Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crossing the lines

There are so many lines drawn in baby loss. I'm not even sure who draws them, society, I suppose. I guess that's another reason I write, maybe I'm trying desperately to cross the lines or even do my part in making them disappear.

You lost the baby? Lost it? where did it go? These words always feel strange coming out of my mouth. There is a line that is drawn here based on how far along the mother was. Miscarriage is defined as the natural end of pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. To me, the natural end of pregnancy would having a baby, you know, the kind that cries, coos, and is alive.

I always find it necessary to correct someone who tells me I've had a miscarriage. It's not because I don't think a miscarriage is painful or tragic but it's because I want others to be educated on the difference. Stillbirth, is what happens when the baby dies after 20 weeks. Here is where things get fuzzy to me. Why is there a line drawn here? I know the medical reason is because if the baby were born at 20 weeks, alive, their chance of survival is, well, not good at all but ask the mother who is holding her 20 week baby for the first and last time where she thinks the line should be drawn. And others find it very necessary to point out that the person they know who has lost a baby was....FULL TERM. My goodness, well, that makes it soooo much harder than a 30 week loss. Right?. Each loss is very painful, no matter the gestational age. Each loss is different and the same in many ways too. We are all still mothers with empty arms when it comes down to it.

Here is another line that confuses me. Why is it okay to talk about your baby's future when they are still in the womb and not okay to acknowledge he would of had a future when he dies. You know what I mean, Everyone wants to play matchmaker. Marry him off to their sister's husband's cousin's little girl. Awe, they could get married. What are you naming him/her?, they will ask you before you have even found out the sex(most of the time before 20 weeks gestation, mind you).

Lets face it, everyone has an opinion when your pregnant. You look small, you look huge, He is going to be such a big boy! They want to know details. Are you sick? Are you wearing maternity clothes? Will you breastfeed?... But sadly, when he is born still, everyone wants to forget he existed. His future is gone so now what? Bury his memory along with him and act like he never happened? No, that's a line I dare to cross and will continue to as long as I live.

The birth story. I was reminded by another baby loss mom how difficult it was to get people to realize that Brody was birthed. Yep, that's right folks, I gave birth. I was in labor, I pushed, I had a baby. I heard everything from "I don't know how you did that" to "How could they make you do that?".

I was so fearful of those moments. At eight weeks, I cried, I was so scared to deliver him. Lets be honest, I'm not great with pain. I just kept reminding myself that millions of other moms did it before me, without medication even...and they survived, so I could too. I had even had day dreams of doing it all naturally. I wish I could be that strong, I thought to myself.

Anyway, back to the line. I stood once, in a circle of women, talking about their birth stories of their children and grandchildren. Stories of pain, stories of complete and utter joy, stories of how their little angels came into this world. No one asked about my story and when I would mention a small detail, no one looked my way. I guess in their eyes, my story put their "horror story" to shame. Maybe to them, birthing MY angel seemed like, not a birth? Maybe their stitches and screaming were somehow overshadowed by the fact that my son never cried or by the fact that when the nurse came in to take him away, she never brought him back. It's not like that for me though. Even though my story is very different, it is still my birth story. My son had a birthday: August 21st 2011

So what makes it acceptable to be able to talk about all your relatives that have passed but unacceptable to talk about your baby that has passed? I have my own opinions on the reason, which I will keep to myself.

I got an email from a woman the other day, requesting that I put her baby's name on shell for the release. Hers and a friend of hers. They were both miscarriages. She then began to tell me how they both had to grieve in silence. I felt sad for her. Why has society made it so that we can announce we are pregnant, throw baby showers, name our babies, talk about their future, but when the baby dies, we have to be very hush hush about it?

I had a family member tell me after Brody died that he was explaining to a coworker what happened to us. He told him there was a death in his family. Whenever he asked further questions, the man responded by saying, Oh, well, it wasn't really a baby yet. Yes, I was tempted to take Brody's picture to him and ask him "If he wasn't a baby, then what exactly, was he?" I didn't, but I wish I had. But, would that be crossing a whole different kind of line?

Oh, on another note, I'm trying very hard to get the spoken word video posted before I leave for Florida. I've only recorded myself half a dozen times so hopefully soon. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The frog blog...just what I needed

When I've been in a funk and I just can't put my finger on it, I check out the blog and realize it's been entirely too long since I have written and then I'm reminded...I need this blog! I cannot even begin to fathom where I would be without it.

My Gosh, I remember the early days of my head hung low, staring at the computer screen with puffy eyes, frantically searching for someone like me, listening to every baby loss song that ever existed and strangely picking out my "favorite". These nights may or may not have involved wine from Foxburg, cigarettes, and pools of tears. My trips to the bathroom were often taken over by the "stop and stare" at the closed door which would have been Brody's room. Once, I found myself leaning my forehead against the door with my hand beside. I was so afraid to look inside but wanted desperately to go in, sit on the floor and cry all over it. I wanted to look around and re-imagine where everything was gonna go and picture us sitting in the nursing chair. It took months for me to go in the room and now it's where I am the majority of and my crochet hook. Those days look so scary now. My grief was so fresh and I was almost numb...almost!

Now, that the numbness has subsided and I literally feel EVERYTHING, this place...the blog, comforts me in so many ways. It almost pulls me in and embraces me. I swear, it does everything but wipe the tears from my face.

I can honestly say, there has not been one moment of regret about the Frog Blog. It has not let me down at all. It has helped me do exactly what I set out to do...which is help other angel mommies feel like they are not alone on their journey. Even in my early grief, I knew the part that bothered me the most, besides the fact that Brody was gone, was that I was not the first or the last person this had happened to. It hurt my heart. I've said it numerous times, I would have given my life if I knew I could have been the last to feel that pain. This pain.

I got a message the other day from another BLM(baby loss mommy) who said this to me...
 " I remember what you said about no one can tell me how to grieve and that there isn't a right or wrong way. That has given me the ability to not question myself. I do what feels right and for the first time I don't really worry about what others think of it. I know there is no manual for this. But, I do feel like you prepared me for things that I would have struggled with. For this I'm saying Thank you, yet again!"

You have NO idea what that meant to me. I swear I could feel my heart growing back together. And guess what? I actually get to meet her tomorrow! My first actual meeting with another woman who has suffered the same loss. Believe it or not, I don't actually have any words to explain it. It's more than excitement, Its less than anxious, its more than just the first time we meet each other...I. Just. Have. No. Words. But, with her blessing, I will talk all about it when I can.

I'm also considering doing something pretty cool but I need advice from the Frog Blog readers.
Here is the link. It is a spoken word blog round up, which means I would pick one post to read in a video and you guys could watch it. I'm just undecided about which one I want to read so, just feel free to email me, msg me, call me....whatever you have to do.

And....Don't forget to watch the other videos because I'm pretty sure if it weren't for those wouldn't be reading this. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grief never surprises me

I don't mean to get all sappy on everyone but hey, this blog started as an outlet for my feelings right? Here it goes:

I have sorta been lying about something this whole time. Lying to all of you, lying to my husband and to my friends, and most of all...lying to myself.

I guess lying sounds so harsh, I guess its more like suppressing my feelings...on purpose.

I remember one of the first times someone asked me if we were going to try again, without any hesitation, I answered "yes". It seems like then, all of my fears were pushed aside by the fact that Brody was gone. Now, that the fog has cleared and I can see more clearly, getting pregnant again...scares the living crap out of me.

Simply put, I just don't know if I can do it again.

When someone announces their pregnancy like this "We are having a baby", the first thought in my head is "you don't know that for sure". That sounds horrible doesn't it? I never say it out loud or anything, but the assumption that pregnancy always leads to a baby...a baby that is alive and well never gets past my mind untouched.

I have researched "rainbow babies". Rainbow babies in the baby loss community means a baby after the loss of another baby. The rainbow after the storm so to speak. It happens, I mean, I'm very aware that I'm not the only person to ever have to bury their baby.

I talked to a mother a few months back who was expecting her rainbow baby and she said "If you wait till you aren't scared anymore, you will be waiting forever". I grasp that concept, I fully and completely understand that way of thinking and embrace it....but....I physically cannot put one foot in front of the other in this situation. I'm literally stumbling over the "what ifs" here. In some ways, I feel as if I have forgotten how to walk all together.

 On the other hand, I cant imagine living the rest of my life with the only memory of pregnancy being that it ended "the wrong way". Just today, I realized something. I have to "try again"...(I hate those words). I have to make Brody a little brother or sister (there,that's better). If I didn't, I would be letting the fear win, I would be letting the devil win and I'm not about to do that.

We visited Brody's grave this weekend. I was looking around and noticed a pin wheel off of a close by grave had flew off. I knew where it went so I went over to stick it back into the ground. Adam came over to help and I stopped in my tracks. There it was...ONE DATE. I knew what ONLY one date meant because Brody has one date. "It's a baby", I said to Adam. It was the first time that I really, really cried at the cemetery.

I cried a little the day we buried Brody but not very much since then. There I stood at another baby's grave and cried.  I cried for the baby, a poor innocent baby below my feet, and I cried for the family who had to suffer this know, the pain I live with everyday. My pain didn't occur to me while I stood there though, it was sympathy in its truest form. I then decided to walk around see how many other "one dates" there were. I came across two before my morning coffee started to "kick in"...and we left.

Grief never surprises me anymore. Grief made me cry today at the drop of a hat, without warning when discussing how much Brody looked like such mix of Adam and I. Grief kept me calm and relaxed this weekend while picking out the perfect headstone for my baby. Grief presents me with new fears of becoming a mother...again, and it also makes strive to fight those same very fears. Grief made me shed tears for a baby that I never knew or seen  and made me smile with pride at the grave of my own son. Grief never surprises me.