Feb 27th was a Monday.
The last day he was alive was on a Sunday. How 'bout that? It's here again. A Monday the 27th. Just like that Monday.Last night as I watched the clock from 11 something, to after midnight… I remembered very well what I was doing 6 months ago exactly. I was at home… trying to will my baby to move.
(Bits and pieces of my story come out. One day, I will tell it all. I promise. I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know where the day ends. It's all so clearly a blur)
I remember at this time, 3:34pm, I was terrified for my own life to get the epidural. I was afraid the worst would happen in anything I attempted. I thought I would lose my legs. I thought I'd be paralysed for life should I get the epidural. I'm already having a dead baby - why not have the worst case scenarios for EVERYTHING. For sure I'll flinch.
The physical pain of labour wasn’t bad at all. Maybe I can say that because I only know what labour feels like alongside with knowing the baby you are labouring is dead. THAT HURTS. THAT WAS AGONISING. I MET MY MAKER IN THAT PAIN. I WAS BEAT. THAT PAIN TRIUMPHED. At 8+ cm I wailed for the epidural. I couldn’t breathe through the contractions anymore as they started to overlap… while knowing…. I tried to retell the story to myself… but I still knew…Tell myself it was all going to be OK, and I could do this. I felt deep down how much of a lie that was. While transitioning I held on to the disbelief. My efforts didn’t matter. The corners of my clear mind started to clutter. Reality started to crash into my walls of meditation and nothingness I held on to. My knowing it was all true took over, and I started to cry. My sobbing and short breaths made my contractions feel infinitely worse.
I reached my breaking point.
I could feel the next one start to climb. I had been in labour since 6AM? 7AM? Maybe earlier? I don’t remember when they started the oxytocin drip. I don’t remember when the contractions started to the point where I had to stop talking through them. I don’t remember the first time I squatted down on the hospital floor, letting all my muscles go, letting all my breath out, letting all my tension go….I just remember it was 3 something that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t keep labouring a dead baby. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t manage my pain. My mind kept reminding me that what my body was doing was for nothing. That this pain was all for nothing.It was heartbreak on steroids. I threw in the towel. Cursing everything around me. I'm done. You got me. You win. I'm out. I fold. Whateverthefuck then...9 months down the fucking drain. Just make it all stop. The epidural was given – I didn’t have more than 20 min of down time. It was time to push. I knew it. I yelled it. I demanded it.
They asked me to wait. The doctor was en route. 20 minutes. I told them if she’s not here in 10, someone else will have to catch. Because I’m not holding back this urge any longer.He was born at 4:51 PM. I felt so relieved. Instincts took over. Relieved he made it. Somehow the “dead” part was turned down a bit. I was so fucking relieved that I didn’t have to go through the hell of labouring this mess of a loss any longer. Man, I thought the tough part was over. If I could go back, I’d shake myself to drink that boy up, hold him tight regardless of how obviously dead he was - and not waste any emotions on feeling better… and just take him in.
I was stupid on that bed. Downright dumb. Because I thought to myself, “the worst part is finally over.”
***That was 6 months ago.
I don’t know where the hell I am anymore. I often have meaningful emotions, and revelations ... and glorious pools of healing wash over me… filled with a lot of sadness as well. Usually these feelings sweep over me while I’m doing something monotonous or routine – taking a shower, doing the dishes, going to the washroom….but I feel compelled to write. Often, I speak about my life in the third person to myself, or, talk to myself as if there is a third person listening…and situations become very clear. I speak of the injustice that not many can understand. I mention current events in my life that are taking on a very different role than they normally would, had my baby not died. I talk to myself often how things will never be the same. I cry a lot. I let out a lot. I feel compelled to write… to dry off quickly, wrap things up… and open my computer and give my very clear thoughts a place to live.
But I don’t. Things come up. Time restricts my expression… and I carry on doing absolutely nothing important.
I wanted to write today. This is a big marker. 6 MONTHS. I was browsing etsy this morning, looking for a big wooden “A” to start a craft project…and I read something like, “you know what’s important about today? You only get one try” or “it’ll never be here again...” or fuck it, I don’t remember. But for whatever reason I didn’t want to let this day pass and not acknowledge it.6 months. A would have been baby at 6 months is a pretty special thing.
6 months of grieving has felt like some sort of sentence in hell. Isolating and lonely. Misunderstood, and stagnant. Frustrated, and not pregnant. Life seems to be unfolding, but I do not fit. I do not live. I exist, at best.
And all the stillbirth “survivors” (and baby lost parents) seem to all sing the same song. The verses seem to all carry the exact same tune. Some I read along with in present time, and others I’ve read through their archives. I’m nothing special, and nothing I feel is unique. I’m just serving my post stillbirth time, punching my clock at 6 months.
I think I was feeling better before the weekend… during the weekend… even last night I was looking forward to sitting down and writing this post. But I accepted a visitor this morning… and caught up on things in person. Did a whole lot of dead baby talking. It didn’t really go as I had envisioned. It was fine… nothing was said that really offended me. She was just trying to offer comfort. But I emailed her over the weekend before she came. I wanted to set the tone for the visit. I wanted to prepare her for MY LIFE. Part of the email said this …
“The only ones who can really get it, are those that have lived it. The loss of a child is like no other. Its unnaturalness tears through ones core, and there is little to no comfort in a "presence" or knowing they are somehow living on. Your child's journey is so permanently ingrained to be by your side, living, breathing, growing... and when that reality is so traumatically changed, its sorrow strips away your beliefs of what is meant to be. Cremate my child? Bury my child? I seem to have forgotten to prepare my life for those hardships, as one would assume (and hope) you out live your young.I still feel some days that he is just up stairs... just out of my reach. Somehow, I am still waiting. I was waiting for so long... full term, over due... waiting... waiting... waiting. Now, there are no cries, no naps, no cooing ... and I find myself waiting... waiting... waiting... for him to come home. I turn a corner, and I expect to see a bassinet... I expect a child. But no. I am still waiting... waiting... waiting.
But waiting without the anticipation is I guess what they call longing? Aching? But I know nothing will be different tomorrow. Nothing will be different when/if I ever have another child. Alexander will always been our missing boy. Our family, with the missing +1. Forever dead. Never here. And I don't presume my expectations will ever change. He was always supposed to be here... but I believe those expectations will one day no longer be in the forefront of my every thought.Your children are not supposed to die. So life right now, in all ways feels very wrong. Very incomplete. Terribly trying. But not many people can really understand that. And yes, this is a very lonely, isolating place... life with a dead son. Not many can say, "been there, done that...it'll all be OK."
I am not depressed though. I use this compose box as a bit of a platform to allow myself to release. I do not think the 'every day' person in my life knows, or can imagine, how very life changing this loss has been for me. I look the same as I did before I had him. My voice sounds the same. I wear the same clothes. But I am forever changed. I am forever richer to have experienced such a love that I wouldn't trade for the world. I am forever battered and bruised by the horror that is living without my first born.
All things remain bittersweet. Life is good. Life is love. And maybe one day (and don't worry, I'm looking for a suggested estimation) maybe the bitter wont overpower the sweet.
When my father died in April of 2010... It was very different. I almost had no choice but to see all the love and wonderful time I had with him, and it would often blanket all my sorrow. My grief was strong, and it definitely changed its role in my every day as the months passed. I love my father, and I miss him still. His death sentence via cancer was sudden. His death was quick, all things considered. But I felt beyond lucky to feel a love so real in my life. And it never went away.I can speak the same of my son. But it's different. Oh my God, how lucky I am to have a love so true, so pure. It broke me wide open. More than I ever could imagine. I have never felt so deeply captivated by love before. He made me a mother. And that will always be his title to bear. First born, mother making Alexander.
But the heartache is like no other. The extreme injustice of such a life lost pummelled me to the ground in my early days. I was beside myself, negotiating with my sensible side, and neither of us could make any sense of this mess.I don't invite any "on the brighter side of things". In my early days, I would listen as friends and family would stumble about, desperately trying with good intentions to somehow ease my pain, and attempt to lighten my loss. "you will have more children." "you are young, don't worry" "at least he didn't have to suffer" "something good will come out of this, you'll see" "everything happens for a reason, we don't get to have the answers as to why".
The death of a child, your child, has no brighter side. I don't like it when my grief is redirected due to the uncomfortable nature of my life. I have heard every one of those statements above. I know people "just don't know what to say", but it doesn't make it any easier to hear any of it.
He died. It's hard. It's painful. It is not going to change. It's unimaginable. Nothing will ever change what happened. And I still cry all the time. All.the.time.”
I send her this email, along with the recent information about my miscarriage in hopes that she’d just listen to me, and let me grieve, and cry, and talk, and NOT TO TRY TO MAKE IT BETTER! And not say the words, “I know how you feel”.It was fine. She came early, we talked, I cried. I just regret having company on this day. I wanted it to be somewhat symbolic of my state in how I feel. Quiet, isolated, alone, hopeful, rotten, sad, annoyed, depleted… all wrapped into one. And after today’s visitor, I feel the rotten annoyed side of me step up to the front lines.
Maybe I’m just being picky. I’m a jerk. I know. But she mentioned having a miscarriage at 12 weeks in between her 3rd and 4th living children, and then for the remainder of our time used the phrase “after I lost my baby” … and it irked me. She talked about the pain in losing her mother a few years back, and how long the grieving process was and still is. Again, irked the fuck out of me. I’m horrible… she’s just trying to be nice, I know. Horrible horrible horrible me! But I feel I let myself down. I made myself out to be a liar. She tried a few times to put a spin on my loss... and I just smiled and nodded. I see she's set in her ways. She really is 'just trying to help' and doesn't know any better. How can I get outwardly mad at her? Why did I expect anything to begin with? Maybe because she was a childhood “aunt” figure in my life that hasn’t seen me in OVER A DECADE. I thought I’d be comforted as I was when I was a youngster… wrapped up in ‘kiss it all better’ vibes and hugs until it won’t hurt so bad. But no. She’s just a woman, with her own problems and suffering that was looking to share her story of life and loss, too. Comparable? Relatable? Not really. Good intentions? Oh yes, very much so. But it was exhausting. I found myself explaining my loss a little too much, and correcting how she so easily compared it to her losses. She used the phrase "I know how you feel" too many times, and I just got tired of sharing.
It was just a little too much of what I try to avoid, invited into my home. I didn’t even want to talk about this crap on this blog! I had so many other things on my mind yesterday, and last week…. And now, it’s just *poof* gone!And I have oodles to let out. Health wise (not pregnant though), work stuff, a wedding (not mine), and personal bullshit challenges coming my way… And I cant seem to channel the proactive desire to GET IT ALL OUT (without sounding like a rambling fool!!).
In time, in time, in time…
Today marks 6 months since my son died and was born. I miss him. I love him.
I Love You, my Alexander… my almost made it babe. I wish things were different. I'm so sorry they are not.