I hate when people call me brave. That’s probably a silly thing to say. I don’t take offense to it, I just don’t get it. Being brave would seem like a choice to me. I didn’t choose this path, so I didn’t choose to be brave. It’s funny how things sound coming out of others mouths and how they bounce around in your head to become something completely different. My ears hear “You’re so brave”. My mind hears “Congratulations on making it another day without throwing yourself off of a cliff”, as if I had some other viable alternative through surviving another day without her. I wake up and breathe in and out and move forward without her because I -have- to, not because it’s a brave choice I’ve made.
I’ve come to the realization in the last few days that I am now part of a scary statistic. From what I have read, still birth affects 1 in every 200 pregnancies in North America (incidences are higher in third world countries). That’s a lot. More than I ever thought. I remember being warned about miscarriage early on, that losing the baby was a possibility before that seemingly magic twelve week mark but after that it never seemed to enter into the realm of possibility. As the pregnancy progressed there were conversations about preeclampsia, downs syndrome, common birth defects… why did nobody ever warn me of the risks of still birth? Nobody ever talks about the sad side of pregnancy. I remember saying a thousand times to people when they asked if we knew if we were having a boy or a girl: “I don’t care, as long as he or she is healthy”. Why did it never occur to me to say “I don’t care, as long as he or she is alive”?
Before (capital B), I dreamed that each month I would take a picture of my baby with this stuffed Winnie the Pooh that Mom and Dad (Nanny and Poppy) had bought for their first grandchild when they went away on vacation last October. The one that I clutched to my chest at her funeral. It’s just big enough that if I propped my precious baby up along side of it every month and posted the pictures to facebook everyone would be able to see just how much our little baby had grown. This is one of the many “never” thoughts I have in the run of each and every single day. This will never be her one month birthday. Not to anyone but me, at least.
I haven’t exactly decided if it was morbid, though it very well may be, that when the clock struck midnight last night I silently muttered to myself “Happy one month birthday, Everlee”, The same way I used to talk to her when she was still alive, still in my stomach. I decided to post it to facebook anyway. To me, even though she was stillborn, Everlee was still born. February 13th will always be her BIRTHday to me, it will never symbolize the day she died, even if we had to say goodbye before we ever really got to say hello.
She would have been a month old today, I should be propping her up against that soft and squishy Winnie the Pooh for her pictures.
It’s hard to believe, after all that has happened, that I was so scared of the labour process throughout my entire pregnancy. I was petrified of the pain and what it would do to my body. I was scared my body would never be the same. Who knew that it would be the easiest and least painful thing I would go through that day? Who could have realized it wasn’t labour that would change me forever? Certainly not me. Certainly not the people who loved Everlee the most. My baby was born healthy and beautiful, like I had always hoped. My baby just wasn’t born alive. There’s no bravery in that.
People thought I was brave or strong, too, although I never felt it. Although I didn’t exactly “hear” it in so many words, I can certainly relate to your sentiment and intrepretation of brave as “Congratulations on making it another day without throwing yourself off of a cliff.”
Choosing to share yout story with others is brave! Choosing to allow others to know what you are thinking and how you are feeling is brave! Choosing not to clam up and pretend it never happened is SO brave! Maybe you don’t feel brave in the most obvious way… but my dear – you are brave! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
There are others out there who have walked in your shoes (and unfortunately many more who will), what a beautiful way of sharing your thoughts and feelings. Please know you are not alone and absolutely NOTHING about speaking to your precious Angel is morbib. I speak to my “angel” all the time…….. he would have been 18 on Feb 21.
This is beautiful. I’ve never thought about the difference between stillborn and still born.
Happy 1 month birthday Everlee. I witness you through your mother’s eyes today. I witness you both.
I am so very sorry that your baby was stillborn. My baby Sam was stillborn and would have been 11 years old on February 14th. I could never have written about my experience this soon after losing him — I was still in shock. I agree that no one talks about the possibility of stillbirth — it’s as if it never happens anymore. I remember blurting out to my doctor “But, this never happens anymore.”. I really believed that! I’ve written several posts on my blog about my experience and about things that have helped me — if you are interested at: http://jimbethmag.blogspot.com/search/label/Stillbirth
Tears being shed and prayers being said for you and your family.
Today, Rhonda and Darcy, and I thought I started the day out very “brave”, I went to work and tried to focus on the day ahead, several times, I saw myself floating off to Feb. 13/2013, which I can now save is the saddest, most unbelievable day in our lives. I tried to be brave as another Agent from another office hugged me and said they were so sorry. They have already delivered roses, but we both cried as she is a Grandma too. I then went off to the Dollar Store to get Easter treats for all the kiddies that are joining in our colouring contest for Easter. I was “brave” as I walked about the Easter stuff, until I say a bib “Baby’s First Easter”, then I saw the little bunny ears, that I wanted to have pictures of Everlee wearing. Then I bumped into someone else, that said they were so sorry. I was “brave” until I got to the car. Then I sat there and cried and cried. I don’t know how I drove home. Because I kept thinking, I don’t understand, how could this happen to such wonderful people. I know you are my children, but there is no people, I thought more deserving of a little baby. Everyone remarked, oh, they will be such good parents. Rhonda has such good ideas, she will be a perfect Mom, Darcy is so soft and gentle, he will be a perfect Dad. So I didn’t do very well being brave today either Rhonda. I wish I could take some of the pain away from both of you. I know you are both suffering beyond anyone’s comprehension. We just want you to know that we will be there for you. I know at this distance it is hard, but we are always hear to listen. We love you both so much and our darling little Everlee Rose McMeekin. “Grandma’s girl” that is how I think of her.
Rhonda, I’m only now discovering your blog and I just read each and every post you’ve made. My heart aches for what you, Darcy, and all your family and close friends must be going through. We’ve never met in person, and we’ve hardly even interacted in the virtual world, but I just wanted you to know that you have entered my thoughts several times. And each time that you do, despite the fact we don’t know each other personally, I want to somehow make things better. Life should never be so unfair.
I lost my first son, Jacob, at seven months. They delivered him four weeks after they first lost his tiny heartbeat. That was 21 years ago. I would like to say it gets easier. It doesn’t. I would like to say that when you have other children it will help to ease the pain. It won’t. But, if you are lucky, that space in your heart that is full of love, and right now surrounded by grief, will continue to grow until their is only love, and these plans that you made will become the joyous memories of the life that you were blessed to love, if only for a very short time. Peace be with you.
May her memory be eternal
I don’t know you but have been reading your blog and just read that you hate being called brave. You are brave. Sharing Everlee makes you brave.
I lost my daughter, Eleanor, almost four years at 37 weeks. I am very sorry that you are in the middle of this deep pain. I didn’t believe I was brave either. I will tell you that my loss did reveal that I am STRONG. In the days before my daughter was born, I was trolling through the supermarket check out, happily, casually, perusing the magazines and I saw something jump out at me “YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW”. I thought, well, thanks, that’s nice to know but it kind of echoed around in my head. Then, in two days time, while I am in the hospital being induced to deliver my sweet baby, that magazine, popped into my head and I while I certainly didn’t feel strong at the time or weeks afterwards, every horrible, awful event that I survived made me actually believe that I actually was strong. I had my husband buy the magazine but didn’t bother reading the article but I stared at the cover over and over.
This event will alter your life and scar you but you will grow from it and carry your daughter along with you. The pain eases and your life will rebuild but my heart hurts for you on your journey.
Beautiful name, Everlee. For all of you who who had your arms opened wide ready to love and cherish her, my deepest sympathy. Rhonda, you have opened the eyes of many of us who so often take life for granted, just floating along with what seems mundane, boring even. Please know the clouds will lift, the sun will shine again and you will smile for your baby girl who loves you, too. Hugs for you and yours. Thinking of you.
My son would have been 21-years-old. The pain has lessen but it will never disappear. Every year on his birthday I pause and think about him. That moment in time changed my life forever.
You brought me to tears this early a.m.
Reading your post instantly made my heart race and want to hop on a plane and give you a big hug. The fact that you celebrate Everly’s birthday is brave, the sheer act of writing and being vulnerable is very brave. It is your emotional catharsis that will allow you to heal. While it may take a while, the fact that you’re not hiding from what happened is the bravest thing I’ve ever witnessed. When you said, “…stillborn but she was still born” shows your strength and courage. Please know that you have a lot of love and support from New Jersey. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
You aren’t brave, you’re a survivor of grief. You’re a fighter of life. You are still here, you are a lost mommy just like me.
Thank you. I just read your blog. I wanted to hug you tight.