Sunday, February 28, 2010

2 months

2 months by calendar date tomorrow. I have no idea how I feel about this. We actually spent the day with my MIL today, which went better than I was dreading. I still think she has a serious emotional problem.

I don't have the time and energy for a long post but didn't want the date to go by unremarked.

I love you Aiden - your mommy and daddy and big sister miss you so much.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goddammit - he's really not coming back

Kira doesn't understand that dead is dead and you don't get to wear clothes, or play, or drink when you are dead. And you won't come back. You won't ever come back. No matter how hard your mommy and daddy and big sister cry for you, you won't ever come back.

I was putting Kira to bed and she asked why my boobs were hanging down. I laughed and told her I didn't have my bra on (I can knock someone unconscious with my boobs - they don't even have to be standing close). She then said "I was a baby and drank those." I said yes, you were. Then she said that baby Aiden would drink those.

When my milk came in I was angry. It was another damned reminder of what I didn't have. But perversely, when it was gone, I was sad. It was like my body forgot. Just like everyone around me, even my husband at times, has forgotten. There is no physical sign on me that he was ever here. No stretch marks, no milk, not even any new skin tags.

I can't keep doing this. I can't keep saying over and over, he's not coming back.

I fucking know he's not coming back! Please, please stop reminding me. And stop making me say it.

Poor little munchkin

I feel so bad for my daughter today. She woke up cranky and saw a baby bunting that I had pulled out of storage for my neighbor. She grabbed it and said it was hers. When I told her it was for baby Mark she said, in a very upset voice, "NO! It's for baby Aiden. I want to put it on him and he'll be my best friend."

That sound you hear is my heart splintering into ever smaller pieces. It's age appropriate, but she just doesn't understand that death is forever. She still thinks that some day Aiden will come back and she will get to be a big sister. Every time she talks about getting him back my breath stops and my ribcage splits open, black grief pouring out. I tell her that he can't come back and that I wish we could have him back too. I know she will keep asking until she is old enough to really understand, but Oh God, how I wish I could tell her he was coming back.

How do you make this better?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blech

Not really anything going on today. Sad, angry, just . . . bleh. It's actually kind of a relief. I'd like to be happy again but at least I don't feel quite so broken today. I miss my baby boy. Always.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You're breaking the girl

The last two nights I have been having terrible nightmares. Three nights ago I couldn’t sleep at all. I don’t know what to do now. I’m terrified to go to sleep. At my therapist’s suggestion I have been taking the xanax I was given after Aiden died. My sister (the doctor) thought it was a bad idea because she sees a lot of people addicted to it. Nothing else has allowed me to sleep. The therapist pointed out that I have to sleep, and she is right. So I started taking half a pill right before bed and for a week or two it worked great. I slept through the night and if I had nightmares, I didn’t remember them. Now it is not working and nothing else I’ve tried (chamomile, valerian, benadryl, alcohol, pain killers – when I have a headache, melatonin) has worked.

Last night was bad. The night before I just kept dreaming about losing Aiden, it was just random images of what we went through. Last night was different. In one dream I was trying to fight off several male attackers in a bathroom, one of which I knew and thought was a friend. I kept trying to scream but couldn’t, which typically happens in my dreams.

The second dream I was at a large table with a bunch of people. I didn’t know some of them but many of them were friends from high school or people I knew but wasn’t close to. There was an older woman sitting next to me who was a nurse at my OB’s office (only in the dream – she wasn’t anyone I recognized). She was talking to the woman on the other side of me and she said, talking about me, “She saw the flicker on the screen and then she went and made the flicker stop.” The woman on the other side looked at me and yelled, very loudly so the whole table heard, “You had an abortion!” I jumped up and started screaming at her about all the horrible things that were wrong with my baby. I was sobbing so hard my voice was cracking. I actually did get the sense that the people there were sympathetic after what I said, but it was traumatic going through all that in my head again.

The last dream was the worst and most disturbing. I was with some friends and my mom called me. She was so angry she could barely speak. She told me that she had found a journal I kept when I was seventeen when she was cleaning out a closet. She said it described some really horrible things I did to my little sister when we were young. She told me I was a monster and she hated me and never to talk to her again. In the dream I couldn’t understand. I didn’t remember writing the journal or what I had done to my sister. Somehow I was sure that I had done something awful but just couldn’t remember it. I was trying to find my sister so I could talk to her when I woke up.

I can pinpoint the emotions that are behind all of these dreams. The betrayal of people I trusted, the guilt and shame surrounding my decision to end the pregnancy, the feeling that I hurt someone that trusted me to take care of them. All of this I understand and I know it is not true. But it doesn’t help one little bit. I still woke up feeling dirty and ripped apart. I still feel that way right now.

I’ve always had extremely vivid dreams that are frequently like Stephen King books. I used to jokingly say I had a Stephen King brain. But in the past they were rarely something that affected me emotionally. They were like watching a movie. Every since Aiden died it has been more real, more personal. I really can’t handle these nightmares. They have to stop. I don’t know how I’m going to go to bed tonight. I’m so scared.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ha Ha Ha ... Oh, wait

This made me laugh out loud at a bookstore yesterday. I really wanted one, and forgive the gallows humor, but I thought of the perfect one for us DB mommas. I'm sure you can infer it after checking out the link.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow? Really?

It is snowing today. In Florida. Yes, I said Florida. I wish I could be happy about this. We love the snow, we miss it so badly. But nothing really makes me happy right now, at least not for more than a few seconds. I can laugh, but not for long.

I keep thinking I just want winter to be over. I know it won't be a magic cure, but I keep feeling that if it were just nice outside, things would be better. I can't tell if the weather is feuling my depression or if I would still be this sad even if it was beautiful. The week Aiden died marked the start of record cold snaps, record lows and record rainfall. It has been cold, dreary, and wet every since the end of December. At times it feels like the whole world is mourning with me. Mostly, though, it is just cold and miserable and I want the sun.

I think maybe it is mostly a wish to enjoy something again. But I don't think sunshine will make that happen. I've said it before - I just don't like this broken person I have become.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Support for another anon on glow

This was the last post I saw on Glow:

"Thank you all for trying to understand, even though I accept that what I say makes no sense. I never meant to imply that this was something I decided or reasoned out. If only logic came into it...

Moops says 'It all comes from wanting to have spent more time with our babies, to feel more like mothers, and to know that our pain is - objectively - legitimate.'

Yes. I can't say it any better than that.

Mindy - 'One iota of envy of that experience is born of ignorance and folly.'
I can accept that. It's how I feel but yes, I can absolutely understand that it's born of not having walked there.

I have been too scared to log on all day. I wish I had been brave enough to log on sooner. I shouldn't have been so scared.

I wish I was brave enough to sign my name.

Thank you all."


Another anon - I think I know who you are and I think you read here. If I'm right you have been a wonderful support to me and I wanted to tell you something. I would have left it on Glow but the discussion is a couple of days old and I was afraid you would miss it.

I do understand, it does make sense. Sometimes I think it would have been much easier to lose Aiden early on and never know what was wrong with him. Sometimes I'm grateful I got to hold him and I have pictures and felt him move. Sometimes I'm jealous that I couldn't keep him a little longer, so we at least got a birth certificate. Sometimes I want so desperately to have been able to hold him while he was alive, even though I know he would have been in pain. I understand you being jealous of people who got to hold their babies - some of what they said made me gasp in pain. Your loss is not trivial. You are a mother. I also understand the post that said you don't want to see your child gasping for breath - of course you don't want to see your baby in pain. That doesn't mean you have to be grateful that your baby died when it did. That doesn't mean that you didn't miss out on something by not getting to feel the kicks, or hold the baby while he or she was still warm and moving.

If you are who I think you are, you have never said "I understand because I had a miscarriage," which is what Mindy was dealing with (I think). I hope everyone on Glow has been able to understand that you weren't trying to say your loss was the same, or better, or worse, but just that you felt marginalized by the nature of your loss. And you feel that you have missed out on the baby things (you have). And I understand that too, I've noticed that loss communities and society in general don't allow for much grief in miscarriages. It's not fair, you lost a baby too and you have every right to grieve for it in whatever way is right for you.

I'm sorry you feel marginalized, and I hope you continue to feel safe on Glow. If you want to talk you are welcome to email me anytime. I sincerely hope nothing I said here made you feel worse, I just wanted you to know that I think I understand what you were saying and it is all legitimate.

One last thing: you are in a vulnerable place and don't need someone's anger directed at you - I don't blame you at all for posting annonymously. Please don't feel guilty.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Guilt, shame, and more guilt

I am not my body
My body is not me

I am not the vessel and the maker of things,
That has betrayed its purpose

I am raw, naked, broken
Un-whole

I am not my body
My body is not me

I am a wound.

I was doing okay today, until I almost said something. My husband said "I can't wait until Kira is old enough to take a bath by herself." I almost said what I frequently did while pregnant, "by then we will have another one to worry about." It made me so sad. Mostly because I didn't forget that Aiden was gone, I was thinking of the hypothetical baby to come, since we decided to try again. That moment of thinking with hope cut me. It felt like leaving Aiden behind. I know I have to do that eventually, but I'm not ready to let the idea of him go. As Julia said here, I want him still.

Later the neighbor came over for a break from her cooped up 3 year old and her sick 4 month old. I held and soothed the baby, and for a moment I was relieved that I didn't have to deal with that. I hope it is just because of the situation right now, that the thought of staying up all night with a sick baby was too overwhelming. But I still felt that stab of guilt that I somehow deserved this, that I'm not a good parent.

The neighbor almost made me cry though, when she voiced that thought not too much later. She said something along the lines of I would be going through that if my son had lived. But I wouldn't. I would be only 6 months pregnant. And it hit me all over again, I still have 3 months until he was supposed to be here. That time is an empty space that seems so wrong and so very, very long.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thank you, internets

I just wanted to post a thank you. I'm feeling better today, mostly as a result of all the kind, supportive comments I get here.

I don't like this broken person I have become. I hope it is just a process on the way to something better. I know I will never be the same; I'm just hoping for a little happier, somewhere down the road.

I wanted to tell the people that stop by here that this space is for my darkest thoughts and my most desperate moments. When I read my posts it sounds like someone about to jump off a bridge. I'm not that bad, honest. I do really appreciate people stopping by and reading, especially commenting. It makes me feel so much less alone.

I imagine this would be easier with support from someone other than my husband. Even just someone to take my daughter for the day. Sadly, the only family we have here has let us down pretty badly (see here) and we have no close friends nearby. This makes me especially grateful for the ALI community.

So, thank you, internets. You are making this journey a little easier.

P.S. I do try to respond to comments but I have limited internet time. If you don't here from me, I am reading your comments and they are helping tremendously.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why can't I do this?

I am a shitty mother.

After losing my son you would think I would be more patient and careful with my daughter. The opposite is true. Today was so damn hard. Sean was gone from 3am to 6pm and I got about 2 hours of sleep. I have a cold and Kira was up before 6. All of this culminated in me smacking Kira in the parking lot of Chi.k fil, A.

She ran away from me so I said we were going home. I had brought her there to play because it was cold and dreary all day. She did fine for almost 2 hours. When I picked her up to leave, she hit me with both fists right on my face. I was furious. I lost all patience and my ability to act like an adult. I hauled her out to the car and when she hit me again, I hit her back. It wasn't much more than a tap but I feel so horrible about it.

Kira has always been an extremely demanding child. She exhausts me on a regular basis. But the flip side of that is that she is brilliant, exuberant, loves people and is such a happy girl. So why can't I be a better mother to her? I don't understand why I have LESS patience than I did before Aiden died. It is like she is intruding on my grief, which is so wrong. I know she is acting up more because her little world is all messed up too, but it doesn't help me to be more patient. I need to fix this - I can't feel like I failed both my children. I am barely holding onto myself as it is.

And here I was thinking that I need to make this blog less whiny and self-indulgent. It's what I need now, though, so I hope people will understand.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dreading going to sleep

I'm very tired. I haven't slept a full night since stopping the ambien. Man, I miss that stuff. I'm too afraid of ending up an addict like my mom to try it again, though. We bereaved mothers really need a chat room. That way all the sleepless ones can get together and chat until we fall asleep, drooling, on the keyboard. I guess I will give bed a try, there is always the benadryl (or the vodka).

Depressed today

I know I'll survive, I know I'll get through this. Some days I just don't want to.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The list

I've been thinking about this for awhile. What keeps overwhelming me and making me cry, "why?" is how long the list of defects was. I still can't understand how such a tiny little thing with so many, many problems could have lived and kept growing. I look back now at the betas and the early bleeding and think maybe if I hadn't taken the progesterone my body would have rejected this pregnancy very early on. I'll never know and I can't say right now if I will take the progesterone in the future. Anyway, here is the most complete list of Aiden's problems, starting with the actual diagnosis and probable cause of the defects. For some reason it is important to me to get it all written down in one place. No single report that we have lists everything.

chromosomal deletion 2q(35-37.1)

Hydrocephaly

Arnold Chiari malformation type II (brain is sitting too low and going into the spinal chord)

Spina Bifida

Clenched hands (indicates severe neurological problem)

bilateral (both sides) cleft lip and palate

rocker-bottom feet and some kind of deformity in the bones of the legs

Heart: ventral septal and atrial septal defects

enlarged kidneys

no stomach bubble seen in multiple u/s - could indicate that the esophagus doesn't reach the stomach or there was no stomach

polyhydramnios - indicates he couldn't swallow or that the fluid didn't reach the stomach

Intra-uterine growth restriction was likely - he was already measuring 2-3 weeks behind

All of this and I still have to convince myself that he would never have made it full term, let alone had any kind of decent life.

Why?

Salt in the wounds

I'm getting really, really tired of telling total strangers what happened. It has not gotten any easier. I still can't do it without crying.

I tried a couple of weeks ago to call all of our bills and let them know why we were late and that we would be struggling for several months. I got lots of "I'm sorry for your tragedy" and absolutely no workable solutions on getting things payed. Everyone wanted unreasonably high payments and they wanted them in the next two weeks. Even after I told them I will not get a full paycheck until the END of February. The last thing I want to worry about right now is money. I'm paying for the things we want to keep (the 13 and 10 year old cars, the apartment we are living in, the student loans) and everyone else can just screw off. All they have done is jack up our rates for no reason (before this happened - they did it to everyone)and harass us.

So after telling about 10 people from various credit card companies and other bills we went to a bankruptcy lawyer and had to tell him too. I will love him forever, though. The very first thing he did was curse republicans and baptists. I told him not to get me started on either one :)

Then today I went back to my OB because I found a mysterious lump and freaked out. Turns out it was just a blocked gland and nothing to worry about. However, the one person I wanted most to avoid was in the waiting room. It was the woman at work who's baby shower I went to, the week before our horrible ultrasound. She was due last week but is obviously still pregnant. Thank god, she didn't notice me. But then the stupid intake people didn't bother to look at my chart AGAIN and couldn't figure out why I hadn't had a period since August. I told her in a pissed off voice that I miscarried and she still asked a bunch of questions and got huffy. I did complain to the doctor and she put big highlighted notes all over my chart, so hopefully it won't happen again. But, damn! When will I be able to stop telling total strangers what happened? It's not the casual "how many children do you have", it's the having to explain other things - the lack of money for bills, the lack of a period.

It rips off the scab every time and most of these people don't really have the right to see into our pain. I just want to crawl into a hole and stay there until the scab is a little tougher.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Purple baby Aiden

For some reason my daughter (Kira, 3 years old) was talking about Aiden a lot today. When I picked her up from daycare she was babbling at a teacher she likes, who was just nodding and smiling and not really listening. She told the teacher that she was the big sister and baby Aiden died because he was "really so small". The teacher didn't catch it but I heard her and told her she was right.

Later at home she suddenly started talking about him again and she said "I have a baby in my tummy (referring to herself, not me), little baby Aiden, he'll come out tomorrow and we get to see him." As I was trying desperately to think of something to say, she piped up with "he'll be purple," which at the time I thought was funny. I was thinking like willy wonka purple, which is probably how she meant it, but now that I am sad again it has taken on a more sinister meaning.

Kira keeps fighting with her friend because she says she is the big sister to her friend's 4 month old brother. Kira likes to give him his bottle and tickle his feet. Alyssa gets really upset when Kira says she is the big sister. I never know what to say. She is a big sister, but she doesn't get to BE the big sister. It's so sad.

Ugh - I hate this trying to figure out how to respond to her and it is so heart-wrenching when she brings this stuff up out of the blue. Poor kid - I wish I could at least make it better for her.

Monday, February 1, 2010

my closet in the corner

There was a discussion on Glow in the woods about how isolating losing a baby is, how lonely dead baby mamas feel. It got me thinking about my desperate search for people like me.

When things looked bad at the very beginning of this pregnancy (we didn't know until 20 weeks that it was doomed to start with) I asked my sister how common miscarriages really were. She's a doctor starting her specialty in OB and she told me that it is less common to see a patient that hasn't had a miscarriage.

After my loss, when I started telling people what had happened, I was flooded by stories from other women.

My neighbor had multiple losses, Kira's daycare teacher lost a baby at 5 months, My sister in law lost twins at 8 months. The list goes on and on.

So it got me thinking, if this is so common - why do we feel so alone? The only conclusion I can come to, based on my experience, is that people just don't talk about it. I feel shunned at work. Only one person said anything about my loss, everyone else acted like I was never gone or made vague references to "when you were gone."

I'm not sure if this is just a fear of our reaction (no one wants a bawling, hysterical woman?), an inability to process tragedy unless its personal, or a fear of it "catching." Whatever it is, it isolates people when they most need support and its not fair.

I have been feeling especially vulnerable and alone because we chose to end our pregnancy. Women who have had miscarriages are treated badly by society, they are placed in a corner and ignored at best. I feel like I am in the closet in the corner. It is very difficult to find other pregnancy terminations online, even among the large ALI group of blogs. I think this has more to do with women fearing other's reactions than a lack of reluctant members of this dismal club.

I wish it was more accepted to find support for losses like ours. I keep looking at blog lists and wondering where I fit in. Technically, medically, our loss was an abortion. I call it a stillbirth because I birthed my son, and he was still. It was just early and his heart was stopped so that he wouldn't suffer. He was born at 21 weeks, which means that if his heart had stopped spontaneously, it would still be called a miscarriage. There are generally two categories on blog lists and support groups: stillbirth/neonatal loss and miscarriages. Late term miscarriages that were delivered and induced miscarriages/abortions/medical terminations don't really fit into either category. It's not that I think I deserve a special grief badge - I really don't want to know what it's like to birth a child and watch it die - but I want to feel accepted and known. I want to be with other people like me.

One month

Dear Aiden,

I'ts been one month today that you have been gone from me, if you count by the day of the month. But when you are pregnant, you count by weeks so I lit candles for you on Friday, since that's the day of the week that you were born. I miss you. Today I am filled with regret and I have had a list buzzing in my head for a couple of days now. It will probably only get longer as time goes on, but hopefully it will eventually get easier to forgive myself. I love you. I wish you could have met your big sister. God, she would have been wonderful to you.

Rest in peace, little one.

The things I regret:

I didn't get a 3D ultrasound after we knew you were going to die. It didn't occur to me until I saw that on a board I had posted on but didn't return to until you were already gone.

I didn't kiss you. Your skin was starting to peel and your poor little face was so deformed, all I could bring myself to do was kiss you on the forehead where the little hat was covering up hydrocephaly. I feel badly about that now because of the next thing.

I mourn the baby I dreamed of, not the baby I had. When I think of you alive, I think of a happy, smiling baby, not what you really would have been. Sometimes this feels like abandoning you.

This one I just thought of: we don't have a picture of our whole family. I don't even have a picture of me pregnant with you that I know of. I should have had Kira come to the hospital to say goodbye. She is such a tough girl, she probably would have been fine.

I deeply, deeply regret the way you died. It was the best way we had available to keep you from suffering too much, but I still think it was probably not painless to you and I'll always wonder if you were scared.

I regret that the only way I could protect you was to let you go. Mommy's are supposed to fix things. They just don't make a band-aid for this.

And right now, I regret that I am in a hurry to stop grieving so I can get off the meds and try again. I'm not trying to replace you, but I don't have much time and I still wanted a chance at a living baby and Kira getting to be the big sister. That feels terribly selfish and unfair to you. If I didn't have fertility problems I could give myself more time with just you, it's not fair.

I miss you. I love you.

Mommy