Creating Precious Memories through Scrapbooking: 5 Years and Counting

Creating Precious Memories through Scrapbooking

A journey through pregnancy / infant loss to healing through the art therapy of scrapbooking.

5 Years and Counting

I wasn't too sure if I was even going to start this or not but with a meeting I attended on Wednesday, it only got my mind thinking of starting a blog about how to scrapbook a pregnancy loss / infant loss.

A subject that is so taboo to begin with that people don't talk about it let alone think about scrapbooking about it.

Scrapbooking is supposed to be about happy events in our lives.

Not always so.

We scrapbook about those we have had in our lives and have passed at an old age.
We scrapbook about those that have made some kind of impact in our lives but are no longer with us or are still with us.
We scrapbook about those that we celebrate with every year for their birthdays.

We scrapbook about life changing events. Babies, new house, new puppy, marriage.....

Why can't we scrapbook about a baby that was so loved, it impacted our lives right from the beginning?
No matter when you lost the baby, there are ways to scrapbook that precious little life. There are many ways to capture that precious life in a layout. You do not need pictures. You do not need talent. All you need is time and a willingness to try.
Before I get into the scrapbooking part too much, I need to give my reasons for wanting to scrapbook about pregnancy / infant loss.

At the beginning of August 2002, my husband and I decided we would start on our trying to conceive path and I stopped taking birth control. We left on vacation to visit family, and to have a small vacation away from family on our own. Little did we know that when we returned home, we had an exciting souvenir with us.

Upon returning to work, the girls there were quick to note how I was feeling and promptly bought me a pregnancy test. I took it the next morning and it was almost immediately positive. We were ecstatic and surprised at how quickly it happened.

The pregnancy progressed along normally. In December, we found out we were going to be having a son. While at first I was a little bit disappointed, (what woman doesn’t want a daughter!) the thought of having a son really grew on me.

In February, I ended up with edema but was told it was nothing more and everything else looked good. I continued to go to work and move along in my pregnancy as normal.

In April with just 2 weeks left to go, my OB pulled me from work due to a rise in my blood pressure. I was put on modified bed rest. Labour classes were winding down and it was during my last breastfeeding class that I noticed Zackery was really active. We didn’t think anything of it since we had had Subway for dinner and he had seemed to really like the sub sauce. The following day was my 39 week appointment. My blood pressure was still a bit high but they were still not concerned. When they were not able to find the heartbeat, I definitely got concerned but the OB told us it was likely just their equipment. They sent us to the hospital to have me checked out anyhow just to be sure.

After waiting for some time in the waiting room, I was taken into the exam room and hooked up to the monitor. They still seemed unable to find his heartbeat and could only ever find mine. The nurses kept telling me that it was likely he was in a funny position and they just weren’t able to pick it up. They checked me out asking about all the symptoms of pre-eclampsia (or at least I know that now) of which the only one I had was the spike in my blood pressure. Two ultrasounds later, the on-call OB had the unfortunate task of telling us that Zackery no longer had a heartbeat. I remember wailing, thinking it just wasn’t possible. The nurses suggested that I had him vaginally and that I hold him once he was born. I remember thinking how there was no way I was going to do either of them. I just couldn’t. Now, I am so glad they suggested that to me.

They gave us the option of staying and waiting for a bed or going home for a bit. We opted to go home to let everyone know what had happened. We called everyone which included my parents which live 3000 kms away from us. They would be leaving in the morning to drive to us. We ended up going back into the hospital later that evening and were promptly taken to a room. My mother-in-law was on her way into the city. While this technically was not her first grandchild, he was the first one to live close by. She had been just as excited as we were on the pending arrival only to find out he was gone. She wanted to be there for us for support. I can only imagine how she was feeling since she had lost her dad only 2 weeks prior.

My water was broke at 9:30 pm. At midnight, we talked with a social worker about everything that was going to happen and what our options were going to be. We talked to her for quite some time before we decided to try get some sleep. I was given a mild sedative to help me out.

At 3 am, I had started to feel contractions and at that point, I was just so exhausted with everything that I opted to get an epidural. I remember shaking as the epidural was being put in and how painful it actually was. I was able to lightly sleep after the epidural was in. I was given control over how much of the pain I wanted to feel. In the morning, I had a catheter put in as I had no feeling from my waist down. I had a bit of toast and juice for breakfast and I only remember that because I ended up throwing up because of the epidural.

I don’t recall what we did for most of the day. I do remember getting a phone call from one of the girls at work and talking to her about everything. I remember getting flowers from work and I remember my husband calling our friends to let them know we needed them to stop by our house to feed our cats. I don’t know how else we spent our day.

At 3:30 pm, I was checked and I was found to be very close. I could feel no contractions. At 4 pm, my body was ready for me to push. My epidural was so strong, the nurses had to tell me when to push by feeling my stomach. I was exhausted. They were having trouble getting Zackery out. The nurses ended up standing on stools and pushing on my stomach to try and get Zackery to come out. They were having problems getting his shoulders out. The OB gave us the option of forcepts and a small episiotimy to help him come out.

At 4:44 pm, May 3, 2003, Zackery Austin Kirk was born an angel at 7 lbs 10 oz at 39 weeks 1 day. He was absolutely beautiful and perfect in every way. He had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a little tufts of red hair on his head. Upon delivery of the placenta, they noticed a very small infarction on it with no explanation as to why I had it. I was stitched back up with a couple of stitches and the epidural was stopped.

They cleaned up Zackery and clothed him, took pictures of him and then gave him to us so we could spend time with him.

We had a couple of friends stop by to see how we were doing. They were able to meet Zackery. As I was lying there waiting for the epidural to completely wear off, I noticed a gushing, especially when I coughed. I asked my nurse if that was normal and she had told me that it can be normal.
I got into the shower and noticed I had large clots to the point where I was almost fainting. The nurse put me back on the bed and had the doctor come back in so that he could see why I was bleeding so much.

It turns out that when they were trying to get Zackery out with the forceps, they had inadvertently clipped a small artery. I was bleeding everywhere and that little artery was giving the doctors a heck of a time closing it off and I in pain from the poking they had to do and no drugs in me. Poor Adam thought he was going to lose me to the point where he ended up falling asleep on the couch after having a sedative.

I was now finally able to spend some time with my son but I was not able to hold him anymore. I could not sit up for fear of passing out again and I had a fever. The pictures we have of me with Zackery, I am lying down with a cloth over my forehead. I now have so many regrets from that day. Why didn’t I insist that I bathe him? Why didn’t I take off his clothes and look at “all” of him? Why didn’t I spend more time with him? Why didn’t we take more pictures of him? I know that no matter how much we did do, it would never be enough.

6 months after losing Zackery, the autopsy results found nothing wrong with Zackery. Reason for our loss was labeled as unknown. Ironically, after finding out the results, we got pregnant with our daughter Natalia. It was as if my body was waiting for the results. Natalia was born 15 months after losing Zackery. She is now 3.5 years old. We also have another daughter Anya that is 19.5 months old. The hardest thing about the subsequent pregnancies was the anxiety that I might lose those pregnancies as well. But, I am a survivor. And our children will know their older brother. His urn sits where everyone call see it as do his pictures. I have 3 beautiful children, one that was just too perfect to stay here with us.

This will be my way of remembering my son, introducing him and the love I have for scrapbooking to others that may not think they can or should scrapbook their loss.

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At May 15, 2008 at 9:50 PM, Blogger Ter said...

Hi! I saw that you have a blog and I'm here to congratulate you on your blog and wish you all the success!!

At May 18, 2008 at 7:43 PM, Blogger Holli said...

I love that you have pictures of you son around your house. I have pictures of my daughter hanging on my walls, and so does my mother. It's important to me. I don't feel that I should "hide" her. I'm proud to be her mom. I also love the idea of scrapbooking and loss going together. What a great way to remember our babies.

At May 30, 2008 at 4:57 AM, Blogger Olive Lucy said...

D- i think this is a great idea! you know we bereaved parents have so little we can do to share our children with other an this a lovely idea... thank you... i would like to add it to the fulltermloss blog roll do you mind?

At May 31, 2008 at 10:27 AM, Blogger AlexandrasMom said...

Diane - thinking of you and Zackery. The blog is beautiful.

At August 10, 2008 at 2:01 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Hi! I found your blog through the baby loss directory blog. Thank you for sharing Zackery's story. We lost our little Grace during the 2nd trimester, and I've blogged about her, too, as a memorial.

At August 28, 2008 at 10:58 PM, Blogger atreides said...

Hi, just wanted to let you know I'm reading your blog. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your scrapbooking is a wonderful way to keep his memory alive. I've been doing it to, though it's not on my blog yet. After seeing this I think I might start adding mine to my blog too.


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