Sunday, October 31, 2010

10.31.10

I don't really like Halloween all that much.  It's too commercial, and I don't particularly like the dark undertones.  If you look beyond the costumes and candy, however, today is when the veil between worlds, between here and what comes next, (heaven?)  is supposedly the thinnest.  If only I could reach across, and speak with her, hold her, remind her how much I love her.  It is selfish of me, but I want her here.  And I wish I believed that she would come to me today.  I am losing the details of her short time here.  The memories of her beautiful birth are fading.

That poem by e e cummings that reads, "i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)" runs through my mind constantly.  I carry her heart in my heart, and sometimes it weighs 1,000 pounds, but sometimes, oh so rarely, I feel her spirit, I feel her heart, its contours, its curves, I remember listening to it beat, and then I feel weightless; like if I take a deep enough breath what binds me to this earth will snap and I will join her.  And no longer will I carry her heart in my heart - I will carry her in my arms.  Maybe I don't need to reach across, try to grasp her sweet baby fingers tonight.  Maybe believing I will see her again someday is enough.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stay or go

Last night I brought up the holidays and whether or not we should stay here or go elsewhere.  And the world exploded around me.  There was shouting about the beach vs. the mountains, (living so close to both can be tricky) about saving vs. spending, and some harsh things were said by both of us.  Eventually the husband extracted the core issue: "How do you expect me to make this decision for you when you don't know what you want?"  I don't know ... magic?  I know I don't want to sit around with family and open presents and have dinner.  I know I'm not able to do that yet.  We talked for a long time last night, and decided to stay here, but take things slowly.  Maybe when Christmas rolls around I will feel up to spending time with others, even though my heart will be missing.  We are going to lay low on Thanksgiving, and on Christmas he may go visit family without me.  He said he's waiting to see how I am doing that day.  I told him I could spend the day at the movie theater if I didn't feel too bad.  He said I would be like my mother and that water ride at Disney's California Adventure.  "You'll come out, buy another ticket, fill up your unlimited popcorn bucket and go around again," he said laughing.  If I remember correctly my mom stayed on that ride until the park was closing down.  Hey, if you're having fun, and there's no line, why stop?  We've worked everything out, all is well and peaceful here once more, but I cried a lot last night.

My midwife stopped by this morning with a painting she made for me.  It's a conception painting, meant to bring peace and comfort as we try to conceive.  It has beautiful words and phrases too.  Maybe it's more of a mixed media peace.  I am not an artist.  I thought about including a picture here, but decided not to share it.  For now it is mine, and mine alone.  It is beautiful.  Love it, love her.

After visiting with my midwife we took the dog to the park for some play time in the rain.  I love fall in the Northwest.  I know, I've said it many, many times, but it is truly beautiful here.  Then I mixed up a batch of chili in preparation for the Ducks football game tonight.  I love, love, love this time of year!  I don't like chili, but the boys who are coming over love it.  I am feeling good today.  Last night was rough, but we worked through a lot, and we're back on good terms.  I am finally over the flu.  I felt well enough to have a cookie for lunch.  Life is okay, and right now that is enough.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Clarification

I was going to leave this particular topic alone, but I received an e-mail this morning that made me realize I need to clarify my position.  A few days ago when I wrote about the comparison of losses I did not mean to imply that my loss is above everyone else's because I carried Charlotte for 38 weeks and went through labor and delivery before she died.  My loss is above everyone else's loss because it's mine.  Does that make sense?  She was my child, and I built hopes, dreams, and wishes around her life.  I understand that those dreams start as soon as the positive on the pregnancy test appears.  I am not trying to invalidate first, second, or third trimester losses.  I understand that we have all been shattered by our losses.

Perhaps your pregnancy was over before you had a chance to tell anyone.  Perhaps you were presented with an adverse diagnosis when you went in for your twenty week scan.  Perhaps your baby’s heart stopped beating at fifteen, twenty, twenty-six, thirty-six, forty-one weeks.  Perhaps your baby died shortly after, or during, delivery.  Perhaps you laid your sleeping baby down for a nap only to discover a still child an hour, or two, later.  Perhaps you said good-bye to your baby, but his or her twin came home with you.  Perhaps your baby was born too soon to live outside your womb.  Perhaps your baby survived for weeks in the NICU, but never came home with you.  No matter your story, no matter how you arrived here, in the land of the lost, your child is not in your arms and you are a grieving parent.  I don't think that reaching a certain week marker equals the right to grieve.  We all have the right to grieve our children no matter what week, or year, we said good-bye.    

Also, whether or not you have other children does not matter one whit in my eyes.  I understand that living children do not replace the child that is gone.  There will always be someone missing in all of our families, and in all of our lives.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frustrated and sad

Fell apart last night.  Initially I thought it was because I was on day four of the flu and could not handle one moment more of my stomach hurting.  Then it became about this cycle not being the one.  Granted it's not over, but I'm pretty sure it's not the one.  Then it became about wanting to get pregnant again, and wondering if I am doing it for the wrong reasons.  Then, as it always does, it circled back to the starting point: Charlotte.  I haven't had a huge cry in a good long while.

I think I needed to release some of my emotions about trying to get pregnant again.  It is so unfair that we're here again, less than six months after her birth date.  I've also come to the realization that no matter what I do, no matter what I believe in, or how much I wish it, the next baby won't be her.  And the next baby wouldn't exist if she had lived.  (If there is to be a next baby.  Have to toss that out there).  Two cycles down and I am a mess.  I feel like everyone else in the April/May/June loss world is pregnant again (well, those who want to be).  I know there are others, and I know many of them have been trying longer than me, but it still feels rather lonely back here.

I think part of my frustration stems from the fact that I got pregnant right away with Charlotte.  First try, didn't really have to think about it.  Wanted it, got it, but didn't get to keep her.  Now that I've worked through some of my issues about having another baby I would like to be pregnant again.  (During the summer I wanted to be pregnant again so I could curl up at Bella Vie and have my midwives coddle me for nine solid months.  Then I realized I would see them once a month, not every day, and abandoned that idea).  If only it were that simple.  I know a lot of people who would like to be pregnant, but that hasn't changed anything, or sped up the process.  There is no magic here, just science and what seems to be random luck.  I hate biology.

Tonight another blm and I were talking online about ttc and trusting God and His timing.  I'll never figure out why His timing isn't my timing.  I'm also wrestling with the fact that He never promised us children.  Some people get nineteen chances, but maybe we were only blessed with one.  (And I'm still unsure about how He fits into this whole mess.  We went back to church that one time, but haven't managed to make it back since.  I can think of one word to sum up that whole situation right now: ambivalent).

The other night I got wrapped up in thinking about everything a friend has, and everything I don't have.  I try not to do the - she has, they have, I want, stamp feet, and pout - thing, but sometimes it happens.  No one's life is perfect.  I feel so bereft, so empty, so left behind, so useless, because I am looking through the dead baby lens.  And this lens is so clouded with salty tears, grief, and hopeful wishes I can't see what is front of me.  So I am always looking back to what could've been, and the baby I should be holding in my arms.       

  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Whine

Today is worse than yesterday.  I think.  I can't really tell.  I feel all over miserable.  I asked the husband if I was going to live and he said yes, because existing as I am right now is not sustainable.  Why does he use such big words when I have the flu?  All I can eat is soup and crackers.  I am so sick to my stomach all of the time, but I haven't thrown up since Sunday so I guess that's progress.  Skipping Aquafit tomorrow.  Just the thought of the pool and all the movement that goes with it makes me feel ill.  Going a little crazy from the isolation here.  Felt okay when I woke up this morning, but now my head is all feverish and I am so nauseated I feel at sea.  Okay, whine over.  Back to reading the new Sara Gruen and watching bad movies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recovering

An evil round of the flu attacked me Saturday night and I am just now starting to feel better.  It seems to be a 24 hour strain, but it knocked me flat.  I was up all night Saturday, throwing up every twenty minutes.  I couldn't even keep water down.  I wasn't able to keep my tinctures down either.  I hope this doesn't adversely affect my thyroid health.  The last time I was this sick was sometime during my pregnancy with Charlotte.  I don't remember when exactly, but I do remember curling up on the bathroom floor, hands on my stomach, crying because I couldn't eat or drink, and I was worried about harming the baby.

In the middle of the night I was laying on the bathroom floor thinking about how I was going to throw up again, but I didn't want to, I just wanted it all to over.  Then I had a flashback to labor, how it hurt so much, and I wanted it to be over, but I knew I had to work through the pain to have my baby girl in my arms.  Then she died.  I started crying, then I threw up, and it was a mess of snot, tears, and sickness, and frustration.  I can't even get the flu without thinking about how my baby died.  She overshadows everything.  I don't think it will be this way forever, but for now it is, and I find it frustrating.

One strange result of this entire mess is that I no longer have my post-partum belly.  I don't know where it went.  I am wondering if the disappearance is temporary.  I'm not quite back to the way I looked before, but I'm a lot closer now.  I was so sad to lose my flat stomach to pregnancy since my pregnancy ended in loss, but now this morning I feel like I've lost another bit of her.  

I am very weak, dehydrated, and I have a sore throat, but I was able to eat something this morning.  I was starving last night, but I didn't want to throw up, so I didn't eat.  I am going to lay in bed, drink lots of water, listen to the rain, watch movies, and read.  I hope the worst of it has passed.  I hate being sick.


      

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10.23.10

This is going to be one of those posts with zero continuity and little sense.  I have a lot on my mind today.

This afternoon I realized it's been two years since I started this blog.  I had very, very few readers before Charlotte died, and I didn't write very often.  Now this space means a lot to me and I've met many people through it.  Thanks for reading everyone.  And if you comment know that your comments often get me through the day. 

It's raining!  It's supposed to rain for the next few days.  I love the sound, the smell, how it looks from my front window.  The rain is falling, candles are burning, and I am reading a fabulous book.  I am content. 

We ended up going to the birthday party last night.  The family with the baby couldn't make it.  After all of the guests left we watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail with our friends.  I've said it before, and I've said it many times, but I'm going to say it again: I love these friends, and I am so grateful to have them in our lives.  

Now for two serious topics:

Haiti is in the midst of a cholera outbreak.  I've written about my midwife and her work in Haiti before.  Another midwife from the same birth center will be headed to Haiti in a few weeks.  The birth center in Haiti is scheduled to open at the beginning of November and they need supplies so they can deal with this new crisis.  Please keep this organization in your prayers.    

Emily over at Aidan, Baby of Mine  wrote a post about "Dead Baby Math" today.  I am so glad she was brave enough to say what I've wanted to say for some time now.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I don't want to upset anybody, but I do the same thing Emily does.  When I hear of a loss I compare it to my own.  I think there is something uniquely awful about going through a normal birth and delivery only to have the baby die soon after.  I probably feel that way because it happened to me, but I can't seem to shut off the part of my brain that insists my loss is the worst, and that no one can understand what I am going through. 

Grief is so insular and selfish.  I'm sure everyone thinks their loss is the worst because they are in the middle of it and can't see a way out.  We're all living day by day, hoping to find a way out of the deep sorrow to a calmer place.  I am not trying to lessen anyone's loss.  I just want to stand beside Emily and say, "Me too."  I hope I haven't offended anyone.        

  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blessed

This has been a strange day.  A really strange day.  When I retrieved the mail from the bin in the closet there was  an unmarked envelope with $1,750.00 cash in it.  I nearly wet my pants from terror.  A while ago, maybe two months after Charlotte died, a random box appeared on our doorstep.  We opened it without realizing it was not addressed to us.  Inside many wrappings and packagings was what we thought were drugs.  We know next to nothing about drugs, but it certainly looked like it so we called the police.  We received a stern lecture from the officer about opening packages not addressed to us.  He could not deduce if it was drugs or not, they whisked it away, and that was that.  So, when I saw the envelope and opened it to all of that cash I nearly fainted.  I spent the day in a state of panic, trying to figure out where it came from, if it was legal, if it was counterfeit.  I also watched Friends and cowered on the couch every time the dog barked.  When the UPS guy dropped off a package and pounded on the door I was curled on the couch with a blanket over my head hoping the end would be quick and painless.  (I read too much and I have a very active imagination).

After a day of worries and much speculation on Facebook I received a message from someone named Angel Blessing who had created a bare minimum Facebook page.  The contents:

  Acts 2:45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Psalm 66:20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! 

Psalm 27:5 For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.

Isaiah 32:18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. 

This gift is from God's hand, not man's. All glory is His, as are all things. He gives to those whom He chooses. He loves those whom He chooses to love. He loves you both dearly, faithfully, and eternally.

I feel a tiny bit guilty for having this money in my possession since we don't really need it.  For some a chunk of cash that large would provide an opportunity to buy groceries and pay the bills on time.  For us it is a blessing, a wonderful appreciated blessing.  The husband's response when I told him it wasn't drug money?  "At least we won't have to spend it on a handgun."  

We will be donating some of the money to the deacon's fund at our church which helps those who need it pay the bills, buy groceries, and generally keep their heads above water.  As for the rest, we will wait and pray before we spend it.  Feeling the love today.  Thank you to the person, or persons, who created this interesting, terror filled day for me.  I don't get out of the house much.  I need the entertainment.  

Instincts, holidays, sunshine

I am learning to trust my instincts.  We were supposed to go to a birthday party tonight, but I received an e-mail this morning letting me know the baby girl that sent me flying into the bathroom in tears a month ago will be there.  My first response was to go anyway, to fight through, because that is always my initial response.  Then I paused for a moment, took a deep breath, and realized the thought of going made me want to throw up.  So, no birthday party for us.  I'm sad we won't be going, but I don't want to end up huddled in my friend's closet again, and I'm sure the hostess would like to avoid that too.

I am learning to follow my inner voice, and listen to what my heart wants.  It's hard, I miss out on a lot, but it's better than ending up in an uncomfortable situation.  I am limping along just fine right now, and it is best if I can avoid triggers and sensitive moments.

In the middle of the 2ww right now.  Not harboring any hope.  Well, maybe a small bit that seems to seep in no matter what.  I think I missed the opportunity this go round.  I don't know where my brain went this month, but it is definitely not here.  I had it in my head that it would be horrible if I wasn't pregnant again before Christmas.  I am now realizing just how unlikely that is.  It's nearly Halloween, which means Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and the chance of achieving that goal is dwindling.  I am dreading Christmas.  I mentioned this to a friend last night and she said, It will come and then it will go.  True, but hard to remember.  I was so excited for Christmas last year, and this year I want to avoid the entire season with its joy and goodwill and merriment.  

I thought it was going to rain today, but I woke up to another day of sunshine.  I am going to spend my day reading, watching TV, and snarling at nature.  I am so ready for the rain to start, for fall to truly begin.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Nature of Grief

There are moments when I throw my head back and laugh so hard tears come to my eyes.  At that exact second in time the grief is lifted and life is okay.

Last night we rolled the rug up and moved the furniture against the wall in preparation for the chimney install guy. We had a big open space in our living room so we decided to dance.  Isabel didn't understand what we were doing so she ran around in circles barking, and trying to get between us.  She hates being left out of family moments.  If we're hugging she wiggles in between us, if we're talking on the couch she walks up and puts her face on my knee, tries to climb in my lap.  After a few laps she managed to separate us.  She jumped up and put her paws on the husband's shoulders as if she was saying, my turn, my turn!  I laughed so hard I had to cross my legs.  This is what having a baby has done to me.  I can't laugh too hard, or sneeze, without repercussions not seen since kindergarten.

The other night I went out to the backyard to chat with the husband’s friends.  They were helping him unload some wood he got from one of the cardiologist’s he works for.  (His house is huge.  His son was having his soccer practice there when the guys showed up).  I love these boys (Someday soon I will have to stop calling them boys as they are all 30, or nearly so).  They treat me like a sister and I love them for it.  After they unloaded the wood they had to go back to their house to get the husband’s car.  I rode along.  There is something to be said about riding in a truck with four men who are discussing the new rules about child and spousal abuse in (Abu Dhabi? Dubai? The guys weren’t sure), why someone at the driver’s work wants him to date her granddaughter, and how they feel about polygamy.  It was gloriously fascinating and endlessly entertaining.  From them I have learned that guys will talk about anything if you ask, and sometimes they will be more forthcoming and honest than women.  And they make me laugh no matter how sad I am.  A few weeks after Charlotte died we met up with one of them at a local restaurant.  This one tells the best stories, especially when he's had a few drinks.  That night I drank too much and laughed so hard I had to cross my legs.            

Then there are moments when I remember how all encompassing my loss is.  I can't explain how thirty-eight weeks with a growing baby instantly morphs into a lifetime of loss and sorrow, but I know it does, and I know how much it hurts.

I had a horrible dream last night.  I was pregnant, hugely so, and I was waiting for the baby to die so I could birth it.  I was going about life, calmly shopping, but waiting for the life inside of me to pass.  I started bleeding.  I called the husband and let him know it was time, that the baby was dying just as we had expected.  I called my midwife, but she wouldn't come, she refused to help me.  I was on a street somewhere.  I asked the people walking by to help me.  They kept going.  I was alone, the baby was dying, there was nothing I could do.  That was the entire dream.  I was bleeding, the baby was dying, but I couldn't get help.  I have had so many frightening dreams since Charlotte died, but this one was the worst.  I feel residual terror just thinking about it.  I think what scares me the most is that I knew the baby wasn't Charlotte.  In the dream I was watching myself walk around asking for help.  My belly was huge from the side, but when I looked at myself head on, my belly was a gaping wound, and I was empty inside, no baby.  I woke up gasping, sweating, terrified and on the verge of tears.  

This is the nature of grief.  Joy and sorrow mixed together until it is impossible to tell if I've laughed so hard I'm crying, of I am simply crying.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10.19.10

Spent the morning on the phone with a medical billing company and my insurance company.  I'm ready to scream for a good long while.  Had to go over every single claim in Charlotte's name with the insurance company.  Had to state her name, her date of birth, the date of each claim.  The customer service rep stated each service, the amount the insurance company paid, and the amount we paid.  I said correct after each statement and tried not to cry.  I hate that her time here was so frantic.  If she was born in hospital maybe she would've died in my arms.  I hate that her last moments alive were with strangers.

I have learned that I can't have it all, but I wish I could.  Sometimes I feel like she died because my life was so close to being everything I ever wanted, and maybe I can't have everything I ever wanted.  I can have the house, the decent car, the husband who works hard, good friends, a lovely dog, but no baby.  What do I have to take away to have the baby?  I thought we were doing the right thing by making sure we had the house, the decent car, the job that pays the bills before she was born.  I don't understand how I ended up here.    

Wandering the paths at the park with Isabel yesterday all I could think about was how Charlotte should be here.  Every time I think I am feeling okay something comes along to remind me how far from where I want to be I am.  And now there is no returning to where I want to be.  There is only this changed landscape that feels very foreign, and seems to be lacking a map.  I don't know what I want, I don't know how to be, and I'm not sure how to move forward.       

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wandering

Slept three hours last night.  Three short hours.  Every time I tried to fall asleep I would feel as if I might throw up so I would pop out of bed, dash to the bathroom, and then nothing would happen.  This is a fairly typical anxiety response for me, but it's never happened at night before.  Mondays are my day at the bookstore, but I decided not to go in.  I was feeling so good last week, but from the 14th onward has been difficult.  I decided to go for a walk this morning, try to exercise a bit of the anxiety away.  I don't know what I am anxious about, but it's there, hovering over my shoulder.

I took Isabel to the park we always go to.  I let her run around the off leash area for a while before strapping on her leash and heading out for parts unknown.  We got phenomenally lost.  I thought if we went off exploring the trail would loop back to the dog park fairly quickly.  I thought wrong.  Minto-Brown Island Park is huge.  It is 898 acres in the middle of the city.  I am incredibly stubborn so instead of turning around when I realized we had been walking for an hour I kept going.  I don't like turning around, and I thought the next bend would reveal the dog park.  Except it didn't.  I would've asked someone where the dog park was, but we were the only ones wandering around that section of the park this morning.  I found one map, but it was useless.  It had a picture of the dog park and then two trails marked "dirt" and one trail marked "tree lined."  I stared at it in confusion for a while before realizing it was absolutely useless.

I wish I could add a map here of the park, but I can't.  If you would like to see how far I walked go here.  I started at the dog run, and about an hour in I was out at Homestead Road and path M.  Then I had to find my way back to the dog park.  None of the paths are marked and all of the bridges look the same.  

I think if there is a park that big in the middle of the city there should be maps at each trail intersection.  Considering my sleep deprivation I'm surprised we're not still out there wandering.  I was ready to call the Forest Service, or sit on the path and wait for the husband to come find us when he got off work in six hours, but I took a deep breath, followed my instincts at each intersection, and we made it out.  It was nice to walk, crunch through the leaves, think about how lost I was in the middle of the city.

Yesterday was the day to install the chimney liner, but it did not go as planned.  We will be calling in the professionals now.  On the upside of things my living room was in absolutely disarray after the failed attempt so I decided to rearrange it.  I love rearranging furniture.  Ignore the stove covered with the ugly blanket.  Hopefully it will be in the fireplace sometime in the near future.



Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  I've been making an effort to spend more time with the husband, to go upstairs and see how he is instead of staying in my comfy place on the couch downstairs.  It helps to know I am not the only one who struggles with this.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Ramble

There are a lot of things I want to say, but I don't want to put my foot in my mouth or hurt anyone's feelings so I am going to do the wise thing and stay quiet.  It's rare for me to pull back, to not say what is on my mind, but since Charlotte died I've learned to trust my instincts, and my heart is telling me to shut up and not write about what I really want to write about, so I am going to ramble on for a bit about nothing and everything.

Yesterday was difficult.  It was emotional and did not go as well as I had hoped.  The walk was fine, but the husband did not do so well.  I made him stay and I am feeling a bit of guilt over that today.  We've talked it out, we've discussed, we've shared, but I still feel guilty.  I do not understand the way he grieves.  It seems to me as if he doesn't want to talk about her, do anything in her memory, celebrate her short life here with us.  I know he loves and misses her, but sometimes, no most of the time, I find myself scratching my head and wondering where he is coming from and where he is going.  I sit so solidly in my grief, and he sits so firmly outside of his we are often confused by each others thoughts and actions.  A surprising amount of anger burst forth from him yesterday, and while it wasn't directed at me it has forced me to take a step back, look more closely at him, try to frame his loss differently.  His loss.  My loss.  We are grieving the same baby, but sometimes I think we lost different ideas, hopes, dreams.  I don't know ... The last few days have been incredibly difficult, and then yesterday happened and I am sitting in the aftermath trying to find purchase on solid ground once more.

I am talking around, over, and under things because I don't want to say too much.  I must say with as much firmness as I can convey here that I don't think Charlotte dying was in God's plan.  I don't think he reached down from above on May 14th and decided to take her home.  She went home that morning, but I cannot believe in a God who would take her away simply to prove a point, or to make us stronger, or because he was having a bad day.  That God is not my God, and it makes me furious when people say things about God, and plans, and her death making us stronger.  I believe God is grieving with us, and sad for us, but I don't for one second think He wanted this for us.

On a completely unrelated note I need to figure out how to talk about her, how to handle myself gracefully when people mention her, this blog, my grief.  I get so flustered when someone says they read my blog.  It is often mentioned with a question mark tacked onto the end.  As if mentioning this space will make me open up in real life.  It's not going to happen.  I can talk about the facts.  I can say when she died, how she died, but I cannot speak my feelings.  When that wonderful woman came up to me yesterday and said she read my blog I felt as if I was standing naked in the middle of the room.  I appreciated her bravery, and her kindness, but I wanted to crawl underneath the table. (If you read this sweet mama, I am so, so sorry for the loss of your darling girl).  In my head I write, and write, and write but no one in real life reads it.  And then multiple times in one week people mention this space to me, I realize that people who know me do read these words, and I feel so strange about it. I turn into awkward girl as soon as "the blog" comes up.  I shuffle my feet, shrug my shoulders, blush, and change the subject.  I really need to come up with a standard response when someone mentions my blog, because the 'run away and possibly throw up' response isn't really working for me.  And the truth of the matter is that I want people to read what I have to write.  I want people to see how incredibly difficult it is to make it through each day after the loss of a baby.  I want others who have lost babies to come here and feel a little less alone, a little less lost.  I am very, very confused about this right now.  (I've gone back twice after posting to fix this paragraph.  Determined to leave it alone now).

I am a little crazed today.  I am emotionally wrecked and exhausted and so is the husband and it's all my fault.  When I mentioned church this morning he said, "I need a day off after yesterday."  I don't blame him.  The five month anniversary on Thursday, plus all that happened on Friday and Saturday has left me feeling drained.  I need a week on an island with a few drinks and no people.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Memorial Walk

I don't have a lot to say.  My heart is full, the words are there, but I feel the need to stay quiet today.  I've been so angry the past few days, and I think some of the anger has dissipated.  I am appreciative and humbled.  Someone I have never met before walked up to me today and thanked me for writing here because it has made a difference to her as she grieves the loss of her sweet baby.  It is good to know I am not alone.  

I am emotionally exhausted.  Thank you to everyone who donated.  Thank you to the friends, family, and all who read these words for remembering Charlotte, for speaking her name, for helping us love her even though she is not here with us.  Gratitude, grace, and humbleness are the words here today.  There is still sorrow, my heart aches for her, but there is healing too.  Love you all.    

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th

Today we remember all babies gone too soon.


Tomorrow we will be participating in A Butterfly's Touch Memorial walk.  Honestly, I want to crawl under the covers and stay there for the next week, or ten, but this is all we get to do for Charlotte so I am going to pull myself together and be there.  Love to all of the angel babies, the sad mamas, the heartbroken daddies, and everyone else who is missing a baby today.  

*Thank you Carly for the beautiful picture

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10.14.10 pt. 2

Can't sleep.  More to say.  I always have more to say. I am sitting on the couch, the house is quiet, growing colder.  The husband sleeps, but I am wide awake, the dog stretched out next to the couch on the floor, and all is quiet.  I have spent the day rushing around, refusing to sit, because if I sit I will think, and if I think I will think about how it’s been five months since she died.  What do I call that day?  Her birthday?  Her death day?  She was born, and she died, but the death came after the birth so to me that day is her death day.  My bottom lip juts out, into a quasi pout, and I chew on it.  This evening I noticed a cut on my lip and wondered aloud where it came from.  The husband said I must’ve bit myself.  What it is though is a nervous habit.  A habit born of loss.  When I am alone, and the house is quiet, as it is now, the façade drops, the lip juts, and I let myself be as I need to be.

I went to a movie with friends tonight.  When I got in the car one asked, “How’s your heart?”  I told her my heart was okay, and it was at the time, but now I see a tidal wave coming and I know tomorrow I am going to be on my knees again.  I think I am trying to stave the grief off by staying up late, writing these words, staring at her pictures, crying.  No, no tears.  I don’t want to do that right now.  My chewed up lip trembled and a few tears spilled over the edge tonight as we talked about burying her ashes, but I will not sob.  Tomorrow I will light candles, I will weep, I will wail, but tonight I will not simply because I don’t feel like it.

Her death brings forth questions about life, love, death, time, God, hope.  Mortality.  There are days when I would give anything to be with her.  What comes after?  Heaven, I think.  The other day I had lunch with a friend and she looked at me with that wise gaze of hers and asked, “How’s your faith?”  Gah.  How’s my faith?  How’s my heart?  What are these questions that pierce through the front, the mask of fine and okay, and penetrate my soul?  My heart?  Shattered.  My faith?  Confused.  I don’t believe that God took her away, but I still haven’t answered the question of why He couldn’t make her stay.

There’s this YA book by Gayle Forman called If I Stay.  It’s about a teenage girl who is driving her family somewhere and they get in a car accident and everyone in her family dies except for her.  The book occurs over a twenty-four hour period.  She is in a coma, but she is deciding at that moment between life and death.  Her heart hurts, her soul is broken, she is physically destroyed - should she stay?  I wonder sometimes if Charlotte wondered the same thing.  If she tried for that hour and thirty-seven minutes to stay only to realize it was not in her plan, it was not meant for her.

I often wonder if she was in pain.  If someone held her while she died.  I’ve read the reports, the records, every single word attributed to those minutes have passed through my fingers, but I wish I knew more.  I wish I had the courage, the bravery, the strength, the guts, the wherewithal, or anything else one can think of, to ask.  I wish I was enough of a mother to walk into that hospital, demand to see everyone who was there when she died, and ask what happened and how.  I want to ask if she was in pain and I want someone to provide an honest answer.  No more platitudes, please.  I am haunted by what the specialist said about her being too far into a coma state to be saved once she arrived at the hospital.  So, here we go, back to the beginning: would she have lived if we had her in hospital?  Hello once again guilt.  Would really love to see the back of you soon.  

This line of thought drags me directly to another: I want to have my next, if there is a next, please dear Lord let there be a next, at home.  I don’t like hospitals.  I still have a hospital aversion.  But my choice to have her out of hospital may have been what killed her.  I’m spiraling here.  I should probably go to bed.

I miss her so much on this October night.  I sit on the couch, head in hands, lip pushed forward, eyes welling with tears, wondering how I ended up here.  I would like to shout, scream for justice as loud as I can, rend the air with grief and anger, but I am quiet.  My soul shouts, my eyes weep, my heart breaks, but I am silent.

10.14.10

5 months without her.  Next month will be six.  Half a year gone and I've barely noticed.  

This morning I was driving to McMinnville.  At 10:10 am I pulled over and took a picture from the car.  Above and behind me, nestled in the fog, Bella Vie, the place where she was born.  I was at the bottom of the hill, near the field where Life Flight picked her up.  Unplanned, but perfect.  This has been my life since she was born, since she died: her behind me, dense fog, no clarity, an inability to see what will come, what is to be, in front.  



Her beautiful life cut short.  Gone so soon I'm still trying to say good-bye.  She left me back in May, I think  There is no catching up now.  Tonight we talked about burying her ashes.  Where, how, if.  I am shattered.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Five months

Tomorrow is five months, but I'm writing this tonight because it's 8:40, I've read an entire book today, and I'm not ready to start another book, but I don't want to go to bed yet either.  I was ready for this anniversary to knock me over, but it's the night before and I'm still standing which probably means I'm going to be okay (quick, knock on wood).

I have spent the week running to and fro (from the outside this looks like a slow jog, but for me it is running to and fro as the daily managing of my life has been incredibly difficult since she died) and I think that has helped me stay upright.  I went to Aquafit this morning and that always clears my head, and makes life feel a bit more manageable.  If only I could spend all of my time with a water exercise belt strapped to my waist floating in the pool in the basement of the Y.  

This morning at Aquafit we were doing cross country from one end of the pool to the other (this is nearly impossible.  I always find myself treading water instead of moving forward) and my friends started to pull ahead of me.  "Hey, guys! Take me with you please!" I called after them.  That's pretty much been my constant plea lately.  I want whoever is near me to take me with them, to reach out, hold my hand, make sure I don't get too far behind.  I've been feeling rather lonely.  I am surrounded by love and kindness, but I still feel alone.  I've been a bit of a lost puppy around the house lately too.  When the bad moments arise I tend to gravitate towards the husband.  I follow him around the house, stand next to him in the kitchen, ask him what he's doing, where he's going, where he's been and why didn't he take me along?  I was following him around the other night and he turned to me and said, "I am coming to bed in just a second you know."  I said, "Yes, I know, but can I have a hug now?"  I don't know who this person is, but my goodness she is pathetic.

If you know me, if you've read here for a while you know I feel guilty about the day she died.  The guilt ebbs and flows, but it will never recede entirely.  When I was told she had died at the hospital I did not ask to see her, to go to her.  My only thought, my only goal was to get to the husband.  Somehow at that moment I knew he was shattered, more so than I, and I knew I needed to be there for him.  They told me I could see Charlotte, but I didn't care, she was secondary at the moment.  I don't want to admit this, but had he been at the birth center with me I may not have held her, I may not have gone to her.  When I went to the hospital I was going to him.  After all this time I think I understand my motivation that day.  I wanted to preserve us.  I carried her for thirty-eight weeks, but he's been there for me for six years.  I wanted to preserve us.  I wanted to rescue him, because he could still be saved.  I thought the love for my child would trump all, but when she died all I saw was his pain.  We have been through so much, and at the time I wanted to hold us together, because I was so scared this would break us.

I've been circling this idea for so long, trying to work out how I feel about it, if I can live with myself, and the decisions I made that day.  I think I've come to terms with it.  This probably means I will wake up tomorrow with the guilt heavy on my heart once more, but at this moment I am okay with what happened that day.  

It's been five months and everything is okay.  Not good, but not so hard I can't fathom going on.  The first few weeks after she died I was fascinated with people who were five and six months out.  I didn't understand how they made it.  I wanted to shout at them, ask how they survived, but now I know there isn't a concrete answer to that question.  Now I am looking ahead to the year mark and wondering how I make it there.  How about the 10 month mark?  At that point she will be dead longer than she was alive, and I have no idea how to navigate through that.  But I don't have to worry about that now.  If I have learned anything since May it is to keep going, one day, one breath, one second at a time, even if moving forward means to constantly swim against the tide.    

          

Letters of Love

Mamas - Will you help a sister out?  Jill lost her sweet Joshua and she is having a difficult time.  A friend is collecting letters of love and encouragement.  Go here for more details:

http://loraleeslooneytunes.com/2010/10/12/letters-of-love/

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Do not let your fire go out ..."

Went to dinner with the husband and friends and then walked around the shops near the restaurant.  While browsing came across this quote:

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark.  In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours." Ayn Rand

After a day of hopelessness and tears I think I have found the strength to make it through another day.  I do believe there are moments in my life when God intervenes and brings encouragement and hope.  I was ready to raise the white flag, crawl beneath the covers, and disappear for a while.  Then I flipped open a book, read that simple quote, and decided to keep going.  I just have to make it through this week.  The days surrounding the anniversaries are always so dark, but if I can make it through there is sunshine on the other side.

From hopeful to hopeless

In two days Charlotte would've been five months old.  It's hard to ascertain how I've made it this far.  There has been an easing, life isn't as difficult as it was three months ago.  Last night I curled up on the floor in the hallway and cried.  There are still moments when the loss of her seems insurmountable, like something I cannot live through.  I'm busy this week.  I would like to pull the covers over my head, stay immobile, but maybe it's better to have things to do.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and we talked about how when a crisis is happening, when life becomes too much, it's impossible to see beyond the immediate and realize all of life won't be that one moment.  It's as if a wall is before me and at this moment in time I cannot see beyond the wall.  I brought home a few picture books from the store yesterday.  A couple my friend gave me, a couple I bought.  The husband was looking through them and he said, "Yes, kids will love these."  But will our kids love them?  I have stacks of picture books in the spare bedroom.  Right now I think those stacks will always remain untouched by chubby little hands.  Last night I asked the husband, "Why is this so hard for us?  People have children every day, and I want it, I want so badly to be a parent, but I don't think it will happen."  He hugged me, said he understood, that he didn't know why.

I was hoping I would wake up feeling better this morning, but I still can't see beyond the wall.  I feel like I will always be missing her, always hoping for a second chance that will never come.  It's strange.  I can go from hopeful to hopeless in a few seconds, but once I land at hopeless it takes days to drag myself back to hopeful.  I am sitting firmly in the land of the hopeless today and refusing to crawl to a better place.        

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night." Edna St. Vincent Millay

It's only been a couple of days, but I missed this little corner of my world.  I didn't write for two, nearly three days.  Not a word.  We went to Sunriver for the weekend with my parents and I left the laptop at home so I wouldn't be tempted to write in my personal journal (I keep it on my computer because I think too fast to write it out longhand), or blog.  I did use my parent's computer to check my e-mail, but I only checked it twice.  It was nice to get away and breathe the air on the other side of the mountain.

The husband took two pictures of me in Sunriver.  One when I was aware, one when I was staring into space and waiting to bike home from dinner.

Smiling because I knew he was taking a picture


Completely unaware.  All I see in this picture is sadness.



I drove home from Sunriver because the husband had a debilitating headache.  He had it for most of the weekend, and he still has it now, but I think part of that can be blamed on the fact that he came home and played very loud video games for a few hours.  He doesn't usually get headaches, or feel ill, so he's been a joy to have around lately.  On the way home it rained and as I was driving the husband napped on and off in the seat next to me.  I was coming down the mountain, heading for a rain storm, and I glanced behind me to check on the baby.  Only, there is no baby.

I cannot figure out why my mind does that to me.  We never brought her home.  She was never in the car, or in the house, or in the living room.  So why do I stand at our bedroom door in confusion wondering why our room is where the nursery should be, and why there is no baby in the nursery?  Why do I find myself turning to ask my husband where the baby is, where Charlotte is, when she only lived with us for 38 weeks, and all of those 38 weeks she was in the enclosed world of my womb?

I don't understand how the mind processes loss and traumatic events.  I cannot think about the day she was born, because it makes me feel sick to my stomach.  I can work my way through the events, see what happened in vivid detail, but at the same time I can't.  My mind simply won't let me go back to that day, because it is too emotionally overwhelming.  I had one flashback, on June 7th, and it was so strange I'm still shaken by it.  I wrote this immediately after:

I cut my finger today.  Very frustrating.  I’m not even entirely sure what happened.  I was standing over the sink, taking my iron, when my stupid shaky hand lost control of my water glass.  I let the cup containing my iron fall, because it’s plastic, and tried to grab the glass with both hands.  Somehow it slipped through my fingers and went crashing into the sink.  Blood ran in rivulets down my finger and I stood over the sink, watching it drip, thinking I should turn around and grab a paper towel, but all I could see in my head was a little girl, on a board, surrounded by midwives, her eyes opening, closing, opening, closing, and me, there, sitting above her, still on the birthing stool, blood spilling from me, running towards the little girl, my little girl, and pooling next to the board she was lying on.  Seconds passed, who knows how many, and then I snapped out of it, shook my finger, turned, and grabbed a paper towel. 

When I think of what happened the day she was born I see it as if I am standing behind my left shoulder.  I view the scene as a bystander.  I see what is happening to everyone, and I see the soon to be shattered mother wrapped in two white towels on a birthing stool watching her baby die, and I want to reach forward and wrap my arms around her.  I am incapable of seeing the situation as I actually lived it, and I haven't figured out why that is.  I cannot step forward, inhabit my own self, and relive that horrible morning.  When it comes to mind, unbidden, unwanted, I am leaning forward, reaching out, desperate to help, but unable to.

Then there is the endless loop in my mind that insists there should be a baby here.  Look at this body.  Look at this house.  We have the trappings, I have the misshapen body, but we don't have the end result we expected, and our loss simply lacks reasoning.  I think this may be why I question my sanity as often as I do.  There is a voice in my head, or maybe it's an emotional response, telling me to find her, that she is here, she is napping in the other room, and will need me soon, so I often catch myself pausing to listen for the baby, or look in the backseat, when there is nothing, no one to find.

When a loved one dies there are memories, shared moments, favorite pieces of clothing, pictures, artifacts.  When a baby dies there are artifacts with no sense memories; heaps of unused clothing, a crib that was never slept in, a car seat that never held a sleeping, cooing, crying babe.  The mind so badly wants to have something to hold onto as it grieves that it attempts to create tangible memories.  When a baby dies dreams, hopes, and wishes are lost which means I am constantly flailing, arms windmilling through the air, desperately reaching for any memory of her, but there is nothing, my fingers find only air, and so I am always searching.

One of the best books about loss I have ever read is a picture book titled The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers.  In the book a little girl tries to cope with the death of a loved one, her grandfather.  The book begins with the girl exploring and playing.  Then she draws a picture, runs to show it to her grandfather, and discovers the chair he always sits in is empty.  The girl sits in front of the chair, desolate, and then:

"Feeling unsure, the girl
thought the best thing was to
put her heart in a safe place.

Just for the time being."

She puts her heart in a bottle and hangs it around her neck.  At first everything is fine, but then she stops noticing the world around her, she stops living her life.  And throughout this portion of the book the girl is getting older, as she grows so does her grief.  Then she meets a small child and realizes it is time to open her heart to love once more.  But she can't get her heart out of the bottle.  Until the small child she meets does it for her and reminds the girl how to love again (could be making this more than it is here).  The book ends with the girl sitting in her grandfather's chair reading books and at peace because she knows he lives in her heart, and will always be with her.

Needless to say this book makes me cry.  The reason I am rambling on about it here is because I want a chair.  Or some other symbolic thing.  I will take any bit of this Earth she touched because I have nothing.  I like keeping things I love near (ever seen my book collection?) and it hurts so badly to have nothing.  That blanket - the pink one she was wrapped in, the one that haunts me - I want to go back in time, wrap her in a different blanket, and take that one with me.  I presume it burned with her when she was cremated.  Or perhaps after the autopsy they sent her to be cremated with no clothes, no blanket.  I don't know.  I left her.  I chose to leave because I was in shock, and at the time I could not understand what I had lost.  Perhaps the void where she should be gapes so widely because I have no memories with which to fill it.  Nearly five months out I am beginning to wonder if she ever even existed at all.        

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another quiet day

I love what Angie over at still life with circles is doing for the month of October for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  It seems like every other person who blogs has jumped on board, but it's not for me, not this time around.  However, I want to say it's great, and I love the idea.

Having a lazy day here.  Who am I kidding.  Every day is lazy.  I had this grand idea of surprising the husband by getting the tires rotated, but it's nearly 1:30 and I'm still on the couch, unshowered, and in my pajamas so that's not going to happen.

The dog is staring at me with her best neglected look and licking her bed out of pure boredom.  We want for a walk last night, but it was nearly 80 degrees out and I was so unsettled by the unseasonable weather it was a very short jaunt.

I must say AF after loss is a whole new experience (this is the point where if you know me in real life it's okay to hide your eyes and ignore the rest of the post).  I don't know if it's the loss, or the birth, or the hemorrhage or what, but it is different, unpleasantly so, and I don't like it.  I don't have cramps anymore, which is nice.  Apparently the pain of birth made my body realize that mere menstrual cramps are nothing to write home about.  The heaviness of AF though is enough to send me over the edge.  It drags me back to the birth, the days after she died every single time and it always lands me here, on the couch, curled up with a good book, withdrawn from the world, grumpy, pouting, angry.

Oh, the anger.  I shouted at the husband last night because he was home an hour later than he said he would be from racquetball.  I screamed about fear, about how I worry that everyone I love will be taken away from me, because that just seems to be the way of things now.  I screamed about thinking he was dead, or on his way to death, and how he cannot do that to me, he just can't.

Earlier in the evening I e-mailed a friend and mentioned that I wanted someone to break into the house, or try to take something from me on the street, just so I could pummel them.  I would even be okay if someone showed up in my living room, appeared out of nowhere like a magician, and let me punch them for a while.  Yesterday I wrote about stepping away from the intense grieving.  Now I realize maybe the grief is presenting itself as anger for a while.

Yesterday I was fine with the last cycle not being the one.  It was our first attempt, life isn't that easy, especially, so it seems, for those who have buried their babies.  Today I sat on the living room floor, let my sweet 65 lb. dog climb into my lap, and told her all about how I would never have living children, and then in eight, maybe ten years, she would die too.  Yes, it's been one of those days.  And I just know I am going to hit 'publish post' and then spend the next few hours wondering why I feel the need to be so honest here.  I've been wondering lately if I should withdraw some, maybe not share EVERYTHING here.  Yes, it helps, but is it too much?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Floating

Apparently if you complain about the 2ww AF will show up three days early.  Lesson learned.  I'm not as sad as I thought I would be.  I didn't expect it to happen this time around.  It was our first attempt, and just because it worked that quickly with Charlotte doesn't mean anything for this go round.  There is a negative voice in my head that keeps insisting it will never happen because I want it to so badly, but I am trying to ignore it.

I pouted through most of Aquafit today.  The instructor had us do most of our exercises in the deep end while standing on noodles.  Ha, yeah right.  I don't have very good balance.  Instead of trying, I gave up.  I folded my arms over my noodles, rested my chin on my arms, and floated while everyone else did the exercises.  I feel like I spend most of my days like that, floating, waiting for something to come along that I can succeed at.

There has been a transition.  It was gradual, but I think it's here to stay now.  The first three months after she died were intense.  Day after day of sadness, tears, anger, grieving.  Lately I find myself simply living.  I miss her, but I don't cry all that often, and I don't feel nearly as lost.  I don't know.  I suppose I have learned how to exist with the loss, the sorrow.  Is this peace?  I've been waiting for the tide to come in once more, for the intense grieving to once again slam against my heart, but all has been silent.  I feel guilty for this, but maybe it's healthy ...?

I do wish I had something more tangible to hold in my arms.  I know I can't have her, but I wish I had the blanket she was wrapped in (I dream about that blanket) or the outfit the hospital dressed her in.

At nearly five months out her death seems more concrete, factual.  It's been five months.  She will not be coming back now.  Shortly after she died I thought it was a dream, I thought I could bring her back if I closed my eyes and hoped, or begged, enough.  But she died.  And I didn't.  So I am left here to go on as best I can.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Waiting

I feel like all I've been doing since Charlotte died is waiting.  Waiting to feel well enough physically to get out of bed.  Waiting to feel well enough emotionally to leave the house.  Waiting for answers.  Waiting for the sorrow to lessen some.  Waiting for the nod from my doctor so I could start the trying to conceive process all over again.  And now that I've reached that phase I find myself waiting once more.

This two week wait is torture.  Why isn't there a definitive sign, a way to know almost instantly if you are pregnant?  I know some people test before they miss a period, but I worry about testing too soon, and those pregnancy tests are expensive.  Then, if you get a positive, you have to wait until the right time to tell people.  I still haven't figured out when that time is.  After the positive pregnancy test comes the longest wait of all: the (hopefully) 40 week march to the end.  However, if you do make it to 38, 39, 40 weeks, that does not mean your baby will be born living, or live past their first day on Earth.

There have been talks around here about future babies, about life and death, probability, chances, odds.  The husband thinks the next one will live.  I'm not so sure.  I'm not even sure there will be a next one.  He mentioned clearing out the second bedroom, prepping a nursery once more.  I felt the need to put my head between my legs and breathe deeply.  I thought we would leave everything untouched.  That way if the next baby dies we won't have to dismantle a nursery.  We've been there before, and it's not fun.  Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only one anxiously awaiting the positive pregnancy test.  I will carry the baby, but he is invested too.  He has hopes, dreams, wishes, but not the fear.  I will carry the fear too, because I can't seem to set it down.    

Sunday, October 3, 2010

MamaBaby Haiti: A Cause Close to My Heart

I can't sleep so I am going to write about something close to my heart.

My midwife, she's incredible.  She catches babies, loves mamas, cares for people, and does incredible, amazing things.  For example, she went to Haiti shortly after the earthquake in January.  Upon arriving in Haiti with a group of other midwives she noticed that the care for mamas and babies was lacking.  Once everyone was back on U.S. soil they decided to create a non-profit organization called MamaBaby Haiti, and start a birth center in Haiti.

From the MamaBaby Haiti website:

After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti several midwives traveled there to serve the people and make a difference. Their hearts were touched in so many ways. They fell in love with the people of Haiti and vowed to make a change. The maternal, fetal, and neonatal death rate in Haiti is the highest in the western hemisphere. They learned to say, "I am sorry your baby has died," in Creole. While they know they cannot save every baby, their motto has become, "No more Mwen Regrét Sa". No more I am sorry.

Sometimes I think my midwife is crazy.  She is so full of love, compassion, and the desire to heal I fear she will burst.  This is what I wrote in my personal journal on June 14th, one month after Charlotte died.  Patricia came for a quick visit today, but I only remember two things.  She carried $6,000 in small bills into Haiti in a pouch she sewed in her underwear (really? wondering if I am remembering this correctly, but I wrote it down shortly after so I guess it's true) and her looking at me with tears in her eyes.  She hasn't let me see her cry since Charlotte died, but I have seen tears in her eyes twice.  She said this to me: "How can I go to Haiti, start a birth center in Haiti, try to keep the babies there alive when I can't keep a baby here alive?"  

At the time I had no words for her.  I didn't blame her for Charlotte's death then, and I don't blame her for it now.  Now though I would tell her that I love her for doing everything she could to save my baby, and for giving so much of her heart not only to me, but to every mama and baby she encounters, whether here or in Haiti.  

These are our sisters, mamas.  They need our help.  MamaBaby Haiti needs donations so they can buy medical supplies and ship them to Haiti.  There is no money, no supplies, no resources there.  I was trying to think of a way to spread the word, and this is all I could come up with.  I have 75 followers, which means I probably have 100-something readers.  Please, can you help?


http://www.mamababyhaiti.org/    










Back to church

Today was the day.  The husband's parents called to ask if we were available for church and lunch after.  We decided to gather our courage and go for it.  Sometimes that's all it takes.  Had someone showed up on our porch two months ago and said, "It's time, we're going to church," I probably would've gone with them.  I'll follow anyone these days.  Or maybe it was simply time.

We walked in, sat down, realized we were early, and waited for the service to start.  Every few seconds I looked around, hoping to see my friends - the ones who get me through every tough moment, the ones who swim with me Wednesday mornings, the best friends I have in Salem.  A few minutes went by and then the husband said, "Hey, there's T (the one with the new girlfriend whose house we went to the other day) I'm going to go get him."  So T joined us.  Then I looked over my shoulder and saw my friend, R (if you know me, you know who these people are, but they didn't ask to be mentioned here so I'm not going to use their full names).  So R joined us.  Right before the service started C showed up at the end of our row.  So C joined us.  And there I was, sandwiched between C and R, (with them I can get through anything) the husband and T to the left of C, and my in-laws to the right of R.  An entire arsenal to get me through the first church service without her (see, I've only been to that church with her in my belly.  I've never walked through those doors without her).  God is good.

I know not everyone who reads here believes what I believe.  I find comfort, love, and strength when I go to church.  I feel lifted up, carried in His hands, and blessed.  The sermon was excellent, exactly what I needed to hear, which is usually the case.  It felt good to go back, but it was scary.

As we were leaving to go to lunch I heard someone yell my name and turned to see A, a wonderful baby loss mama who lives nearby, coming my way.  We hugged, and she was kind and compassionate, as she always is.  And that's what made it okay to go back.  I knew I wouldn't be alone.  I received lots of hugs, and I was reminded of how much God, and others, love me.

After church we went to lunch with T and the in-laws.  T is horrible at directions, he can't find his own house, so I went with him.  We had a wonderful lunch at Willamette Burger Company (why is this place within walking distance of our house? It's soooo good!) and then we all headed back to the house for football and chimney measuring (don't ask).  Since I left my Bible in T's car, I hopped in with him and we drove home.

We arrived before everyone else, but I didn't have a key, so we waited.  As I was sitting down on the steps T said, "How are you and Jonathan doing?"  Normally this question is on my 'don't ask me that' list.  It's up there with, how are you, what's wrong, and how are you feeling?"  However, when T asked it, he asked with such compassion and kindness I nearly cried.  The husband's friends are so kind and loving, and I don't know why this surprises me, but it always does.  I was honest with him, brutally so, and he listened.  It was a brief conversation, but I think I told him more in those few seconds then I tell most people in days, or weeks.  All he said was, "We'll be praying for you."  Some people just get it right.  They know what to say, and when to say it, and I thank the Lord for those people.

So.  Made it to church.  When R said, "You made it!" I responded with, "Yes, it's only been four, almost five, months."  And she said, "Hey, that's not very long at all."  She tells me this often, as well as, "You don't have to worry about that here."  Like T, she often knows the right thing to say.  (Remember a couple weeks ago, when we were at her house for a birthday party, and I ended up crying in her closet?  She called me two days later to apologize and make sure I was okay).  A year ago I complained to the husband about not having any friends in Salem.  And now?  My cup runneth over.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Portland on a Saturday afternoon

Went to Portland today to meet up with the fabulous Leslie, and her husband Brian.  Leslie lost her sweet twins, Emmett, and Everett, on August 4th.  We ate at Kells Irish Pub and then walked around Saturday market for a while.  I love meeting baby loss mamas in real life, and we had a good time.  We wore our I am the Face merchandise with pride.


Here is the back of my sweatshirt.  I love it.  



I enjoyed going to Portland to meet Leslie and her husband, but as soon as we walked in the door I curled up on the couch for a bit of quiet time.  There were a lot of people out and about in Portland today; we were like country mice in the big bad city.

I asked the husband to make me a turkey wrap for dinner, but he hauled me off the couch and we went to the store for ice cream, then drove across the parking lot for teriyaki (pathetic, should've walked).  I protested mildly since we went out for lunch, but chicken, noodles, and veggies sounded so good.  Plus the nearby teriyaki place is called Love Love Teriyaki, and their slogan is "Come get some love."  How can I resist that?  (By the way, should you ever need to look up the phone number for said teriyaki joint, it is a good idea to use more words than love, love in your Google search).

On the way home from picking up ice cream and food, the husband and I were talking about our endless attempts to gain happiness through consumerism, and consumption of food.  I had my head pressed against the window and without looking at him I said, "It has to get better, right?"
"You know how I feel about that," he responded.
Without turning my head, I pressed my face against the window and said, "Yes, it can always get worse."

And it can.  We have each other.  We have food, clothing, laughter, a house, friends, family, ice cream ... etc. I miss Charlotte so much I forget how blessed we are.  Today we made new friends, enjoyed the early fall sunshine, and learned that Voodoo Donuts is way too crowded on Saturdays.

One last picture before I resume the all important business of watching television shows on Netflix
        

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Peace of Wild Things

It's one bad day after another here.  I haven't walked the dog for days.  I'm tired of the sunshine.  I'm tired of trying to be positive.  Invited to a friend's house tonight, but sent the husband on without me.  I don't want to sit in the sunshine and be reminded of everything I don't have - may never have.  Self-indulgent.  Wallowing.  Pouting.  Crying.  That's me today, and lately - it seems - everyday.  I am exhausted from the endless work of grief.  Opened a book today, and found within words that speak to my heart.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
nests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

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