Living with the loss of stillbirth and learning to live in the sunshine of our new normal.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

I Can't Forget

A year ago today, I still had a mom.

Year One

In the past 365 days, I've learned a lot about the world. First and foremost, that I am a mess without my mom. I've learned that grief changes a person, no matter how many times you experience it. Grief is always different, always enormous. It changes from day to day, so when you begin to think you've got a handle on it, you have to start over.

Every single day, I have to remind myself that my mom is gone. Every day, there's a question I need to ask her, or a story I want to tell her. Every damn day, I realize all over again that the memories are just memories now, all that I have left is absolute nothing.

I feel like I've learned more about myself over this past year. Mostly, how good I am at avoiding myself. How I tend to pretend things are fine, and how good I am at acting normal when I feel like I am flying apart at the seams. I feel like I am looking at the world through a window, and also that I'm on both sides of the glass. I know how fucked up I am over losing my mom, but the me on the other side is going along with life like the worst thing never happened. I remember clearly, going to bed the night she died, not wanting to close my eyes because all I saw was her. The last image of her was not a pleasant one, and all I could see was that. I was terrified to go to sleep because I was convinced I would not wake up. Because I think that's how she died. I think she was asleep and her heart just gave up. I have to think that. I can't even consider another possibility. I shut down all of my thoughts about her fear or pain, because she deserved heaven in the blink of an eye.

Every day, for 365 now, I call to the universe to give her back. I honestly cannot picture my life without her, my children growing up without her. Them not knowing the joy of having her in their lives. It drowns me, to think that Miles may not remember her or Dawn, that he'll have no grandma to look back on. To know that Sophia still grieves so deeply, that starting with her sister, she's known so much loss, and she's only 10. That I'm supposed to be a functional adult and even I can't deal with it all, so how is she supposed to? I have not come to terms with the complete and total loss. I don't imagine I ever will at this point. There are not words to describe the whole of loss that I feel, that the loss had not disappated, even after 12 months. It still feels fresh with every breath, and I struggle to cope with every sunrise, knowing she's not here.

I can't ramble on forever. I can't face it, either. I honestly don't know what tomorrow will bring, because the loss is still so immense that I am drowing in it. My mom was the best person I've ever known, and though I understand that it was a privilege to have had her at all, I can't measure my days without her. I can't seem to force myself awake into the truth, and every single day, the universe refuses to give me what I need to cope. I need my mom. I need my mom.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

11 years

My darling,

  11 years have come and gone since you came into our lives, and left without a sound. There are days when I wonder if you still belong to me, or if you ever really did. Our life without you is so busy, so loud and messy, and although I know you'd fit right in with us, you're nowhere to be found. I still have moments when I look around, trying to find something I've lost, without thinking about what it is. Some catch in my breath that tells me someone is missing, and it takes a moment for me to remember that it's you. You're always missing.
This past year have brought more grief than I'd thought possible. These past few years my faith has been on shaky ground, but since we lost your grandmothers and your cousin, I feel as though the ground has fallen out completely. Is wanting to believe the same as believing? I miss you, my little love. My first and always, I miss not having you, never having you. I hope you're somewhere safe, that you remember me, and that you understand more things than i do.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ten

My darling girl,

   Nothing makes sense to me right now. Where are you?
I just walked through snow, eight inches deep. I went to your headstone and I cleared the snow off. My feet are wet, my knees where I knelt in the snow, but I don't feel it. I closed my eyes and I asked you to let me know you're here, but you never do. Nothing makes sense to me right now. There are so many things I don't understand, and so many things that I feel like I need answers to. Maybe I don't deserve answers, is that it? Maybe I am unfit to know the things I thought I used to know. I feel like I want something to believe in, but I don't know what that is. I used to believe in everything, and now? Now I'm not sure. About anything. What is it about a decade, 10 years, that makes this feel so important? Just more years of you not being here with your family. Baby I'm not trying hard enough everyday, and that's why your birthday feels so big. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say, this is a journey that I never thought I would be on. And I know that no one thinks that they will never take this journey. I know that people think this can't happen to them. But it does. And 10 years later I still don't know why. We have had so many happy things happen to our family, and so many terrible things. We're just like the rest of the world. Except we're not. Maybe we are thicker skinned, maybe we are tougher because we needed to be tougher. But that's not fair, we won't ever get our happy ending, because we lost you. All of the happy things that happen in our lifetime, not a single one will make up for the loss of you.
It's your birthday,  but I can't celebrate.  I can barely drag myself up the hill today.  I miss you,  I miss you. I'll always miss you.
Mommy

Bits and Pieces

How many times have I told the story? 10 years ago right now I was probably still trying to get some sleep. They have been a long night, even with the Demerol Benadryl and Ambien the nurses had given me, I didn't sleep. I remember at one point, Mike took the blood pressure cuff off of my arm. Every time it filled with air I would wake up. I don't think I slept more than 2 hours that night. I don't remember at what point they started the pitocin, but they had started something to dialate me the night before. 10 years ago today was a blur. I know that our families were there, I know that some of my friends came in to see me. I remember we were watching TV to try and distract us from what was going on. I think that at that point I was still in denial I had no idea it was ahead of us, for some reason I think I still had hope that they were wrong. Things like this don't happen in real life, do they?
Some of the things I remember, was my older sister looking at the Monitor and explaining that the contractions were so big that she was surprised that they haven't turned down my pitocin. And of course there was the epidural that was leaking down my back so I could still feel things that I shouldn't have been able to feel. The anesthesiologist who didn't believe me until he actually looked at my back. Bits and pieces of one of the biggest days of my life. I remember being in labor finally, finally being able to push, I couldn't feel anything by that point, I was so drugged up. I think I remember pushing maybe before 5 times, and she was out. But she didn't cry. The room was quiet. I don't remember if I cried, if Mike did. Later, of course, but maybe not then. I asked the nurses to clean her off.  They almost dropped her  the doctor got mad.  She still didn't cry.

Friday, February 24, 2017

10 years

Ten years ago tonight,  we went to bed with a lifetime in front of us. We had dinner with Mike's parents, on the way home we talked about having a small get together when Mike's friend was in town,  our last party before the baby was born. Did I wake up in the middle of the night, as I so often did, to feel her moving around,  dancing,  enjoying the homemade egg rolls we'd had for dinner?  Did I feel her moving? Did I sleep through her death? My body resting as my daughter's heart slowed and stopped.  What was I dreaming about as she slipped away from us?  I was 36w 4d pregnant with our first child,  and when I woke up in the morning,  she was already gone.
I can't revisit that morning.  I cannot relive that right now,  I am too weak,  and I've done it a thousand times already.  None of my searching will matter, because after ten years,  we still don't know why. The experts,  the tests,  the studies could not explain to us why our healthy baby girl had died. The look in the doctors eyes when they all told us, there is no answer. 

Tonight I am letting Sophia and Miles sleep in my bed.  I will wake up and check their breathing,  like I always do.  I will touch their faces and hold their hands.  None of this brings back my Charlotte, none of this makes it better. But it gives me something to hold onto.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Gloomy

There are days that I just want to lie on the floor and close my eyes.  I don't want to talk to anyone,  I don't want to think about anything,  I just want to close my eyes and cease to exist for a while.  Today is that day.  But I have a sweet 3 year old sitting on my lap who wants me to watch Trolls with him, and wants to talk about magic.  I have a 9 year old at school that I need to pick up in an hour. I have laundry and dishes and toilets to clean. I am thankful for the people and the things that keep me going,  that force me to get out of bed on the days when I feel like I can't breathe. I am. But I also just want to lie down on the floor and close my eyes.