Missing our baby boy

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Leaving the hospital was a blur last year. In fact, it was months before I got around to going through the things we came home with. Pamphlets on grief, paperwork on drying up breast milk naturally, a few pics of Brayden that a kind nurse thought to take…and lots of other meaningless paperwork I can’t remember. I walked away with surprisingly little to show for having a baby. And why would I? I didn’t walk away with the baby.

One thing I did have, though, was a blanket. They were donated for loss babies, so the loss families could have something to remember them by. Our pictures of Brayden show him wrapped in that blanket. I treasure it beyond words. It’s the only thing I really walked away with that makes me feel like I had a baby, and for a brief time…he was mine, linked to me through the blanket that I still have and can hold.

I’ve been compiling a list for months, ideas of what I would like to donate in his memory for the loss families to follow us. When it comes down to it, baby blankets are what I want to do. I’ve got my quotes narrowed down, maybe a poem or something to add. But when it comes to our experience, our blanket means by far the most to us.

My friend Angela nabbed the blanket from me last December and returned it with our Christmas gift - an ornament she made, replicating the blanket in miniature. I can’t express what that meant to me, and I never did take it down. She had it monogrammed with his name, birth date, length and weight.

We are renovating our house, and are very close to finishing our walk in closet – which will include room for my sewing machine. Working on baby blankets will be my first project. I hoped to have a few done by his angelversary, but I don’t think that will happen. That’s okay with me. It’s enough that they will get done eventually, and possibly one family – if only one – can find the immense comfort that I did.

I already feel one step closer to peace.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The struggle for hope

I cried at my doctor’s appointment today.

My regular doctor had an emergency at the hospital, so I saw the midwife for the first time. She was incredibly nice and upbeat, but came to a pause when she saw this was my third pregnancy with one living child among them.

“Do they know what happened?”

That’s all it took. The tears were streaming down my face before I knew it. I didn’t know what to say, so I just shook my head and swallowed a few times before I could tell her that the final diagnosis was a cord accident…but no one knew for sure.

My sudden tears took her by surprise, I could tell. It was a necessary question, but one I was unprepared for. And, here I thought I was handling things so well. It struck me then that I hadn’t talked about my grief out loud in quite a while. I’ve blogged about it, thought about it some, shed a few tears. I thought it was testament to how far I had come in the grieving process these last months, the fact that I didn’t really need to talk about it anymore.

In reality, the band aide of my silence had been ripped off unexpectedly – leaving my festering and previously buried pain wide open, exposing it even more to the plain fact that I’m afraid. A fact that I had ignored with the help of my silence. If I don’t talk about it, maybe it isn’t real. If I don’t speak the words out loud, they won’t have an impact this time around.

It’s time to put my big girl panties on and face reality. Today’s unexpected breakdown was of my own making and not only unacceptable to me, but probably unavoidable as well. I can’t expect to avoid situations like this while acting as I do.

So, now for another truth: I am currently in “coin” status. I’d like to think I’m a quarter, but with the respect I’ve given to the loss of my son these last few months…I think a penny would be more apt. A wooden one, at that.

One side of me is the happy every day wife, mother and friend. I’m not the woman who lost her child; I’m not a grieving mother. I’m functioning, pregnant and looking towards a bright and happy future.

The other side is the side left unturned: I don’t show it anymore. Because it hasn’t been exposed to sunlight, it’s become dark, dingy and ugly. I don’t look too closely at it, but I know it’s there…I can feel it. Just beneath the surface. I can hide it, but I can’t erase it – so, I ignore it.

The result? Days like this, where me – the coin – suddenly gets that unexpected flip, that slap in the face that my reality isn’t what I made it to be in my head. I AM a woman who lost her child; I AM a grieving mother. These things cannot be divided from me or hidden, because they are now a part of who I am…and cannot be separated. All of me.

So, then I ask myself…how did I let this separation happen? Honestly, I get tired of being “the loss mom”. I don’t want that to be all that I am – most days, I don’t want that to be any part of me. That’s not realistic. What I’m dealing with here is the struggle between moving on without leaving the past behind. Who does that??

WE do that. Loss mothers do that. It’s a fragile mingling of our future lives while incorporating our loss into it in a healthy way. Remember without being devastated. Look back without losing it. Make our lost children a cherished and loved member of our family without reliving “the day” or the months following.

I’m not there yet, obviously. I’m still learning how to intertwine these two events – past and future – without becoming disillusioned, set back or grief struck.

The day will come when peace will find me. I still search my heart for forgiveness every day. I beg Brayden for forgiveness. I hope with everything that I am that I won’t have anything to ask of this new life we are creating, save that he grow big and strong and fight with everything he has to overcome my fear that I will fail him.

Tonight, I’m going to let the side unturned be turned. I can’t promise anything beyond saying I’m going to keep trying to find my balance. Maybe there isn’t one…but it’s worth looking and fighting for.

I’ve read blogs and stories from loss moms who are years and years out from their loss…and thought, “I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to feel this way for the rest of my life. I don’t want to live each day remembering the horror and sorrow.” But, how to avoid it? Maybe I can’t.

This is my journey to find out. I started this blog to give other mothers hope that life does continue after a devastating loss. There is hope. Now, I’m realizing that although I’ve been candid and honest throughout this process, hope doesn’t come so easily. Time doesn’t just hand you a basket of hope after a while. Before hope, there is peace; before peace, there is forgiveness; before forgiveness, there is acceptance; before acceptance, there is anger; before anger, there is sorrow.

Sorrow; anger; accept; forgive; peace; hope.

I still battle between the first two…sometimes visit briefly on the third. I still have a long way to go, and rushing it will do no good. Time is a factor that bounces in-between these things, so in the end…only time will help give me what I need, if I have the courage to work through the rest.

Hope is there waiting for me – patiently - and I’m slowly making my way there.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another day in loss world

I’m going to be honest here…these last couple days haven’t been going so well. I’m not sure what’s going on. Another down day? Pregnancy hormones? A combo?

I wasn’t going to blog today, I would really rather talk to a RL friend…but I find myself not picking up the phone and calling anyone. I’m tired of talking about my grief and really think there’s nothing new to say. There’s only the hurt that still resides deep within myself. No one can say anything to make it better…and I certainly don’t need someone to just listen to me cry.

So, once again, my blog will be my therapy for today.

I came very close to holding a baby at my husband’s company picnic this afternoon. I can’t remember the last baby I held, but it was long before we lost Brayden. I wanted to very badly, but I knew I’d lose it. My arms ached to hold him, and I literally bit my tongue to stifle the urge to ask. He was three months old and so beautiful. I forgot how soft a newborn’s skin is and how good they smell. I settled for stroking his little tuff of hair and made small talk with my friend who was holding him. Surprisingly, my thoughts were not of the new baby we’re having in a few short months. My only thoughts were of Brayden, and what should have been.

It’s all just so tragically sad.

Every time I’ve gotten in the car this last week, I’ve heard the exact same song on the radio – this afternoon was no different. It’s a popular song, so I shouldn’t be surprised…but the chorus hit me like a ton a bricks, even though the song isn’t really about loss grief at all. Regardless, I turn it off every time it’s on.

Tell them all I know now
Shout it from the roof tops
Write it on the sky line
All we had is gone now

Tell them I was happy
And my heart is broken
All my scars are open
Tell them what I hoped would be
Impossible, impossible
Impossible, impossible

Those lyrics just tear at me. I was happy. My heart is broken. My scars are open and raw, most days. What I had hoped was impossible has happened to us.

My husband’s coworker and his wife are expecting. She’s due in October, about six weeks before me. She always wants to talk to me at these get-togethers, which I don’t mind, but it conversation inevitably turns to our loss. They are on baby number five, and she told me today she panics every time her baby doesn’t move because of what happened to us. She’s terrified, because she now knows a loss like we experienced doesn’t happen to “other people” – it now happens to the people you know, in your immediate circle.

I’ve actually heard this a few times from friends who have recently had babies. That they thought of us during delivery, or the final stages of their pregnancy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in a good way. It was in a “that could happen to me” way. And it scared them, badly. I do my best to reassure them, but it’s hard when I harbor the same exact fear. I don’t have words of comfort for them, other than telling them it will be okay - words I, myself, don’t really buy. Because I know that sometimes, it’s not okay.

Ugh, I don’t know where to go from here. Like I’ve said before, my grief is mine and I deal with it the only way I know how. I try not to control it (unless I’m hit with it in public) and just let it wash over me, as it will. These last few days have been really trying. I’m hoping after this blog I’ll feel better, like the weight will be lifted from me for a short time. I try not to sensor what I put on here, but it’s hard knowing some of my friends read this blog and I’m not exactly honest with them sometimes.

Maybe, when I’m asked how I’m doing, instead of saying, “Fine” I’ll just say, “Read my blog”. Then I’m covered.