Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't tell me

Don't Tell Me

Please don't tell me you know how I feel,
Unless you have lost your child too,
Please don't tell me my broken heart will heal,
Because that is just not true,
Please don't tell me my daughter is in a better place,
Though it is true, I want her here with me,
Don't tell me someday I'll hear her voice, see her face,
Beyond today I cannot see,
Don't tell me it is time to move on,
Because I cannot,
Don't tell me to face the fact she is gone,
Because denial is something I can't stop,
Don't tell me to be thankful for the time I had,
Because I wanted more,
Don't tell me when I am my old self you will be glad,
I'll never be as I was before.

What you can tell me is you will be here for me,
That you will listen when I talk of my child,
You can share with me my precious memories,
You can even cry with me for a while,
And please don't hesitate to say her name,
Because it is something I long to hear everyday,
Friend please realize that I can never be the same,
But if you stand by me,
You may like the new person I become someday.

thanks to Jenell for posting this on her blog -

It speaks to me (which is why I put it here)

Little kids have feelings too

My son's daycare class spent part of the day last week talking about someone's new baby sister. Have they forgotten that my little boy lost his own sister just a few weeks ago? He hasn't. He brings it up when he meets people. He tells them that he had a baby sister and that she died and that he is sad. It is something that he tells them when he is trying to let people know who he is. He might only be 4, but he is a person too and he has feelings. And he is sad that Shannon is dead. And he wants a new baby. And while he waits, he has to see all the other kids in his class whose mommies are having babies. And he is sad. And so am I. And it bugs me that I am going to have to remind child care professionals that it is important to remember that kids have feelings. They should know this already.

I don't like to see pregnant people. I especially don't like to see pregnant people having girls. And unfortunately, pretty much all of the pregnant people I know are having girls. It makes me very sad because there is no pattern to the universe that I am the unlucky one who gets to have three losses in a row while people who don't even want kids get to have them every day. Why did my daughter have to die? It isn't right.


After Shannon was born, we spent 8 hours with her before we said goodbye to her at the hospital. In retrospect, it was enough time in some ways, and not nearly enough time in many others. I have thought of lots of things that I would have done, if I'd only thought of them at the time - plaster casts of her feet or hands (we couldn't get handprints because her fingers wouldn't take the ink), or more photos or just stuff like that. I would have brought her a blanket or an outfit if I had known. We had to squeeze an entire lifetime into 8 hours because, when your baby dies, all you have are those photos or memories and imprints on your heart. You don't get holidays or graduations or weddings. You got your time and there is no more.

I am less sad that Shannon has been gone for 7 weeks now, or that I should have been 25 weeks pregnant today than I am about the fact that I have an entire lifetime ahead of me which she will not be a part of. That is where the real pain in my heart lies. I never knew how much I wanted a daughter until I lost the one that I had. And now I am scared that I will never have that daughter and what I will have is just the memories and the photos of a fragile little girl who was taken from me way too soon. She will never have an easter egg hunt with her brother or get married or sneak downstairs to open her Christmas presents early. Man, that just really sucks.

Shannon - mommy really misses you and I hope that you can see your flower garden from where you are. Love, me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring is here

Spring is here and, who cares? I still feel terribly sad over the loss of my beautiful baby. She's been gone for 6 weeks. I miss her immensely. I am not sure that time makes some things better. I've certainly found ways to deal with my loss and still be a functioning member of society, but it's not always by choice. I've lost my sense of optimism, which I had after my first two losses. I've lost a lot of the hope that I had back then. I've changed a lot. So many things seemed so important to me 6 weeks ago and today I could care less about them. TV shows that I don't watch anymore. Stuff I don't read. So many people seemed important to me 6 weeks ago and, if I never heard from them again, I'd probably not miss them much. It seems kind of severe, but it happens. I'd give anything to be the person that I was before, if it meant having Shannon back. But that isn't going to happen because she can't come back. And it makes me angry and frustrated to know that my baby is gone. Why did it have to be my baby that died? It's not that I would wish this pain on anyone else instead of me, but I don't think this is very fair or just. Why shouldn't I be putting together baby furniture, instead of planting a memorial garden for my little girl? It all just seems kind of pointless at the moment.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Six weeks...

I've been wandering about for the past few weeks feeling incredibly lonely. It is very lonely being a mom who has lost her child, because you are missing the child that was inside you, and you are missing the person that you used to be and you are missing the connection you used to feel with your life and your family and your friends and just with everything. You feel really lost. I realized the other day that it lonely and sad feel pretty much the same. It's hard to explain, but part of what I had been characterizing as lonely was probably just that I was feeling sad. But I didn't recognize sad, because I am rarely sad, so I was just calling it "lonely", which was an emotion that I understood better, but which wasn't entirely accurate.

I am sad because my daughter died six weeks ago. Six weeks ago I was sitting in a hospital bed, watching tv and crying and just wondering why the world had to be so very unfair and take my daughter away from me and my husband and my son. I am sad because in all of the things I imagined could go wrong in my pregnancy, that the thing I never considered was that she could have a cord accident and die. I thought about all the bad medical things that could happen and what we could do about them, but I never thought that what would happen would be something that I couldn't fix, and that would rob her of even any chance. And now, going forward, it is going to be all that I think of when I get the chance to be pregnant again. How wrong is it that my list of stuff that could go wrong is now so much longer than any list I could have of things that go right? How sad is it that there is now no longer any time that I will be able to say "whew," and finally be excited and happy to be pregnant? I'd have to be lobotomized in order to relax ever again.

Cord losses, as well as other 'unexplained' pregnancy losses seem to be particularly cruel. I will never know "for sure" that Shannon died from a cord accident. I just won't. There is no test, no way to measure what happened to her. All I know is that she was there, and then she was gone, and I am lost and lonely and sad without her. Six weeks ago, a lot more than just my daughter died, a big part of me did too. I miss and love my little girl very much.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

mired in the mundane

So, the insurance debaucle continues. The insurance company says that the doctor coded it wrong. The doctor insists that it was coded right. For some reason, I have to fix this by sitting on the phone with these two numbnuts in a conference call that I have to arrange and listening to them decide who is right. How is this appropriate for a mom who just wants the stupid bill paid for the delivery because she is sad about having to deal with this crap? I don't give a rat's ass who is right, just fix it because the one thing I do know is that I don't have to pay for this horrific experience. So, please torture me some more by making me live in the stupid details about procedure coding, because I want to know the procedure code differences between the delivery of a non-living child and an elective termination. Yes, that will make my whole stupid life complete. Because all this will help me to move on, how? This will not make me more bitter about this entire loss? After we finish the conference call, can one of you come to my office and shoot me? Do you suppose that either of these assholes would like to know that my daughter's name was Shannon and that she was really beautiful? Maybe I'll tell them anyway.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I don't like Mondays

I am tired. It is very difficult to be a functioning human when you are tired. Whether you are physically tired, mentally tired or some combination of the two, it takes a lot of energy to keep the stuff you have to do right going forward, while the rest of you just wants to go back to sleep for a year or so. Given how slow time is moving, you would think that the sleep that I get would be enough, but it seems lately that it is never enough.

I was happy to find out today that the BabyBeat people actually DID refund the money that I had paid for my doppler. I returned it to them two months early, because I didn't need it anymore after Shannon died. They offered to refund the balance of my three month rental, and they actually did it. I am impressed. If I ever get pregnant again, I will rent from them again. Now I just need to get that far. On a hunch, I called the insurance company on Friday, because I was wondering what was going on with the claim they didn't pay and then said they would pay. So, it turns out that the genius I spoke to the first time resubmitted the wrong claim, one that had already been paid, and the payment people were like - this was already paid, and then the genius did nothing to submit the claim that actually needed to be paid. So, hopefully this time the person I spoke to on Friday submitted the correct claim to be reprocessed and paid. She said that I didn't have to call back because it was done. Nothing personal, phone lady, but I don't believe you and I will be calling this Friday. And that would be because my doctor's office told me that they weren't going to bill me for the insurance company's mistake, and not two days later, I got a bill. Again, this is not inspiring me to want to go back to these people when I do get pregnant again. If the doctors who run the practice tell me that I am not going to get billed for something, it would make sense that the billing people (in the same office) be told that as well. Or maybe I am the one missing something here. Or maybe it's just Monday ....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

All I want is a stupid duck

Feeling like you have no control is a terrible feeling. We can't control anything about our bodies - when we get pregnant, whether we can stay pregnant, when we'll get our periods (or not) or anything else. I don't think I am asking for much - all I want is something - a period, a positive pregnancy test, something that I start with - a single duck. Is it enough - not nearly, but it's a start. The path to a successful healthy baby involves a lot of ducks. All I am asking for is one - for now. If the point of all of this is that I need to move forward, is it so much to ask that I get something - anything - with which I can move forward? It doesn't seem like much to ask for, but right now it is the world to me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tantrums are underrated

Shannon died 5 weeks ago, and I am hitting this spot where I am feeling really lonely, but I am not sure why. I am frustrated that I can't figure out what my body is doing - no AF yet, but nothing else either. I am moody and crampy, which could be PMS, or it could be the progesterone, and I just want to have answers as to what the heck is going on in my body. And I know, in my head, that it's only been 5 weeks and that healing and grief and hormones take time, but I am just not accepting it. Today it hit me that I have to throw a birthday party for my son, and I don't want to be there myself because there are people who would come who are due in or around July and it hurts me to think that I will see them looking all pregnant (like I should be at that point) while I am here, swirling around the drain. I may feel differently and hopefully will be in a different place by then, but today it all seems like it will suck forever. It's like I've reached the temper tantrum phase of mourning, and I just want to scream 'it isn't fair' and 'why me?' all day, but that would get me nowhere. I don't even have anyone to be angry with, because I personally don't buy that it's ok to be mad at "God" because s/he loves you anyway. I don't believe that there is any greater purpose in all this. It just sucks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

5 weeks

Five weeks ago, Shannon was alive. Little did we know that this would be the last day that she was alive. If we knew that, would we have done anything differently? What could we have done differently? She was too little to live, so we couldn't have delivered her. There is nothing that can be done to untangle a cord that is wrapped around a baby, if the baby doesn't do it herself. Technology has not gotten us that far. So, how different would today be if five weeks ago I knew that my child would die? Does the grief experience change when a death is expected? Is there more guilt, more time to wonder if I could have stood on my head, or lay on my side or did something else that would have shaken her loose before I lost her. I think there is less guilt in not knowing when something bad is about to happen. In reality, there should be no guilt, because nothing I did could have changed anything, and it is likely that nothing I culd have done would have changed the outcome. I loved my baby, and I lost her anyway.

How unfair is that - even people who get hit by cars made some kind of a choice to walk in the street or to do whatever it was that brought them into the path of the car, however accidental or inadvertent. I didn't do anything, and neither did Shannon. And yet, life happened to us. It's not a perfect world, and nothing is guaranteed, but yet, this seems singularly cruel.

I should be 23 weeks pregnant, not starting over. My baby should be with me. I shouldn't have to be worrying about putting off dental work or x-rays because I want to have a baby. I should be carrying my baby right now.

I am not the first person to suffer this kind of a loss. I am not the last. Unfortunately, I know people who have had losses since I lost Shannon and I am bound to meet many more on my journey. Man, that just sucks.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Your Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and
He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so he loves
also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran
1883 - 1931
Lebanese poet, artist, and philosopher

Thursday, March 6, 2008

4 weeks ago

Four weeks ago, my life changed in a way that I never expected or wanted. My precious daughter died. She was someone that I never really got a chance to know, and who only knew me as the heartbeat that rocked her to sleep. Her death was unanticipated and so very very cruel. How does the karmic wheel decide to stop on such a horrible result? If all of the universe is balanced, what needed to be rectified that had to result in the death of my little girl? Lifes biggest unanswered questions leave me feeling incredibly empty inside, as little pieces of my heart are being kept by Shannon, and by her two angel siblings. I will never get those pieces back, but I move forward anyway, for my living son and my husband and for myself and for Shannon and her siblings, because it is the right thing to do. Shannon knows that I loved her and wanted her and how much I miss her, today just as much as 4 weeks ago and forever. In the end, it is love that endures and love that makes it all worthwhile.

A very wise friend of mine said 'in all things, give thanks'. But what do you give thanks for after your child dies?

Erma Bombeck wrote: I had now joined a group of women who had to give their child back. They look like other women and they function like other women. But there is an emptiness in side of them that never goes away. At any given time of year when no one knows what they are talking about, they will look wistful and remark that they baby would be three years old today, or five, or ten. They play with the probabilities...the would have beens...could have beens... should have beens...and forever question, "Why?"

To the child in my heart

Precious, tiny, sweet little one
you will always be to me.
So perfect, pure and innocent,
just as you were meant to be.
We dreamed of you and your life
and all that it would be
We waited and longed for you
to come and join our family.
We never had the chance to play,
to laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
and listen to your giggle.
I'll always be your mother,
he'll always be your dad.
You'll always be our child,
the child that we had.
But now you're gone, but yet you're here,
we'll sense you everywhere
You are our sorrow and our joy,
there's love in every tear.
Just know our love goes deep and strong,
We'll forget you never!
The child we had, but never had,
and yet will have forever.

"Pooh, promise me that you won't ever forget me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."
Pooh thought for awhile
"How old shall I be then?"
Pooh nodded
"I promise," he said
"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day,
so I never have to live without you."
a.a. milne

Shannon - mommy loves you and wishes you were still here. I hope you are happy wherever you are. I miss you lots and lots. Love, Mommy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How hard is it to read the chart?

Ok - this isn't rocket science. How hard is it for the doctor's office to tell the nurse that is dealing with you for your post-loss appointment, that the person they are dealing with suffered a loss? Is it so hard to put a sticky note on the front of a chart so that the nurse doesn't ask you stupid questions or, worse yet, wonder why you are upset? Why should I be put in the position of explaining to some poor dumb doe that the reason why I cry when I come into my doctor's office is that every time I have been there lately, I have been in for an appointment for yet another failed pregnancy. And that having to explain this to every front desk person and nurse might be why the office stresses me out and raises my blood pressure. And that there may be better ways to give information and services to people who are dealing with the loss of a child. Like not putting it on me to fight with the insurance company over not paying the bill for the delivery of my baby.

I think I am going to write a letter to my doctor's office and remind them gently that people who have losses really do need a little extra sensitivity and that it would be helpful if the staff was a little more prepared when we came in. When I worked in education, I always took a few minutes before someone came in to meet with me to read their file and, if there was something that I needed to alert my staff to about the person, I did it. I know doctors are busy people, but why is that basic piece of courtesy so lost on a doctor?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sometimes it is so simple

I miss my little girl and I love her very much. Shannon - mommy loves you and misses you everyday.

Sometimes my Ipod speaks to me...

I bought this song off I-tunes long before I lost Shannon. When I was listening to it yesterday, the words had such a deeper meaning to me now that she is gone. I would give anything to go back in time and to have more time with her, and I wish that I appreciated better the time that we did have when I was pregnant, but I can't change it. All I have are my memories, and my pain, and my hope for the future. That's all we get after those we love are gone. Photos, heart-shaped boxes, momentos from a moment in time that always seems to have gone by too fast.

These moments in time always go by too fast because we never figure that something bad is going to happen to change it all in a blink of an eye. And it happens. And it is only after it happens that we remember that it always happens that way. We just don't think about it because that would be a crappy way to go through life, always waiting for the other shoe to drop and loving everyone as if they would die tomorrow. It makes for a great country song, but the reality is that it's really hard to do and most of us - well, me at least, just can't do it. I don't think that you can't sit there and be a functional human being if all you think about is how everyone (including yourself) could die at any second. I don't know if you would ever leave your house (or your bed) if you thought that way. But, I guess sometimes, life kicks you in the ass to remind you that it happens. And that it sucks when the death happens close to you. And nothing is closer to you than the life that was growing inside you.

This may be the first and last time that I quote from anyone who has ever been in a boy band again, but I put it out there for your consumption...

Ordinary Day - Nick Lachey

I wish I could tell you
the things I never got the chance to
I wish I was with you now
to see you smile again

I wish we had more time
but time goes by so fast
The moment comes and
Then the moment passes by
In the blink of an eye

And If I had one wish
I Wouldn't ask for money
I wouldn't ask for fame
I wouldn't ask for the power to make this world change
If i could have one thing
that one thing that I would chose is
one more ordinary day with you
With you

I wish I could see you
and be there where my arms could reach you
I wish I could let you know
how much you touch my life
maybe a little time is all the time we get
The Words we long to say are words that go unsaid
you can't go back again

But if I had one wish
I Wouldn't ask for money
I wouldn't ask for fame
I wouldn't ask for the power to make this world change
If i could have one thing that one thing that I would chose is
one more ordinary day
With you

I wish we had more time
Time goes by so fast
The moment comes and
Then the moment passes by
In the blink of an eye
But if I had one wish
I Wouldn't ask for money
I wouldn't ask for fame
I wouldn't ask for the power to make this world change, no
If i could have one thing
that one thing that I would chose is
one more ordinary day
Just one more ordinary day with you
with you