One Year

Wow, what a difference a year makes.  So much has happened in the past year – mostly good stuff!

A year ago, we were just going live with our adoption profile (being shown to expectant parents), we were having our fingerprints done and working on myriad home study details.

Last Jan 7th, I wrote about a fortune cookie fortune that still remains on my desk to this day.  It says “Where there is a will, there is a way.”   At the time I pondered it and wrote: “I am hoping that the fortune is true – and that somehow (hopefully soon) we will fulfill our dream of being parents.  And that through all of this effort and heartbreak, the sheer force of my ”will” can help us find “a way”.   Little did I know how quickly that would come to fruition.

A year ago on New Years Eve, I forced myself to go to a NYE party (I was still deep in grief and didn’t feel like celebrating anything).  You can read about that evening’s events in this post. At the stroke of midnight, while everyone else was celebrating, I was in the bathroom sobbing.  It was just days before the twins’ original due date and all I could think about that night was that I should have been home taking care of my sons that night, not at a party feeling lonely and sad while in a room full of people.

Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that just one year later on New Years Eve, we’d be sitting at home by choice – but this time with our 17 month old daughter asleep in her crib, and us marveling at how lucky we feel to be her parents.  We are still amazed that it was just 3 short months after starting our adoption process that we brought our daughter home.  We were fully expecting a 6 – 18 month wait when we started the paperwork. Truly, at the time I didn’t feel like we were quite ready to be parents, but we thought we’d have a lot of time to get there.  I feel a little guilty sometimes with how easy our adoption process was, knowing how much longer and harder it has been for other friends in their own adoption journeys.

For anyone trying to follow along, here is our timeline:

    • Dec 9, 2010 – signed with our adoption organization
    • January 12, 2011 – delivered our profiles (info about us for expectant parents) to the organization so they could start presenting us to expectant parents
    • March 1, 2011 – home study was approved
    • March 15, 2011 – our adoption organization contacted us to let us know we had a potential match (it turns out the birth mother picked us online, then they sent her printed profiles and she picked us again – this was all before we knew anything about her).  The baby was already 8 months old.
    • March 16, 2011 – our initial call with the birth mother where we got to talk for the first time and subsequently we each agreed to the “match”.
    • March 28, 2011 – our first meeting with the birth mother and baby
    • March 29, 2011 – our first time alone with baby
    • April 3, 2011 – first overnight with baby
    • April 4, 2011 – paperwork signed making us her parents and we got to bring her to her forever home
    • December 9, 2011 – adoption finalized

As you can see, it was a whirlwind year becoming parents of an 8 month old baby – a crash course in instant parenthood.  Not always pretty, but full of love, hugs, giggles, and a few sleepless nights (us not her).

I’m not sure why I feel the need to say this, but I still do.   Having an amazing beautiful daughter does not take away the pain of losing our sons. It does not “fix” things, and having her doesn’t make losing Trace and Quinn okay. But over the course of this past year, I have become better at allowing the grief and joy to sort of co-exist.  Usually not at the same time exactly, but in the course of a day, I can have my ugly sad cry in the shower and minutes later feel extreme joy at our daughter’s latest antics, kisses and hugs.  Loss and joy are complicated that way.

Another interesting milestone this year was finally launching a business plan based on the work I’ve been doing the past few years helping others travel abroad for IVF treatments.  The organization that I worked with previously (they subcontracted to me) changed their business model, and suddenly were no longer including my services in their treatment package.  That gave me the opportunity to reimagine how things should work and launch a business model that I felt would be unbiased and provide the best solution for me to continue to be able to help people who wanted to travel abroad for IVF, donor egg IVF, and donor embryo treatments.  A few weeks ago, my new Website was finally launched – www.ivftraveler.com.

I am excited and energized by the opportunity to continue to help others achieve their dreams of building or expanding their families.  In a recent week, I had the joy of receiving birth announcements for five babies conceived from treatments that I had the privilege to faciliate.  And it is days like those that fill my eyes with happy tears and reinforce my feelings of being so lucky to do a job that I absolutely love.

I hope that 2012 brings you all good health, dreams fulfilled, and new dreams created. I hope you can find precious moments of joy and peace in what otherwise may be hectic and often challenging days.   Happy New Year!

PS – if you made it this far, you deserve a little something extra, so here is an image of our first Christmas card with our daughter.

christmas card 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Would you?

Do you happen to follow this blog?  http://mylifeafterloss.blogspot.com/2011/10/steady-rock.html  It is a mom who has repeatedly experienced IC (incompetent cervix), PPROM (premature rupture of membranes) and infant loss, along with delivering her twins very, very early.

I find it interesting – even though I don’t share her beliefs, I can respect her for following what she so strongly believes.   And the way she shares her beliefs is so non-judgemental, I think it is refreshing.

Anyway, I found her current post about TAC (transabdominal cerclage) interesting.   It made me ask myself – if I knew that I could very likely have TAC and prevent IC/bedrest/PPROM, would I want to be pregnant again?   That is, assuming we decided we wanted another child?  I honestly don’t know the answer to this.

I’m not sure if the question came to mind because a TAC was something I didn’t fully explore before deciding NO MORE TTC?   I think any pregnancy (and I mean any at all – myself or a surrogate) was more scary than I could even contemplate at that stage of grief and trauma recovery when we made the decision to move forward with adoption.

Now, although I do find that as time passes it is somewhat easier to watch pregnancies/delivery stories on TV, I still come very near breaking out in a cold sweat when I see or even read about a delivery because of the trauma I still feel from my twin pregnancy, bedrest, and emergency c-section delivery.   So NOT what delivery is supposed to be like.

So, I’m curious, for those of you whose doctors recommended “no more pregnancies” due to IC or PPROM – if you could safely have a TAC and be – let’s say 90% assured of not experiencing IC, bedrest or PPROM, would you want to try again?   Or does the whole concept of reliving that trauma or fear of everything that can go wrong in pregnancy too much to contemplate, so that the thought of a pregnancy is no longer even desirable?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Balloons To Heaven

I did not exactly figure out what “felt right” for the anniversary of Quinn and Trace’s birth.  However, factoring our new little one into the picture, I decided that her absolute love and fascination with balloons would help me do “something” to honor them on that big day.   I felt like if she was celebrating the birthday of brothers on earth, she’d probably want balloons, so no reason we couldn’t share them with them in heaven.

Two of the balloons say happy birthday on them along with a note – one each for Trace and Quinn, the pink balloon has hearts – that one is the one that we kept for her and she has played with it every day since then.

Ironically, I just realized that as I am writing this, it was exactly 1 year ago almost to the minute when Trace left us.

I love you and miss you my little boys more than I could ever adequately express in actions or words.

A wonderfully thoughtful friend sent me a card this week telling me about her Grandma who was adopted and also suffered many losses before adopting her own child.  She had always told my friend that when she got to heaven she would ask God to put her with the babies so she could rock them.  She passed away last week – so maybe she arrived just in time to rock my precious boys on their birthday this year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

What To Say To A Newly Grieving Mother?

Recently, a friend developed a uterine infection and lost her son at 15 weeks gestation.  I wanted to reach out, and found that I had a hard time finding the right words.

I thought back to just a year ago, and what people said to me after the twins passed away.  I thought about what things were helpful, what I needed to hear even though it was hard, and of course a few probably well-meaning comments that ranged from simply unhelpful to downright offensive.

I have struggled a bit trying to share with her what was helpful to me (realizing that everyone is different).  Looking back now, I think for me, these were some of the most helpful concepts and thoughts that other women who had been in my shoes were willing to share with me:

1) You are not alone.  Althought it feels lonely, there is a whole community of women who have lost children and they are incredibly generous in just being there, or sharing their stories to help in any way they can.  When you are ready, reach out to them.  There may even be some catharsis in telling or writing your own story when you are ready.

2) Time will not heal this wound.  But, time is powerful, and with time it does get easier to function through the grief.  With time, grief can evolve from being all-consuming to something that is not front and center, but will always be woven into the fabric of your life.  In the early days, sometimes it can feel like grief has sucked the air out of the rest of your world – it is the ONLY thing you can think about and everything is a reminder.  Over time, the sadness becomes a part of everyday life, you will never, ever forget it, but you can start enjoying other parts of life without feeling like you are disrespecting the child or children you have lost.

3) Find someone who will allow you to just “be” in your grief and let you talk about your child (and talk to you about your child-by name if if feels right). Someone who is willing to hear all of the painful, awful, and un-pretty parts of how you are feeling.  It may sometimes feel like the world wants you to “get over it” and “get on with your life”.  Some people will just never understand, and it is easier to but on a brave face and let them believe you’re better, but you need at least one person who will let you have the ugly/angry cry when you need one without them trying to make you feel better or point out the good things in your life. Sometimes you just need time to “be” in whatever you are feeling at the moment.

4) The process of grief is not linear.  You won’t necessarily feel a little better day by day.  Some days you may feel better, and the next day you might feel like the depths of hell have engulfed you.  It is a rollercoaster of good days and bad days put together.  On the bad days, don’t be discouraged, just know that better days are ahead.  Also, despite many books to the contrary, it is now acknowledged that there is no one process to grief.  There are defined stages to grief, but they don’t necessarily come in any order and you may have some feelings that come back more than once.  Don’t worry, it is normal.

5) Ignore the comments that aren’t helpful.  For me, that meant I didn’t want to hear some justification to make it all better (references to God’s plan, or nature’s way, or how they are in a better place, or how I’ll have another child, or anything that made it “all for the better” made me furious).  But each person may have different trigger points.  It takes tremendous effort not to focus on the truly offensive comments, but try to remember that they were probably coming from someone who means well and simply doesn’t know the right thing to say.  I’m not sure why our society finds it so hard to just say “I’m sorry for your loss” and leave it at that without making excuses or trying to find the positive.    It’s easy to redirect the grief anger at people who say dumb things, but it can also create long-term relationship chasms.  If you have the strength, it’s fine to tell people what you don’t want to hear – but maybe easier to just ignore the ones that aren’t helpful to you personally.

So, my baby loss mama friends, can you help me?  What would you add (or change) on this list of thoughts for a mother who is new to baby loss grief?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

How to honor the first anniversary?

I would be interested to hear how other baby loss mamas have honored the first anniversary of the birth of babies who were born and taken away too soon?

Things I have read were planting a tree, releasing balloons, going to the beach and writing their names in the sand, sprinkling their ashes.

Silly as it sounds, I worry the tree might die, or something would go wrong interfering with the balloons or sand writing – or maybe that it might just all seem staged and forced rather than thoughtful and loving.

Although I don’t want this to be all about me, that is exactly how it feels.  After all, is a memorial or ritual to honor the dead really for those that we lost, or for us who are left behind?

Did anyone choose to do nothing, and not regret that choice?

I’m trying to be present in feeling my grief anew as the big day gets closer. Is it avoiding pain to focus on helping others or being supportive?

A long time friend of mine’s daughter entered the hospital a few days ago (a year to the day from when I was admitted), and as I write this, her water has broke and this 15 week gestation baby is coming and we know 15 weeks is far too soon.  I am devastated for her, and feel like I have some idea of what is ahead of her.  I wish there was some way I could make this easier on her, but I know that no one can.  But I do remember how much I valued the support of those who had been through similar grief before me.

I guess now I am at a new stage of grief that needs some more mama wisdom, so I welcome advice or suggestions.  How to honor, celebrate or should we do nothing if nothing feels right?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Innocence Lost

As I laid in bed last night, wide awake at 1am, I was thinking about how just one year earlier my life was so incredibly different.  One year ago last night was the last night that I went to sleep relatively at peace – the night before I began my path to hell.

Perhaps it is slight revisionist history to think that I was sleeping completely peacefully a year ago last night.  After all, I was 24 weeks pregnant with the twins, and was finishing up my 8th week of complete bedrest, and was definitely uncomfortable and experiencing a bit of pregnancy insomnia.  This was not “try to stay off of your feet if you can” kind of bedrest, it was a full bed bedrest precipitated by other pregnancy issues that created anxiety, but I still felt like everything would work out just fine.  After all, it does for 95% of women in that same scenario.  So, it was the last night of relatively innocent sleep before that pivotal moment of my water breaking, weeks in the hospital on bedrest, emergency c-section, and those awful NICU days before the end when I joined the sisterhood of babyloss mamas.

I am in a bit of a quandry about how I feel as I come up on the first anniversary of this life changing event.  I feel a wide range of emotions:

Anger. Yes, although it isn’t nearly as often, I do still feel somewhat angry at losing the relative innocence I had prior to that day.

Guilt.  I have never been one to look back and think about what I would change in my life. Overall, my life has been lived with mistakes made that all bring me to where I am today.  And I do not think there is anything I could have done differently to prevent my water from breaking. But that is the pivotal moment in my head.  The moment that everything changed (although there were others later on too).    I ask myself if I had the power to turn back the clock and do things over, would I have chosen to just never be pregnant vs. losing the twins as we did? And I feel guilt at admiting (if only to myself) that yes, I might have selfishly wished to just skip that whole pregnancy.  It is not because I didn’t want my boys with all my heart and soul and being, nor that I wouldn’t have done every.possible.thing to do the best for them, but in the end – I can’t see anything about it that made it “worth it”.  I know it sounds so callous, but that pregnancy only brought pain and suffering for them, and heartbreak and trauma for us left behind.  So, what was gained?

Sadness.  The photo of Quinn and Trace is on my desk and I look at it every day.  I am so sad for what I put them through, and for what we lost when they passed.  As I think about their upcoming birthday, I feel like there is nothing I can do that would properly memorialize that day.  I see these beautiful stories of balloons to heaven, trees planted, names written in the sand – and so far, none of those feel right, and I wonder if anything will feel good enough or right enough to remember them on that day.

Fear and Dread.  I have had a knot in my stomach for the past few weeks leading up to this pivotal day (the day my water broke) and what is to come in the next few weeks of anniversaries of their birth day, and the days we lost them.  OMG, if I can’t even figure out how I want to deal with this – how in the world will anyone else know what is the right way to deal with me?  I truly don’t know whether I want close friends to acknowledge them and this date, or whether I’d rather let it pass quietly.  Maybe my brain is fabricating this into something more overwhelming than it needs to be.  But I wouldn’t mind fast forwarding through these next few weeks.  Not because I don’t want to remember them, but because I fear there will be a lot of reliving of pretty awful moments as I work through these anniversary dates for the first time.   But, as my grief therapist says, you can’t skip over it, you just have to slog through it, so slog through it I will doing the best I can.

Love. So, after working through these emotions and thoughts last night, I woke up this morning to the sound of our daughter’s voice over the video baby monitor. She was singing to herself in the crib.  Adorable.  I went in to pick her up, and she wrapped her arms around me in a sweet hug and laid her head on my shoulder (something she only recently has started doing).  My heart was filled with love for this amazing being that has come into our lives and brightened things immeasurably.   I am sure that her bright smile and hugs will go a long way towards helping me walk through these tough days ahead.

However, I will say that in my mind, losing the boys and gaining a daughter are separate.  I am fighting that cause/effect analogy that some are quick to offer in an effort to find some good that came from this “without losing them she would not be your daughter”.  Those paths just feel different to me – she is not a replacement child, but that doesn’t mean I can’t open my heart with incredible love for her – just as adding a child to your family doesn’t diminish your love for the other children.

So, I’ll do my best to be a good, loving and patient mother to her despite my overwhelming desire to run away and hide from the emotions that are inevitable in the upcoming weeks.  Wish me luck.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Long overdue…and a LONG post.

Is there anyone still here?  I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you lost interest and left.   Yes, I’ve been a bad blogger.  I’ve been conflicted about whether to keep this blog, start a new mommy blog for our new life with Ashlyn, or stop blogging altogether (which is sort of what has happened by default and my inaction).  Perhaps it is reflective of other conflicted emotions too.

This will be a post with a variety of updates and random thoughts.

First, the fun stuff.  Ashlyn is blasting past milestones faster than I can document them or share them.   Here are a few notables:

For her first birthday, we had a small party with a few friends (many of whom hadn’t yet met her). We figured it was probably our only birthday party for her where we could invite more adults than kids and she wouldn’t notice.   Here are a few of my favorite photos from that day:

First Cake

Present Overload

Water Table Fun!

She is now just starting to walk.  A few steps here and there – and it all started around 13 months.  She still seems to be happier crawling, and she is lightning fast at that! But she also likes to walk letting me hold one of her hands.  So grown up it is scary!

She is eating pretty much any and all foods these days. It is hard to believe that we went from mostly bottles to mostly self-fed food in just a few short months.  Baby food is a thing of the past, formula is gone.  Her favorite foods are whole sweet potatoes, watermelon, pumpkin pancakes or muffins, and she recently discovered a friend’s Pirate Booty, she can’t shove it in her mouth fast enough.  :-) She is drinking from a straw sippy cup aside from her one and a half bottles of milk per day now.  I tried to put that in a sippy cup and you would have thought the world was ending.

Thankfully, still no interest in a pacifier, but she does love, love, love her white bunny lovey still.  She smooshes her face in it before going to sleep.  She will bury her face in it while cuddling with me before naps or bedtime.

She has 10 teeth, she got the first 8 (4 top and 4 bottom front) at 8 – 9 months, then nothing. About a month ago, the molars started – off and on….and just today both of them popped through, one on each side.  So, that makes 10 teeth now!

The quickest way to make her laugh is to tickle her. So many choices of ticklish places too.  She loves wrestling with daddy (or mommy in a pinch) rolling around, hanging upside down and in general being a little monkey.  Her laughter and giggles are simply infectious. And yes, she also knows how to throw a temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her way – with screams that would convince you that the world is ending.  Oh, and she loves to scream for fun too – just to hear herself.  Big fun for Rusty, daddy and I!

She loves reading her books and is happy to read them by herself too – turning the pages and talking up a storm.  She is a pretty good imitator, and has learned how to bark like a dog and carry toys and her bottle in her teeth like Rusty too!  Her favorite toys seem to be the water table (photo above), a talking dinosaur, an electronic picnic basket with food, plates and utensils to put in and take out, and a little people car with a mommy and baby – she likes to put the baby in the driver’s seat and the mommy in the back!  Uh oh, isn’t it a little soon for that?

We just finished our first Mommy & Me class – that went well even though she was one of the youngest in the class.  She had two neighbor twins in the class with us too.

We had our first trip to the zoo yesterday – she was just chillin’ in the stroller, and had a great time – more people watching than animal watching though.

So, all in all, she is very healthy and happy, growing like a weed, babbling up a storm (still just says dada and mama occasionally but nothing else we can decipher yet), and brightening each and every day.  I doubt that a single day has passed where she didn’t make me laugh or smile at least a dozen times with her antics.

On the adoption front, her original birth certificate finally arrived and everything is moving forward. We are hoping for a finalization court date this fall or winter.

So, that’s the update on Ashlyn.  My update has a few more thorns with the roses.

Motherhood is hard.  Let me say that again.  Motherhood is hard, really hard.  There is so much pressure that we put on ourselves to be perfect and do the right thing.  It is pretty easy to feel like one failure after another.  I love this little girl and wouldn’t trade motherhood for the world, but it is exhausting and consuming, and my perfectionism has no place in this world.

I feel a little lost in this new world of mine, so much has changed, and some things will never change and are just a part of the fabric that is my life.  I am reminded of when I was a child and would anticipate some event (like Christmas or summer camp, or a vacation) and for months I would be planning, excitement building to a crescendo. And the big day would arrive, and then it would be over, and the day after the event I’d feel a little let down because all of that time spent planning and now it was over.  I guess I’ve always been a bit of a “what next” girl.  Always in a hurry to get to the next thing, it has definitely been harder for me to live in the moment and enjoy it for what it offered.

Well, motherhood has some similarities.  Only this time the planning and preparation lasted about 20+ years with a lot of preparation, false starts, and ups and downs along the way (oh, if that isn’t the understatement of the year).  And I think I spent so much time planning for the big event –  when in reality although the arrival is a big event, it only marks the beginning of a life-long marathon.  And after the “arrival” of Ashlyn, I am feeling a bit of a post struggle letdown.  Not disappointment in being a mother, but not quite sure who I am without this major struggle ahead of me.  Let’s face it, infertility had consumed much of my life and thoughts.

People keep asking me if (or when) we’ll have (or adopt) another child.  Holy cow!  Perhaps I will feel different later on, but at this point I can’t even imagine the kind of stamina, energy, patience and commitment that would require.  And today, I have no extra of any of that to spare.   Perhaps we are “one and done”.  Selfish not to give her a sibling?  Perhaps.  But even though I have the perfect baby who sleeps 13 hours a night, I’m exhausted, not from staying awake at night, but just from the constant need to be “on” 24/7/365.

Okay, now I’m going to get dark for a bit here and probably offend anyone religious who is reading this.   Feel free to avert your glance for the rest of this post.   It is sort of like the needle at the dentist, sometimes you just don’t want to see it, and that’s okay.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of these people in the world proclaiming “God won’t give me more than I can handle”.  I see it so often in the adoption and infertility world.   It’s been on my mind a lot lately.  Someone’s adoption match for twins falls through, or a vanishing twin pregnancy naturally reduces to a singleton, or an IVF cycle for a sibling fails and it’s just “not meant to be” or because God wouldn’t give more than they could handle.   “A miscarriage is God’s way of saving someone from the heartache of a special needs child.”  All about believing that if you have or adopt a child it is a blessing, but a loss or miscarriage is because it wasn’t meant to be or God’s way of looking out for you and what you can handle.   How does this make sense?  What happened to that blessing?  All of a sudden you don’t qualify for the blessing anymore?  Or God changed his mind and decided that it was more than you could handle?   Nope, not buying it.

It makes me angry.  Because using that thought process means that my twins died because of ME – my inadequacy.  Either I didn’t deserve a blessing?  Or suddenly it was more than I could handle so God took them away?  He created life, then took it away for what good? Can you see low I’m losing the logic here of how if it worked out I was being blessed and if it didn’t it was because God wanted to make sure I didn’t have more than I can handle?  Surely he knew before they were conceived what I could handle.

I do think of  how much work one child is, and wonder how I would have done it with two.  And in my head, I believe that yes I could have done it without losing sanity – it would have been all that I knew.  Would it have been hard?  Heck yes!  And then I wonder what if they had survived, being born so young would they have had major health issues?   Is that the part that would have been more than I could handle?

You see how one could easily spiral into guilt over this train of thought.  Like there weren’t already enough other things to look back on and second-guess.

I’ve been surprised at how the grief sneaks up on me.   The dates of their birth and deaths come and go each month. Some months it passes and I am shocked that it didn’t consume me.  Other months, it almost feels as fresh as when I was just a few months into this process.

The recent 10th month birth/death anniversaries were especially hard.   I think it was compounded by the fact that my 19-year-old cat, Max, had been in declining health and was in renal failure.  I knew we were going to have to make a hard choice, but I was hoping that I could get past the anniversaries.   I had told my husband the prior week that we needed to do something about Max, but he convinced me that it was too soon and sort of made me feel guilty that I was willing to have him put to sleep.  I should have followed my gut, but I let guilt cloud my decision. If I had been more aware, pushed the issue, I would have taken him to the vet the day before I finally did.  His last night was hard on both of us – Max and I.  His body was shutting down and he couldn’t move and he was meowing at me.  It was heartbreaking.  I spent the night laying on the floor of the guest bedroom with him – going back and forth in my head about whether I should take him to the emergency vet in the middle of the night, or wait until our regular vet opened where I knew it would be handled as humanely with as little stress to him as possible.  We made it through that night, and the next morning I took him in and with the help of a very kind vet, held him as he passed.  For anyone keeping score, that is two sons, a dog and a cat that have all died in my arms after I was forced to make a medical decision not to prolong their lives.  That seems like more than my fair share of life ending decisions.  I’m done.

Of course, it happened to be that Max passed away on the 10 month anniversary of Trace’s death.  I felt angry that it happened on the same day of the month – I didn’t want anything else to steal attention from the importance of that day.  But, I had to put that aside.  A day is just a day unless we give it more power by assigning significance.

But, aside from the date coincidence, it brought me back to those days in the NICU and being asked to make decisions.  Wondering if I was doing the right thing, and knowing in my gut in all of those cases that letting them pass away in my arms was the most humane and loving thing I could do.  And please don’t chastise me for making a comparison – I really do understand with every fiber of my being that losing a pet is nothing like losing a child – but it can bring up feelings and memories.

One last dark note.   I was so sad and disappointed in myself a few days ago.   An online acquaintance is adopting a baby boy.  He has been in the NICU for a few weeks and her blog joyously told the story of him being released – complete with pictures.  I hadn’t realized how hard it would be to see pictures of the NICU equipment, isolettes, all of those familiar items unique to the NICU.  I felt that sense of sadness, of what might have been, and then I got to the pivotal photo.  The one that was pure joy for them because it meant their baby was going home, and it signified pure devastation for me…twice.  It was the photo of the NICU monitor turned off.  And even now I can’t even write about it without tears streaming down my face. Amazing how the exact same object could have such different significance to two people.

Back to my story though.  My joy for their adoption and that gorgeous baby boy going home was completely overshadowed, completely lost.  That one image, took me back to those darkest of days.  I was shocked that it hit me so hard and was so unexpected. After all, in my work and life, I see and hear about lots of positive pregnancy tests, ultrasound photos, pregnant belly photos, pregnancy scares, newborn photos, twin photos, twins who were born shortly before my boys (which gives me the mental milestone of where they might have been now) – all of those things cross my path regularly with no meltdowns, I truly feel excited and happy for the parents of those children.  And I guess because the feelings were so overwhelming and unexpected, I felt like it set me back on my heels a bit.  I’m disappointed in myself that I couldn’t separate my experience from the situation and still feel the happiness for their good news.  Frustrated that 10 months into this I can still be blindsided and feel completely at a loss of control over my feelings.

It leaves me ruminating over the upcoming 1 year marks and how that will feel, and whether I will have the courage to try to initiate some beautiful ritual, or whether I will just lock myself away and wallow in self-pity.  A month ago I would have said that it is my choice to make those days what I wish for them to be.  Today, I realize that maybe it isn’t just about choosing what I would like it to be, that I have to leave room for feeling the emotions that inevitably will come up on these momentous days.   Grief, you suck!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments