Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Right Where I Am: 365 Days Later

This post is part of the Right Where I am Project, created by Angie at Still Life with Circles. Please check out her post from this year and all the great responses from other babylost parents through recent years:

Right Where I Am

I've been meaning to write this for a while. I've been busy with our new babe, born June 9, 2013, 299 days after his big sister died and was born. Where I am right now is plain worn out. I am not the open wound I was last year at this time. Tears are not streaming like an open tap down my face. Instead, they seep. My sobs are softer, muffled. I can't quite believe that it all really happened. I had a baby, felt her move inside me, fell in love with her, and she died. Then I was fortunate to get pregnant as soon as I could and I now have a living baby, a year later. This new baby would not, could not be here unless we lost our dear Chiara. This is a lot for a brain to process, for a mother to get her heart around.

I yearn for my daughter. I ache for her even as I count my blessings in my two living boys. I ponder another pregnancy even though I am terrible at pregnancy. Hyperemesis with all 3. Callouses on my knees during this last one. Honestly. Another pregnancy won't bring her back though, a daughter won't make this longing go away.

When I think about myself, and how this loss has changed me, I'm amazed. I didn't think I could survive a loss like this. I still reflect on what happened to us and I can't believe we're still putting one foot in front of the other each day. But we are. There are lots of tears, lots of sighs, but also there is laughter, there is joy, there is hoping and dreaming for the future. There is a knowledge that we have faced something truly horrific, something unthinkable, and survived. And we have done it together. I am so tired, some due to grief and some due to mothering this new living baby and my 3 year old. In the midst of the exhaustion, and the sadness, there is also some pride. I have not let this loss define me. I have endured a great sorrow and I have pressed on. I am not the first woman to have done this. I will not be the last. We are a sorry sisterhood, but a strong one. We know things we should not know: how it feels to hear that your baby is dead, to make decisions on parenting a dead child, how it feels to give birth to death, to hold a tiny baby that was to be your daughter, to watch your dreams extinguish, to explain death to a 3 year old, to endure the communications that entails ( such as: "yes, a baby did die in mummy's belly" and "no, hopefully this new baby won't die like the last one did"), and to endeavor to make a new life even while fiercely grieving one that was lost (there is nothing more serious than sex after your baby dies).

Now I am part of the lucky sisterhood that has welcomed a new baby after a loss. I marvel at his perfection, his breath, his heartbeat, his placenta and cord that functioned as they should and brought him safely here. I hope that he will stay a long time, that he will outlive me and his father. Tonight I nursed him as we lit candles to remember his baby big sister. We sang a tearful happy birthday. We ate cake. We'll do this each year to celebrate her brief life. She did live, inside me, for 22 weeks. I felt her move. I fell in love. I miss her so.