One of the many things that's so hard about losing a child is all the guilt and regret that follows. It seems to lessen...at least it did a bit with Jorai, as it's been over 2 1/2 years now, but for awhile it's all consuming. I think that's why I've been drinking at night. The guilt and regret covers me when I'm quiet. Alcohol numbs it. It quiets my mind and makes me sleepy, so I can fall asleep fast. Not that I'm abusing it. So please don't think that...
Last night, I was going to have a glass of wine, but I never did...and as I was laying in bed, my mind went crazy. When we lost Jorai, we held her for hours. We stared at her and touched her and wept over her. Her skin was starting to degrade and her nose started to bleed so we knew we needed to give her to the nurses because I wanted to remember her as perfect. We only have the pictures that the hospital took. And they took decent pictures, but nothing like NILMDTS. But I can see her body. They took a naked shot for us. I can see her face and her vision is so vivid in my mind that as soon as I saw Asher, I could see Jorai in his features. Even our doctor mentioned it.
When Selah was placed on my chest, I was frightened. She was tiny. Her face was so small and oblong and there was no fat to give it dimension and it made her chin look really pointy. Because she was so young, gestationally, I think her little skull was changed a bit when she traveled through my birth canal. Her eyes were closed and her mouth hung open. Jorai looked as if she were asleep. Selah looked dead. Her skin was so delicate, it was falling off her ankles and wrists by the time we gave her to the nurses, just a few hours after she was born. When I looked at my daughter lying on my chest, I couldn't breathe. I was sobbing so hard I couldn't talk. I simply couldn't breathe. I was choking for air. It was devastating. To lose a child is horrible, but to not even be able to look at her, is unthinkable. I'm ashamed, but I asked my doctor to take her and wrap her. I just couldn't see that look of death upon my precious baby's face. And that makes me ashamed of myself. I should have been proud of her, no matter what she looked like...and I was, but I just couldn't look at her. I feel horrible about it. When our photographer went to take photo's of her, I asked her to only take them of her hands and feet. The time we spent with her, I barely held her. I feel horrible about it and I would do anything to hold her again, now. But I just couldn't then. I was so broken, I couldn't even hold my child. That makes me feel like the worst mother in the world. But she just looked so broken and you could tell by one look at her, that she wasn't there. She looked deflated.
I kissed her tiny feet and hands and felt them turn from warm to cold. I held her a bit, but there was no weight to her. It felt as if I were holding an empty blanket with the exception that little hands and feet were poking out. I never had the courage to unwrap her and take her in. I let Steve hold her mostly. I just feel so ashamed.
Last night that feeling consumed me. I felt as if Selah and Jorai both were ashamed of me as well. I just couldn't shake the darkness from my bedside. All I could see was her tiny face and open mouth staring at me...over...and over...and over again. And then I thought, what kind of mother am I to not be able to look fully at my child? What kind of mother am I to not ask for all kinds of pictures? I'm not a good one.
But I know I am. I know Jorai, Asher and Selah love me and are proud of me. But I don't. This is the dichotomy of grief. With Jorai and Selah both, all I have are fleeting memories and pain. A whole lot of pain. And with pain, comes regret and guilt. A lot of regret and guilt.
The photographer who photographed Selah for NILMDTS is a friend of mine. I emailed her today, in hopes that she may have taken a few photo's of her face. And though she didn't she sent me the below description of her. It's something I'll cherish my whole life. The fact that she remembers my daughter so well and can describe her face and body to me, means the world. It also makes me realize what I missed out on all the more. But there's nothing I can do about that now. I miss my daughter so much right now. I can't stop sobbing. This sucks. I just feel so heavy in grief, today.
Here's Selah...in words only...
Selah's features were very feminine, tiny little lips and petite little nose. They were set close together, but not too close :) Her ears had a slight fold on the top and were amazingly perfect. The lobes were short and soft. Her hair was fuzzy and very dark, it did seem a tiny bit brownish in the light, but it looked pretty dark to me. Her head seemed a little oblong, but that may have been from the birth process and not from her natural shape.There are no words to describe what I would give for just moments with her again. To see her. To really see her. To hold her and kiss her and feel her skin against mine. I would give almost anything for one more moment with her. With both my girls. Although I love my son and cherish each and every moment I have with him, I also look forward to the day I die so that I can once again be with my daughters. That's such a strange feeling. To want to live for my son and die for my daughters. I want to live to see Asher grow and learn and become a boy and teenager (please help me!) and grown man. I want to see him succeed in whatever he does. I want to support him and love him each and every moment of his life. I want to see him fall in love. I want to meet and love and support his wife. I want to see their love grow. I want to hold grandbabies in my arms and spoil them rotten. I want to see Asher change the world...or maybe just a few peoples lives. I want to be preset. At all times. Until I'm old and gray and well into my hundreds!!! But when the day comes, and I have Asher who is grown and gray himself by my side holding my hand...and his wife and my grandbabies are surrounding me and watching me take my last breath, I'll be sad to leave my child and my family, but excited to meet my girls. Excited to touch them and hold them and cry for joy, and no longer cry for anguish.
Her bottom was so cute, rather formless with no fat to speak of, but it made the doctor and me smile. She also had a very smooth and perfect little tummy. Her cord attached at a tiny little point on her belly, surrounded by smooth baby skin. Her arms and legs were long and she had little to no fat yet, so she appeared to have very long limbs... Probably from her dad though :)
One of the many things that's so hard about losing a child is all the guilt and regret that follows. It seems to lessen...at least it did a bit with Jorai, as it's been over 2 1/2 years now, but for awhile it's all consuming. I think that's why I've been drinking at night. The guilt and regret covers me when I'm quiet. Alcohol numbs it. It quiets my mind and makes me sleepy, so I can fall asleep fast. Not that I'm abusing it. So please don't think that...
27 January 2010
I've decided to really, truly make a website full of information for families grieving through infant loss. I'm not sure how soon it'll be up, as I haven't even fully nailed down a web developer, but it's going to happen. I have a ton of info and sites I want to share, but I need your help too.
If you have lost a child could you share with me:
- what some your regrets are
- what organization you used that helped you
- what advice you would give to someone
- what really helped you that friends or family members did
- what things really hurt you that friends or family members did or didn't do
- any advice you would give someone else going through this
- what is the number one thing you wish you knew to help your family member/friend
I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like. The reason is because I feel like people are going to start thinking that I'm just complaining. In my own thoughts, I think that people who've never gone through this hell, will be thinking 'Come on...get over it already...why are you always looking at the negative.'. And maybe I'm wrong...I probably am. But even I, feel like I'm judging too much..complaining too much. But I just can't stop. I know I should be happy enough with my healthy little spitfire boy. I should be content and be OK with him being our only child. And maybe I will...but right now, I just keep thinking about my pregnancy. I think about the fact that I'd be 28 weeks today. 28 weeks is a milestone for us. I would be in my 3rd trimester. I keep thinking about what I'd be doing to Selah's room...now back to just being the guest bedroom. I think about all my pregnant friends...how they're getting ready to birth their children or just having to go look for maternity clothes...and as happy as I am for them, I'm sad too. They still have the happiness and joy that comes from being pregnant. I just have the empty, saggy belly and all too tight clothes.
And I'm probably just noticing it more but, why is it that I keep seeing all the 'mother of the year' award winners out and about. I want to scream at them and try to get them to understand what they have...why can't they see it. Tonight at Kroger I witnessed a mother yell at her daughter to walk closer to her...and then not 30 seconds later as she was walking closer...the mom grabber her by the scruff of her collar and drug her even closer. I wanted to punch the lady. And if you know me...that would never happen. As a freshman in high school, I was once told by a senior girl that she wanted to beat me up...my response? 'go ahead...it's not like I could fight back.'. I just don't fight. I don't have the skills or the want to physically hurt someone...but tonight, I did...not really...but I wanted to.
I keep going back to the question 'why me?' 'why do you give so and so 1,2,6,12, 19 babies yet you take 2 of mine from me?'. And I know this question will get me no where...but I keep going there. Person after person are having children. Celebrity this and that are popping them out all the time. I can't escape the news. And it just sucks. I don't want to hear it anymore. I was asked the other day if many of my friends were pregnant. Why was I asked that? Who would think that would be a good question to ask a person who just delivered a dead baby a month ago? I just don't get it.
I don't know. I'm doing well. I really am. I wake up happy and I go to bed happy. I'm starting to pray...kind of...I'm really doing OK...but I have to admit that within each day, I think about Selah and my pregnancy and I morn. Every time I leave my house I wonder what people think when they see me. Because I see someone different. And I notice people looking...they;re probably just looking to look...but in my eye, they see my sorrow, they wonder what happened to me. I used to love walking into the room with my little round tummy. Now I hate to be seen in public without it. It's not a vanity thing...I just feel naked without Selah inside of me. I know it sounds bizarre, but that's how I heel. naked. empty.
I don't know. I just don't know. I know all of these feelings don't help me. I know I need to focus on the positives. I know I need to look 'forward' to our genetic tests and the (hopefully) knowledge of what we can do to carry a baby to term. But it's just so damn hard. I just miss my girls. It's so hard to see others be happy in their pregnancy and know that they will probably deliver healthy, happy babies prior to and after Selah's due date...just as I did with Jorai...and then see them grow and laugh and become their own little people. ugh...but it's wonderful and I'm so happy for my friends...but it's always there. always. I'll look at them and think 'wow...Selah would be doing this' And as each day closes and my 'due date' creeps into view, all I can see is lost dreams. Lost hope. I miss Selah. I just miss her so much. I wish I could hold her all too light body in my arms again. I wish I could kiss her cold little toes again. I just miss her so. I miss her.
Sorry for the lewdness...but back in my high school and college days I used to listen to a lot of Fugazi. One of their songs was called Promises are Shit. It was a favorite...
Last night as I was driving home from a friends house with Asher, I was telling him how we were on our way home and when we get there we'll take a bath and read books and sing songs and nurse...and he said 'papa?'. I had to explain to him that papa wasn't going to be there but that he'll get back while he's sleeping and that he'll see papa tomorrow. I promised him.
One of the hard parts of losing someone you love so tragically, is that all your ignorance goes with them. For instance, I will never enjoy another pregnancy. I'm no longer ignorant to what can happen. I can never think...'oh, that was a once in a lifetime fluke.'. I can't sit there and think at any given moment that all will be OK, because I now know better. I thought I would actually enjoy my pregnancy with Selah...and I was...but then...reality hit.
Last night I realized that I'll never be able to say 'I Promise' without knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I cannot promise anything and deliver it 100% of the time. As horrible as it sounds, the minute I said 'You're going to see papa tomorrow buddy. I promise', I thought 'what if Steve got into a car accident on his way home and didn't survive?'. I can't promise that Asher will see his papa. I have no control of it...obviously. My promises are shit. They're meaningless. I mean, in a way they are at least. They're just words. I may truly to be telling him the truth the way I see it, but I can't guarantee that my promises will play out.
Losing someone you care about in such a sudden, tragic and all too soon way really changes every aspect of your life. In a way, it rapes you of your innocence...your rosey perception of the world. As much as I want to be a positive, optimistic person, it's really hard to be after going through losses like ours.
We got nothing. We're back to square one. Nothing grew...whatever that means...so we have no answers to why Selah passed. My doctor called to tell us the news and she said that the form stated the they usually never get results with stillborn children since they need living tissue for the growth. Which makes sense...but I wish I knew that in advance, so I wouldn't have been placing so much on these results.
She wants us to hold out hope for our test on February 4th. I'm trying to remain positive...but what if we don't get a diagnosis? What if everything comes back normal? Should we even try again? Not knowing what our choices are, is so frustrating. I just want something tangible to hold onto. Some type of truth.
Every where I look I see children with siblings. I'm surrounded by them. And though it makes me happy, it also makes me sad. There's a huge possibility that Asher will never have a living sibling. He'll never have what his friends have. He'll never have that close bond that a person shares with their sibling. I want so much to give that to him. Although I'd love to have another child...the want is more for Asher to have a sibling...and that's hard. I may never be able to give him that.
I just can't wait to get some answers...if there are any.
Ya know how the sky looks when the clouds start to break and the sun's rays peek through the holes? I've always loved that sight. It's as if God is showing Himself. In a way, that's how I've been feeling the past few days. It all started last Friday. From the moment I woke, there was a fog that was lifted. And I figured I was just having a good morning, but then the afternoon hit and then I found myself laughing that night and then Saturday came and I enjoyed that day too. I enjoyed being at Riv and could even muster out a few songs, as before I couldn't even open my mouth without crying or getting so pissed that I wanted to scream. And though I couldn't stay to hear the message since Asher wasn't cooperating in RivKids, it still felt good to be at Riv. It felt like home again. And then Sunday came and I was OK and then Monday and now today...I still feel OK.
It's hard to describe other than painting a word picture of walking out in a dense fog and being lost in it for weeks, but then a moment comes where the fog starts to break a bit and you see and feel the sun's rays hit you, cover you, comfort you. There are still many moments throughout the day that the fog drifts back in, trying to close you in, but it's never as dense as it once was.
I feel OK. I am enjoying Asher more each day. I'm enjoying Steve and my marriage more. Not that I didn't love or respect him...I think it's more of just closing myself off for a bit. As if I was so hurt, so broken, that I couldn't stand to feel anything. I'm enjoying my friends again, my outings more. I feel that a pressure has been lifted, a fog has dissolved, the crushing feeling has let up.
I still long for Selah. I still long for Jorai. I still think about how far along I would be If I were still pregnant...I would have been 28 weeks today. That is the point we lost Jorai. That's the week we celebrated with Asher. I would have been in my 3rd trimester. I would only have 3 months left. I would have been bigger and still planning Selah's room...her wall art...I would have been buying her diapers and a few new clothing items. 3 months left. I would have been freaking out. I think about these things about once an hour. I long to have more time with her.
I fret about our future. I think about that all the time too. We have our genetic counseling appointment in just over 2 weeks. I'm nervous but I want answers as well.
I'm wondering when Steve will call letting me know that he's bringing Selah's remains home. I still haven't found her an urn yet. Not that I use urns for my babies...they're too deathly I think. I like to use 'happier', 'prettier' resting vessels. I wonder if I'll find one I like before he brings her home.
I still can't believe that I'll have 2 'urns' resting on my piano. I still can't believe I'll have 3 pictures of babies on my wall, but only one will be truly looked at by others. Most people can't stand to look at Jorai...and I'm sure it will be the same of Selah. Not that I don't understand. Death is hard, but the death of a child, a baby is excruciating to think of...and to have it your face is difficult. I'm just stating the obvious.
But in saying all of this...even though my heart still breaks and my mind wanders to sorrow often...even though I cry and am an emotional basket case most of the time, I still feel the warmth of the rays hitting my face. I still see the light and can continue to follow it out of the darkness. And that brings me hope.
A old high school friend sent me a message a few days ago and she closed with:
'Why is it the brightest lights have to endure the most difficult tragedies sometimes? With patience and faith, perhaps you'll end up shining even brighter.'.I don't think I was ever a 'bright light', but to think that my tragedies could result in something positive has always helped me. It helped me deal and grow through the loss of Jorai and I see it now helping me as I walk through my grief of Selah. That's all I can ask for. For something meaningful and positive to come out of all this darkness. It's so nice to be reminded of that.
So, here's to a new day. Here's to more rays melting this all to thick fog. Here's to hope and love and forgiveness and light. May it stay and warm my soul and continue to chip away the anger and bitterness to reveal a better me...a brighter me.
16 January 2010
Steve and I are talking about starting a website in memory and honor of Jorai and Selah. We want it to be both a resource page for people facing child loss, hospitals and birth centers and a healing place for people to heal. I'm not sure all it will contain...and I know there are websites already out there, but we want to do something. There are way too many people going through this hell and not enough resources...and the hospitals, as much as they're trying...they're just not doing all they can to help guide people in their decisions.
But I have NO idea where to start. I think we'd probably have to get a web designer on board, because I know just enough to be dangerous and Steve doesn't know about web stuff. Do any of you out there know of a good web designer in the area that won't cost too much? I guess that would be a good first start. I have an idea of what we want to do...I don't know...I just want to do something. I want to get out there more. I want to help people. I want to do something in honor of our daughters. I want their names to never be forgotten. I want to comfort others. I want to do something...anything.
In responding to a friends email this evening I think I had a small breakthrough. I've been so angry that I can't see straight. My emotional cup is so full that one more ounce of any sadness or anger or frustration, is too much for me to handle. Most days, though I'm sad, I'm OK. But when the moments come where my cup is running over...I crack a bit.
When I was grieving Jorai, I had Christ to cling to. And it was that relationship that truly saw me through the grief. When Selah died I let go of Christs' hand. I couldn't allow myself to lean on Him. I could barely utter His name...I still can't...and without that relationship, I can't see straight.
There's just something with my relationship with God that I can't let go of. The trust has melted away...the ability to see through my loss and hurt and see His love, has vanished. The warmth of my faith has frozen over. Maybe I need to blame someone for my losses...I don't know. I just know that without Him, I'm having a hard time seeing the light.
I want to forgive God...I want to talk to Him again, but there's a wall that I can't scale over. I think that's my main issue. I want to let the anger go, but it's clinging to me. How do I let the anger go. Did God play a part in all of this? I don't know. I'll never know, until I can ask Him myself. But what I do know, is that He's waiting for me, to help me...to carry me, to hold me, to heal me. I know this. But my anger is preventing that relationship. My anger is separating me from the One who can truly help me.
I know all of this now...I just don't know how to get there. I don't know how to forgive him. I don't know how to let Him in. I don't know how to let go of the anger.
Maybe this was the first step.
I miss being pregnant. I miss feeling Selah. I miss hope. I miss planning a future with 2 living children. I hate talking about pregnancies and it seems where ever I go, that's what people are talking about. It sucks. I want to be OK. I want to talk about my friends pregnancies. I want to think about a future. I want to have hope of a future. I want to feel movement within me.
I miss feeling OK. Most days I'm functioning alright. I'm dealing. I'm breathing. I'm sad, but I can still enjoy my life, my son. I can laugh and be OK with it. But then I have other days that aren't so great. Yesterday was one of them. Yesterday was complete and utter shit. Asher woke all too early, my nerves were shot and he was testing me each and every minute. I almost broke in the afternoon. After Asher decided to repeatedly hit me with the hose extension from our vacuum and then spit his chocolate milk directly into my face, I had it. I threw the hose thingy up the stairs...which put a pretty nice dent in the wall...whatever...and threw his sippy in the sink, I left him wailing in the living room as I went out on the porch to finally tear down the Christmas lights. Tearing being the best word to describe it. I'd be surprised if they actually work next year. He was fine. He could see me the entire time, but I had to get out. I had to leave the situation. I think I scared my neighbors...but I just knew I had to get out.
So why am I telling you about my mother of the year award day...well, I have to. I have to get it out. I have to say that I was a shitty parent yesterday. But I also have to say that never hit my child. I wanted to. Very badly. I wanted to throw him in his room and lock the door behind me. I wanted to get in my car and drive away. I wanted to yell and scream and then fall to the floor wailing. I wanted to give up. But I never did. And I was proud of that. I wanted to give up...but I didn't. Yesterday was the hardest day I've had since losing Selah...it was the hardest day Asher and I've ever had...and I didn't give up. I didn't give into the darkness. I did call God a bastard yesterday. That was great moment. It seems my life is filled with them lately. I also told Him to fuck off. Another shining moment. Of course I immediately felt like crap about it and apologized. But yeah, my day was rough.
I miss being happy. Being content. Being OK. I miss so much. Losing Jorai was hard. It was the hardest thing I had gone through...until I lost Selah. Losing Selah has changed everything. It has taken away my hope. When I was grieving over Jorai, I was able to talk to a beautiful friend who understood my pain, as she had just lost her son. But now...now I feel like I have no one who understands. No one who understands loss like this. To have lost a child and then been blessed with a living child to only lose another. It's a whole new ballgame. I can't sit and cry all day. I have to be happy. I have to pay attention. I have to find love to give when all I feel is pain. I have to keep my calm when all I want to do is explode. I have to be patient and understanding when I'm simply done and can't take anything more.
I just miss so much. I miss going to church and feeling love and comfort just from walking into the building. I think it's because I'm having God issues. Because the people rock...it
s just hard for me to be there. I want to be there...but it's hard. I miss people looking at me with laughter in their eyes. That's a killer. The constant 'Are you OK' look. I understand it and I appreciate it, but it's killing me. I miss people looking down at my growing belly and knowing I'm pregnant, not staring at me wondering if I am. I miss, missing the taste of alcohol. I miss planning the decorations that were going to go in Selah's room. I miss talking about her. I miss Asher giving my belly, his sister, zurberts each and every day. I miss feeling happy. Truly happy.
I worry that through all of the things I miss, that I will truly miss life...miss memories...miss joy. I don't want that. I want to embrace this life. I want to find forgiveness. I want to get there. I wish there was a magic pill or time capsule so I can just take something to make it all better or go ahead to the future where happiness lies. But I can't. I need to fix this myself. I miss being OK.
I often wish I was a turtle. More so while I'm traveling down the sorrow lined path. But I've always envied the ability to hide within one's self. I've mentioned before how Asher has found toddlerhood. How he's found temper tantrums and the word 'NO!'...which of course he has to say 3 times...3. How he also found his 'independence' and tests it on a minute to minute basis.
Today I wish I was a turtle. I want to pull my head back into my hard shell and escape from reality. I want to hide in the dark and quiet. I want to protect myself and retreat. I want to hold up my little white flag and surrender.
Asher woke at 6:30 this morning...and since a good night sleep for him requires a wake up call of 7:30-8:30ish...I can assure you that this morning has been FILLED with anger, crying...no...wait...sobbing, tantrums, and many a times where I've about lost it...it's just one of those mornings. One in which I would like to place him in front of the TV or lock him in his room or place him downstairs as I run out of the house screaming.
And I know that this all has a lot to deal with my, all to full emotional cup...I know I can only handle so much, but this is just too damn hard. I want to be a good parent, but I'm failing miserably. I'm yelling too much...I'm losing my cool too much and this whole toddler independence thing has really come at the wrong time. Which is just another slap in the face if you ask me. I mean, can I have a freakin' break? Why does life have to become shittier and shittier as the minutes pass? Why does it have to get harder and harder and not let up. One thing on top of the other makes people break. So who's trying to break me? and why?
As I type, my son, who I really to limit his tv time, is watching pbs. He's sitting right beside me watching tv. Why? Because if I don't get a break from the screaming and disobedience, I'm going to snap. If I get bit, or pinched, or slapped one more time, I'm going to bite or pinch or slap back. If I get told 'NO!' one more time this morning, I'm going to leave him in the house and go outside for a walk.
We have a playdate at 10:30 and the time can't get here fast enough. I'm gritting my teeth as the minutes pass and that really pisses me off. I want to enjoy my son. I want to enjoy being a parent. I want to teach Asher and be gentle with him and nurture but I'm failing in every area. I'm failing. And that makes me miserable. I mean, here I am blogging while my son desperately wants my attention, but I just can't do it right now. I'm an empty vessel. All I feel is darkness and sorrow and frustration and ugh. I'm just a failure.
When I catch myself truly laughing, I feel guilty. I feel guilty for feeling anything but sorrow. I know it's all part of the healing process, but it makes everything harder. As if my mind and spirit doesn't want me to be happy. And even saying that, makes me feel guilty.
I wonder why that is. I wonder why I feel guilty for every thing. I know both Jorai and Selah would want me to only feel joy, I know that it probably brings them happiness to see my joy...yet if I allow myself to laugh, right now I just feel guilt. That sucks.
I never thought I'd get to nurse my son again when I weaned him last October. So when Asher latched on the first time in 2 months, I was thrilled. I was excited to know that he was getting the sweet, nutritious and immunity filled nectar that God created for us to nourish our babes. And I was so happy to see how excited Asher was to nurse too. He asks to nurse around 6-7 times a day and hangs out for up to 30 minutes.
My milk just isn't coming in. There's a little in there, but for the most part, all he's doing is sucking. Which is fine. He's happy, but I'd really like to be able to nourish him as well. So here's my question...what can I do? How can I increase my milk? I'm getting enough stimulation, I've been trying to drink enough water...should I try some herbs? Or should I just be happy with what he gets?
I have to admit that the whole thing kinda pisses me off. When we lost Jorai, my milk came in so much it was horrible. I was in such pain. And now, when I have a child I can nurse and when I'm willing to pump for others, my milk doesn't come in. I'm really trying not to get down about it. I'm really trying to think positive and go with the flow...but in the spirit of honesty, it's frustrating.
I was watching a show today were a baby was born. It was loud. The baby came out screaming and there was happiness. That's how it should be. Labor should be joyous. It should contain some pain and pushing and after all that effort, out should pop a screaming child. When I watched the scene play out before me, I didn't recall the room full of screams and laughter when Asher came into the world, I remembered how still and silent the room was when Jorai and Selah came into it. I remembered the look of sorrow that stretched across Steve's face. And the pure and utter silence the swept over the room. I remember our doctor saying 'it's a girl' and being handed an all too tiny child, who was still, silent and limp. That's not what it should be. It's not. But it happens all too often.
The moment Asher came out of me, he was screaming. VERY loudly. As if God knew that I needed to hear a loud scream. Let me tell ya, he hasn't gotten any less boisterous! He's a loud boy. Very loud. It was such a marvelous sound. It reverberated within me. I'll never forget that feeling. The feeling of a warm, wet, screaming and wiggling little child being placed in my arms, lying on my chest. I'll never forget how excited I was to be a mama to a living baby. I remember never wanting him out of my sight. I don't think he slept a moment in that plastic crap bassinet that the hospital gives you. He slept with me. All night. Both nights. Every time the nurse walked in, I acted as if I was just getting done nursing him, so they wouldn't yell at me about sleeping with him. It was such a glorious feeling, just holding him, smelling him and knowing that he was alive and healthy and mine. I couldn't help thinking that it was all just a dream.
I wonder if I'll ever have that again. I ache for it. But I also know that I should be happy with the lot I've been given...the blessings I've been given. I should be happy enough with Asher. He is amazing and I love him so dearly. He should be enough. But there's this ache, that remains aching. I want to hear that scream again. I want to feel a wiggling baby in my arms again. I want to be a mama to another living child. Is this even possible? Is it in my future?
I can still feel Selah's stillness. I can still feel the coldness of her tiny fingers, her tiny toes. Baby fingers and toes should never feel cold. Never. I can still feel her all too weightless body in my arms. I think the blanket that wrapped around her weighed more than she did. That's not right. It's just not right. No one should have to go through this. Why do so may have to endure this pain?
I'm not looking for answers. I know there are none. I'm not asking for advice. I'm just saying.
The silence of birth is horrid. I wish I could take this pain away from everyone who has been dealt this lot. I wish I could find a solution. I wish I could heal wounds. I wish I could hug all the mama's who endure this hurt. I wish I could wave a wand and make them all pregnant and that in 9 months they would deliver big, happy, loud, healthy babies. I can't...but I wish I could.
I keep getting asked 'how are you?' And I understand the question. I realize why people ask it...I'd probably ask it...but how does one answer that? Do people really want to know. I mean, is it OK to say 'well, actually...quite shitty actually.' Or do they want to know that I'm OK? Is it time for me to feel OK? Do they think I should feel OK by now.
It's been 3 weeks, and I can't believe it's been 3 weeks. 3 weeks and 2 days since I was truly happy. 100% happy. 100% content. That's the truth. I've been broken for 3 weeks and 2 days. I've been torn apart. But I'm also doing OK. I'm breathing and living and I've been laughing...tonight I was laughing at Asher so hard I could barely breath. And when I looked over at Steve, he was too...and for a second, I think we were truly happy again...for a second.
I'm to the point where I'm still mad, but I know I need to let it go. I know that my madness will never bring my child, my children, back to me. It won't make my sorrow any less. It won't honor my children. It won't do anything positive in my life. It will only make the darkness worse. It will only shadow my love and happiness and life and family. That's not what I want.
But I also want hope, and I really don't have that anymore. I want ignorance, and I REALLY don't have that. I want to hear about other people's pregnancy and be happy, not sad. I want...I want...I want...but also I know I need the right attitude to reach these desires. It's just so damn hard to get there.
For the past 2 weeks Ashers been throwing mini tantrums. He's started to get mad at a drop of the hat and then go limp when I try to pick him up. He's been clenching his fists and grunting at me. He's been talking back at me and shouting NO, NO, NO! Can I do this please? I can throw myself in God's presents right now and lay down kicking and screaming? Please? I know it sounds silly, but man, it would really feel good. I'd really love to feel Him picking me up in His powerful hands and just trying to talk me down. Trying to explain everything to me.
I was walking in the snow with Asher today and was noticing the tracks we were making. Asher's little, wee bootprints as he trodden through the 5 inches or so of untouched snow and my clodhopper prints just off to his side. We played in the snow for a bit and then I picked him up to carry him back to the front. He of course didn't want to leave...he wanted to swing...but he was frozen and I needed to get him inside. So, it was time to commence the tantrum. It was time to play the role of a wet noodle in a huge snowsuit. And as I was trying to walk with him and not drop him noodle body, I immediately thought of the footprints poem. Ya know, the one where it talks about footprints in the sand being 'yours' and Gods and the times in life where there was only one footprint trail were the time's God was carrying 'you'. And I thought, how wonderful if you could actually have that. I mean, we do. I know God is here with him, paining over my agony. But He's not here. Not literally. He's not physically holding me. And I, like countless others, would sure like to be able to be held in His arms right about now. I'd really like Him to be talking me down, explaining to me 'why'. Just as I talk with Asher, carry Asher, hug and kiss Asher, I wish I could have that now with Christ.
But I can't. I can throw myself down, and He would see me...but I couldn't physically get a response from Him...wow...maybe that's what I want. A response. Well, I'm not going to be getting that either. So my OK has to be good enough right now. And so, here's the honest truth to the question.
- I'm OK. I think I'm really OK.
- I'm still really pissed.
- I'm still struggling with my faith. Big time. Though pastor Steve's honesty this weekend really helped me feel like I wasn't failing too miserably and that maybe I still have a chance to let Him back in.
- I drink too much wine at night to dull the pain and I know that's wrong, but I don't care.
- I look at Asher everyday and realize that I'm happy, truly happy. But I'd still love to give him a sibling.
- I still long to be pregnant and there are still times where I catch myself thinking it was all just a dream.
- I get really pissed off when I start feeling my organs pop back into place because it feels like Selah's kicking me. Those feelings haunt me.
- My pregnancies haunt me.
- I torment myself about things that are probably way too much out of my control to have done differently, yet I still think about them.
- Every night as I lay in bed, I think about Selah. I think about my pregnancy and I miss feeling her. I lay my hand upon my now saggy belly, hoping and praying that I could feel her. But obviously I never do.
- I still hope I can dream of her, but never do.
- I worry each time I leave the house that someone will ask when I'm due. Or when I delivered.
- It maddens me beyond belief when people ignore me, yet I understand why they do.
- I'm sad each day at some point in the day. I'm broken.
- but I'm OK.
- I'm breathing
- I'm living
- I'm laughing, and at times so hard, I can't breathe.
I never really noticed all the miscarriage scenes in movies before....or maybe it just never stuck, never felt so raw, but since losing Jorai and now Selah, it's a double edged sword. On one side, I like seeing it displayed on the big screen and think there should be more of it. I also think there should be more stories of couples who go through late term loss as well. More people should know just how often it happens. Which is approximately 1 in 115 births, which is roughly 26,000 stillbirths each year in the US alone, or on an average of one every 20 minutes. But then there's the other side. The side that reminds me that I hate seeing it. I hate remembering it. I hate hearing the words 'sorry, there's no heartbeat.'. Those words have echoed in my ears for the past 2 1/2 years. When I see a movie or read a book, I'm wanting to escape. I'm wanting to fall into the life of another. A happier life. A different life. I want to forget about my pain. My loss. And to see my life played out on the big screen...well...sucks.
So what's better. Keeping my reality alive for other's to see and maybe because of it, it could raise more awareness, more legislation? Or taking it out, so people like me don't have to be reminded of it when all they want is to escape?
I think that being an at home mama rocks. It's so freakin' hard and at times that I think I'm about ready to lose it, but all in all, I know I've made the right decision. I love my friends. I love my neighborhood. I love being able to get out and allow Asher to be surrounded by so many different children and groups. I love never having to leave my child and I love being able to teach him and mold him and discipline him.
In saying that, we've hit toddlerhood and my world has been turned upside down. I'm not sure if it's solely Asher's determination and naughtiness, or if it's a combination of that and my short emotional breaking point as a result of my recent loss of Selah...but man has it gotten increasingly difficult over the past few weeks! Oy Vey! He's challenging! And I love it...it totally cracks me up. He keeps giving me this look like 'I'm so cool!' or 'Yes, I know you want that, but it's not gunna happen mama!'. And it so makes me laugh, but man, sometimes I think working and only seeing my child from 5:30-8 would be wonderful!
But then I remember how horrible that would be, and VERY quickly change my opinion. I would hate never seeing my child. I would hate other people raising him or laughing with him, feeding him, soothing him...you name it, I'd hate it.
As much as this time is going to be majorly challenging, I feel SO blessed to be home, every day, with him. We may not get to eat out much, I may not have the best, new clothes or be able to buy things I used to be able to, but it's so worth it. I'd rather be poor and wear goodwill clothes, than have more and not be able to enjoy all of Asher's boyness.
I love ya bugga boo. You test my patience each and every day...or minute...but you crack me up and you're seriously the cutest little boy I've ever laid my eye's upon. You're sassyness is a joy, your wits astound me and your smile lights up my life. You fill me up with joy and I can't wait to see the boy you grow into.
I want to get to a point where I'm not judging every one's life, every one's joy. I want to look at my life and know that although I've gone through a ton of heartache and sorrow that I still have a kick ass life. I have so many blessings. An amazing husband who is supportive and loving and patient and kind, a wonderful son who some how makes my cheeks hurt everyday from smiling so much, a loving and supportive family and such a huge circle of amazingly awesome friends. We have good health and laughter fills our household. We have so many blessing and love to share. The 3 of us are happy. We're truly happy and we love each other so much. I need to hold onto that. I need to focus on that. And by NO way am I wanting to push Jorai or Selah's memory off to the side, I want to honor honor them and share their lives. They will always be a huge part of our lives. We'll celebrate their birthdays, celebrate "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15, "Día de los Inocentes" (Day of the Innocents) on November 1st and their stockings will be hung each Christmas. They will always be celebrated and loved and wanted here on earth, but I also don't want to long for a future of more children. I just don't know how to get there. How can I want to be able to give Asher a living sibling, yet not want to long for it, only think about it and judge others for having it?
Last night a friend stopped over with her little girl and we had an impromptu bath time play date with the kids. As Asher was sharing his toys and bath with this 7 month old little girl, all I could think of was how lovely it would be if he could have this every night, every day. It would be so wonderful if he could share his life, every day with another child. But for now, that's not going to happen and I need to be OK with it.
The moment I heard Asher scream for the first time, my heart changed. I no longer longed for something. I was content. And though we wanted to get pregnant again, I never longed for it. I knew it would happen. We've never had fertility issues. We're actually surprisingly fertile. And as usual, we got pregnant right away and I was happy...nothing really changed. I was content with Asher, and I stayed content with my pregnancy with Selah. But the moment we lost Selah, I instantly lost my contentment. I started longing for the child we lost, the future we lost, the hope we lost. I instantly became jealous of my friends who had 2 + healthy. loving children. I started judging all the families that I 'thought' didn't 'deserve' their children. I started wondering why some were given child after child or why children are born into poverty, abuse, or not a loving home...you name it, I judged it. I judge it. It's hard not to. And I know it's a normal grieving process. But I'm sick of it. I can't keep thinking 'why' and 'what if' and 'if only'...I need to remember that my family and friends rock. My husband loves me and my son. My son's healthy and lovely and happy. My husband has a job. We have good health. I get hugs and kisses on a daily basis. I'm told 'I love you' all the time. My life is filled with laughter and love and support. I live a good life. I have love. I give love. I feel love. Yes, my heart aches. Yes, I've lost. I've lost twice. And that sucks. It sucks hard. And it's hard to go on at times. It's hard to smile at times. It's hard to breathe at times...but it's harder not to love. It's harder not to kiss my husband. It's harder not to laugh with my son. It's harder not to live and enjoy my awesome life with my family and friends.
So yeah, my life is hard right now. I've lost 2 baby girls who were amazing and lovely and I miss them every day of my life. And that sucks. big time. But that's the life that I've been given. For whatever the reason, this is the road Steve and I must walk down. But I'm not going to let it destroy me. I'm going to let it define me...in a way...because then I can honor my girls. I can use this pain to help others...in some way. I'm going to let it define me in the sense that I'm going to let Asher define me and Steve define me and God define me. But it will not destroy me. It will not taint my spirit or love or hope. I'm not sure how to achieve this, but I will. It may be a cloudy, dark and dreary day today, but I know that some day, the sun will start breaking through the clouds and the warm rays will hit my face and warm my soul. Contentment will come my way again. I will believe again and I will feel hope return to my life.
Thankfully, testing was done on Selah and all the samples are in pathology. The nurse made a mistake...which we all do...but man, it's just the wrong person to have this happen to. I mean, if it were a mistake on my pap test or something, that would be one thing. But to have it happen to me like this, as I'm waiting for genetics testing and waiting to hear what Selah's tests tell us, it just sucks.
I'm just glad that it's over. This afternoon has been horrible. I couldn't stop thinking of her samples being lost. I couldn't help to think that all hope was lost. I'm so glad that there's still hope.
So we're still shooting for February 4th for our genetic counseling, where we'll go over Selah's test results and decide what we should do. We'll then go to get our tests.
So I just got off the phone with the genetics lab...it seems that someone from my doctors office told them today that samples from Selah were never sent. NEVER SENT! What the hell? My doctor told me she took them and sent them herself. So where are they? The lady at the genetics lab told me that 'it's unfortunate' that samples weren't taken from either child. This is such bull shit. Sorry for the language...but they took samples. They were sent. Where are they? If samples weren't taken, if they weren't sent, if they were lost, we're screwed. We won't have answers.
This better be a mistake...I need to calm down...I'm losing it over here....I was doing so well keeping it all in, but it's pouring out like a river now. I mean, if we can't get answers, there's no way we can have more children. No way. This is so frustrating...why is everything happening to us right now?
This better be a mistake. I better get a call back today from my doctors office. My anger and frustration is bubbling over.
The last day I nursed Asher was November 1st, 2009. It was hard for me to take that away from my boy. He loved it so. But I was starting to hurt and knew that I couldn't keep it up.
When we lost Selah, I knew that I wanted to try nursing him again. I figured that my milk would come in, as it did with Jorai, and I'd be in severe pain for days. I knew I would have all this wonderful milk for my son, and maybe other babies in need. And I thought that even if my son didn't want to nurse, I could give it to him in a bottle so he would have all the nutrients and anti-bodies. A part of me thought this is what I would have to do...I thought if I tried to nurse him he would look up at me in horror and wonder what in the world I was trying to do.
Well, that didn't happen. The moment I offered him my breast on December 21st, he hasn't been able to get enough. He asks for it all the time and would camp out there for hours if I'd let him. He normally cries when I pull my shirt down.
The pisser is that my milk never came in. He's getting something and it doesn't hurt me, but he really isn't getting much at all...and maybe he doesn't need it...but I'd love to be able to give him more breast milk and less cow milk and I think it would have been cool to be able to donate my milk. But one thing I'm grateful for, is just being able to nurse Asher again. Having that bonding time. That one on one time...it's so wonderful, so peaceful. so healing.
So I'm adding this to my grateful list. I love you baby boy...toddler boy...I'm glad we get this time together again.
While talking to my sister-in-law today, I learned that 2 years ago, my 7 year old nephew, decided that he's never having children after learning that Jorai passed. Now in context, He had learned of his other cousin's passing just a few months earlier...and then Jorai...but he was only 7. 7, and already making the decision to not have children. And now Selah...
My brother and sister-in-law have yet to tell their 2 kids about Selah. She wanted my opinion on what to do...what do you do? She wants to honor Selah's life, but she doesn't want to scare her children either. Those kids have lost 3 of their cousins in 3 years. 1 died of trisomy 18 just hours after his birth and then Jorai and Selah. 3. I then learned that a 10 year old boy died of leukemia last fall in their community. How much death needs to touch my family? It just doesn't make sense.
And how do you tell a 7 and 9 year old about another cousin that has died? How do you tell them without making them even more scared? I can't believe that my nephew at 7 years old, was already scared to have children in the future...how at telling him now at 9, will the truth of another cousin dying help him?
Is it wrong to want to get pregnant right away? Does that diminish Selah's life? Her memory? I don't want to diminish her life. I want to glorify it. I want to honor her. But I also want get this genetic testing under way so we know what we're dealing with and then if we can get pregnant and deliver another healthy baby, I want to do it.
It's actually kinda strange. I was excited to have Selah in our lives, but I was also so scared to have 2 babies under 2. Now, after losing Selah, I can't wait to get pregnant again. I want to give Asher a sibling. I don't want them to be so far apart in age. I want, I want, I want...yeah, I'm complaining...My ears are bleeding just typing this...but it's all so hard. And it hurts hearing that people are pregnant. I mean it's wonderful, but it's also a stab in the gut.
And what's hard is knowing that people have baby after baby, or have a baby, but never wanted a child, or that can't afford their child, or whatever...why do they get a child and I don't. And this is such a whiny thing to even say...but it's what comes into my head...I keep thinking about that lady who had 8 babies and already had 6 children...all we wanted was 2...I don't know. Why give a crazy gal who can't afford her babies or give them a father 14 kids and yet you take 2 of my 3 away. I don't know...it just sucks.
I keep thinking how I want to know what's wrong with me or Steve that keeps killing our babies. I can't stop thinking about it. I want to find out our options and see what the future holds for us. Can we get pregnant? Do we have to go through IVF? Are our dreams to give Asher a sibling hopeless? Should we be thinking about adoption? I just want to know what we can do. I need something to grasp onto...anything. I hate this waiting and not knowing and thinking that there was something I did or didn't do that killed my children. ugh. It was so much easier with Jorai since we thought her death was just a 'fluke'. It brought a bit of peace knowing that we could start trying to conceive right away. Now after losing Selah and knowing that there is definitely a issue, we know we have to wait on doctors and it's just so hard. So hard.
I keep hearing how strong I am. What does that mean? Where does that come from? Is it because I'm not in a drunken stupor? Is it because I'm not in a comatose state? Dead? Is it because I can walk around with a smile? I don't know. What I do know is that I'm not strong. I'm actually quite weak. See what people don't know...what they don't see, is that I'm falling apart most of the time. I'm on edge. I'm snippy with my husband. I'm short with Asher and am not making his days as fun as I should be. I lose my cool with him at times...I shouldn't. I always feel like crap afterwords. Most nights I numb myself with wine...which of course doesn't take much...maybe only a half a glass...but still. I walk around void of emotions and hermit myself within my home. My faith is weak. I feel like I'm falling off the edge. I can't even pray. I can't muster it. I tried last night. But I was so mad to be talking to Him that nothing even felt right.
I'm not strong. I'm weak. I haven't even opened up the information pack they gave me at the hospital. It has sat on our dresser for the past 2 weeks. I have opened Selah's memory box...once...and held her blanket, touched the dried blood, tried to smell her on the cap that touched her sweet, small head. That was hard. I haven't opened it since.
People say that I'm strong for writing this blog. Really, it's not a strength thing, it's a survival thing. I have to let it go. I have to get it out. If I don't how could I cope? How could I make sense of the hurt? For me, writing is therapeutic. For me, writing is like talking to a therapist. But instead of paying someone to ask me a whole slew of questions and who doesn't know jack about my loss, I can write what's on my heart...get it out and maybe, just maybe, help someone in the process.
I don't know. This whole grief thing is so hard. Some days are horrid. Some are manageable. So moments I want to talk about Selah. Some I don't. Some moments I have hope that we'll be able to give Asher a living sibling, others I don't. Some times I smile, other's I cry, some I scream, some are spent void of all emotions. Sometimes I feel judged for how I'm acting or how I respond. As if I'm being too emotional or not enough. It's all just so hard. I would think that since I've walked through this grief journey before, that I'd be better at it...but I'm not.
I wish I could fast forward my life to this summer. Let me skip the raw pain. Let me travel to where the pain seems more of a dull ache. Let me skip to a time where I've had 'the' conversation with most people and it's more a special moment where I can share Selah's life rather than talk about my grief. Let me feel normal again. And let me never, ever, go through this again. please.
It's been 2 weeks since to heard those words again. No heartbeat. 2 weeks. It seems like months ago, yet only seconds as well. How can that be? How can time seem so slow yet so fast? 2 weeks.
I still look pregnant. I see people looking down at my belly and wondering...Nothing fits. I have to wear my pregnancy pants and all my shirts show a pooch. I hate this. It's like a cruel joke. It's like someone is saying 'hey, let me take your child from you and I'll make you hurt like you've never hurt before, make you bleed for weeks, and everyone will still think you're pregnant because you'll still look that way.'.
I saw two girls at church tonight. They looked like they were 2ish and 4ish. I ached for my girls to be with us. Asher kept going up to them during worship to show off his dancing skills. He continually sat next to the older girl. I could only imagine him sitting next to his older sister or trying to teach his younger sister to dance. These are dreams that will never come true and it kills me. I wonder if I'll always feel this way. When Asher is 5 or 10 or 16 or 28..will I still be wondering what he missed out on? Will I still picture him with 2 sisters? Sisters he won't meet until the day he dies...which I truly hope isn't for a long, long time from now. I just can't stop thinking about all we've lost. All 5 of us. It just sucks. Plain and simple.
I keep trying to hold onto the idea that both of my girls were taken for a reason...but there's just no reason right now that seems to make sense to me or helps take away the pain. How do you rationalize something like this? There's just no making sense of it.
In Asher news, he warms my heart more each day. His kisses seem to melt away more of my bitterness each time he plants a slobbery mess of a kiss on my face. He's been cracking me up lately with his new dance moves, and tonight he surprised Steve and I by spending the entire service in RivKids. He walked into the room himself and had a ball...He didn't even cry when I came to pick him up! Crazy boy, I love you so.
I forgot how empty I felt after losing Jorai. I was lying in bed last night and for some reason, as I stretched out on my back, I instinctively placed my hands on my now empty belly and I instantly remembered how empty I feel. Totally and utterly empty. My womb is silent. There are no kicks. No flips. No little baby bottoms trying to push their way out. Just emptiness.
The past few days have been surprisingly 'easy'. We've been having more friends visit and the days just don't seem so hard. Of course I still miss Selah, and Jorai, tremendously and the hurt is still so painful. But everyday life seems to be getting easier. Which in a way brings it's own sense of guilt. I was incapacitated for so much longer after we lost Jorai...there's a part of me that thinks, why aren't I hurting as badly? But then I remember that there are so many different factors this time around. The pain is still real and sorrow still sweeps in, but it's different. I now have a toddler to love and laugh with. That helps. Most times. Maybe I'm still just so numb to her loss. I mean, who carries and delivers 2 dead babies in 2 1/2 years?
But then the sorrow sweeps in, like it did last night...as Steve lay sleeping, I laid awake, remembering all the joy, all the movement I used to feel. Now I just feel numb. Almost void of all sensation, all joy. At that moment, I just felt empty. Still. Hurt.
The more I think about it, the more I truly believe that maybe I am just numb right now. Every time I think about Selah, I think...'No...that never happened. You just weren't pregnant.' I just can't wrap my mind around carrying and delivering 2 dead children. When we lost Jorai and then conceived and delivered Asher, I thought, 'OK...we can do this. What happened to Jorai was just a 'fluke'...we can really do this!'. I never thought it would happen again. Never. But it did. I just can't wrap my mind around the realization that she's gone. My third child, my second little girl is gone. It's just so wrong.
Can someone please wake me up from the nightmare now?