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

Sunday, February 26, 2017


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.

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


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.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


This is how it begins.  I say I'm fine,  I feel fine,  I'm impressed with how well I'm feeling.  And then the heart palpitations begin. The choking feeling and the tears threatening to flood.  It's so strange, it's like a light switch, but it has a mind of its own. Is it because it's my cousin's birthday?  He's 10 days older than Charlotte.  Is it because in 10 days it will have been 10 years?  How have I lived an entire decade without my daughter?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


I'm not a religious person.  I haven't ever been, really, even though I was raised in a family that went to church most weeks. I went to church events,  though reluctantly. I am close to people who have chosen to stay in the church, and I don't disagree with their decision to do so.  But I left,  and I walked away feeling fine with my decision. I used to think I was a spiritual person, but over the last few years I've lost even that.  But here's a secret,  I still pray.  Every night,  I say the words in my head,  more often than not, the same words I always say, with some variation here and there, depending on the day. I still pray, but I'm not sure why.  I don't know if i believe anymore,  in anything. I'm not sure if I'm praying because it's habit,  or hope. I feel like I beg and I beg,  and I just feel nothing. Since Dawn and Wyatt died,  especially, it's hard for me to pray. Not because losing them made me lose faith,  because I honestly don't know if I had faith before that. Losing both of them so close together,  not being able to properly grieve for either of them,  I feel stuck. I stopped praying for them,  obviously, and of course kept praying for our families.  But even that has stopped.  Maybe I feel like it wasn't being heard,  maybe I felt like it wasn't enough, I don't know.  I wish I knew where to go, what to do, to find the kind of faith other people have.  Not knowing is the absolute hardest thing about losing people.  Will I see them again?  If not, what's the fucking point?

We lost Charlotte before we even had her.  I spent 9 months as her mom,  getting to know as much of her as I ever would. But then in an instant, she was gone. Forever?  It terrifies me to think that I will never have another chance to hold her,  to see her face. To not know is sickening. I used to believe that I would see her in heaven,  but now?  Now I'm stumbling, I've lost my balance, and it feels like it's so much easier to just fall.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


I've decided to take February one day at a time this year. Instead of lumping the month together in one large angry ball of grief, one day at a time.

That being said,  I can already feel the weight. Ten years of mourning my daughter,  ten years of milestones missed. I can feel everything I've spent the last ten years not doing,  and it's a heavy weight.  I can't describe the way it woke with me this morning,  the unwillingness to face the day. I did not want to admit myself that it was the Februaries that caught me off guard, that the reason I felt "off" was just the stupid month. I should be stronger than that by now,  I should be able to work around the schedule my heart has been keeping for the past decade. But I am not,  I cannot. I will admit that I did push through,  I woke myself up and shook it off as much as I could,  and for any given day in February,  it was a victory. Still,  here I lay in bed,  tormenting myself with the realizations that it will not end. Time does not heal wounds, it stretches them, they come out misshapen and raw in places that were not raw before.  I think I do a pretty consistent job of living my normal life with my only half normal heart,  but February keeps coming back. I can't wonder what tomorrow will bring, because I let go of those anxieties to keep myself sane. I will face the next 25 days with as much strength an dignity as I can muster (on any given day.) That's all I can do,  hope for the best, as the world crumbles around us.  Keep the stresses out,  and hold the stresses in.