Monday, 3 March 2014

The flood and after


The long, grey winter that is finally, slowly receding from these shores was the wettest since 1766, so they say. No beautiful snow for us this year (though we’re now too far south to have enjoyed it anyway). Temperatures were relatively warm, but for weeks on end, there was nothing more than sheets of downpour seemingly intent on scarring the landscape. Gale force winds. Flooding of biblical proportions. Destructive deluge. Many people lost power and homes and livelihoods. Entire regions of the country were isolated by caved in roads and rail lines.

We were always just on the edge of it. That lovely park just two doors from our flat? It was submerged, cut off, its beautiful lawns becoming a sodden, grey mess of clay, its gates locked against visitors for weeks on end. The pools of water crept ever closer to our door, but we were spared.

We couldn’t take our usual strolls or shortcuts to work through the park (or anywhere). It became an epic task to get to the nearest supermarkets (we don’t own a car, and even those accessible by motor vehicle experienced flooding and periodically had to shut their doors), so we used creative means to clear out the cupboards, and then ate a lot of crap take-away when we had exhausted that supply. We hibernated and instead occupied ourselves with all the simple pleasures one is supposed to enjoy as the rains pummel the windows from the leaden sky, while you watch the drops trickle down the glass, tucked up cosy inside and grateful for your shelter.

We drank cups of tea and hot cocoa and re-visited long abandoned projects of writing and artwork and compiling music playlists. H stuck in and worked like a demon on his thesis, now only weeks from completion. We became avid Olympics watchers and mock rivals as we cheered our respective teams, the apex of which was a face-off between the Austrian and Canadian men’s hockey teams on Valentine’s Day. I made multi-themed red and white, heart-shaped cookies incorporating a kind of amalgam of the Austrian and Canadian flags – the perfect emblem of trans-cultural love rather than rivalry. (H, being a realist, gamely cheered Canada to their 6-0 victory. Naturally.)

And we continued to indulge in our relish of this miraculous pregnancy, trying to enjoy what one beautiful friend (a fellow babyloss mom) called ‘all the earthy loveliness of being pregnant in the winter’.  We watched my belly expand. I began to strain under the last of my winter coats that still fit around my increasing girth, and was happy to notice when the chill wind was able to make its way up to my gradually more exposed baby bump.  H felt kicks for the first time. We discussed and contemplated the weighty decision of names for this little girl. We continued with our nightly ritual of reading up on little seedling’s development, and added a few more little traditions to the routine. As the storms raged, we cuddled and loved like crazy on our feisty miracle girl.

And we waited for each new monitoring appointment, (after that dreadful MRI) with a strange and tenuous mixture of anxiety and hope. The doctors continued to locate anomalies in her development, so that the list grew longer and the appointments an exercise in parental torture. And she continued to surprise and delight; not only us but her medical team. She grew and thrived. She kicked and wriggled. She faced each and every challenge with a gutsy defiance.

All those things, she did and she does.

And slowly, the clouds began to clear and the spring is upon us, once again.




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Last week, I walked out the door to head to work, and the gate to the park was, astonishingly, cast open. The waters that once threatened to submerge us had receded. And as I strolled past that beautiful but for now scarred scenery, suddenly they caught my eye: daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses. Bright splashes of purple and yellow amid the still mucky soil.

Invincible spring

They survived. How did they survive?  I thought they would cower from the gale force, wither in the face of winter’s ferocity. I thought that they would rot and die beneath the weight of water that submerged them for so long under merciless torrents. 

I was wrong. Spring is invincible.



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When I first left this space to retreat into my own little world it was in a burst of anger and injustice driven by fear and sadness.  But while I was there, in my own little world, something happened: life found me. When I stopped thinking about what others had, and instead looked around at the space I occupied, I realized it’s pretty damned awesome.  Are the challenges ahead still scary and overwhelming? Totally. We are not out of the woods, and little seedling still has a lot to battle against. But she is so strong, this little fighter of ours, and already she is teaching us so much. About the beauty and power of singularity. About miracles. About being in the present.  About the joy of the unexpected. This is our journey and although it may not look as we imagined it to, we are blessed beyond measure to be here, taking it. After all that we lost, after how hardened I became, I never imagined getting here.  Getting her, or the intensity of the feelings that would accompany the experience.  

After meeting H, during those first tentative talks about The Future and family and all that we wanted, I remember having the distinct feeling that what I wanted more than anything was to grow the intensity of love and discovery and goodness that we shared. To physically expand it, to extend it to another human being. I was never one of those ‘all I’ve ever wanted is to be a mother’ people. H made me want that. S made me a mother. And after a period of such darkness it feels...unfathomable, actually; to be reminded of all that goodness, all that wonder, all that belief in the promise of possibility that we once held and can hold again. Perhaps you can understand when I say that in the midst of the fear and the challenges, there is laughter and joy.

Right now, it’s a joy I find difficult to share with a computer screen. Life feels full. And so I may continue to post only sporadically for the time being. Selfishly, I still want and need the incredible waves of support that you all have and continue to offer during these scary, uncertain times. It is wonderful to have a sense of that huge, global cheering section little seedling has backing her. Selflessly, I think I want to keep recording all the twists and turns because I truly believe we will get our positive outcome and I want to be able to share that hope with others who may be facing these realities somewhere down the road, or right now, silently and alone. 

So posting will continue, however irregularly, as and when I find time for it. And I hope you’ll continue following, as I want to continue following and cheering all of you. You are an amazing bunch whose compassion, love and respect continue to dispel my sometimes pessimistic beliefs in human kindness.

In this very moment though, I think I’ll go take this little girl who is so vigorously kicking me in the ribs out for a stroll. Maybe we’ll walk past the crocuses and breathe the spring air.

66 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. I wish you more joy and peace in this journey to your little girl.

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    1. Thank you so much. All the wishes are felt and appreciated, and baby girl seems to thrive on them. Please keep it coming!

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  2. Simply beautiful. You have such a wonderful way with words. Continuing to send love and prayers to all three of you.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and your ongoing love and prayers. They are a huge boost to our ability to stay positive.

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  3. Thank you for the whiff of spring (it's a still a long way off where I am, hello Arctic front!). I really love reading about your journey and the wisdom it is uncovering. Yay for the growing little girl and all the new discoveries.

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    1. Yay indeed! She really astonishes us on a daily basis, and although it's not the journey I may have asked for or expected, now that I'm here I wouldn't trade it for anything, because then she wouldn't be the astonishing, brave, kick-ass little person that she so obviously is. Life is funny and beautiful that way, and I'm soaking it up.

      And continuing to send love and hope for a wonderful outcome for you too. xo

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  4. It's so lovely to hear from you again. I received your email this morning and then I read this post. I am so so so happy to know that you and H are in such a good place. Your little girl is such a fighter and I know she is going to bring so much love and joy to your lives. I'm so glad to know you will continue to update us, however sporadically that may be. I hope you know that we would love to hear about any updates you care to share, like what you are looking for in her name, how you are going to decorate her nursery and if you've purchased any baby stuff yet.

    p.s. I thought of you during that hockey game! haha!

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    1. p.p.s. Did you hear about the "Polar Vortex" in the Canadian prairies? I can't even.... I should have stayed home until April!

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    2. I am in the freaking polar vortex... You too??? Ugh. Looks like it's warming up this weekend!

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    3. Thanks for sticking with us my friend, and for checking in with us and sending all those good vibes. (It makes me smile that we were on your mind during that hockey game :) I'm not sure there are many besides us Canadians who even register the hockey events...) She's already bringing us so much love and joy, and we're getting more anxious by the week to meet her face-to-face!

      The name thing deserves a post in itself. Maybe if I'm feeling inspired one day...

      As for the polar vortex, I can't even fathom. No, really. It's not the first time I'm saying this, but no matter how much I lament about missing the snowy winters, I'm not actually sure my Canadian blood is strong enough for that stuff anymore!

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  5. What a beautiful post!

    Continuing to keep you all in my thoughts. Enjoy your spring :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. I know you know something about scary, complicated pregnancy-after-loss.

      And I'm so happy to read that things are looking god for you three ;) I hope your growing girth isn't proving too uncomfortable yet!

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    1. Thank you for reading and offering your kind words.

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  7. So nice to hear (read) your voice again. Always sending you, H and the little one positive vibes, and hoping you continue to enjoy spring.

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    1. Thank you; they are so much appreciated!

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  8. It's so nice to see a post from you, and I'm THRILLED that the break has been a positive experience for you and allowed you to continue falling in love with your daughter. Sending you so many hugs!!!!!

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    1. Sometimes it feels really good to stick your head out into the real world for some fresh air, ya know? And knowing that you all here have my back makes it just as rewarding to return to this space. Thank you.

      As for being thrilled...I just caught up with your news! So so happy for you friend. May Bean thrive and grow. Hugs to you.

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  9. This is so beautiful. I'm glad you've had time to yourself to reflect and enjoy your baby girl during these season.

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    1. Thank you, both for your kind words and for sticking with us through all these bends in the road. I truly believe this huge cheering section is helping baby girl to be her strongest, most amazing self.

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  10. we'll be following you no matter how often you post!!

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    1. Thanks Kimberly! Your support is so appreciated.

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  11. Go walk, enjoy, nest. I am so happy for you in reading this post. So, so happy.

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    1. Ah, Catherine. You are so sweet to keep checking in on us. The scary is not quite as scary with people like you out there to cheer us on, and the wonderful is twice as much so when shared with you. Thank you for being here friend.

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  12. all the wishes being sent her are not contingent on your posting-happy to hear you are taking care of yourself - more hugs and love being sent your way, today and every day

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    1. Thank you for sticking with us and checking in so regularly. You are truly kind and your encouragement means more than you know. Hugs to you.

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  13. Ah, Sadie, this post has me in tears. I'm so happy to read about your feisty little one and the arrival of your invincible spring. Thinking of you, H, and little seedling as you move forward with all the scary and wonderful things to come, and looking forward to reading as much as you care to share.

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    1. Your tears are making me tear up! This support has been phenomenal. She is indeed a feisty little one and already we could not be more proud. There is *so much* scary and wonderful and everything in between, but you know? I feel more truly alive than I remember feeling for a very long time. It's such a gift. Thank you for walking this road with us, and sharing all the ups and downs along the way.

      I hope you're settling in and enjoying the pleasures that Montreal has to offer! I've been thinking of you and will write soon.

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  14. The middle part, about Spring being invincible, got me. Like knock the wind out of me in how powerful that revelation is. Because it is so true. Despite the storms and destruction, there is always hope. And your little one is living proof of that.

    Still sending love and hope your way. Your girl is certainly a fighter. After all, she's got some great role models.

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    1. You're right Cristy; she is our hope. And even though I know it's there, and even have the rare gift of observing it sometimes, I am amazed by the resilience, the strength, the invincibility of hope and life and colour in all its forms. I'm finally in a place where I am waking up to it again, and it feels so so good.

      Thank you for all the continued love and for your sweet and encouraging words. They make all the difference some days. I hope you and the Beats are keeping well!

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  15. Such a beautiful post. I'm so happy to hear that you and your feisty little seedling are doing well and there is laughter and joy in among the fear and uncertainty. Wishing all three of you the very best.

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    1. Thank you so much for continuing to check in Lisa! I hope you and Pickle are thriving too, and that you've settled in to some good care back home.

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  16. Everything about this post was so uplifting! Glad to hear all is well, and looking forward to more updates when you can. Otherwise, enjoy the sunshine and the flowers! I can't wait until spring finally gets here.

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    1. Thanks! I hope spring decides to grace your doorstep soon too!

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  17. Beautiful post. I love the glimpses of spring you shared. It feels so far away here. Your little girl is so strong and I believe she will continue to defy the doctors.

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    1. Thank you for sharing our belief in her! And of course, for continuing to follow and cheer us on. I hope that spring soon finds you - metaphorically if not meteorologically.

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  18. Love love love Sadie! Spring certainly is invincible. Just like you. Just like baby girl. Just like your dream of your forever baby. Thank you for keeping us updated - thinking of you often. xoxo

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    1. Your words are always SO full of hope and encouragement and give me such strength my friend. Right now, we feel in a really good place and support like yours certainly helps. Thank YOU for keeping us in your thoughts. Love to you and Moonbeam.

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  19. Beautiful.thank you for this. You are amazing.

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    1. I don't know what to say. You guys are truly amazing and the support is so tangible. Just, thanks.

      I just caught up with your blog and read your wonderful news. Minka is just gorgeous. Congratulations, and always remembering Lyra with you. xo

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  20. I happened on your blog sort of randomly, but I've stuck around for the gorgeous writing and to root for your and your baby family. This is beautiful and you are so brave and wise. I apologize for lurking this whole time -- I was too shy to "introduce" myself since I don't have a blog or anything. But just know that I am sending you and that growing seedling warm, bright energy and thoughts.

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    1. However randomly you found me, I am glad you stuck around! Thank you for your kind words, and for your support - even if silent, I can't help but feel it adds to the mass of good vibes surrounding us. You needn't be a blogger to comment or share, but if you'd like to connect I'm always only an email away!

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  21. Sending you lots of love. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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    1. Thank you for sticking with us. Your continued thoughts for us are so felt and appreciated.

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  22. So good to hear from you and even better to hear about what a good place you are in. It is an amazing thing to finally find some joy after all the darkness.

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    1. Amazing indeed. Thanks for continuing to check in on us and provide some much needed encouragement!

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  23. It is so very difficult for me to put into words how incredibly moved I am right now. I have tears of joy in my eyes for you. I know it's not the journey you expected, but embracing the journey you (as in, anyone) are on is so hard. That you have found so much beauty to sustain you is awe-inspiring. Your heart is courageous and full, and your excitement as you get to know your baby is palpable. I can't wait to meet her!

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    1. Oh, Lauren. I am very humbled by your beautiful comment, and touched that my words and experiences could have some positive impact on others too, because it means that they have some value beyond my own truth. Thank you; you are a remarkable woman and a dear friend, and I am so happy for you in the place you are in too.

      I am glad that my excitement comes across, that it has not been eclipsed by all the drama. Truly, we cannot wait to meet her either!

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  24. Those two words, "she does", made my day. What a beautiful post! You're in my thoughts.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, for your sweet words, and for sticking in our corner. Your thoughts are so appreciated.

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  25. You are invincible spring. Your courage to seek out the good is purely inspiring. Your words are so honest and so human. It gives me great joy and a sense of peace to know you have found ways to embrace your journey. I know there will be challenges ahead, but I so believe in you. Sending you lots of love and continued good wishes!

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    1. Like I said to Lauren, I am humbled by so many of your comments and the emotional investment you have made in our journey. I feel so embraced and so grateful for these friendships, and for the recognition they bring that life *is* full of joy and beauty amongst the sadness. All this to say, your love and good wishes are felt and reciprocated.

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  26. Speaking of floods ... I got only a few paragraphs down before the tears started!

    What a lovely mixture of mud and change and hope, like early spring itself, like all of life really. I'm so glad that your little girl has brought you joy and that she continues to thrive, even with her challenges. Yes, those words "she does" made my day, too. Can you hear me cheering across the ocean for you both?

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    1. I *can* hear them - and feel them. I always love the optimism and strength that comes through in your comments Hope. To be able to support others on such different journeys is a rare ability and one which I admire and appreciate in you. Thank you for being here, for cheering us on, and for sharing our happiness in all these little triumphs. I'm cheering for you too my friend!

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  27. Oh Sadie, this is beautiful written. I'm glad you have taken the time for yourselves during the winter storms, and being together mostly. There is so much hope and love shining through your words. I continue to think of you, H and your baby girl often. Much love.

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    1. Oh, Marwil. Your support over these longest times has been so appreciated. I am thinking of you often too, of spring and renewal and both your sweet babies. Sending love.

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  28. This is beautiful. I am cheering for your little seedling, joining the global cheering section. I, too, have a thing for spring and here where I live the crocuses and daffodils are in full bloom. They remind me of my little spring gone girl, but now, they will also remind me of your seedling and hope.

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    1. Thank you so much. I have just had the chance to visit your blog (which I will continue to do) and am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Anja. What a lovely name. It kind of brings me comfort to think that in these symbols of beauty and strength and renewal, our little girls become connected in some way. Sending love to you and all your children.

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  29. Today where I live is the first truly springlike day in a long time- made me think of you, your post and all the hope that Spring always brings to us- sending love and good wishes your way for good new beginnings

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    1. Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement, and your constancy in letting us know we are in your thoughts. It is so kind of you. It makes me smile to think that something as beautiful as a spring day can conjure thoughts of us :)

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  30. Hope your spring is still springing along. Just thinking of you

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    1. Thank you, truly. Some days are springy-er than others, but we are moving along and approaching something like an end/new beginning.

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  31. What a beautiful, uplifting post on hope and joy and spring. Winter never fails to turn to spring. To endure all your pain and heartbreak and still be able to embrace your little seedling with such happiness is so inspiring. Wishing you a safe and joyful delivery!

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    1. I often think that it is *because* of the pain and heartbreak that I am able to embrace happiness - and especially this special, amazing little girl - with such joy. Thank you for your kind words and for cheering us along the way. All those good vibes are so helpful, I am sure of it!

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  32. This is such a beautiful post. You are an amazing mother to your wonderful children. I hope your little girl will continue to kick and thrive and astonish the world.

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    1. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you think of and include *both* my children in your sentiments. Thank you, for remembering what has been, and hoping for what will be right along with us.

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