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Friday, December 17, 2010

Rainbows and Grief

Isn’t it strange that with the right situation, clarity comes so swiftly it’s a wonder you never saw things for how they are to begin with?

I’m talking about sleep depravation. Either from child loss or arrival of a rainbow baby (I have both now), we are affected by serious amounts of lack of sleep. Combine this with an overload of hormones, stress, grief and worry and it becomes quite the combination. With this lack of sleep comes lots of time to work through things – by either deep thinking or flat crying them out, we struggle to find answers even when sometimes we know there are none.

So goes the life of a baby loss mother.

Along with this life of ours of grief, sadness, anger and everything else, we deal with coming to terms with things only to fall off the horse again later down the road. That’s where I find myself today. Sitting on my ass in the middle of the road, watching the horse I learned to ride so carefully galloping away from me at top speed. And we had just learned to canter, too. Damn.

With the arrival of our rainbow baby came a whole new host of emotions to the grieving world I thought I was leaving behind – or leaving, at least, the worst of it behind.

Our new son looks so much like the one we lost that it hurts. I have to keep a constant light on in the nursery because with just the right amount of dim, it’s like I’m looking at Brayden. The lips look blue, the eyes closed and face so still…it haunts me. I reach out and touch his little face and find relief that his cheek is warm. I lean down and gently push his back until he grunts and moves, quietly grateful that he responds. Then I realize once again that I never held Brayden, never kissed his cheek and told him how much I dearly loved him. And something inside begins to hurt.

Regret. It sucks.

I would give just about anything to be able to go back and just do that much. My heart would feel so much better, and that memory would be such a comfort. To have been that much of a mother to him, to have been brave and given him what I could have when I had the chance. I’ll never forgive myself for that.

Regret. It really, really sucks.

It’s like I’m reliving what I lost all over again. Before, it was what I almost had. Now, I am seeing (and living) what I really missed.

I don’t like this part. In fact, I hate it. I don’t expect everything to be peachy perfect, but damn…where’s my balance? What happened to the plateau I was on? That wonderful happy place I briefly had that allowed me to think about our loss without dwelling, to remember Brayden without sharp pains or losing my breath.

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep. Maybe it’s the reality of the situation. Maybe this is my forever, the way my life is from now on - one big up and down moment. Maybe it’s everything.


  1. Hormones, remaining grief, hormones, physical exhaustion, more remaining grief, more hormones...all mixed with insurmountable fear of history repeating itself. It sucks big, fat, hairy goat balls. Or horse balls. :-P I had a handful of hard cries in the shower in the first few weeks after Jenna was born. They were general cries, but I know that Gracie was the underlying causative factor.

    I promise...you will get through it. 15 months ago we both looked at the days and months ahead of us and wondered how the hell to get through it. But we have so far, and we will continue to put one foot in front of the other. Not always with a smile on our faces, but with one foot in front of the other, nonetheless. The blade is dulling slowly, but the edge is still pretty sharp sometimes, depending on the angle of the knife from one day to the next.

    I have tried to put a lot of my focus on our Gracie traditions - finding her new ornaments for this year, our Christmas Eve balloon release, our collection and donation of baby related items for the local NICU/PICU, working with my friend Debbie toward getting memory boxes put together for a local hospital that has no boxes to give.... Not a cure, not a fix, but good distractions most of the time.

    Much love to you always. Make sure to check your mail next week...there is some sunshine on its way to you!

  2. Keep your chin up! It's been a rough road and I don't think it's going to get much better anytime soon for me. As I think about going back to work next week, it brings tears to my eyes. I don't trust anyone with my little Mason. I wish we had enough money for me to stay home with him everyday... The time we lost with Ben needs to be made up somewhere and I believe that the time should be spent with Mason.

    I still get out of bed some nights and touch Mason's cheek and make him move, just to get a sense of peace. I lay in bed and listen to him breathe every night. I don't know what I'm going to do when he has to start sleeping in his crib.. it seems so far away even though it's right next door!

    I keep telling myself to look at all the good things in Mason. When he's screaming or crying for some odd reason, or not sleeping well, I have to remember what a great feeling that actually is. To be able to experience the motherhood. I believe Mason is such a good baby because God knew I couldn't handle much more stress. Sometimes I believe part of Ben is with Mason. The way Mason looks at certain places in our house just makes me wonder what he's seeing....

    Lots of hugs to you and let me know if you need anything!!!!!