Saturday, 16 August 2014

Ramblings Of A Baby Loss Mom...

I'm feeling a little melancholy this morning.  Often times the change of summer to fall does this to me.  It being mid August and reaching highs of 15 degrees this past week, it has the feeling of fall sinking in.  Grey clouds in the sky, and the chill in the air.  Makes my bones ache and feel weary.  I like fall, but on the days when the sun isn't shining, it's hard not to have my emotions match the gloom. 

I've caught myself reflecting on my last post.  I don't like that so much of my energy is directed towards unwanted comparisons and coinciding timelines.  I was talking to Daniel the other night about how much I don't like how I've changed.  I find myself regressing and "immaturing" if you will.  I'm finding myself petty and upset.  Dwelling on things that happened years ago.  Things that were said and not said.  A long time ago, I let so much go regarding dysfunctional family dynamics and found myself in a space of peace and feeling genuinely impartial to whatever other people had going on.  REALLY.  It held no weight in my every day.  Now, dammit, I'm bothered by so much.

My real feelings about Alexander seems to get lost and overshadowed by such pettiness.  I want him, I miss him, I love him, repeat to the infinitive.... and such is life now.

Lately, A's have been catching me everywhere.   I long to have a baby A to have and to hold... to watch grow and sing songs to.  I was in a Big Book Store the other week, and displayed as one of the first things seen when walking in was a wall of white mugs with letters on them in alphabetical order.  There were 2 of each letter displayed in three's on a 9 cubed shelf.  Each letter was a bright colour, and on the inside of the mug, a corresponding word was written.  "Brilliant", "Charming" "Dreamer".... I stood back and took a second look at the display from a far, and realized "A" was missing.  With the A being the only letter missing, it stood out as if it were shouting at me.  I wanted that mug with a bright blue or green or red or whatever colour that A was supposed to be.  I wanted to know what would have been written on the inside.  I missed Alexander so much in that moment it hurt.  I want my A baby back.

I later found a grouping of mugs with cursive letters written in black.  There were 2 "A"s left.  I bought one. 

I took home my A mug, and loaded my only living child in the car, and missed Alexander to the umpteenth degree.

Yesterday, I went out to the park with Theo.  There are 3 local parks with in 10 minutes of my house that I frequent with the stroller.  Yesterday was like any other day.  Dressed appropriately weather-wise, sand toys in the basket, water bottles in hand, and we're off!  While walking down the same street I walk on to get to 2 of the 3 frequented parks, I see a family ahead walking towards me.  It looked like a set of grandparents and a mother with her son.  The grandfather was walking a little dog, and the grandmother was holding the hand of the little boy.  The mother was walking solo carrying a purse/diaper bag/tote bag.  I have never seen this family before.  As our paths met directly the mother stopped and said, "oh my god, how cute is he?!?!!" referring to Theodore and pretty much stopped me in saying so as she was now standing in front of my stroller.  People say hello, and smile.  They pass by with an "Awe" and a head tilt and carry on with their walk.  "My goodness, what a doll" and phrases alike have been said here and there (picture lots of old people - as there are MANY in my neighborhood - and the quirky "my goodness" and "oh my word" type statements they make), but there hasn't been a time in which I can remember clearly of actually being stopped in my tracks as I'm walking briskly to the park. 

just so you don't have to imagine the cute, I'll provide these snap shots from our park trip that day
you're welcome :)
The mother asked how old Theo was.  And finished her question with "he must be 2 or close to it...?" 

oh 2.  How I wish I had a boy who was 2. 

"Almost 16 months actually.  16 months next weekend.  So... 15 and a half months" I managed to awkwardly say as I was already a little taken aback by the 2-year-old reference.

"Oh well, he's big!  What's his name?"

"Theo.  Theodore"

"Oh Theodore, what a cutie!"

I turned my head in the direction of the little boy holding his grandmother's hand.  "And what's his name?"

The mother paused, as if needing to make an effort not to answer.  "What's you're name sweetie?  Can you tell the lady your name?"

Looking straight ahead, the boy answered as a smile appeared on his face, "Aaaaaalex".

I look back at the mother, trying to hide my shock, but my eyebrows raise nonetheless.  I look back toward the boy, "oh, hi Alex".  I'm smiling and being polite, but on the inside my mind is racing a mile a minute.  What is going on?  Who are these people?  Where did they come from?  Why did she STOP me?? Oh my god, of COURSE his name is Alex.  I'm going to cry.  I have a son named Alex.  Well, Alexander.  I don't know what the evolution of his name would have been like had we referred to him as he grew and WAS ALIVE.  I look back to his mother, "and how old is he?"  I knew he was older than 2 and half.  He was taller... thinner... and almost all the baby had left his face.  "He's almost 4... he'll be 4 in October". 

I think I said something like, oh that's great.  I really don't remember.  I know we walked away from each other with remarks like 'enjoy your day' and 'have fun'....

I continued on my walk towards the park and I bawled.  I just cried my way down that friendly neighborhood street.  Aaaaalex.  Of course his name was Alex.  I didn't feel gutted or ripped apart.  I thought maybe this was it... you know when the universe speaks to you..?  I think it was speaking to me.  But what does it mean?  What am I supposed to feel?  I just felt sad.  I just wanted my Alexander.  My A. 

At times I think about what it would be like if we were to have another baby boy.  A part of me wants to name him Alexander.  I don't know if it's because I miss him so much or love him so much... but I want to have a piece of him "in use" every day.  I know he wouldn't be the Alexander we lost.  He wouldn't be replacing him or erasing him... but honoring him.  And then another part of me thinks it's completely crazy and unacceptable.  Plus, I think everyone around me would think I've lost my fucking mind and went completely off the deep end.  Or maybe not.  I don't know. 

I struggle with the name game.  Alexander and Anthony were front runners for us when I was pregnant with (who is now) Alexander.  Daniel is Italian and his one sisters used to tease that if I ever hand an Anthony, she'd call him Tony.  She even joked constantly while I was pregnant, always asking, "how's little Tony doing today??"  I like Anthony, but I do not like Tony.  Maybe "Who's The Boss?" ruined it for me, but I cant hear the name Tony and not hear "aaaaa ooo, ooo aaa". 

The name Theodore was literally said to me in a dream and I stuck with it.  We were SO UNDECIDED on a name while I was pregnant with Alexander, I didn't want to go through that again with what I was hoping to be the baby I would eventually bring home.  We had a "probably" peek at the gender from our OB that we were having a boy at around 14 weeks.... and from that day I was reeling in the thought of having to name another boy.  I had nothing left.  Everything I loved reminded me of thinking of Alexander and trying to name him while I was pregnant.  I didn't want to be in that space again with names and STILL not know if we were actually going to bring home a baby.  I was hoping that job of giving your new born baby a name would somehow just go away and happen effortlessly.  I remember wanting to name the baby Anthony, but didn't like that I was using a "runner up" name for this baby as it felt like in turn it made the baby a runner up choice to Alexander.  It doesn't feel that way now of course... but at the time it just felt too close to who Alexander was. 

At around 17 weeks along, I woke up off the couch after falling asleep watching TV and I heard the name "Theodore".  It literally sounded like someone in the other room said it.  I had never considered that name while pregnant with Alexander.  I don't think I had even HEARD that name while I was pregnant with Alexander. 

"Theodore.  Ok."  I thought. 

I told Daniel the next morning, and we both fell in love with it.  I knew I wanted to give this baby a middle name...and I was pretty sure I wanted it to be Alexander (or Alexander David, or David).  And Theodore Alexander sounded pretty good, so we stuck with it.

I still love the name... but there are days I don't know if I love it for my son.  Crazy talking?  Grief talking?  I don't know, and I feel a little weird saying this but there have been a few times where I look at Theo and I think, god you look like an Anthony.  Weird, right??  I think it's because I think he looks like an Alexander.  Theo's lips and eyes are SO similar still to Alexander's, I cant help but associate those traits to looking like an Alexander.  I don't want to be pictured rocking in a chair, petting a teddy bear and saying, "you look like an Alexander too... and so do you... and you do too...".  I'm not.  It's just a weird crazy splice of grief that's bleeding into things that would otherwise feel normal.

I do look at other BLMs and their rainbow children who have names beginning with the same letter as their dead child.... and I love it.  Not to say that I don't love ALL the names of ALL the children I've come to know along this journey of loss... but my heart aches for my very own baby A, and I wonder about thought processes and emotional needs of loss parents who chose to name their rainbow children with the same initial.  I wonder about thought processes and emotional needs FOR ALL subsequent children after loss.... but I at times think if I had named Theo an "A" name, maybe a teenie tiny smidgen of what I'm clinging to would be intact. 

And at this exact point in writing this blog post is when I knew it had to be titled "Ramblings of a Baby Loss Mom..."

Because I feel like it's gonna be tough to make any sense of this post. 


I just miss him.  Today, as it rains and is too cold to be August 16th, I miss him.

Theodore grows and becomes more of himself every day.  He's marvelous and wonderful and I love him with a capacity I didn't know was possible.  I want to go back and eat up his baby-ness a bit more before I completely lose him to his childhood and all it's rapidly changing moments.

I take his picture constantly, and keep every blurred image and missed opportunity.  I don't know what I'm going to do with all these pictures... but I'll share some classic "chair" shots here and now.  He makes my heart explode effortlessly. 

I don't know what I would do without him.  I try to not really "go there", but "go there" all at the same time as I know too well what it's like to live without a piece of my heart intact. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Right Where I Am: 2 years, 5 months and 10 days

I've put a pin in writing this post, and hoped and prayed my collection daily mental entries wouldn't escape me when I finally had the time and emotional space to do so.  I intended to dive in right after reading Angie's entry.  I'm so glad she's hosting this again.  I felt a RWIA post brewing in me for the past few months.  I needed something to get me back into my blog, however, I make no promises or commitments to regular posts - though I'd like to be doing so.  This project seemed like a good reason to try to sort some of the entangled emotions I've been living with. 

I haven't read any entries from anyone this year, nor have I re read my own from previous years.  I wanted to really feel where I am right now... and going back to what I was feeling months out, and then just over a year out... well, I know it would cause me to reflect rather than just take in and let out what I'm feeling now.

Theodore is 15 months old now.  He's been "sleeping the night" (a whooping 8-9 hours uninterrupted) for a little over a month now.  It's been a needed and welcomed change.  I still only get roughly 5-6 hours of sleep every night plus a bit of a cat nap in the early morning hours... and it's my fault.  I put Theo down for 9:30-10, and I stay up.  I read blogs.  Catch up on IG.  Watch a bit of TV.  I feel like it's the only real time I can check out freely from my responsibilities and relax.  When Theo naps during the day, it's often random and feels rushed when I try to do something I'm really interested in finishing.  (I'm writing this now as he naps, and I'm feeling the pressure).  It's a little bit of "me" time, and I get to shake off my day.  I've always been a night owl.  I've been staying up late since high school.  But I need to change my natural tendencies, because sleeping in until 8 or 9 AM isn't realistic at this point in my life.

I finally drag myself to bed around 11:45-12 midnight.  Sometimes I crash right away, and other nights I'm up thinking about the future or the past.  Theo wakes between 6-6:40, and I nurse and try to get another hour of solid sleep if Daniel is up (and willing!) to take him downstairs for the day.  All that being said, I'm doing much better with sleep and functioning normally these days.  I don't miss the nights being up 3-5 times tending to an irrational baby who just.wont.sleep. 

That point can bring me to my anxiety regarding having more children.  It's a hot question these days.  It seems to be the FIRST one from other moms when they meet me and Theo.  "So, when's baby #2 coming??"  My go to answer is always, "Another baby?  Years, not months away... I'll tell you that much." 

I want more.  I NEED more.  But I don't know if I can do it.  Maybe my tune will change after we've been in a solid, predictable sleep schedule for a few more months (or YEARS), but right now I'm seriously doubting my ability to go through the trenches of sleep deprivation again. 

I do want more children though.  I want them because I always pictured having more than one (living) child.  I want to have siblings for Theodore to grow up with.  And, I want to have more children because I'm selfish, and I need to have another infant to take care of and breathe in.  I know I JUST said I cant do the whole sleep deprivation part again, but I need to experience having a baby for the reason of just having a baby.  Not to say I'm trying to get back what I lost when Alexander died; but I need to go through a pregnancy, and have a baby for the simple fact that we want to expand our family.  Not because our baby JUST died and we desperately NEED a living child to have and to hold. 

When we brought Theo home, I was a wreck.  I was living in a parallel state for so long.  Part of me imagining and realizing "this" is what life was supposed to be like 14 months ago... and simultaneously trying to be present with my new son.. who was RIGHT HERE... in the flesh...crying... nursing...cooing... And it was just such a fucking shame that I had to do both.  Because in turn, I felt like I was no where.  Not present.  Not 100%.  Trying for the perfect in between my two lives was such a stealer of real life.  2 babies later, and I STILL feel like I haven't had a "babymoon" stage.  Baby 1 - ripped apart by loss and living with a new grief.  Baby 2 - in shock and awe of what my life consisted of, and living in a state of what next...? and waiting for the other shoe to fall.  I'm really yearning for that normalcy that comes with a new baby.  I know I'm reaching.  I know I'm in la la land over here.  But it's what I feel.  It's where I'm at. 

These days (similar to last year, but minus the shock) I'm really trying to find a balance between staying in the moment and being present, and letting my mind wander to the land of "if Alexander had lived" scenarios. 

Example:  When Theo turned 6 months, if Alexander had lived, that's the age he would have been when we got pregnant with Theo.  When Theo was 7 months, if Alexander had lived, that's the age he would have been at my sisters wedding.  When Theo turned 14 months, if Alexander had lived, that's the age he would have been when Theo was born.  My sister had a baby in September 2013, almost 5 months to the day after Theo was born.  If Alexander had lived, I would have had a 19 month old toddler (instead? as well?). 

I love Theo.  I want nothing more of him.  He cant be any more perfect.  There isn't an aspect about him I wish were different.  I'm desperately trying not to make him living proof of all that I once lost. 


I am not sad every day like I once was.  I am not depressed and down on my life.  But I'm also not extremely happy.  Like, that extreme happy that just eats you up and makes you want to constantly sing songs from your favorite movie soundtrack.  I'm not comfortable or complacent with how everything has panned out.  I often want to run away.  Pick up and move to the other side of the country... or world. 

I wonder about other blm's (and I mean on a WORLD WIDE, EVERY ONE THAT EVER EXISTED type of "other" statement) and if everyone is doing a whole lot better than I am.  I know where I get hung up on things.  And it's primarily related to family comparisons and timelines [read: should be 19 month gap between my first and my sister's first].  There is still an ugly, scowling, bitter woman who can look at other people with their families and think, that used to be me dammit!  I know I need to work on a lot.  I was commenting to Daniel the other day that I used to be a person that really wasn't affected by other people and their accomplishments/achievements/life plans ... and the list goes on.  I was really walking in my own shoes.  My stride felt exactly right, and no matter what pace anyone else was running the race at, I felt just fine with what I had going on.  Now?  Well shit.  Now is when all that bitter, angry, ugly stuff comes up when I catch wind of the latest news on how so-and-so is doing in their pregnancy, or new baby, or first baby or whatever.  (BLM'S EXCLUDED)

I'm missing a bit of how easy everything once felt. 

I know this is my battle to overcome.  No one else's life should have an impact on how I manage my feelings.  No one else's life should determine whether I'm able to find a state of being ok with my own. 

WAY easier said than done...these days.


I've been having trouble finishing this post as Theo has been up for the last few paragraphs.  He plays behind me, and makes his way over and reaches for items on my desk.  He chatters and brings me things.  His little doe eyes stare up and beg for interest and response into every item he evaluates.  My heart explodes and my chest feels so achy I could cry.  I love him.  I am in love with every cell in his body.  His essence and around-ness brings me a comfort I cant put into words.  He saves me every day, over and over with his simple existence. 

And I know my love for him is different because his older brother isn't here.  I know the feelings I have for him and the role he has in my life are complexed by the tragic fact that my first born child died. 

I know nothing will ever be better because of Alexander dying.  But I hope that my love for my living child(ren) is only ever richer because Alexander existed.