Monday, April 30, 2012

The Realization of Mondays...

I wrote a couple of posts ago about Monday's always being hard for me.  I wasn't sure if it was just from being home all weekend and thinking about everything... and then it just went over to Monday also.  I still think that may be part of it, but after posting my issue on dailystrength.org (which is such a great resource for all Angel Mom's!), some mom's responded with their hard days.  Many stated their hard days corresponded to something significant that happened with their angel babies... whether that was when they found out something was wrong, their baby's heart stopped, the delivery date of their baby, etc. 

I don't know why I didn't realize it, but August 29th, the day that changed my life, was a Monday.  I went to work as I always did... Eric kissed my stomach as I left that morning telling the baby inside me that he loved him, as he always did.  I was at my desk at work and my cousin Elissa was e-mailing me about my baby shower plans.  I was writing down a guest list when all of a sudden my phone at my desk rang.  I saw my doctors name on the Caller ID.  I answered cheerfully and he told me hello.  His next question if I had seen an ultrasound specialist this past weekend.  That question told me something was wrong... how did he know?  Did I do something wrong?  He told me he had gotten a call from her this morning... Oh, no... and she felt there may have been some abnormalities with the baby.  This was Monday morning.

It makes sense now why Monday's are hard for me.  Especially at the same location and everything.  It's a reminder all the time.  A reminder of that morning... of me running out of there, standing in front of the office crying on the phone.  A reminder of waiting in that high risk specialist doctor's office wondering how we got there.  Believing that this was all a mistake.  Believing that 3D doctor didn't know what she was talking about.  I saw his picture on the screen... I saw his heartbeat.  He was okay!  This was all a mistake.  But no, it wasn't. 

How crazy how everything can change so quickly.... how someone's whole life can change so quickly and drastically. 

Pic from our engagement session... with blue balloon to represent our Cameron

I'm sure one day Monday's will get easier for me... I thought they had a while back, but it just creeps and creeps back up like a bulldozer.  It doesn't seem to be getting easier.  I guess that's depression.  Never thought I'd be one to be depressed... but I am.  And I'm okay with it.  I just hate that it's affecting my life so much.  I hate that I'm missing work sometimes due to this.  But again, I'm trying to be okay with it.  Everyone else there has their children at home... I'm the only one that has my baby at home, but in an urn. 

I miss you so much Cameron... I love you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

When You Lose a Baby - by Small Bird Studios

This was posted by another grieving mother several months ago.  I loved it... it was so true and so honest.  I have been meaning to repost it... so here it is, with some of my comments below... the original link is at:  http://smallbirdstudios.com/2012/02/05/when-you-lose-a-baby/

When You Lose a Baby
february 5, 2012 by franchesca

You don’t know what to expect.People surround you. For a couple of weeks. Making sure you are not going to kill yourself, refuse to get out of bed, or start rocking a baby doll like the crazy lady they heard about from a friend.
Candice:  Yes... and to be honest, I thought of all except killing myself.  Although I still wonder what the point of me being here is for.  I lost the value for my life, but wouldn't kill myself.  But I still wake up rocking my arms, trying to recreate that moment that I held Cameron in my arms.  Trying to remember his weight and how it felt.  It doesn't work.

You get lots of sympathy cards, clearly written and designed to be sent to console a daughter losing her father. Not the other way around.
Candice:  I got a few sympathy cards.  Many from friends that were too afraid to come forward right away, but felt bad afterwards.  I was still thankful for them.  I'm talking to you Apollo and Bobby.  But the few that we received... there are no cards to sympathize the loss of a child.  They are for adults.... the death of a baby just isn't meant to happen.

You get free baby formula in the mail. For months and months and months.
Candice:  I still am getting free baby items and coupons and advertisements.  STOP!  I have everything sent to my parents house, and trust that they hopefully see the stuff and just throw it.  But I still see some things they tend to miss and it breaks my heart every time knowing I have no use for those items....

And free baby magazines. And free baby coupons.
Candice:  I mentioned the coupons, tons of coupons.  Baby magazines... ugh.  I remember I saw a charge in my checking account for a baby magazine while I was in the hospital waiting to deliver my Cameron... knowing he'd be born still.  I called them... I don't know how I got the courage to right then, because right now I don't think I could.  But I called and told them and they felt so sorry for me.  And told me they'd credit it right away.  I wonder how many times they had gotten a call like that.... and I actually wondered at the time if they'd believe me or ask for proof.  I had hoped they didn't and they didn't.  I remember worrying that I didn't want to submit proof, but then again, I didn't want to keep receiving those magazines in the mail... how would I resolve this?  I'm so glad they canceled without question.

You secretly envy every pregnant woman. But not without a tinge of guilt, because you know all too well that she might be one in four- expecting her rainbow child.
Candice:  Guilt... all the time.  I notice all pregnant women and can't help staring... and wondering if they know what CAN happen.  Wondering if they feel safe, because they shouldn't.  Wonder if they'll be one of the four women that will have to deal with this neverending tragedy... and hoping they won't, but wondering why they are lucky and I wasn't....

It seems like the whole world is expecting a baby.
Candice:  Everyone...

You have baby stuff around your home. Because you never imagined you wouldn’t need it.
Candice:  I never would have thought I WOULD NOT have needed all the baby clothes I bought.... the bibs.... never thought I would have never put use to my plans for him.  The day I found out Cameron was not going to live, I came home and put everything in a bag and took it to my parents and left it there.  I told them I didn't want to throw it away, but I couldn't keep it in my home.  I couldn't stand the reminder of things I bought for him not being put to use.  I still think of the items at my parents home... and hope to pass them down to his brothers or sisters and make sure they know that it was their brothers shirt or hat or pants, etc....

You feel jarred. In the grocery store. At a birthday party. At the dinner table. At Christmas. Driving.
Candice:  And it come unexpectedly.... just like I wrote about in my last post.  I'm getting anxiety attacks.  Never used to. I stare at kids wondering if that's how Cameron would have acted or looked like... nothing is normal anymore.


The baby you never knew, but lost changes every part of your life. Every. single. part.
Candice:  EVERY. SINGLE. PART.  EVERY. SINGLE. PART.  Friends.  Family.  Love.  Cooking.  Exercising.  TV.  Music.  Cleaning.  Work.  School.  Career.  God.  Clothes.  EVERYTHING.  What I thought was important wasn't and what I didn't is.

Forever.
Candice:  Neverending.

You see baby clothes and it brings tears to your eyes.
Candice:  I'm sure Eric has been embarrassed more than once by me being in a store touching baby clothes... staring... seeing tears come to my eyes.  Thinking how that would have looked so cute on Cameron.  Thinking how I should be shopping in that department, but instead I'm trying to pull myself away from it.

You get sick and tired of crying. You never knew it was possible to cry this much.
Candice:  I was always a crier... but a crier out of anger and frustration.  My crying is now out of helplessness... out of longing... out of anguish.  Out of missing my baby.  Out of confusion... out of aching for my child.  Will it ever stop?  I can't imagine it stopping...


You find yourself angry at God. Angry at yourself. Just angry.
Candice:  Asking why?  What kind of God would do this?  What kind of God would make a mom live her life longing for her child?  Expect a mom to live aching for her baby?  And let other children suffer and get hurt by undeserving parents?  I question God.  I'm believing more than I ever have now, but I'm also questioning a lot too.  How could you take my Cameron away and hurt him so?


You sware you can feel them kick but they’re gone. They call them phantom kicks. I call them painful, all kinds of painful. But sweet too.
Candice:  I think I felt Cameron kick once... I'll never forget it.  But I felt the hard bulge in my tummy.  I saw him smiling in my tummy.  I thought of him all the time.  I loved him before I knew him... The breast milk came... that wasn't phantom.  My body was telling me this wasn't right and I was having to surpress it.  It was against nature.

You know, or you have a strong feeling of knowing what your child would have looked like, and been like. You see a child in the store, or on the street. Their hair color, dimples, smile, their personality and suddenly you are reminded of your child. You miss your child even more, if that’s even possible.
Candice:  I don't have this feeling yet, but I think Eric does.  Eric always pictures him with very dark black curly hair.  Lots of hair.  I think my aunt Elva pictures him like this too.  I do picture him with dimples and Eric's smile.  I know he'd be laughing all the time and he'd be the happiest baby ever.  I'd guarantee that.  Oh, Cameron... I wish I could prove this to you.

Your Babies R’ Us Registry is still active. There is no delete button on their site. The babies r’ us people don’t make a dime on people like us. Why bother right? You have to call them, plead with them to remove your freaking’ registry, because there will be no baby shower. There is an awkward silence. There is sadness. There will be no baby.
Candice:  I never got this far... thank God.  Thank God.  I was contemplating registering at Burlington and Target and Eric and I had looked at cribs and such there... I'm so glad I didn't because I'm sure it'd be just like the magazines.

You get hospital bills about 3-4 months after you buried your child. You have to pay for the baby you delivered but didn’t bring home.
Candice:  It's almost eight months and I still get things from my insurance for the "new baby."  They know I had a delivery, yet don't know I didn't bring home a baby.  Things addressed to the person taking care of a new baby from Aetna.  From Medicaid.  I can't bring myself to call them to correct them... I just toss it out hoping they'll stop.


You find that moment of happiness in life for the first time, but the guilt swallows it up almost immediately.
Candice:  Why should I be happy?  How can I ever truly be happy?  Yes, I know Cameron wouldn't want me to be sad, but even though I know that,  I can't help how feel.  I can't help missing him and feeling something missing from my life.


You remember the size of the casket. The size of the plot. The face of the funeral director. The expression of those that attended the funeral. The feeling of raw pain, like your chest has literally been ripped open.
Candice:  I did not have a funeral.  I couldn't imagine doing that.  I was set on having a cremation.  I was set on bringing my baby home in anyway possible.  And the only way I could was having him cremating.  I knew I needed to see him everyday.  I couldn't trust myself to make time to go to a cemetary everyday... and what if I moved?  I need to have Cameron with me all the time... I needed to bring him home like I was supposed to.  And I did... and have him here near me at all times.  But seeing my son in the form of an urn is beyond any words I can express...

Somehow you convince yourself that you deserve happiness. Because you really do. But in the happiest, purest moment, there is still that hole that only they were meant to fill.
Candice:  I haven't gotten to this point yet.  I haven't convinced myself that I deserve happiness at all.  In fact, I convince myself that I don't... that I don't ever deserve to be happy without my baby.  That I cannot let myself be happy without him.  I'm sure this is part of the grieving process... but right now, that is how I feel.

People compare your pain to their own pain. The loss of their grandmother, husband, their failed marriage, rebellious teenagers. Somehow this comparing leaves you stranded. If they can compare their pain of a situation to the loss of your BABY, they will likely never get it. Babies are not supposed to die. End of story.
Candice:  END OF STORY.  By baby... YOUR baby.... your child... your teenager... you can't compare that to anything else.

You lost a dream. And it almost feels like you imagined their entire existence up. Their name becomes a distant memory on the lips of others.
Candice:  I want my family to remember Cameron.  I want my friends to remember him.  Even when I have another child, I want them to always bring him up.  I am starting to feel the imagined existence now... I feel like people are tired of bringing him up, but I'm not.  I'll never be.  Just like they don't get tired of talking about their children, I won't of mine.  I was already planning for his first birthday... planning for his first schools... making so many plans.... but I lost all those dreams for him.  They will only stay dreams.


There is awkwardness when you talk about your child in a crowd. No one knows whether to cry, walk away or pretend you never brought him or her up.
Candice:  I don't feel awkward bringing him up.  So please don't.  I want a smile from you.  A smile showing you remember him and you recognize how much I love him.  Don't ignore my shoutout about him... I bought him up because I want to talk about him.

You lose friends. You find new ones.
Cnadice.  Yes, Yes, Yes.  I've made many great friends that know they cannot understand, but try their best to... yet they don't pretend.  And I lost many that did not understand my hurt and thought many harsh things.  I found out who should be important to me and who shouldn't.  I feel no sadness over this, only thankfulness.

You can’t believe that women have actually survived this and you never knew about it. Not really, anyway.
Candice:  I never knew this happened.  Never thought it was possible.  Even if I did, I would have never thought it'd happen to me.  And yeah, I see blogs from women that this happened to many years ago and they seem happy and put together.... how so?  How long did it take them to get to that place?  Am I unsalvagable?  I feel like it...

You would do anything for another minute with your child.
Candice:  Anything, anything, anything!  I say it everyday to myself, to Cameron... to God.  I'll do anything to have him with me again.  ANYTHING!  I'd give my life for him to have a chance at life.  I'd give my life right now to be in heaven with him.  I would do anything for him.  When I feel pain now, I always think that it's nothing compared to what he felt in me.  Or what he never got to feel.  My baby.

You cry when others bring up your child, not so much because it hurts but more so because it such a precious and rare gift.
Candice:  Yes... because you are remembering him and I am thankful for that.  Thank you for talking about Cameron... and recognizing how much he will always mean to me.  For recognizing him as my child.


You long for the rewind button, even after many many instances of acceptance.
Candice:  I always want to go back, although I know nothing will ever change.  What  could I do if I ever went back in time?  Nothing, but I want to experience him again.  Anything for him.


You want to know what went wrong, and why…
Candice:  So much.  But it can't change anything.  Most of all, I want to know WHY.  WHY.  WHY?!  Unless there's a God and I meet him when I die, I don't think I'll ever figure that out.  I'll try to justify it to think that it's for me to help other moms deal with this, but then again, that makes no sense... why should this happen to anyone?  I know Cameron had down syndrome... which caused fetal hydrops and a heart defect.  Yet, I have normal chromosomes... the doc calls it a spontaneous mutation.  Very odd wording.


You find a new appreciation for moments in life that make you laugh… you laugh harder and love stronger.
Candice:  I find a new appreciation for everything.  For family.  For good friends.  For pictures.  For pets.  For my future children.

You know that you can die bitter, or die thankful. There is no in between.
Candice:  And right now I'm bitter.  I don't see that changing anytime soon either.

You never ever, EVER get over your child. The one you hoped for, prayed for, carried and loved for the weeks and months they were with you.
Candice:  EVER, EVER, EVER.  So don't tell me to heal or to feel better or anything.  I'm feeling terrible, I'm never okay, and never fine.  I accept this and oddly, want this.

You learn to live with the pain.
Candice:  I'm still working on this and not doing very well.  How do I live with losing my baby?

You are better for having known them at all.
Candice:  Cameron has made me a better person.  He's made me appreciate people more.  He's made me see who's good and bad in my life.  He's made me not judge.  He's made me a better person.  He's made me more loving.  Cameron is my angel.

Thank you, Franchesca Cox for posting this.  So heartbreakingly perfect.

Mondays

Other grieving moms out there... do Mondays seem to be worse on you than other days?  I don't know if it's because of the weekend... I don't know if the weekend just gives me too much times to think about things so waking up Monday for work is like a hangover for grief.

I've had a difficult couple of weeks... more so at work though.  I have FMLA now for when I just can't seem to pull myself out of bed... today is one of those days.  It seems one particular person at work is giving me backlash because of this.  Being rude and ignoring and not talking to me.  It's just making it miserable to be there now.  I think she's mad because I take time off sometimes and I started to feel guilty about it.  But then I realized I shouldn't.  She's the lucky one.  She's the one that still has her kids with her in this lifetime.  She has no idea what I'm going through, nor do I wish her to!  I would never wish this on anyone.  So, if she's mad that I just can't make it into work sometimes, that's her issue, not mine.  I need to take care of myself.  I need to have time to grieve for my baby.


I went to HEB this weekend, a local grocery store.  As I was walking down an aisle, I heard a baby screaming at the top of their lungs.  They sounded so precious.  But just screaming and screaming.  I think I have progressed... I think I am able to be around babies a little more.  But then again,  I don't know.  It comes and goes... like when I heard that baby crying, I felt terrible.  I wanted to run and find the baby and hold it and comfort it.  I could feel myself having another panic attack... I had to cover my ears in the middle of the aisle and just stand there breathing in and out, trying to calm myself down.  Luckily I was the only one in the aisle, because I know I'd look crazy to other shoppers!  But I felt like crying and felt so terrible for the baby... I wanted to hold it so much.

When I came back from the hospital, September 2nd, my mom and brother came and cleaned the apartment.  She bought one of those air freshener things that is battery operating and spurts out a scent every now and then.  I hadn't bought a refill until this weekend.  I came home and put it in and coincidentally, it was the same scent my mom had bought.  Wow... that one scent bought back so many memories.  I felt as if I was back in those first few raw weeks after delivering Cameron.  I remembered how my apartment smelled then... how in shock I was.... how I was being binded to stop the breast milk... how I just sat on the couch not wanting to do anything.  How I hurt so much.... physically and mentally.  That smell... they say smell is the greatest memory trigger and now I understand why.  I remember the visitors then... how it seemed like everything was going on around me so fast, and I was just there in a daze.

I'm trying to make sense of all this, but I think it's impossible.  I want to go to work to get my mind off of things, but then I just can't seem to function sometimes.  It's only been a little more than seven months... not even a year yet.  I know I'm still in the process of dealing with things, and in someways, it seems like it's more difficult now sometimes.  I guess that's grief for you... it comes and goes.  And I don't think anyone truly understands the ups and downs of this grief unless you've lost a child too... I don't think it's something that anyone is meant to understand.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grieving Through Mosaics

Two weeks ago, Eric and I attended a program at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center called Grieving Through Mosaics.  My counselor had given me the brochure the week prior to the event and recommended me to go.  She has recommended me to go to a lot of things that I never have... many support groups that I do want to go to, but at last minute feel uneasy about it.  I feel like it'll just get me even more sad.  I love connecting to other people online that have gone through something like this, but in person?  I don't know if I'm ready for it.

This one I was looking forward to because it seemed more of an activity than a group sitting a circle crying.  The closer the date came, I realized why they chose to make mosaics.  Mosaics is the art of putting pieces together, like a puzzle.  I could see the symbolism of what they were going to try to accomplish.

Eric and I got to the center early that Saturday morning... we sat at a table by ourselves.  As I looked around the room, I saw two tables in the front with glass plates and bowls arranged on them.  The tables we were sitting at were covered with black track bags. There was about 15 people there and it seems like most of them knew each other and Eric and I were the newbies.  The person leading it was really great though.  She was welcoming.  I have to admit, I did feel out of place for a while.  I felt that Eric and I were the youngest couple in there and I thought about how sad that was... The first group of women that introduced themselves stated they were there to grieve for the husbands... many were there for their husbands, their parents, their grandparents... but there were two couples there grieving for their sons.  Grieving for their sons, just like we were grieving for ours.

I felt okay going in there... and proud hoping that Cameron was watching us.  When she came around to our table to introduce ourselves, I told them I was there to grieve my baby boy Cameron.  She went on to the next person... and then that's when the tears came.  Quietly, but they came.  Eric held my hand.  She explained how we were to pick out some dishes from the tables and we were going to double bag them in black trash bags and go outside to the parking lot and break them.  I had my eye on a baby blue plate already and was hoping I'd get my hands on that one.


When I went to the table, I got the blue plate I wanted, but then saw another plate with a duck in the middle of it and blue around it.  Meant for a baby boy.  I took it also along with one or two other objects.  We placed the objects in the trash bags and followed everyone outside to a parking lot.  And we swung them up and down, hitting the cement, hearing the glass shatter.  Thinking of all our anger... of everything pent up.


Why is my baby gone?

Why did this have to happen to me?

Why do I have to live?

Why  Why Why???!

 I MISS HIM.  I feel that's it's cruel of God to leave me on this earth aching for my baby.  Knowing that there is no way I can get over this... that the pain is never-ending.

We went back in and emptied our bags on the table... the duck was still in tact.  That was going in the middle of my mosaic.  I spent a lot of time trying to get it perfect... it's for my Cameron.  I hate that I have to make stuff like this for him.... when I should be buying him more clothes and toys.  But instead, I'm memorializing him.