Friday, October 30, 2009

Dreaded Anticipation

I have been thinking a lot about the holidays coming up....and, of course, I am not looking forward to a blatent recognition of what is not there. I don't want to celebrate these cheery events without him. I want to dress him up in his Halloween costume, I want to give him his first bite of Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, I want to buy little Christmas ornaments and toys and clothes for him, I want to share the joy that I should be living at a time of peace and thankfulness with my family, and everyone else because of what I should have. But none of that is going to happen. It can't and there is nothing I can do about it. Patric is right when he says the only thing I see in our family picture is what is not there. I don't blame him for getting frustrated with me and my sadness. It's not fair to the three absoulte miracles that we have here with us to be this way. It's not fair that they have to see the sadness in their mom's face or hear it in her voice at such an exciting and delicious time of year. It's not fair....
So I have thought a lot about what I am going to do this holiday season. How I am going to get through it. How I will survive and hopefully thrive. Part of me is scared....scared that I will crumble. Because I know that is a possibility. But I'm not going to let that happen. Patric won't let that happen to me. I know I will be sad for what it is. But I also know that it is going to be a very special time for this family. It will be a time of joy, a time of peace, a time of happiness and celebration.
I've got a list of things I have planned for us. I don't think I'm going to share it because of the (slight) possibility of setting myself up for failure! But I have some very special things in my head that I think will give me the time and reason and place I need to remember Chase and let the kids honor him in a happy and joyous setting. I hope to have the opportunity to show our love for each other and all our kids and let those who care for us know us as a family. I hope to enlighten those who are in our lives with an insight that most people don't have, a perspective that you hope you never gain, and our reason to find peace and joy in this time of year. In doing this, I hope I give and get the most out of these next few months. I am still searching for who I am after having Chase. I am not the same person. I know things and experience things completely different. I feel different and act different. I love different. So this winter is about being thankful for what I have, showing that and giving that. We will remember Chase as we do every minute of every day, but we will remember him and celebrate him this Christmas because he deserves it. Chase is so completely worth celebrating. I can't promise I won't have my sad moments wishing he was here. But I will try. I will try to reform my sadness for what is not into happiness for what is. And that is 4 beautiful children, an amazing husband and a whole lotta love.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not any easier...

I know this journey is and will continue to be one of peaks and valleys; a rollercoaster of emotions; a few good days shuffled with a few bad ones. But when anyone asks, "does it get any easier?" the answer is NO. It will never get easier.
I think 6 months, wow. I can't believe it has been 6 months since we had Chase. I can't believe it because I think of him and my delivery all the time. Still. Every night I go to bed and every morning I wake up, I'm thinking about him. All of it. I can force my thoughts away from certain moments and focus on others if necessary. But the point is, I think of him all the time, in everything I do.
Last night was one of the worst nights for me since Chase died. I see his picture every night as usual, but I decided to go through the photos and pick some out for Patric's mom. I have seen them a million times. I have them on my blog, I have them in the house, I have them everywhere. But last night, for some reason, I couldn't handle it. It sent me so far back into the darkness that I wasn't sure if I was going to come out of it. I felt the pain as if it had all just happened. My thoughts wandered to what I wish I would have done with Chase those 3 days I was with him and I felt the weight of regretting so many things. I just felt a heaviness about the sadness that I am carrying with me everywhere. I had gone to bed before Patric so I was alone for this episode. I know I can go to him with anything or for any need, physical or emotional. But I couldn't get out of bed. I felt so incredibly heavy. And I am thankful that my body takes care of my mind because at some point I drifted off into sleep, clutching Chase's blanket and holding Reese's hand (he was already very much asleep through all of this).
I know that this is my life. It doesn't matter how much I can hardly believe it, sometimes...I must live with it. I have always lived on the edge. But now I am on the verge. On the verge of tears. Though some days it takes a little more to get them to fall and even some days there aren't any. I know that they are there. Under the surface. Forcing me to be strong, smile, have joy in the things that make me smile and try to go on. I need to. My family needs me to. Chase needs me be the happy mom that I so dearly want to be.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Notes Girls Write

I have had a rough day. It's not necessarily something I can blog about, but it has to do with a lot of specific details the day that Chase was born and what exactly happened. I am in need of answers. Sometimes it's the worst thing to think about and sometimes it's the only way for me to go on. Explanations. What happened? Why is this my life. How could it be?

On top of that, Emma's sick. Again. A UTI this time but it has hit her hard and it's no little thing with me. I hate when my kids are sick. I am scared of them dying. I know it's an extreme thought but I can't help it. I know what that feels like to lose one. And I am scared of it happening again. Defying the odds is not something that means alot anymore. I just want everyone healthy. High fevers, no appetite, overly tired, scares me. And what used to be "all part of parenthood", now is an evil spirit following me around, lurking in the shadows, waiting to happen to me all over again. A fine line between life and paranoia.

But this is what I really wanted to blog about today. Actually since yesterday. I stumbled upon this blog from a photography website I visit from time to time and it seemed like a really cool idea to me. This is what it says:

Every girl has her own story. This photo essay is about sharing glimpses. Funny, beautiful, sometimes sad, sometimes silly peeks into the minds of girls…told through their own writing.

So I gave Emma & Karly their assignments. There were no boundaries. (At this age, I didn't feel I needed to worry about that!) They saw the pictures on the blog but were on their own from there. And I have to say, I was very impressed with my 9-year-old AND my 7-year-old. Karly wrote a note to Chase (click here) and Emma's note read, "Remember, nobody's perfect."
It's things like this that remind me how special my life really is. There is a lot of sadness and a constant ache for what is missing. But there is also such a feeling of happiness, joy and pride in what I do have in my life. I am so happy who my kids are and the individuals that they are becoming. And I am proud that Chase has had a part, and will continue to, in shaping who they are. He is a part of me, just as the other three are. And I know Chase is the same to Patric and that he feels every bit of pride that I do in them.
So what is your note? I thought of this babyloss community and how we express ourselves to each other. And if you feel like sharing, go over to Notes Girls Write and post your note.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Facade

I am a living facade. I went out of town this weekend with a friend and her teenage daughters to run in a 5k. We had a great time. Her girls are wonderful kids and I really enjoyed the time spent with them. I enjoyed the quality time with my friend. But it was the first night I had spent away from my family since Chase died. I felt like a child....packing his blanket. I thought for a second not to take it, but I have not gone to bed without it since April 17th. I have it by my cheek every night I go to sleep. And since we were all sharing a hotel room, I thought (only for a second) about what I would look like, a healthy 37-year-old woman, sleeping with her dead child's blanket. But I took it. And I needed it. Inconspicuously, I fell asleep, my tears falling on my secret security blanket, feeling as though Chase was with me. Thinking how he should be snuggled in next to me right now, here with me on this weekend trip.
But I laugh. I smile. All the while on the inside I am sad. The guilt for showing happiness waxes and wanes. I think what I must look like: a mother who lost her baby and seems to go on like it never happened. But it doesn't bother me. Because it's not true. It's this facade. Not like the self-aclaimed FB facade. This is a real life facade. I act one way and feel completely different on the inside because of real life. My. Real. Life. I can't walk around like I'm depressed. I'm not depressed. I am a woman with a broken heart. And that broken heart is healing. Slowly. But it has left behind a hole. A hole that will never mend. And I will forever be crying inside. It will never go away.
This came from my friend Kristy's blog. I'm not sure if she wrote it or not. I saved it in my notes and found it the other day. And it is me.

Do not judge the bereaved mother. She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.
She smiles, but her heart sobs.
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she IS NOT, all at once.
She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.
Thankyou to my friend and her daughters for not judging me. But for giving me a good time. And running with me. :) I needed that!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Six Months

Sweet little Chase,
Today you would be with us for 6 months. You would be probably sitting up, rolling over, cooing, laughing, telling us what you think of this world. Since you are not here to do that, let me tell you what I think about this place where we are.

It's a sad place. Because you are not here. We talk about you and wonder what you would look like, who you would take after, what your personality would be and it's so hard not to be sad when thinking about what should be.

But it is also a wonderful place. Because even though all we have of you is our memory, our blankets, little memoirs, we still have you. You are in our hearts. You are in what we do every day. You have shaped us, since you were in my tummy, while you were with us for 4 days, and in these six months since, you have shaped us into who we are. We are a million times more compassionate because of you. We are a trillion times more real because you were real. We are stronger because of the fight you gave us. And we love each other like this is our last day, because we know how important that is, because of you.
It's a dark place, this world, when you hurt like we do, knowing we will have this feeling the rest of our lives. But it is a beautiful place because when we see the miracles on this earth in all their beauty, we know that is you. You are in it somehow. And we think of you.
It's a confusing place to live. There is so much we don't understand. But we don't know if it's worth trying to figure everything out. There are some things that we know we will never fully understand. But we have love. We have each other. And we know that we have you, though we cannot feel you, touch you, smell you, or see you, we can close our eyes and see you and sense your love all around us.
We miss you buddy. You are Reese's Maverick. You are your sisters' baby brother. You are our sweet littleman. We miss you more than words can say. We love you more than this world can ever comprehend. And one day, we will be together again, one day far, far away. I love you. A thousand kisses to you sweet boy. Mommy misses you and thinks of you with every breathe I take. Waiting for our dream meeting....

Friday, October 9, 2009

13 Seconds

I'm glad that last post is under my belt because I have more important things on my mind that are much more worthy of my thoughts, fears, and emotions...
Emma was home sick last week and wrote a post about how much we miss her baby brother and she was spot on. We know we love our kids with our entire being. But we don't really experience how much that is quantitatively speaking until we lose one and we lose part of ourselves with them. Then we really feel how much is lost. Most people never realize this emotion because the natural order is to grow old and die before our kids do.
My sister sent me this video this week and though I had seen it before, it has been a while. There are certain things I don't look at unless I truly, truly want to. So many things take me to such a dark place that I have to prepare myself and then let myself revisit them. This video is one of them.

I don't know if I can even put into words what this video does for me. What it does to me.

It is the only live video I have of Chase. Therefore, it is one of the most precious things to me ever. It is evidence, better yet, proof that he was born. He was mine, ours, in flesh and blood. He looked just like his brother and sisters when they were born. He was a big baby! He definitely did not belong in the NICU. He was beautiful. Perfect in Every. Single. Way.

I love this video because it was on Wednesday night. When he still looked like my sweet little Chase. Before his skin became all blotchy and before he got puffy from all the medication, blood products and fluids they were pumping into him. My favorite photo of him is one that was taken on this day and this is what I see in my head 99% of the time I think about him. This is what he looked like. I can feel his so soft hair and his rose petal like skin. I can smell him and breathe him in. My head so close to his head. My nose on his forehead, at his ear. Whispering to him, asking him, begging him, to please keep fighting. Carefully leaning over his isolette, I silently wished my incision was as numb as everything else in my body was. I listen to our pastor's words but I don't really hear them. I am watching his tummy move up and down, like every mother does millions of times "just to make sure...." when you bring home a newborn. I didn't get to hear him cry and I really, really missed that. I wanted to hear him so badly. He did open his eyes for us and his brain waves on one machine indicated his undeniable response to our voices and touch. But I wanted so much more. I couldn't pick him up and hold him to my chest, wrap him in my arms, tuck him under my chin like I wanted to so badly. I wish so much that I had done that one of those 3 days. There was a point when I was convinced that had I done so, I could have miraculously healed him. Made him all better, like I always seem to do with the other three.

Wathcing the 13 seconds of this video is like watching him live again. But it's not a happy feeling. I wanted him to get better, but I didn't want him to hurt, either. I could't bear the thought of him in pain and I didn't know if he was or not. I couldn't tell like a mother should be able to. I did not feel good in the NICU. I knew it was bad. But I did not want to let go. I did not want to give up hope. Watching this video makes me feel that way again. Like not wanting to give up hope, but knowing you have to. And you only get 13 seconds. It feels like that's about how fast it went. A life. HIS life. So painfully short. So incredibly precious. Beautiful. Adorable. Proud. Happy. Yet so intensely sad.

I love you baby boy. Mommy loves you so, so much. You are almost 6 months old and I miss you so badly. Please, please come to me in my dreams. I need you to be there. Won't you?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It is what it is

I have read several blog posts from other baby loss mamas who have lost several friends, friends of many years, and I have thought how crazy and ironic it was that this would happen. But it just takes a tragedy, more specifically a loss, and even more specifically than that, the loss of a child to quickly separate you from the rest. And this weekend, I joined my fellow baby loss family as my circle of IRL "friends" narrowed considerably.
My situation, though, is severly complicated. And I must also add that I use the term "circle" and "friends" lightly because I am not big into "the" social scene or any social scene, for that matter. I wasn't even before Chase died. But the by the nature of what happened to me and my family, my perspective on a lot of things changed. When my perspective changed, so did my friendships and my definition of friendships. And when my definition of friendship changed, so did the number. It got smaller, like many other baby loss mamas who are on my journey.
The complications come from several aspects. A.) I live in a small town. B.) I am pursuing some relentless litigation against my doctor for several things that happened under his care. C.) That doctor was, at one time, one of my closer friends in this town; so much that he is my kids' godparent. and D.) We are in the same "social circle" and have many common friends.
I am blessed for the friends that are not in the same social circle but the friends that made a choice this weekend certainly hurt. I have specifically explained the sordid details of this doctor's actions and behavior that have led me to taking action and I was under the false impression that this was enough "evidence" to lead these friends away, on their own accord, from any socialization with him. I didn't feel it necessary to verbally request this of them because son is dead. My healthy, beautiful baby boy is gone and I will never get to see him play with his brother, read me a book, play a soccer game....nothing. His precious life was taken.
So I thought these friends realized this. I thought they understood the magnitude of my loss, or at least a fraction of it. These were not friends that I saw or even talked to every week. But they were friends that I could see and pickup where we left off without skipping a beat. My favorite kind of friend. Some of them have been friends of Patric for over 3 decades. And then I received a text from one saying that since we were planning on coming over, she wanted us to know that my doctor and his family might very well be there. That she didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Uncomfortable? Really? Why, because my son is dead and the doctor, your friend is, in my well-stated opinion, responsible for it? Why? Because he knows that we feel this way and our presense would be unsettling? Because our baby, his patient, died and it would make things awkward for him to be in the same social setting? Or is it because we are accusing him of something so absurd and the doctor that they all know and trust (for a total of 4 years now) would never do something like that or act that way; therefore, we must be crazy, looking for someone to blame for our grief?
I have to share a short story to help me understand all this so please bare with me. Patric & I had a very good friend years ago in Florida who is now in the state pen with over 30 counts of convicted rape. When Patric & I knew him, he was a cool guy, a great friend, fun to be around, someone I would have entrusted our kids, had we had any. We received a phone call about 3 years after moving to Ruidoso that our old roommate had been caught on an attempted rape and is being investigated for several rapes throughout the 10 years leading up to that. We were shocked. Not Dave. No way, no how. He would never have hurt anyone. I couldn't believe it. We were in denial. I kept telling myself, at least he didn't kill anyone. But I also thought at the time that if I knew any of victims, I would be forced into reality and I would have more empathy for them because without knowing any of those girls personally, I could not relate and moreover, I could not believe that our very good friend would be capable of something so awful and violent, while we were living with him. How could he lead a double life and we live so close to him and not know it?
So, back to my post..... I can understand, having trusted someone so dearly, how hard it is to believe that something bad has happened. I am not relating the viciousness or the violence of that story to this, but I am trying to understand why some people can go on like nothing ever happened. Where is the accountability? What about the know....that which we talk to our kids about practically every day? Just because mistakes happen, doesn't mean you don't have to be accountable for them. Or that you don't have to own up to them. Even if you're a doctor.
And besides, the difference is that they know me. They know us. And yet their friendship with the doctor has not changed, apparently. Where is the empathy for us? All I can sense is them protecting him. This didn't happen to him. It happened to US. In fact, He. Is. What. Happened. I wouldn't normally say I know what I would do in someone else's shoes, but I know in my heart that if this happened to anyone of them, I would have no problem telling this doctor to go take a hike--that he was not invited to my parties, that I will not be coming over to his house, that I would have nothing to do with him because of what happened. That is the kind of support we need. Not tiptoeing around the subject like we are fighting over something trivial. This is about the death of my son. The support I need is that of the undying kind. The I-got-your-back kind of support that we are on your side. Because when people that we have known for years and years and years have to text me with a message that we might not want to come over because so-and-so is going to be there and they wouldn't want things to be uncomfortable for anyone, that tells me that they have completely dismissed Chase. That tells me that they have disregarded the trauma that I went through and they have forgotten and moved on. And so should I. Seriuosly, do you realize you are talking about the death of my son? I know if you really wanted us to come, and you were supporting us, you would have no problem calling the doctor up and telling him that he better not show up. You would warn him that we are going to be there. Not the other way around.
But no, it didn't happen that way. In fact, it all happened via text messages. That's the funny part. And I am guilty. But I wished I woulda twittered instead of texted because the message I sent could have gone to a broader audience. More should have experienced the "fit" I threw. But it's my son who died. Not theirs. And my nightmare continues on. I keep hoping I wake up some day. It is all so unreal.
So my circle is now quite small. It consists of five people and one angel baby (...and a few real friends) And that's all I really need.