Monday, June 27, 2011

Right where I am 3 years 4 months and 2 weeks later

The nights are not so long anymore, when the street lights came on and porch lights emerged in the dark is where my grief emerged and the nights seemed to carry on forever.

I think now the days seem longer and the happier moments are closer together than the death grip of grief’s hauntings.

I still sometimes find myself on that horrible rollercoaster and the times when out of nowhere my grief band aid has been ripped off.... so hard and so fast I feel like I'm bleeding again.

But I don't feel suffocated all the time anymore by my emotions and my hearts longing to see, hold and touch my son. I will never quite missing him more than I will ever been able to put into words of course.

From time to time I am stopped dead in life’s tracks when I hear Ethan's name, or see a little three year old boy. I still feel the tug on my heart when I simple reminders of him pass before my eyes or ears.

I still get absolutely blindsided sometimes. I don't understand people, who have babies and kill them, don't raise them or whatever the case may be. I have my days where I feel like I am being kicked while I am down where I get jealous of my friends with three year olds, because I am seeing all that I am missing out on.

I still cannot and will not look at a friend from high schools pictures of her son Ethan who is only months younger than my Ethan would be. I have never told her any of this and I don't think I ever will. I still am hurt she used my sons name when it seems so sacred now.

A year ago I was mad at myself for not spending all my extra time at the cemetery to honor, and baby my son’s grave as a way to parent him. I now realize he isn't there and he doesn't care if I show my outward expression of my love at his grave. Ethan knows we carry him daily in our hearts, minds and on our lips as we say his name.

I can finally three years later speak his name or share his story without a meltdown, now I can tell it with just my eyes welling with tears.

A year ago I would feel a lump in my throat if I had the chance to tell his story... the story of many wingless wonders. Just because I wasn't sure how the audience I was speaking to whether it was a simple person on the street, a nurse or another family would take it, I always feared how others would handle his story. I would feel my knees buckle in fear, now my heart skips a beat when I get that opportunity to speak my son’s name, and tell the story so many people live daily.

For the first two years I blamed myself for Ethan's death. I was his mother and I was suppose to protect him and I failed miserably. I thought maybe I had done something so horrible as a person that this was my punishment, or maybe we were pushing our luck by trying to have a third child when we already had two perfectly heatlhy children at home. I still tug o war with this because as a mother its our instinct to protect our children and I couldn't do that. And I still have a hard time with knowing whether or not his death was painful and the pure image of him struggling makes me sick. But I am not horrified by it anymore I am holding onto hope that his death was quick and painless and that he knows I would of done anything to save him.

I don't hate God anymore though. I remember spending the first two years more mad at him than ever, more resentful he would let such a thing happen to me and my family, to so many families every single day. Now I find myself on my knees more often than not. Thanking him for all I have been given for allowing me to be Ethan's mom.
No one will ever be unable to understand that unless they too have experienced such a loss.
I think the day we lost Ethan rather than going on about his business he was on his knees crying with us. He knows the heaviness of my heart as he too lost his son.
I have Hope for the day I get to see my son again rather than complete anguish that he has been taken from me.

In the beginning I felt destroyed by grief and I wanted to die, I just wanted the pain sucking life I was living to end. I thought at times if I was dead I would be so much happier because I would be with my son. It seemed so much easier than living this day to day vicious cycle. Then it clicked I couldn't do that to my children, to any of them. It wasn't fair to my other children and Ethan would probably be disappointed in me. Even though at times a bottle of pills and death in my sleep seemed so much more comforting.

I don't get so down on myself when I have those bad days where grief takes over. I allow it because when I allow it I feel closer to Ethan than ever, and if I allow it then I feel better later. Not always right away, in fact never right away. And the evenings are still when grief seems to sneak up on me. But I can almost always guarantee when I wake up I will feel better.

Sure I may have the world’s worst headache, but it was so worth it in the end. It's never easy and it always sucks but I tell myself if I get through one day its one day closer to the day I am reunited with my son.

A year after we lost Ethan and delivered our rainbow baby I put myself into counseling because the pain was too much to bear alone anymore. I felt so much guilt for having another child after losing Ethan like he would feel we just up and replaced him which will never ever be able to be done, and then extreme guilt for our new baby that he would feel like a replacement and feel he had big shoes to fill and would never be able to do so. I now know my crazy wild fun loving rainbow baby was sent her to fill our hearts with hope, love and joy again despite the rain clouds we have hope now and I know in my heart that Ethan would want us to be happy and Corbin our rainbow baby will never know more than love and that he has a brother who watches him from above.

I still struggle with PTSD; it’s something I am learning I will probably always tug-a-war with. I will always fear losing one of my kids now, because before it was just one of those things you hear of. Now it’s one of those things that really do happen and it happened to me. So I know I’m not immune to it. But I'm slowly learning to let go that I can't control every outcome in life even if I want to. Even if I were to bubble wrap my kids it doesn't mean someday they won't remove the bubble wrap to experience life and something will tragically happen. But this is a hurdle I will keep trying to conquer. We have to live everyday now as our last responsibly remembering to make each moment count even if the end result is another loss.

I will admit that as a protective mechisim sometimes even now I find myself trying to make sense of this all. I still fight from time to time with myself that I delivered my dead son, I held him and I burried him. That the pictures of him on the wall are really pictures of one of my children. It doesn't usually seem like that all really happened. It seems like a dream and I am not sure if any of that will ever change. Or if in fact its healthy. I have no idea at all.

None of this means I don't miss my son that I don't have my days, weeks, months where I am mad and sad, and have fallen under grief’s horrible grip again. It just means my grief has transformed from suffocating, intolerable pain into hope and acceptance of this life journey I am on.

I've accepted that this is the way my life is and will be and the only thing I can do is chose where to go from here.

Where I chose to go from here is to carry his life with mine, make him proud and do an amazing job by raising my other children in a way they all will be proud of. I carry Ethan in everything I do. I am a better mother for it, a better friend, and overall better person because I have experienced life’s most horrible tragedy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another not so happy ending......

I'd like to think of myself as a pretty strong person when it comes to watching television shows. But last night I was brought to my knees by an innocent show directed at teens.

The Secret Life Of An American Teenager captured the devestation, dibilitating reality of infant loss. More so of stillbirth.

Watching her sit in the hospital bed and crumble brought me back to where my life started and half my heart left me just 4 days shy of 44 months ago.

I felt my heart ache all over again. I felt that total suffication, and complete heartache as if it was me in that hospital room again.

I still sit in shock from time to time that this is my life, that I delievered a dead child, I buried him, and that there will always be something missing.

Reading comments on the fb page for the show just upset me more. I had to keep reminding myself that until it happens to you, you are totally clueless. And a lot of the posters are young teens who are uneducated.

I completly commend abc for writing a script most were uncomfortable with, that they showed that pregancy isnt always this cute chubby baby with a happy ending. And that there is sometimes a darker side and much harder reality to pregnancy than late night feedings, unconsolable babies, and partners that dont always stick around after the birth.

Instead the is a life changing, world shattering possiblilty in pregnancy. The thought of a dead baby made many of these posters upset and uncomfortable. Many made comments that were hurtful to those who are walking this lonely road. That almost always loss blindsides you. It doesn't matter if you took every single prenatal vitamin, went to every appt, watched what you ate and worked out. It just doesn't matter stillbirth does not discriminate. It happens to high class and low. And no matter who it happens to your not prepared to burry your child. It's not the natural order of life. Mother's and father's don't bury their children it should be the other way around.

The reality of loss is we didn't just lose a baby we lost our furture hopes and dreams. I had my sons room all set and hospital bags packed. My children called their baby brother by his name long before he was here. So now instead of counting fingers and toes, birthdays, milestones like walking, first tooth, first date, graduation, driving. We are sending ballons to heaven, and birthdays are filled with sad tears, we spend the rest of our lives trying to make sense of something that will never make sense. We don't get to sit and ponder over what cool Christmas toys they want, instead we sit graveside trying to decide which decorations are the best since that's all we can do.

I had to step back from time to time and sometimes I felt compelled to write back with some educational facts. Some were horrified at the thought of naming this dead baby, I had to remind them that naming the baby was one of the most healing things, that just because the baby died doesnt mean you dont still love them. Some of the people were posting how fake the reaction to the baby dying were. I had to tell them that when you are grieving you act like a different person, that people who arent directly involved with the baby would infact cry.

My only hopes are that ABC will continue to correctly portray infant loss and that in a few episodes they aren't just all better or over it. I hope they go through all those changes that happen in your life, all the different stages of grief.

I don't think for me I have ever really been angry. I have been sad, devestated, hurt, shocked and I think more than anything numb and in denial.

But last night anger came on stronger than I have ever experienced.

I was angry that this was the life picked for me, that my kids had to learn of such a raw loss so young. That until last night I was never so mad at my nursing staff. I was never so lost in my life as I was that day and yet I layed in my hospital bed alone, numb and it would of been nice to have the hand of someone who knew a few words of comfort, a counselor, someone to walk me thorugh all the things I could do with Ethan so that three years later I wouldn't have so many regrets as I do now.

But I found myself devestated at another not so happy ending.......