Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 2 without her, and a few things I am grateful for:

It's day two.  Day two of the rest of our lives without Lydie.   Mornings seem the hardest, when the sun comes up and we get out of bed and she's still not here and it's still not a bad dream.  The day seems endless.  My mind is all over the place.  But for now, a few things that are helping:
  • This week, Benji started saying "I love you" (only when prompted, of course.)  He couldn't have learned those words at a better time.  I am thankful for his innocence right now.  We're struggling with how we will talk to him about Lydie.  He is still pulling up my shirt and kissing my belly, and I keep telling him that his sister isn't there anymore.  I'm know he doesn't understand, but he knows something is wrong.
  • My Mom.  She came the second she heard.  She is crying with us and holding us while we cry, trying to feed us, helping us take care of Benji, taking him to and from daycare because I can't walk past the infant room or face other people right now, talking to the funeral home director for us, and generally supporting us in every way she can.  We don't know what we'd do without her.  I have to remember she's grieving too.  I am dreading her leaving. Today she is helping me pack away my maternity clothes because I can't stand the sight of them hanging in my closet.  
  • That I didn't have to have a c-section.  I can't imagine dealing with that physical pain and not being able to see my sweet baby.  But you know all those things that happen to a woman's body after birth?  They still happen, even when your baby died.
  • The photos we have of Lydie.  I keep staring at them and I can't wait to see more.  There's a nonprofit group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (the name itself made me cry) in which a professional photographer comes to the hospital to take photos of your baby.  The photographer was so patient and so kind.  What a special person to do that as volunteer work.  A complete stranger who was able to offer us some kind of solace.  
  • The nurses.  They were also so kind to me, and they made us a scrapbook with Lydia's name on it and filled it with pictures of our short time with Lydie.  They gave us her footprints.  "I left the hospital in a wheelchair that squeaked, my stomach flabby with the-baby-that-once-was, my face tear-streaked and pale.  But I didn't leave empty-handed, I didn't leave with nothing at all, I didn't leave all alone.   A box in my lap cradled what was left of you, a hospital bracelet, a lock of hair, a stained blanket, soft tiny little ink-made footprints, and a card signed by nurses who still said how pretty you were even though you are dead.  No I didn't leave empty-handed, just empty."
  • Ambien.  Don't judge me.  I'm still barely sleeping even with it.
  • Full strength coffee.  I hadn't had it in so long, since I've been either carrying or breastfeeding both my babies.  I have actually been complaining about that, how I haven't had my body to myself for so long.  For which now I feel incredibly guilty.  I planned to breastfeed Lydie and knew that it would be another year before I could have the coffee and the wine and take care of just myself for a change.  What I wouldn't give now to give my body over to my babies.  
  • Lydie's blanket.  We got it back from the funeral home yesterday, after leaving her in it.  I am carrying it everywhere with me, I slept with it last night and it feels like it is connecting us.  I curl up with it and I cry.
  • Justin.  I can't imagine not having him at my side to go through this together.  I feel guilty knowing he is in so much pain.
  • The funeral home.  We signed all the papers yesterday to cremate Lydie.  It's the only time we'll ever sign for her as her parents.  No permission slips, no signing up for soccer.  And they are waiving the charges - all $2147 of them.  I can't imagine handing over my credit card to cremate my baby and I'm extremely grateful to the funeral home.  We will be able to pick up her ashes in a few days and bring her home, where she belongs. And thinking about her memorial, which is scheduled for the date she was to be born, helps me focus on something, to look ahead a little bit, to celebrate my beautiful daughter. 
  • All your thoughts and words. I have heard from hundreds of you.  Friends I haven't heard from in years and years.  Many people I have never met.   We keep reading all your notes and messages and we cry and it helps.  We are grateful for the food and for the meals that you are bringing and sending.  We are thankful not to think about what to cook and feed our son at this time.  But know that I just can't comfort you right now.  I can't handle your grief on top of my own.  I am grateful for Facebook to share the news so I don't have to myself.  I dread having those conversations, when the neighbors and the coworkers and the students notice I'm not pregnant anymore and ask about my baby.  I dread having to leave my house.  I'm scared about the time when everyone else moves on with their lives and stops grieving with us.  I'm scared for the days to come.


  1. Oh Heather...I am wrapping you up in my heart, in my mind, and in my prayers. Your first post has been with me all day and for whatever it is worth has made me kinder, more patient and loving to those I care for most. You have stopped me in my tracks and made me realize how precious life is...and you so beautifully express how raw and empty it feels when that life is gone. Your Lydie is so lucky to have you as her mama and I know she is going to pull you out of this when you are ready. For whatever it is worth, I am here to read your story and learn from you and Justin and to know Lydie as you know her. Thank you for sharing her...praying that tomorrow and the next bring you one day closer to feeling a small piece of your heart come back megan (telfair) miller

  2. I'm so sorry Heather. No one should have to go through something like this. You have pain that very few of us can understand, because we have not been there. But we know you are in pain beyond what we can imagine, and we wish we could make it better. Keep writing, when you can. It helps the people in your life understand, so that when you are hurting long after the world has moved on, you will know they know, and you will feel less alone in your pain. A friend shared this with me during a wave of climbing accidents that shook our community, and I wanted to pass along: "Right now your grief is this giant gaping hole with sharp edges but as you move forward in life the edges soften and other beautiful things start to grow around it. Flowers and trees of experiences. The hole never goes away, but it becomes gentler and sort of a garden in your soul, a place you can visit when you want to be near your baby." Be gentle with yourself now, and slowly you will understand how to live fully, tending to this piece of you with care. You are in my thoughts, Heather. I'm so sorry.

  3. Dear mama. I am so sorry you have to navigate this life without your daughter. I wish you didn't know. The pain that I know so well. I came to you via my friend Brooke (from By the Brooke blog) my daughter Camille died when I was full term June 30, 2011. She was our second child and our first daughter. Just like you. It's very hard to grieve and parent simultaneously. Reading your words takes me back to the soul wrenching blackness of the beginning of my grief journey. You are not alone. that fact doesn't make it easier to live without Lydie. Please know you are in my heart and on my mind. I don't blog anymore but if you want to read my blog... Someone else whose experience was losing a daughter while having a living son.... Feel free.

    Sending a giant hug and love to you.


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