Monday, February 06, 2006

A little weird

I was feeling a little weird having so many comments to our "big announcement." I always thought there were lurkers and such around here, based on the statcounter...but now...

It was kind of freaking me out at first.

But then I got this email from a woman who lost her baby in October...
You handled yourself so incredibly well at work the other day and I admire you for it. I had a similar day at work the same day and the next day when I was dragging myself back to my accounting firm I thought of you. I have only read a few entries and wanted to thank you for sharing your feelings. I also wanted to let you know that you helped another person not feel so alone. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

If you have experienced a stillbirth or miscarriage, please know that you are not alone. For too long, mothers and fathers have been expected to just pick up the pieces and move on, quietly suffering from the sadness so as not to make anyone else uncomfortable. To you I offer an open invitation to lurk anytime. And be sure to check out the links in our sidebar. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you too.

My biggest fear at the moment is that people will expect me to be "better." I mean, I AM better to the extent that time has softened the raw edges and made the pain a bit more bearable. But being pregnant is a fact that I can barely get my mind around at this point, let alone having it be the magic fix for all my sadness.

In fact, the nightmares are worse and the crying is deep and mournful again. I feel like I need to apologize to Alex over and over and over again. There he is, dead, under a foot of snow...and here I am...but what am I? Happy? Excited? Unable, at times, to differentiate between what was and what is? Yes, I'm so far-gone from reality that sometimes I actually think to myself, "Maybe this is my chance to get it right...to fix it." But reality is there, ready to crush that thought when I let the delusion fade. It won't be fixed. Alex will still be dead under a foot of snow.

And what am I supposed to feel about the potential new baby? I don't believe it will ever be born. I don't. With Alex I was just so sure. And with this potential new life I'm so far gone to the opposite end of the spectrum that I don't even recognize myself. I don't see my life with a baby in it...with two living children. I get to the end of the pregnancy in my dreams and I see no baby.

Now don't get me wrong, I have hope. I just don't believe. It's like the hope of someone who says, "maybe we'll get a miracle," but knows the cold hard facts that make it so unlikely that their wish will be granted. And in a way, I guess that's what it is, after all, isn't it...a miracle? Actually, it takes a convergence of a million miracles to end up with a living baby. And I'm just finding it hard to believe that I'll get that lucky ever again. Who am I to ask the universe for more than I have already? Didn't I learn my lesson the last time?

OK...so maybe my biggest fear isn't how other people will expect me to be...but how I expect me to be...how I expect my life to be...how the universe plans my life to be. I realized, after commenting on someone else's blog, that I stopped asking, "why us?" I don't know when or how it happened, but somewhere along the line, I stopped asking "why" and started asking "now what?" It's doubtful the universe/God/whatever is going to drop the answer to the "why" question in my lap. And even if I do happen to get an answer, it's doubtful that any explanation offered would satisfy me. So it's best that I don't torment myself with that particular question anymore. At some point I accepted this as it IS...my life. And now I need to figure out where to go from here (to the extent that those decisions are within my control).

But this means I have to really think about my own expectations. I KNOW a new baby isn't going to "fix" things. But I also know that the same things hold true in my life that led to our conceiving Alex in the first place. Our family doesn't feel complete. Maybe it never will now that Alex is gone. But we still have love to share with another child. And Sam still wants a little brother or sister to play with. I have to remember that Alex is gone but the rest of life remains. And closing ourselves off to the possibility of love in any form just can't be a good thing.

But it still feels a little weird...Saying goodbye to one dream and hello to a new, but very similar, dream. I hope this one ends better.

12 comments:

Bronwyn said...

Holy crap! I go offline for a few days and this is what I miss! Super-duper extra squeezy virtual hug of congratulations coming your way!!! All the best for a very healthy, happy, and uneventful 9 months...

kate said...

(((((hugs))))) Yeah, i did not truly believe i would bring home a living baby until Chloe was screaming in my arms. I planned for her, got everything ready but in the back of my mind i planned her funeral too. I am ever so infintely grateful that it went the 'right' way this time. It is very difficult, because now we know, *truly* know, what it is to lose a child. Thinking of you! (and praying for you, whatever good that does?!)

Holley said...

I don't think having a new baby will make you feel "better" because part of you will always think of your missing child Alex and there will be a gap where he should be.

A new baby will just distract you and sharpen your memories of him at the same time. Distract you because it is hard to think of much else when you are on twenty four hour newborn duty with constant feed, burp, change diaper, sleep (for five minutes) mode. But it will sharpen things because you'll make the comparison to Alex and all the should have beens.

Or I'm completely wrong.

Three kids later the pain was still there when My mom told me about my oldest brother. He would have been nineteen when she told me about him.

Don't put big expectations for behavior upon yourself. Just try to be. Kind of zen but not really.

I'm hoping for the best.

sillyhummingbird said...

People will expect you to be "better." Well, that's my experience anyway. I find my grief for my son has almost tripled since I have been pregnant. Every happy moment of expectancy leads me to the loss of him. I, too, feel as if this child will not make it here. I have fears I never knew existed until I found myself in the moment. I am just taking it slowly and allowing myself to feel ALL things--even if they lead me to grief or fear. It's real and happening and I think for me it is all part of the process of grieving my son. I just keep hoping for the best while expecting the worse and know I can't be convinced otherwise. I know it may not mean much--but you're in my thoughts and I am hoping for you.

Diana said...

I hope so, too.

Jill said...

It's a strange feeling to be living in a body that is pregnant but with which you have no connection. Just always this disconnectedness. I wonder how you get past that having had a full term loss?

In my first sub pregnany I felt guilty at not feeling pregnant and trwating it with the same happy expectation as the others, but when I lost that one too, I realised that whatever gets you through is the most important thing. If you get the baby at the end, then you can knock down the walls and there you'll stand, far better preserved than if your expectations of a success tried to coexist with your fear of loss. In my experience anyway, which is different to yours.

Anyway, i'm sure no one *here* expects this to make you all better, because it can't. But like you say, it's a new dream and adds a new dimension to things.

Sherry said...

Catherine, I hope so too. *hugs*

knittyref said...

Don't worry about believing you're pregnant, or that things will turn out "o.k." For now, hope is enough.

{{{{Hug}}}}

deadbabymama said...

Yes, yes and yes - everything you are thinking and feeling sounds right, as in right for you, right for right now.

I also hope this one ends better. Hang in there, do what you have to and ditch what you don't.

lauralu said...

when i got pregnant with the tadpole, so many people were visibly relieved, as though everything would be okay now. as you know, it wasn't okay, and it hasn't been okay for most of this pregnancy so far. some things are definitely getting better now, but last night i was bent over the kitchen counter, sobbing into a dish towel.

what i wish for you is to just not care what people who don't "get it" think about it and to be able to concentrate on doing whatever you need to do to get through this pregnancy.

i'm pulling for you, catherine.

vixanne wigg said...

I see a lot of guilt in this post...that maybe you feel guilty for wanting to be happy. But you deserve that happiness. I felt like such a freak, and it took until after Gideon was born for me to realize that I was just a normal person who had something bad happen in her life. I deserved to be normal and to have normal happiness over normal things. Having a baby is normal, and normally things turn out well. I know there's no way for you to believe that right now, and you don't have to. But please don't make yourself feel bad for being happy. You are not to blame for Alex's death and you deserve some joy.

Julian's Mom said...

You're not alone. I'm sending you a belated congratulations for making it this far, as well as a belated birthday, and wishing you peace and comfort over these next several months. You'll need it! I feel like a wreck myself, but I am thankful to women like you for helping me to get through it. Take good care of yourself, and as others said, try not to let the reactions of others get to you, too much (I'm still trying to work on that one).