Missing our baby boy

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dazed and Confused

Not sure what's going on here. It's not like I haven't been sad, but I'm feeling another shift in grief. I haven't had a break down or the threat of one. I haven't cried. I feel guilty for not thinking of Brayden more often or like I had been. In fact, my guilt seems to be the predominant feeling this last week.

Like many other mothers of rainbow babies, I wondered if my current pregnancy should be mentioned in my grief blog at all. In this case, I think one has a direct relation to the other.

I heard the baby’s heartbeat and felt movement for the first time this week. For the first time this pregnancy, I feel…hope? A little excitement? The knowledge that life sometimes continues? I don’t want to fight excitement about a new baby, but now I find myself in that position. As if feeling joy right now were a betrayal to our loss. A betrayal to Brayden.

I know that sounds silly (and a little text book ) but there it is. I honestly feel like I’m betraying my son’s memory with my eagerness to embrace this new life. I’m also in the stage of picking out nursery items, making lists of what we don’t have and saving money just in case it’s a girl because we already have all the boy clothes. Exactly what I was doing this time last summer.

I’m struggling to find a balance. I don’t want to fight to hold on to my grief. I know the worst is behind me, but far from over. I don’t want sadness to always wrap the precious little memory I have of him but really, what else is there? I didn’t see him smile or hear him giggle. I didn’t smell him right after a bath. I didn’t feel his breath on my shoulder as he slept. All I have are memories of being pregnant and one day in the hospital with him. I can’t change those or make them less sad. As much as I try to inject happiness into those memories by trying to see the positive, all I see is tragedy in what might have been.

So…how to let go of sadness enough to allow myself joy without letting go of memories? Such a mess, all tangled together. This is a new feeling for me, and may take some time to sort out.

I have no doubt that I’ll get past this, as I’ve crossed other hurdles in the grief process that at the time I felt I could not. With time, I’ll figure all this out. For now, I’m still confused.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Control...the illusion?

I wanted to write a bit on a good day and today I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been using this blog to get out whatever negative, sadness or grief/guilt I’m feeling (which was my intent) but I don’t feel that those things are all that encompass my life now.

It used to be. For months and months, grief weighed me down. My first thought (and the one I’m more apt to speak out loud) is that I have more control over my grief than I did. That’s not exactly the case, but the feeling of being in control is something that grief robs you of, so it feels right to say I have control over it now – meaning I don’t randomly break down in public or cry privately in the shower a few times a day (my family thought I’d taken a new love for cleanliness, I bet).

What’s happened is that my grief has ebbed away, not gone, but become a secondary thing to living. The “ups” and “downs” we experience slowly change to more “ups” than “downs”, so it’s easier to recognize when the “downs” are coming. I’ll wake up one morning not quite feeling like I did the day before – I just feel kind of subdued. That’s a first indication. Subdued changes to semi-lethargic, and even as I wonder where my energy might have gone, I know. A break down is coming – I feel it, but I can put it off just a little until I’m ready to deal with it.

By “ready to deal with it”, I mean I can make sure I am in the position to have the house to myself. Send my husband to work. Get my son to school, and now that it’s summer send him to a friend’s house for an afternoon. Sad music is usually in order, and yes, I have a playlist for just that on iTunes. It helps set the mood, so to speak.

I have a few grief avenues I pursue when having these days. Sometimes I catch up on loss friends blogs. Sometimes I start things off by writing in my own. Usually, though, the best thing I can do for myself is go into the nursery and shut the door. There, surrounded by things meant for my son, I can let go and be truly sad.

I usually cry for a while. That’s okay, because I allow myself that time…I give myself that time. It’s necessary. After I get it all out, I feel drained. After a few hours, I’m functioning again. After that, I’m good until the next round.

I don’t have these days every other day or, I’m happy to say, even every week. I’m not on a schedule, it happens when it happens. I don’t know if other loss moms deal with grief the same way I do, but I actually feel fortunate that I can feel these “down” days approaching and can prepare somewhat. I feel fortunate that they are getting less frequent.

I also feel fortunate to know that the lessening of grief does not mean I don’t miss and mourn my son. It doesn’t mean he didn’t happen, or that I don’t remember (how could I forget?). It hurts like hell to think that it means I’m letting go, but I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a part of it.

I’m not letting go of him…he’ll always be a part of me, and my family. He’s my little man, and always will be. What I’m letting go of is the guilt, anger and resentment attached to his death. Not all at once, and maybe not entirely. But, it’s slowly going.

And, before I leave the wrong impression about compartmentalizing my grief into those “down” days, I can still cry pretty easily if I let myself think about it. Those “down” days aren’t just brought on by a build up of grief – sometimes it’s meeting someone with a new baby, seeing a pregnant woman or – worse – seeing a baby exactly the age my son should have been. Where, months ago, I would barely make it to the car before the tears were flowing, now I think, “Oh, man. I might be taking a looooong shower when I get home.”

Maybe that’s where the control thought comes in. I have just enough of that control over grief to say, “Not here, not right now” and it listens. Not gone, just put off for enough time until I have privacy. Some don’t feel the need to hide their grief, but I don’t really feel that’s what I’m doing. For me, grief is private (LOL as I blog about it…I know).

I acknowledge that my husband doesn’t feel grief the same way I do and even when he has sad days, they are nothing compared to mine. We grieved together, but at this time and stage in the grief process, I prefer to have my break down’s alone. I don’t want to talk it out, I don’t want comfort. I just want to be sad, cry for a while and know in the back of my mind that I’m not worrying my husband. I don’t need more guilt. As painful as it can be sometimes, I feel like it’s MY time to grieve…I don’t have to share it. It’s my pain and I’m dealing with it the way I want to, the way that works best for me and no one else. It’s also a little time that I feel I get to spend with Brayden. Just the two of us, and my grief that he isn’t here. Does that make sense?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Self Torture

I’m doing it again. Torturing myself. I’m not sure why I’m compelled to do this, but I know I’m not the only one. It’s probably just one more fun side affect of losing a child.

I researched cord compression, the most plausible explanation for my son’s death. It fits with all the facts we have surrounding his death, and my current doctor believes it’s the most likely explanation.

Cord compression is where some part of the baby is pressing the umbilical cord to the side of the uterine wall. The first sign of cord compression is a drop in the baby’s heart rate. Second is decrease of fetal movement. Third…there is no third. After the second sign, if undetected, the result is death.

I remember becoming aware of his movements decreasing. It was the Friday before we lost him. I told myself not to panic, this happens towards the end of pregnancy due to lack of room. He’s still moving that’s all that matters. I didn’t want to call my doctor’s office (an hour and a half away) because my doctor was on vacation and I had already had a very unpleasant encounter with his substitute that left me in tears. I would wait it out and just be aware. No need to go through a false alarm this late in the game. We only had a week and a half to go, everything will be fine.

I woke up Tuesday morning realizing he hadn’t moved all night.

I’m not sure why blame is so important here. Maybe it’s not blame as much as misplaced anger over such senselessness. There is really no one to be angry at, when you think about it. Currently, however, I’m angry at my old OB for not thinking weekly appointments were necessary before my c-section. Partly, I’m sure, because he was going on vacation and other patients were being squeezed in until he left.

In fact, the last time I saw him he said, “Well, I guess I’ll see you folks in three weeks!”

When my son was born he was on vacation...again.

Had we had our weekly appointments, would he have been able to detect fetal distress? Had I not been such a fucking coward and gone to the doctor, false alarm and bitch replacement be damned, would my son be here today?

I’ll never have answers. Somehow, it doesn’t stop me from searching for them.

The doctor attending that night at the hospital (coincidentally my OB’s partner in his practice) told me her best hypothesis was that I had undetected gestational diabetes and that’s what killed my son. My OB (shockingly) concurred. (This information came five months after my son’s death via phone call). This conflicted with what the hospital told me was a cord accident.

This put me into a setback, to put it mildly. After coming to terms with losing our child and trying to live again, I get this new information to digest.

After that, I lived for months with the understanding that I was responsible for my son’s death. Months of hating myself, blaming myself and wishing that I could just die too so the guilt would finally leave and justice would be done – how could I ever forgive myself for this? Amazingly, that didn’t happen. I still got up every day, went about my life and managed to function again.

My new doctor has reviewed everything and thinks the information I was given from my old OB was careless. I had no sugar or protein in my urine and Brayden wasn't overly large (born at 8.5 lbs)...two obvious signs of uncontrolled GD. Also, because my son turned breech so late in the pregnancy, there were no abnormalities in lab work and he was perfect in every way, he’s confident saying he believes it was a cord compression accident. It would have been all too easy for it to happen.

Does this make me feel better? Not really. I still hold myself responsible for not going in when some inner voice told me that something was wrong. It’s so easy to mistake paranoia for genuine trouble, but I should have taken that chance. Who knows what may have happened?

Why do we torture ourselves like this? It’s not like it takes a lot to keep the pain alive for us – delving deeper into the how’s and why’s of it only rub salt in the wounds…especially when, deep down, we know we’ll never know why. Not really. We may have a physical answer, something that satisfies the science end of death, but we’ll never have the why us? answered.

Life is so unfair. Trying to see the beauty in it now feels pointless. I just see it how it is – sometimes good, sometimes shitty. But, none of it seems fair.