Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What it is.

And, you pray with your whole heart, that it really is true that lightning never strikes the same place twice.
I found the following article and it, once again, sums up exactly what I am feeling and thinking.
The heartbreak of infant loss
By Laura Schubert
October 6, 2011
Did you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? I'll bet not. Despite the infant mortality crisis that's been at the forefront of Milwaukee's public health news for months, the only people who have more than a cursory comprehension of what it means to lose a baby are those who've lived it.
Infant loss is nature's cruelest practical joke. It's investing all of the required time and effort into pregnancy, only to be robbed of the result. It's cradling a body that grew within your own and trying to reconcile the cold, lifeless form in your arms with your memory of the baby who turned double flips in your womb.
It's worrying that you'll forget what your child looked like and snapping an album's worth of photos that no one will ever ask to see. It's sobbing so hard you can't breathe and wondering if it's possible to cry yourself to death.
Infant loss is handing off a Moses basket to the nurse who's drawn the unfortunate duty of delivering your pride and joy to the morgue and walking out of a hospital with empty arms.
It's boxing up brand new baby clothes and buying a 24-inch casket. It's sifting through sympathy cards, willing your foolish body to stop lactating, clutching your baby's blanket to your chest in hopes of soothing the piercing ache in your heart.
It's resisting the urge to smack the clueless individuals who compare your situation to the death of their dog or who tell you you'll have another baby, as if children are somehow replaceable.
Infant loss is explaining to your 7-year-old that sometimes babies die and being stumped into silence when she asks you why. It's watching other families live out your happy ending and fighting a fresh round of grief with every milestone you miss.
It's being shut out of play groups for perpetuity. It's skipping social events with expectant and newly minted mothers because, as a walking worst-case scenario, you don't want to put a damper on the party.
It's listening to other women gripe about motherhood and realizing that you no longer relate to their petty parental complaints because, frankly, when you've buried a baby, a sleepless night with a vomiting toddler sounds something like a gift.
Infant loss is pruning from your life the friends and relatives who ignore or minimize your loss. It's recognizing that, while they may not mean to be hurtful, the fact that they don't know any better doesn't make their utter lack of empathy one whit easier to bear.
My baby girl would have been 5 years old this month. I don't know what she'd look like, what her favorite food would be. I've never had the privilege of tucking her into bed, taking her to the zoo or kissing her boo-boos. I will never watch her graduate or walk down the aisle.
Infant loss is more than an empty cradle. It's a life sentence.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh yah, it's the holidays.

Before I even start, I just needed to get this off of my chest.
I have to tell someone.
My husband is watching a movie on the Lifetime channel.
And he won't stop.
He is engrossed in The Road to Christmas.
Yeah, I know.
He just said, "And you love it, too...We're losers."
(Pretty sure this is not the high point in Jennifer Grey's career.)

Everyone has warned me that the holidays were going to be hard.
I was pretty sure that they were dumb.
I'm now 100% sure that I am dumb.
Because they were totally right.

Dave and I went up to Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with his family.
He and I drove up on Wednesday evening.
And, in between our conversations about George Washington Carver
and Arizona being the 48th state
and watching season 3 of Dexter,
we mentioned Maggie only a few times.
Like how our backseat was empty.
And how it shouldn't have been.
Dave built this when he was in high school.  He watches Lifetime movies and builds stuff out of wood.

We went to church on Thursday morning.
I was good.
Just fine
I heard baby squeaks behind me.
You know what I mean, right?
Those cute little squeaks of newborn-ness.
Those ones.
Those heart-melting
little squeaks.

I kept singing
and only stole one little glance back at that little bundle
of two-week-old goodness.
And quickly realized that that was a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad idea.
I held it together.
For awhile.
And, then.
They just came.
Stupid tears.
And I couldn't stop them.

Then, the panic set in.
Because I knew the service would be ending soon and we would be socializing
and I would be that lady.
The one that was crying awkwardly
and no one knows whether they should look at her
or just look away.
I'm hoping they just thought I had really bad allergies.
Or I got a giant paper cut from the hymnal.
Or something.

I'll just say this.
It's really hard to sing songs of thanksgiving.
I know I have a lot to be thankful for.
But still.
Thank goodness that I then proceeded to help myself to a delicious
food coma for the next few hours.
Can I get an amen?

Other highlights of the weekend:
  • Visiting the new coffee shop in his hometown with his mama.  I ate the most delicious cream horn there. The only thing that could have improved the whole situation would be 1.) elastic comfy pants 2). a fireplace 3.) a bundle of squeaking goodness of my own next to me.
  • Getting a sewing machine from my mother-in-law.  I am now going to be in the running for Most Perfect and Wonderful Wife. I just need to wear high heels on a regular basis and bear him some healthy childrens. At the same time. That shouldn't be too tough. Oh wait.  I thought that 4 freaking years ago.
  • Dave and I drove to the Twin Cities for a quick trip. I got to meet some friends for lunch (which consisted of us stuffing our faces with delicious foods and drinks) while trying to smash 3 years of life into a 2.5 hour conversation.  Fantastic.  So good.  I missed them and their crazy Minnesotan accents and Minnesota niceness.  I miss them.  And those cities. 
  • I got to have some Caribou Coffee.  The line was forever. And everyone in line had boots with the fur. 
And, I have some plans for posting a bit more often this week.  In fact, my plan of posts include (not in any order):

  • Your Nature Guide to Hawks and why they are awesome
  • Archived pictures from Summer that Have been Resurrected from the dead
  • More resurrected pictures from the summer.
  • What Santa should bring me for Christmas
  • Some new favorites
And, just because everyone should be able to enjoy this Minnesota awesomeness.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I did it. Even though I blubbered.

Get it here.
I did it.
I showed her pictures and
I spoke about her.
My precious daughter.

I don't know if I did her justice
(I don't think I ever will),
but I did my best.
The only thing is that I definitely didn't do was
make it through without crying.
I was on the first slide.
The tears came.
I'm positive that I blubbered.
And my voice squeaked at some many points.
I did it.
I got through it.
That was my goal.
I spoke about Mags.
I told her story.
I told my story.
Our story.
The story of my daughter and me.
The story that's too short.
The one that doesn't end the way I planned.
Or wanted.
But, I'm determined to make sure that the horrible ending
is not really the end of her
and us.

And, I'm proud of myself.
That more women are aware
that pregnancy doesn't always work out perfectly.
That it doesn't always happen the way you envision it will.
And, more women are aware of what they
should and shouldn't do.
And what things they should and shouldn't say.
And, if I can help one woman from not hearing,
"Everything happens for a reason" or
"You can always have another" or
"Your angel is watching you from heaven."
And, instead, she hears,
"I'm sorry" or
"I'd love to hear about your child, if you'd like."
Then, I've done my job.

I don't have pictures.
I don't know if anyone does, actually.
It wasn't really a photo-opp,
if you know what I'm saying.
Plus, if there were pictures,
I'd need to photo-shop my eyes
so they weren't all red and puffy and teary and squinty.

Enough about me, though.
I did want to mention, though...
this Sister Care Seminar?
Was fabulous.
I'd completely recommend it to any woman
who wants to learn a bit about how to care and support women.
Because, honestly?
The church does drop the ball sometimes.
And, it is more likely that you will be asked to help and support a friend
before that friend goes to
their pastor or deacon or elder or professional shrink.
We, as women, need to help each other,
support, and pray for each other.

And, I was surrounded by some of the most important and caring women in my life.
Some I had known for years,
while others I had just met.

(If you want to attend a Sister Care Seminar, look here--they are going on for the next several months.)

And, they ended with a blessing.
I chose the parts that spoke to me the most...

May God bless you with healing for wounds from the past
and all that breaks your heart today.

May your tears be transformed into life-giving
compassion and love for others.

Go now with the assurance that you are beloved
and called to be a living blessing to others.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Splattering of Whatever.

I almost bought a gun this weekend.
Not just a gun.
A hand gun.
A scary looking one (this is the city-girl in me speaking).
I said as long as I didn't have to touch it
that I'd put it under my name.
I didn't end up having to do that.
Instead, I just sat on the floor in Cabella's
for way too long.
Watching weirdos buy guns.
In their pajama pants.
Holding their half-filled bottle of chew-spit-nastiness.
There are A LOT of weirdos buying guns these days.
But, at least there's a screening process to buy guns.
There isn't one to have kids.

I had the chance to meet with a friend of a cousin.
She lost her daughter a few weeks ago
so we met to talk.
I was nervous.
I didn't think I'd be much help.
I had no idea what I would say
and I was worried that I would say the wrong thing.

We met over coffee.
And man oh man.
I sent so many prayers up
thanking God that I'm where I am now.
I forgot (or blocked it out) what it was like to be at that point.
Fresh out.
So raw.
Your heart hurts from feeling so much.
Your brain hurts from thinking so much.
And tears spill out every time you blink.
And breathe.

And, although I went to help her (as much as I could),
it ended up being something helpful for me.
I realized that, although I may not be where I want to be, 
or where I think I should be,
I have come a long ways.
I am not where I was.
I have grown.
I have survived.
I have figured out how to deal with this hole.
And that was really, really good for me to see.

And, although I think I should be at a different place.
Or, at least, I want to be at a different place,
I know I'm where I should be.
And I know I have grown
and I'm not where I started out.
(Thank you, Lord).

It does get better, H.G.
You won't ever stop missing her
or loving her.
And that hole will never be filled.
But it does get better.
You learn how to manage.
A parent of a past student gave me a card 
and some delicious cookies.
As a gift for speaking this weekend.

Thank you, RF.
They were absolutely delicious.
We ate them all in one sitting.
(We'd love the recipe.)
Our bellies and hearts were full.
People have been giving me notes and cards lately.
They must know I need them.
My heart needs them.
Not only is the news from the doctor getting me down,
but I am getting a wee-bit nervous about speaking on Saturday.
I'm not nervous about speaking in front of a crowd.
I'm nervous to speak about Maggie.
What if I don't explain myself well enough?
What if I don't do her justice?
What if I blubber and do the ugly cry

I got a letter that was just what I needed.
The letter reminded me that Maggie's death was not the end of the story.
The story continues as I try to help other women who are hurting.
Her story.  My story.  Our story is not done.
I want to know the "rest of the story." (sidenote: RIP Andy "Eyebrows" Rooney).
I don't want the ending to be her death.
And I don't want it to end in my sadness and heart break.
I want Maggie's story to continue.
To bear fruit.
To help and heal others.
If this is what I'm supposed to do, 
I'll do it.
I'll help others.
I'll tell my story.
Her story.
I wish there could have been another way to do it, though.
I believe that this is true.
There is joy coming in the morning.
No Source.  Just from my new addiction pinterest.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Synopsis of the last week...

I've been blogging over the past week.
But, I haven't posted them.
The details aren't important.
My diarrhea of the mouth and
stream of consciousness is not necessary to post.

But, the synopsis?
The doctor's appointments have started again.
Unfortunately, they have not gone the way I hoped they would.
I planned them in my head way differently.
I will continue to see Dr. Grainger for, at least, another few months.
And, that folks?
Is heartbreaking.
And devastating.

I'm heartbroken.
I love the guy (and the nurses there) but, seriously,
I'd be way okay to never step foot in that office again.
I so, so hoped for different news.

This has been one of those weeks when my list of questions for God
keeps getting longer
and longer
and longer
and longer.
Because, for some reason,
my plans and God's don't quite jive.
The things that I'm hoping for
and praying for
and wanting
are not happening.
And I wish I knew why.

Why I am on this journey.
Why my body can't do what every.single.other.woman can do.
Why it seems so easy for everyone else
but not for me.
Why my body let my daughter die.
Why I killed her.
Why I miss her so much.  Still.
Why I can't make it an hour without thinking about her.
Why something- one thing- can't just go the way I hoped.

But, I will keep waiting.
Because, I have hope that
it will be worth it.
And, in the meantime...
I will keep crying.
And, can you keep praying?


Another holiday has passed without Maggie.
One that I expected to spend with her.
I had no fancy plans of dressing her up and taking her out.
But, it would have been fun for her to join some other kids.

I have been reminded constantly that she is not here.
And I should have been carrying around a little fatty bundle of cuteness.

Do you want to eat up this cotton candy?  Or maybe you prefer sushi?
Or, my favorite

Maybe next year?
That's a huge question mark.
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