Saturday, February 28, 2015

That place between sleep and awake

The mornings are the hardest.  There is a moment when I transition from sleep to awake, where I do not yet have consciousness.  It is a moment where my eyes are still closed and I am at peace and have calm.  A moment when everything is ok…like I could open my eyes and the truth would be different.  But when consciousness takes over and my eyes open, I am back to reality.  Quinn is gone.  My baby is gone.  Why, oh why did she have to go.  It hurts so much to be brought to this cruel reality morning after morning.  This is when I have the deepest sorrow and yearning for Quinn.  Every morning I go from the peacefulness of my preconscious state to the painful truth that consciousness has brought me. 

Day after day when this consciousness strikes me I have to decide if I am going succumb to the sorrow and spend time missing her and crying for her, or if I am going to take a breath, hold back the tears and get out of bed.  It varies each day.  Some days I need to cry for her, and Josh understands.  Other days, I have the strength and courage to face the day right away. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

My first baby encounter

Today I had my first baby encounter, 11 days after Quinn’s arrival.  I would have avoided it for days, weeks, or months, but my husband encouraged me to get out of the house and accompany him to the Apple Store.  The mall at 9:30am on a Friday was, of course, baby haven.  I was on my computer waiting for Josh to be helped when I heard it.  A newborn’s cry.  It only took a nanosecond for me to fall to tears and my husband held me tight.  It surprised me that I wasn’t mad.  I was so deeply sad.  A little part of me wondered why the young mother was so lucky to have the baby and I was not.  Did she know how lucky she was?  Did she know how special that baby was?  Did she know what a miracle it was for her baby to survive 40 weeks of gestation then the stress and journey of birth?

Connecting with R

An unexpected hardship I am dealing with right now is my relationship with my older daughter R.  It is so hard to bond with her while I am mourning Quinn.  Before Quinn, R filled the house with joy and laughter.  We had a bond that was matched by no other.  She fulfilled me and filled my heart.  After Quinn, however, the house is so empty.  I can’t explain it but R doesn’t fill it anymore.  This makes me so sad and I want to work on healing my relationship with R.  She needs me and deserves a mother who will bring her happiness and joy. 

R goes to school during the day and it was recommended to us to continue with her schedule, which would give us time to grieve and heal.  The other evening Josh was gone for a couple hours and the duty of watching R seemed so overwhelming.  Could I be a present and happy mommy for 2 hours?  I stared at the clock that barely moved.  What am I going to do with her?  I couldn’t believe I was having these thoughts that I’ve never had with her before.  I felt so guilty.  Mothering always came so naturally to me.  Now, my grief has paralyzed me.  I made it through the long 2 hours that Josh was gone by making corn muffins with her (always a hit and that burned a whole 30 minutes) and watching Sesame Street.  I hate feeling like this and I am searching to reconnect with my beloved R. 

1-week post-partum doctor follow-up


We had a list of questions.  A long list.  I learned that if they had discovered the cord around her neck, the doctors would not have been alarmed.  They see it all the time.  Even if I made a big deal of her butt always pushing up against my right ribcage, and not feeling big movements on my left side, it wouldn’t have alarmed them.  Babies generally favor the right side, she said.  Her movement was consistent the whole pregnancy.  She moved, but not enormously, and it stayed the same.  There was no need to worry, the doctors said.  Even if they saw the cord wrapped around her neck, they wouldn’t have changed anything.  They deliver babies all the time with cords wrapped around their neck.  And they live, they are healthy.  For Quinn, the cord was not long enough.  It didn’t have enough slack to let the oxygen pass through when I had contractions and as she descended down the birth canal.  I asked the doctor if she suffered and if she was scared.  She said, no, she went to sleep. 

Dear Quinn, I pray that you did not suffer.  That you do not know hurt or pain.  That you were not scared.  That you felt my love.  That you know my sorrow. 

Bringing Quinn home

Dear Quinn,

Today, I brought you home.  Not the way we had hoped for or dreamed of, but we brought you home.  The journey from the car to the house front door was supposed to be one of joy, excitement, and anticipation.  Instead, we had tears, sorrow, pain, and hurt.  Although your ashes will always be with us, we never could have imaged that we would be welcoming you into our family this way.  We placed you on our bedroom dresser, lit a candle for you, and listened to Amazing Grace.  I have lit a candle for you everyday since, and will continue to.  With this candle I feel with you and close to you. 

I feel a sense of calm now that you are with me - a warmth and a small comfort.  You are home.  My passion for you burns so deep and transcends all dimensions of this physical world.  You were created in me, you lived in me, you transcended this world in me.  You are in me.  You are my breath, my tears, and my smile that will some day return.  I will hurt for you forever.  I will yearn for you forever.  May you always be held in my embrace and in my love. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The feeling of impending tragedy

I don’t know if I’m ever going to be ok.  I live with this fear of impending doom and tragedy.  Fear of more death.  What is next for our beloved family?  How do we go on after the unthinkable has happened?  What other tragedies and unthinkables are in our future?  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get over this feeling. 

It seems like tragedy hovers over people.  My husband’s mother passed away from cancer 15 years ago and now, more sorrow.  His own daughter.  It’s not fair.  We met with a minister whose older sibling was a stillborn and his younger sibling was a miscarriage.  What this our fate?  Meanwhile, some people have many healthy children.  Do they still have tragedy - we just don’t know it?  Or heaven forbid is their tragedy yet to come?  I do not wish tragedy on anyone, but I can’t figure out why us.  We are good, loving people who wanted more than anything to welcome Quinn into our world.  Why did this have to happen to us?  Why did she have to go before she was even here?

The statistic of stillbirth is 1 in 160, but the doctor told me for my race and age it was 1 in 1,000.  I can’t believe it.  It’s so unfair, so unjust, it makes me so mad.  It just takes 1.  We were the 1.  For every statistic and risk that is in my future, I will always think of the 1.  Will that 1 be us again? 1 in 160, 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 10,000.  It doesn’t matter what the statistic is, there is always 1.  I lost my naivety about the 1.  If there is 1, then it could be us.  Again.

Dear Quinn

I have no dates or times for these early entries – the days following Quinn’s arrival are a blur.

Dear Quinn, I close my eyes and see your beautiful face.  So peaceful and quiet.  I wait for your eyes to flutter and for your nose to wiggle.  I close my eyes and see you and R running around the house giggling and squealing in joy.  Then I am jolted from my dreamy thoughts in truth’s terror that you are gone.  I howl through the night, begging for it not to be true. 

Dear Quinn, you are perfect, so beautiful.  You look different than R, but so similar.  You have the same nose, the same dark blue eyes.  I held you so tight, and sang to you and rocked you.  I kissed you and nuzzled my nose to yours.  Did you feel it?  I howled when they took you from me.  When it was time to say goodbye, forever. 

Dear Quinn, one day, we will meet you in heaven, hold you, and care for you.  Until then, our love for you is fierce and raw.  You are held tightly in our hearts and spirits.  We mourn you.  We miss you. We love you.  We celebrate you.

My dear, sweet Quinn, you left this world in innocence and purity.  My angel.  The only world you knew was inside of me.  Sleep peacefully, my angel.  I grew you for 40 weeks, and missed you by 48 hours only.  How I yearn for you.