Tag Archive | process

The Holidays, etc…

These past two weeks have gone by really fast.  They’ve been productive, I’ve been feeling better physically, I’m sleeping really well, and Hackie and I are very much in sync with each other.  Overall, life has been going smoothly and I think that helps time move.  However, I’m not all that thrilled at how fast these past two weeks have gone.  I feel like the holidays are fast approaching and I’m not ready.  I feel like I’m in a car, driving head first into Thanksgiving, trying desperately to come to a screeching halt and realizing that my brakes don’t work.  (If that doesn’t paint you a visual picture of how I feel, I’m not sure what will.)

Before I get to and then get through Thanksgiving, I have to get through tomorrow – I’m dreading it.  Tomorrow is the 16th and Maya’s 5 month birthday / angelversary.  It also marks one year since my positive pregnancy test.  For the past two weeks, I think at least once a day “at this time last year, I was pregnant but I didn’t know it”.  Starting tomorrow, I will think about what it felt like to get the positive test, to know that I was growing a human, to get excited about telling our parents and friends, to know that my life was changing forever.  I remember that day so well – it was busy, but so exciting.  Now, I will spend my days thinking, “at this time last year, I was pregnant and so eager and excited”.  I will remember how naive I was at this time last year.  I will think fondly of all the memories that go along with my pregnancy.  I will reflect on how different I am now and obsess over how long it will be before I can feel that level of joy and anticipation again.  Tomorrow will be a tough day.  I know that.  Having to work will help – I think.  Knowing that the day will end will help.  Hackie and I have planned a date for tomorrow night so I’m hoping that will make it a little easier to get through.

Thanksgiving is heavily weighted and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do.  First, it’s my favorite holiday.  It sucks because I’m not looking forward to it and I can’t get excited about it this year.  I’m actually dreading it and trying to figure out strategies for getting through it.  Last Thanksgiving, we told everyone close to us that we were expecting.  We started with my parents, then Hackie’s parents, and then the rest of our families and closest friends.  Everyone was so excited and we were thrilled at how well our plans of telling everyone went.  Thanksgiving day, I woke up to my mom on the phone with the hospital – my grandfather had fallen in the middle of the night.  He hadn’t been doing well and had been in and out of the hospital.  He died that Saturday.  He was 88 and his body was failing his brilliant mind.  Still it was a great loss for our family and I was so sad that he wouldn’t get to meet his great-grandchild.  The roller coaster of emotions that weekend was hard to bear.  However, I was glad that I could tell my family some good news in a time of such sadness.  My cousin put it best when she wrote, “when one door of happiness closes, another opens” – Little did we know…

I remember making a comment last Thanksgiving of how excited I was that there would be another little one joining the table in a year.  This would have been Maya’s first major holiday, and I would have shared my excitement with her.  She would be at such a fun age, and it would have been so fun to watch everyone in the family ooh and ah over her cuteness.

My positive pregnancy test and announcement.  The death of my grandfather.  Our first major holiday with no Maya.  It’s going to be very hard.  I know that.  I do not know how I will feel that day.  Hackie and I will be at my mom’s and my step–siblings and nephews will be there too.  I have already told my mom that I reserve the right to not sit at the table.  I have learned that in this journey called grief, I cannot predict how I will feel and I need to take what I need.  The last thing I want to do is ruin everyone else’s holiday and/or make anyone uncomfortable.  I refuse to sit at the table sobbing while everyone looks at me with pity.

I will get through tomorrow.  I will get through Thanksgiving.  It’s a process and if I’ve learned anything in these last five months, it’s that I cannot plan and I cannot prepare.  I need to live through it and intend to do the best I can.

I Want the World to Know…

I am proud to say that I stuck with CarlyMarie’s Capture Your Grief project.  I have posted a photo every day for the month of October.  I’m slightly bummed that the project is coming to an end.  It’s been a good outlet for me.  Today’s prompt is ‘Your Grief – Tell the World’.  This is the picture I posted:

You’ll have to click on it to read.  The points I made are just a few of the things I would like to tell the world.  So, I decided to let today’s prompt inspire my blog post.

Most women do not experience pregnancy or infant loss.  While 1 in 4 is high … too high, I am still in the minority.  So many times, people say, “I can’t imagine”.  And this is what I’d like to say to them: “You’re right.  You can’t imagine.  And I wouldn’t want you to.  Until you are in this place, you can’t know what I am going through, so don’t try to pretend you know.”  I read somewhere that when you experience the loss of a child, you not only have to deal with your own grief, but you have to educate everyone else on how to deal with you.  It’s a lot of pressure.  This is one of the reasons I started my blog.  If I can help just one person learn how to better interact with a woman who has lost a child, I will have accomplished my goal.

One thing that has bothered me greatly is that I feel as though, around certain people, I cannot refer to my pregnancy.  This has been one of the most difficult things to deal with.  If I reference my pregnancy when not talking about my loss but of that time in my life, all goes quiet, everyone becomes awkward, and I feel like an idiot while putting my foot in my mouth.  Apparently, when your baby dies, you are not allowed to talk about your pregnancy, you can’t relate to others who are pregnant, you can’t reminisce about cravings and swollen feet.  So, I want the world to know that the fact that Maya died does not mean that I have to forever avoid talking about when I was pregnant with her.  If anything, I will talk about my pregnancy with her more because those are the only memories I have.  Please do not cringe when I reference my pregnancy.

Time has become very strange.  Sometimes it feels like time has passed so quickly.  Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and other times I wish I could fast forward through life.  Then, I remind myself that life is a gift and I need to cherish each day.  Today, October 30th – 4 months and 2 weeks since Maya was born and died, is very significant.  It’s made even more significant by the fact that we just had a big storm that resulted in down power lines and no school.  One year ago today there was a big storm.  It snowed.  There were down power lines.  We had no power.  We had nothing to do.  We made Maya.  I find it very strange, sad, meaningful, confusing, etc. that one year later the circumstances are so similar and I am so different.  I am such a different person now.  I want the world to know that.  I am forever changed.

In the weeks following our loss, the support came pouring in through our mailbox, facebook profiles, and cell phones.  For about a week, we received large stacks of sympathy cards every day.  With each day that followed, the stack got smaller, the facebook notifications lessened, and our cell phones matched the silence of our home with no baby.  I think this is what happens with any kind of loss.  Everyone provides their sympathy and condolences in the beginning and then, for the most part, go about their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been several people who continue to provide us with support, ask us how we are doing, and remind us that they will never forget our baby girl.  I want the world to know that my world has come to a crashing halt – still after 4 months and 2 weeks.  While you carry on, Hackie and I are still devastated and still trying to pick up the pieces of our world that has come crumbling down.

Many people comment on my strength.  They marvel at how ‘well’ I am doing and how I appear to have fun and be happy every now and then.  Fine.  I’m doing ‘well’.  I am a strong person – I’ve always been that way.  I can have a good time and feel happy.  But, I am not, by any means, healed.  Most days, I am still sad.  Most days, you would never know.  I go to work, I teach, I interact with colleagues, I appear to be ‘fine’.  I am not.  Most of the time, I breathe a big sigh of relief when I get to the end of a day.  I can’t cry at work.  I can’t appear sad.  My students do not know my past and I don’t want them to.  So I keep it in.  I want the world to know that though I appear ‘fine’, ‘happy’, doing ‘well’, ‘strong’, I am still sad.  I am devastated.  I miss Maya every second of every day.

I’ve said it before.  The best thing that you can do for anyone who has experienced the loss of an infant is say their baby’s name.  Let them know that you are thinking about them.  Let them know that you will always remember their baby.  I know that as time passes, I will find the light, I will feel hope once again, and my grief will fit into my life in a different way.  For now, I want the world to know that my grief is very present in my life.  On some days, it defines me.  I want the world to know that life for me is very hard and I am doing the best I can.

Struggling

Today has been hard.  After a summer that I strategically filled with distractions, reality has hit me right between the eyes.  With NH, New York City, Disney, and then trips down to RI in the off weeks, I didn’t have to face my reality head on.  Sure, it was there and there were certain things that reminded me of what my life now consists of.  But I had enough going on to occupy my mind and time that I had some respite from real life.  Now, with little to look forward to and school starting in a week, reality is rearing its ugly head loud and clear.

I went into school to work on setting up my new classroom.  I got a new job, which I’ll blog about later.  It’s a welcome change and I thought another good distraction.  However, I wasn’t supposed to go back to work until after Thanksgiving.  There’s that phrase again… “supposed to”.  I say it so often now because life was supposed to be so different from what it is.  I counted down the weeks until school started.  I never wanted a summer to pass by so badly.  I thought having something to do and a solid routine would help pass the time.  Now that we’re less than a week away, I want nothing more than to crawl into a hole and hide.  Anger is a part of grieving and today, I felt angry.  I don’t want to set up my classroom.  I don’t want to deal with the beginning of the school year.  I don’t want to teach.  I want to mother, and I can’t.

My fabulous OB called today.  She got the autopsy report, which I’ll also blog about later.  It’s nothing all that conclusive, and she only went over it briefly.  It left me feeling sad.  I’m sad about what happened to Maya.  I ask over and over again, why her?  I’m also sad because the autopsy report was the last piece to this puzzle before the door closes.  I don’t want the appointments and the contact with my doctor to end.  I don’t want the door to close because I feel our time with Maya getting farther away.

Right now, reality sucks.  It’s so hard to face each day and to wrap my head around a new school year.  I am in such a fog and I can’t think straight – how am I supposed to teach?  I am so tired.  During the weeks leading up to Disney, I was running on adrenaline.  Adrenaline to get through the summer and get to our trip.  Now, I have nothing left.  Functioning every day is exhausting and I am nervous about what September holds.

My mom assured me that having a tough day today does not mean that I am back where I was in June.  Between spending an extended period of time at school and hearing from the doctor, there was a lot on my plate today and it broke me and brought me back to the dark place.  She reminded me that today will end and tomorrow can be better.  As much as I want to feel the low moments because they allow me to grieve my loss with every ounce of my soul, I am so uncomfortable in that place.  I feel like it’s a setback in my healing and I get frustrated and confused.

I am putting so much pressure on myself to be as close to the old me as I can.  I’ve convinced myself that if I can be the old me, interactions with other people (especially colleagues) will be less awkward.  The truth is, I have changed and haven’t quite figured out who I am now.  There are glimmers of the old me but I will never be the same and I don’t want to be.  This new finding of identity is hard and tiring.  I’ve learned that interactions with other people are awkward no matter what because there will always be an elephant in the room.

Getting back to school feels too much like the old normal.  One of the common phrases in the babyloss world is finding the “new normal”.  Hackie and I are slowly learning what that means.  However, the new normal feels too much like the old normal and I don’t like that.  Being back at school at the start of the school year is just another reminder that the world around me still goes on while I look backwards, trying to climb up the down escalator.

Today reminded me that grief and healing are not linear.  Though I feel I have made progress, I can still go backwards.  I can feel relief and joy one day and anger and sadness the next.  I can go days without crying and then lose it out of nowhere.  This is a never-ending process and I am only at the beginning.  There will be setbacks and there will be milestones.  There is no right or wrong way to travel on this journey.  I am doing the best I can.

Due Date

For the past couple of weeks I have thought about this day.  My due date.  I have walked by the big calendar in the hall with “DUE DATE!!” written across this day.  I have noticed it on every July calendar that I see.  I told myself that it was no big deal.  I told myself that most babies don’t come on their due date anyway.  I told myself that June 16th was now the significant day and that July 22nd was insignificant.  I was wrong.  Today is a very significant day and it’s been very hard.

I probably said “July 22nd” over 100 times in answer to the question, “When are you due?”.  I said it with a big smile on my face.  It was my due date from the day I got pregnant.  It was what I used to tell my parents the big news (I toasted “to July 22nd” at dinner a week after I found out I was pregnant).  It was the day I counted down to for so long.  It was a special day.

As I live through it, I ache for what I do not have.  If Maya were here, today would have been insignificant.  She came early.  If she were still here, I would be well-adjusted to my life as a new mom by now.  If she were here, I would have looked back on these last five weeks thinking, “I couldn’t imagine life without her here”.  She is not here.  I know life without her and I hate it.  It sucks.  Today being her due date is just another reminder that she is not here.

I have learned yet another lesson in the art of grieving.  I can’t control it.  It’s very unpredictable.  I tried so hard to prepare myself for this day.  I made the decision that it wasn’t going to be a bad day, that I would get through it just fine, that it was insignificant.  Apparently, I can’t make decisions like that.  I have to let go and let this process run its course.  I have to trust that adjacent to the bad days will be better days.  I have to live on knowing that the bad day will end.

There will be many significant days.  I know that now.  I have learned that I have to allow them to be significant.  I have to allow myself to go to the bad place and express my sadness, anger, and frustration.  I have to go through the process.  When I’m the most sad, I start thinking about Maya.  I think about what she will miss, but I also think about the time I had with her.  Today, I decided to finally cut some of the pink lilies that are next to our driveway.  I had been admiring them for a week.  I don’t remember them there last year.  My husband and I went out and cut some and put them in a vase.  I have believed from the beginning that Maya would have loved pink and been a super girly girl.  When I see these flowers, I think of her.  I see her beauty in them and they make me smile… even on a bad day.