Saving Me – In More Ways Than One

For the most part, most of my days I feel like my life is completely out of my control. I feel as if I’m constantly tumbling, arms and legs everywhere and no sense of up or down. At my lowest, I run out of hope that things will ever get better. I wonder what is the point of making myself go through the motions. Most of the things I do are because I am supposed to do them not because I want to. I am not at my lowest all the time but once every 1 or 2 days, something happens that just destroys me. I end up sobbing on the floor and after a few minutes my thoughts turn to how I am so sick of the way things are and how nothing and no one can make things better. At my highest points I’m able to find something to genuinely smile about, without having to remind myself to physically lift the corners of my mouth.

Today was one of those days.

Constantly when we go back to that day there is only one memory that brings us comfort. February 12th and 13th were without a doubt the worst days of my life (followed closely by May 3). But through that absolute unimaginable nightmare we had one saving grace, one beacon of light, our nurse, K. (I won’t use her full name). That wonderful angel of a woman saved me that day in more ways than one. She never left my side. She held my hand. She coached me. But most importantly, she showed so much love and compassion and respect to my family and my baby girl. She was the one who took her and bathed her, and dressed her so we could have those ONLY few precious moments where I would ever get to hold her. She cried with us, and her heart broke for our little girl too. She visited me in my hospital room the day after to check on me. And after they discharged me I never knew how to contact her. I wanted so many times to reach out and tell her how much she meant to me and my family. We talk about her so often and are so thankful that we had her but I had no way to tell her.

Today as I was getting ready to go back to the clinic to face another task in this endless nightmare, my phone pinged to let me know I had a message on facebook. It was K. A friend of mine who is a nurse had mentioned me to her and she felt compelled to reach out and see how we were doing. And I got to say thank you. Not a drug induced loopy thank you in a hospital room through bleary eyes. But a real honest thank you. I told her that there is very little I remember from those 16 hours I spent in the labour and delivery room, but I remember her, and her kindness. And I told her how very thankful I was for her. She insisted that she was just doing her job, but what she did for us was so far beyond what is ever expected of anyone. There’s doing your job, and there’s doing what she did. So I thanked her, and I cried my heart out as I typed, but I also smiled. And again I find myself thanking her, this time for reaching out and providing me the opportunity to thank her, even though there is no way I could repay her. I am forever indebted to her in gratitude.

A lot happened at the clinic today, I met with the manager of the clinic to talk about how I was treated two weeks ago. A lot that I want to write about. But today I want to pay my thanks to K. I will never forget how she made me feel in my darkest hour. When I most wanted to let go, she made me hold on. And I will never forget that. I just wish I could repay her.

Better

People keep telling me not to think about it. They keep making references to “when you get better” and ask me if I’m starting to feel more like myself yet. None of those things are ever going to happen. I have a gaping hole in my being that will never ever be filled. I think that everyone will start to understand me a little better when they start to grasp that concept. I know it’s hard, but I need you to imagine – how would ever “start to feel better” if you knew that you were responsible for your child dying? My body failed my perfect little  five pound, one ounce, eighteen inch long baby girl. And as much as it wasn’t my fault, I am the only one responsible.  

I spent the entire evening looking at pictures of the only time I’ll ever get to hold my first born child, making a memory book instead of writing firsts in a baby book. There’s no room for better here. So please stop referencing this mythical place called better. I need to find solid ground in coping. 

Holding on

I don’t remember much from those first few days after we lost Everlee. There are very few moments that stick out – The doctor in the case room touching my knee and looking me straight in the eye saying “it means your baby died” is one of them. Everything else just sort of blurs together as if I’m replaying the whole thing through my own tear blurred eyes.

But in the last few days I’ve had a memory come back that haunts me. At her funeral, during the wake, I remember so vividly right now hugging people as if they were the only thing keeping me standing. Like if I held on tight enough that somehow everything would be ok, like I could find all of the answers inside of someone’s arms. Dear friends, family members, co workers, strangers..l hugged them all as if they were the only thing keeping me grounded.

And in retrospect it’s not so far from the truth. I can’t tell you how many times over the past three and a half months that I have thought how much better off I would be if I was with Everlee. Not that I actually entertained making that happen, don’t get me wrong. But if God – if there is a God – had to take my baby girl from me, why put me through all of this pain, why not take me too? Or better yet, why not let me take her place? And without the arms of all of those people who hugged me that day, sent me their hugs from afar, or have even bothered to reach out and let me know they were thinking of us – I honestly have no idea where I would be. Those warm hugs, then and now, mean more to me than anyone will ever know. Even though I may not always respond to emails, or texts, or phone calls (because sometimes I still choke on my words and they end up as hot stinging tears on my cheeks instead) those gestures mean the world to me. I wish I never had to learn this lesson, but sometimes in the greatest of adversities you get to know who your greatest allies are, and you all are mine.

My blog reached 30,000 visitors this week. That’s 30,000 people who now know that Everlee was here, and she was loved more than anything on this earth can measure. And that means more to me than almost anything.

I often have this reoccurring dream, I’ve had it my whole life. I dream that I can fly, but I really have no control over it and I find myself floating away, fighting to keep myself on the ground. I try holding on to things to help me find my way and navigate a world that isn’t made for flying people but its difficult. Sometimes I just can’t grab what I want. Last night I had this dream and I was trying to hold on to Everlee but I just couldn’t grasp her.. She kept slipping away. But other people I know – maybe even you – were there to hold me down and keep me from floating away. It hurt that I couldn’t get to hold my baby girl, but I was so thankful that I had all of you there to hold me and keep me where I needed to be.

Thank you all. I love you.

Further

I’ve spent the majority of the week between on the verge of tears and on the verge of having some sort of violent emotional explosion. I’ve really been feeling the strain of being alone for so many hours of the day with nothing to distract me but my thoughts and the incessant drone of Netflix (currently consuming Gossip Girl at an alarming rate – mind Doritos at its finest)

I’m torn between thoughts of my beloved baby girl, and a growing hatred for my doctor and a loathing of my inability to convince her to allow us to proceed with fertility treatments because of my weight – well my BMI.

And the more I dwell on that the more angry I get. Yes, I’m carrying extra weight. I always have and I always will. But I had a baby three months ago – of course I have weight to lose right now. But aside from that, if BMI is supposed to be an indicator of other health issues. But my (non pregnant) blood pressure is perfect. My cholesterol is perfect. I have no signs of diabetes. Doctors ask me if I run marathons with my heart rate. I’m healthy, isn’t that the important thing?! I honestly feel so frigging helpless in every single aspect of my life. I’ve lost 6lbs in the last 7 days, and I still feel just as stuck.

I’ve been trying to get out of the house a little more, I’m told its good for me. But every time I do I just end up feeling more horrible. I want to curl into a ball in my bed and cry more and more. I miss my little girl so much it hurts. The more time that passes the further I feel from her and I don’t know what to do to keep her close.

The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
The little one we long for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says of our love for you.
~ Author Unknown

Nightmares

I slept for about 3 hours last night. That’s one of my better nights I’ve had at home. But the nightmares keep coming. Every single night I dream that I’m back in that hospital room. Every single night I relive those horrible 16 hours but in the end I never get to hold her again. Not even for a second. All I need is one more minute. Not even my own subconscious can give me that.

Last night also I dreamed I went back to work. I have those nightmares a lot, that I’m forced to go back before I’m ready. I was in a seminar about something and started feeling completely overwhelmed and started breaking down into tears, so I excused myself to the washroom. When I got there a bunch of people I knew from various stages of my life were there – old teachers, ex boyfriends, high school classmates. They all started to verbally attack me. Each of them took turns pointing out all of the things I did wrong while I was pregnant.

“Why did you travel so much?! Don’t you know that’s what killed your baby?!”

“I saw you eat that turkey sandwich, didn’t you know sandwich meat would kill your baby?!”

“You shouldn’t have pushed yourself so hard, you killed your baby”

“You’re so fat! You killed your baby”

“You killed your baby”
“You killed your baby”
“You killed your baby”

Not even when I sleep can I get a moment to breathe. It’s no wonder why my mind doesn’t let me sleep if this is what it has to face.

Relearning How To Live

These past few days I have felt alone. Not lonely. Alone. Constantly surrounded by love and support, but so very much alone inside my own head. There are a lot of thoughts in my head and things my body is going through and I go through them alone. I have to question everything my body is doing. I have to lose the weight. I have to think about the fertility treatments to come. And there’s no one that can lessen that stress. It’s all on me. I’m in it alone and all Darcy or anyone can do is cheer me on.

I feel like everyone I know has returned to the world of the living. Even Darcy has returned to work this week because he had to (not because he wanted to). I’m happy that he has a distraction in that. I still can’t even fathom returning to that part of my life right now. I have a hard enough time pulling myself out of bed in the morning. Showering is a chore most days and the thought of talking to most people makes my stomach churn. I’m still clinging hopelessly to the land of the dead.

I thought I knew what grief was before Everlee died. Overwhelming sadness, longing perhaps. I had no idea that grief is forgetfulness, self-centeredness, anger, moodiness, wanting to be alone when in a group and in a group when alone. Grief is hungry and desperate and pulling hair out from discomfort. It is fear. Times ten thousand. It is the feeling of shrinking and starving. Grief is obsession and living in the past.

I never manage to make my grief sound as ugly as it feels. Constantly, people tell me they cry when they read what I write. And it’s peculiar to me. I don’t feel like I’m capturing 1/100th of what I feel, and just that little piece of me is enough to send others to pieces. If only they knew. If only you knew. In person I try so hard to remain calm. Even gracious. When people ask me how I’m doing I respond with things like “As well as can be expected” or “I’m trying to take it one day at a time”. People tell me how strong I am. But inside I am yelling at myself, tearing myself apart “Oh my God. My baby is dead. I can’t believe my baby is dead. All of my hopes and dreams and my baby are dead”.

I’ve been trying to relearn how to live and find stable ground since my world came crashing down. I’ve been quiet. I’ve wailed. I’ve yelled, screamed and smashed things. I’ve lost my faith and trust. I written many words. Most of all I’ve wanted to die, and decided to live.

Weight of the World – Pt 2

Every day since the 12th of February has been hard. Some have just been harder than others. This week has been full of the harder days. Monday was awful. After my doctors appointment and after the facebook fiasco I felt as though everything had happened yesterday. Any progress I had made forward was gone. I spent all of Monday night curled on the couch crying and and feeling sorry for myself. I hope with everything inside of me that that moment was my final rock bottom. I can’t possibly imagine going lower – but then again I’ve thought that several times over the past three months. I have been repeatedly kicked in the face. Broken and beaten. 

Tuesday morning I crawled out of bed a rumpled mess, my eyes were swollen and my throat was sore from crying all night long. But I had a job to do. If I’m to make my little girlie a big sister I have to lose the weight. Even if I don’t agree with my doctor. I went back to Empowering You. The place that helped me do this in 2010

Image

Back then it wasn’t about a number. I have always struggled with my weight and my self image my entire life (much like every girl). After spending my teenaged years fluctuating my weight and losing weight in the most unhealthy ays possible, when I went to Empowering You in 2010 it wasn’t about the number on the scale anymore. It was about feeling better about myself. It was about feeling comfortable in my own skin and being able to walk into any store and be able to buy clothes at my will. And I got to that point.   Not with pills, or supplements or special foods. I never looked at the number on the scale. I had no idea how much I weighed. And I was happy. (And I need to thank the amazing Brenda Barry, the owner of EY for that, and for giving me some hope on Tuesday.)

My doctor has stolen that attitude from me because she’s made it about the archaic concept of BMI.    Despite the fact that I could lift my doctor over my head, my muscle mass seemingly plays no role in the equation. Height and weight. That’s all she cares about. You’d be shocked to know how much I weigh. I’m seemingly dense, imore ways than one. But she’s made it about a number on a scale. She’s made it my personal vendetta. As of Tuesday I had 47lbs to lose.  As of yesterday I have 43lbs to lose. 4lbs gone and 4lbs closer to shoving it in her face. 

And I hate that it’s not about how I feel anymore. I hate that it’s only about that number for me. But I have nothing else to focus on. My dead baby girl who I love more than anything on this earth. And a number on a damn scale. This is what my life has become. And it hurts more than anything. 

I don’t know how much more I can take

I don’t even know where to start.

I apologize in advance. This entry will probably be long winded. Full of run on sentences . Disjointed. And absolutely full of self loathing. But today was a nightmare. People over use that word. But today was a true, honest nightmare I mean, I knew when I woke up this morning it would suck. But I had no idea I would feel this incredibly awful. I feel like any gain I’ve made in the past three months has been completely over shadowed.

We got the autopsy results back today.

Walking into the doctors office set the tone. I saw a coworker. She obviously had no idea what had happened (I have no idea how that’s possible). She came up and smiled and asked me how far along I was. I was so utterly dumbfounded that I just replied “I’m not pregnant”. She hugged me and said she was sorry and told me shed been through fertility issues and shed be happy to talk to me any time. She had no Clue. And I was too shocked to respond and tell her what had happened. She walked away and I broke down.

And then we waited in that awful little room. The one where I had all of my prenatal appointments. The one where I heard her heartbeat for the last time. And the silence was deafening. The anxiety thick in the air. The doctor walked in and I held my breath and braced for it.

My only comfort is that Everlee was perfect. She was completely fine. Until she died. There was nothing wrong with her. No chromosomal defect. No disease. She was flawless. Had she been delivered just a few hours earlier I would be holding her right now.

They officially confirmed that it was a placental abruption. My blood pressure issues were a result of problems with my placenta. That’s ultimately what caused it to detach. And kill my baby. We know what happened. It doesn’t make it any easier to know. I thought it might. But it doesn’t.

It hurts worse.

I then tried to start the conversation about when we could start fertility treatments. The answer was like a blow to the head.

Because this has happened I am now at a higher risk of it happening again. And there’s not much that can be done about that. Except lose weight. My doctor said that the only thing within my control is to get back to the point I was at before I got pregnant. The smallest I’ve ever been. She won’t even consider helping us until then. She said my weight likely played a role in what happened. Her resident tried to explain that this kind of thing can happen to anyone, no matter what their weight. But that this was a risk factor that we have some control over. But my doctor made it sound like because I am fat my baby died. I don’t care what else she said, that’s all I heard. I feel like, now more than ever, it’s my fault. And I can’t even start to fathom trying to have another child until I’m not so fat. She even went so far to say that I could get put on a list for gastric bypass. I didn’t know I was that big, I didn’t know I had let it get that far. I’ve never felt this awful about myself . Ever. Nothing about this has been easy. Nothing, but it seems as though I can’t ever catch my breath. I’m tired. As I keep getting kicked in the ribs while I’m down. I’m going to lose the weight. I’m going to fight harder than I’ve ever fought before to lose it.

But until I am actively working to get pregnant again I can’t possibly see myself moving forward (not moving on) mentally. I am stagnant. I am broken. Fat and broken.

So Darcy and I came home and tried to digest as best we could our latest defeat. We both posted something on Facebook that aptly described how we were feeling in the moment.

Then an acquaintance of Darcy, who is pregnant, updated her status. Apparently she’s sick of hearing about dead babies because she’s trying to have a positive pregnancy. I hope you’re reading this. I really hope you are because I want you to know how incredibly sorry I am that the death of my child makes you feel mildly uncomfortable. Good news is that you can log off of your Facebook and go on about your day and dream about your perfect little baby, much like I used to. But I have to sit here and live in this hell without my child. I’m sorry that you are ‘forced’ to read our status updates and see us trying our best to remember a little girl who brought us so much joy for a much too short period of time. But most of all I am so sorry that you are so completely oblivious and insensitive. I hope you never have to feel like this. i hope you never have to wake up and think for a split second that you hear your dead baby crying or forget for that instant that you’re still pregnant only to realize how empty you are. Luckily you won’t have to look at your updates anymore, because we did something you should have done if you were so bothered by the loss of our child.

I’ve discovered that I’m much more bothered by pregnant people than I am by babies. I’ve spent some time over the last two weeks with various friends with brand new babies. And they bring me a sour sort of happiness. I love them all. But they remind me sorely of how much I miss my Everlee. Pregnant people make me nauseous. I feel like they see me as the grime reaper when they know what’s happened, and when they don’t know I feel like I want to yell at them and tell them what could happen. I told my psychologist about this today and she assures me that it’s normal with post traumatic stress. It doesn’t feel normal. It feels awful.

I’m just beaten down. Worn out. I’m tired. I need to catch my breath. But the blows keep coming. Left and right. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’ve always been down oneself about my weight. I’ve always hated by body. But now I feel more and more that I’m starting to hate myself too. I just wish I could wake up from this nightmare.

Mother’s Day.

To be honest, when I booked this trip I hadn’t really thought about the fact that it would be ending on Mother’s Day. I’m sitting in an airport in Ottawa right now awaiting our final flight home. It’s kind of fitting I guess that I would return on the day of all days that would remind me that I am a childless mother.

Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t matter what day it is (Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Tuesday.. ), I never forget that, I always remember what I have lost. But I guess my greatest fear is that those around me will try to forget it’s Mother’s Day so that they won’t upset me. And I don’t fault anyone who tries to do that. How could I? How could anyone possibly know what to do. From society’s perspective (and mine) I have gone through the worse thing that anyone could go through – losing a child. I guess all I can ask is that people acknowledge the fact that I am a mother. I don’t ever stop thinking about it, so you bringing it up isn’t stirring up any emotion that I’m not already feeling. In fact knowing you remember my precious little girl is even more comforting to me than you could possibly know. She is my everything and hearing you say her name makes her feel even closer to me.

I don’t ever get the opportunity to feel like a normal mother. Ever. I have tried to sit and talk to people about my experience in pregnancy and childbirth and people look away as if its something that shouldn’t be discussed. Do you want to forget the birth of your child? Neither do I. Ever. Every kick, every craving, every flutter, every moment of being pregnant brought me the greatest joy I could have ever thought possible. Being pregnant with Everlee was literally a dream come true for me. Please don’t deny me that. Let me share my moments of pregnancy and childbirth. They’re the only moments of motherhood I was ever given. Don’t rob me of that by pretending they didn’t exist. Motherhood is more than contractions, it’s a state of mind. From the moment we know that life is inside of us we feel the responsibility to protect and defend that human being with every fibre of our soul. But that wasn’t a promise my body could keep. But I’m not any less a mother. The longer I live without her, the more convinced I am that surviving this has changed me. All of the anger, the bitterness, the guilt, the despair..I look at it differently now.

So on Mother’s Day, help me not feel like what I feel like all of the time. I carried her. I felt her move. I gave birth to her. She is my everything. Because she isn’t here I don’t get treated like other moms. I need to be remembered too. I get why you might not want to say anything. I really do. But I already feel this huge void because I don’t have my daughter here to celebrate with me. Every time you pretend it didn’t happen it takes away some of the few moments if motherhood I have. She was still born. I am still a mother.

In the meantime, a lot of my friends are celebrating their very first Mother’s Day. So happy Mother’s Day ladies. Thank you for being amazing friends to me and amazing mothers to your children, thank you for being exactly the support I need in this saddest time of my life, while you are in the happiest of yours.

And to the two mothers in my life, my mom and mother in law, Everlee’s nanny and grandma: thank you for teaching me how to be a mom, even if my baby isn’t here with me. Thank you for understanding and supporting me through this hell and all of the other ups and downs life has brought me. And thank you for being amazing grandmothers to our angel.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone.