Monday, March 23, 2009

Could be nowhere

What to blog about today?? I really have no idea. I had several thoughts running through my head throughout the morning, when I wasn't home. And it figures....they've all escaped me. So we'll see where this post goes....could be nowhere.

I've been reading a lot of really sad blogs today, since we got home. I don't know why I do this. I seem drawn to them. I'm a big fan of Uppercase Woman. It's author, Cecily, lost her twin sons at 22 weeks, over four years ago. It's a community that's pretty tight in the blogging world, mothers who have lost their children. I've found a few through links on her site. So I've taken to following a couple of them. I feel a sort of kinship with them, having lost a baby myself. But I feel like I don't really belong there, because my baby was lost much earlier than most of these mothers. Like posting about the baby I lost wouldn't quite count.

I remember vividly the emotional pain of miscarrying and how completely desperate I felt. It is always defined as a loss, and it is, in more ways then just the actual loss of a child. My baby was lost, and all of my dreams for that baby, but I was lost too. I had no purpose that I could define, except maybe "not a mother". I wanted no part in this life anymore, only the comfort of my husband's arms. I remember thinking I would never, ever be able to dig my way out of the pain I was in. Thinking I would never ever feel joy again in any meaningful capacity. But I did, and I do, and I have no idea how I came to this. I think it really wasn't until Ruthie was born, and really until she came home, that I began to see a light. I remember my thoughts as I was delivering her. At the very moment I was pushing her fragile body out of mine, I thought that if she didn't make it, I would never ever do this again. By "this" I meant try to have another baby. I knew that if she didn't survive, I would be plunging into a depth of grief from which there was no foreseeable escape. I was sure of it. And I dangled there on the edge, white knuckles and all, until she came home. Even after that, I was sure something would go wrong with her. I'd walk over to the lip of that tremendous abyss and peer in, even though I didn't want to. But it seemed as if the moment I was no longer vigilant, it would sneak up on would suck me the little girl in Poltergeist, sucked into that TV.
Even after Ruthie seemed more stable in the NICU, I just couldn't shake it. I'd watch her cry and remember how sure I was that our first baby had felt some kind of pain, and that as the mother of that baby, I had failed. Failed to save him, failed to comfort him when he needed me most. I had this horribly haunting thought for a long long time after the miscarriage that my baby died alone and in pain, with the knowledge that I, his mother, wasn't there. So to watch poor Ruthie, hooked up to all kinds of machinery, crying her feeble cry, sometimes audible, sometimes obscured by machinery, was agony. To stand helplessly next to her bed, was nearly unbearable to me. I remember crying myself and a nurse saying "Oh, honey they all cry." I wanted to scream at that nurse. I wanted to beat my fists against her chest and yell "Yes, maybe they do, but that is MY baby, and I am supposed to be the one who comforts her. And she can smell me and hear me, and she knows that I'm here and that I'm not helping her. And I am finding it really hard to live with that. And I am being suffocated by the guilt of failing her. Not keeping her safely inside of me for as long as she was supposed to be there. I didn't fail those other babies that are crying. I failed her. So when she cries, it's my heart that's crushing itself in my chest. My knees are the ones that go weak. And I am sure I can never make it up to her. " But I said none of that. I shook my head and said "I know."
So where am I going with this? I'm not sure, but I feel like I am minimizing the pain of those mothers who have lost their babies, by comparing it to the pain of my miscarriage, or God forbid, the pain of having a sick child who lived. Their babies, whose faces they saw, whose still bodies they held. I wish there were something I could say to help them, but I know that I can't. My pain is different. My baby that died will always be "the baby that I lost." I don't know if it was a boy or a girl. It never had a name. I never saw its hazy profile in an ultrasound picture. I never bought that baby a homecoming outfit. So maybe over time it's been easier for me to let the pain go. Without those things, I didn't have the same dreams. I had dreams for that baby, for sure, but they were so much more vague. It didn't feel like that 6 years ago though.
I had always felt a bit of regret that I didn't know the baby's gender. Now, I think, I'm grateful for it. It might have made me dream more, and that would have been more that I needed to let go of. More that I had lost. I have no doubt that the year following the miscarriage, when our efforts at conceiving again repeatedly failed us, plunged me further into despair and was the hardest year of my life. Harder than my year in rehab. It changed me, as really difficult things tend to do. At first I didn't like who I had become, but I felt that letting go if it would mean abandoning my baby. Disowning him. Failing him again. And I read about these mothers, and sometimes fathers, who blog about the child they've lost. And they talk about how they've changed. I get it a little. But I don't get it all. Because they have more dreams they'd imagined coming true. They had names for their babies. Names that, if they hear them when some other mother called her little girl or boy, break their hearts all over again. Babies who would be just the ages of theirs. I am at peace with how I've changed, because in the end I think it's served me well. The pain of the miscarriage, and the pain of my daughters' births, has opened some doors for me that I never would have seen. But I don't know if that's how it works when your baby is born still at 36 weeks, or dies when she is 6 weeks old. When she has a name, and a face and you have so many, many more dreams than I'd ever dared to dream. And so I don't want to assume that I know what they're going through. Yes, I lost a child. But in a different way. I guess you could say that about every loss.

1 comment:

xmas said...

Wow. This is a very powerful post. It belongs on your other blog as well.