been hitting the town - London town that is. I had to get over the depressing part of being alone all of the time. Steve said, "People all over the world long to come to London and see all of the sights."

"Yes," I wailed, "But not alooooone." But I'm over that now. Since Friday, I've been hoofing my way up and down Oxford Street, through Piccadily Circus, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, into Westminster, Hyde Park, the museums. Yesterday I learned the difference between a road rage honk and a honk at the girl with two legs and a head walking down the street (I got six of those) and while I was in Hyde Park snapping photos, this French guy came up to me and told me I have beautiful eyes (so original) and asked me to spend the day with him. I held off telling him that my son just died so leave me alone, because for some reason that was my first inclination. I hope that goes away soon. But I was flattered, so I smiled and told him that I have a somebody. He said, "But I would like to see you again." He grinned and waited for me to fall into his arms and say that he was the man of my dreams and I can't imagine living another day without him and his French accent and puppy dog eyes. I laughed and said, "Sorry, I am leaving for America soon. Have a lovely time in London." I saw him hours later as I was walking down Bayswater Road. After we passed each other we both looked back and laughed as our eyes met. Weird that in a city of millions of people I would see the same stranger twice in one day.

So that is what I do with myself while I wait to go back to Seattle. Today I do it again. First a doctor appointment and then I head to the West End to fill my memory card up with pictures like this one.But no matter how much I try to drown myself in the architecture and beauty of the city, I still feel a horrible twinge of pain everytime I look down from the Jacobean harp detailing to see the tens of strollers lining the sidewalks around me. I can't help but look at the person pushing and issue her a silent plea to appreciate every day with her child, because, no matter how trite it sounds, life really can be so fleeting.

Today makes two weeks since we said goodbye to Oliver. That is longer than he was here with us. Still I find that hard to fathom.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Oliver's Life: A story of birth

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was overdue and anxious to have her baby out of her belly. Then fever struck. Ha! She thought. Now I have a reason to go to the hospital. Labor is not coming, but I bet the doctors will get the baby out of me now. So the girl called her faithful partner and told him he should come home and take her to the labor ward because the fever might mean something bad.

Arriving in the labor ward, they were greeted with blank faces. They know we are coming, the girl thought, why are they not now rushing around me with thermometers and baby monitors. Finally giving up on the staring statues behind the desk, the girl went to the busy lady on the phone.

“We’ve been expecting you,” she said with a smile.

Ah, some attention. The nice, busy lady on the phone ordered one of the idle wage-non-earners to bring the girl to a room. There temperatures were taken, monitors were strapped on and high heart rates were discovered on both the girl and the wee one inside. Hmm, the people looking at the monitors said, why are the heart rates so high? We do not know. Let us get the mother on an IV, give her some Paracetamol (UKish for Tylenol or acetaminophen), and start her on antibiotics and see what happens next. The poor girl has bad veins in her hands, so two blown veins and a shot of local anesthetic later, the girl has two bandaids, or plasters, if you please, on the right hand and a fluid pumping vein in the other. The girl lies in the uncomfortable hospital bed staring at the teeny tiny bubbles in the IV line waiting for one of them to make its way to a vein and cause all the trouble bubbles cause when parking it in the blood stream, but nothing so dramatic occurred and the girl deemed herself a hopeless hypochondriac. But at least she did have a slight fever and the doctors seemed to be validating her coming in in the first place.

Hours tick by and the girl comes to the conclusion that British hospitals are really boring because there are no televisions and there is certainly no cable. How do all the British hospital bound survive, the girl wonders often and aloud, because staring idly at her wonderful partner has ceased to be amusing. The wonderful partner is still in his suit, so the girl tells him to go home and stay there for the night, because observation has just become the order of the evening. Mom’s heart rate came down, baby’s? not so much. They like that sucker to be below 160, this kid liked his at around 185. And when people come in the room and gasp when they see the rate on the monitor, the girl knew she could take all the monitoring they could offer.

The wonderful partner left, but he wouldn’t stay home. Instead he came back and curled up behind the girl on the tiny, uncomfortable hospital bed and held her tightly as her body shook with the shivers and sweat till both were drenched. When they rose with the sun in the morning, the girl knew that she would never love another. During the night, the baby decided it would be fun to pull his heart rate back down, so we slept, but with morning came excitement. The baby pulled it up even higher. More gasps from people entering the room, this time from a troupe of rounds makers, doctors, students and the like. The girl didn’t find it at all assuring that one of the students had a splatter of blood on his white, rubber clog thingies and stared at the blood the whole of the time her room was invaded by the round makers. Why hadn’t anyone told him? Where did it come from? Ick. Make the bloody clog wearer leave my room, puhlease, the girl thought.

The round makers decided the order of the day was induction, so waters were broken and hormones were injected and contractions intensified. The girl moaned for an epidural, the epidural man called her a brave girl for being so still. Why could the girl not handle the IV needle but needle to the back, A OK? When the epidural man left, he told the girl that it ought to last her for another hour. Cue girl freaking out. An hour? An hour? This thing just started. South Carolina paralyzed me and gave me a good few hours worth, what is Britain playing at, the girl wondered as she waiting for the pain to subside. Two hours later, she demanded her top up and then the violent shivering and shaking began. Um, that didn’t come with the first epidural, but nurse kindly informs partner and suffering girl that it’s just one of the side effects. Wonderful partner sneaks out of the room, he worried and asks a doctor to help the poor girl. The doctor reiterates what the nurse says, so the partner watches helplessly as the girl rocks the bed with her shivering shivers and moans for this to be over.

Then they give her the anti-nausea pill and the stomach liner. Looks like a c-section might make it on the platter soon. No more water for you, they say to the girl. The girl’s mouth immediately dries up and she dies of dehydration. Okay, no, but she thought she would, but instead fantasies about Gatorade coolers full of ice being poured down her gullet, the ice at Taco Time, the sweat tea at McAllister’s overwhelmed our poor girl, so when the c-section was deemed an immediate necessity because they stuck a gigantor arm up the girl’s crotch and poked the baby’s head and took some of his blood, tested it, and found that there might be a chance of infection, the girl happily signed the papers and asked how long after the procedure she would be able to drink and eat anything. The room laughed at her. What a one-track mind they tittered. The girl humphed feeling slightly guilty for wanting to cure her dehydration (of which there was none because of all that bloody IV fluid, but still) when she was about to go into surgery to get her excited baby out of the womb. Just make sure that people don’t think I did this because I am too posh to push, the girl whispered to the partner before he was whisked off to the magical smurf outfit dispenser. To the surgeon, who if she cared to admit it, the girl thought was quite handsome, she whispered something about him perhaps sliding a tummy tuck in there while he was at it.

Then began the show. They gave the girl the superduper c-section epidural, which in South Carolina they gave the girl for regular old birth. Hmm. Then there was the spritzing of the super cold stuff to make sure sensation was dead. The girl made them wait until there was absolutely no cold felt absolutely anywhere. Horror stories had been heard, and the girl didn’t care to have one of her own. They erected the curtain and commenced cutting whilst the girl squeezed the partner’s hands. Now, in every episode of the Baby Story that the girl had ever seen, the cut was made and half a minute later out comes baby. So why were they pushing again and again and why was the girl rocking back and forth and feeling them leaning into her? Minutes were passing, still no baby. This wasn’t an episode of the Baby Story. The girl began to moan loudly because it wasn’t fun to be pressed on by four different people trying to get out a baby. And everyone kept telling her what a good job she was doing, which really pissed her off, because lying on a bed paralyzed from the waist down whilst waiting for people to do all of the birthing work for her wasn’t really her idea of a good job, plus all of the moaning specifically made her a wimp, and why wasn’t the baby out yet, again?

Finally, the cry of the infant could be heard, and all the girl could think was, about damn time. She knew the baby was okay, mother’s intuition. The nurse carried the baby boy to be weighed. Mystery solved. Nine pounds, two ounces, no wonder they had to tug so hard, and to boot, baby was deemed perfectly healthy. They wrapped the little guy up and presented him to a beaming mom and dad. The mom watched proudly as the dad held his little guy for the first time and stared down into his little scrunched up face, tears streaming down his cheeks. The mom reached out her hand and caressed her new son’s little head. His hair was lighter than she expected and not at all like hers or the dad’s had been when they were born. But he was his daddy’s little guy. He looked up into the dad’s face with blinking eyes taking in his face for the first time and the mom wept. What a beautiful sight, one that would be forever ingrained in her memory.

And then with baby tucked beside her, all stapling done, the mom was wheeled to the recovery ward. I have no more belly, she said looking down in surprise. The bed pushed laughed, and replied that she was all baby, that was for dang sure. In the recovery ward, the mom and dad were disappointed to see that once again there were no televisions and collectively realized how American they were.

The next couple of days in the hospital sucked royally. The mom stared at the walls – no television – and longed to be set free. She almost tricked someone into letting her out a day early, but a registrar caught on and prevented early release. So more wall staring and wishing that all hospital beds could go to the elephant graveyard and instead be replaced with king size Sealy mattresses. Oh and the mom also HATED visiting hours. Dads should not have to leave moms at 8 pm, no, no, no. Wrong, England. Wrong. You need TVs, or tellies, if you must, and no visiting hours. Staring at the walls is depressing. And lonely. And sucks. The mom was not happy, no she was not. Especially since she made the dad go to work on day two. The mom really really wished she could click her heels and end up in the South Carolina hospital, because people checked on her and helped her with the baby and prepared her baths and she never had to use the call button. The mom was not happy, not one little bit. England, you have work to do, yes you do.

Eventually, come Sunday, the mom and the dad and the baby got to come home. The mom and the dad finally agreed that Oliver Harry was to be the little guy’s name and they spent the rest of the day in bed (a comfortable bed at that, see, England, it is possible) staring at the beauty that had been in the mom’s belly kicking and rocking for 40 weeks and 5 days.

(I found it easier to write this in the second person. I'm not sure why, because I'd already written 1700 words of his birth story from my perspective, but I had to start over and write it again in order to get to the end. I haven't started the story of his death yet, but I imagine that it will take a lot of strength, but it is a story I need to tell. That will complete the trilogy. a story in pictures, a story of birth and a story of death. Thank you all again for your kind words. I am trying to respond to emails, and eventually, hopefully I will get around to the comments and try to visit your sites as well. Steve and I are, as I have said, eternally grateful for the outpouring of love.)

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Bear with me

As the days goes by, I haven’t found things getting easier. Each day seems like an anniversary. Saturday we took Oliver out on the town. Sunday we came home from the hospital. Sunday we took him to the hospital. Tuesday he died. Thursday he was born. Today he would have been three weeks old. And that is so young, but he didn’t even make it that far. And I feel so empty. In my room, his moses basket no longer stands in place, but its shadow is there and I constantly look to it wishing with all my might that I might find it and him there. I only had ten good days with him, two in the hospital for a total of twelve days in his life, but those ten days will stick with me forever. I want to go back to them. I want to treasure each moment more. I want to take more pictures. I want to frame him. I don’t want to know he's lying in the cold mortuary in the hospital any more. I want him here with me. Alive. Well.

I will never understand this. The pain will ease, I know that. But I will never understand why my Oliver had to go so young. He was so beautiful. I just want him back.

I’m trying to write the other posts. They sit in open Word documents on my laptop, but I’m finding it harder to write than I thought. But I will, because already memories are fading and that is hard too. Why can’t my memory be better?

Mostly now, I’m just waiting to go back to Seattle. I don’t ever want to see this bedroom again because Oliver is here. I wake up in the morning and it is the hardest time, because the sun has woken me up and not an infant’s squeals for his breakfast, and again I feel so empty. He’s not lying beside me anymore. But I still see him here. So I never want to see this place again. I want to see my daughter. And yes, I am thankful that in the end she wasn’t here to experience all of this pain firsthand, but I did tell her that her baby brother, who she insisted on calling Bubble even after he was born, rejecting Oliver as his name, went to heaven. She took it hard, and now I feel like a terrible mother for telling her when I couldn’t be there to comfort her. I will always regret telling her over the phone, because listening to her cry over the phone and being so helpless, so far away, so unable to take her in my arms and comfort her, it ripped me apart. I made a big mistake, but I can’t undo it; I can only hope that I didn’t damage her in some way. How am I to know how to do all of this? I’ve never lost someone close to me. I’ve never lost a child before. How does one prepare? How does one know the right way to do it all?

You can’t just escape from it. It doesn’t go away. But I really wish it would.

I thank you all for your comments and your emails. You have no idea how much I’ve appreciated them, and Steve as well. He is so completely touched that so many people out there care so much and have been touched by our loss. It’s been a real comfort to us. And I know some people would never dream about being so forthright with their experience and their pain deeming it to be a private time in life, but Steve and I are basically alone here in London with our grief. The telephone and the computer has been our main source of comfort, whether through the voices and emails of friends and families or comments and emails from strangers around the world. So thank you, thank you. It’s meant so much to us.

Danielle made a lovely and thoughtful suggestion that I select a charity in the UK and one in the US to which readers can make donations possibly in Oliver’s name. I think it is a wonderful idea, because anything that gets people to give money to a worthy cause is a great idea in my book. So after a lot of thinking, I have chosen Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children here in London. They were so wonderful to us and to Oliver; Steve and I will be eternally grateful to them for everything. He died there, but thousands of children that pass through the hospital’s door get well. Helping them would mean so much to Oliver’s memory.

If you would like to send a cheque/check on which you denote that it is meant to be a donation in memory of Oliver, the name you can use is Oliver Harry R-W, Feb 9-21, 2006. For privacy’s sake obviously, I am not giving our last names. You can send your check to:
Freepost LON20107
If it is the donation that is important to you, it is quite simple to log on to the site and donate online. They tell of many different ways to help the hospital.

It’s up to you all if you let me know whether or not you donate. The family liaison will let us know of donations that come in in honor of Oliver’s memory, those that have been denoted in such a way, that is.

As for a charity in the US, I have decided to go with the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, because had I been there, it is where Oliver would have gone. You can make a donation online and denote that it is in Oliver’s memory, and they can notify the person if you choose, but I will not be giving my address, so you can try to put my name, Rebecca R and email address . I am sure they will get to me.

You can also send in a check, which you accompany with this form.

Thank you all for your kindness and thoughtfulness. I know things will get easier once I get back to Seattle. And I will try to finish one of my other entries for posting tomorrow.

Song that will not leave my head: Baby of Mine, Dumbo soundtrack. I sang it to Oliver while he lay in the hospital bed covered in tubes. I felt a bit like Dumbo's mum when she cuddled her son with her trunk from the prison. It was as close as they could get to each other but they took comfort from it nonetheless. All of Oliver's tubes and such felt to me like Dumbo's mum's prison. I could hold his hand and caress his head, but I couldn't pick him up and pull him close to me like I wanted to so badly. Sometimes I wonder if those two last days would have been better spent with my son in my arms rather than lying under a blowup heating blanket.