Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In the 'messy middle'

I need to say a few things... I am hopeful, I have security in my faith, I'm optimistic, I see beauty, I am strong, and I love life.

The truth is, that only less than 1% of the population can truly relate to what myself & family have been through.  Few my age have known a deep loss on the same scale.  It's isolating, it's f***ing lonely.  One author said it well "the loss of a baby is just the beginning of loss."  So true.  You learn who your friends are (the good ones are rare).

There isn't a day that I haven't gotten out of bed, I'm holding on to a 3.8 grade point average in grad school (just started the program after we lost Vivian), my marriage remains strong, my kids seem to be happy and sane, I care for others as a nurse, and I started a perinatal loss committee at the hospital I work at to make a difference in the lives of future families with a loss.  Life hasn't stopped and we've never been more aware that it doesn't.  We have instant perspective on the fragility of life, so we don't need to hear that it could be worse.  I think we're persevering, but we still need to talk about the path we're on with our grief.  It's so intertwined with our daily lives.  To bring it up in conversation is a need.  When I say this, I'm confident I'm not playing the 'woe is me card', I'm not wanting you to feel sorry for me and I'm not wanting to make you feel uncomfortable or guilty.  Tough love is far from helpful and minimizing what we think or are experiencing hurts.  Throw out something encouraging, anything.  Say you were reminded of Vivian somehow/somewhere.  Listen even for just a few minutes.

 Brene Brown (my best friend in print) says we can't skip the messy middle.  We're definitely smack in the middle.  We'll come out stronger and better and all that other great stuff.  We didn't have that 'academy award winning' recovery that our culture so loves and claps for, but we need to be in this place... the messy middle. For those who have listened and been in the arena with us (a Brene Brown phrase - if you haven't read one of her books, you really should), we are beyond grateful!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Navigating life after baby loss

The thoughts come without warning. My stream of consciousness is like a river. Now and then there's snags that ensnare you. You break free but there's always another one coming... My boss shows us new pictures of her beautiful young granddaughters and points out their coordinating outfits that she bought referring to herself as "Mimi'. The tears flood my eyes instantly as to what would have been... the thought of my Mother showing off a picture of her granddaughter in an outfit she delighted in buying. A snag from the river. I suck back the tears and break free.

The cheering from a sweet, small voice just a few feet away..."Go Mason, go Mason, go!" A little sister rooting for her big brother at the track meet. Snagged. Vivian would have been hanging from the fence too, cheering on her big brother. Nolan would have LOVED it. I break free once again.

Watching my husband hold and feed a friend's baby - this is his first time he's held a baby since our loss of Vivian. I take notice like looking through a camera lens (the old kind, not on a digital screen), there's no joy on his face as there would have been had our baby girl been held by us all these months. Snagged. Loss just keeps showing up. We keep breaking free.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tonight I'm angry. Most days I'm strong and focus on the wide endless love of Vivian. Not right now. Triggers in my night act like an autonomic response, depressing the rewind button in my visual memory replaying the hardest of days... My pregnancy was hard having cholestasis and all that it encompassed physically and emotionally. Vivian died. Our grief individually, as husband & wife, and as a family have been one tumultuous road. Days after losing her, my Mom & I went shopping for something for me to wear at her memorial service. We sit down at a table with four chairs and within a few minutes, a man asked if he could use the two other chairs. We were unaware as he sat down that he was holding a baby girl. The tears just flowed as we silently finished our sandwiches with the two of them at our table frolicking and smiling at each other. Josh went to the hardware store early just before 7:00am one weekday morning and as he's in the lumber aisle, a Dad holding the hand of a sweet toddler girl pass by him; she looks back at Josh with a gaze that draws him in. Within the same week, I went to the mall by myself and I decide to stop in a gift shop for women and there in the middle of the store is a display with the exact pink rose colored stuffed bunny I bought Vivian when I found out we were having a baby girl. There's no other baby/toddler items in the store! In December, Josh & I visited the Angel of Hope Memorial with Vivian's name on the wall. As we're heading out of the park (there wasn't another soul in sight during our walk over or during our visit), we see a young vibrant couple coming toward us. She is clearly pregnant and right behind her is a photographer. The park is large and we happen to cross paths with them? Could we be any more diametrically opposed?! Instance after instance seemed as if a knife already in our open flesh wounds was being twisted. Tonight I don't want to do anything good with what we've been through. Tonight I don't want to be strong. Tonight... I just want to carry her.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vivian...11 months today. In any given day, I think of you too many times to count. I wonder what you would be doing, what your giggles would sound like, and the endless ways in which your brothers would torment and tease you. Today I ordered more pictures to begin putting together your scrapbook. I wanted more. I longed for more visuals of us celebrating you, of us capturing doing life with you. There wasn't even a single picture of me with my full on baby belly. Oh I was cute, too. There wasn't a picture of Mom & I spending the day in St. Louis shopping for all things Vivian. The day was filled with such joy and love! Anticipating, preparing, dreaming and planning for your arrival. The two of us with our love for fabric oodled over the most beautiful dresses we'd ever seen in a baby boutique. To be immersed in a day of all things girly and feminine seemed a right of passage...soon to be three generations doing life together...Mother, Daughter and Granddaughter. What a gift. We should've taken more pictures. Some details of memories are already fading. I stop to remind myself that no amount of pictures would ever truly capture or depict the love and joy of you. A deep soul love that was created before you were ever visible to us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's been a while

With one semester of nursing school to go, I'm focusing on family and ending strong. This blog fuels a passion that can be a time hog and there's no 'extra' time to give these days. Signing off for... a while.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't be too trusting...

This is a great video clip breaking down why cesareans are so high in the US. It's to the point, concise and hopefully will empower one person to empower another...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

OBGYN vs. Midwife

Thought this was worthy of sharing...Keep in mind Nurse Midwives care for low risk moms-to-be.