Thanks

Thanks for stopping in. There isn't really a rhyme or reason to this blog. It's just what comes to my head as I go through each day. If something I say resonates with you (positively or not), please leave a comment. It helps to know that people care. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Go On

So, a quick thought on the new sitcom "Go On" with Matthew Perry.  It's about a man whose wife dies, and he goes into mandated group-therapy so that he can keep his job.  I find this show absolutely fantastic and hilarious.

Then, as I was watching this week's episode tonight, it occurred to me...

...I don't think I would find this show funny if I were not in a place in my life where I am/was considering support groups.  I find the macabre humor hysterical because I see it in my own life.  I "get" this show.

...as a result of this revelation, I am now very concerned that this show will be cancelled.  I recognize that this is a small blip on the screen of relevant shit (pardon the crassness), but I feel like this blip is meant for me, if that makes any sense at all.

As a side note...it's been ten weeks.  Already.  Ain't that just a kick in the face?

On a positive addendum to that side note, I'm finally, today, getting positive signs that my body is returning to business as usual.  It's funny.  I've been waiting for weeks for this, and now that I'm actually seeing the change, I'm a little sad.  It's like there was a physical part of me that wasn't over losing Charlotte, and now that's back to "normal".  *sigh*  Bright side....focusing on the bright side.

Friday, September 28, 2012

People I have no interest in talking to anymore...

I hadn't made my pregnancy with Charlotte public knowledge before she died.  I had told several people as I saw them, but for the people I don't see as often the news was not shared.  I was going to go public on facebook after our big ultrasound...within a week of her death.

But that's neither here nor there.

The point is, there were several people I held as friends whom I had not told.  It's very difficult to tell someone your child died when they didn't know that child existed.  That being said, about a week after her death I decided to share the information with these people.  I didn't go facebook-public, but I wanted to tell the people whom I actually considered friends.  Charlotte, though not physically present, is now a part of my life and my family, so it seemed dumb to make it seem like a secret.

So I sent out a message to those friends.  I did not have the strength to tell people in person or in my own voice.  I still cry now when I talk about it...a week removed I couldn't even form the words.  Here is the text of that message:

On Sunday, July 22, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl we named Charlotte Olivia, who was too beautiful and perfect for this world. Mike and I are grieving, but we're doing as well as we can and are trying to live our lives as normally as possible.

I know that I hadn't told any of you that Mike and I were expecting our second child, and I debated sharing this news with you all. After a lot of thought in the last day or so, I realized that I am proud to be Charlotte's mother, and I don't want to keep her a secret.

I would appreciate your thoughts or prayers, and I don't mind answering questions about Charlotte's short life if you have any. I just ask that you please try not to say any of those silly placating things we say when we try to make one another feel better.  Well wishes and condolences are welcome.

I sent this to eight people. Two of them gave fairly heartfelt messages of sympathy and offered to get together to talk (though that never happened...but at least they offered once).  Four of them sent me brief "I'm sorry" texts or messages.  Acceptable, if somewhat limited, responses.  Two of them said nothing.

Really?  Nothing?  Not an, "I'm sorry" or a "That sucks" or a "I'm thinking of you" or anything?  Really?  Nothing?

I thought last week...which is two months later...of sending these two people a message saying basically that their lack of response was incredibly hurtful and insensitive...but I realized that it would serve no real purpose.  They clearly should not be counted among my friends if this is how they will treat me in one of my darkest hours.  I also thought of sending them a message basically saying that I have no interest in talking to them anymore and then severing ties.  Again, I realized it would serve no real purpose, as I'm fairly sure these women have no interest in preserving any ties we might have had.

Still, regardless of whether or not these women like me or care at all...doesn't it seem like it would be basic human dignity to provide SOME form of response? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The one-two punch

So, I just blogged yesterday about the baby shower invitation that knocked me on my rear end.

Just as I was starting to get my balance back, I went on facebook today.  Why do I do that?  Seriously, why?  The things I enjoyed about facebook don't make up for the inundation of things I'm not ready to handle.

So I got an invitation to a private facebook group...which is a support page for one of my friends whose son has a severe speech development problem which just got diagnosed.

Really, God?  Really? 

OK, I do not, at ALL, begrudge this girl her support.  It's amazing.  There are over 225 members on this page, and a good fifty of them have written heartfelt messages of support and prayer on the wall.  Very cool.  I am absolutely thrilled that her brother decided to create this support page for her.  I know she's struggling a bit to find her footing.

The thing is, this page was just bashing me over the head with how different her support is from mine.  I really don't understand...

My child died. 
Shouldn't you care? 
Shouldn't you want to support me? 
Shouldn't you want to tell me that you're thinking of me?
Praying for me?
Sad for me? 

I have a smattering of texts, a few facebook messages, three cards, and four phone calls.  The number of people who have been TRULY supportive of me when I needed it could be counted on one hand...and I'm including my husband.

I feel really lonely.

I feel like no one cares about me, really, at all.

I feel like I'm going through a lot of this alone.

In some ways this is almost harder than losing Charlotte.  I can mourn for and accept my daughter's death.  I can look for meaning in her life.  I can cherish the memories I had with her. 

But this. 

I feel like maybe a lot of my relationships died a long time ago and I just didn't realize it.  I've lived my life believing that people care about me. I care about them.  So where's the proof that I even know these people at all?

What's wrong with me? 


...as a side note, I recognize that this is a bit of a self-pitying spiral...but I'm ok...if you read this and worry that I need help, I just want you to know that I'm ok...but the thoughts I have need to go somewhere...so here they are.

A place for the things that need a place

It's always been in the back of my head that some day I wanted to get a curio cabinet.  I have lots of little wedding things that I'd like to display...the sand from our sand ceremony, our remembrance candle, my bouquet...etc.  The thing is, in the grand scheme of things, a superfluous piece of furniture like a curio cabinet took a back seat to replacing the wicker (yes, wicker) couch.

Then Charlotte died. 

We were faced with so many decisions in such a short time...the very last of which being what to do with her remains.  What does one do with the ashes of one's dead child when one has a toddler running around?  Seriously.  This is a problem.

So the question of what to do with the pretty, little, heart-shaped, angel box, the box I would have hated exactly one day before she died but then somehow found perfect as soon as I learned my daughter's heart stopped, forced my hand on purchasing a curio cabinet.  I'm actually OK with this.  It came today, and I'm really happy.

It was bothering me to leave her remains in her keepsake box.  I tried to get a nice box, a box that would give the mementos of her life a sense of dignity...but that wasn't good enough for HER...she deserves better than to be boxed away, hidden somewhere.  To do that is to lessen her importance, I think, because one wouldn't do that in any other circumstance.

There's so many times in this where I think, "I wouldn't do this in any other circumstance."  This is a singularly bizarre experience.  So isolating...so confusing....so...I don't even know.

Regardless

So I finally have a place for Charlotte's remains.  She gets her own shelf in the curio...her remains, my favorite black and white photo, hand and foot prints, and a little figurine of an angel holding a butterfly that a friend of mine bought me just because a few weeks ago.  It all seems like such a paltry little collection of things, but it felt good to give her a real home...one that puts her in a place of importance.





Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Metaphorically punched in the face

I've been feeling pretty good the last few days.  I'm starting to get hopeful about trying again, even though I still am waiting for my period to return.  There's pumpkin flavored stuff out again, which makes me happy.  My house feels nice and cool again.  I still miss Charlotte, but life was starting to feel pretty OK.

Then I got, metaphorically, punched in the face when I got home from school today.  This stealth fist took the form of an innocuous looking bright green envelope in my mailbox.  Baby shower invitation.

This in and of itself is bad enough.  But this is for my shadow.  The shadow of what should be.

When I was 17 weeks pregnant, I got an email from this girl with her first ultrasound picture.  She was 11 weeks.  I remember thinking, very distinctly, that she was brave for announcing herself so early.  Eleven weeks is early to me, having had my first miscarriage at 13.  I emailed her back and told her that we were expecting our second child, and that I was 17 weeks pregnant.  She was of course excited for me. 

Fast forward six weeks.  It's two weeks after Charlotte died, and I go on my facebook account.  There is the facebook announcement from the same girl who is now, as I was then, 17 weeks.  I have since lost my daughter, and here she is exactly where I was the last time I heard from her.  Tailspin.

Two weeks ago she announced that her big ultrasound went great and she's having a little boy. 

Charlotte's gone.

In many ways, I see this girl and her pregnancy as the ghost of what I should have had.

The kicker?  The shower is the day before my birthday.

I haven't decided if I'll go or not.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A thank you to LLOST (no, I didn't spell it wrong)

When the haze started to clear after Charlotte's death, I spent a lot of time looking through all the materials and books and mementos we were given at the hospital.  At the time, I assumed that this was part of a package given by the hospital in cases like mine.  It seemed logical.  Women like me went to the hospital.  If we weren't coming home with a baby, we had to leave with something, right?

In looking through my materials, though, I realize I'd taken a lot of things for granted.  I later realized that what the hospital provides is a bright yellow pocket folder with (badly) photocopied bereavement support information...most of which doesn't apply to me.  I can't go to a group for parents who've lost their children.  While I lost a child, I think we can all agree that it's just not the same thing.  Regardless...

Inside the book I found most helpful, I found a simple sticker that read, "Donated in memory of those we love: The LLOST Foundation".  When I looked them up online, I realized that all the things I now cling to for remembering Charlotte came from them.  They donated the tiny blankets and hat and clothes.  They donated the kit to make the mold of Charlotte's tiny feet.  They donated the tiny box with the prayer card.  They donated the books.  They are a very small organization located in Northern Virginia whose goal is to provide support for people like me.

Things won't make Charlotte come back...but the things these strangers gave me allowed me to hold my daughter with a sense of dignity...to take a precious memory of her home with me....to find solace in other people's words.  I've tried, periodically, to think about how my experience would have been without them...

Charlotte would have had no gown to wear.  She was far too tiny for even the bittiest preemie outfit.  She would have been wrapped in a standard hospital receiving blanket...so oversized as to be laughable if anything were funny.  Her poor little head would have been uncovered.  We would have taken home just a paper stamp of her feet.  I would have had nothing to read and take comfort in because I would never have bought a self-help book for myself...not even in this circumstance.

I'm overwhelmed with how much these people have helped me.

I've since made a donation of several copies of the book I read the most (Empty Cradle, Broken Heart...yes, it's a ridiculously, heinously bad title...but it was a really helpful book), and I think I will continue to make small donations on days that have special meaning.  I like to think that maybe I will make someone else's horrible experience just a little bit easier to bear...as they did for me two months ago.

Should you have a desire to learn more about LLOST, here is the link to their website.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Anger

I have a lot of anger. The problem is with me.  I can't explain who I'm angry at.  I can't explain what I'm angry at.  I can't tell people why I'm angry.  I can't even tell myself.  I have this desire to lash out at those around me, and I know they didn't do anything worthy of my emotional whipping.

Am I angry at my family for not mentioning Charlotte or saying her name?

Am I angry at my body for still being messed up two months later?

Am I angry at my friends for skipping along with their lives while I still feel stuck?

Am I angry at my husband for being too patient?

Am I angry at my daughter for throwing her food on the floor?

Am I angry at my dog for waking Mia up from her nap?

Am I angry at my cat for peeing in the hall?

Am I angry at my coworkers for getting worked up about things I no longer care about?

Am I angry at my Charlotte for not fighting harder to stay with us?

Yes.  The answer, at some point, to every one of these questions is yes.

No.  The answer, at some point, to every one of these questions is no.

So on whom do I unleash my anger?  None of them deserve it.  It's a fierce, sharp whip.

But if I don't unleash it, it does the damage to me.  It's like caging an overly energetic dog who is ripping my emotional living room to shreds.  That's an awful analogy.  I don't care.

My "give a shit" factor (GAS) is really low.  I just don't have the energy to care about the things that used to make me happy, sad, excited, upset.  They don't seem worth my emotions any more.  And yet, I am happy, sad, excited, upset.  So if I truly have no GAS, then why do I have the emotional speed?

The really annoying thing is that I don't think I could ever explain why I'm angry.  I just know that I am.  I don't have words, even for myself, to place my anger...hence the rambling blog post to explain what I just admitted I can't explain.  Another reason to be angry.

And so my whip cracks...at no one.  I'm like Indiana Jones as a kid...hitting himself in the face as he tries to tame the lion.  The lion didn't eat him, though...so maybe there's still hope for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Someone else's words...

I was reading another angel mommy blog tonight, and I came across this:

But when I read it at the time I just thought "oh, that is nice." And pushed it aside. In the months, and years, following, I would read their words, find comfort, and sob. But at that point feelings had started to turn off. My brain couldn't handle the overload anymore. It was too much. I think that is why so often people say others forget or they feel abandoned. Because at the time of the loss, the love and support is all immediate. And it is almost too much. As time moves forward and you are able to process thing and truly grieve, others have stopped the outpouring. You often need it more 6 months down the road then you do 3 days into the process.

That's it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Signs

I still don't know if I believe in signs.  I wrote about that in detail a few weeks ago.  I have another example for thought.

Within days of Charlotte's passing, I bought a wind chime that I had inscribed with that silly little poem/rhyme:

An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth and whispered as she closed the book, "Too beautiful for Earth."

It also has her name and birthday on it.  It hangs on my front porch.

Sometimes, if I miss her acutely, I'll go outside and wait for the breeze to blow.  I can tell myself that Charlotte helped the chimes to sound so that I would know she loves me. They're pretty-sounding chimes, not the clashing icky ones.

So, as I sit here tonight, feeling melancholy (as I often do when Mike is working and Mia is sleeping), I heard the wind chimes.  OK, I will grant that it's a stormy night, and it was probably just a strong wind gust.  It's not out of the ordinary.  That being said, they're located on my front porch, and I'm in my office...two closed doors, a whole floor, and the length of the house away from the chimes.  My office is on the back corner of the upstairs floor.  I shouldn't be able to hear them from here...but I did.  Really clearly.

So is it a sign?  Is it coincidence?  Is it both (logical fallacy much?)?

Maybe I shouldn't care.  Maybe I should just take it as it is...I was reminded of my daughter, and I paused to wonder if her spirit is trying to make me less sad.  Isn't that thought, a thought bigger than just me feeling sorry for myself, isn't that thought enough? 

Reflections on my Earth-bound princess

I realized that I have posted so little on here about Ms. Mia.  I honestly have no idea how women can go through a stillbirth before having a child and come out on the other side.  I literally have no idea if I would have survived this without my little ray of sunshine.  Mia keeps me smiling, keeps me moving forward, keeps me getting out of bed every day, keeps me sane.

In retrospect, I feel a little bad about not writing more for Mia.  I've been keeping up with her baby book, but that's about it.  I don't have a journal that I've kept up with.  I've taken about a million photographs (not as much of a hyperbole as one might think) and a lot of video, but I know there are many precious memories that have fallen through the cracks.

In the last two months, since Charlotte died, I've tried to not take a second of my time with Mia for granted.  I got to spend only 12 hours with Charlotte in my arms, and she didn't even get to spend a minute being held in her life.  It really makes me realize the extent to which I have to treasure every moment, every milestone, every smile, every tear.  I've been trying.  Sometimes I get mired down in my own swampy emotions, and it's hard.  For today, I want to focus on the good.  I have so much to be thankful for.

_______________________________________________________________

The Start

Mia is just over 16 months now.  Wow, time flies.  I look back at the pictures of her as an itty bitty and I'm just absolutely dumbfounded.  Was she really that small?  Was she really so helpless?  ...did she really stay in one place when I put her down??

I remember writing about being nervous about the emotions I knew I would feel when Mia was born. I was scared because I knew they would be incredibly strong, and I knew that, no matter how much I prepared, I would never be prepared for the ties that would bind us.  I was right.  From the first day she was born, Mia has felt like she's always been in our lives...a constant.  As if it always was and always would be.  It's overwhelming to feel that way, especially after only a few minutes.

When I look back, I remember feeling like she was growing up too fast from the time she was a week old.  I still feel that way.  I'm terrified she'll be all grown up the next time I blink.  It already seems like it. 

So tiny!  This is us the day we came home from the hospital.

_______________________________________________________________

A Year Ago

I was thinking today about what Mia was like a year ago.  She was just starting to try to sit up.  She couldn't really do it on her own, but she was trying.  For her four month picture, I put her Boppy under the sheet to help her balance...but she kept falling over throughout my photo shoot.  She never did like that silly Bumbo (or pseudo Bumbo, in our case).  She just looked miserable in it!  I bought her a little knit pumpkin hat at Gymboree that I put on her almost every day from September through November. She was so adorable in that thing...and she didn't know how to take it off yet!  She was just starting to (finally) like her jumpy seat.  She would sit in that silly thing for 45 minutes at a time, happy and laughing and screaming away.



















_______________________________________________________________

One Year +

I feel like she just turned one yesterday.  It's been four months.  How did that happen?  OK, granted, the last two months have been a bit of a blur.  I wish time had gone by so quickly when I was pregnant!  Still...it seems like just yesterday that I was taking her to the playground for the first time, buying her first pair of real shoes, holding her hand to help her walk.  When did she get to be so independent?  On her birthday she couldn't walk farther than the length of our family room.  We bought her a little toddler slide for our back yard, and she was too little to really "get" it.  She was scared of the water at the park.  She needed us so much more: held our hand everywhere we went. 

 First ride on the swings.  Before this, every time I tried to put her in the swing she would scream.  Suddenly, on her birthday, she pointed at the swings.  She was ready.  She loved it!

I miss the days when she had to hold our hands.  She still holds our hands now, and in a way it's even better, as she does it because she WANTS to...but it was nice to be needed, too.

_______________________________________________________________

The Beach

We took Mia on her second beach trip this year.  She had come with us when she was two months old last summer.  I took her down to the beach a few times...and she promptly fell asleep under the Shade Shack tent I bought specifically to keep her out of the sun.  She slept through the majority of our dinners out, and hung out in her baby car seat when we went together at 6am to get Duck Doughnuts.  This year...not so much.  She played in the sand.  She put her feet in the water.  She went in the pool.  She took good naps, but she was alive, awake, and alert for every meal.  Though it was much harder, this year was so much more fun.  I think she probably ate about a pound of sand...but boy did she have a fun time doing it.

 The Beach: 2011
vs.
The Beach: 2012
 
 

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The Dog

We own a Rottweiler.  He's huge, and he's drooly, and he's loud.  He's also the cuddliest, sweetest love bug of a dog I've ever met.  People are scared of him because he's a Rottweiler.  He also has a tendency to bark when he's excited, which looks and sounds scary if you don't know him.  

Mia's not scared. He's been around her whole life, so, to her, big huge loud dogs are just a part of life. She follows him around, and plays tug of war with him.  She gives him kisses...sometimes with more drool exchanged than I'd like.  She feeds him food from her high chair.  She gives him hugs and pets him.  Poor Sam.  I think she runs him ragged.  They love each other, though.  Always have.


May 2011
October 2011
April 2012
September 2012
 _______________________________________________________________

Now

Mia today.  I don't even know where to start. She is my light.  Quite seriously, on the darkest days she is the only thing that keeps me going.  It's so hard to not smile when she's around.  It's so hard to not enjoy life when she smiles.  It's so hard not to be grateful when she hugs me.  As I said before, I literally don't know how I would have gotten through the last two months without her.  One child doesn't replace another, but that one child can put a soothing balm on the jagged hole left by the loss.  Mia doesn't replace Charlotte, but she makes it easier to breathe without Charlotte.

I tell Mia every day about her baby sister Charlotte.  I point out the butterflies that pass and say, "Maybe baby Charlotte is trying to say hello.  Let's say hello back."  I tell her to say thank you to baby Charlotte when good things are happening.  She doesn't know what I'm talking about yet, but I'm hoping that the memory of baby Charlotte will be like growing up with a Rottweiler.  It's something that will just always have been a part of her life, so it's not scary.  I want the memory of her baby sister to be a positive force in her life.

When I watch Mia play, I know that baby Charlotte is looking out for us.  I think Mia feels it, too.  Sometimes it feels like she hears and sees things that I don't.  I like to think that maybe it's because she can still talk to baby Charlotte.  Even if it's just pretend, it's a happy thing to pretend.  I wish Charlotte could meet Mia in real life...but I know Charlotte's with her, somehow, every day.



 
 
 



_______________________________________________________________

I feel guilty sometimes for being so happy with Mia, but I know that Charlotte wouldn't want us to be sad.  I know she loves us.  I know that she is ok, wherever she is.  I know that she'll always be missed, but she wouldn't want us to dwell in sadness. There are too many butterflies for that.




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Should be....

Charlotte was born at 9:35pm on July 22, a Sunday.  It is currently exactly eight weeks later, 9:28.  In seven minutes, it will be exactly eight weeks.  Something about this number, eight, is overwhelming.  Can it really have been eight weeks already?  Didn't this just happen?  Wasn't I just pregnant?  Wasn't Charlotte alive yesterday?

Eight weeks. 

I'm so completely overwhelmed by what should be.  I should be almost 29 weeks pregnant today.  I should be wearing comfortable maternity clothes and rubbing my burgeoning belly.  I should be able to go pull out my doppler and listen to her little heart chugging along.  I should be happy.  I should be excited. I should be peaceful.  I should be...

I should be so many things.  I am so few.

I should be almost 29 weeks pregnant.  I am waiting for my first cycle to try again.

I should be wearing comfortable maternity clothes and rubbing my burgeoning belly.  I am wearing my pre-maternity clothes which still don't fit across my prematurely postpartum belly.

I should be able to go pull out my doppler and listen to her little heart chugging along.  I am sitting alone, in hollow silence, with the clack of the keys making a poor substitute for my daughter's heartbeat.

I should be happy.  I am lost and soggy in the swamp of my emotions.

I should be excited.  I am terrified and overwhelmed at the thought of starting over.

I should be peaceful.  I am haunted by what should have, could have, would have been.

I am...lost.

No logic in sadness

Logically, when you no longer need something, you put it away.  It stops taking up space in your life as you have no need of it, but you do have need of space.  Logically, this is how things work.  Sadness isn't logical.

I made the full transition to maternity clothes in early June.  I was three and a half months into my pregnancy, and, since it was my second, I was feeling huge.   I actually mentioned that I felt huge to my doctor at my appointment in early July, but she wasn't concerned.  That's neither here nor there.  The point is that I was pretty much only wearing maternity clothes at that point.

As a result, I cleaned out the top two drawers of my four drawer dresser to make room for said clothes.  I wanted them to be as easily accessible as possible, without me having to reach down when reaching down became difficult in the coming months.  It was incredibly logical...because I wasn't sad then.

When Charlotte died, I never put on another article of maternity clothing.  I just couldn't do it.  It was too hard, too emotional, too sad.  I lived in sweatpants and jersey dresses for the first month, because I couldn't fit into my other normal clothes, yet.  As I finished laundering the clothes I had been wearing in the last week before she died, I put them quietly away in the drawer...all of my lovely maternity clothes were shut into the drawers....almost entombed. 

They're still there.

Since I finished folding and putting away all of my clothes, I haven't opened either drawer.  I can't seem to make myself clean them out.  All of the clothes I'm currently wearing are squished into the bottom two drawers of my dresser, forcing me to basically do squats when I'm deciding what to wear.

Logically, I would put all the maternity clothes back in the laundry basket and back in my husband's office's closet, where they lived after Mia was born.  Logically I'd spread my clothes back into the top drawers and stop wasting that prime fashion storage real estate.  Logically that makes complete sense.

There is no logic in sadness.

If I take the maternity clothes out of the drawers, I'm admitting defeat.  I know that's not true, but that's how it (illogically) feels.  I'm just not ready to not need them any more, and I'm certainly not ready to ADMIT that I don't need them any more, so I'm leaving them where I would leave them if I did need them.  And that makes no sense.  I recognize that. 

I just realized the symbolism behind entombing my clothes.  We didn't have a burial for Charlotte.  As I've written before, no one else knew her like we did, so there was no memorial.  We have her ashes in an angel box in with her mementos.  Yet somehow I'm closing up my clothes as though to memorialize her.  Huh.

In addition, I'm desperate to believe that, once we're able to try to conceive again, it will happen quickly.  As I've written before, the belief system we've chosen makes it not only acceptable but NECESSARY for us to have another child.  If I put away the maternity clothes, it's like I'm accepting or admitting that it will take us a while to conceive again, like it did with Mia.  I'm not ready to accept or admit that.  I'm clinging by my bloody fingertips to the hope that we'll have another baby immediately, and I'll be able to feel like Charlotte's death had a larger purpose in my life than causing us pain and sadness.  We're choosing to believe that she's watching over us and her siblings....plural...and if we have struggles and heartache along the way, I'm afraid I won't be able to hold on to that belief....and if I can't hold on to that belief, I'm terrified of the waves of pure sadness and grief that will drown me.  The only reason I'm as ok as I am is that I BELIEVE that Charlotte's out there, protecting us.  If we're not protected...

...so in the mean time I have clothes smooshed into the bottom drawers.  No, it's not logical.  It's just what I need because I'm still sad. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thoughts on abortion

In researching and reading, I've come across some very disturbing things.  I'm going to muse briefly on abortion.  If you are rabidly pro anything, please recognize that these are simply the musings of a woman who has lost a little girl at 20 weeks, held that little girl in her arms, and mourned for the last two months.  I am not political.

Charlotte has a birth certificate...sort of.  In the state of Virginia, where I currently live, if you have something like what happened to Charlotte, you can apply for a certificate of "birth resulting in stillbirth"...basically acknowledging that she died, but not that she lived...which is counter intuitive to begin with.  It's a very chicken and egg type thought.  Not the point.  My point is that this is allowed in Virginia.  It's not the case in all states, and according to my research, a lot of that is a political issue...

Apparently, if you give a baby a certificate of death or birth, you are, in some way, acknowledging it as alive, and therefore the whole pro life or pro choice debate muddies the waters.  If my baby, wanted and loved, was alive and then died, then is it ok for another woman's baby, not wanted, to be killed?

Several issues I have with this:

1) I held my daughter's little body in my arms.  She was a person.  She had a face.  She had a tiny mouth, and fingers, and the smallest, most perfect fingernails.  Don't you dare presume to tell me that she didn't die, wasn't a person, didn't matter.  She matters.  She has a name, and that name deserves to be recorded and made official.  This was able to happen for me, but there are still 18 states that don't do this.

2) I don't understand why abortion is legal until 24 weeks.  I just don't.  People argue that the babies aren't viable before that point, meaning that if they are born they couldn't survive, and therefore it's still ok.  That's bullshit.  It may be entirely emotion based, but I held my daughter in my arms...I will never believe that it would be OK for someone to kill her, regardless of whether or not she could survive outside me...and 24 weeks is several weeks past when Charlotte died.  How can people think that's ok?  I don't understand.  I just don't understand.

3) Why is it that a baby born too soon gets a birth certificate (albeit a conditional one), yet a baby who may be older can still be killed?  My daughter died.  The state and the hospital and my emotions acknowledge this...and yet, were I a different person, I could have waited three more weeks and then chosen to have her ripped from me because I didn't want her?  Why is that ok? 

I don't have a stance on abortion.  I really don't.  When I was younger, I thought about it,  I won't lie.  When I thought about having sex in college, and the what ifs...I considered it.  I don't think I would have ever gone through with it, had it come to that, but it was on my mind at one point in my life. Now, on the other side of motherhood, on the other side of loss, I can't fathom wanting to get rid of a pregnancy, of a baby. I literally don't know what to think about it.  I don't want to say I'm pro-life, because I'm not one of the nutty, sign holding, bumper sticker toting, hell and damnation preaching people.  I don't want to say I'm pro-choice, because I'm not one of the nutty, it's my body, feminazi, Birkenstock-wearing people.  I don't fit.

Where is the group for people like me?

The people who don't want to preach or judge but who ache for the babies we lost by force? 

I was a stupid college student who knew she couldn't be a mother, and, while I was thankfully never put in that position, I would have considered abortion if it had happened to me...so how can I condemn the young and foolish like me?

I've had a miscarriage at 13 weeks, and I mourned for that baby...so how can I justify abortion through the first trimester?  Obviously I cared about my baby, right?

I had fertility problems after my miscarriage...so how can I justify the women who throw away everything I ever wanted for the sake of personal convenience?

I held my little girl in my arms and traced the contours of her face with my fingers...so how can I not be completely appalled that many people think it's ok for babies just like her to be ripped apart on purpose?

You know what it comes down to?  I wish I'd had a choice.  I wish I could have chosen for my daughter to live.  I wish I could have chosen to trade places with one of the women who is throwing away a beautiful little girl like my Charlotte for a reason that couldn't possibly be good enough.  I wish I could choose that.

Friday, September 14, 2012

*whistling and twiddling thumbs

OK, getting impatient.  I'm never a patient person.  I'm the kid who carefully unwrapped and rewrapped my  Christmas presents two weeks before Christmas because I NEEDED to know what was in there.  If I was that impatient about a sweater, imagine how impatient I am about waiting for my body to return to normal.

I am currently 7 weeks and 5 days removed from my daughter's birth...when exactly is my body going to get back to normal?  This is one of two times in my life that I'm just desperate for my period to start.  The first was after my miscarriage in 2009...and it ended in the excessive amount of missed tissue from my D&C very painfully and shockingly exiting my body two days after Christmas.  The longer I'm waiting here, the more I'm worried that something similarly scary and/or dangerous will happen.

In addition, the following is a list of the reasons I want my body back to normal:

  1. We want to try to conceive again as soon as possible, and the doctor said I only have to wait one cycle...so any day now.  As a part of the belief system we adopted when we lost Charlotte, we really feel like we NEED to try again as soon as possible...that part of the reason Charlotte left us is because she was sick, and she wants to be able to help us have a healthy child...Charlotte's going to watch over her little brother or sister and she'll send a small piece of her spirit back to us as well.  With that belief, it's almost painful to try to wait.
  2. The longer I wait, the more I research.  The more I research, the more I find strange diseases, conditions, and complications that I could attribute to my symptoms.  The more I find strange diseases, conditions, and complications, the more I worry...and panic.  I've alternately thought I have cancer, Ashermann's syndrome, early menopause, and renal failure in the last month. I am not normally a hypochondriac, but I find myself wondering and wondering.  Good times.
  3. So, since we're not supposed to TTC for the first month, but we want to TTC AFTER that month (hence no pills, hormones, or devices), our only option at this point is the condom.  Eww.  I am no longer 18, I am not a prostitute, and I have no communicable diseases (or maybe I do...see reason #2 again).  There is no reason I should have to use condoms ever again.  Yet here I am.  Again, eww.
  4. I'm getting tired of analyzing the...erm...moisture I feel at any given time of day, running to the bathroom to check, and being disappointed.  It's just annoying, and it's wasting toilet paper.  It's a silly concern, but it's still a concern.
Dear Aunt Frannie,
Would love for you to visit.  It's been too long.  Please only visit once, though...You'll wear out your welcome if you come around too often.
Sincerely,
Me

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Exactly.


Wandering amongst blogs

So, I was wandering amongst some angel mom blogs tonight.  While my feelings of complete and utter loneliness ebbed a bit during the day today, once Mia goes to bed and Mike is off at work, it slams back.  Reading other people's words helps.  So, here are some observations:

1) I'm not a great writer.  This shouldn't surprise me.  Though I was an English major in college and I love to write, I'm not great at it.  I have a good, clear voice.  That's about all I can say for myself.  I feel like I'm fairly readable, but that's hardly a glowing testimony.

2) I'm not a great photographer.  Again, shouldn't be a surprise.  Still, I like to think I do a good job every once in a while.  For example:
I took this picture.  It's not art, but it's pretty, right?  Yeah....I want art.  Grumble.

3) A lot of mommas stop writing right about now...meaning a month or two out from their losses, many women seem to lose the urge to purge their hearts through inane blogging to an invisible army of other angel mommies who occasionally provide the appropriate responses.  Will I hit that point soon?  Maybe their support systems aren't failing them as much as mine is.

4) Sometimes, things are perfect.
I stumbled across this in my musings...ordered a large print of it to hang on my wall.  It hurt my heart, but it's entirely true.  This is how I want to remember my daughter.
 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Feeling really lonely

It's one of those bad nights.  They don't happen that often in the last couple of weeks, but every once in a while....here we are. So I'm going to vent and ramble, and hopefully the sludge that's clogging up my emotions will extricate itself from my life, if only temporarily.

I have a significant feeling that a lot of the people that I've counted as friends, some even really close friends, don't really care about me that much at all.  I know it's been almost seven weeks since Charlotte's birth and death, but, damn it, I still need people to care.  Or I need people to even care in the first place.






With one or two very rare exceptions, I don't remember the last time one of my friends called ME to ask to hang out.  I don't remember the last time one of my friends checked in on me to see how I'm doing.  I know that what I'm going through is just a small blip on the corner of someone else's radar....but it's a hell of a lot more than a blip to me.

I feel like I try pretty hard to be a good friend to people.  I try to do and say things that make people's lives easier, make people feel better.  I try not to burden people too much with my own problems if I can help it...but damn it, I need something now.  Who's trying hard to be a good friend to me? 

I literally do not remember the last time the phone rang and it wasn't an immediate member of my family.  Am I that person?  That person who thinks they're a better friend to people than they really are?  The one everyone is secretly annoyed by but no one has the guts to actually say it?  Am I that person?

I wish my phone would ring.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Disappointed. Again.

I feel a little selfish today.

Yesterday marked six weeks since Charlotte's birth and death.  I'm still dealing with it every day.  I still hurt and grieve every day.  I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.

...but it's been six weeks.  I've apparently passed the invisible line of time after which people don't care anymore.  I've used up my support.  Sorry, better luck next time.  OK, maybe that's a little harsh...but that's pretty much how it feels.

So my sister's husband is having heart problems.  She married a man in his 60s.  He is generally very fit and healthy, but this isn't exactly a huge shock considering.  That sounds cold, and I don't mean it that way.  Having just gone through what Mike and I went through, I understand, probably better than most of my family, how she's feeling.  Alone, unsure, angry, sad....I get it.

I did not call her when I found out....as she did not call me when she found out about Charlotte.  She was dealing with her husband at the time.  I think the two of us have a mutual understanding that, since we're each dealing with our own rough times, we aren't really able to be there for one another significantly.  I haven't blamed her for not trying to talk to me about Charlotte...but I know that, if I were to call her now, she would feel obligated to try to talk to me about MY loss, and I don't want to add that burden to her.

Instead, Mike and I sent them a bouquet of flowers last week with a card saying that we're thinking of them and praying for them, and that we're here if they need support.  Really, that's all I would want from the people in my family, particularly those who live far away (as we do). 

We went to lunch today with the family that lives locally...and they were talking about Beth and Luis.  They were talking about how much they were calling her, and how they were arranging for a personal nurse to help Luis recover at home, and all the things they were going to say and do to make this easier on Beth. 

And I got mad.  Really mad.  I feel incredibly selfish about this, and I do not, at all, begrudge Beth the support she is getting.  I'm happy and relieved that they're able and willing to be there for her...but...

What did any of them say to me?  Do they just like her more, or is it that, since her husband is still alive they feel more comfortable talking about it?  How many of my family members never even said anything to my husband?  How many of them chose not to ask to see pictures or read my journal?  How many of them, when I asked them as a group, through a reading I sent via email, and in individual emails and conversations to talk to me about my daughter because I NEED to talk about her, never once brought her up.  Not ONCE. 

When you spend your entire life believing that, if you really and truly needed it, your family would always be there to support you in whatever you need, and then when that's tested to have the bottom drop out...I'm hurt.  I walk away from family dinners now being angry, and sad, and upset...to the extent that I don't even want to be around them any more. 

I feel selfish.  I dislike myself. Maybe I'm asking too much.  I don't know.  I'm disappointed.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Feeling narcissistic...

I've been commenting in my message board a lot in the last few days.  I, for some reason, feel like I actually have really good things to say, for once.  I'm not sure my perspective on it is accurate.  I'm not particularly insightful.  Maybe it's just that I get such a good feeling from people responding to what I say...I don't know.

I keep filtering my message list for posts I've posted in...I want to see if people are responding to what I've said.  I want to see if people are helped by what I've said.  I need to feel like my thoughts, my ideas, my revelations are helpful to people like me who feel so lost.

There's the rub.  My focus is more on how I, me, myself am helping people...not on the people being helped...if I'm even helping anyone.  How narcissistic is that??