Saturday, September 26, 2009

Surviving

On the season 6 premiere of Grey's Anatomy, Katherine Heigl's character, Izzie, talks about grief and this one part struck me pretty hard when I heard it.

"When it hurts so much you feel like you can't breathe, that's how you survive."

I had heard around facebook and twitter that this premiere episode was a hard one and it talked a lot about the stages of grief and I put off watching it because I wasn't sure I wanted to hear all of that right now. Nothing that happened in the episode pertained to my situation at all, but just knowing I can relate to what was being talked about was pretty hard.

When I heard Izzie say that line I was like "I sure hope that is true."

I seem okay on the outside, my exterior looks like I am surviving. People that look at me on the street, that pass me in the aisle at the store or that talk to me on the phone at work have no idea what I am going through on the inside. There have been plenty of days since Audrey died that I've felt like I can't breathe and I feel like the world is crashing down around me.

Tonight, I looked into our filing cabinet and found the envelope that has Audrey's footprints in it and I gave it glance and shoved it back in the drawer. I don't know why I did that but in that split second that I stared at them, it felt like I was living in some kind of alternate reality. Like her death never really happened, like I am stunned to think this is really happening. I was really pregnant, really growing a baby inside of me and I really gave birth to her but she was dead before she could even have the chance to live outside of my body.
Another quote I heard was "Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone."

Something I have often done since Audrey died was look at a person I pass on the street and wonder if they suffered a loss like mine, wondered if they know the pain that I know and live with every single day of my life. It's given me a new compassion for people and I have to say I am a lot more considerate of comments I make around people because you just never know if that person suffered something so tragic that your words trigger that even in their mind and it takes everything they have to breathe again.

"The very worst part is that the minute you think you're past it, it starts all over again."

One thing I have often thought since Audrey died was that I was having better days and just when I think, "Okay, I've got the hang of this..." there comes this whammy of a moment and I feel like I am knocked back down to square one again and I am left grasping for someone to save me and keep me from falling down.
Before Audrey died I was the happiest person in the world. I'd gone through some pretty crappy things growing up and a lot of things happened that very well could have ruined me and turned me into the person I am glad I never became. One thing I always prided myself on was never letting life bring me down. Sure, I had my bad days just like everyone else. Sure, I had moments that broke my heart into pieces and it felt like I'd never recover, but I did.

Then May 5th, 2009 came and it shook my very world and broke it completely. I've begun to put pieces of that world back together, piece by piece I have. I went back to work and while I still struggle with that at times, I try to do my best. My husband and I bought our first house and added a puppy to our family. Addison turned 3 years old and shows me on a daily basis just how hilarious and wonderful she is. I'm blessed with so much in my life, I know that. I'm aware of that. I work so hard to focus on that and remind myself that I have a good life. I've often heard "Life could always be worse..." and that's true but I had the worst happen to me. I lost my child. My child died. I gave birth, an occasion that is supposed to be the most joyous time in someone's life, only to have it ruined in the worst kind of way. It has scared me in ways no one can even imagine. I know I can never get pregnant again without that fear, that panic, that anxiety always looming over my head. I should be excited if I become pregnant again and while there may be that part of me that will feel that way, I just know without a doubt that I will be 100% completely terrified.... and that is honestly what holds me back from trying again.

I absolutely cannot go through a loss again. In no way, shape or form can I lose another baby. I'll never make it through that. I'm barely making it through this. I don't know how I do it somedays and right now, in this moment, I feel like I am slowly getting things together in my head but then tomorrow could change things and I'll feel like I am back to the beginning. I'll feel like I am back to May 5th and I'm hearing the words "I'm so sorry. There is no heartbeat."

The very second I heard those words it felt like the room was spinning, like everything around me was zoned out and I was struggling in my head to process what I just heard. I knew what he said but I was struggling to connect the thoughts in my head.

"It isn't just death we have to grieve. It's life. It's loss. It's change."

I am not just grieving the death of my child. I'm grieving so much more than that. I'm grieving for the life I should have right now. I am grieving for the child that should be asleep in my arms in this very second. I'm grieving for the loss of my hopes and dreams. I'm grieving for a life that I don't know how to live. Everything changed in that split second when the Doctor said the most horrific words any pregnant woman can hear. Nothing, no matter how hard I try will ever be the same again. My next pregnancy, should we choose to conceive again, will never be the happy and joyous occasion it should be. It will be one of fear and every emotion that goes along with it. I'm more terrified than I have ever been in my whole life.
There's so many times in life where you'll hear people tell you "You can't live your life surrounded by fear. You have to take that chance and just hope it all works out."

That's all fine and dandy when you talk about things like buying a house, a car, some big expense, going to school, whatever.....

I can't take that kind of risk when it comes to a child.

At 5 weeks pregnant, Audrey's heart was beating. At 21 weeks, her heart had stopped. One month I saw her on the ultrasound screen alive and well and the next month, I didn't.
I can't risk that happening again. While I hear all the time that the chances are low, the odds of that happening again are slim, I just can't gamble like that. I've never been the gambling type and I can't start now. Not with something so precious as a child's life, my child's life.

While the odds, the chances, the whatevers are lower of that happening a second time.... there's always that possibility and I just can't risk it.

"By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won't feel this way. It won't hurt this much."

I've often heard by a lot of women I've talked to that suffered this type of loss or a loss of their child that somehow, some way the days got better and life got easier to deal with and while it hurt when they thought about their child, it wasn't the type of hurt that crushed them and broke them into a crying mess like it did in the first few days, weeks and months after their death. I'm hoping and praying with everything inside of me that years down the road I can look back on my writings and just look back on my life and reflect on how far I've come as a person and how amazing life has turned out to be..... but no matter how less it hurts, no matter how much time has passed, the piece that should hold my heart all the way together will always be missing. I'll always, until my dying breath, ache for the child I never got to hold, the child that I loved from the second I saw the stick turn pink with two lines....

"And always, every time, it takes your breath away."

In the second or so that I looked over the paper with her prints on them it really did feel like my breath was taken away. I flashed back to the day I delivered her, the day that changed everything for me and I just couldn't believe it really happened. I guess since I don't have the result that I expected to have when I got pregnant, its always felt like this was kind of a dream, some kind of nightmare that I'll eventually wake up from. Sadly, that's not the case. No matter how hard I try to imagine that this never really happened, it did. And I have to find some way to move forward with my life.

Somehow, someway, I have to.

October 5th will be 5 months since I delivered her. 5 months. I remember when it was just 5 days and how I felt like the world was spinning and I was stuck in the middle, standing still. I still feel like that at times. The world spins a little slower, I move with it at times and other times, I stand still just wishing I could rewind time, change the course of events and I could have my child in my arms.

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