I thought I'd let you know how the first few days have gone since my D&C on Tuesday. It's barely been a week since we learned the devastating condition of Baby Jacob. It's hard to believe that such much has happened in a such a short time.
Day 1 - Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010
This day was particularly difficult for me. I hadn't slept well at all. As soon as I sat up in bed and eased my legs carefully to the floor, I started crying. I don't remember feeling anything, I just cried. Somehow I knew that this wasn't a good way to start the day. I stared at the floor for awhile before finally getting up.
I cried throughout the day. Any thought could trigger a feeling of emptiness and overwhelming sadness at losing Baby Jacob. This was the first day I woke up alone--he was no longer in my tummy. He was gone.
I felt desolate all day and hated feeling that way. The waves of sadness continued to pummel me. I'm so glad that Alex was home. We had talked about it on Monday and he told his boss that he would be taking both days off. It helped to have him take care of the boys and the dogs so I could be left alone when I needed to be.
I also felt horribly drained that first day. I think the lack of sleep caught up with me. The surgery, the anesthesia, the loss. Being tired did not help my state of mind. I noticed that I didn't even want to talk with anyone. A wonderfully supportive friend from TX had sent me flowers. They made me cry. I was so happy that she thought of me but just couldn't bring myself to call her to thank her personally. Talking was difficult--even to my mom. I didn't want to talk, I think I just needed the day to feel bad.
Alex finally took the boys out for a quick errand and to pick up dinner around 4:00. I tried to take a nap. How does someone sleep after suffering such a loss? I felt so cold in bed. I had tons of blankets on and the dog stretched out along my legs. Even her warmth could not take away the chill. I was too cold to sleep.
Alex came home with the boys around 6:30. We ate pizza and I finally felt more able to talk. I discovered that a lot of what had been bothering me was the phone call I received from someone the night prior. I think I had been in too great of a state of shock for the hurt to truly sink in. It did sink in and it hurt. Everything cruel that this person said to me was draining me. I felt angry that my grief for my son was overshadowed by this person.
We decided to go to Walmart for some groceries. I took my time walking around with the cart. My doctor had told me to take things easy and to not do any heavy lifting. Sammy was my helper. He picked up what I needed and chunked everything into the cart. We went by the baby section. You might think this is strange but from what I'd read about dealing with the emotional pain of losing an infant, it was perfectly normal to shop for your lost child. I only had bought one toy for the baby prior so I found an outfit that I thought he would have worn. It helped to see something that I could imagine him in--3-dimensional--if that makes sense. I also bought a small stuffed yellow and brown giraffe. Since buying that giraffe, it hasn't left my side. I have slept with it each night. It helps to have something to hold.
I also bought new jammies for the boys--Sammy picked out Cars jammies for Benny and Sponge Bob jammies for him. I'm not sure why I bought them now. Guess it was just something I did.
Wednesday night was really hard. I found a website that sells a book called, In the Company of Angels. It's a book to record your memories of your pregnancy and your infant's loss. I'll post the link in the next day or so. The website flips you through the book and plays a very emotional, very beautiful song along with it. I sobbed so hard watching it that I could only watch it twice--once by myself and once with Alex. My physical pain was worse after sobbing so hard. We ordered the book and plan to order the song as well.
Day 2 - Thursday, October 28, 2010
I was grateful that the second day out wasn't as hard as Wednesday. I still felt a dark cloud hanging over me but I didn't find myself crying steadily throughout the day. Oh, things would trigger it for sure but that was at least better than constant sobbing. I wondered though if this was normal? I find that I have two concerns right now. Am I grieving in the 'right' way? Is there a 'right' way? Am I trying to get back to 'normal' too fast? Should I be sitting and mourning my loss? Should I be cooking dinner, laughing with my boys and putting away clothes?
My second concern was that I'd forget my son. I don't want to get back to normal so fast that I forget about my son. I had read that women who lose a child want to make sure that their child is remembered. That their child existed. I felt so strongly about this and was glad to see that I was not alone. Would getting back to normal make me forget my son? Or make me forget about what had happened?
I know that recovering from grief takes time. There are phases to go through--denial, shock, fear, rejection, etc. All of these must be gone through before you can accept and 'move on.' What if I rush through the phases just to get back to normalcy and then hit rock bottom later on because I didn't grieve the way I should?
Leave it to me to worry about stuff like this. It just stinks, you know? I would have been counting the weeks. I would have been going about my business--getting the boys ready for Halloween, continuing to unpack boxes, paying bills, etc. But not anymore. I just had a death in the family. A very close and personal death and it's difficult to figure out what state of mind you're supposed to be in from one day to the next.
I talked to my Pastor today. That helped. I found out that he had lost a child too. His wife had a stillborn son at 26 weeks. I heard the sorrow in this voice as he shared his painful memory. I asked him if he thought Baby Jacob was for sure in Heaven. I needed to hear it from my Pastor, I don't know why. He said, "Without a doubt, yes." He talked about how my son was now perfect. How God showed us mercy by taking him now. How both of our children are there waiting for us. I was so grateful for his time.
At one point I asked Sammy if he thought the Angels were singing to Baby Jacob. He said yes. I asked if Baby Jacob was crying or happy. He said, "He's happy Mommy! I can hear him laughing!" When I asked what song the Angels were singing to him, Sammy said, "The one about Baby Jesus." This is "Away in a Manger" that I always sing to the boys. I sing the non-traditional version because I think it's prettier. They both love it. Sammy went on to tell me, "Mommy, God will fix Baby Jacob, don't worry. And he'll put another baby into your tummy." I felt happy tears trickle down my cheeks as I smiled at my firstborn and said, "You're right Sammy, God has already fixed Baby Jacob. He's up there with the Angels singing to him. We'll have to pray that God puts another baby into Mommy's tummy."
The doorbell rang for the second time in two days. Our landlord sent us flowers. They, too, had lost a child years before and understood our loss. Our house smells pretty.
We ran out to Hobby Lobby Thursday night. I needed to buy light blue ribbon for our trees. I will tie a bow around a tree in the front yard and one in the backyard. I can't wait to do this for Baby Jacob.
We also stopped at Macy's. While I wanted to take off my hospital bracelets because they were itchy, I couldn't take them off until I had something to replace them. I needed something to remember my baby by. I plan to shop online for some baby memorial jewelry in the next few weeks but wanted something special to wear now. I found a sterling silver bracelet with three charms on it. One is an angel. Another is a circle with three crosses on one side and the word, 'Strength', on the other. The last charm is a heart with a cross on one side and the words, 'Believe, Joy, Love and Faith' on the other. The bracelet, originally $80, was on sale for $31. Alex thought the bracelet was perfect and so did I.
I went to bed fearing the future. I so want to have another child. What if we can't? It would be one thing if we simply had to delay having a baby and had to just deal with this horrific loss first. But I can't say that. I can't say that we will for sure be able to have another baby. That scares me so bad. I feel jealous of other pregnant women. I'm so happy for them, but jealous too. Why did this happen to me? Why am I no longer pregnant?
Day 3 - Friday, October 29, 2010
Another day like the day before. Triggers would set off the tears. I found a picture frame that I had bought for my mom for next Mother's Day. It says, 'Grandkids', and has three spaces for photos. It was really hard to look at that frame.
I went out to tie Jacob's ribbon today. The tree in the front yard that I picked has three large trunks. Those symbolize Alex, Jacob and I. I tied the ribbon onto the section with two branches--to me it symbolizes mama and baby--Baby Jacob was a part of me and always will be. I cried as I smoothed out the bow. I am so happy to have Jacob's tree for all to see.
I did a lot of physical work today getting things ready for our Halloween meal. I started the tradition last year for the boys. They love it. I make 'Halloweenie' foods and make the table look fun with doo-dads for the boys to play with. Benny got a Bob the Builder book and Sammy a Winnie the Pooh book. It was hard proceeding with normal activities especially something that I had hoped to spend more time on. I almost couldn't find the pumpkin napkins. I had stuff tucked away somewhere but couldn't find it. I did the best I could under the circumstances and was happy that the boys enjoyed our "Halloween Party" as much as they did. Sammy even wanted to dance. He said, "You put on music at a Halloween Party and you dance. Can we dance, Mommy?"
I find that I ache a bit more today--physically that is. The pain hasn't been too bad and the bleeding hasn't either. I think I hurt more because I did more. I'm grateful that the pain isn't worse though.
So that's my first few days. I'm not sure how I compare with other women who've gone through this or even with other's experiencing loss. What I know for sure is that all I can do at this point is to take one day at a time. I know it's a cliche, but it's true. I just have to keep going. One day will lead me to another and another. I know eventually the pain will lessen but I have no idea when. That's all I can do at this point. Just go through each day and see what happens next.
Thanks for staying with me on this journey. I welcome your comments. Until next time...