Sunday Synopsis

Toddler Cyberbullied Oh gosh, why is the internet such a mean place?  As the mother of child who would have grown up looking non-traditional, had she been given the chance to live, this really smarts.  And really, her daughter is totally cute! I often worry about thing I put out on the internet- I know I”m taking a risk, but it’s important for me to share my daughter.  Yes, people have freedom of speech.  But dont people have the moral obligation to be kind too?

Kissing skeletons: love has no labels  On a more upbeat note, some happiness is going around the internet right now- and here’s the story behind it.  Love the Down Syndrome feature 

One Day  For those of you with kids, who have experienced loss… oh my this is a simple, powerful portrait of what I imagine it must be like.

You need a new doctor- a nice reminder as a health care professional, myself, that our words can hurt.  I cringe reading these too.  I hope I am never featured.  I do recognize that sometimes things we say can be misinterpreted and sometimes it’s just a lack of training, knowing what to say.  We’ve all experienced people like that in the babyloss world. But some of these- geez.

Day 2- Heart

When my heart broke on February 15, 2015, I had so much love to give and nowhere to put it.   I needed something warm and needy to hold and pour all my pent up emotion all over.  I was preparing for a special needs child- all the love that a parent gives to their kid plus the organization and motivation to find the best therapists, to work with top specialists and to advocate for my child.  I was gearing up to use all this energy and it just sat heavy on my shoulders when I left the hospital without my baby.

For a while I focused that energy into digging, rock hauling and garden planting.  Garden sown and the fruits of my labor eaten, I needed another outlet.  Work took up time and energy, but not in any good way.  It hurts to care for women in pregnancy, hopeful for their own babies that would likely live, when all I wanted was for mine to be here.

On September 20, a day I will now think of as Muppet Day, we brought our little puppy home.  She has given me a place to put a little of my love.  She resides in my heart, helping me learn that I can love and care for another creature.

And if you look at her smooth belly, there is a little heart nestled there in her fur.

 

Day 2- Heart

Day 2- Heart

I want to remember this…

They called us back to the NICU.  We had been back in my labor room, away for only a few minutes and had spent the time calling family to tell them to come now; her time was short.  It is never a good sign to be called to the NICU.  Her oxygen sats were dropping.  Her chest xray showed a collapsed lung and another leaking air.  She looked so purple lying on the warmer.  Beeps of machines.  The whoosh of the ventilator.  Her oxygen levels flashed on the screen…58…54…55…54.   Those numbers should have been in the 90s; when we left they had been holding steady in the 80s.  I took it all in… my baby was dying.  They sat me in a comfortable chair and put up a privacy screen, perhaps so other families wouldn’t witness our suffering, perhaps so we could have our pain in private.  From where I sat I could see those numbers in the 50s and ached for my child.  Breathe, baby, breathe.  They nurse wanted to put her back on my chest- kangaroo care it’s called.  Preemie babies often fare better if they have time on their mother’s chest, skin to skin.  My baby was barely a preemie- only a month early, tipping the scales at over five pounds.  I figured they wanted her close to me as slipped away.

So the nurse put her listless body, spent from all the hard work just breathing, on my chest to rest.  Heart to heart we sat together.  As the chaplain was called and my parents rushed to be there, I whispered to my baby all the plans I had for her… snowboarding, the big yard we had for her to play in, the projects her daddy was going to build for her.  My chin rested on her head and my eyes were drawn to the screen displaying her vitals.  The numbers that had just been in the 50s were now creeping up to the 60s and 70s.  My midwife commented on her color, “She’s pinking up!”  We all watched in amazement as the warmth of my skin, my mere presence was it’s own kind of life support.  She clung to life just a little longer simply because she was with me.

I want to remember this.  During the six hours of my daughter’s short life, I worried she was in pain.  What was it like to be hungry for air?  To have tube down her throat? To be in such a bright room, whisked from the warm belly of her mom so soon after birth?  I want to remember that the time she spent on my chest was good time.  The whole of her life was not pain.  She knew me.  She felt loved and warmed and she could breathe.  My love reached her.  She knew me….

So much love.

I’ve never felt so much love before all this.  I thought I had- when I got married, when I was hospitalized (between the care packages and the visitors, I didn’t have time to be bored).  But I’m feeling it even more now.   Phone calls, texts and emails.  Comments on the blog.  Visitors who look at pictures. This is what gets me through the day.

 

“Condolence cards…  felt like oxygen, and only now do I fully understand why: to know that other people were sad made Pudding [my stillborn son] more real.” –Elizabeth McCracken

 

The cards have been pouring in.  And I savor every one.  I read the printed words and the handwritten ones.  It amazes me that there are so many different cards made to send to people who have lost a child, a baby, a daughter.  The have come from so many people.  My community has rallied- cards from people who I work with in the hospital and office.  I am surprised by some of them, people from other practices, people who came to calling hours, friend’s mothers and my parent’s friends, whom I’ve never met.  It’s lovely.  We now have a stack of cards next to Mabel’s photos and I want to tell her, see how many people wanted to meet you?  One of my midwives wrote in a text, “Amazing how attached one can feel with no time to get to know her.”  All this love makes me think of the times I didn’t send a card to someone.  That will change.  To know others are still thinking about me, about Chris and I, about Mabel, makes the days a little more bearable.

 

When people cry….. Hearing how others heard the news consoles me in a way.  Hearing how they cried when they heard about little Mabel.  Some still do when talking to me.  It helps.  Their tears make Mabel more real.  They validate my sadness.  This really did happen and it is really really sad.  It’s ok for me to be sad.  Because burying your child is one of the hardest things to do.  Because babies are supposed to live.  Because I have dedicated my career and lifestyle to help other people have babies and I should get one too. Because this just sucks.

 

I’m trying new things- the things that help others.  I did a hot yoga session with a friend (I should probably call it warm yoga- it was hot for me, but apparently it’s one of their coolest classes).  Yoga helps her distract and ease stress, so I gave it a try too.   I’ve also been invited to a dance-exercise class.  I have no rhythm, but I’ll probably try it.  My friends (and healthcare providers at that) want me back at bootcamp with them.  All good things to help clear the mind and rebuild the body.  People reaching out with what helps them, hoping it might help me.

 

And there is always the food.  I learned this early on in pregnancy, when my cousin brought two large containers of local ice cream.  And in the hospital- the chocolate, the cookies, the cheese that poured in.  People like to feed you when you’re pregnant.  They really like to feed you when you are hospitalized.  They can not feed you enough when you are bereaved.  Food has shown up on our doorstep.  From close friends locally to from my sister’s job in California.  Food is love.

 

At least while I wade through all sadness and grief, I have all this around me.  It doesn’t take my grief away, but it buoys me.  It reminds me that I’m not alone and that though I am so unfathomably sad, I am also loved.