Monday, 17 June 2013

Right Where I am 2013: One Year, 3 Months, 3 Weeks, Exactly

It's almost 4:51pm... I didn't even realize when I sat to write this post.  Alexander was born at 4:51pm, on a Monday.  Well, he was stillborn...

I'm taking part for a second year in a row in Angie's Right Where I Am project.  To see my last years entry, you can look at her blog here as she posted my entry.  I started this blog a short while after.  This project last year definitely kicked me into gear in getting serious about blogging.  I'd been commenting and stalking  reading about other baby loss mom's in the blog world, and knew I wanted to go that step further with connecting and start my own blog and share my story.

I have to get up, and walk to the other side of the room every few minutes to check if my living child is still alive, and breathing.  He is napping on his stomach so he could die instantly any second so I'd better be vigilant on checking on him.  And I might have to wrap this post up, all disjointed and incomplete. 

Right where I am is a bit of a shitty place.  I wish I could write about all the joy and utter amazement I constantly experience as I'm at the mercy of my living child.  But I cant.  Life does not feel that great at this time. 

Theodore what born on April 23, 2013.  He will be 8 weeks old tomorrow.  Most days, he has me at my wits end.  My grief roars and my heart breaks as I get frustrated with this tiny person.  I'm in constant wonder in what kind of person I would have been if my first son had lived, and he was the boy I was able to mother.  After mothering a dead child, mothering a living one has its dark days.  For me, anyway.  I have a lump in my throat nearly all the time - but certainly all the time when my sleep is lacking.  When Theo doesn't nap, I get weepy and frustrated.  My temper wears thin, and I find myself resenting my life.  Hating it at times.  Sorry.  I do.  I don't want this life.  I often times don't want things this way.  I don't want to feel this way. 

I still feel so terribly ripped off, and I am sickened with disgust when I find myself wanting to quit on this current life.  As Theo fusses and cries over my shoulder - as he's been fed, clean and dry - I cry too. 

What's wrong little baby?  Do you belong to someone else?  Do you want out of this scenario too?  I'm sorry.  I am a bad person.  I cannot help you. I am broken. 

And I know I don't have a thing figured out.  I know I don't know where to put all the sad, lonely feelings that came along with losing my first born.  I often think I'm in no shape to be looking after a little helpless baby, as I find myself resenting him at times.  Nothing is his fault.  I hurried his life into this world because I was so shattered by my loss, I didn't know what else to do.  And I still don't know what to do.

People tell me that things will get better. 

"At three months, you'll see a big change."

I'm starting to give up hope that I'll one day miraculously feel better with a simple flip of the calendar.  I was told that breastfeeding would all of a sudden find it's perfect rhythm at 3 weeks, 4 weeks... and I'm still feeling trapped and housebound because of Theo's snack-like tendencies.  I was told that at 6 weeks I'd see a big difference in how Theo sleeps at night.  5 and 6 hour stretches.  Bullshit.  He still randomly sleeps 4 hours straight ... but usually 2 1/2 - 3 hour stretches.  I'm up with him for ridiculous 2 hour feed at night... and I cant help but feel like I'm doing something wrong.

And everything is all sandwiched by my grief.  I can no longer tell if everything feels hard, or if it all feels hard because I feel so lonely.  I feel lonely because of my loss, and I feel lonely because I seem to want to be alone when dealing with all the difficulties in looking after an infant. 

I don't know how I would have been if Theodore was my first born, living child.  How would I have been with Alexander?  Theodore is his own little individual person, and I long to know who Alexander would have been.  I am constantly upset with myself that I cant be a better mother for Theo, and put the heaviness of my life behind me.  I feel like I sound so DRAMATIC, but dammit, everything feels hard. 

Things do feel better when Daniel gets home.  I finally feel like I can eat, or pee or sit at the computer in peace and not be interrupted or not have to do everything one handed.  I am all by myself every day with Theo, and we have one car, and Daniel takes it to work.  He used to take public transit, but the lack of sleep has got to him too... and tolerating jam packed subways and delays just isn't something to manage if you don't have to.  So I'm home with the babe.  And when emotions are running high, I feel very trapped.  And very alone. 

And I know this sounds like a post about having a new baby...but I feel it's almost entirely about my grief.  I had no idea how trying everything would feel, and I am forever bothered by the fact that I will never know how I would have tolerated this huge lifestyle change had I not endured such a huge loss.  I thought I was managing my grief, my missing, my longing a little better when I was pregnant with Theodore, but in the days and weeks when we brought him home, I realized those emotions were null and void, and a new sense of "what the fuck happened to my life and my son?" began. 

There is a flip side to all of this. 

I love my second son.  I love this baby boy who is here living with us.  A little bit of that joy I talked about earlier hits me from time to time, and I do catch myself in utter amazement when he asleep soundly on my chest that he is mine to keep. 

I hold him, and I cry because I am sure I am doing something wrong because of how awful I feel some days.  I don't ever want to see a scratch on his body, or a hair harmed on his head.  And I cannot believe the person I turn into when he is inconsolable and I find myself picking him up, frustrated, saying "ooookaaayy Theeooooo" and bounce around the room with agitation running through my blood.  He must know how ill equipped I am.  He must sense my inadequacies and cry harder due to his unstable care.  I don't like who I've become towards him in his seemingly dire times of need.  I fall apart easily, and my patience runs out quickly.  Who am I?  Where did I go in this mess of caring for a new baby?

But I love Theodore, and I so love his aroundness when he is in a good mood, and not rooting for my sore, empty breasts.  I am ripped apart by the idea of losing him.  My constant checking, and examining is all due to my fear of facing another loss.  I miss Alexander more than I can ever put into words, and my at-my-wits-end tears are always stemmed in my primal need for him to be here. 


This post seems harsh.  It is almost 10pm, and I wrote the majority of this while Theo was napping earlier today and had to save it as he work shortly after 5pm.  I read through it, and I sound like an awful person.  But I'm not going to hold back, or rewrite.  That is exactly where I was earlier today, and this project is supposed to be all about capturing your grief today.  Not yesterday's or tomorrow's feelings... but right now's. 

So that's it.  It's messy.  It's rushed.  But it's real. 


  1. Oh, Veronica, that sounds so, so hard. I know many other BLMs have felt similarly when the "rainbow baby" has not been all sunshine. It can be such a struggle to work so hard to get the baby here and then you feel helpless and frustrated when the baby seems unhappy or uncomfortable and you're at a loss. Colicky babies are hard for anyone, but I truly think they can drive bereaved moms to the edge.

    I saw a therapist regularly after Zuzu was born (I took her with me to appointments). I know absolutely that it made those early months so much easier on me, to get some perspective and have someone talk me down from the ledges in my head.

    Sending much love to you, and hoping three months really is the turning point.

  2. Yes, it's messy and scary and tiring and still so damn sad that life is what it is. You are not an awful person. You are an overtired, grieving mama to two little boys.

    At eight weeks, I was still really struggling with breastfeeding. It did get better, but it took so much longer than I expected it to. I was still pumping and bottling in the middle of the night because I couldn't handle how long it took to nurse. I wasn't doing anything wrong, neither are you, sometimes it just takes a long time to get it down.

    Like Brooke, I also continued seeing my counselor and she was able to remind me that I was normal. I needed that reminder. I still do. I also had my husband home with me all the time which really made a huge difference. Bode has been sick the past few days and being home alone is just really hard when you feel like you cannot even pee, let alone make a meal for yourself.

    Hang in there. Be kind to yourself. Missing and loving Alexander and Theo with you. xoxo

  3. You're not an awful person. Grief is raw, grief is a real, living thing. It changes daily. Hugs to you momma.

  4. I struggled with some resentment issues too. The good news is they didn't last. But when Finn was struggling to latch and I was exhausted, I couldn't help but think how my perfect baby, the one who I never got to nurse, who never kept me up, wasn't frustrating me the way this "bundle of joy" was. I knew it wasn't fair - to put my perfect (and dead) baby on a pedestal. I knew it wasn't fair to hold any resentment for my baby who was doing nothing wrong but being a baby, but it's so hard. Im going to email you a link to a few other blogs - you're not alone in this difficult adjustment.

    Right where you are now, as you know, is not right where you will always be. Love to you sweet friend. Wish I could take Theo for a few hours while you rested. Can I mail wine to Canada?? :)

  5. I'm glad you still posted this. I have definitely had those overwhelmed and resentful moments/days, and then the guilt that follows because somehow BLM are supposed to always be grateful and never complain. (Which we ARE grateful, but it's still hard to be a mom). Hope that things get better for you. What helped me was connecting to other moms that had babies the same age as mine, so I could see that they didn't have it all figured out either. Don't let breastfeeding trap you at home if you can figure out how to comfortably nurse in public, with or without a cover, you have the most portable food and calming technique with you at all times! It takes some getting used to though.

    You are doing a great job! I don't think you will ever feel 'like yourself' again, at least I still don't, but it's a new version of myself. Getting some sleep and some time to yourself can make all the difference. Hang in ther,e and keep writing :)

  6. The first of it is hard, hard, HARD without having lost your first born. You are doing the best you can, be as gentle with yourself as possible. I PROMISE it will get better. But if it becomes too much, too overwhelming please reach out. People love you and want to help. Post partum depression is VERY real, and grief will only make it spiral out of control.
    I'm sending light and love. You're awesome.

  7. I'm sorry it is so hard. All of it. I think year two of grieving is particularly hard, and it is exhausting to grieve and it's exhausting to take care of a newborn. It does change, though not on any timetable, nor necessarily dramatically.

  8. I had a really tough time in the beginning. Leif had severe tongue tie and he was colicky for the first 3 months. I was also a mess coming off of such a difficult pregnancy. Caring for a newborn is hard, never mind grieving the loss of your first born too. I feel lonely too. I don't have anyone to talk to about my grief. Nobody wants to talk about the past 2 years. The most significant years of my life. It's strange at times. I had lunch with friends and there were moments when I felt out of place. It would be nice to talk to someone who understands. I wish we lived closer because i'd love to give you a big hug right now. Sending hugs mama. Thinking of you and your boys. xx

  9. Veronica, this is such an honest and important post. Newborn babies are hard, hard, hard and the changes first live babies bring into our lives are enormous and too often I think babyloss moms feel they must be grateful and serene and perfect at every moment and that is f**ing impossible and setting us up for guilt heaped upon more guilt. You are so not alone.

    Remembering your sweet Alexander and hoping that life with Theo starts to get easier, and wishing, like Tash says above, that we lived close enough to meet and chat and all feel normal together.

  10. Oh my dear. I think it feels hard because it IS hard. Sleep deprivation and grief can pile up on you and there are always questions. Nothing has made me doubt myself more than motherhood. Motherhood of all three of my children. The constant anxiety and wondering what my other daughter would have been like and how would I ever have managed twins any way.

    I feel that the grief sharpened up all my feelings, that I didn't feel contentment much any more, just . . . . everything. Happiness and horrible sadness. Too much of it. All the time.

    I wish that I didn't live so stupidly far away. Please don't worry, I hope you know that you aren't really ill-equipped or providing him with unstable care but I know how it feels to feel as though you are. You are doing great and getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep can really make you feel less absolutely exhausted and on your knees with sheer tiredness.

    Hope that everything settles down with Theo. Remembering your dear Alexander.