October 27, 2012

Proud Mother of Three Little Angels

That's right... proud mother of THREE.  You've been introduced to Daughter and Son but you are going to be introduced to MJ now.

Before you read this you need to know that this is either very brave of me or very stupid of me.  I'm putting the worst day of my life out there for everyone to see.  Judge me if you need to but I feel compelled to tell my story to maybe help others out there that need to know they're far from alone.

My due date was July 6 of 2011.  MJ was born February 19 of 2011.  I was only 5 months along.  On Valentine's Day, happy day of love, I went in for a routine ultrasound expecting to walk out with pictures that I could show everybody of the healthy baby in my belly.  I was joking with Him that I was going to find out the sex and not tell Him cuz he couldn't come with me to the ultrasound.  I had Daughter with me so she could see "her" baby and feel a bond to her little brother or sister that was growing in my belly.  Instead, I found out that day that the baby I was carrying had a heart that was too big.  After five days of knowing that my baby was probably not going to make it, I held MJ in my arms and cried my eyes out to a point that I couldn't see through my tears.

I was 5 months along when I lost my MJ so everybody knew I was pregnant. I couldn't hide the fact that I no longer had a pregnant belly or fool people into the idea that I already had my baby.  I was forced to face the fact that I was no longer pregnant every time I saw someone who knew me.  I was forced to see my non-fat belly every time I looked down.  I was asked at the grocery store, at restaurants, at random places everywhere, "Oh, did you already have the baby?", "Where's the newest family member?", "I thought you were pregnant?"  Yep, everyday in so many ways it bashed me in the face that I gave birth to a beautiful baby that I didn't get to bring home.  Walking out of the hospital after giving birth without a baby in my arms and knowing that all the dreams I had for that child were now just....gone...that's the loneliest I've ever felt!

I tried to deny it but I was slapped in the face with it anytime I did anything outside my house.  I tried to hide myself away but my mom, my husband, my friends wouldn't let me.  I cried so constantly that my eyes being red and my face being puffy became normal.  I tried so hard to pretend that this just had NEVER happened.

We decided to have MJ cremated and I remember going to pick up the ashes and sitting in the parking lot at the funeral home crying in my truck.  I found it so hard to even open the door.  It wasn't a sunny day but I wouldn't take my sunglasses off...even inside...and I hate those people that wear sunglasses inside!  I'll never forget them handing me this tiny box and thinking, "that's it...this is all I have for a lifetime of dreams and wishes I had?"

I had crazy thoughts.  Thoughts the normal me would never think.  I remember one day my mom brought me and Daughter out to lunch just to make me get out of the house.  It was February and winter was so on.  Looking out the window that we were seated by, there was a pier out into a very large lake.  There was ice over the pier and the wind was churning up big waves.  I remember thinking, "If I walk out on that pier, I would probably slip on the ice and plunge into the water.  Those waves are so big it'd be hard to swim back to the pier and it's so cold maybe I'd freeze to death before I could even drowned."  Yeah...that's not normal.

We held a memorial because it wasn't just my immediate family that lost MJ.  Grandparents lost their grandchild.  Aunts and uncles lost their niece or nephew.  Nieces and nephews lost their cousin.  I went shopping for food for for the memorial with my sister and had my first public meltdown.  I was grabbing food and pretty much throwing it into the cart and getting pretty pissed cuz I had to consider what everybody else expected.  I was pissed that at this time in my life I had to think about what other people wanted.  No, no please...how can I ease YOUR pain at the loss of MY baby!?!?  I was bitching to my sister about how I had to get goat cheese and special bread for my mom and how Him's family expected dinner more than snacks and what would a memorial be without a cake?  Seriously, do you people think this is a fucking party!?!?  After throwing everything everybody else wanted into the cart, I went to the checkout lane.  The cashier asked, "How are you doing?"  HA HA HA MELTDOWN!  "Just fucking great!  It's a spect-frickin-tacular day!...I'm sorry...it's been a long day and I could really use a nap...in a padded room."  The cashier may never know how perfect she was for me that day when she answered, "I could find some nice young men in clean white jackets that would love to talk to you..."  I laughed so hard and I needed that more than I even knew.

I remember as people started showing up for the memorial, I walked outside and found a place to hide.  I heard people calling for me, looking for me but I didn't respond.  I crouched to the ground and cried.  I was still hiding inside myself and trying to pretend it didn't happen and this damn memorial was making it so painfully obvious that I really had to face it!  My sister-in-law came out, walked right over to me like she knew all along where I was, lit up a cigarette and said, "So...this really sucks..."  I laughed.  She just stood there for quite a while just smoking her cigarette and being there.  She turned to me as she put her cigarette out and said, "Everybody is inside whenever you feel up to coming in."  She may never know what that meant to me.  I told her thank you but I don't think those words carried enough weight to make her realize how great it was that she was just there.  She didn't try to cheer me up, she didn't push me to talk about it, she didn't tell me I had to accept it, she didn't offer up one of the cliches people use when they don't know what to say.  She was just there.  Sometimes, that's exactly what a person needs.

People say such stupid things to a grieving person.  This too shall pass...really? I didn't know it was a kidney stone!  They're in a better place now...the best place for my baby is in my arms so piss off!  Don't let this happen again, I don't know if we can take it...oh but it's been such a party for me! COMPLETE WITH CAKE!  Isn't it better that it happened now rather than after you knew them?  Don't tell me I didn't know MJ!  I felt MJ kick me.  I had heard MJ's heartbeat.  I had pictures of MJ.  MJ wanted Burger King for every meal.  MJ didn't like it when I ate first thing in the morning.  Don't know if you know this but as soon as a woman knows she's pregnant there's a bond with that baby and the dreams and thoughts about the future start the moment she sees those two pink lines.

I will never understand why a mother that loses her five year old child can grieve and talk about the child she lost yet a woman has a miscarriage and she feels too ashamed to talk about it as if she caused it or something.  An abortion is such a terrible thing cuz you're killing a baby but a woman has a miscarriage and she just lost a pregnancy not a baby.  For some reason unknown to me it's more OK to grieve in public because your dog died then because you lost your unborn baby.  You probably know a great deal of women that have gone through losing their baby and you don't even know it cuz those women were too ashamed to talk openly.

Once I started opening up and talking about losing MJ, I found out how not alone I was.  I found out my grandmother, my mom, my mother-in-law, my cousin, a high percentage of my friends, a whole ton of people I knew had miscarriages and they had just never talked about it with me.  I was unwillingly welcomed into a secret underground sisterhood that included so many women!

One of those women gave me the best advice I got throughout my grieving.  She told me, "You know how everybody keeps telling you you need to go through the grieving process and sooner or later you'll accept it?  I always thought that was the dumbest thing cuz I thought acceptance meant being OK with what happened and I was never going to be OK with what happened.  I figured out 'acceptance' was actually the point you reach where you realize you can't change it, this is now a part of you like it or not and nothing you do will ever make it go away...not even pretending it didn't happen."

I waited a while before trying to get pregnant again and I remember all the way through my pregnancy with Son I was so scared that in an instant it would all be ripped away again.  I had a long and trying pregnancy with Son too.  I had terrible morning sickness at the beginning to the point I was dehydrated and had to be hospitalized.  I almost had a heart attack at 5 months along, was hospitalized and put on heart meds.  At 34 weeks along I went into premature labor and ended up on bed rest.  Every time something happened I would think, "This is it, this is where the bottom falls out."  I even had a hard time getting excited about the idea of taking a baby home at the end of it all cuz well, that isn't how the last one ended.  I was scared.

Still I can't think about MJ without tears in my eyes.  Even as I write this I've stopped several times cuz I needed to walk away.  Even with Son being born perfectly healthy, I still grieve the loss of my MJ.  I have come to the point of accepting that I didn't get to bring MJ home as a part of my life, I stopped hiding, started owning it as a chapter in my autobiography but that doesn't mean it no longer hurts.  Whenever I think of MJ a sad smile crosses my face because I know for all the pain I have felt at losing MJ, I take comfort in knowing all MJ ever felt was love.

Another amazing woman said to me shortly after Son was born, "Now you're the proud mama of three...you just don't get to hold one of them right yet."

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