My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.
I woke up this morning at 2:30. I couldn't fall back to sleep. All I could do was think about Camille. I wasn't paying attention to the date but I think my body knew. Today it has been 6 months since Camille died. This fact is ingrained in my psyche. Whether I am consciously aware or not....my body remembers, my heart remembers. My mind may try to trick me, it may try and distract me, but my soul shivers with the remembrance of her soft skin and sweet smell. I ache for my daughter. The whole world continues to move on but it feels like I am in the twilight zone. I am standing in the middle, still and quiet. Everything around me goes in fast motion, whizzing by in fast forward to the point where I can't even really make out what is happening. And so time goes by, ticking by, as I pine and miss.
This morning we went for a walk, my son and I and collected some leaves, found a flower and picked another Camellia which we arranged on the table in our meditation room. I find myself gawking at my bad odds and wondering how in the world this happened. I miss my daughter. I wonder what she would look like and how my son and daughter would interact. I wish I could hug and kiss her. I feel at a loss for how to describe my hearts most wanted. It feels like I was in the hospital yesterday and at the same time, 6 months feels like an eternity without her.
It has been a busy week. I worked 11 hour days the past 4 days straight. The word exhausted pretty much covers it. The days have been good. I like what I do. Focusing on helping other people recover is something I am good at. I am distracted and can smile and laugh, hug and be helpful. At the end of each of these days I got in my car and started to cry. I have no time at work to think about myself, my grief, Camille. I get home and hug and kiss the small boy and the big man and go up and take a shower...where I cry.
Last night was my last day of work this week. My husband has been home with Kai. The other day they went and took flowers to Daryl's mother's grave. Kai was talking about how papa and uncle Brian put grandma in a box and buried her because she died. We were talking about burying people. My almost 3 year old asks "why" a lot. Dealing with dead bodies in our society consist of two options bury or cremate. Last night talking about grandma being buried led to Camille being in a box on our shelf but not buried. "Why?" I told him we didn't want to bury Camille in the ground so she was put in a special fire where her body was burned but it didn't hurt because she was dead. Her body turned into ashes and they put them in a little box. Kai said he was worried about that. He didn't want the box in our house. So I asked him if he wanted to see the box so he wouldn't be worried. We went into the library, the little white box is on the shelf. I hadn't noticed that my husband put these little tiny plastic Christmas flowers around the base of the box. I hadn't noticed. It makes me sad. He must think of her. I know that sounds like an obvious statement, but he doesn't talk to me about Camille. He is so stoic about it. It hurts me, but it is what it is. I took down the little white box and I let Kai carry it. He wanted me to open the box. It has been almost 6 months since Camille died. I haven't done this yet. I have never opened the box. I did. I was crying.
There is a little bag inside the box
A brass circle with a number imprinted on it is around the closure of the bag.
The ashes are light gray.
There are pieces of white bone in them.
These ashes...they are of my daughter.
These light grey ashes with bone fragments...they are the body of Camille.
I wish I didn't know a full term baby's ashes only take up about 1 measuring cups worth of space.
The sadness I feel could fill a universe.
Kai asked:"is her heart in there?"
Me:"Yes, but it was only her body, she wasn't alive anymore, she couldn't walk or talk, she wasn't alive."
Me: "I don't know why she died. Her heart just stopped beating."
Kai: "Where did she go?"
Me: "Where do you think she went?"
Kai: "Maybe she is in the sun or the trees or at the beach."
Me: "That seems like a good place for her energy to be. She will always live in our hearts near our peaceful place."
Looking at my child's ashes wasn't part of my life plan. This Wasn't Part Of My Agenda For Life. How is it that I find myself sitting on the floor with my precious first born son talking about his dead sister? We went back up stairs, it is 9:45pm, way past any idea of bed time. My husband was in the living room. He sat and watched the interaction and answered any questions directed at him in one word statements...not wanting to participate in this. We are sitting on the bed, I am crying, no books tonight baby... I just can't read a book.
Kai: "Mama, don't be sad, lets talk about something happier, she was just dead, she couldn't feel it."
Me: "I will always be sad about Camille because I love her and I miss her and she is my baby."
Kai: "I want to see a picture of her"
I told him to go down and ask his father to show him pictures, trying to get him to become more involved. Kai leaves, then returns with a pouty look on his face and he explains that papa said no. So I take him and get Camille's memory box down and sit on the living room floor and open the box. I look at my husband and say sternly: "If Kai requests to talk about his sister or see pictures of his sister, no matter what time it is, we do it."
I have shown him pictures before but it has been a while. We take out the crocheted little blanket, the baby hat and gown, the little pink card with her name and birth stats. The cards with her hand and foot prints and 4 pictures.
Kai comments as he looks at the photos: "tiny little feet", "what a cute little baby", "she's like me when I was a baby"
We put everything back in the box. Back upstairs, I ask if he feels better and he says he does.
As he closes his eyes, I place my ear on his chest to hear his heart beating.
He falls asleep... I will too, but my heart is broken.
The Christmas cards are coming in...maybe 3 per day. I have gotten pictures of families, with statements of Merry... and Happy...., but not one note about Camille or even "We are thinking of you" or "it must be hard for you right now" or "thinking of Camille", instead I get pictures of babies just born (what makes these people think I want to see their children?) One Christmas card not only was Merry... with no mention of Camille, it was also a pregnancy announcement. To me these people are either clueless or just assholes.
I know that people not sending a card may be hurtful as well, but how hard is it to write a note? I understand that people don't know what to say but.... I get that, but it doesn't make it any easier. Celebrating the holidays is tricky when you have another little person (my son) to participate with. We still put up a tree and listen to music, decorate and buy presents...but this is done without the merriment that should be going on in our home. Having another child does not give you the option to just check out.
Last weekend we went to Disneyland. We told my son if he pooped in the toilet we would take him. I believe in following through with my promises. He doesn't really know about Disney movies yet at almost 3 years old his indoctrination is limited...but he knows about Winnie the pooh and mickey mouse. I haven't been since I was 9, I don't have a real sentimental attachment to it, but what an amazing place it is. The decorations were beautiful and over the top. We could only ride really innocent rides because Kai scared easily. We smiled a lot and enjoyed our family time. It was a nice vacation.
The thing is I choose happiness every day. I laugh and I enjoy. I smile and I love. I try and conjure positivity because there is so much anger and sadness swelling in my soul along with the missing and heart break....but I am so glad I am alive and my family is alive...I just wish Camille was too. I choose happiness but it doesn't mean I am not sad, devastated. I cry, today was a bad day after a week of pretty good or so-so. I feel like I am on the edge of a precipice, looking down into a dark abyss constantly teetering on the edge of despair. I can't fall, I refuse to fall. I already know what it feels to go crazy for hours sometimes days on end. I have to be present and continue to live. My mother did this for us when my brother died. She did a damn good job. I remember laughter and joy with her and now I better understand her sadness and her tears. I don't judge my mother the way I used to, because now I understand. I wonder if she ever said to me or my brothers, "I am sad because I miss your brother, I miss Skipper." Like I say to Kai when he asks me why I am sad, I say "because I miss Camille and wish she was here with us. "
I have been away from the computer, my computer is broken, my husbands laptop (what I am typing on) is available at night. I kept thinking the break from the Internet would be good, maybe I wouldn't dwell so much. but....when my daughter is dead...there is no control, I dwell, how do I not. She is my breath and my heart and I miss her with all I am. I came back and started reading some blogs last night and I felt immediately comforted and simultaneously sad. I cry for others because there are so few I connect with who truly understand the anguish that we feel as baby loss parents. Thank you to all of those who sent me emails and sent me love. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
I haven't posted in a couple weeks...it has been really rough for me lately. Crying like I was when Camille first died minus the numbness and disorientation. It will be 5 months since Camille died on the 30th. I remember reading other baby loss blogs about how between 4-6 months it can get really hard again. Well I am in it. I tried to prepare for this, thinking...maybe that won't be the case for me. I was wrong. It all feels like yesterday. I feel so far from my daughter...so fucking far away, and at the same time it feels so raw and fresh and immediate.
I am one of those people who remembers their dreams. I never dreamt of my baby when I was pregnant with Camille. Maybe because I didn't know if she was a boy or girl, maybe because I knew she wouldn't live (just a strange thought I have). What is really frustrating to me is that I have never dreamt of Camille since she died. With all the pain of not having her I am suprised that she is not constantly present in my dreams. I wish I could conjure her, even if only in my dreams. It feels so unfair not to have her in real life OR in my dreams..
Last night I had a dream....no, it was a nightmare. I dreamt I was pregnant. I didn't see myself pregnant, but I knew I was pregnant. My friend in real life who had her son 6 weeks after Camille was born was also in my dream. In this dream there were twins. They had been separated as embryos. One was given to this girlfriend , and one was given to me. We were pregnant at the same time...again. On the ultrasound it was clearly visible that there were pieces of my daughter that were missing. pieces of flesh and bone... they told me that she wasn't going to live. My best friend who was there for Camilles birth was in my dream and I was crying at her, saying: "I can't do this again" my child was going to die and I couldn't stand it. My friend's baby, the other twin, was fine....OF COURSE. This has been the first dream about my loss and my anxiety about subsequent loss. Maybe it is from reading other blogs or from reading that article about the mother who recently had a hospital error that killed the healthy twin and the unhealthy one died. UGH....I couldn't get out of bed until after 10am this morning. I cried and cried. I am just a mess.
I broke down at work the other day. My coworker brought her newborn daughter in to the clinic. I didn't see the woman but I saw our receptionist holding a baby and I just knew. I went back into my office to finish up documentation on my charts and just started balling. I didn't really expect it. It's just that it is supposed to be me, showing off my daughter to my staff and letting people ooh and awe over her. Instead it is someone else. Someone who we didn't even know was pregnant while I am broken to pieces crying in my office. It is just too much.
The holidays don't really seem to be fazing me. I don't feel any more sad during the holidays. I feel DESPERATELY sad, EVERY single breath I take. We took our son to see the muppet movie...which he didn't like and then went with some friends out for dinner. It was fine. I have never gone out to eat for thanksgiving....I don't care. I am not feeling particularly festive.
Brook wrote about Jackie Kennedy and I have been so moved by her story. I have been telling everyone about it. I called my mom and was crying about Jackie Kennedy. I am sad for her personal tradegy while living mine. So yeah.... that is where I am right now. Feeling supper low, heart crushingly sad. MISSING, just so much missing of Camille. Tears and heartache.
Oh and what am I thankful for? besides the people who are LIVING...Phew, I am thnakful that my son is now pooping in the toilet!
I started back to work today. It went really well. I had all new evaluations and the paper work is already stacking up. I enjoyed my work, I smiled, I helped, all my patient's are actually pretty cool...(not assholes like they can be), I got to see people I care about. It was a positive day.
The receptionist told me some news right before my first patient: One of the aides not only was pregnant but HAD her baby 2 weeks ago!!! WTF...that means she was pregnant while I was working there, when Camille died, and pregnant when I came in to say hello to people before returning to work a month ago. NO ONE TOLD ME! and yes, she had a girl. OF COURSE SHE DID. She even hugged me when I came in last time. I didn't even know she was pregnant. She is a little chunky but I don't know if I was too caught up in my grief to notice or what. I understand why she didn't say anything that day. I am saying hi to everyone for the first time since my daughter died and I am crying....probly not the best time to drop the news but....I do have a phone.
Then I find out her daughter is at the hospital because she has some kidney problems and who knows what else. My heart shifts and I am hoping everything is okay for them. I text messaged her and told her I was thinking of her... she will be returning to work and I can not afford for any uncomfortable feelings to be there. Sigh. It just sucks. I am doing well, thinking work will be good, and then I get news like this. I just can't seem to catch a break.
Well my son said he wanted to draw today. We do art ALL the time...so we got out his pad and he asked for a pen said he was going to draw his family. Then he hands me a pen and asked me to draw baby Camille. UGH...um yeah I know it is good to draw and talk about your feelings and all but drawing a picture of your dead baby girl is just well a little strange. Sooooo I asked what she looked like and he said a baby. I asked if she had hair or a hat and he said curly hair, and he said she was holding flowers. Yeah I did show him the pictures the hospital took of her and they put little crocheted flowers in her hands. SIGH...I turned to my mother who was sitting there doing art work and said...Um I don't know about this whole draw your dead baby thing. And we just laughed. She said well maybe it is therapeutic :) I did draw Camille but she is smiling and her eyes are open and she is alive. She may be dead in real life but I refuse to draw her that way. I may be tempted to put little X's across her eyes or something and that wouldn't be very good. I REALLY regret not having Kai meet his sister. I kind of wanted him to but my husband didn't. We talked about it and decided against it. I think it was the wrong decision. My son would have got it. Children are so intelligent and intuitive. It's not fair we got to say goodbye and he didn't. He was really looking forward to having a sibling and I think telling him and not showing him was a mistake. DANG IT~ No Do-Overs!
It was one of those fantastic days. We woke up and went for a walk as a family down on the beach. We walked to the lighthouse, let the waves chase us, watched Kai chase seaguls and then did family meditation on the sand and talked about all we were grateful for: eachother, the sun, the sand and ocean. Kai even added that he was NOT grateful for the pokey sticks that hurt his feet while walking on the sand which I thought was pretty darn cute.
We went home and made kale chips and smoothies and we did some water color painting and blew bubbles, then I put little down for his nap. Daryl left to go hang out with a friend for a couple hours. He never does this and so I am always very supportive of him spending time with friends. After he returned we headed off to FallCreek (where I grew up) to go hiking in the redwoods. On our way to the forest Daryl told me that while he was driving home from hanging out with his friend he wanted to switch lanes; there was a black car approaching and so he was waiting for them to pass, only they didn't pass him, they just drove next to him. He looked over and it was a car full of highschool aged girls holding up a sign that read: "Show Me Your Penis". Daryl said, "Can you imagine if that was your daughter, driving around holding up a sign saying "show me your penis"? I started to cry, my heart caught in my throat...my daughter will never be able to do anything that stupid and adolescent because SHE'S DEAD. Then I started laughing because I was crying that my daughter would never be able to hold up a sign that read "Show me your penis"..that sounds silly...I know, that is why I was laughing. BUT, I think you get what I mean here. I was not crying about the sign, it is all the things she will never be able to do, see, learn, experience...and my husband said "can you imagine if that was your daughter" Oh those words just pierced my heart. I imagine my daughter being alive ALL THE TIME. Not one of those imaginings included that sign- haha -but I am sure she would end up doing some dumb shit thing or another and we would have to talk it through and hope she made better choices in the future. Damn...I wish we got the opportunity to go through all of it. Stupid girls!
We had a really lovely time in the forest. It was my backyard stomping grounds and the air smells so good. Ferns and redwoods growing along a creek. Autumn leaves falling onto the forest floor, Kai talking about wanting to build a forest house out of ferns. We did some walking meditation and discussed how peaceful and full of love we felt in the forest. We said thank you to the forest for growing beautiful things for us to look at and making the air clean for us to breathe. Walking across logs and finding mushrooms. This is the childhood I had. I love watching my son thrive in the surroundings that helped mold who I have become.
I wish our amazing day at the beach and walking in the forest was not tainted with the missing of Camille. I wish she was in my ergo kicking her little feet along the walk with us. I feel like the sweetest of days have just this side note of bitterness. I try and be present, fully present for my son, my husband, myself, BUT how can I COMPLETELY enjoy when a piece of my heart is constantly longing. A piece of my mind is always wondering and wishing. My whole heart WISHING. Do we ever stop wishing? Will I ever be able to be fully present, completely enjoy something? And now in 30 minutes it will be 4 months of wishing it was different. Wishing my daughter hadn't died. How could this have happened? It just breaks my heart over and over again.
Last night Kai was laying in the bathtub, his ears were submerged and his soft blond hair was swaying gently in the water. His freckles seemed to stand out just a little more against the pale white of the tub. I remember as a child liking to hear my voice while my ears were underwater. Distorted and warm. All the words with softened curved edges. My son with his body thinning out at 2.5 years. Small but long, soft and perfect. Innocent and sweet. I wash his parts and I talk to him as he keeps his ears underwater. I smile at him. He looks at me and says:
Kai: "my brother died, Camille died."
Me: "who was Camille?"
Kai: "She is my sister."
Me: "Yes, she is your sister"
Kai: "I miss her, I miss Camille."
Me: "I miss her too."
Kai: "Talk about my swimming class."
...just a passing thought, spoken out by my little boy. These are my thoughts all day long. It is so nice to have them spoken out loud.
Today I received a photo of Camille's name written on Christian's Beach. I took Kai into the library and we sat in front of the computer and opened the picture and turned up the music. I started to cry. It really is very beautiful.
Kai: Look mama, look at the beautiful sunset."
Me: It is beautiful isn't it? It says "Camille" on the sand."
Kai pulls my chin to face him I know he is looking at my tears and searching my face for my emotion and expression...he says: "I love you" and gives me a kiss.
Me: "I love you too Kai"
Kai: "I want Camille back"
Me: "Me too buddy, me too" with more tears.
How is this little person so intuitive and sweet and loving? Can I help continue this kind of empathy and kindness as he grows into a man. I look at him and see my daughter, I look at him, my first born, my love and wish his sibling was here for him to shower with kisses and hugs. He is just that kind of child. I am so lucky to have him and so unlucky not to have Camille. How can this be? I have been missing her a lot lately. That sounds lame. I miss her a lot all the time. But I see the little girls in shopping carts all round and pudgy. I crane my neck to see their heads and faces when they are in the infant carriers. I know I tell myself it is normal, all people want to look at babies, it is true....it just makes my heart ache. I want to see her everywhere. I see her nowhere except when I look at my son. I imagine the snow blond hair and the smooth, white, soft skin. I imagine the smell of her head and the touch of her tiny hands. I am just missing. 4 months this weekend. It feel like a lifetime and yesterday all at once. I came across a doctor visit reminder note in my car for the 16th of June...14 days before Camille died. It wrenched at my heart, to know at that point she was alive, all was well. My baby was almost here. I am so grateful for my son. I wonder when I will feel anything but desperately sad when I think of Camille. She gifted me with a wonderful pregnancy, with anticipation and love, she gifted her brother and father with dreams of the eventual family we would be...the sadness of those dreams not coming to fruition trumps the 9 months of love I had with her. I find that strange but it is the missing that overpowers my heart.
I told my friends off yesterday. I sat them down and I asked them why the fuck they didn't show up for me. I said "my daughter died and no one came over to my house, I got a couple of phone calls and some text messages...but I have known you for 20 years and I really expected more from all of you. Why didn't you show up at my house? MY DAUGHTER DIED! I am broken and hurting and desperate. WHERE WERE YOU?"
Well I told all of that to the mirror. I fantasized about being able to communicate the pain I feel and how hurt I was by their inaction. I was crying to myself in the mirror.
I have always been the super honest type. No one has to guess what I am thinking or how I am feeling. One of the things I have been learning over the past 20 years is tact. I am way better about choosing my words and being more delicate while still speaking my mind. BUT....my daughter died and I had to give birth to her . There is nothing more terrifying or life changing that I can think of. Now I am in this space that feels like I just can't open myself to more hurt. I hate having to ask for something I want with tears and then getting pity and an actual response that was prompted by complaining. I shouldn't have to and yet I feel bitter that my needs are not being met by the individuals I thought would be forever by my side. Some of these same friends have done lovely things like let us stay in their homes while they are away so we could get out of our space and spend time somewhere else. I totally appreciate it...BUT does that mean that I have to acquiesce there inability to participate in my grief. Does that mean that they gain acquittal from showing up emotionally for me.
Or am I just a crazy, angry dead baby mama who is so raging about so many things that I am trying to fire off in every direction possible hoping I will be able to destroy something because I hurt so much from my own destruction. My friends are all living smugly in their charmed lives where their own personal tragedy has not yet reached in to twist their heart and rip their soul to shreds. I wish my dear friends had even an inkling of the pain my heart and mind are in on a daily basis. I am tired of making excuses for people. I know people don't know what to say. I used to be one of them. This doesn't really make me feel more forgiving...although it should.
In all of my anger I have this to say:
And then when I breathe and try and become calm and remind myself....breathe in positivity, breathe out sadness. Breathe in peace, breathe out badness. Breathe in love, breathe out madness.
I come to this place:
But this makes me so sad. I am filled with so much sad from so many places. It's almost easier to be angry. Because I love these people....maybe that is why it hurts so much. I guess I believed I would be surrounded by certain people and the actuality is that there is love...I know there is, but it is from different people. I am so grateful for this love but it doesn't make me want it from the people I expected to get it from less. Did you know my father hasn't called me once since Camille died...and he has had a son die...he should know. Maybe it is too painful for him, maybe he is like my husband and doesn't feel the pain as acutely. My brothers, don't call, my friends, don't call...I don't know...I just know I feel let down. The truth is the loss and pain is only because of the expectation. My expectations are what make me sad about the inaction. The expectation is an imposed ideal. I am a very loyal friend, I go out of my way to bring joy and love to those I love. In all honesty it is not a new experience to feel let down. I know it is my expectations that lead me to this place. If I can let those expectations go...will I feel less bitter. Will that tiny evil part of me go away that wishes others could have a piece of this pain so they would understand better? This is such an uncomfortable place to be... all these unresolved anxious, unwanted feelings.
I know I am not alone, but sometimes I feel very lonely.
Yesterday I took Kai to school. I was going to be productive, finish painting the staircase hallway or fold laundry or make dinner. I didn't do any of those things. I sat in front of the computer for hours...HOURS. I realized while thinking about it last night that this is a place I can come to grieve. I can read poems and quotes, read others thoughts and experiences. Well yesterday I sat down in front of this magic box and listened to music for hours. Honestly I have avoided music a lot since Camille died. It makes everything feel so sharp and deep. I hear my pain in all the lyrics. After a while I settled on listening to Brandi Carlile. She is probably my favorite artist. I listened to her a lot when I was pregnant with Kai. Several years ago I saw her in concert...Yes I cried.This Woman Sings My Soul! She is AMAZING. I am including two videos.
I love you Camille...until my dying day!
Dying Day :
I left home a long long time ago
and a tin can for the road and a suitcase and some songs
chasing miles through the night time making tracks with no time for looking back to the place where I belong
How these days grow long but I`m on my way back home, It's been hard to be away
How I miss you and I just wanna kiss you
and now I`m gonna love you til my dying day, how these days grow long
When you`re sad you know I wish I could be there to make your sorrows disappear
and set your troubles free
It`s not fear for me to be this far from you but I promise you`d stay true wherever I`d might be
Time keeps burning the wheels keep on turning sometimes I feel I`m wasting my day
How I miss you and I just wanna kiss you
and now I`m gonna love you til my dying day, how these days grow long
Time keeps burning on, how these days grow long
Now I`m lost in a see of sunken dreams while the sound of drunken screams echos in the night but I know all of this will come to past and I`ll be with you in last forever by your side
How these days grow long but I`m on my way back home, It's been hard to be away
How I miss you and I just wanna kiss you
and now I`m gonna love you til my dying day and time keeps burning the wheels keep on turning sometimes I feel I`m wasting my day
How I miss you and I just wanna kiss you
and now I`m gonna love you til my dying day
How these days grow long
Time keeps burning on
How these days grow long
This song just says it all doesn't it?
This next song is also amazing:
"What Can I Say"
Lyrics: Look to the clock on the wall,
Hands hardly moving at all.
Can't stand the state that I'm in
Sometimes it feels like the walls closing in
O lord what can I say
I am so sad since you went away
time time ticking on me
Alone is the last place I wanted to be
Lord what can I say
Try to bury my toubles away
drowns my sorrows the same way
seem that no matter how hard I try
It feel like somethings just missing inside
Oh lord what can i say
How many rules can I break
how many lies can I make
how many roads can I turn
to find me a place where the bridge doesn't burn
So when my husband asks "what did you do today" it is hard for me because I wasn't "just on the computer" I was grieving. I was singing and crying and trying to work this whole thing out in my head and heart. Thank you to all the mamas and papas who let me into their life and their pain. I can see reflections of myself and it really truly helps. I also realize that I am not the only one who comes here to grieve. I am grieving beside some really amazing people. I hope you like the music.
We went to the memorial in the park. A dove did NOT crap on my head but you know what? some people DID get crapped on. My husband and I were laughing about this...he said "can you imagine, you come to something like this and then get crapped on by a dove?" I know...not funny but, well, I totally saw that one coming. The memorial was well done, I didn't cry. Kai was acting 2.5 and I didn't have patience because I was on edge (see last photo of a little "chat" we were having by a tree...my husband caught this on film). We were at our first memorial for our daughter who is DEAD. So I kind of just showed up and went through the motions but did not feel exceptionally emotional. It is what it is. Kai and I meditated tonight and lit a candle for Camille. It certainly isn't enough, but nothing is. I'd just like to have my daughter back. That being said...I posted on face.book. and found a lot of loving support I was not expecting. People lit candles and sent and posted pictures. How lovely. Really. It means a lot to me for people to do that, even if it is prompted by a wall post. Another friend brought me a yellow calla lilly plant. How sweet. I feel okay. I am always on the verge of tears but something happened the other day. The tears dried up. The ones that flowed everyday regardless of what happened. I am in this weird numb place again. Constantly caring but distant. Weird how things shift and move in this icky grief. I know I am in a more peaceful place saving up for another eventual down cycle. I am so glad I got to remember my daughter along with my BLM blog friends. I was thinking of all of you today and the children that we miss with every ounce of who we are. Much love to you all.
Yeah well my second support group was the other night and man I know I am a little wack but there are some crazies out there. People went around telling their stories, I felt bad for them, their babies are dead for one reason or another...but there was a lady who said she was due to give birth and went and sat on the couch and was smoking a cigarette when she started bleeding. Her baby died. REALLY? you just told me that you were smoking a cigarette at 40 weeks pregnant!!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!!! So then even though I am sad her baby died, I feel worse for her baby than I do for her, the baby is dead and she was SMOKING! and super obese and UGH I just got so frustrated inside of myself. I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT! WHY?????? So yeah I just don't know. I am not connecting with any of these people. Another thing is a strange dichotomy of feelings... One minute I feel so alone in dead baby land and I really want to connect with other people who have experienced this too, the next minute I am in a room surrounded by people who have dead babies and I just want to get away from them. On one hand it makes me feel like there are a TON of ways babies can die. It is really disturbing. Ignorance is sometimes bliss. It makes my experience also feel less special. Like Camille is just one more tally mark. That just kills me the insignificance of her death when it has ripped a hole in my soul and shattered my world into a thousand shards. I know my feelings may sound manic but it is just how I feel.
This weekend (Saturday the 15th) there is a memorial type thing happening at a park. They will have readings, and candles and they are dedicating a mosaic in which we can put our child's name, and a dove release. I wish this was an event I didn't have to attend but I am hoping that it is a really positive experience. I think there may be around 200 people there. I am hoping I can find connections with others that I feel drawn to as people. A friend of mine told me the other day that a woman she knows just lost her baby too. I don't know the details but 3.5 months after my daughters death and I am already hearing about tragedies befalling others...its like a vortex of dead baby experiences will now swirl around me....because I'm that lady, the one whose baby girl died. I hope that I can comfort someone but don't feel very helpful right now being so fresh to this land of loss. This is all just going to continue to be weird and horrible isn't it? Maybe one of the doves released at the memorial will crap on my head...that's the kind of luck I feel I have.
On another note...Kim Kar-dash-ian got married the day we got into our horrible car crash. Ha...so much charmed life going on all around us while we wallow in the pit of shit! Yay.
It is my birthday today. My daughter Camille is dead, I am 20 pounds overweight, and now considered of advanced maternal age. GREAT! It isn't really how I anticipated my birthday this year would be. I imagined it being very different, full of love and new babiness, two children and a charmed life. My life is still full of love, minus one child and also full of tears. I didn't expect today to really be a trigger. I wasn't looking forward to it, but I wasn't dreading it either. Today hit me hard. WAY harder than I anticipated. Everything has changed but is still the same...or...everything is the same and everything has changed. These both make sense to me. Weird how they can coexist simultaneously.
I went to my OB visit this morning. I am now down to a 16 on the depression scale (whooohooo). I am not depressed, I'm grieving but they treat it the same way at the doctors office. He told me about my labs that came back from the perinatologist office and I am positive for Heterozygous Factor V Leiden (R506Q) mutation. Essentially it puts me at risk for DVTs (Deep Vein Thrombosis). Some studies show an increase risk in in fetal death other studies show no increase in fetal death. so lovenox or heparin prophylaxis is not recommended unless there is a personal or 1st degree relative with a history of DVT (um yeah my dad had DVTs) My doctor said to try and get pregnant with no intervention for the next 3 months before we look at other ideas. So yeah.
I went to my work today and saw my coworkers. That was VERY emotional, but I had to do it cuz I am going to go to work on Thursday and see a few patients on another therapist's schedule just to get my feet wet.
I did go get my eyebrows waxed (I was WAY overdue on that one) but I hadn't seen the girl who does them since a week before Camille died. So OF COURSE she asked about her and I had to tell her that she died. Yes I cried at the spa. She didn't charge me which is a bonus...I don't know if it is because my daughter died or because it was my birthday but is saved me 20 dollars. (snark)
I had my first grief support group tonight. I am sad to see other people who have lost babies...but it was a small group and I wish I could have seen myself in these other women, but I didn't. they didn't represent me, just loss.
On a good note...last night I went to Yoga at the Unitarian universalist church near my house (I go to Earth Day festivities here every year) and the classes are by donation, so I just found a cheaper way to do yoga! My son was stoked on candles and sprinkles, so, regardless of if I felt celebratory or not, we celebrated for him. I am glad I am alive, I love my son and my husband. It is hard the simultaneous joy and happiness coexisting with heartache and despair. They live right next to each other in my heart. I am EXHAUSTED! This day was long, harder than I thought and filled with tears, but I am still living and loving and trying to find my way in this life without my daughter. On to the next year in my life. Maybe this year can bring some hope and healing to my heart.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Today it has been 3 months since Camille died. I seem to be having a really hard time lately. One minute I feel like I am coping well, I will survive, I can do this because I have no choice but I feel positive and hopeful and can try and find joy in life. The last couple days are just moody and sad and gray. I am sick of the sunshine. It doesn't match the season or my sorrow. Too much sunshine makes me sad. I miss my daughter. I feel full of tears, my hope isn't so bright, I miss her so much, my baby. I just wish it was different, I wish she was alive. I feel powerless and exhausted from being sad for 3 months. It feels heavy, all this missing. I need a vacation from grief, I want my baby, I really really want my baby. I am just so so so sad.
My friend's son turned 3. I went to her house early this morning and helped get everything ready for the party. Transported everything to the park and set up. Some moms I have never met were there. The "do you JUST have one child?" question came up. Yes, just the one. "Oh because I thought you had two?" really lady can you JUST drop it because I don't have just the one, I have two, but I don't know you, and I don't feel like crying at 10am in the morning right before about 40 people show up to this fantastic shit parade that I am trying to be joyous about participating in. Did I happen to mention that I really don't cuss very often in real life, but in blog land, well, it is just how I feel. A bunch of moms club moms and kids show up and I get some people who will talk with me. It is so hard to interact, I feel really distracted, edgy, skittish. Other women avoid me, I'm the lady whose baby died you know, it might be catching. Others just don't know~the new moms that have joined since Camille died. I also feel shitty because I haven't written thank you cards for any food or monetary support we got. I feel guilty about that....Because I am GOOD AT GUILT.
One of the moms had her baby last weekend, she, who was the last of our little pregnancy group to give birth, shows up with her new daughter. Yay for alive babies~right? NOPE. I gave her a hug and asked how she was feeling and said how her daughter looked like her husband. I'll give you one WILD guess if she asked about me. I didn't talk to her the rest of the morning. I was exhausted after the party. Kai said he had a great time...Sometimes I want to look at him and say "you know I'm taking one for the team little" but I don't, I just say "I'm so glad you had a good day buddy"
It doesn't help that I am super hormonal and grief stricken simultaneously...Does midol make a pill for that: bloating, headache, heartache, cramps, general malaise, dead baby, fixer upper pill? I had my first period on the 9th of this month. I bought OPK sticks, but I don't really need them because I can feel when I am ovulating. I had sex, I was hopeful. That was 9 days ago, today I started bleeding. I didn't think you could get your period 9 days after you ovulated. So I am cranky, sad, tired, pissed off. I started crying tonight, openly in front of my husband and he says "sometimes it seems like you want people to say something and then you don't want them to either" So WHAT if I am crazy, SOMETIMES I just need him to say "yeah, fuck all those alive babies" and "All those ladies are bitches" but he won't, that's not him. But I don't feel supported. I told him I need him to get angry with me or sad and he said being angry is a waste of energy and he won't do it. FINE but let me be angry, don't judge me for being PISSED that my DAUGHTER DIED! It's bad enough that I feel alone in this without feeling even more alone because the one person (husband who also has a dead daughter) doesn't seem to get it either. Even if it isn't logical...my feelings are VALID.
A friend of mine had her son at 26 weeks pregnant. He just came off the ventilator in the NICU. I sure do hope that he keeps being alive for her, because even though he has a long struggle ahead of him, he is alive. Something I never got to see in my daughter. It baffles me that my daughter could randomly die at full term and a baby can be alive at 26 weeks. This world puzzles me.
A friend sent me a care package...but inside instead of things for me, there were things for Kai. books, and stickers, crayons, a notebook and then there was a note for me. The note was to let me know that this care package was for me, well, it was to give Kai some things to do to distract him or entertain him so as to give me a little break. How sweet right? The thing is, 2.5 year olds are generally not very good at entertaining themselves. They like to be with you, kind of like a cat while you are reading a book. Anyway, one of the books was "I knew you could" It was the first book Kai requested I read to him because it had a train on it, and it is kind of like a sequel to "the little engine that could" which he already has. So I open the book and start to read and pretty much cried the whole way through it. I swear that book was more for adults whose baby just died than little kids....well maybe not, but I see my grief in every thing. Following is the book, retyped for you to read.
I knew you could! And you knew it, too- That you'd come out on top after all you've been through. And from here you'll go farther and see brand-new sights. You'll face brand-new hills that rise to new heights
I wish I could show you the stops that you'll visit, but that isn't my choice to make for you, is it?
Instead, I can tell you some lessons and tales that I've learned and relearned in my time on the rails.
First of all, you must find your own track, so you can start right away and not be held back. but which track is yours? well, that all depends on which way it's going and where it might end.
Different tracks wind around, over, under and through, so pick out the one that works best for you. Though the track you start out on will feel like "the one," you might take a few more before you are done. And now, with your eyes on your new destination, start up your wheels and roll out of the station.
On your new trip, you'll make plenty of stops, In deep river valleys and on high mountaintops. Some will surprise you and some will be planned. And you'll roll through each one saying, "I think I can!"
You'll go through tunnels, surrounded by dark, and you'll wish for a light or even a spark. You might get scared or a little bit sad. Wondering if maybe your track has gone bad.
So here's some advice to help ease your doubt: the track you took in must also go out. So steady yourself and just keep on going- before you know it, some light will be showing. An the you'll be out, heading to a new place. You'll be ready for the next tunnel you face.
Sometimes you'll look up and see planes in the sky, and you'll think to yourself, "I wish I could fly." The cars on the roads will seem quick and free- You'll feel stuck on your track and think, "I wish that was me."
But the plane might wish he could get out of the air, saying, "I wish I could travel like that train down there." The cars will watch as you speed right along, and they'll say to each other, "Look how fast and how strong!" Don't worry about not being a car or a plane, just enjoy the trip you'll take as a train.
Don't be afraid to toot your own horn, if you need to be heard or there are people to warn. Or if being yourself just makes you so proud, that you want to share it and sing it out loud.
You'll follow your track through twists and through bends, and stop at new stops and pick up new friends. They'll all come aboard with smiles and greetings. You'll have such great times with the people you're meeting.
On the days when you're sad and feel you can't go, speak up and ask a friend for a tow. That's what friends do, so don't be afraid. You'd do the same if your friend needed aid.
You might stop at some stops that you never have toured. And look for new friends, but they won't come aboard. So you'll have to head out with creak and a groan, setting out once again on your track all alone.
Try to remember that the world is so wide, full of all kinds of people with their own trains to ride. Just stay true to yourself as you travel your track, with no second-guessing and no looking back.
Once you're on the right track, you'll probably say, "This one is mine-I'm here to stay." Try to enjoy the track that you choose-stop now and then to take in the views.
If you rush forward, as a general rule, before you arrive, you could run out of fuel. Don't overwork, but save up some strength. That way, every day, you can travel great lengths.
You'll nee all that strength on the days when you're stuck, Or tired, or sad, or just out of luck. When your belief in yourself doesn't feel quite so pure, and your "I think I can" doesn't sound quite so sure.
That's when to push and to strive and to strain. To show the world you're not a giving-up train. And you're wise if you know that doing your best means that sometimes you should just slow down and rest.
Speeding through your whole trip will bring only sorrow. So slow down today to be happy tomorrow.
There's more about life that you'll learn as you go, because figuring things out on your own helps you grow. Just trust in yourself and you'll climb every hill. Say, "I think I can!" and you know what? You will!
I could sum up all the things I felt or the metaphors I read into but instead I will let you read it and see how you relate.
I went to a moms club event this morning at Tumble.America. I wanted little to get some of his energy out. I knew it would be challenging. Seeing moms who I haven't yet talked to, and those who made our family meals and I haven't sent thank you cards yet. I have to get back into things, for my sons sake. Otherwise I will fold up into my own skin and never see the light of day again. SO I WENT. A dad walks in with his daughter, because his wife had their little girl over the weekend. We were pregnant together. She was one of the last of the group of us to be due. When I saw him I got a flush of anxiety and considered picking up Kai and running out the door. What a strange feeling that was. No control at all. I sat down and tried to think. Logically. Don't run away...Don't run away. Everyone was saying..."Oh _____, you're a big sister". I felt like Kai got so cheated. I couldn't say congratulations...because I'm a jerk. He said nothing about Camille. I did ask how his wife was doing because it was an elective C-section. I didn't really talk to him after that.
Another mom who brought me 2 meals was there...hugely pregnant (6 months). I gave her a hug and asked her how she was doing. Then I asked what she was having...WHY did I do that? (Probably because I don't know quite how to negotiate my sadness and my grief and being in public so I ask and do things I would have before because I feel floundering for small talk.) She is having a girl...of course she is...I didn't talk to her the rest of the morning. At the end of the hour I left, saying goodbye and saying "it was good to see you too" I got in the car feeling exhausted. I started totally sobbing. It was just so much. So much effort, so many babies, so much pregnancy. No one asked about Camille...I want them to but I was also glad they didn't because I would have just cried my eyes out. People tell me "I look good". They are either trying to be kind or are comparing me to my last pregnant puff ball status. 20 pounds overweight plus crying everyday for the last 2.5 months is usually not a good look for most women.
This morning before moms club, I went to the drug store and got some OPK sticks. I have never used them before. Kai asked why we were going to the store so I told him to get something because Mama and Papa want to have another baby. I am looking at the boxes, trying to figure out which one to use. Kai says, "this one won't die" Oh God! I hope not baby, I hope not. When I was crying on our way home from moms club. He said I want to have a baby to bring home. "Please don't be sad anymore mama, I don't want you to be sad. We will have another baby to bring home" (Kids can be so freak'n intuitive) I said "I don't want to be sad anymore either, but I don't always have control over when I get sad, because I miss Camille, but I love you more than anything in the whole world." This parenting while grieving thing can be so tricky.
Between going back to Face.Book yesterday and going to moms club this morning...with all the baby girls born and to be born. It is just hard. And to think I was having a good morning. Feeling confident about going out into the world only to have the universe's equivalent of seagull poop rained down on me. ugh.
I just signed back onto Face.book. I let the very public world know about Camille's death. What a painful thing to write. I haven't wanted to be on that site AT ALL. It is this happy land where people only post about all the joy in their lives. Every other post is about babies, pregnancy or babies and pregnancy! It is the online version of pleasantville. I don't know how much I will really be able to hang out there. IT IS PAINFUL for me. BUT. there are people who I know genuinely care and have wondered and it has been 2.5 months. SO. I wrote it. I wrote about Camille dieing and I hit POST. It is weird, like I was coming out about my daughter's death. This place, the baby loss blog-land, feels so safe and accepting. Out their in the land where people's babies don't die. In the charmed world, it seems tumultuous to speak of my daughter. I am 13 black cats. I am broken mirrors and certainly broken dreams. I am scared about putting it out there. Maybe, it is the thought of opening myself up to more ignorant comments. I am hoping that I get support and love.
I actually cried after posting about it...my thoughts: "Oh Shit, it's out there now, no turning back" In some weird way I guess if the whole world doesn't know, maybe I am still pregnant or happily raising my daughter away from the public eye. It was all up to public speculation and a speculation I knew people would probably think the worst, and they are right. BUT...to me the ambiguous aspect of people not knowing allows some strange piece of my mind to believe that maybe just maybe~ I don't know what happened either. Maybe, just maybe I am still pregnant or happily raising my daughter away from the public eye. The mind is a very strange and twisted place, well at least mine is. I know some people actually thought I died, well a little piece of me did, but I am living and breathing, just really really broken. I may be hiding or deleting people. I may be deactivating my account again...but it's out there. People know. People know my daughter is dead. Gulp. My daughter is dead.
I didn't sleep again last night. I woke up exhausted and knew I still needed to get my son ready for school. He didn't want to go and I am always tempted to let him just stay home with me...but I think the normalcy is good for him and preparing him for when I go back to work.
I dropped him off and went and got caffeine. It is one of those days. I was driving down the road when I was overcome by a wave of anger. This happens sometimes. I get moments of anger, it just washes over me. I can't do anything about it and I am consumed by it. I feel filled with it and almost hot and overwhelmed. I feel like screaming or cussing and then the anger mutates into total and utter despair and I feel like I am crashing with the wave, and the washing over instead, washes me away. I feel sunken and adrift and empty. Like the sadness will corrode my soul. I feel it eating away at the edges of my heart and the tears fill my eyes.
I forgot to take my anti-depressant yesterday. I think to myself, I must sleep more, go home and take your meds, clean up, take a shower, do something...So I come home and take my meds but instead of doing anything productive, I get on the computer to sink into blog land. This place simultaneously buoys me and scares me, that there are so many babies dying all the time. I need this space, I need to feel connected and that I am not alone. I have known these baby loss mamas for such a short period of time but feel so much love for you all. I hate that I am here. I don't want to be here. I HATE THAT I HAVE TO BE HERE. I want my daughter, I want to be filling my soul with the soft sweet smell of baby. The smell of her head and her full sweet cheeks, stroking her legs and feeling her grip my finger in her tiny hand. I want to see her smile and coo as she nurses and revel in her aliveness and instead, OH GOD instead I sit here sobbing, typing about my wishes and my loss and my missing. I can hardly stand the anguish sometimes. I am so bitter about my loss and seeing all the alive healthy babies being loved by their mothers. This was NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!
I went to yoga last night. I felt good. I didn't push myself. I tried to stay comfortable. I knew I would be sore. I feel so weak. It was a really positive experience for me. A time to focus on my body, to try and get to a space where I can just be accepting, even just for moments...or to not think of anything except the movement or the stretch, or the breathing. The release whether physical or emotional, it was a nice reminder to try and let go of some of that...yuckiness I hold onto. At the end, while relaxing, the music I swear was sucking at my heart and the emotional release, well I just cried and cried. It felt good, I just let the tears stream down my face. Maybe I should go once a week. Maybe it would be good for me.
All these emotions: it feels so out of control...it is out of control, but I have no energy to be anything but authentic. I just can't fake it. I allow myself the space to be what I am, in the moment. It makes me feel really manic sometimes, the emotional roller coaster of grief. Trying, I am trying. It is the best I can do right now.
Well it was quite a morning. The first part of this post is a side of me I don't like but I acknowledge...We were sitting in the waiting room at the childrens hospital where the maternal fetal center is located. Sitting there with my husband surrounded by a bunch of ghetto obese under-educated people. I felt so out of place and hated myself for judging these people...but their babies are alive and mine isn't and the unfairness of it hits me like a ton of bricks. A woman was speaking to another woman about how she had one miscarriage previously and was currently12 weeks pregnant and farther along than she had gotten last time. She said: "I will feel so much better after I see that heartbeat" Ugh...I started to quietly cry. I wanted to run away. The heart beat THE HEART BEAT! That is all I wanted to see and hear too. She just has no idea...I felt like my asshole self judging these women and families is what caused my baby to die but...alas I know that it just isn't true. AND I am just way less kind than I used to be. I know that this experience should have turned me into a Mother Teressa type or made me love all mankind, but it didn't. Maybe that will come later. Maybe...Maybe Not.
The perinatologist we met with was very kind. I asked him about statistics surrounding full term infant deaths and he said it is hard because in the United States they group statistics for stillbirths after 20 weeks up to the first 6 weeks of life. He said in perinatology land (thats what I call it) they cluster full term still births up to the first 6 weeks of life which he said is VERY different than a baby who dies at 24 weeks. He said they should not be classified together because a full term baby is viable and is like loosing a child who is 18 years old or a child at 47 years old...the pain is just as great because our child died before their time...but their life no matter how brief should be considered precious and valued. (I am sure women who loose their baby at 24 weeks feel like they lost a child too...I am just writing what the perinatologist said.) He said that full term infant death is actually pretty rare, because it is not preterm labor in which the baby was born before they were ready....full term still births with undetermined cause occur about 1/10,000 or even 1/100,000. He said that he thinks they may know the cause in 50 years...right now we call it bad luck but something happened, we may not know why the baby died but there was a reason.
Soooo I asked him his recommendation on when we could start trying again. He said well THE recommendation is to wait a year...that being said, when you are ready, you should start when you want. Your body is healthy enough to carry another baby and I have no doubts you will have a healthy baby in the future. He said he would run a bunch of labs on me to screen for any possible things which would affect subsequent pregnancy. I had about 20 vials of blood drawn. The only thing that he found particularly interesting is the difference in weight between my two children. Kai was 8 lbs 12 oz...a big baby. Camille was 5 lbs 5 oz. She was measuring 2.5 weeks small on the ultrasound but that was still within normal limits. I figured my son was a large baby and my daughter was more the size my husband and I were. I weighed 6 lbs some odd ounces and my husband 7 lbs some odd ounces. Since she looked normal and the AFP screen came back negative (he said this is a good thing), it was probably not a chromosomal abnormality but with no detected heart murmur or fluid level abnormality it is hard to say. Also no cord knot and no VISIBLE infarct on the placenta. This does not mean there was no placental abnormality just that nothing was visible to the naked eye. Sigh....no answers before, no answers still. Not really expecting one, I just want to see what I can do about bringing home a healthy living baby. SIGH....
I am not sure how I feel about all of this. All I could really do is sit and listen, ask a few questions and wait. I feel like at least I am taking the necessary steps in the process.
I started going to therapy last week. I had my second session yesterday. So far I really like my therapist which is a nice change from my last experience with counseling where I stopped after the first session because the lady was a douche. Counseling is through Angel Babies of Hinds Hospice. A volunteer came to the hospital after Camille died, she was very kind and gave me information. Thank goodness because the social worker was, um, USELESS (she said~ let me know if you need anything, like a new dead baby mama knows what they need other than an alive baby, thank you very much for nothing lady). So I am feeling positive about my new endeavor on therapy.
I took my son to a pediatrician appointment the other day because he has been complaining of a stomach ache several times a day for 2 straight weeks. I talked to the doctor for an extended amount of time about Camille's death, the car accident, my husbands job situation and the stress in our home. He said he thinks my son's stomach aches are a physical manifestation of stress. Kai talks about Camille a lot. Even this morning over breakfast he was saying that he was sad because she died and told me all the things he wanted to teach her. It just breaks my heart. He has been stressed to be away from me and so he has been staying shorter days at school (he only goes 2 days a week) and he talks about the car crash all the time. I know this is taking a toll on him and it is hard because all I can do is let him talk, do art, and tell him and show him how much I love him. I wish I could protect him from sadness and death. It is hard that he has to learn such a hard thing at such a young age.
I am going out of town this weekend. I'm going home to Santa Cruz and one of my closest friends had a baby boy 3 weeks ago. I am just not ready to see her or the baby yet, which makes me feel bad but well I just CAN'T. I wish I had talked to my therapist about it but I forgot.
Yesterday was my first day with my husband at work, Kai at school, my mother gone and me not working. I stayed busy ALL day and didn't come home. It actually turned out to be a good day. I ended the day with a CD my therapist let me borrow on guided imagery A meditation to ease grief by Belleruth Naparstek...It made me cry, it was lovely...but there was a little too much guiding. It was relaxing though.
This morning Kai and I went for a walk....and I just started my period (in my white lace underwear of course) for the first time since giving birth 9 weeks ago. My thoughts are everywhere: It is amazing to me that my body continues to function after being unable to keep my daughter alive in my womb. It was amazing to me that my body was able to give birth after her death. I am also glad I started my period. It took me 9 months after my son was born and I knew the sooner I started my period the sooner I would start ovulating and then the possibility of pregnancy is available. We have our perinatology appointment this next Monday.
There is just a lot going on inside this head and heart over here. Trying to sift through it all.
It is supposed to be a fun place....It used to be a fun place... NOW~ I dread it! Why? Because there are babies there...baby girls dressed in pink things, 6 week olds, 2month olds, ALIVE baby girls. I am cheerily pushing my son on the swing pretending not to notice the mothers nursing their tiny infants. Pretending not to notice them stroking their little limbs and feet. Pretending I don't have a daughter who I am aching for as I cheerily push my beautiful, happy, laughing boy. I am feeling the 20 pounds over weight that I am, wearing my size 8 skirt and trying to pretend I am not uncomfortable in my own skin. I just gave birth 2 months ago and my body looks like it, but no one else can see it. Don't get me wrong, I am trying to be kind to myself about my body. If I had a baby to show for it, I wouldn't care, but I don't. I am 20 pounds overweight with a dead baby and a new habitual routine of daily crying...
I start to feel that catch in my throat, the one that hurts when you try and swallow. It spreads to my whole neck and into my face, my head starts to hurt and my chest gets tight... the warning signs of potential downpour of tears. I think to myself "choke it back lady, you're not wearing your sunglasses". I tickle my son and push him higher as he screeches (and I scream inside), "smile, make yourself believe your having as much fun as it looks, talk to your son, distract yourself, STOP LOOKING AT THE FREAK'N BABY~ LOOK AWAY" why do I torture myself? I couldn't make up the next part for even a really bad movie~ There was a group of moms talking about babies dying and dying in general and "JESUS" and "HIS PLAN" UGH...I couldn't hear the whole conversation over my son's joyful outbursts~ Um THANK GOD (snark). Another mom on the swings next to us asks how old my son is and I say 2.5, her son is 2 months older than mine (but mine talks better~ another reason the universe killed my baby...because I think my kid is smarter and more articulate than other children even a year older than he is) She also has a 7 month old son....AWE how nice to have kids close in age, I don't say! Barf...Yep, I was glad my son and daughter would be less than 2.5 years apart. I wanted them to me close in age and I wished for them to be friends and playmates. I thought my family would be so complete with a second child. I was so excited...now I feel so incomplete.
My mother went home this last weekend. She also lost a baby, her 4th and last to renal agenesis. (Another case of no smoking, drinking or any other bad habits just super bad luck) I was 7 years old and we all got to hold him for 4 hours before he died..The odds were bad for her 1/6000 babies, like the 1/160 odds were bad for me. Sometimes I feel like our family is cursed...I mean 2 babies dead? I know they are totally unrelated, and my daughter didn't have anything wrong with her~um she just died!!!
I am kind of convinced that someone has made a voodoo doll of me and has some nasty pins they keep sticking me with, then picking me up and playing "lets talk about dead babies in the park with her bwahaha." The crazy in my head is astounding.
My mother returned home this last weekend.
She wrote me this note:
My Precious Daughter,
This is all a collection of moments in time.
Some joyful, some sad, some interesting and even awe-inspiring.
All are valuable and useful in some way.
Keep seeking, noticing and storing up the good.
I love you so very much.
So I am trying to seek and notice and store up the good because right now everything seems so bad. Like I have said before, I am a chronically happy person who is just very EXTREMELY sad right now.
Yesterday I spent the day with fluid flying out of every orifice of my body, hung over the toilet and lounging on the bathroom floor. I haven't been that sick in who knows how long. I ached in every joint and got up at 3am with a fever of 101. I realize that this is on par for how my life has been in the past 2 months. You know the saying when it rains it pours and then in my case it hails and hurricanes. My daughter dies, my husband gets a job as an elementary vice principle which he has been working on for the past 2 years. Then while my mother is in town trying to help with the transition of my husband going back to work and dealing with my grief and mothering a 2.5 year old, we get into a horrific car crash . With all of the stress of losing our daughter and the car crash my husband calls everyone from the priciples, curriculum directors, area superintendants and district superintedent to tell them he won't be taking the job and why. Everyone is very "understanding" that he needs to be with his family right now. BUT...it is hard. He was interviewing for these jobs a week after Camille died. It was hard for me but I was trying to support him. I think he was just on "Go" mode. Then he got what he wanted. After the car crash I think he realized how easy it would be for us all to be taken away. I think this actually made the stress of Camille's death manifest itself in a more palpable way.
My brother came into town yesterday to pick up my mother and take her home to Oregon. I haven't seen him in at least a year. He is my older brother...not the one I wrote about here. My little brother who was spoken of in the linked post, at least called me while I was in the hospital. My older brother didn't call me after Camille died, not for weeks until I complained about it to my mother. Then when he did call he said how sad it made him, he had been incredibly busy and everytime he thought to call it seemed to late at night....wow...the excuses...I guess my baby's death doesn't rank high enough on the to do list for a phone call. It makes me feel very "oh yeah I should call my sister" secondary and insignificant.
UGH...Anyway I woke up yesterday and all hell broke loose with my body. I think in my delerium and tears I thought well this really is on par for my life right now. This is a physical manifestation of the shit and puke of my life. My body aches like my soul aches and no one can deal with this except me. I just have to keep vomiting and shitting until I run out...I wish it were that easy in dealing with the grief of my daughter's death. I feel better today....not 100% and I spent most of the day in bed....I wish I could mend my broken heart so quickly...but instead I will feel like this on the inside forever. The anguish of this is palpable. I have been crying about Camille more today than usual during the day. I think I am so exhausted and run down from being ill that I have no control over my sadness and everything is very raw and at the surface. I said Hi to my brother but he didn't want to get sick with a 2 day drive in front of them and my mother left without a good enough goodbye because I was on the bathroom floor sobbing. It all just fucking figures....I actually said this to them..."It just figures that I would get the flu, after everything I have been through, it just figures"
I talked to my little brother for the second time since Camille died the other day. He doesn't get it...just like everyone else. He doesn't have kids. I know he loves me but he said something stupid... during a slow part of our conversation when he was obviously at a loss for where to go next in a conversation with his sister who's baby recently died. He said "so have you been having a good summer?" SERIOUSLY are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? I said "um NO MY BABY JUST DIED" and he said ..."well yeah but besides that" I actually started laughing...Idiot...I love him...but GEEZE!!
I went to my primary care physicians office the other day to get drops for my eyes, I had an eye infection...probably from rubbing my eyes from crying so much. I haven't been to the doctor in about 2 years. He didn't know I was ever pregnant. He said well your other eye is red too and I said well that's because I have been crying. He asked why...I said my baby died...I told him about Camille...briefly, I just wanted my eye drops. He then proceeded to tell me that it happened to his niece and I should look at the bright side, that it could be worse and then said "if they had delivered her earlier before she died she might have had brain damage and you would have had to deal with a brain damaged child for 50-70 years, would you want that"?? SERIOUSLY- he asked me if I would want a brain damaged baby. Then he proceeded to tell me about a colleague who's daughter just drowned, and his brother who has cancer. I couldn't even believe my ears...he told me it could be worse! MY BABY JUST DIED-- STUPID ASSHOLE! I kept thinking...I am so glad I'm not married to this guy. I didn't even freak out at him. I just wanted him to stop talking and give me my prescription.
The other day I saw one of my friends when we went out to get a bagel. She was the woman who watched my son while I was in the hospital giving birth to Camille. She told me about another mom who sent their condolences when they found out about my daughters death. She said people were asking how I was doing and she told them that I was "doing about as good as you can imagine". She said I think you are doing good. I said really? I don't think so ...I feel like total shit. Another couple of my friends said they thought I was doing good or rather not good but better than they expected. I don't know what people's idea of good is. I mean if I go out to get a bagel and I loose my shit while sitting there with my family which actually happened after my friend left that day or if I get through an outing shopping without crying, is one considered better than the other? I am not laying in bed all day. Is that doing good? I am surviving. I cry at home, mostly at night into the early a.m hours between 11pm and 3 a.m. I am not even close to good, I am HORRIBLE. I am surviving. I am taking breaths each day and putting one foot in front of the other...but I am not doing good. I drove for the first time after 6 weeks...I guess that is something...neither good or bad, just trying to get back into the world of the living. I am on anti depressants for the first time in my life...How can I be doing good? Is it defined by not drinking myself into an oblivion or managing to have conversations without crying...never mind that I am not paying attention to anything that is coming out of the other persons mouth and that I am one gulp and swallow away from sobbing all the time. Ya- I'm great!
Did I happen to mention that I cry EVERY time I go to the bagel shop~ Certain places are just a huge triggers. I wear my sunglasses into stores because I am always crying, even if it is for a brief period of time. I guess I feel like I am not doing particularly good, but other people do. This concerns me because I want people to understand that I am not better. I am still desperate about it. Going to the park and seeing tiny blond baby girls is painful. I will continue to be sad and I don't want people to forget.
Please DON'T FORGET. My baby is dead. My daughter is dead. Forever... Forever...I am not good...my baby daughter is dead.