Our family

Our family

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tears on my pillow

The other day someone said, "One day this won't be the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think of before you go to sleep at night." and I realized I do that. Oh my gosh, I totally do that! Then I thought 'Really? Yeah, right!'
I pray/talk to Max every night before I fall asleep. I have a picture of him, a cross that was a gift after he passed and a prayer that I framed hanging on the wall beside my bed, some might call this a shrine... I don't care.
I lay there at night and I look at his beautiful little face, when it's too painful I shut the lights off and talk to him in the dark. I'm getting really good at this tears on my pillow thing, some nights Andrew doesn't even notice. I tell Max that one day we'll be together again and that I will spend the rest of my life waiting to see his beautiful little face again. I tell him how much I love him and miss him and would give anything to hold him again. I've even 'felt' him move, I've heard other mothers have had this same experience. I remember reading about it right after he passed and I thought it was phooey, but sometimes it's exactly that feeling of a baby moving...when you're about six months along, noticeable and definitely not gas. My hand goes straight to my tummy, I'm so eager to feel him again.....but then it's gone.... like a ghost. And my belly isn't six months pregnant..... it's empty and that's how I feel.
I also talk to God and ask him to keep my baby safe, I hope someone is snuggling him in their arms for me and loving him how I wanted to.
Some nights I have a hard time falling asleep and I have to force myself to think of anything else.
The mornings are usually easier, if I'm lucky I sleep until I hear Oliver awake and then he's the first thing on my mind. He's busy, I like busy...busy is good.
Most of the time I wake up before everyone and by then it's light out and I look at Max's picture again and I can't make myself close my eyes and I can't shut my brain off...... and there are tears on my pillow.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What to do?

I know that they say the worst time to make change is in the midst of a crisis, but there is also something about crisis that makes change necessary. For months before Max was born I didn't think I would go back to work, or at least not the same job. Now I am going back to the same job, but I'm also thinking about going back to school.
I guess part of me feels like I've had a reminder of how short life is and how we need to seize every moment and make them all worthwhile. I always felt like I couldn't do it all and I should have finished school when I was younger or wait until later... Why not do it all now? It might take longer if I can only take one or two classes at a time, but at least I'll be working towards it.
The other half of me is saying I'm crazy and that I'm not in any position to make decisions right now.
I did see a psychic with a friend just before Max was born and she told me that there would be big changes coming for me in the fall. At the time I was thinking about an entirely different career change. She also told me that my baby was very alive....he was then. I thought it was interesting that she would word it that way, I didn't tell her anything about him until she was done. She said that she could sense his spirit and that he had a very strong presence and that she thought he must be a very active baby. She was right. She told me that she saw heartache in our near future followed by big changes. She was also right when she said that he would come early and that he would set his own schedule.
I think I'll just keep taking things one day at a time, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving... see where it takes me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The other side

After Oliver was born I had a bad experience with postpartum hypertension, I was one of the lucky ones who was caught before I had a stroke or worse but still... it was traumatizing. I didn't really understand how serious it was, but I knew that I couldn't die - I had a new baby and he needed me. This is such a wrong experience to have a birth tied to a life threatening complication. I spent the next few months trying everything to get better, but I have never been able to stop taking the medication for hypertension. I became so focused and obsessed with this that I started having trouble sleeping, I was totally panicked about dying and leaving my baby. There were days on end that I didn't sleep for more than an hour or two. Finally the doctors put me on sleeping pills, which meant I had to quit breast feeding. This was devastating for me and Oliver, he refused the bottle (he was five and half months by then) and we had to rock him to sleep with a soother and sneak the bottle into his mouth once he was asleep. If he wasn't out all the way you had to start all over and if he fell too soundly asleep then he wouldn't drink at all. We both cried for two weeks while my milk dried up, this was our first Christmas.
It took about the same amount of time that it took for my milk to go, for the doctors to figure out that this wasn't just a lack of sleep, but a form of postpartum depression. I kept saying no, I love my baby - we're well bonded, it's not postpartum depression. Apparently not everyone experiences these things the same, mine was anxiety induced. Since then I've learned that a traumatic delivery is common with PD.
Anyways, I remember praying that the Lord not take me because my family really needed me. He couldn't be so cruel as to give me a child and not let me be his mother.
A few months later, things were much settled down and I was feeling great and in the process of weaning off of my medication for PD (suddenly I found myself a druggy, me who never took anything but vitamins, hater of drugs and proud of it). Then I fell off a ladder and shattered my knee, I had to have pins and a plate put in to put Humpty back together again. I wasn't too afraid of dying going into that surgery, I figured if I had made it through all of this - it's gonna take more than a broken leg to get me!
They told me it would take one to two years to fully recover. Six months later I found myself pregnant again and absolutely elated about it! "I'm strong, bring it on. I'll stay healthy and be careful about the weight gain for me knee, we'll get through this.", I thought. I have to say that I was concerned about going through the hypertension issues again and possibly experiencing PD again, but I knew I would do anything for another child.
My pregnancy with Max was uncomplicated, in terms of the hypertension. In fact by the time I was eight weeks pregnant my blood pressure was so low that I had to stop all meds and it stayed that way until after he was born. The day he was diagnosed, after our discussion with the doctor about what to do next, as we were getting ready to leave I said to her, "and I just wanted to get through this pregnancy without having a stroke!".
The day after Max's funeral (our fourth wedding anniversary) I woke up not feeling well, I had been monitoring my BP three times a day as ordered, so I checked it. It was slightly elevated, I knew it would be because I'd been having trouble sleeping and felt....like I had after Oliver. I know they say that you can't feel high blood pressure, but....it's hard to explain. I rested a bit and checked again and it was higher, so I went into the hospital. They were able to get control of it much more quickly than they had with Oliver, again I prayed for the Lord not to take me. I also prayed to my baby because I felt like he was calling me, I told him how sorry I was that I couldn't be with him. That my Oliver needed me more right now, but one day mommy would come to him. Sadly, I was not afraid of dying. I felt totally torn between my children. My mind knew that Oliver needed me more, but it was hard for my heart to understand.
We went home by noon and I went to sleep for a while, feeling terrible because the medication makes your blood pressure drop like a stone. When I woke up I had a fever, so we called the doctor and she sent us back to the hospital. I had a bladder or uterine infection, they never were sure but I spent another day in the hospital on IV antibiotics and I felt like Max was calling me even more. I left myself completely in the doctors hands, I wasn't worried at all. I had learned that we really have no control over life and death and if this is my time, it's my time. I would never want to leave my family here, but what do you do when you have someone you love just as much on the other side? I felt totally indifferent to death and way too young to feel that way.
I have to say that I don't feel so close to the other side anymore, if that makes sense, but I don't think I'll ever be afraid of dying like I used to be. This is not to say that I am suicidal in any way, but I know that other parents who've lost a child will understand.
This is one of those things that you can't just talk to anyone about because they might think you're crazy....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And life goes on...

I remember coming home from the appointment when Max was first diagnosed. I was in shock, now I recognize that. I felt frozen in place for days afterwards. Everyone around me went on about their business, I think we all felt this mad rush to prepare for what was to come - good or bad, we were going to need help. (Later I realized it was going to be bad or worse...which was which, who knows?)
In those first few frozen days I couldn't do what everyone else did, I couldn't get away from the reality of Max. He was always with me and very active. I remember saying that Oliver moved a lot, as if to remind me that he was there. Well Max didn't want me to forget for a second, as if I could!
This was the most intense grieving period for me, accepting that no matter what happened this child would not have the life I had envisioned for him. In the months that followed I didn't know how we would ever go on with life. The rest of the pregnancy was spent one day at a time and really that's how we got through the first few weeks after he was born too.
One day I realized I could take a deep breath and that I felt a sense of relief. This really bothered me and I spent quite a bit of time sorting it out. The waiting was over and we could go on with life, but I was also pissed off that we could... I didn't really want life to just go on so easily for us, I was also mad that my body had healed and my milk had gone so quickly. How dare my body have the ability to heal itself when it couldn't fix my baby? I felt like I wanted to dig my heals in and stay right where I was. It doesn't feel good to feel angry all the time though, and luckily I could only keep this up in short bursts.
I remember thinking I didn't know how I'd ever face the world and go back to work after all of this. Towards the end of the summer I honestly didn't think I ever would. Surprisingly, everyone who says you just won't know how you'll feel until you're there - they are right. I am ready to go back to work and join the real world again, I guess it's accepting what is....I am here, now. I could hide away for a while longer , but it won't change what happened and it won't be good for me.
What has eased things a little for me is letting myself feel what I do and accepting it. Sometimes it confuses me, but being open to the emotions and rolling with punches is easier than fighting against them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Babies, babies and more babies....

Every time I turn around someone is having a baby, announcing a pregnancy or going on about babies or being pregnant! I am happy for everyone, but more importantly I immediately worry for them and pray for them. I guess this is because I can no longer look at life naively. I am all too aware of just how fragile it is and how easily things can go wrong. What a wonderful and magical time pregnancy is, but also terrifying for me and unfortunately probably for a lot of my friends now too.
It's sad because most people don't think they know anyone who has lost a baby or child. Stop and think, you probably know more people than you thought. Especially loss through miscarriage, people really don't feel comfortable talking about that.
Anyways, I haven't seen or held a new baby since Max and I don't think I'm ready to. I guess I do sometimes find myself jealous of them, I wonder why me and not them? Not that I would wish this on anyone, besides I believe Max came to this earth how he was meant to. I would love to have kept him forever if he could have been healthy and whole, but then he wouldn't have been Max.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" Psalm 139: 14


Recently we celebrated Thanksgiving, I looked forward to getting together with family and seeing everyone. It was a very busy weekend, but nice.
I've been thinking about all that I'm thankful for. It seems odd to me that I'm even able to be thankful for anything right now. I always wondered how people could keep their faith or their sense of hope after going through a loss like this. I thought that if anything like this ever happened to me, I could see myself seriously questioning my own faith. In actuality it has strengthened my faith and completely changed how I see the world. I'm pretty surprised by this, I thought that I'd be more angry with God and life in general. It's all the more clear to me now that we don't have control over any aspect of our lives. Being angry about the things that we cannot change doesn't help. It is what it is and what we do have control over is how we deal with it. I have to have faith that this was meant to happen how it did, it doesn't mean that I understand it...and it doesn't mean that I have to like it.
I was always thankful for my family, but I am even more so now. This has made me appreciate the gift that every moment is.