Monday, March 14, 2016

Missing her still (and earning my crazy)

I find it harder to write in this space these days.  In the early days after Lydie's death and birth - in that order -  I blogged everyday, sometimes multiple times a day.  Writing helped me process, helped me grieve.

These days, the words aren't as easy to find.  I could write "I miss her" over and over again.

I miss her.

I miss her.

I miss her.

For me, her absence is so present.  I see the space she should be.

I am always painfully aware of her empty space.

My sister and I are sixteen months apart, and growing up, I always wished my parents had waited longer to have me.  Gave us some distance.  It took until I was nineteen to realize that had they done that, I wouldn't be me.  That you can't just have the same child a year later.

So when I see sisters together and feel such an ache that Josephine won't have that kind of relationship with her sister, I tell myself, if Lydie had lived, you wouldn't have Josie.  I tell myself, you would have never (intentionally) gotten pregnant with a not-even-three-month-old at home.  You would have never had babies eleven months apart.

I tell myself, your view of your sister-daughters is warped.

But it doesn't give me much comfort.

All I want is all my children, here with me.  I don't want to have one instead of the other.  I just want them all.

And I'll never have that, not in this life anyway.

I'm learning to live with that, but I wonder if there is a time that I won't feel fucked over by the universe.

Lately, I've found myself acknowledging my three children without an asterisk.

When meeting with my new students at work, I said: "I am returning from my maternity leave with my third child."

I didn't feel the need to say:
with my third child* (*my second child died)

When the very pregnant Target worker asked if Josephine is my first child, I responded, "No, she's my third."

When she gushed, "Oh this is my third too," I nodded and smiled politely.  I didn't tell her, "well, my second child died."

I just didn't feel the need to.

Recently, I feel like my mood and emotions have stabilized a bit.  The grief can still hit me out of nowhere, but in general, I can predict the triggers, coach myself through, cry for relief when needed.  I have my support systems in place to send my WTF texts to regularly.

I was talking to one of those support systems recently.  A fellow BLM.   She called herself crazy and it gave me pause.  Haven't we earned our crazy?

Sometimes I stop and think about what I've been through: a perfectly healthy and normal pregnancy, being so excited to welcome my daughter in 5 short weeks, being told her heart had stopped beating inside of me, being induced and enduring hours and hours of labor to give birth to that perfect little girl, who happened to be dead.  Holding my dead daughter in my arms.  Studying her full head of dark hair, her perfect little nose, her cherry red lips that I now know is a trait of all stillborn babies due to blood pooling.  Saying goodbye to her, kissing her just one more time, turning my back. walking away, and leaving the hospital without her.  The next time I see her, it being her urn.  Picking up her ashes at the funeral home a week after her death, watching my husband cradle her in his hands and hearing him say, "This isn't how I imagined holding her."  Working through the guilt that she died inside me, that I couldn't save her.  That someone else had to tell me she died.

And reliving this trauma every single day.

While taking care of my living son, working a full time job, being forced into conversations with pregnant women while just trying to buy some shit at Target.

And in general, being expected to return to normal after that experience.  To function just like everyone else.

Not to mention, less than three months later, getting pregnant for the third time in two years.  Being, quite frankly, scared shitless for the next 37 weeks.  Being terrified that my third baby would die inside me.  Attending one to three doctor's appointments every single week, feeling like no matter when she last kicked, it was a distinct possibility that I would be told my baby no longer had a heartbeat.

Haven't I earned my crazy?

When I stop and think about all this, I think I'm actually doing quite well.

But I miss her.

I miss her.

I miss her.

I miss her.


10 comments:

  1. I've found myself in an endless loop of wanting Ellie here, but also not wishing away her brother. It's another impossible aspect of all of this that we are forced to wrap our heads around. I needed (and still do) the hope and light that his existence brings though, but it doesn't make me miss her or want her here any less. I miss her, I miss Lydie, I miss a simpler time.

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    1. You're right that it's an endless loop. And not one that's ever going to make sense. I figure it's not so crazy to just want them all.

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  2. Wow, it is so hard isn't it? And people have no idea. Sometimes I think it's a miracle I can get out of bed , go to work, shop, do anything carrying this hole in my heart that was Heidi. You describe the trauma of it all so perfectly. Add on some PTSD from 17 days in the hospital and watching my own baby die from abdominal compartment / Berdon syndrome from her own bile - yeah I'm struggling. I may not be able to have a rainbow in my arms - and I haven't grieved that yet either.

    Yes, I feel crazy too. Yes, I feel like I've earned it too. The thing that has changed for me at eight months out is that I am starting to be more at ease with this post loss version of myself. I have sort of stopped caring that I feel so messed up. We just feel how we feel. Of course you miss Lydie and I don't think it's warped at all to want all three no matter the circumstances. It would be warped not too.

    I like how you acknowledge you are a family of five - in Elizabeth McCracken's words - someone is missing - without sharing all the details. How many sales ladies can we accost with our dead baby shockers? It keeps Lydie's memory safe yet acknowledges she is always yours.

    Yes - we miss them - so much!

    Thank you, Kim

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    1. Oh I love Elizabeth McCracken. I fee like she read my mind. It does seem like a big step to mention my three children without a disclaimer. I guess if pressed, I would still share more... But it's nice not to sometimes, you know?

      Oh and the PTSD.

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  3. I think you've earned your crazy and then some. We all have. It's just so flippin' hard, this life after loss. And pregnancy after loss also. Yes, at the end of the day, sometimes all I too can say is, "I miss him. I miss him. I miss him." Xoxo, Christine

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    1. I think you're doing pretty well too, considering all, Christine. And we will always miss them.

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  4. Heather, I don't think you are crazy, but if others think that, I absolutely think we've all earned it. I have often said since Q died that I don't have to apologize for the way I feel about her, talk about her, or respond to questions about her to anyone. If I make someone else uncomfortable, that is their problem, not mine.

    I hear you on the pregnancy thing, too. Since I'm still technically pregnant again right now, this is 3 times in 2.5 years. I desperately want this pregnancy to "stick" (of course), but that is a lot of being pregnant.

    And I think like you about how if we had Q, we wouldn't have B. Our timing is identical (less than 3 months after delivery) and of course that wouldn't have happened. But like you said, it doesn't change my thinking about how I think of them as sisters and think of what they *could* be doing together.

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    1. That's such a good reminder. Just yesterday, a neighbor asked whether I think Ben and Bowie look alike and I responded that I can't see the similarities in any of my 3 children. A new neighbor overhead and said, "Oh, you have 3?" and of course, the awkward conversation ensued. But I walked away knowing that I will always include Lydie in these types of conversations. No matter how awkward. But I so appreciate your reminder that I don't have to apologize. (Because sometimes I feel like I have to).

      I hope you're hanging in there.

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  5. I can imagine the internal struggle with having Lydie and Josie 11 months apart...and that Josie is here because you got pregnant so quickly. It may be the most polarizing example of "bittersweet". And even that word is not justified to explain it.

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