Monday, January 27, 2014

Sorry, Not Sorry

I've been struggling with some strong feelings lately. As I've been working through them and deciding how to best convey what I have been feeling, I have also felt guilt. Guilt that I have been having such ugly thoughts. Then I realized, no, sorry, not sorry. I will own my feelings and not apologize for them.

I have been dealing with a lot of bitterness. I have always struggled with feeling jealous and sad when I see women who are pregnant or have babies, but lately I have been really angry and bitter.

Yesterday, there was a woman in Trader Joe's with her baby girl. When I saw the baby in her carrier and the mom talking to her and loving on her, I got mad. Really mad. I thought to myself, how dare you? How dare you be so naive and oblivious to what I am going through right here next to you. How dare you not realize that your baby could have been stillborn, that I am the 1 in 160 instead of you. How dare you have what I want and should have. How dare you. Upon hearing the news today of yet another person's baby coming safely and beautifully into the world, I thought, screw you.

I told you my thoughts were ugly. In the beginning I rationalized protected myself by thinking…don't get upset, you don't know that person's story. Maybe in a few years a newly bereaved mother will be looking at me the same way. Those thoughts are the more logical and gentle thoughts, but today they have escaped me. Today I want to give the world, and every happy family, the finger.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Grief and Health

I'm writing this as I lay in bed home sick from school. It's just some kind of virus, I think. Fever, aches, stomach ache, all that lovely stuff. I've been sick kind of a lot lately. Over the last few months I've had several little bugs, some worse than others.

I really think this trouble with getting sick is related to my grief. Think about times in your life when you were really busy and stressed, and how you got run down and ended up sick. I feel run down every week. And not because I'm busy doing a lot of things, but because grief and mourning takes so much energy every single minute of every single day. It would be different if I could slowly ease my way into life, darting back into the safety of my home to recover whenever I needed it, but unfortunately life doesn't work that way. I have a job and obligations. I'm forced to fake it until I make it. Maybe that's better. Maybe if I was able to crawl into myself and recover whenever I needed to it would take me forever to be able to fully function in my life again. Who knows.

What I do know is that I am not at the point yet where I can tuck my grief away. "My daughter is dead" is the constant loop running in my head. It's heavy, sometimes suffocating. When I'm participating in life, either at work or with friends, those thoughts are rarely ever in the background. The difference now is that I am usually able to wait and mourn in private, and keep "the face" on in public.

As I was writing this the opening scene from Finding Nemo popped into my head. Where Nemo's paranoid dad  pops in and out of the anemone to check for danger. That is how I feel all the time. Always scanning for danger, triggers, that will make things worse, afraid to leave the safety of my anemone. It's exhausting and I think getting sick is my body's way of telling me to stop and take a rest when it can't take it anymore. So, for now, I'm tucking in to recover.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Expectation v. Hope

Expectation v. Hope. This is something that has been on my heart lately. Part of my "new normal" is trying to incorporate hope, all while living without expectation.

All of these thoughts have come to the forefront after Britt and I made the decision to get a puppy (more to come on that later!). We had a lot of mixed feelings about our decision, and it was a hard one for us to make. Now that we have decided to welcome this new little life, we are very excited, and are anxious for him to come home in a few weeks.

Anyway, in making this decision some input we received tended towards hesitation because we are going to try and get pregnant again in the nearish future, and may have a baby here in a year or so. This is where hope vs. expectation comes in, and I don't think it can really be understood by anyone except for those who are in my shoes.

Yes, we hope to have an easy time again getting pregnant, and we hope that our next pregnancy results in a full-term living baby, but hope is all we have. Yes, statistically there is no reason that we shouldn't get these things, but there was also no reason for Emma to die and she did. You see, that is my life now. I don't expect anything. For me, and I'm willing to say to many other mom's of stillbirth, pregnancy no longer equals baby. Making it past the 12 week "safety" mark, ha! As if that was the biggest of my fears. Leaving the hospital with a living child equals baby.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can have all the hope in the world, but I no longer plan my life around what I, or others, expect to happen. So, in being forced to truly live in the moment, a puppy is a great idea and exactly what we need. He will satisfy my internal need to mother and nurture something, he will bring life and warmth into our home, and he will give me unconditional love. Hopefully, most importantly, he will teach me to open my heart to life and love again. To be ready to face the hope of Emma's little brother or sister, in a life where nothing can be expected.

…Plus he's pretty darn cute and cuddly ;)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Remembrances of Spring

The gentle caress of a warm breeze
Glistening dew in fragile green grass
Sweet perfume filling the air
New life, delicate and treasured

Echoes of hope and abundance
Whispers of color and joy
Reminders of renewal and life
A balm for my wounded soul
Remembrances of Spring

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Glimpsing Grace

Today started out terribly. We have been dealing with our heating/cooling condenser unit that stopped running this week (thankfully we could still run our emergency heat and stay warm) and today was when it was going to be replaced. The unit is only 3 years old, so we were pretty bitter about it. Then my car had a dead battery this morning, I was running late, and I dropped my breakfast on the floor. Things were just not working out.

I was really angry and having a lot of snarky ugly thoughts. Thoughts towards God, like…What, was I getting back too much faith, you had to knock me down a few pegs?? Am I not relying on you enough yet?? Can't I get a break?!? All this and, oh right, my baby is dead too…F**K!!!!!! It was really bad. I felt like I was going to implode. I knew my thoughts were crazy and extreme, but logic didn't make them go away.

Then this afternoon, we got a phone call that the company who we have been working with to replace our condenser decided to look one more time at the unit and take it completely apart to look at all the pieces. Thankfully, they found a small short which was the main source of the problem. The technician was able to rewire it, replace the other burned up parts, and get it running again. All for a grand total of $475 instead of the "discounted" $1900 he was going to charge us for a new unit. With this, I had a little glimpse of Grace, and my crazy thoughts came back down a bit.

Fast forward to this evening, and as Britt is off getting my battery replaced in my car, I sit down to sort through the mail. I open up a bill from the perinatal doctor for $206. Immediately my mind starts spinning again…Are you serious?!?! Insurance is not going to cover the visit for a second opinion about my daughter's death?!?! 1 step forward and 2 steps back, F… you get the idea.

I called our insurance and talked with a representative who was very helpful and called the doctor's office for me. He found out that the office made a mistake in the way they coded the visit for insurance purposes, and it is going to be all taken care of. He ended the conversation with "have a blessed night." And there was my second glimpse of grace.

Now that I am back down out of my mania, I can say that I'm thankful to have a home with heat on this cold night. I am thankful to have a car, and insurance that allows me to see a specialist. I'm thankful for glimpses of Grace, and reminders that God is not against me, even if I sometimes feel like he is.

Have a blessed night, friends.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fearfully Hopeful…Question Mark?

Is that even a thing? I'm going to say yes.

Fearfully hopeful has been one of my main emotions lately, as a lot of my thoughts have centered around the idea of becoming pregnant again. Facing the idea of pregnancy after a full term stillbirth is terrifying, and with Emma being my first baby there are unique emotions associated with it.

Although I know logically that most babies don't die, and there is no reason for me to expect a loss like this again, the fear is real and it is big.

With Emma being my first child, pregnancy ending in death is all I know. I have no other point of reference in my life. Nothing to prove to me that other outcomes are possible.

Emma lived and was loved inside my body for 10 months. I sang to her, read to her, talked to her, and was connected to her every single moment. I felt when she stopped moving and her little legs no longer pressed against my ribs. I felt her being lifted out of my body in the operating room and I held her silent body in my arms. I was wheeled out of the hospital with empty arms and a hospital bag that still contained Emma's going home outfit. I went to the funeral home with my husband, my breasts engorged and throbbing with milk, and made choices no parent should ever have to. We planned her funeral, choosing hymns and passages and who we wanted to invite. We brought her home to her room in a little tiny urn. Its raw, terrifying, and uncomfortable to read, but it is what I have lived. These are the moments that are forever in my memory. Its unbearable and impossible to imagine unless you are that mother along with me. That mother who too has lived this nightmare.

When I think of confronting another pregnancy, these are the fears and horrors that enter into my mind. I will never again be that naive and blissful pregnant woman. I will always be fearfully hopeful. Hopeful that the next time it will be different. That the operating room is filled with the sound of screams not silence, that I get to bring home a living baby. But sadly, the fear will always be a part of it.

I long to be welcomed back into the world of babies and mommies. Where I'm not just the lonely broken mother that no one knows what to do with. I want a chance to schedule play dates, brag about milestones, plan birthday parties, and yes, be up all night covered in spit up and diaper explosions. Bring. It. On.

Please, oh please, let me have a chance to get off of the sidelines.