Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Peace and Acceptance

Over the last few weeks, I felt I was getting to a point of, dare I say, peace or acceptance?  I think I am getting to the point where I recognize that I don’t have to be an emotional mess to love Avery or that I don’t have to cry myself to sleep every night to know that I still miss her deeply.  I’ve been having more “good” days than bad recently and I’ll admit it, it feels nice.  And even during those days where I am doing well, I still think of her so much.  It’s always been my fear that in doing well I would do what I fear most; move on (even typing that phrase I cringe).  I think I am coming to grips with the fact that I’ll never move on but rather find a way to move forward each day with her in my heart.  It’s been a relief of sorts coming to this realization.

I was been doing quite well, until yesterday.  Yesterday was quite a day for us.  We met with a new OB/GYN office just as a consultation.  Not that we are ready to fully try again, but this time around, I wanted to talk to someone first.  I wanted someone to look me in the eyes and tell me they would do everything they could to bring us as much peace of mind as they could should we give pregnancy another shot (I love my former OB but I simply cannot deliver at the hospital in town, too many memories-good and bad).  The doctor we met was truly wonderful.  He didn’t make me feel uncomfortable or rushed even though the lobby was packed.  He listened and sympathized with us.  And while both he and I understand that he is not God and he cannot promise this won’t happen again, he made me feel more comfortable with the idea of another pregnancy. 
Towards the end of the appointment, we were discussing what we found out from Avery’s medical exam and he asked if we had genetic tests done.  I always assumed the Medical Examiner’s office would have conducted those test but I really didn’t know for sure.  So for peace of mind, he ordered a genetic panel to be run on me.  At first, I was happy to feel like we were taking the first steps towards that “peace of mind” I will so desperately long for should I get pregnant again (although, let’s be real, no amount of tests will ever calm my nerves, we all know way to much about what can and does go wrong during pregnancy) but now, I am a ball of nerves.  I am so afraid that my husband and I will strike the unlucky lottery again and both are carriers of some recessive chromosomal abnormality.  What then?!?

This got me to thinking about Avery’s medical exam again (honestly, I obsessed about it all night while I couldn’t sleep).  I have left several messages in the past with the medical investigator who handled her case to ask about the genetic test to no avail (surprise, surprise).  So, I decided to call again today.  Wouldn’t you know it, he didn’t answer.  So instead of leaving a message, I called the receptionist.  She was nice enough to pull Avery’s records and to let me know that genetic tests aren’t “standard procedure” and are not conducted unless the exam presents a sign that one would be needed.  So, the excuses I received week after week of not wanting to leave any stone unturned and wanting to feel confident they looked at everything they could while we waited 5 long months for them to tell us nothing was complete crap.  They didn’t turn over EVERY stone. 
I am no medical expert but really? How hard would it have been to send the lab work out for genetic tests?  I am so very disappointed in the system.  Now I feel like maybe there was something genetic and even if my tests come back normal, she still could have had something.  That peace and acceptance I thought I was coming close to, now feels even further away.  I am doing my best not to dwell on this as I wait for the next few weeks for my results but it is so difficult.

And while I just went on for much longer than I wanted about my worries, I am also heartbroken for another family.  A family I don’t even know.  A family in my community who went in yesterday at 37 weeks due to lack of movement to be told the baby’s heart had stopped.  Another family has joined this dreadful club.  They didn’t want to be members, but like me they are now members for life.  I don’t know this family but I haven’t stopped thinking about them since I heard their story last night.  That one in four statistic feels like it is getting smaller by the day.  My OB asked if she could share my contact information with them should they want to reach out and I of course said yes.  I hope that one day they will have the strength to reach out and talk about their precious baby.  The bond between those who have lost is so strong, the connection is so real and I am so thankful to have those to talk to who are part of this community.  Nobody else gets it like those in the babyloss community. 
Another family is in pain tonight, another future that was once full of dreams is forever changed.  And I cannot help but think “why?”  Please keep this family in your prayers as they face the weeks, months and years ahead of them without their baby. 

So yea, that peace and acceptance I was feeling closer to well, it’s not so close anymore.  How can it be when this continues to happen to other families?  How can it be close when I am once again questioning Avery’s health and the outcomes of future pregnancies?  There is just so much heartache in our community and it is all weighing heavily on me today.
How can one find peace when the storms seem to come continuously?  This journey feels like being stranded at sea.  Sometimes the waters are calm and you can make out land in the distance and others a storm comes and knocks you off course. I am still stuck in hurricane season where the storms come fierce and often but I have hope that one day, the seas will be calm more than they are rough.  I have hope that I will find peace and acceptance one day, but for now, peace and acceptance linger on the horizon as I navigate through these choppy waters of heartache and questions. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Keeping Quiet

Since losing Avery I've searched for support resources. The Internet has been invaluable in providing me with blogs, loss websites, social networking sites, etc. that have helped me through my journey thus far. These tools have been wonderful. I've connected with so many women online who, like me, are walking the grief road. I am so thankful that we live in a time where there are so many resources at our fingertips. I am however extremely disappointed in the resources available in my town.

I'll admit, I don't live in a buzzing metropolis like New York City but I also don't live in the middle of nowhere. The City I live in has a decent population but in the last 8 months, I have not been able to find a single pregnancy or infant loss support group within 45 minutes of my home. Yet, I hear more and more stories of people in my community who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy (in all stages) or the loss of their infant. Why did I not know these stories until now? Why does nobody talk about this? It is very frustrating to live in a society that still remains tight lipped about our losses.

I miss Avery so much and the thing I've found helps me the most is to talk about her. We should be allowed to openly talk about our losses without fear of judgment!  And talking to those who have suffered a similar loss is valuable.  Talking to those who have walked this road is so beneficial and helpful.  In talking to those who have lost a pregnancy or infant, the thoughts I have that I feel are crazy, or irrational, have been validated over and over again.  I am not crazy; I am grieving my daughter and talking to others has made me realize this so much more than simply reading a grief book.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Backsplash for Valentine's Day

I've never been a big Valentine's Day person. I honestly believe it is way to commercialized and we shouldn't need a holiday to tell our loved ones how much we care. But today I am missing spending time with my cutest, sweetest Valentine.

I imagined a night in, just the three of us. I pictured sweet baby cuddles and obnoxious gifts for my 8 month old on this day. I imagined steaks and wine with our little girl joining us in her highchair at the table. I saw cute pink outfits with outrageous flower headbands. I should be one of those moms on Facebook posting adorable pictures of my daughter all dressed up and making baby crafts for her daddy.

Tonight is nothing like I imagined. Tonight, instead of our sweet family if three spending a night celebrating our love, my husband and I are working on tile backsplash in our kitchen over pizza and beers. Backsplash that has been needing to be placed since Avery was born. A project we've put off for the last 8 months.

Why we chose tonight is beyond me. Not only am I down from this stupid holiday but I'm down because we are finishing a project we started the weekend before Avery was born. Another step forward in our life without her. And again, time keeps pushing me.

❤Happy Valentine's Day Sweet Girl! Mommy and Daddy miss you baby girl. 💐

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Comforted by Grief

It’s been 8 Months since we held her last.  It’s been 35 weeks since our lives felt whole and complete.  And we’ve spent the last 245 days being absolutely heartbroken.  I feel like in these last 8 months, time has stood still.  Yet it hasn’t.  Time is cruel and it continues to march us further and further away from the time we spent with Avery.    

In these last 8 months, I have found I focus on the time a lot.  In my head, I have a time clock running, counting how many weeks it’s been since I saw her sweet smile for the last time.  I am constantly thinking, “36 weeks ago today, we were being induced, tomorrow makes 36 weeks since she was born, Friday makes 36 weeks since we had our first night at home” and the clock continues as the days pass.
I replay the last night we had with her in my head, I know the times we woke up, the times we fed.  I know the last time I saw her breathing, peacefully asleep next to me.  I know the time I woke up, 30 minutes later to find her not OK.  I know the time they “called the code” in the hospital.  I know all the time that surrounded her life, yet since she left this world, the present time has stood still.

In the last 8 months, we’ve done a lot of things to try to run away from life.  We’ve traveled to the West Coast, Vegas, Chicago and Tennessee and yet, I only remember a few details from those trips.  I remember so many details of those 6 days we had with Avery yet I can barely remember what I did last week.  Time is passing me by and right now, I am content with that.  I am happy to be stuck in those 6 days.  They were the best days of my life. 
They say that time will help us to heal but in many ways, I am not sure I want to heal.  Being stuck where I am now, where my grief is raw and fresh helps me still feel close to Avery.  On days like today, where I can just lay in bed and cry all day, I feel an odd sense of calm.  I know this place well and I feel at home in it, it is familiar and I am comfortable here.  As much as it hurts, I know what to expect. 

Finding healing terrifies me.  While I know that no amount of time will ever heal us completely, I am still scared.  Logically, I know I will NEVER forget Avery and I will ALWAYS have her in my heart but leaving this place where the pain cuts deep is frightening.  This has been my life the past 8 months; this heartache is my new normal.  Anything outside of this is foreign to me and right now, I don’t want to leave my bubble. I am scared of losing her and losing our memories.  I know what to expect out of my current days, but what do days look like if I step out of this bubble.  More let downs? New heartache? Stepping outside of my grief bubble makes me vulnerable again and right now, I’m not sure I can expose myself life that again. 
I understand that one day I will need to leave this bubble.  I cannot hide from life in my grief forever.  However, today is not that day.  Today I hide and surround myself with my grief.  Today I find comfort in my overwhelming heartache because it helps me to feel close to her.  And today, I need to feel close to her. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gratitude to "Those" People in My Life

I had a few nice things happen the past few days to help me realize how many people I have in my life that support me. My mom remembered yesterday was a hard day and sent me flowers. I had a great lunch today with my OB doctor who I love and have a ton of respect for. And I was able to really think about something a very good friend sent to me the other day:

"Only trust someone who can see these three things in you: the sorrow behind your smile, the love behind your anger and the reason behind your silence."

After reflecting on this awhile today I am so grateful for those people in my life who can seem past the facade I have built these last 8 months.

Those who know that just because I am able to smile or laugh doesn't mean I'm "all better." Those who know that the things I say sometimes or the anger I show is simply because I hurt with a pain that cuts deeper than imaginable, a pain so fierce that unless you've lost a child you wouldn't understand it (and I wouldn't want you to). Those who know when I've been quiet too long that its not personal rather I'm just having a few bad days and those who go out of their way to check on me when it does happen.

Those who remember the 6th and the 12th are still hellish for me and go out of their way to let me know they remember Avery and me on those days. Those who let me talk about Avery at length even when they've heard it all before. Those who visit Avery at the cemetery so often that the grass is worn down. Those who write her name for me. Those who take me to lunch and let me talk about us and Avery the majority of the time. Those who think before they speak so not to hurt us with their words unintentionally. Those who read this mess of a blog quietly and don't take offense when I'm ranting and raving. Those who've told me they read this and they actually have found help or comfort in the words I wrote.

Those people I work with that understand when I take a "sad day." Those who still bring Avery up first. Those who tell me how often they think about her. Those whose children know who Avery is and remember her too. Those who let me be silent in a room full of people. Those who wear their pink Avery bracelets and those who put her "A" on their cars. Those who raised money for a playground in her name and have spent countless hours making it perfect.

To all of "those" people, you know who you are. Some of you we've know for years, others a short time. Some are family, others friends. But each of you mean more to us than you will ever know and I am beyond blessed to have you by my side through this journey. Thank you all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dates and Days of the Week

I've been dreading February and March for sometime now. They are the first months since June where the big dates also fall on the same days of the week they did back in June. These next two months from the 1st - 16th are going to be exceptionally painful.

Since Friday I have been reliving each day and thinking to myself. "8 months ago at this time I was..."

8 months ago today was our last day before we headed to the hospital to be induced.

8 months ago yesterday, Sunday, I went to the hospital for a NST and got to hear Avery's heart beating so beautiful.

8 months ago last Friday, the 1st, we had a little scare when I bled out of nowhere. We went to the hospital in a panic not knowing what was wrong. After a few hours of monitoring they chalked it up to Avery getting ready to make her appearance and my low lying placenta.

8 months ago tonight, I had a restless night of sleep. Excited to be meeting my daughter. I woke up around 3 and sat in the Livingston with a bowl of cereal soaking in the last few peaceful moments I would have with her on the inside.

8 months ago tomorrow we woke early to head to the hospital to be induced. We paced the halls trying to progress my labor while listening the the Black Keys.

8 months ago on Wednesday, our beautiful daughter finally entered the world all 7lbs 15.5 ounces of her with her chubby cheeks and beautiful head of hair. 8 months ago after I was taken from the post OP room, I held her for the first time in the wry early morning hours. I fell in love more deeply than I ever thought possible.

I could go on and on. I can remember so much from this time period 8 months ago. I am trying my best to hold it together but there is something about it being the date and day that is digging the knife in my heart deeper.

I just miss her so much. No matter how many months pass, that will be the one thing that stays the same; my love and longing for her.

I pray for God's continued comfort and strength over these next two weeks. I also pray for everyone who I've meet in the BL community that He would comfort and strengthen you too!

Isaiah 41:10

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.