Friday, March 30, 2012

Dreaming

Dream of Me
Performed by Kirsten Dunst
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZzGrj_AlKg

Let me sleep
For when I sleep I dream that you are here
You’re mine
And all my fears are left behind
I float on air
The nightingale sings gentle lullabys
So let me close my eyes
And sleep
A chance to dream
So I can see the face I long to touch, to kiss
But only dreams can bring me this
So let the moon shine softly on the boy I long to see
And maybe when he dreams
He’ll dream of me
I’ll hide beneath the clouds
And whisper to the evening stars
They tell me love is just a dream away
Dream away
I’ll dream away
So let the moon shine softly on the boy I long to see
And maybe when he dreams
He’ll dream of me
Dream of me

video

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Perry's Video

video
I hate the feeling that everything is fading. It is not as easy to remember the weight of Perry in my arms or even his smile.

This is the video I watch when I want to remember him clearly. It was probably less than a week or two before he died and is one of the treasures I was able to find again. I know this because he was starting to drool, a sure sign of teething to come. It had started just about two weeks before he left us.

His face was losing that newborn look and was starting to settle into one that would probably be recognizable into his early childhood at least. His hair was still soft, but had lost a little of the down and was now growing past the tips of his ears. I was starting to wonder how I could get his ultraconservative Dad to let me keep it long until his birthday. But then, Emily already had long hair at the age of 1... I just wanted to enjoy him fully as a baby before he become a little boy all the way. Chris made strong statements about our family being perfect. I thought there was a good chance of Perry being a caboose and I wanted to enjoy every minute of him as he was.

As with so many of his videos, it was short. I clicked off the video quickly before I went to take care of the dogs barking in th background.

I wish I had picked him up instead, somehow set the camera down still filming. Captured at least one hug or kiss.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Another day in my life

I am starting to have a few hours where I feel like I am starting to get some peace again.

I still can't say fine when people ask. It feels like a lie- I guess I am seeing that life goes on, but I sincerely want my little boy to be here. I am sad that it feels like he has slipped away from my arms a little more... the feeling that I will walk into my bedroom and pick him up for a nap is fading. I have to consciously think about him to bring back his features sometimes.

I am getting a little frustrated at times when I visit his hideout. I can't bring him back and at times visiting feels futile.

I am also a little aggravated today at naiveness- both of women who haven't and women who have had losses.

I was looking up an online support group for women who have lost infants. The website also posts the most recent conversations in all boards and one thread was on the December 2012 birth club. It turned out to be an "I hate it when... " thread.

I am surprised at some of the extreme feelings on a wide array of topics. My hates are now reserved for regrets surrounding Perry, the fact that he is not here, and truly evil people.

Some of the things-

"I hate women who post but aren't pregnant and aren't necessarily going to have babies with us"- I thought that perhaps some of these women were looking for hope. Where do you go when all the grieving groups and TTC groups do not help but drag you down? I guess this is why some of the women go to the birth club boards, they want to be on a birth board even if only for a couple weeks. I also thought- how funny that women assume that they are guaranteed a baby just because of a little line on a test.

"I hate babies/ pregnant women after trying for XYZ months/ having a miscarriage".... I might be hurt by seeing these things when the missing hits, but I do not hate women or babies. Babies can die, these little ones are precious... I can feel hurt but I could never hate a child. Moms- do we ever know what they have gone through? Yes pregnant women are so baby focused sometimes that they can be very insensitive to that other side that they do not want to see- the land of miscarriages, infertility, baby loss. But not every woman.

So I hate the word hate on the lips of the naive!

But I can't post.

I hate being a walking ghost.

I don't talk much. I live in a different dimension than most of the people here. When I do talk sometimes I feel like they pretend they don't hear me, like sometimes they can take away from their own fear. I am the unthinkable that does happen. If they keep the banshee at bay death will not touch them.

Some parents I know continue to use blankets or cosleep and they KNOW about Perry. Why do they think they are different? This birth club will have women ad mauseum talking about cosleeping as a bonding experience in the coming months.

I hate the picture that floats around facebook featuring a cosleeping Mom and baby (the perception versus reality). The reality is laying on her baby's foot. She could just as easily be laying on his body, or next to him in such a way that she smothers him... or drag a blanket over his face. Cosleeping is like putting your child in bed with a knife. Look at the stats. But I am sure these same women judge for the blankets in the bed that were put there on a cold night, they use it to try to say that every method has dangers- and they do, but don't justify bad decisions with other's mistakes. (I also hate all the pictures of infants with blankets in their cribs and bassinets.)

Do they really believe only unloved babies die? That only bad parents lose infants?

And their children continue to live and breath, their hearts continue to beat.

I am thankful for that and also sad because mine does not.

But I do not hate these Moms or their babies.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Life Review

I have been reading a lot about death and near death experiences. I guess I have wanted to know what Perry was feeling- was he afraid, who did he go with?

One thing that struck me was that many of the things I have learned from his death(or were reinforced) are the same things that the dying will teach if they feel inclined and are allowed.

Here are a few concepts:

Everything material is pretty much plastic junk or paper. The only things that matter here are our relationships, with God and others.

Every person matters.

Good people are how we see Christ- they are the body of Christ on this earth.

We will have to face the results of our actions, both good and bad. Paying for them may be a matter of grace, but in the end we will review our lives. Did we really do the best we could to make amends (actions if possible, words if not) or was it just verbal pyrotechnics and illusions to make ourselves feel better? Did we seek amends and do things that made the other person feel better or only things that we were willing to do, just enough to put in earplugs and ignore the small whispering voice? Maybe we just spoke a couple words and didn't act out the rest of the relationship in love, without the words really meaning anything. Did we truly acknowlege the full extent of the pain and hurt caused?

Words and actions are complicated things that have waves that ripple outward. One not in sync with the other can be just as damaging as a lie. Everything is called into question, not just the bad.

I wondered why I came to these conclusions. Part of it may be that as a parent whose child has died, I contemplate many of the same things as the dying do: "Where do we go? Is there really a God? Does he hear me?". You can be saved but you might still question when reality stares you in the eye and doesn't flinch.

I think the other part, maybe the larger, is the life review. I am sure adults review their lives to be able to come to closure and accept what is coming. Adults who lose children review their own lives, searching for the crumbs to tell them why this has happened to their family, and to answer the nagging question "Was I a good parent?". It is also part of a search for closure, although we may not see it as such.  If you allow it, you follow all the paths of your life, the branches you chose to follow, and how it affected other people and not just your child.

I think it can be very meaningful if you go into a review of your life with humbleness, trying to learn, and not with preconceived notions. You can see your greatest achievements... (they are actually not professional or club related; not the ones listed repeatedly in many adult memorials) they are you relationships. Did you love others enough, did you accept it when it was offered? And the blaring failures- the girl in elementary school you didn't stand up for openly, the people you didn't bother to know because of the way they dressed or hygiene.

One author said that some patients that were dying explained that they were groaning not from pain but the images and past actions they wrestled with. Eventually many work through it- some asking for solitude at this time as they played 'the movies' in their head.

It's a lot to take in.

Eventually, during the review you reach the present. If you choose to keep your glasses you continue the review as you go about daily life.

I think if you review you life honestly, it is the first step in accountability.

But unlike the dying, who do not have the blessing of time, parents are left to contemplate. They can change for good or ill, but they may have years to fix, amend, or go down a new pathway. And while the dying can immerse themselves in the coming and in things ethereal; they can stop eating because it no longer matters, they do not have to clean or chase after a small girl, we are pulled back into the everyday reality. We have to balance the good we can do with our money (and the necessities we need to buy with it) with the cost to achieve it. We can then choose to integrate these things or ignore them (although I guess you will be forced to review them again later). We can choose to lay these glasses aside.

Laying aside the glasses, however, does not change reality.

I think there is a value in reviewing your life that even a person untouched yet by a close death can gain. It is uncomfortable at times, wonderful in other moments.

But sadly I don't think that many people bother. At best they review the past minute or year and attempt to justify the bad they did or identify the failures of others so they can point a finger.  Perhaps they review their financial past because they can touch and feel the material, but ignore the personal because that is uncomfortable or doesn't fit neatly in a ledger.

There is no true justification of a bad deed formed with ill intent or with chosen ignorance. Understanding maybe.

Letting go of bad things done to you is the only way you can release the rope they tie around your feet that hobbles you.

But these are hard concepts to teach. Harder ones to live. I struggle with them.

Stop living in the moment, looking forward only through this next week or looking in one direction. Turn around and look back- sometimes you see a side of things you could never see from behind or as they are even with you. Seek to find the good and the negative in yourself. Do not use it as only a pummeling or as a celebration.

Face your life as it was. It is the only way to change what it is now and what it will be in the future.

It is life altering.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Acclimatization and shock

I love my son, but I hate this grief.

I don't want to be the one crying in a group of people, I am tired of facing things that hurt. I don't want to have to think about ways of gradually acclimatizing myself to stuff that makes no sense to fear (or hate) to any other person that has not lost a child or that did not lose my child under the same set of circumstances.

For the past four months I have been frozen in place. Sometimes literally when I just can't make myself get out of bed. There are times I hold on to things I would have normally pitched without a thought, I keep a receipt in my purse because it is for overalls and clearance infant swim trunks.

 At times I want to be frozen in place because I do not want to move further away from my son.

At times I hate it. I don't want to be here in this limbo land.

I struggle with it. Fight to make myself do anything when I want to do nothing. I try to pretend sometimes that he is here with me so I can do the things I would have normally done, it works sometimes and other times I spiral down.

When I see the sun peaking through the clouds and the blossoms breaking through on his tree, I can feel a small thawing. The daylight makes things seem less bleak. But I dread the cold I fear will come calling, unexpectedly to try to kill tender shoots.

It is like finally climbing to the top in a rickety wooden roller coaster without seat belts, only to look down again and realize that sometimes climbing higher just means you can fall back further.

But if you don't climb, you know you will always stay in that pit searching above for glimmers of light. And its a frightening place where you begin to question everything, even the rope that sometimes dangles that might help you out.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So how do I acclimatize? What sort of things am I talking about?

I guess one would be the drive home from work. First I made my husband drive on the interstate when we were headed west towards home, and I would feel my hands grip my legs in the passenger seat as I approached mile marker 24. I was still off work, and he did this a few times.

I changed my cell phone ring so if the phone rang it wouldn't necessarily trigger memories (and even then I told my husband not to call me on the way home after my first shift back).

The first shift home I got off at exit 31, the next at 24, and took 41A the rest of the way in. I stopped at his 'hideout' first, one so I wasn't coming home to a place without him, and two, so it broke the drive further up.

Now I can finally drive all of the way in, and sometimes I do not stop there in the morning. I still tense a little at 24, but nobody would know.

Another example is station 4, but in particular the treadmill in the weight room. It is the station I got off of that day and I worry that I might have been running on the treadmill when my son passed (Perry was crying when I called Chris and I was waiting for him to call me back while I ran, after he put Perry in his pack n'play.)

I first starting running again at the Y in Clarksville on the treadmill. When I went back to work and I would go to four for various reasons, I first dropped stuff off at the door. One day when I was running the mail and the engine was out, I braved the inside and made myself go and look in the weight room (nobody was there so it was safe to react however I needed to). The first shift I worked there, I forced myself into the room but used the elliptical. The next shift I used the elliptical and then finished up with a brief walk on the treadmill. Last shift at the end of the elliptical, I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill and finished up by doing a short run. I wasn't planning on running but it felt like the right time.

It probably all sounds crazy, but I have an incredibly horrible memory to deal with.

Other people do it as well, they just don't know it. There was another firefighter at work, whose son was in a bad car accident (but lived). He admitted that he had avoided that road for quite a while until some time had passed.

I sometimes think of shock as the minds way to unconsciously acclimatize, and my methodical planning as a conscious way to deal with the aftermath in a similar manner.

Shock is your mind not allowing you to take in the enormity. It makes you concentrate on small details you can handle so you do not face the whole truth that will shatter you. It is cleaning the chicken coop and worrying about the guest room on the day you find your son dead. It is the man who asks you if he has time to walk his dog as you load his dying wife in the ambulance.

And I guess maybe it all allows you to move forward, even if gradually, at a pace you can handle, so when you fall a bit, it will not be from too far a distance. But I worry about the day all the shock will fall from me and I face it all head on... I am not sure if I have yet. I hear stories of the fifth month from other women, of screaming in the hallways for babies that are no longer there.

And it frightens me.




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

4 Days

I am going to blunt for my family and friends, there are 4 days (3 of which may be 'relatively' soon) that I do not expect to be functioning at a high level. These will be hard days.

April 04. Perry will have been dead as long as he lived. What logic can wrap your head around so small a time frame? People who have lost adults will not understand this, there is a good probability that they will never have to face this day with their loved one.

June 08. One year birthday. A day filled with missing.

May-Julyish. Autopsy results. This is still hanging, 6-8 weeks was replaced with 6-8 months.

And next year Nov 6. One year since his death.





Sunday, March 18, 2012

Other parents

When my husband and I were getting married, money was tight- we were paying for most of it and I shopped around like a crazy woman for cakes, tailoring, and photography. Back then $10 could mean the difference between affording something or doing without (I still refer to this as 'the time of Ramen').

I can remember finding my cake lady in the newspaper. I went to visit with her at her house before hiring her.

Then I noticed something on her wall. It was a picture of her son.

Her son was about my age and I recognized him instantly. I knew him from my honor's freshman introductory class.

Her son was remarkable in that I was always taken back by his attitude. He smiled constantly, and didn't have a mean bone in his body. I never knew him to be impatient or lacking a grin. He was intelligent and careful to choose his words, measured them to keep from damaging anyone.

He had dark hair, was slightly overweight (probably from things beyond his control) and was in a wheelchair.

The next year my professor that taught the class told me that he had died. I think I sent a card, but quite honestly I had avoided the funeral. I was tired of hurting from Adam's death ( a different friend) and I wanted to remember him alive. If I had it to do over again I would have gone, I recognize now how important it is to just show up, even without words.

Here his mother was, she noticed instantly when recognition hit my face. I told her that I knew her son.

I was a bit afraid. Would she hate being around me?

But she called her husband in. The man that had almost ignored me as I came in was standing now, listening intently.

What should I say?

So I started to talk about him as I would to any parents of someone that I liked or admired. I talked about what a nice person he was, about his smile.

Before we left, she let it slip that she had just started her baking business to pay off bills. Bills, I now recognize, that were probably from her son.

I now know why his parents were so eager to hear about their son, and to hear his name on my lips. I recognize that pained hunger in me to hear my son mentioned as a person again. To them, and to me, memories without me that others share are now the only way to gain new ones.

My mother told me about how Perry would chuckle as she lifted him above her head and did "Perry-Berry" exercises. I can only distinctly remember Perry chuckling one time on my bed. He made a lot of almost laughter with me. I am glad he was sharing this new found sound that bubbled from his lips with my Mother.

His parents were getting a small glimpse of their son at college. That he was a good person as they thought, that others remembered him. They might have teared up, but they needed to hear.

I now wonder how much it hurt his mother to bake a cake for me. Was it just sadness, or a strange way of making a cake for her son, doing a favor for someone he knew? I don't know. But it was beautiful. You would have been hard pressed to find any cake for the amount she charged us.

If I met her, what might she say to me? I only hope that what I gave her was enough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ohana

One of the movies that I had never watched is, of all things, an animated Disney movie. Yes, stunning I know, as it seems to be the duty of every Mother of a small child to learn the titles and characters by heart so you can fully enter the world of your child.

It was a movie that came and went rather quietly, and in some ways I felt like I have not seen this particular movie before because we needed it now.

So what is this movie? Lilo and Stitch. Silly perhaps to find any sort of deep meaning in a cartoon, but there it is. When searching for movies to watch for a couple nights Mom and Dad were totally exhausted, I came upon this movie in the lending library on vacation and Emily instantly became excited (it is one of the stories in her big red Disney book).

It's about a little mutant monster who escapes to earth and lands in Hawaii. He finds a home with two Sisters who have lost parents in a car accident.

The younger Sister argues against returning Stich because he is now "Ohana" or family. A simple concept right? Not so simple.

Lilo explains "'Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten."

A Western critic raved that Ohana was great because the family came to include Stitch, David, an X CIA agent, and a mad scientist after beginning with just two girls. But he missed a big part. In the end credits, the photo of Lilo with her complete family was actually her Mom, Dad, Sister, Herself, and Stich taped in.

The Western critic didn't get that the family ALWAYS included their Mom and Dad.

What a wonderful concept- that family is never forgotten.

Ohana. Why should we love them any less?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Letter to Perry

Dear Perry,

What do I tell you about our vacation? I guess I would have to ask you if we left you or  if you came with us.

For us, you were with us every step. I never understood the monk who stated he prayed every minute, even as he talked, but I do now. You are the whisper in my mind, the ever present fullness of my heart that verges between joy and sadness.

I wrote you name in the sand on foreign shores. I watched as the waves carried the letters away, ephemeral. I understood as the ocean gently erased the letters of your name, that had I written it higher it too would have been caressed by the waves or the rain of a latter day. But the sand that formed your name is still there, it just swirled beneath the waves. I wrote it quietly each time, many did not see your letters, but they were there. In this way I made you a part of each place. Both of my children were there. I wished I had taken a picture, but it was hard to capture Emily and your letters. The foam in the waves sent her dancing away or the glint of a shell caught her eye.

I saw your face in the form of other children, an older baby that wore the same swim trunks I bought for you and a dark haired boy wearing a tuxedo (your father spotted him first at dinner). I wished I could have seen you wear them, and perhaps struck up a conversation with that other mother when we held babies that looked at each other like poor mirrors, delighted nonetheless.

We had a room that could have held you both, and a tub was there to bathe you in. We could have sat together on the balcony as we shared time together before the others woke. I would have carried you into the fort at San Juan, slowly winding up behind your father and Emily. Emily peering at you from her high perch and telling Daddy to wait for us as his long legs stretched out farther. You Father would have been exasperated before dinner as I tried to dress you both, or perhaps taken turns as you disrupted dinner. Or maybe you slept quietly in my arms as your Sister did a few years ago.

We slept better as the waves rocked us, I can only imagine that it would have lulled you too. Instead of you waking us occasionally, your Sister did. She had a few bad dreams were she cried out and we tried to quiet her before the neighboring cabin awoke. But we all slept deeper than we have in many months.

But your Sister did OK, even with a few disruptions. She single handedly used up all the available beads in the HAL fleet, and I imagine you might have been the object of at least one creation if you were here. You were in her family picture that she drew, although you were crying because you were in heaven and not with us here. She seemed confused at the concept that you could be happy without us, as we are not completely happy without you.

I can only imagine there would have been less 'good' formal pictures, with one more person to capture. As it was we didn't buy any. Neither your Father or I wanted any without you, we decided to wait and go to Miss Mary who could find a way to include you, if only as a picture on the end table and a toy in Emily's hands. I guess we did not want to include a stranger in on this plan. I thought about a picture of just Emily and Daddy, but even that did not hold enough sway.

I thought about you as I ran. I passed three miles with a hypnotic stride as I remembered bringing you home. Tears mixed with sweat and no one was any wiser.

But we laughed. Emily figured out how to turn off the lights to the bathroom outside the door, and when Daddy hogged the bathroom she clicked the switch. "That's funny" she giggled. I could imagine you laughing socially with us, even if you wouldn't have gotten the joke.

We ate. You would have liked the chilled fruit soups and the mashed potatoes.

We played. You might have splashed with us in the waves or threw sand as your sister made castles.

We danced. You would have probably snoozed in your stroller or in the carrier on my back.

But you were there to us... I just wish I could know if you watched us.

In moments like this, I wonder with a God who created matter and time, if somehow you did share it with us.

I wonder if in Heaven, after we all go home, if we will be allowed to live some of these times together. No missing pieces.

Or if we will be allowed something much better.

Maybe it will be like when you go into the wilderness, and take dozens of pictures of the first animal you see, thinking this might be it and the intense excitement of seeing that animal that you have seen only in pictures. Then you wander down the dirt trail farther from the center, and wildlife is everywhere. You wonder at the fact that you stayed so long on that first experience; when so much more was waiting beyond the crowd of people that was surrounding the very first. The majority of tourists weren't venturing any further from the safety of the paved path, they (and you if you would have stayed) missed the best.

Perhaps earth and heaven are like that.

I hope you are wandering on dirt paths that take you to vistas that I can only imagine here, with colors that do not exist on Earth. I hope you are tasting flavors far better than those we can imagine. I hope you can hear and are perhaps singing celestrial music, the strains of which only geniuses hear in fading dreams and try to capture crudely in the sheet music of earthly symphonies.

I wish you happiness beyond measure, safety only God can give, and true joy that my primordial heart has had only glimpses of. Love beyond comprehension. An endless life that knows no true loss.

Yours forever through Christ,

Mommy



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trying to find the good

What can I say about this lost pregnancy? If you have to say all things work together for good, there must have been some positive in there.

1) For a while I had a little hope again. Not that things will ever be the most that they could have been, but that there might still be good ahead for us. I struggled and didn't write for much of this time frame because I have the sinking feeling the best of my life was almost 5 short months. I think I needed this small hope the most when it was given.

2) In the strangeness of miscarriage, my nose became ultrasensitive again as the pregnancy progressed and after it ended. Really- pregnancy symptoms return as the HCG falls, a strange and tortuous fact.

So how was this good? Perry's shirt and belongings, for one brief period of time I could smell his little boy scent mixed up with milkiness again. The scent had faded, leaving me crying more, but it returned.

3) I realize that life will go on, for better or worse.

4) Ok Beth- I love you... But at least I got to choose my bridesmaid dress. I have the body of a 37 year old who has had two children. I can't wear the same thing as a 14 year old and maintain any dignity. I am sure I will be a bit sad knowing why my dress is different, but I am sure the day will be bittersweet for me. Happy my SIL is about to embark on a new section of her life, but incredibly sad Perry isn't there and will not have the chance to meet his own bride.

I guess these things aren't much, but you have to understand I have very little faith in normal pregnancy anymore. I believe that if God is willing, perhaps I will meet these children I never got to see or learn about.

And meanwhile, all the babies just keep smiling at me. Even the Moms seem a bit confused. It's not Perry's sweet smile, but perhaps a message nonetheless.

I'm not jealous they are alive, as I was after my first miscarriages.

At this point then, you probably wonder why I don't talk babies with Moms then. It's not jealousy, it is just that they can't handle two way communication. I don't want to talk about their child without talking about my son. They can't handle the smiles mixed with tears when I remember him. I can't handle avoiding him like an awkward political subject, he was a lovely child who deserves to be remembered. So I just avoid it. I have had other parents say that it is our job to be a guide to our friends. But I can't do it right now. It will take a brave friend who can laugh and cry with me to go there, and for the most part people are just afraid.

Babies on the other hand, can accept a smile as genuine even if you are crying. They have no preconceived notions of how you should feel.

I never forget my son. He is always on my mind. You can't make me sadder by talking about him, you just expose what is there. It is bubbling underneath and sometimes it is a relief to let it out. But sometimes it is not all pain.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The conclusion, posts I wrote when I wasn't writing

Feb 3, 2012

I guess by now you have all read the posts on my days that I did not write. I originally set them for release on March 11, because that was when I was ready to tell. I don't tell until after the first trimester, I know things are uncertain for me at best.

After two ultrasounds (when the heartbeat went from 80 to 114 BPM), we went for a third yesterday.

No heartbeat.

Only 2 of 6 pregnancies have ended with a live birth. I cry mostly this time because I have never intended my Daughter to be an only child. And she isn't, but now I face the reality that for all practical purposes she is and could remain. It is very sad to know that for a brief time I had my perfect family. I had a girl and a smiling baby boy, and all that is gone now.

I looked at this pregnancy as something to hope for, my husband looked at it as partially a chance to 'do things right'. But it has all vanished as vapor.

I hear from older parents 'at least you can have another child'.

No, it is not that simple.

I loved my children as blessings not as just normality in my life because I recognized they survived inspite of all the odds.

And now I know that even when you have a child they can never be taken for granted.

In this life, you can only guarantee the present and love them here and now. As is true with anybody.

In the end all will be made right, but I continue this journey for now.

I always felt sorrow for the people that believed the best part of their lives was in high school. For the time being, I feel my best was when Perry was alive. And it saddens me.

I have had no innocence with pregnancy since I lost my first. I wish I could have been left in innocence with children. But I have not. And I continue to live, oddly richer and so much poorer for it at the same time. My eyes are clearer, even with the film of tears, than they have ever been. But oh to see Perry Bryce again even if I could not keep this knowing, I would do it in a heartbeat.

A heartbeat... A simple tiny thud of muscle. Just a moment in time repeated for life to continue. Even that eludes me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The beginning of the end?

Jan. 8, 2012
This is part of what I am afraid of. I have had a small indication today that all might not be well with this pregnancy.

To anybody else this would be nothing much to be concerned about, but this is how most of my other miscarriages began.

I am asking you to be kind and not to judge too much. Maybe it isn't healthy to try so soon as I mourn, but I do not have the grace of time that younger women do. It isn't unexpected, most of my pregnancies have ended this way... which was why I appreciated both of my children so much. That doesn't mean this isn't easy.

I had a bad feeling when I couldn't get the special prenatals I needed right away. Somewhere between the midwives office and Walmart, during the busy holiday season, someone dropped the ball. I freaked out a bit on the pharmacist tech the second time I came and it was not ready (I had to request them to resend the prescription) and they were out... I made her call just about every pharmacy in town and winded up driving close to base to get it.

I'm hoping this is just a false alarm, but ?

So there you have part of why I might have been acting a bit out of it.

But then, I'm not so sure you will even be able to tell. I'm 'tached' out already. It is a real loss, yes. But no Perry. I mourned over each of my miscarriages, and at first felt guilty about Emily and Perry. Each of them would not have been around if I had not miscarried... I'd have still been pregnant with the ones I lost. But I came to largely accept them, because as I held my children in my arms, I knew they were meant to be. I could not imagine any other baby. Perry and Emily were healing in this regard, I could forgive naive Moms again. I could talk baby things, although grouching never quite came as easily to me, because I knew. And when I grouched, it was nice that I could forget a moment. But I never completely forgot. I understood when I responded to women who were having miscarriages. I felt joy for couples that had struggled to have children for whatever reason and finally brought home a baby.

I can remember crying when I was huge with Perry. I was in the spare bedroom and looked in the closet. A small jacket I bought during one of the pregnancies between Emily and Perry was hanging up.

I never forgot.

Now, when will I feel comfortable with a new child? Before it was late in the pregnancy before I started to bond, and to be honest I had to see them in my arms. Now I will know that is no guarantee.

I still hope, and pray (although I admit I have trouble as I prayed for my family's safety as I went to bed the night Perry died) that this pregnancy might make it. What will I feel if all goes well and I hold this new child in my arms? I will not be able to feel at peace with Perry's death or at least gain as much acceptance. There will still be a child missing. But I have to hope that the house will not seem as quiet, that my arms are not as empty, that maybe I can end this childbearing era with more than a tombstone as the period.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

January 12, 2012 Good news/bad news

Yesterday I had my first appointment with the midwife since Perry died. The last time I had gone past the Vanderbilt football Stadium was with Perry strapped to my chest as we hustled away after a game. The last time I had opened the door to the office, I was carrying Perry.

After a short visit, she rushed my off to the imaging office. I felt like she was as ill at ease as I was.

Well the good news is that there is something there.

The bad news is it is measuring a week behind and the heart rate is slow, 80 bpm.

So we go back for a follow-up next week to see if things are progressing or if it is bad news again.

I judge it to be 50/50 odds.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dec 30, 2011
There has been a lot on my mind that I have not been sharing. On Dec 26, I tested. I have always sensed we wanted another child, but I was afraid to follow this route because of my job. Firefighting is not an easy career to have children… It is great once they are here, but unlike a desk job you can’t perform basic functions for months and wind up relying on the charity of your department and city to keep your job. A scary proposition at best. FMLA really doesn’t work for firefighters or police officers.  Brentwood had no maternity leave… it takes me three years to accrue enough if I take a few short vacations and minimal vacation hours for training.
So after Perry was born, I had this sense that it would be a mistake to ‘take care of the issue permanently’.  At the time, I remembered the Cheatham county family where the father had accidentally ran over his young child, their only biological child. They were blessed after adopting, but I got the sense that for some reason natural or manmade they could not have another child without adopting. You never know…. It is not replacing a child, but I had never envisioned Emily as an only child.
I have to say that I do not believe the bond to be any less between adopted children and parents. It is pure love to accept a complete little individual. Adopted children inherit the best part of their parents, the shaping of their personality and love.
But I love the combining of my husband and I in our children. I love his eye color in the shape of  my eyes, the length of my husband in Perry.  My children have their father’s eye color. They had the same eyebrows as each other. After admitting that yet another grandchild was not the spitting image of his/her father, my MIL once told me that my children resembled each other. And they did/do… the same narrow long feet, similar eyes and noses… When Perry smiled his eyes turned into narrow blue almonds, just like his sister. They both raised one eyebrow mischievously or with amusement, something they could do naturally when the best I can manage is quivering just one if I stare intently in the mirror. In some ways they were more each other than they were me. And I loved that.
Your reasons for wanting a child are still there, they have not magically gone away after you lose a child.
I am making no illusions about what the second line means. I have had more miscarriages than children, and well, as you know even that (children born) has not worked out. I went to a funeral the next day and I had to fight the sinking feeling that I was really attending the funeral for this pregnancy.
But I try to trust.
I used to think that I had already had my share of misfortune and that God would help protect my children. There is none of this now, I know God does not always protect his children from life or death. I know you think of miracles, but they do not apply to me. I have prayed the Lazarus prayer. My child remains dead, his smile stilled on this earth. Was Lazarus any more wonderful than my son?
So I have no reason to believe that this pregnancy is protected.
But still, if this pregnancy continues and the child grows, what do I say to my SIL. I do not want to tell them about this pregnancy. Cannot take any false joy before it is safely established. But I still look at the bridesmaid dress and hope that it will be impossible to wear. I also do not want it to leak out before I am ready, a maternity dress would do that.
She will not understand why I do not want to be her bridesmaid, why I would want to darken her bright day. My day has been darkened, and I do not want to do that to a bride. But happy brides do not see sad tears shed away from them. This world is theirs; the future is a wonderful thing with promise.  Filled with everyone they love.
I dread telling. I dread it because people will think I am over Perry. Nothing could be further, I just had to make the decision to live or die three days after his death.  I chose to live, and this is all part of it.
This baby will not be Perry. My joy in my family will never be completely whole again, but I chose to live. I chose to believe that there will still be happy days ahead, that life is still worth living.
I know I will cry bittersweet tears if this child is born safely. Happy to have a baby in my arms, but sad that I cannot hold Perry.