Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Long Road

My commute to work now that we've moved doubled from what it was before. I had a 20 minute drive from our apartment to where I work, now I have a 40 minute drive. Sometimes it is an hour when I have to take Addie and go out of my way to drop her off at my Mom's. It sucks on gas (I fill up within 4-5 days when I could last a whole week before) but one benefit is that it gives me a lot of time to think. A lot!

On my drive home at night, there aren't many cars on the road and it's just me and the open road and with how exhausted I usually am by that time of night, I spend a lot of time listening to the radio and just thinking. I think about Audrey mostly. That's my time with her. I sit and think about the day I found out she died, that night when she was born, the whirlwind of emotions that came with that and continue to come every day. I think about what I am blessed to still have and of course I think about other silly things like money, etc.... but mostly, I think about Audrey. I really don't like thinking about much else. I have all day to focus on the other stuff. I want that time to be hers. I talk to her, usually just in my head and sometimes out loud.

I tell her how much I miss her, how heart broken I am that she's not with me, how sorry I am that I never saw her or held her and how if I'd have known then what I know now, I would have held her in my arms all night long. Even though she was dead and so tiny when she was born, she's my daughter in every way Addison is.  I tell her how much fun Addie would have had being a big sister to her, how excited she was to do all of the things I promised her she would get to do like helping me bathe her, wash her, give her bottles, rock her to sleep. I tell her how much her Daddy would've loved having his two little girls and how I am sure he would've turned her into the rough and tough tomboy that he turned Addie into and how much fun he would've had having his two girls to wrestle on the living room floor with.

I mostly just tell her how much I love her and how I always will. I tell her that there will never be a day that goes by that she isn't on my mind. I carry a little Angel pin on my lanyard for work and I often reach down throughout the day and play with it, touch it, whatever. I often use that as my "help me get through the day" thing. She's everywhere I go and she's always with me.... but why do I still feel so empty?
It's been 5 months, almost, since she died. I know that each person grieves differently and while others may find the strength to go forward with life faster than others, I often wonder how much longer this crushing feeling will last? I have some good days and I have some bad days and then I have really really bad days. This up and down thing is really wearing me down. I know there is no "time limit" on grief..... but my goodness, I'm exhausted! I think that's why I often struggle to fall asleep now and no matter what amount of sleep I get, I'm still tired. It's a never ending cycle.

I am so mad that this happened. This ruined my life. This shattered every hope and dream I had. I'm not mad at Audrey for dying. I know her little body held on as long as she could and she fought hard to stay alive. I'm just mad. My life is broken and I just get so mad when i think of how good life was before this happened and then thinking about what it's like now... I just hate it.

I've had better days since my meltdown on Monday. I'm really trying to get things back together in my head and have better days. I feel okay right now but as usual, on my long drive home, Audrey was on my mind the whole way and I took the advice of my counselor and let my thoughts out in hopes I can fall asleep before 3 am. Let's see if it works....

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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stuck

This past weekend and the start of this week have been particularly brutal on me for some reason.  Adam and I hadn't exactly been on the same page lately and there has been a lot of work stuff happening(new baby announcements and the birth of another close co-workers granddaughters) and it all just came to a boiling point on Monday.
I sobbed the whole way to work, just thoughts of everything with Audrey, everything with Adam, and stress in general. I tried taking calls and focusing and getting my mind off of things but it was really hard. I left an hour and a half into my shift and drove an hour to the cemetery. In that moment I needed to be with Audrey. I stayed for about an hour just talking to her, watching the clouds, running my fingers through the grass where her plot is.... just wishing things hadn't ended the way they did and instead of running my fingers through the grass on her cemetery plot, I wished I was holding her and running my fingers through her hair.
I talked with my friend Teanna via text later that night. She was concerned about me and wanted to make sure I was okay. We talked about work and how I am worried my team lead may demote me from my position because of how much work I've missed in the last few months. My head knows I need to get my act together and really buckle down with work and be there more than I am, but my heart just tells me to leave and get out of there and run as far away as I can. The customers can be really brutal at times and it's so hard to listen to their problems knowing I have a huge list of my own.
She also told me it seems like I am still stuck in May and not really moving forward with my life. I had told her it was so frustrating how it seems like everyone thinks I should be "over things" by now.... I know I need to be dealing with things better than I am and for the most part, I do handle things well but it's really hard right now.
I was trying to wean myself off the zoloft so that was a part of my meltdown on Monday. I hadn't taken a pill in a few days (mostly I was just forgetting but when I did remember, I was trying to take half pills) and it was just making me feel weird, you could say. After the way I felt Monday I decided to keep taking it for now. I really don't think now is the right time to come off the zoloft.
I'm working so hard to realize that life has moved on since May 5th and that I need to let my life move along with it, but it's hard. That day is the single most devastating day of my life. Sometimes when I hear people telling me what I need to do to move forward or what I need to focus on, I just want to tell them "You bury your child, your baby that was growing inside of you who died before it even took its first breath, who you made the regretful decision not to see or hold because you were terrified and then talk to me about what I need to do to move forward or how I should be dealing with things better by now...." I know this is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life and at some point, the meltdowns need to stop affecting my work life and such but damn - it's only been 4 1/2 months. I just wish I could make them all understand what I've struggled with every day of my life since May 5th.
I know I'm stuck.... I just wish I could make people understand my feelings and understand why.
My baby died. She died inside of me. I had to deliver her. I went through every contraction and every twinge of pain and every single thing I went through with Addison only to leave the hospital with empty arms.
I'm heartbroken and I just want people to let me feel that way and quit forcing me to "move forward" any faster than I want to.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How much more?

Just days after Audrey died and I delivered her, I found this amazing site called dailystrength.com and it has a support group for parents who have experienced a stillbirth. The ladies that I have met through that site have been some of the best sources of comfort during the worst days of my life. One of them I'll have the honor of meeting in October when we attend an event she organized in honor of National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day- October 15th. I go to that site every day to check on them and read their posts about how they're doing, what they're struggling with, etc.

One post I read inparticular today really struck me. A lady who hasn't been on the board lately mentioned she's been struggling a lot and has mainly just felt "blah." She's neither happy nor sad. She's just..... there.

When I read that, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That's how I've felt every day of my life since May 5th, 2009. Sure, I smile. Sure, I laugh. I have "good" days, you could say.... and while people think I'm "getting it together," they don't realize that it is taking every last bit of energy I have to function. It is taking every last ounce in me to get up and get out of bed and not just lay in bed all day mourning my dead daughter.

The days right after the loss are the easy days to me. I knew what to do then..... I cried all the time. I laid in bed all the time. I just stared at the wall, wishing and hoping that this was all a sick nightmare that I'd wake up from. Those are the days when I knew what to do with myself and no one expected anything from me.

Now, it's like people think since it's been four months since her death and I get up and go to work every day and do my day-to-day things that I'm "better," when in reality, I'm not. I'm just as lost and confused and angry as I was the second the Doctor told me he didn't see my baby's heart beating any longer.

I'm trying to see things from a more positive side. I am very blessed with the wonderful husband and the equally amazing and beautiful daughter we have still with us. I want to take in the joy around me and embrace that, but it's so hard.

No one can truly understand how much hard work it takes to function after the death of your child, your flesh and blood.

I'm trying with everything I have - but I often wonder, how much more do I have left?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sad & Broken

I was sitting at work Saturday evening (picked up extra hours) and it was a relatively okay day. I hate working on my days off. If/when the occasion comes that I pick up extra hours, I always do it after my regular shift but never on my day off. Anyways - like I said, the day was pretty decent. Then, out of nowhere, the fear, the panic, the anxiety and the sadness took over. The clock on my computer kept ticking away and then it hit 10:40 pm.

4 months ago, at that exact minute, my baby that had died in my womb, was born.

That exact minute, I became a new person. A broken, shattered, empty person.

Everyone tells me I am so strong and so brave and while I appreciate that, no one knows how much I am really struggling with this. I do what I have to do for the child I still have with me but there are so many days that I can feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and I want to crumble and crack at the pressure.

Audrey's due date is approaching. 4 days and counting.... and all I can think about is that she should be here by now. I expected her to come early just like Addie did. I should be holding my baby in my arms right now but instead, my arms are empty and my heart is broken.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her. Not one single day. I'll be driving and bam - she's in my head and I can't stop thinking about her. Or I'll be at the store and I'll see the most adorable outfit for a little girl infant and I imagine how cute Audrey would've looked in that. Or I'll look at Addison and I'll wonder if Audrey would have been bald like Addie was when she was born. Or I'll look at Adam and I'll remember him holding Addie on his chest and taking naps with her on the couch when she came home and I envision Audrey laying there, like she should be right now.

I sometimes wonder if I want to let whatever happen, happen when it comes to conceiving again but I just can't do that. I'm terrified. I absolutely cannot suffer another loss. I just can't. I'll never survive it..... I'm barely surviving this, despite what people may think.

Everyone tells me to count my blessings and be grateful for what I have and don't get me wrong, I do. But right now I really don't want to hear that.

I just want to hold my baby.

The memorial home that is making Audrey's stone cashed their check the other day. We are one step closer to her stone being finished and placed and one more piece of my heart has been broken.