We’re now 3 weeks out from the anniversary of Christian’s birth/death. Most of the time, I feel as close to normal as I think is possible given that my son died almost a year ago. Overall I enjoy life, I have wonderful friends and family, I live in a beautiful (albeit messy) house with a stinky dog who needs a haircut (Ender has bad gas right now, ew), and compared to the majority of the people in the world, I have a life of comfort, stability, and happiness.
But every now and then – more frequently now than it has been – I get into a very unpleasant state of mind. I mentally composed the following late one night last week (and yes, the late-at-night undoubtedly contributed to the drama):
Last night the agonizing, heartbreaking grief of Christian’s death returned. It’s a feeling I didn’t miss, that I both hoped and feared would never come back.
As it gets closer and closer to the one-year mark, I feel . . . inadequate. I wish I had some Deep Insights or Useful Life Lessons I’ve gained over the past year. Otherwise, what’s the point? If I haven’t learned something profound I can share with others, or changed in meaningful ways, or discovered myself, then the whole experience is just stupid.
Saying this might make me a genuinely bad person: I wish someone else’s baby had died instead of mine. Or, ideally, that no one’s baby had died. But especially not mine. When I think about finding out I was pregnant, or being excited to go have an ultrasound, I hate myself for having been happy. I was an idiot for assuming everything would be fine.
Ok, so. I don’t usually feel that way. At all. But I am somewhat at a loss as I approach Christian’s birthday/deathday. (Morbid? Can I make “deathday” a real word though?) Should I have some remarkable insights? Should I have all the answers? Should I feel better or worse than I do? Someone please give me a guidebook with nice little checkboxes so I can do this thing right!
The irony is, of course, I feel guilty when I feel great (because I obviously “should” feel worse about my son’s death), and I feel guilty when I feel awful (because I obviously “should” feel better about my overall-great life). I’m tired of feeling guilty! Grief is really not rational. Dislike.
Anyway, there’s a very rambling, incoherent post about some thoughts and feeling-type things.
A year ago today, Jarom and I excitedly went in for my 20-week ultrasound.
I remember that morning, around 6:30, Evan woke up because he had to poop. Badly. So I spent half an hour being his poop coach (a job I have gladly left in the past). I wondered, am I really ready to add to this chaos?
I remember trying not to feel disappointed when the sonographer kept saying it was hard to get a look at things, because it probably meant I wouldn’t find out if Tiny Baby was a boy or a girl.
I remember the feeling of utter panic when the sonographer stood up to go see if the OB was available to meet with me later that day.
I remember paying attention to the fluid level number – 3.8. I thought it would be something we’d need to keep track of, to measure repeatedly.
I remember sending Jarom to pick up the kids from the babysitter because I couldn’t handle explaining the sort-of-not-quite bad news in person.
I remember feeling much less apprehensive than maybe I should have when I met with the OB. He told me the possible causes of low amniotic fluid – kidney problems, placenta problems, ruptured membranes. I hoped that I had somehow not noticed fluid leaking, that I’d be put on bedrest at 24 weeks, that the amazing neonatal care available now would ensure everything turned out okay.
I remember calling Jarom after I came out of the meeting. I said, “Pretty much every scenario the doctor told me about ends with the baby dying.” But I didn’t really feel that weight.
I remember calling my parents, wanting comfort and assurance that things would be alright.
I remember what I was wearing that day, even the earrings I had on. It was a beautiful spring day and I wore sandals.
I remember sitting in the swing outside our house talking to a friend who had just made an offer on a house. The flowers were blooming in our yard and it was hard to reconcile that new beginning with the possibility of death in our family.
I remember our friend coming over to help Jarom give me a blessing. It promised comfort and I knew, I knew, my baby was going to die.
I remember our friend showing up with dinner, and I felt grateful that my arms were full once she handed it to me – I was afraid of breaking down if she tried to give me a hug.
I remember the uncertainty, the fear of what would happen, the hope for a miracle and the overwhelming burden of being sure that Tiny Baby would not live.
It was not a good day.