Seasons

Seasons are not only particular to weather. They can describe different points in our life as well. Jessica Martin-Weber (@theleakyboob) did a talk at MommyCon two years ago relating seasons to our intimate relationships with partners. Yep. Absolutely. Talked about how it is difficult when you are in a Spring (for example) and your partner is having a long Winter.

Grief is a winter season. And Ivy died in the winter, calendar speaking. Now spring is here and things are growing. The world is beginning to bloom as buds bring promise to glorious green life. Oh, I remember the anticipation of this spring with a new baby in our family. We are usually gifted with a membership somewhere by my grandmother (awesome gift!) and rather than our usual zoo, I opted for the arboretum based on its close proximity to our house. Even then I wasnt sure I would be up for the task of bringing 3 children (one infant) on day trips all the time. The arboretum is literally 5 minutes. And beautiful. The kids and I should really enjoy that this year. I just need to move past the looming thought that we were going to be bringing Ivy there with us.

So in this instance, Spring is hard. The very thing that is bringing life to us and our children is also bearing the reminder of her absence. At least for me. Baby girl, we had such plans for you to just meld into our family. The beautiful weather doesnt quite match my emotional season. But I am trying.

And through even the colder days, sunshine has been trying to peek through

.  .  .

 

Drafty

I’ve got two or three drafts started. Words are jumbled these days, feelings raw. So I havent been successful at coherent entries.

Im still not.

One of the drafts is about Ceiling Cat (aka Shiloh, the grief kitty we bought).

 

My cousin miscarried at 10 weeks just a few days ago. I didnt know she was pregnant, but she reached out as she was losing her sweet dream. God is good…but he can really stop taking all these babies. Im supposed to come to terms with him taking mine. And Im trying.

We had playdates over spring break and I held a newborn and I even set up a playdate for Fiona next week with school friends. Im assimilating to this normal life thing that is supposed to happen after your baby dies.

Feelings are heavy. Maybe burnout from a busy week. A nod to the fact that I cant stay away from missing her for too long.

Integrating…sorta

I really want to take Fiona to see the new Beauty and the Beast. The disney original was always tied with Little Mermaid as a favorite of mine growing up. Im not sure Orion would sit through it, so I will have to find time for a MamaDate with her. Last night her cousin A (ten years old) slept over. They watched Sing and had a generally good time, I think. Matt went to visit a friend today, and I had social time last week visiting a friend and newborn BabyM while our bigger kids played. Snippets of our old life. Sort of. It feels a little bit like the movie Coraline, where there is this other world within a wall. And I am Other Mother…not in personality, but just in the fact that I am this altered version of my old self.

(as quite literally 4-5 other topics have sped through my brain while writing that first paragraph)

Social time has proven to be good. The thought of getting out for a playdate was way more suffocating than actually being out. Weeks ago I was afraid to leave my house, and chance an encounter with someone that did not know my baby died. In fact, attempting small talk sounded very punctuated and not quite coherent in my head.

Eight weeks tomorrow.

Conversations are still fuzzy, and I feel like I run out of things to talk about rather quickly. But each attempt to start becoming an active member of society is…..something. I think I still prefer to be around people who already know (versus strangers) and even have a mild preference toward those who have experienced similar. But only because my current abnormalcy seems less……abnormal to them.

The return for added activity seems to be contributing to some anxiety on my end. When we are finally home, or things are finally quiet, Ive lost my cool a couple times. I suppose its a work in progress between figuring out just how much I can balance and move forward in any moment or day.

But Im trying. And Im communicating. And apologizing for my falls. And just taking one day at a time.

 

Unknown

I dislike the unknown and don’t do especially well with change. But both of these things happen in life. Quite a bit.

I read an article today that I won’t link because I didnt particularly care for it. BUT, it made me think. Ivy was our surprise bonus baby. She became this juicy fruit that we began to anticipate so greatly in the days before her birth. We were pregnant with our last, and I was really trying to soak up the essence of pregnancy. The intoxicating rush that is labor and delivery. (Im not digressing into the emotional flood here). But I was so excited to enjoy the ‘lasts’ that come with the last baby.

Then time shifted, and what was becoming was not meant to be. The anticipated ‘lasts’ were gone in an instant. A split second. And in the wake of that mess, I realize that my toddler boy, my sweet Orion, has grown into a child before my eyes. He stopped nursing for a sister that isn’t here. I just bought potty rings so we can familiarize him with the concept of toilet learning. He’s a REAL boy. I missed a few of his lasts while mourning my Ivy. Time goes on and these precious minutes I should be focused on them rather than marred by tragedy.

It is what it is.

I am where I am.

Tonight is another support group, where I will give a check for a cuddle cot. Tomorrow is my post partum visit. I know my emotions are currently heightened anticipating these things. The latter part of my week should be better. Wednesday I get to meet a sweet brand new little girl. Her mama will understand if I cry giant crocodile tears while snuggling her. The thought is simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

I start to wonder what an alternate universe might look like. One in which a seven week old baby is nuzzled in my neck. If I close my eyes I can almost smell the baby smell. Would she be snuggly like her brother or fiercely independent like her sister? Sometime a day will come where she will be a memory for longer than a presence. And Im not sure how I feel about that.

 

But for now I can do laundry and be silly with the kids. I’ll ignore the uncertainty of the future. Im really trying to stay present.

This song was shared with me last night when I was in a moment of despair. I listened, went for a drive, and cried. Oh my Lord, I cried. And I spoke aloud to God. And to Ivy. And I cried some more. I dont understand. And in most days I still have anger with God for him allowing my baby to go home to him. I dont understand his bigger plan.

But I know that this morning I woke up without anxiety, and I’ll call that a positive.

 

 

I come, God, I come
Return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still all that I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

Fasting for Lent

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“Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”” -Peter 1:3

 

Old Me would have loved this list for Lent. What good suggestions to live with kindness. Terrific practices for daily use. Im a bit conflicted as we enter the Lenten season. How am I supposed to give something up when I have just given up one of the biggest parts of me? How do I sing the praises of my God when Im mourning my child?

 

These are the things I know nothing about.

 

Because of Ivy

So this is my life now.

And sometimes (like my current mood), its just a matter of fact like that.

Im moving onward. Forward. Not moving on as in getting over. That minute will never come, even in my last breath.

But Im moving.

Tonight’s SHARE support group turned into a two-on-two meet and greet. Myself, Matt (husband), and two nurses. Im not sure if the anxious anticipation of “meeting days” will ever go away, but so far I have been to two meetings. And I feel like its still too early to decide how I feel about them. The atmosphere of the two meetings (different hospitals) was so contrasted…Im not sure its even comparable.

But tonight was…..nice. As nice as I guess it can be when you are talking about such a tragedy. To hear someone tell me that I dont sound “stuck”. Maybe Im not failing at navigating this new life. Im not sure why, but it meant a lot to hear those words from a stranger. A nurse that was there when we were there postpartum with Ivy, but hung in the background. Hearing her tell me how honored she felt to be able to hold her when she was taking her footprints. This was what I so desperately needed to her tonight. In that moment. Actually it didnt quite resonate with me until just now. As Im in tears typing. Just to know the tender care they took with my girl and how much of an impact she really is having on other people.

Because of Ivy, Bella Baby is now doing the baby loss newborn photos at the hospital I was at postpartum. This is the company already contracted through the hospital, so they no longer need to wait for a NILMDTS photographer to come.

Because of Ivy.

 

And Im going to stop the entry here…because this leaves me feeling happy (is that allowed?!). I cant have her physically here and that really really sucks. But she can make a difference. She is making differences already.

When Im struggling I need to come back to this moment.

Surprises of Grief

Grief has made it difficult to look at tiny baby photos of my living children. I love reminiscing, but find myself avoiding the photos of the first few months. Fiona(6) was born end of December, so her and Ivy would have had very similar ages month-by-month. (does that make sense?)

 

My mom (bless her heart) asked if we wanted the baby gear taken down before we got home from the hospital. Lets pause for a moment here and stress how important it was that she ASKED rather than just doing. Some mothers may want to do this themselves. I was thankful to not have this task. However, I find myself clinging to the inconsequential things left behind….twelve soothie pacifiers in pink and purple (because Orion was still sometimes using a green one during the beginning of my pregnancy), a package of baby socks. Things I have no real reason to keep, but cant seem to give away. The medics inadvertently left behind an ambu mask. It may not have even been the one they used on Ivy (it was very clean), but I couldnt get rid of it for the first few weeks. Every time I found it somewhere in the house, I hid it somewhere else. I *think* I finally threw it away, but I cant be sure thanks to the memory I no longer trust.

 

Grief is odd. Sometimes the extremes between emotions vary so largely that I find myself questioning my sanity. I frequently check in with my husband and mother to ask their perception. “Do I sound crazy?” “Am I crazy?” Grief has interrupted my capability of linear thought. I forget both what Im doing and why Im doing it. Sometimes I even start sentences only to ramble into nonsense points. Sometimes function is hard. And simple tasks take a lot out of me. A productive morning can almost always guarantee that I’ll need a sedentary afternoon.

 

But hey…yesterday I wore jeans.

Everything Happened

Orion sees photos of little babies on Facebook and says in his little two year old voice “Thats Baby Ah-bee!”. Oh my sweet boy. Dont I wish.

I’ve opened this silly browser many times to write. I have ten thousand things to say on ten thousand different topics, but cant seem to find a good coherent groove. For writing or for life. So I end up not writing…as evidenced by my few days absence or even this “draft” that Ive been pecking at all day. We wont mention the few drafts that I trashed entirely. 😉

I was moderately productive today. Put on jeans and a bra. Mascara. Hired a handyman to fix the clothes dryer. Napped. Scheduled an appointment with a therapist. Doesnt look like much on paper, but its easily ten times more productivity/effort than I have been able to muster in the past weeks.

Thirty four days, tomorrow. Theres the dull ache from the flu that has not yet receded. I assume its safe to assume it could be from anxiety or heartburn, as well. Funny story…Blaring heartburn was the very thing that pushed me to take a pregnancy test last year. I’ve never really had digestive issues, but this was so bad. Bad enough to make me question going to the emergency room. I so vividly recall the panic as I told my husband something was wrong with me!

The pain subsided, and a pregnancy test the next day was positive.

The pregnancy was riddled with nausea and heartburn that just would not stop. I took diclegis through week 37 or so, and still was occasionally vomiting up til maybe 30 weeks. Being a passenger in a car wasnt my strong suit…and I even puked on myself/the car just as we were pulling into the hospital for my 21 week anatomy scan. Classy, huh?

I was even nauseous during labor, and was alternating between drinking and puking….but eerily, I wasnt disturbed by my stomach distress. The entire labor was peaceful, even in the puking. Even in the final minutes.

Im glad I wrote my labor story right away, as even now the details are fuzzy. There was this cataclysmic shift when everything happened. My beautiful, tranquil (dare I say ‘easy’) labor ceased to exist in the chaos of trauma. Im never going to forget that window of time. The time where I held my lifeless girl in my arms, begging her to breathe…knowing she was gone. Praying for anything different. I was totally in shock (not medically!), and seemingly void of emotion. She needed to be okay, and Im not sure my mind was even prepared for the alternative.

But the veil of shock begins to fray and at 5 weeks out, I can tell you that I feel it a lot these days. Even on a “good, productive” day like today was, it still hits me like a ton of bricks as soon as I begin to slow down. Even when I was in bed all day with the stomach flu, the grief was there as soon as I was upright. And now the knot in my chest, be it grief or heartburn….

Not a day goes by, that I dont think of you…..