Well SOMEBODY Must’ve Said It…

Just be yourself. I’m sure someone told me that. Then again, I can be pretty out there, so maybe I made it up? I don’t know. The point is, I’ve been sitting here for the last three hours trying to think of what to blog about that’s not super depressing. But I can’t. It’s September 29th. Noah’s due date. Even though I know he would’ve been here already (he was going the same route Tayla did, swimming in sugar, getting all huge and “moose like” and would come early via C-section. I can’t even talk myself into thinking things are better off this way, for the time being. Grieving is a full time job, hellish hours, almost NO PAY… I’m not sure how equipped I would be to handle and infant, a teenager, a death AND post-partum hormones. It doesn’t matter. My heart has a boo-boo and I want my mommy and my baby.

It’s also grandma’s birthday. Happy birthday “guccum”. I’m sorry I probably won’t get around to my usual releasing balloons and making a card ritual but maybe I’ll take Tayla to Dairy Queen and the fountain. I’ll try hard not to cry as she runs around the water, splashing and smiling because it’ll remind me of Natalie and I chasing each other around and around that Shelter fountain. The colored lights changing the hues of the water. Finally resting, able to eat that Blizzard and cuddle up with grandma just enjoying that sweet Columbia MO air… it always smelled better there. Probably all the flowers.

And it’s Thursday. Another fucking Thursday.

I’ve been trying to give myself pep talks, not wanting to ruin or waste a day (even a Thursday) having a pity party but I haven’t found anything that works yet.

I actually keep going back to that advice from a football player… (I know, right? In my defense, he was on America’s Got Talent- as a magician) and one thing he said that really makes so much sense to me is: “Don’t listen to yourself; talk to yourself”. When I listen to myself… oh man. I can go down the rabbit hole, FAST. But talking to myself? That sounds like a good idea… but maybe I’ll start tomorrow.

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Longing For Nothing

The past couple of days I’ve been feeling down. More so than usual. I wondered what had happened. Is this just another part of the grieving process? Feeling like you’re coming out of it before getting the door slammed in your face, a picture of what you lost taped to the back? I fell. Hard and into the basement of grief.

Natalie’s birthday pushed me to the edge of what little plateau I’d managed to climb upon. The four month anniversary tomorrow. And the 29th. Noah’s due date. The womb is not empty but full of sorrow. Longing. Aching.

I am holding on, making it through, as if there was another choice. There is, but there isn’t really. Not for me.

I have been keeping busy but the nights are the hardest. I don’t sleep well and there’s no one to talk to. Even if there was, I know I wouldn’t feel like saying anything… just wishing someone could take it away. I know the only way out is through and I am trying to honor the process and the pain. I know it will go away. Not completely but it won’t feel so heavy, leaving me longing for nothing.

Fooled You

Grief is a horrible tormentor. It mimics dementia, insanity, depression and at times, serenity.

Friday was the 19th. Three months since my sister’s passing. I’d had several days without crying. Without too many painful memories. Without too much emotion… This is where the serenity came from. It was the three month marker and the final writing group for two very talented writers. The prompt was “goodbye”. I cried silently as the gel ink flowed across the paper, as the tears slipped from my eyes, dripped from my face. It was quiet. And quick.

I wrote about Natalie, of course. And about losing these  two dear writing women to the promise of bigger, better and brighter futures. I wrote about seeing my brother less and less as he grows into the role of business man, promoting his livelihood, planning his life. I even wrote about my therapist, as he took a couple of days off to travel out of state (WI) to watch a football game with his wife.

I felt abandoned. Silly, I know. Irrational, I could feel it. I couldn’t help it. And, it was over quickly. I felt relieved… and like I was getting a handle on things.

These were a normal part of life. It was ok to be sad… and I know you “get to go there, you just don’t get to stay there”. I felt my “visit” was an appropriate amount of time and that I was really getting the hang of grieving.

Jessica called me after an out of the ordinary Friday shift at work. I’d just gotten home and was looking forward to staring blankly at the walls. I saw her name come up with a photo of her and Natalie. I reflexively pushed the phone away from me. After a few seconds of debate, I answered.

She came and picked us up, Tayla and I. We got to walk in the rain and play with her adorable puppy. We had good food and better conversation.

She also had the memory cards from Nats phone that the investigator FINALLY returned. (Three months they had it and did jack shit.) I spent the rest of the night pouring over 1,000 plus photos she’d taken, committing them to my memory before falling asleep.

I made it. I’d gotten through The Day, survived it with very little hysteria.

Saturday I worked on some comedy and managed to get to the pharmacy to set up “convince packaging” on my meds. Shar came over and we had great time, just sitting on the deck, talking.

Today was fairly productive. Unril late afternoon. I don’t know what triggered it, talking about the new found photos with Don I guess… but I cried. In the car, as I hugged the steering wheel close to my chest. My body shook with grief but even this lasted only a few minutes before I was able to calm down and go into the store for a quick for the necessities.

At home, Don made dinner. I turned on some music and smiled when I heard Natalie’s voice fill the kitchen.

“I’ll be there, I’ll be EVERYWHERE…”

The tears started, as they usually do and it got a little harder to swallow. Memories of her last text to me, “whatever you need my darling, just call, I’ll be there. I love you” filled the empty space inside me until I shook with uncontrollable sobs. I chucked the phone and grabbed a handful of tissues before running into my bedroom and crumpling to the floor on the side of the bed.

I grabbed “Noah” and cried into his tiny chest.

“How could she do this?” I wailed

“I don’t have the answer” Don replied

After what felt like hours, the cries subsided into a whimper.

Until I thought of Noah.

I clutched the replica tight to my body and rode another wave before pushing the lifeless, dead weight from my arms to the floor.

“He” lie there, face up and because I’d held him so close to me, my tears were in his eyes.

Then the screaming started.

The moving pictures in my mind danced in a collage.

Gone. They are both gone. GONE.

I briefly thought of suicide. Not so much the act of it but the longing to be out of pain. To be with my sister and baby. And grandparents and friends…

It was more of a fantasy than an actual thought. I couldn’t inflict this kind of pain on the people I loved. Neither Natalie or Noah did that intentionally…

The phone went off.

“Reminding you to send me the info on your comedy dates and times”.

I’ve been debating on if I’m actually ready for this. I have material written out but haven’t been able to concentrate on memorizing it or becoming familiar with it as to pull off a smooth routine.

At this point, I’m not ready. I don’t want to do it. It’s not funny, nothing is funny.

I took the day off of work tomorrow (now today) to give myself enough(?) time to prepare but I don’t know if it’ll do any good…

I’m caught between healing/growing and just wanting to pull the covers over my head, waiting for life to be done.

I don’t mean to end on such a heavy note but this is my life right now. It won’t always feel like this (I’m told) and I look forward to those days as I go through these days, looking for the gifts they too must hold.

 

 

 

Little Boy Loved

“The Little Boy Lost” is a simple lyric poem written by William Blake. This poem is part of a larger work entitled Songs of Innocence.

Father! father! where are you going?

O do not walk so fast.

Speak, father, speak to your little boy,

Or else I shall be lost.

The night was dark, no father was there;

The child was wet with dew;

The mire was deep, & the child did weep,

And away the vapor flew.

The Little Boy Lost begins with a boy walking behind his father and asking the father to slow his pace so he does not get lost. In the illustration that accompanies the poem, the child is actually following a dim light (referred to in the poem as a vapor). Night comes and the little boy is lost walking in soggy ground, covered in mud, and weeping as the vapor flies away from him.

 

Little Boy Loved

On Friday, April 15th, I lost my baby at 16 weeks and one day.

I went in for a routine check-up, scheduled every week, due to my high risk status. The tech asked how I was feeling and I responded, telling him I felt better than last week – I think the morning sickness was finally done! He smiled. “That’s a good thing” he said.

I usually looked forward to these appointments. It was always completely amazing to me to hear that tiny, wild little heartbeat… from his chest, from my belly… Today was different though. I was scared.

The past couple of days I’d been uncomfortable, in pain. That was part of my struggle. With the fibromyalgia, I’m not sure how much pain I’m in… every physical sensation in heightened and sometimes when someone does something as simple as lightly pat my back, I end up in tears. I didn’t want to go in over every little ache and pain… it was probably nothing.

I had experienced some cramping but no bleeding or spotting. I was doing everything early. Braxton Hicks (uncommon but not unheard of in the 2nd trimester) contractions made an appearance and I worked myself up over them. Convincing myself this was it. I was going to lose him. I’d felt them last week though and the ultrasound showed he was healthy and even sucking his thumb!

I told myself I was being paranoid. “I’m only thinking this way because there were so many complications with Tayla’s birth”. Before that, I had an ectopic pregnancy. For the first time, I’m realizing infertility is more than just being able to get pregnant.

Take deep breaths and “enjoy everything that comes along with new life, including morning sickness, excessive tiredness, kicking and sometimes cramping” I told myself.

I had felt him moving, even though I thought it was too soon for me to be feeling anything. Since I am diabetic, he was swimming in sugar and was already big boy. “It’s possible” the doctor assured me. Sometimes, I imagined his tiny foot, sliding along the inside of my belly, like a blind man feeling and exploring his way along the walls of his house.

I tried to smile as I stared at the tech, waiting for him to point to my baby and say “There he his. See? Looking good!” I studied this man’s face and saw his concentrated expression fall into a frown. “What’s wrong, is he hiding from you?” I asked. “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

I took a deep breath and remained calm. “Are you sure? This happened once before, with my daughter and she’ll be 13 in May.”

“I’m sorry” was all he could say.

“I want someone else to look” I said.

He didn’t argue or try to talk me out of it. He just nodded and quietly left the room.

I put my hands to the sides of my swollen stomach and said “Noah, I know you don’t know all the rules yet but a big one is showing up on the monitor, with a heartbeat. I’m your mother and you have to listen to me. It’s kind of the law…”

My tech returned with my doctor who took over the Doppler, sliding it through the cold gel before confirming what I’d already been told.

“Not only that but there is a small leak in …” I didn’t turn to look. His words felt far away and I kept my focus straight ahead and nodded.

We’d named him Noah David and although he wasn’t planned, he was a very wanted and special surprise.

How could this have happened? I asked myself over and over again despite knowing how many factors there were and how they worked against me. I made it so far… I was out of the first trimester, as if that were some sort of guarantee.

I hadn’t wanted to tell people about the pregnancy. Not family or friends, not even my husband. I didn’t want to have to tell people… in case he didn’t make it.

I’m so grateful I shared the news of his presence & elated to have everyone share in the joy of possibilities.

The whole experience has been surreal. I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was 12 weeks… Already done with the first trimester!?!? Then, consulting with doctors and forming a plan. Four weeks of checkups, bloodwork, ultrasounds… finding out his due date was to be my grandma’s birthday. I heard his heartbeat and felt him stir. He had a name and a face…

As I left my last appointment, I got into my car and promptly drove into a wall. I immediately remembered the nurse telling me not to drive… I was in such a fog. I slept a lot and laid amidst a pile of “I’m sorry”s, thinking/feeling nothing.

It didn’t seem real. Any of it. And I think that was what was playing a major role in “healing process”. If I didn’t cry, it wasn’t real. Yesterday my sister sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers… “Words cannot express the hurt I feel for the loss of Noah. Hope these will bring some beauty into your world at such a time of sadness. I love you with all my heart.” And the tears finally came. It wasn’t on the heels of finding out the news… it was unexpected. It was so very personal. It was knowing I wasn’t alone… (even though I know I’m not alone- my head and heart don’t always agree) and there was no pressure to respond. Just someone sharing in my grief.

It’s been almost a week and a half since he left. I needed time to process before sharing the news. I was dreading this post, as I’d hoped (and expected) to bring you all along on the journey.

I still plan on doing that. Writing about the grieving process, how the three of us (husband & daughter) are dealing with it, maybe making a memory box for the ultrasound pictures… That’s how I will get through.

And maybe that was part of the lesson he taught me. I can be with my emotions and not numb out. I had more than a couple of thoughts of drowning my sorrows in alcohol. I desperately wanted an escape. I blamed myself for not going to the doctor sooner. Not bothering the clinic with every. single. hiccup. This was my fault and I should be ashamed.

“That’s bullshit” said a woman whom I haven’t known very long but already consider a friend. She has her own issues with pregnancy & loss and blogs about it. She is working to take the stigma out of it…it’s working.

Noah, I love and miss you and will continue to do so until we meet.

 

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