I See You…

I see you, mother who has lost her 8 week old baby through miscarriage. I see you even as your doctor says your baby was ‘a late period’. But you had already circled a due date on your calendar and imagined what life would be like next spring and considered and discarded names and dreamed of a little girl with big brown eyes and brown pigtails. I see you…

I see you, mother of the preemie born at 31weeks. I see you struggling to pump breast milk, this medicine-food, to heal your tiny, beloved child. I see you, every fiber of you screaming to hold your child while you stand silent and still next to the isolette, one tense hand pressed against the glass. I see you…

I See You

I see you, mother who wails in her bed, chest ripped open, womb ripped open terrified to look at your baby, shame for your terror, anger for your shame and pain, pain, pain as you wail. I see you…

I see you, mother walking into church for the first time since your baby was covered with the frozen earth. I see your still swollen belly and your grudging walk and your uncertain heart, fragile, brittle faith. I see you…

I see you, mother staring at the ultrasound screen dark closing in as the world crushes into one single black point of non-beating. I see you as your legs tense and rise off the bed, as you begin to hyperventilate as you tumble, fall, the black point of non-beating searing into your memory, your present your future. I see you…

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Content below this line is not Hearthside generated. Please disregard.

There we were, we two, alone…

Originally published 8/18/12

Tomorrow, August 19th, is the International Day of Hope, instituted by CarlyMarie Project Heal. I just learned about this a little over a week ago. It’s especially important to me because the losses of my sweet babies both happened in August, one year and one week apart.

August 19th is a day to honor our babies by talking about them. It’s a day to remember, to honor, to speak up, to heal. I wanted to be involved in some way so I decided to share something with you that I don’t even know has been shared with my family. I wanted to share something of my experience to honor my children- see, just by your reading this, their lives are having an impact of you. Their story is changing you. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the ripples of their lives continue…

So here’s what I offer: both of the births of my Peridot babies were unassisted births.

Calan was born in my bathroom. I was totally alone when my first-born arrived. I was completely undone, confused, in pain, in shock. But there we were, we two alone, and I took a few moments to look at my baby- my sweet, longed-for, beautiful baby- and I said hello and good-bye (for now- I believe we will meet again). [ETA: I was 8 weeks pregnant with Calan at the time.]

Last week, August 11th, was Calan’s birthday. For the first time in many years, I couldn’t get out of bed. Calan is still my longed-for baby…

Anduril was born in a hospital bed after a long night of Cytotec and Ambien, the Cytotec producing unbelievably painful contractions and the Ambien knocking me unconscious in-between. It was hellish. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t think- I have a vague memory of my husband and the nurse talking and then being given an epidural my husband had consented to on my behalf…

It was morning- light streamed through the window and my room was silent. It seemed that there had always been people bustling around throughout the night (I was very ill), but now I was alone. My eyes opened and I was suddenly aware that my baby was sliding down out of me during a contraction I couldn’t feel. He was breech- his body delivered and it was just he and I there in the room. I couldn’t reach the call button for the nurse and had to reposition myself. Once I’d reached the button and the nurse saw that I had indeed delivered my son’s body, the room again flooded with people. Anduril’s birth ended with the next contraction. Today is his 7th stillbirthday…

We spent some time with Anduril- way too little- that morning and again the next day. We said hello in the hospital room and good-bye in the family cemetery where we laid Anduril next to his great-grandparents in a grave my husband dug with his own two hands. That single moment in time when I delivered my son in a silent, sunny room has come to mean so much to me. There we were, we two, alone.

So here are my two unassisted birth stories. Here are (parts) of Calan’s and Anduril’s story. I say part, because their stories aren’t really finished. Every single baby who is conceived, impacts this world. My babies’ lives continue to have meaning through the work I do spurred by my love for them. The meaning and stories of their lives continue- that gives me hope…

If you or someone you love has experienced child loss during pregnancy or around the time of birth, please know there is help. Contact me for compassion, resources and support.

Bereaved and Remembering

The word ‘bereaved’ literally means ‘to be torn apart’. Those of us who have lost babies know what this feels like. Losing a child is an experience that can’t adequately be described in words, but I- 8 years off from my last loss- might use words like ‘searing’, ‘suffocating’, ‘impossible’ and ‘obscene’ if pushed.

When a mother loses a baby, she literally is being torn apart- a piece of herself that she nourished, that came from her own body. This piece of her, in a live birth, would have continued to receive sustenance from her own body for months- this little person literally derives its being and its life from its mother’s essence.

And when that baby dies, a part of the mother is forever ripped away. Torn asunder. Bereaved.

Which brings me to remembering. RE-membering.

In the act of acknowledging the reality of our child, the actual experience of our loss and the continual influence of our grief, there is something in us that comes back together. Some new thing is formed from the pieces that were shattered.

It is slow. It hurts. But healing does eventually happen.

 

TWO-SIDEs

Bereaved and remembering are the opposite sides of the child loss coin. This is why we have National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month each October- why we light candles every October 15th for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Remembering brings healing- remembering & revisiting the place of our loss even if it is only in our own hearts is an act of healing. It is necessary.

I encourage you to remember this October.

Write a letter.

Name a baby.

Light a candle.

Tell a story.

Return to visit the places you were torn apart so you can continue coming back together.