Stephanie is Talina's mummy. Talina was born with Multicystic kidneys (Potter's sequence) and passed away a few hours after birth on the 13th of August 2002. Talina's web site is found here
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15 April 2002,
I love my life! How exciting it is to be so settled....Julianna and Killian are both doing well and excited about the new baby....This is the first time in my life where I feel actually ready for a little one....The house is big and warm, we are financially ok and we are happy.....So bring on the next few months!! I can NOT wait!!!
4th of May 2002,
Thursday was a big day. It was meant to be a good day... :( Not the first day of the rest of my life....I had my 18 weeks scan for baby Azri number 3. How can anything like that happen to me???
We found out that the baby has multicystic kidneys. The baby's kidneys are full of cysts, she doesn't make any urine so the lungs will not develop due to lack of amniotic fluid.
She will die at birth, because she will not breathe on her own for very long. I love her so much already and I am experiencing so much pain....I was asked to terminate...Yes, well that's all good and well, but the methods are terrible - would rather not discuss it- and I could never go through with it...So I'm supposed to carry this beautiful baby for another 5 months and let her die?
I can't write about it anymore.
Tomorrow, one day at a time...
8th of May 2002,
I always felt something wasn't quite right with this pregnancy....But who would have thought to this extent....The hope that a miracle cure could happen keeps me going....
I had a dream, she was an young woman and she was beautiful. She came to tell me all would be ok. She loved me and we would be together again.
I need to remember that eternity is an eternal cycle, there is so much going on over there, I can't describe what I feel but I know it is very happy.
10th Of may 2002
I'm told to try to live a normal life until the birth....Really?? Seriously?? How the hell does this happen when every second person asks me when I'm due, whether I'm happy, whether I have names, whether I cant wait till I have her etc....or the people who I end up telling generally dismiss the topic altogether or make stupid comment like "oh dear" "have you thought of committing suicide" (this is a genuine comment!!) or "better luck next time"....
Yes, better luck when I smash your head in next time....GRRRRRR
8th of June 2002,
I have come to terms that there is a chance that my miracle wont happen...Every fricken test says the same thing...I hear it over and over again....FATAL.....Yes, I get it.....Thanks for the reminder.....
I have decided I wanted balloons at the funeral. we could give people markers and they could write something nice about her and we would let them go up in the sky.
I think it would be nice,
8th of June 2002,
I decided that I couldn't just wait. I needed to be organised and prepared for the 'party' (AKA Talina's funeral). I went to the funeral director and was offered many exciting choices of plots and coffins.....I never thought I'd ever have to pick a plot and coffin for a child of mine....How do you pick the right plot? Too sunny, too dark, too small or too crowded....
This was one of the most excruciating things I have done in my whole life...Funny that the funeral director said to me that it would get much worse....She also has lost a baby....It was so lovely to know she knew....
So sad that I had to go alone....My family still does not support my choice and I'm constantly hearing how selfish I am for not terminating....Not that anyone could have helped, but I would have liked to be taking someone with me to pick this damn coffin....
And all this time, Talina is happy, kicking and thriving....Enjoying life...I wonder whether she really knows what's going on?
1st July 2002,
Things are travelling well, well not in the literal sense of the term, but considering the situation. My family has slowly accepted my choice and I am enjoying their support...
My sister and I made some scrapbooks together and just need the photos now....I wish I never had to take 'those' photos :(
On a brighter note, we scared the hospital social worker big time...Given I'm only half coping, we requested to speak to the social worker....She asked about our history....Oh my gosh.....No one should ever ask about our background- just crazy beyond a joke- and so we were hysterically laughing so hard, she told me I'd be fine and left us alone in the room.....Here I am like 7 months pregnant with a palliative kid telling her I'm not coping, but she leaves us??? WTF??? hahah I mean, I did tell her suicide sounded pretty nice, and she thinks it is hilarious....Yes, it sure was hilarious telling someone the type of history we had....Didnt get me any support, but sure was memorable...:) Will laugh about that one for a long time! ;)
15th Of August 2002,
Talina was born and died on the 13th August. I was alone at home with Julianna and Killian. I watched her little face and her little body snuggle against me and make the cutest little sounds....I never expected her to cry? I dont really know what I expected, but not a perfect little baby.....Soon after she was born, her cries got quieter, but she sure did try....I could do nothing but hold her and the kids and I sang to her, stoke her little body and tell her I loved her...I told her that all would be ok and we sang the Barney song "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family".....Sounds weird in insight....but there's nothing else to do....How do you help your kid to die? How do you process it and know what to do?
I wondered whether I should keep her alive as long as I could, or whether I should let her go....As she snuggled against me, she looked so peaceful, and so peacefully she stopped crying and I don't even know at what point she died.....Such a precious baby, such a precious life, and such heartbreak....How can I be so attached to a baby I've just met? And yet, I would die just to have one more hour with her...
We kept Talina home for two days. The lady came to "get her". It was very emotional but it had to be done. Sid put her in the little carry bed, I am so grateful he did it and not somebody else.
They left and my heart broke. We went to buy a big box to put all her things and left all the films to be processed.
We got home and the kids came home from nanny's. Killian came running and asked "Where's Talina" and I said "she's gone" and he went into all the rooms to check, toddling along and asking "where,where"?
Julianna is pretty good, she wouldn't leave to go to Nanny's without her little sister which was really upsetting for me and this morning when she saw I was holding Talina's blanket she thought Talina was back. She ran to me and the blanket with a big smile and said baba as she pulled the blanket open. the look on her face when she realised baba was gone will stay in my head forever.
We had a lot of people showing attention. We feel so blessed. The pain is unbearable but we hang on to knowing we are sealed for eternity.
We will see her tomorrow at the funeral. I love her so much.
16th of August, 2002
Today's the funeral. I cried so much last night. We left her with lots of things in the coffin.. In this ridiculously small thing.. I had trouble breathing, and It feels like I am dying (but don't hold your breath, this is not my lucky year..)
I can not cry at the funeral. I promised her it would be a happy party.. must be strong.
21st of August 2002,
Where do I start?? I am listening to "the" song. Everything's gonna be alright (sweet box) played while releasing the balloons.
I miss her so much. I go through stages where I know it was meant to be and others where I am hoping to fall from a cliff.
I always thought it would be easy as we had known for a long time, but nothing can prepare you for that. I see her face, her little hands and feet. I see us at the funeral home crying and holding her, I remember the feeling of not be able to breathe.
I remember the first day we went back, I saw the bassinette from a distance and as I got closer I saw her. She was cold and blue and she looked so little in her blanket.
I picked her up and I sat down with her .I remember the feeling of happiness we felt when we were with her. I didn't care whether she was blue or green. I would have kept her anyway. I know it was only a body but I don't care. .It was my "baby's body". It is so hard to let go. .I miss her so much.
The funeral was ok, I guess. we got there at 12.pm, we saw her, spent three hours with her, Alan a professional photographer came and did pictures for us for free. How lovely of him.
The hardest was to put her in the casket and close the lid, to let go of the balloons and to go back to the grave where all had been covered after we left..
And of course, coming home....That was quite challenging...This night was too hard. I felt like it would never end, with my so caring husband who feel asleep with no concern for my suicide planning.. (close, anyway :)).
10th of October2002,
I have advanced in my grieving stage, hahaha I now have reached the "let's break everything" stage. I am very angry. I am not coping well.
I see others with baby and I think it should have been them not me. I should not be the one going to her grave and rearranging everything, including ugly flowers, creating a web site that I force my friends to visit so I have the illusion that I am helping others.. I should not be the one who sleeps with a blanket that once had my baby in there. I should not be the one waking up at night because I remember that I put her in her coffin without kissing her goodnight but of course, now she is dead, I will never sleep again because I cannot fix my mistakes..
I would not remember what she looked like if it wasn't for the photos. So you see, I couldn't help my baby because I was too chicken to try some tests (amnio-infusion) that may have saved her life. but I can't take care of the kids I have now so let alone a baby. I can't stand my kids right now, they are messy ,noisy and I wish they weren't there and Talina was. I am going to burn in hell for the things I wish today...
Do I deserve this??
20th December 2002,
well, if it wasn't for everyone to tell me "to get over it ", I would be pretty good. Well that would still leave all those people telling me about their stupid dogs dying and breaking their hearts, hahahaha, do I look like I care??
I wondered what she would have got for Christmas?
29th of December 2002,
Christmas went ok, if you take the obvious away. I cried all night Christmas eve. I guess reality hit me when I made two lines of presents for the kids and my hands kept willing to make a third imaginary line...
We went to Allambe to visit Talina and we brought her some chocolates and lollies that we buried for "her"..
I would like to be pregnant but of course , being on the pill makes it slightly difficult for me. I am so confused with my life.
going back to work/ staying home with kids???
We haven't been to Church in months. I am sick of people being so selfish.. They say they care but they are not worried about showing their newborns off to our faces and pretending nothing happened to us, or the best, telling us that we fell depressed or angry because of our lack of spirituality.. Sometimes ,I wish one of them lost a child and I would tell them, why are you angry?? your baby just died but you should be grateful 24/24..
I am a Christian, I believe in God, I know he loves me but I also know that you have to face reality and that grieving is hard work and REAL.. How can spiritual leaders but so naive??
30th December 2002,
The year is nearly OVER.. hurrah.. I am so excited.. I have bad days from time to time but generally speaking I am much better, have some sort of peace within me...I look at my kids and I feel so much love for them all.. My son is just so handsome, this sounds pretty vain, but he is...He is gorgeous.. My daughter is so clever.. She is so so cute.. She is fully bilingual and is clever, that's it.
I think 2003 will be GREAT.. has to be..
10th March 2003,
Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's been nearly three months since I wrote in the journal.. well I have to say I thought about it quite a few times...
It has been nearly seven months since Talina's death and even though I still wonder what it would have been, I am in peace with it all. I can honestly say that I have accepted her death and the whole traumatic experience of carrying to term a dying baby pretty well.
I can not help talking about her and Families Forever (now PDS Australia) to any stranger asking me about myself and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved so far with the group, and the web site.
I realize that Families Forever has become my "way out" of not going through the grieving process and that deep down I may not have grieved completely but I am content with that.
I have come to terms with the fact that I could not help her dying, and that maybe fate was so, that I needed to go through the experience to do the work that I am doing.
I have not gone back to church. I just can not portray a life and a God that would tell parents that their baby is saved (but not the parents!!) or that parents have to now follow all their church's guidelines in order to ever see their child again (talk about emotional blackmail). I don't know, I am not saying I will never return to church or attend some sort of spiritual meeting but I am not ready..
Do I still believe Families can be together forever? I am not sure.. I sure believe in the grieving process where the thought for a parent of not seeing their dead child is insurmountable, and where they would need to believe in any sort of religious/spiritual comfort.. They may be a God and an after life like Churches describe it, but I would not vouch with my life on it like I once would have.
Research also says that child loss is responsible for a large amount of divorces. Well I am not sure why, but my husband and I are not getting on that well since her death.. I personally asked him to go months ago but he won't.. I hate my family life and the thought of falling pregnant makes me sick.. Actually so does the idea of sex with him for that matter. I guess the notion of conception and the risk of "it" happening again is too high for me..
However, the idea of having a affair or a relationship with someone else is very appealing.. I guess all being psychologically connected to my grieving emotions.
So to summarize the last few months, I feel very in peace with her death since I can't change it, but have totally withdrawn from any relationship with anyone including children and husband.
Until next time, steph
1st of September 2003,
I never thought a year would go so quickly...I mean I remember people telling me "oh times heal all wound" and I still remember the feeling of wanting to smack them.. But it is true to some extent.
I smile when I think about Talina most days. I still have bad days but they are rare or triggered by some other event. For example, my sister had a baby who was born exactly nine months after Talina's birth.. That was hard, and yesterday, I was watching a movie and a young girl died and there was a funeral and her flowers reminded me of Talina's, well that was it.. I was crying..
I have to say that being pregnant again (I am nine weeks) has made it easier, not that I would ever replace her but allowed me to have hope when I needed it.. I never went back to church. Not because I am angry with God. I am not anymore.. But because I got lazy after a year, I guess.
Our life has changed after this experience, but I can't say that it was all bad. It sounds horrible but I feel we have grown, I have grown into someone different, someone that is getting the skills to help others.
I will soon have my book done, I can't wait to see how it goes.. I hope we are able, all together, to bring fetal diagnosis out of the closet, and support other parents.
For Talina's birthday, we went over there and had a cake and released balloons. It was nice, we were able to do something for her as we always said we would. I miss her every day, but I can say I have developed (created?) a relationship with her that is real and happy and loving.
The hardest part about losing a child is to make sure people remember that you have xx children and not one less. I am always telling people that I am having my fourth one and it takes some repeating for others to accept.. But eventually, I have learnt to accept that some people will never get it, and that unless you walked in our shoes, you have no clue.
Well until next time, steph xxx
1st of June 2004,
This is amazing. Today my mother and I went to visit Talina's grave site and I did feel a little down so I decided that I would write a page in the journal. But I never expected to read what I read (she says as if she wasn't the one who wrote it!). "Being down" just took a new meaning, it feels like I am reading someone else's diary, and though I remember the intense pain, I am tempted to think "I couldn't do it", failing to think that I already have...
So what has happened since then?? well firstly I finished my HSV degree and I am currently half way through my Master's in Health studies, majoring in grief and loss. I have become self-employed as a counsellor and work under contract for local counselling centres. I have finished "a companion to your special pregnancy" and awaiting an answer from a publisher.
My husband and I survived the journey. We talk about Talina on a general level but rarely discuss deeper feelings that would bring grief back up on the surface. I, of course, never had the affair..
The children are doing well. Julianna started grade one this year and often talks about Talina, and desperately wants a baby sister at home "to play ring a ring a Rosie". Killian has grown into a big preschooler and though talks about Talina often, seems to have less questions and "regrets" that his sister. Olivia, my niece who was conceived the day after the funeral, just turned one. It is only recently that I have been able to look at her without thinking about Talina or without feeling the pain of her "being born", though her being born exactly 9 months later on the day will make it impossible for me to forget.
We did go back to Church after our son asked to go one day. Originally I took him on his own but soon we started to enjoy it again. There will always be unanswered questions and topics which I will not touch, but I know that the Church is good for us. It is bringing us hope, unity as a family and a social support which we love.
Phoenix John Azri was born on the 2nd of April 2004. A miracle in my life. He picked me up when I thought my life would never truly be happy again. I look at him and I see happiness, I see hope, innocence and pure love. I hold him and I am free, I smell him and I know all will be okay. He is the perfect baby, the perfect symbol of "recovery" for me if there is such a thing. Many times when I look at him, I see her and when he does something new, I wonder what it would have been ...
I still "bite" when people tell me that I have three children, the smart ones have now moved on to saying "three at home" which is a nice compromise...I am glad I took the time to grieve for Talina before having him, and though I feel the happiest I have been in all my life, I will forever remember the innocence and security lost as well as the learning journey and the positive transformation into the persons we have become. I will never be grateful for my daughter's death but I am sure grateful for what it has taught me and how it has changed me. Talina will forever be my third child, my precious little girl and I forgive myself for using any method for forgetting the pain, even if there are full blown denial techniques.
Until next time I shall brag! Steph xxx
1st of December 2004,
Another 6 months went by. I found myself in a shopping centre with my mum looking at Christmas ornaments. Whilst I was looking for a "baby's first Christmas" pretty thing to hang in the tree, my mum came over me with a nice little angel and told me that would be great to go on Talina's plaque... I found myself resisting that conversation and mentally suppressing all the information, and emotions, that were coming over me.
I looked at her and said "I don't want to think about it", "I don't want to be sad", "my baby's going to be here for Christmas and I want to be happy".
I had just done what I swore I wouldn't do, what I tried so hard to imagine; I consciously decided to put Talina's death aside and to focus on Phoenix' life.
What seemed at the time unforgivable is now ok to some extent. I fought and cried at the thought of forgetting her, I struggled with people (and still do) when they would say I had three children, and created enough memorial sites to last us a lifetime. Today, I was doing the opposite. Trying my best not to think about it, wanting to enjoy life, and not wanting to feel guilty about it...
Is that what "getting on" with things means? Is this what the acceptance stage of the grief cycle feels like??
I am still counselling and nearly finished my master's. I am now getting some referrals from professionals to assist other parents in the same situation.
"A companion to your special pregnancy" has found its publisher, and has been renamed "High risk pregnancy and foetal diagnosis; your journey". More details will follow.
I feel I have reached a milestone in my journey, I am glad I have shared it with you..
xxx Until next time, Steph
2nd of May 2005,
It has been an eventful few months. Phoenix has turned 1 year old. Today he is 13 months old, that really shows how lazy I have become.
How grateful I was when he was born is slowly fading. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful he was born and will always see him as my "little God sent" but he has now moved to being part of the furniture where I talk to him, treat him like a toddler, one of my children as opposed to a god, with no fault and all birth rights.
So in my ungratefulness, I have asked whether we should have another baby. The truth being I want a girl, and a girl only. I want a girl to fix things, to arrange things the way they should have been. Two girls, two boys, a happy family. But I am coming to terms that this is only a simplistic idea.
So what does it mean? Are we, as human beings, never satisfied and always looking at better? What is it?? Why do I even want a new baby when I have Phoenix?
The question I have is, would me having a baby girl forever satisfy me? or would I at some point, long for something I can not have? And finally, should I stop having kids together now, since I am doomed not to be 100% satisfied with my un-complete family..
Well, that is what we're up to.. Thinking and thinking even more about life and its meaning. All is well, we are blessed.
Things have become more stable and people who didn't know us before would have no idea about what happened to us nearly three years ago. I even get irritated when the other kids include Talina for example, when we talk about "who is going do what" in our next family home evening and somebody will say "What's Talina gonna do".. I succeeded in forcing my children to remember her and to involve her always. They've quickly clicked on that talking about her made me happy. I wonder to what extend it is genuine, or more to the point, a routine behaviour. I can not help but wonder what long term consequences my emotional baggage had and will have on the kids.
The answer might be simple, and as I let go, so will they.
Until next time, Steph
19th of August 2005,
Well, it's amazing to think it's been three years on Saturday that Talina was born. If it had been up to me, I wouldn't have done anything but my children did want a "party" and my sister felt I would regret if I didn't. Which I would have in the "guilty" sense.
We released some balloons, and had a pic nic it was lovely. It is going easier and easier.
I found out in July that I was expecting again...It came as a shock but I was happy. Sid wasn't that impressed, cried the whole day at work (so he said) and didn't really talk to me for two weeks. Anyway we started getting used to it and we talked about having the boys (killian and phoenix, 5 and 16 months old) sleeping on bunks beds, and julianna(6) sleeping with the new baby, who of course , would be a girl...
But i never felt to buy anything, no pretty little bear or clothes, like we always do, not did I buy the maternity clothes which were on special at K-Mart. I booked my 12 week scan, and booked in the Royal Hospital, Due date 20th march 2005, which would make my baby (ooppss,my toddler) just 2 when the new baby would have come. Perfect...
But not meant to be. I had a dream, it was a girl and she was going to die, like Talina. It was horrible. I woke up with the memories of the raw pain of having talina, the waiting in agony, the watching her die, the wondering what went wrong or what I could have done to prevent her dying?? and this intense grief that something was wrong/ or that the baby wasn't real. I prayed to Heavenly father and explained to him that I could not, never would go through this again, that should this baby be sick or dying, to end it now as I would not cope, didn't want my children to go through this trauma again. That was Tuesday night.
On Wednesday night, after a long day, I noticed blood and went to the Hospital who told me to come back the next day for a scan. By Thursday lunch, the bleeding was bright red. I had the scan which show a gestational sac not matching the 8 week along it should be and not much more. The blood tests showed decreasing levels of HCG. I was miscarrying.
SO what did Sid say??? Was he upset?? Absolutely hahaha.. his response " I am sad for you, but I didn't want it in the 1st place so..".
What about the kids?? I told them we made a mistake, there wasn't a baby in my tummy after all, but an .... APPLE PIE, which produced giggles and laughters....
Anyway, I am disappointed but not depressed, I so know it could have been worse, so much worse, I am grateful that it happened now rather than after birth or later in the pregnancy.
I am now hoping for an understanding husband (joke) and a baby girl's conception in the near future..
All is well, the practice is going very well and family is good.
Until next time,
4th Of February 2006,
It's always the same thing; time goes by and I come back to add a page and I get totally shocked by the journey and the rollercoaster of emotions I read.
So after the miscarriage, Sid swore on everything possible that he would never get caught again assisting in baby making and that he was going for a vasectomy. Anybody who knows Sid would know not to pay much attention as to what he says, but for those who don't, one might be tempted to think that he would never have other children, that maybe I was tricking him or worse that he didn't know how babies were made??
He refused to take precaution, and out of principle, so did I (after all, I am not the one who didn't want any more!!:)). His only resort was abstinence (which I provocately suggested) and to which he swore by... It probably lasted a few weeks, until one fine day (as expected) he gave up. As I was telling him of the bad timing and the chance of me falling pregnant (isn't that a proof of good will on my part??), he replied "TANT PIS" which in English would translate "NEVER MIND",
About two weeks later, we had an argument. As I was growing some idea that I may be pregnant, I did a test. I thought 'what a come back' as I mentally scripted the funniest argument in my mind:
Sid: "you stupid woman, you're dumb"
Steph: "I hate you move out"
Sid : "Sure no problem"
Steph: " And I'll add this one on your maintenance bill"
NOISE: plunk, the positive test thrown in his face!!!!
So I did the test, not really believing it would be positive, after we only had the one off unprotected episode. BUT it was... I raced to the doctor who confirmed I was about 5 weeks. Unfortunately, I had left the box on the desk so he already knew by the time I came back. And whilst my come back wasn't as surprising as I would have liked it to, I still had lots of fun watching him.
Currently, I will be 14 weeks on Wednesday. Still hoping for a girl, but mostly for a healthy baby. The kids are excited.
The book finally got released and can be viewed or purchased from fabooks.com.
Julianna is in grade 3, killian just started grade 1 and Phoenix started Gumnut (playgroup). The clinic is going, a little slow but going.
Not too sure what else to write, I'll endeavour to write more especially as we discover the gender of the baby, or whether Sid actually goes for a vasectomy (not holding your breath,I hope?)
Until next time,
30 January 2007,
It's with great shame that I realise it's been a year since I wrote in this journal. I received an email from a lady who had just lost her baby of SIDS. Her email was asking me, I quote, "if I were still resentful about Talina". This small question really made me wonder if I were, or had ever been resentful towards Talina. I didn't think so, so I wondered what made her ask that??
I re-read the journal and I may not have expressed totally how I really feel about Talina's death, nearly 5 years earlier.
The blunt truth is, I was NOT a good mother. I was impatient, intolerant, judgmental, aggressive and loving but unable to express it,. As I prayed, and prayed, to get better to heal all my wounds, so I could emotionally mother my babies, things weren't changing much. Until Talina....
As I watched her die and lived through the experience, the forced growth I had to undertake to survived, healed a lot of scars I had. Firstly, I started to appreciate what I had. I recognised my weaknesses.
By the time Phoenix was born, I was emotionally more stable than I had ever been. Take away the grief, of course, that I was going through, I could SEE, the way not many of us can SEE. I KNEW what I had been blessed with and could appreciate it.
How many mothers (or fathers for that matter) can say they have NEVER cursed, rolled their eyes, breathed heavily, or felt some discouragement but SMILED as their baby woke up for the 5th time in one night??? I CAN.
With being as humble as I possibly can, I have been the perfect-est- mother possible to be with Phoenix (at least and only for the first year or two ha ha). EVERY TIME he woke up, cried, fed, hurt himself, threw a tantrum I would smile. I SWEAR I would be happy every time I saw him. I KNEW ,again, the blessing he was. Of course, as he grew older, I had to discipline him and not always let him do as he pleased, but I have never lost it with him, physically or verbally. He will never know me as the person I once was. The other two, julianna and Killian, got the opportunity to develop in a safe and secure environment, something that wasn't always the case.
Don't get me wrong. My kids were always fed, clothed, had what they needed and were loved. But emotionally I wasn't coping with the demands.
By the time Jett was born (we'll get to him in a minute :), the whole family was stable, our arguments (adults and children alike) were of a normal nature. I can count of my fingers the number of times my kids have got a smack in the last 4 years.
So how do I feel about Talina?? I'll say this LOUD AND CLEAR, "GRATEFUL". She was sent by God to make me better, to teach me what I couldn't learn, to help my other children, to gain a body and return to live with Heavenly Father.
Do I feel Sadness when I think about her? Absolutely! I know she'd be turning five in August and that should have been a milestone in our lives. Do I choose Not to think about how painful her death was? Absolutely! Do I even kid myself with some corny little dreams? YEP! Do I feel angry at times that she's dead? YES! Do I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that she served her purpose on earth, that she "saved" in a very broad sense my living children, that her birth and death were meant to be??? YES ~~ ABSOLUTELY!
So that's it for where I am in the grief journey.
In my last entry, I had found out I was PG. I was of course hoping for a girl. Sid didn't talk to me for quite some time, and he refused to admit it was his fault until recently. At 19 weeks, they told me it was a BOY, yes, boy, male gender, the opposite of girl. I cried for a while, but after a day, I accepted this, again knowing that Talina Could never be replaced anyway.
He was born at home, on the 7th of August. I had him alone in my bath tub. Never to be done again. Whilst I had 3 un-assisted childbirth, I'd like to discourage it. It's so dangerous. he had the cord wrapped around his neck so tight, I could see him gasp for air, air that couldn't come. I thought we were going to lose him. In our rush to cut the cord and unwrap it, I only clamped his side, and may have pulled on the placenta a little (..). There was blood everywhere, and I ended up with post partum hemorrhage and a slight prolapse. Things are not quite resolved on that end, 5 months later...(And had to stay in hospital anyway :):)
He is SOOOOOOO cute. His name is Jett Anakin. I have finished my Master's in health studies majoring in grief and loss and Women's health issues. The book is out, hasn't become best seller, never will, I realise, but it will remain one of my personal achievements. I am not sure if I'll have more babies. Sid, still wants no more, but hasn't done anything. :):)
I am still doing clinical counselling with a wider range of issues and love it. I am still attending church and find peace there.
It may be that this is my last entry, and if it is, I'd hate it to be summarised as "the mother who moved on happily". The lady who emailed me said she could never move on like I did, and I'd like to think of my "moving on" as GROWTH, rather than abandonment for Talina. Talina will always be the bitter-sweet taste of my life; for every bit of happiness I have because of her, I feel sadness and for every bit of sadness I feel through her, I have joy.
Again, it has been a difficulty journey, and perhaps the path Talina and I took, was not the easiest one, but it was the one we chose, knowing fully, what was in store for us. Knowing our purpose and potential as children of God, and having faith that all would work out fine, that we would be reunited in the after life and rejoice in knowing we worked so well as a team, achieving our little family plan, having an understanding that, she without me, and I without her, would not have made it to our full potentials.
"What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" is certainly something I have learnt first hand. The legacy I leave to my children is one of love, growth, faith. One of humility, of a softened heart and contrite spirit. What I have had engraved on Talina's grave site plaque is the following:
" Whosoever the Lord seals on earth, shall be sealed in heaven".
It came to me in a dream, I liked it, so I kept it... Unbeknown to me, it's a scripture found in Doctrine and Covenant (D&C 127;7) and it states:
"Whatsoever you bind on Earth, shall be bound in heaven"
So granted, it's not quite the same but it testifies to me that we are not alone. It reassures me that there is hope, there will be restitution and that it sure was the message both God and Talina wanted me to focus on.
I love her, and my other children dearly. I live for them and I would die for them. I am so grateful for all the blessings I have received, even when they came in the forms of trials. I enjoy my life, my job, my country, my calling, my friends, my husband, my family and I love being part of my church. I know there is so much I don't get or disagree with, but I know this is the place where I am meant to be at. I know God lives, and talks to us, talks to me and you too, if we want him to, and I know families will be together again.
Do not be discouraged, do not lose hope, all will be fine. I'll leave those words with you, in the name of Jesus Christ.
All my love,
xxx Steph (that's Jett, 5 months old and kids together)
1st September 2007,
Jett's turned one recently..Despite his being so cute, he never had the "Phoenix effect" and that little big three year old now will continue to be my own little saviour.
Talina would have turned 5 a couple of weeks ago, and this year is the first year I haven't released balloons. firstly, i didn't order any and because it was a public holiday I couldn't get any, and secondly, I really didn't want to go through the annual trauma of balloon release...
Today I had supervision (compulsory debrief for counsellors) and we were talking about grief on a general level and I started crying..Oh my gosh, I CRIED in front of my boss...I'm so embarrassed, that a part of me is considering quitting :):)
I don't know how normal my reaction was and whether I really ever grieved for Talina.(yes, I know literally contradicts previous entries) but the second she died I created Families Forever (PDS Australia), and less that a month later the book was already being written..Then I had Phoenix and Jett...I don't know what to think. The truth is, I can't talk about it...every time I do it upsets me for hours, sometimes days...and when she's mentioned, I can't stop thinking about it , like today..This was at 3pm, I had three more counselling clients which i couldn't concentrate on, and currently it's 10.15 and all I did tonight was surf the web site and write in this journal.
How do I know whether someone has grieved or merely suppressed it?? how do we know?? Is it wrong to suppress your emotions when they're so negative??
Help would be welcome :), I laughed today when I read my entry of 7 months post funeral when I say I have overcome her death..Please, get real, who was I kidding??
1st of february 08,
Nice and quick today. I feel embarrassed that my entries (and thus emotions within those entries) are so confusing and range from one extreme to another. I considered deleting the whole journal but a part of me knows how helpful that type of things was to me back then so I didn't.
Some days (in this journal) I wrote "I'm over the grief", some days I wrote that "I feel so sad"...Get a grip woman! Yesterday I had my first counselling session (me as the therapist with a baby loss) without crying or anything. I thought it was relevant because of the incident during supervision (see last entry) since then I had started focusing on repressed emotions and whether I had grieved for Talina (the joys of being a therapist, I think, think, think) I processed a lot of it.
I have trained in DBT lately, and whilst it was never designed for grief and loss, it is really good to learn to "ride" your emotions as opposed to fighting them off...
So, please appreciate the sacrifice that I am doing in leaving this journal on the internet. It is not easy to acknowledge the negative emotions I have felt without wanting to hide them...:):) What I would like to say is that negative and sad feelings are normal and happen to everyone. It's also ok to go back and forth between emotions over the years. For as long as one has more good days than bad (let's say at least 80%) I think it's normal.
There you go...PS: Sid is going to a vasectomy consultation next week..who knows..he might actually do it!!!
12th June 2008
I just love to read this journal..It is so funny. if I had wanted to write the memories of a looney woman, I couldn't have done any better. :):)
Quick summary, I am still working as a clinical social worker/Team Leader 3 days a week in a high school with pregnant and parenting teenagers and the rest for LDS Family Services doing pure clinical/mental health work.
So, in my last entry I write that Sid was meant to go for his vasectomy appt on the Thursday. He was quite "ready" to go so I prayed and said if there was another baby that wanted to come, he had just a few weeks to do just that....And the day he went for his pre-op, I did a pregnancy test with all the kids which was positive....The kids were so happy..My husband was so mad (again, he is so stupid, he truly can't think about HOW this could happen and never questions his responsibility in not wanting to take precautions) and he said that if I didn't have an abortion and "fix" this quick, he was leaving, to which I joyfully replied "have a nice life"..I didn't abort a kid that was going to die, I wasn't about to abort a kid that was going to live for heaven's sake!!!!!!!!!
I had a scan at 12 and 18 weeks. I asked her to write the gender on paper because I didn't think I could cope with the outcome, I left the office with two envelopes. One was my gender result, the other one was a letter the sonographer wanted me to give my GP. I wasn't even in the car yet that both were opened. It was a boy (and boy was I angry) and he had a cardiac anomaly (boy did I feel confused between all the emotions).
So here I was back being a patient of the fetal diagnosis centre, which I never thought could happen again. I had scans etc..and the baby has a VSD, which is a hole in the heart but there's ranges of how bad it can be. Apparently, this baby has the simplest form of VSDs and there's nothing we can do now but wait till he's born and have scans then. Worse case scenario he needs heart surgery but the cardiologist seemed to say it was "not a big deal".
So there you go, sort of made me grateful to have a boy who was going to live and I didn't focus so much on gender...
My husband doesn't really know what the outcome was, he never asked, but he's trying by asking what colour we should paint the room etc...
This pregnancy has been good so far (I am nearly 24 weeks) although I am more grumpy and hormonal (so I am no longer the perfect parent, according to the previous posts :) I scream at the kids often especially in the morning when we're late I HATE BEING LATE) but I am trying hard, and trying even harder....
No name in sight, if you have any, please let me know. I'm considering having the baby in hospital, haven't committed yet, but Logan said they would allocate me a midwife and she would be on call when I have the kid, so that would make a difference...there you go, that's about it..
oh yes, of course, I nearly forgot, Sid did have the vasectomy, I am so resentful It wont be as easy for me to have babies now :) and i know it's irrational but it makes me see him as a defective man...ah well, personal issues to work through one day...
Well, if I had more photos I would put them here but I don't have any on the computer.. Until next time,
Stephanie, the looney ( and it rhymes too!!!) xxx
5th of December 2008,
Another half a year has gone by and I gave Birth to Noah Liam Azri on the 7th of October. I contacted my local hospital who explained that I didn't have to go through a traumatic birth in hospital nor have it by myself in precarious conditions. I was allocated a private midwife.
I had a dream that i was having contractions and as I woke up I realised it was true, rang my midwife, organised to meet, go there at 7.50am, she got there at 8.10 and he was born at 8.35. Nice and quick....
He is cute, I can see my husband in him. We had a cardiac follow up and Noah is as strong as a poney (too little to be a horse yet :)) and he was discharged from the clinic.
Sid bonded with him fairly quickly and was sorry for his animosity when finding out I was pregnant. I have cried everyday since he was born. Mainly grief and loss in that I can never have another baby (well never say never, I can have one without Sid, or he can get a reversal) but that aside, He is infertile...The word itself turns my stomach. He is infertile...There is no life in his love for me..yes, ok I get I'm a little extreme, let's blame it on the PND, but the bottom line is I can't replace Talina, I can't have another little girl to keep me company, for me to care for and love when I get older...I have four boys who will move on and get married and I will see them less, a daughter who is nothing like me, so I wonder if as she grows up whether we will connect (which has nothing to do with love, purely getting along issues) so in a shameful selfish way, I will be alone with no children of mine to cuddle, buy things for, counsel and love because they won't want me that way as men. Out of my six babies, I will not get the later rewards of parenting.
I love babies, there are unique, special and miracles in their own right. I would have had another one. And I am grieving him or her. Double grief, Talina and now this one... I am grieving the sharing of a pregnancy and birth with my husband as I didn't have that for the last three. I would have wanted a "happy" last time...
The other kids love the baby. Jett although is a bit rough but he has stopped trying to bite him :).
Let's look at a photo of my beautiful baby below...
Until next time,xxxxx
3rd July 2009,
More time has gone. Noah is now almost 9 months old. I have finally grieved the vasectomy and truthfully, I am happy Sid got it done (although if someone repeated this, I would deny it :):).
I am glad I can focus on the kids I have and my career. I have started writing my second book, called "the Dilemma", and given that it will not deal with such a sad topic (compared to High risk pregnancy and fetal diagnosis; your journey), it will target a broader population. I might be able to sell more copies than the numbers of free ones I am giving away hahaha.
I was reminded today of Talina's life and death. I told some people that if I had to do it again, I would likely terminate as it was very traumatic to carry 9 months only to lose her anyway. It felt like someone who won loto and lost it all overnight. Better to NOT win loto then! I think every case is different and in Talina's case I had to carry her full term, in another pregnancy I may not have had to. I will not have another girl, but like I was saying earlier, I'm ok with that (given I have no choice). AND I am glad I did it for her. She was meant to be born, and grateful that it only happened once as I know people who had a genetic version of Potter's and who had a couple of babies die. Count my blessings.
I have been invited to be a public speaker at the Annual conference for CHYMS (child and youth mental health) and I am speaking about Positive thinking for Young People. I'm excited. I have got another degree (BSW) and a cert IV in TAA since my last few entries and yes, I need to grow a life. Gosh I am so funny.
It's almost Talina's 7 BDAY. I can't believe it has gone that quick. SEVEN years...I am going to take the day off work and we will go there and have a pic nic or something.
My cute babies are going well and I am grateful for them everyday. My husband is in love with them despite his taking a while to warm up to the pregnancies. Well not much to say. I am just blessed to be where I am today.
Until next time, more bragging.
More time has gone by! I am about a quarter through my PhD majoring in what..I'll let you guess...:) in the effect of psychosocial support on women's wellbeing after a prenatal diagnosis. A huge research project that will earn me the beautiful title of Dr.Stephanie Azri (thank you Talina)!!
Since my last few entries, I have continued to do some public speaking, the last one was at the Capers conference in May on my topic. This was very interesting and I sold ONE book !! yeahh (one! I mean who cares about one!) Although I could think positive and ask about that one mum who may read it and find it helpful...
I have managed to land me a contract as a Perinatal senior social worker for QLD Health. This is awesome. Although I do not only deal with losses, I still deal with pregnancy issues and I'm hoping this is one foot in the door to work in maternal fetal centres (well once I have repaired the relationships with half the field for screaming at the lack of support (well at least support that women know about) for women and earning me the title of crazy unprofessional bitch).. oopps sorry about that :) well we are passionate or we're not!
I am also still seeing private practice clients one night a week.
Actually I could say that things are going very well overall. Kids are growing and things are good.
There is a new add on TV. It's for some car. As soon as it started playing, I had a panic attack. it took me a few seconds to analyse why but it quickly came to me...There were playing the same song that we played at Talina's funeral. I couldnt breathe, seriously I couldnt breathe!! It showed me that I was fine...until I was triggered by something. Very typical and normal but in essence, we're all the same...Our grief remains with us and resurfaces from time to time...
This week, I spoke to three women who experienced a prenatal diagnosis. I feel so privileged that I am able to share my thoughts with them. I feel for them, because I remember so much how painful it was, how raw it was..... and maybe, perhaps, Talina lives on in the little support that I try to give others in this terrible situation....
**** Happy Birthday Little Talina****
13 August 2011
Today you'd be nine...
Wonder what you'd be like, what you'd talk about...How would our lives be different? Why is it that I can be so normal everyday of the year but feel so crazy on your birthday little girl?? If you've read this journal on Talina's bday, would you please wish her a Happy Bday by signing her guestbook please xxx
Until next time,
!!! 13th August 2012 !!!
Happy Birthday yet again!!
Wouah, and so another year has gone by. It's funny because in some ways it has not been as hard as the other years. I was expecting the big 10 to be such a milestone, but quite frankly Grade one was much worse.
I won't write too much because not much has happened but PhD is doing really well and I wish I could share my findings here. My only wish will be that that work is useful to women in this sad situation. If you're ever one of them, and PDS Australia has been helpful to you, please let me know...This is her legacy and it warms my heart to know that Talina lives on through it.
2012 started terribly but has taken on a good turn. I have got a permanent position with QLD Health and love it. This is where I am meant to be for the next couple of years. We have gone on holidays at Mt Hotham skiing. It was tiring but great! The kids are doing great and seem very happy and balanced. I love them all so much...
As usual, it's Talina's birthday, so please sign her guestbook to let me know someone in the world actually reads my rubbish :)
Until next time, Stephanie
13 August 2013,
Eleven years today!!! Over a decade! Unbelievable!! Well, well, well.....A few things have happened this year (asides the usual holidays and kids' bdays...)...
First of all, I'm almost finished my PhD...I say almost cause a PhD feels like it will never bloody finish! But jokes asides, I can now see the light....I'm a little scared of sharing the findings.. I feel like I am a 'baby' in the field and that no matter what I find, it may be criticized or simply rejected by the field (and given my poor social skills, I have issues building networks and relationships which adds to my anxiety).
I have written/ published a couple of books this year (Healthy Mindsets for Super Kids published by JKP in the UK- Beyond the bombshell being co-written with Sherokee Ilse, hoped to be published next year) and I had an academic article accepted in the Australian Social Work (the professional journal of the AASW, therefore a great achievement).
I was invited to speak at the Annual Ethics Symposium of the Australian College of Neonatal Nurses alongside great professionals in the field on my PhD findings. This was also a great highlight as it recognized me as a future 'expert' in the field. I am very grateful for the opportunity :)
Alright...Now the big highlight of this year and relevant to Talina's bday.....Here we go.... I sent my husband to France. In a way, it was to say goodbye to his family properly as he had never had this chance, and because I don't plan on going back in the near future. Because he had not seen them in 14 years, they didn't really know about Talina or what had happened...They talked about it and he answered a few questions, which must have made him reflect on the experience. He was gone overseas for 3 weeks.
When he returned, he was a changed man...We were completely different as a couple. He explained that as he was talking to his family, he realised that Talina's death, the fact he never got to see her alive, and the whole experience had traumatized him and plunged him into depression. He now was able to see how each 'post-Talina' pregnancy was rejected because he struggled with the memories and how his grief had changed him.
He must have done some hard grieving and found peace within himself because things have been unbelievable on all levels since he returned 6 weeks ago. It's fantastic of course that, after 17 years of marriage and 6 kids, we are having a second honeymoon...But what strikes me, as a clinician, is that we didn't really know/see/understood the impact of Talina's death on him, as the father....
How many other families lost a baby, thought they were ok, or had grieved but hadn't? How many fathers continue to think they must be strong for the rest of the family but as a result slowly get themselves in a spiral...
This has reinforced to me, that finding out your baby is going to die, and watching him or her die, is indeed a long term traumatic event for both parents and I am so grateful that a holiday was enough to help my husband and I see this (and of course allowed him to return as almost the perfect man ahaha).
I continue to wonder what things would be like if Talina was alive...How would things be different...Particularly for Phoenix who often feels left out between the two teens and the two little ones...
Here is a photo taken today. How cute that I have here *all* my children in some shape or form?
~~HAPPY BIRTHDAY TALINA, mummy loves you ~~
Thank you for reading my journal and I hope that it has been helpful. I'd love to hear from you. Remember to visit Talina's website at www.PDSAustralia.org/Talinacorner.html or to sign the guestbook to let me know you were here at http://pub13.bravenet.com/guestbook/1106733192
Until next year,
All the best!
Stephanie (Future DR Stephanie ahahaha)
13 August 2014,
I got home today and my husband welcomed me by saying "Oh you look cute today... cause yesterday it really wasn't that great..." Now, should you care.... Today I am wearing a skirt with boots and yesterday I was wearing dress pants and a pink shirt.... Apparently, office clothes are ugly on me...So needless to say, I am not in a good mood and this might be reflected on this year's entry....
Another year went by and no, I still am not Dr Stephanie Azri. In actual fact, I am further than I ever was because I am thinking of quitting. The thesis has been with an internal marker forever and the fact that it's not coming back freaks me out into thinking it's so bad that she doesn't want to give it back! The normal part of me (what's actually left of normal in me :) ) knows that I would never give up and would always finish it, but I am indeed frustrated and scared to say the least.
I've published a couple more academic articles. Waiting on another new one, so fingers crossed that one gets accepted for publication. It's on the 'SARF' model. A model of care I created based on the findings of my PhD. It encourages professionals to look at their skills (S), undertake full assessments of needs (A), refer women to support (R) and follow up on the referrals made (F). I've been so privileged to work with those special women over the last few years. They continue to inspire me.
My new book, co-written with Sherokee Ilse, is due on September 1st. We are a little behind in the schedule, but all going well, I will have a new book to present to you next year. The title is TBA but it's a companion pregnancy book for women after a prenatal diagnosis. This book, unlike my first one, does not discuss pregnancy options and continues to provide support through the years to come (returning to work, dealing with other pregnant women, rainbow pregnancy, memory creation over the years etc...). I am excited! My partnership with Sherokee is very rewarding. She certainly is a very passionate woman.
I am still working in the Psychiatric unit. Although, I am currently acting as the Allied Health Team Leader, compliments of my manager having a baby (congrats!! ;)). I will be in this leadership role for 12 months and I look forward to the challenge. It gives me a year to consider where I need to be and what I want to do. I've recently presented at a conference on Perinatal Mental Health issues for Pregnancy Counselling Link (www.PCL.org.au) which was really lovely, and so through doing it, I realised that my heart continues to belong with women's health and family issues... This is where my passion lies.... So food for thoughts....
Kids are going well. It's incredible to see them grow up so quickly, my last little one has started school. It's official! I have no more babies! And my oldest will be eligible to get her learner's this year too!
For Talina's birthday, my mother, my sister and my daughter are going to visit her gravesite and go out for lunch. It has become a nice tradition which I have to say, I find really peaceful and relaxing. Nothing beats the company of those who truly care.
To end this year's entry, I wanted to share with you the epilogue of my new book if this is ok. I hope it resonates with you.
Until next year xxxx
"I am humbled to witness how the most traumatic loss of my life also turned into the most life changing event for me as a mother, as a woman and as a professional. Being told at 20 weeks in 2002 that my baby would die changed me forever. The shock, the shattering of my innocence and the heartbreaking pregnancy options I was given affected me a great deal to say the least. Watching little Talina be born at home and die a couple of hours later gave me a reason to look at my life with new lenses. I suppose tragedy has a way to make people reconsider their lives, choices and priorities. And Talina did exactly this for me. Her death broke me, only to rebirth me a better person. Through this process though, there were times where I thought I would not survive and begged for just a little relief in my grief. In the end, and after a while, I slowly learnt to put one foot in front of the other, and learnt that I could honor Talina’s short life in so many beautiful ways.
My research, my career, my books and PDS Australia are her legacy. Who I am as a mother and as a person today is her gift to me. And so I want to share her gift with you. I want to tell you that you will survive this journey, that you are not alone and your baby, no matter what you decide about your pregnancy, will be with you forever. If by reading this , you feel a little bit of hope, then I’ll have accomplished our humble wish."
13th August 2015,
This year I did not write anything. I didn't feel like I had anything to contribute or achieved. I did not finish my PhD, and I did not feel like I had anything worth sharing. A tough time, and not much (positive) to share with you. Sorry....
13th August 2016,
What a contrast to last year!! This year has been good. And guess what ???? I FINISHED MY PhD!!! yes, I did!!!! There were times I thought I couldn't do it. Times were people told me I should quit, and I almost did... but guess what! I did it! Now, before I get ahead of myself, I still need to 'graduate' and markers need to deem it good enough. So it's not in the bag, but hey, what a great start! And such a relief....
My latest book, co-written with Sherokee Ilse (The prenatal Bombshell) (available through all online bookstores) has been out for just under a year I think. Received amazing reviews, however is fairly pricey, which breaks my heart because I wanted a low cost book to provide women everywhere. And smart of the publishers too, I don't have an electronic copy to give away.... Maybe someone read my mind :) SIGH.... I'm sorry everyone, I have tried...
This year I also bought a new house. Working up to four jobs to be able to save and get there, and I'm glad I did. So the house is beautiful and much bigger (big for all of us). Finally, we got a pool installed a couple of weeks ago, so it sure will be a great place to be in the Azri house over summer. Talking about family.... Julianna has started Social Work! How cool is that? She will be a social worker like her mum. She cracks me up. I think we'll definitely have some good times together. Killian is a chef now, well an apprentice, and has made us a couple of dinners. Phoenix has started high school and growing up too fast. My ray of sunshine (Jett) is doing well and still such an amazing little boy, while Noah is still my big fat baby, and I dont think he plans on growing up any time soon haha.
In terms of work, I'm still in mental health. I'm grateful for a permanent team leader role in a government organisation, but I really want to go back to women and family. I just have no passion for acute mental health issues and drugs/alcohol, but I suppose this is where I have to be for the moment. However, on a more exciting note, I am a sex therapist now. I am a member of the Society of Australian Sexologists and working my way up to accreditation. I just love couple work. It it so rewarding! I have submitted two new books for publishing. Though, I have not received any replies yet, so I'm not very hopeful, however now that my PhD is out of the way for the most part, I need to find some other purpose to keep me occupied.
In terms of grief..... well, other than the odd occasions (ie bdays and while listening to the funeral song... which is now again an ad for something else arghh), I cant say that I feel sad.... Is it bad? I can't say I've moved on, cause I'm changed and therefore will be forever different, but I don't feel sadness. I just feel neutral. Now might be a good time to say Asperger's runs wildly in the family :) . So I'm wondering if next year should be my last entry. For Talina's 15th Bday. A nice way to end my grief journey with you (who ever you might be).
Happy 14th Bday Talina
Thank you for the woman and mother you have made me, while I wouldn't want to go through the experience again.... I am grateful for where I am today
Remember to sign Talina's guestbook to let me know you were here (would be nice not to feel so crazy talking to myself haha).
Sign at http://pub13.bravenet.com/guestbook/1106733192
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