Friday, March 25, 2011

5 Months

I've been really trying to stay positive.  I've been trying to just ride the waves of grief and weather the storm as gracefully as possible.  I'm not very good at this whole thing.  And, while it feels like it's been an eternity, it's only been 5 months since I said goodbye to my girl. 

Looking back over these last 5 months, I'm amazed at all that has come to pass.  I'm proud of how well I'm doing, good days and bad.  I am feeling glimpses of great hope.  I can see that life truly IS worth living still.

BUT, I'm also sad.  I am truly so sad.  I'm sad to be another month away from my baby.  The changing of the season is even kind of tough for me.  I struggle with seeing life move on.  I struggle with moving on myself.  There are parts of me that feel guilty for being pregnant again; the ultimate "move on."  I guess, if I tell the truth, the moving on scares me because I'm scared of everyone forgetting her.  And I don't even mean like forgetting she ever existed, but just forgetting her on a daily basis, or a weekly basis.  Of course, I know that people don't miss her like I do (except her Daddy...), but this is truly something that impacts my daily life.  The weight of missing her is so heavy, I've simply learned to carry it a little more efficiently, but I never put it down.  And, I guess, if I had the choice to put down the weight or forget about my sweet girl, I'll carry that weight until the end of time.

In talking to my dear friend, who has also lost a baby, she said, "You know, I would do it all again.  Even knowing the outcome, I would do it all again."  And I agree.  I agree wholeheartedly.  Knowing that I couldn't keep her, I would do it all over again, just to know her, just to feel her, just to know that she's waiting for me.  She's waiting for me.  And, I'm waiting for her...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, or should I say a tearful patch. For some reason, I find myself reduced to a tearful puddle a few times a day now. I’m having a hard time with this because this feels more like when things were fresher. This feels like what I was going through in the weeks immediately following losing my sweet girl. Am I going backward? Is this normal? Is this just grief? I feel like I’m losing the progress I’ve been working so hard for.

I don’t want to just write about all the horrible things that I’m feeling. I don’t want to be the most negative person around. That’s not me. I’m a happy person. I try to look for the good things, the silver lining. And some days, some hours, I can still find the sun breaking through the clouds. Sometimes, I feel like the grief is just so heavy that I can’t stand it. Sometimes, I feel like it’s too much.

I feel like an alien when I’m out in the world. My skin must reflect the awkwardness and discomfort I feel inside. It’s just too strong to be invisible to the naked eye. I must be green and scaly. There must be something about me that people can see and instantly pity me and turn away from me. I know I’m just being dramatic, but it really feels that way sometimes.

This pregnancy has, in many ways, made me miss Caroline even more. I’m in no way saying that I am not over the moon about this baby. I am saying that I miss getting to hear her heart beat. I miss getting to see her on ultrasounds. I miss feeling her kick. I miss her. I miss everything about her. And I fear that I’m moving so far away from her.

I’m also fearful that people who don’t understand are going to think that this baby somehow “fixes” things. In no way does this baby change anything at all about my grieving for Caroline. And I’ve gotten glimpses of that from some people…which somehow makes it worse. I just want to scream at them, do one of those Hollywood movie tricks that I can lay my hand on their heads and transfer my memory, my feelings, what this is truly like. Make them understand.

There are a few things that really derail me. The stress of returning to a “normal” life (i.e. work mostly, but also some really insensitive and selfish people), and being blindsided. I used to be able to handle stress a little more grace than I can these days. Thankfully, my bosses have been pretty good and understanding. However, some days, I have a hard time getting up and being in the office. I have a hard time sitting at my desk and working like everything’s okay. As for the insensitive and selfish people, yeah, they just need to go away…FAR away…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Now for being blindsided: When I go out into the world, I prepare myself for babies. When I go shopping, I know I’ll see moms and babies. When I go to church, I know families will be there. When I watch TLC, I know there are TONS of baby commercials. However, when I’m sitting at my desk at work, I never expect there to be a baby around. Sure, sometimes people have to bring their children with them for a little while. But, I was sitting and minding my own business…then I heard this squeal. I knew what it was. My heart started racing, palms sweating, shortness of breath. It was like an all out panic attack. I wasn’t expecting that. Then the second the anxiety dissipated, TEARS. Not the kind of tears you can cover up. I was stuck, sobbing, at my desk. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Let me be clear here, I’m not saying anything bad about the family who brought the baby…I just wasn’t prepared.

On a positive note: I am surviving. I am learning to live again. I am on a difficult path, but I’m on it. And I’m taking some pride in that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How Many Kids Do You Have?

People love to find out that you’re expecting. The world as a whole seems to get excited at the idea of people having babies. I mean, it’s a happy time. It’s full of excitement, joy, expectation…and some fear. If you’ve ever lost a child, at any stage of pregnancy, there’s likely to be a lot of fear. For me, I know that the fear is definitely there, sometimes it’s only lurking in the background, and other times, it’s in the forefront, making my chest hurt with anxiety.

It’s been a busy and bustling few weeks. But, we’re still here! I’m in my 12th week now. Things seem to be progressing healthfully and normally with Baby Ramsey #2. We’re thankful to God for all He’s done to bless us to this point, and pray that He will continue to look out for the baby’s health, and mine as well. I’ve actually felt the morning sickness more intensely this time around, and the fatigue has seemed worse too, but I’m not complaining. I’m sleepy and green faced, but not complaining! I’m excited to move out of the first trimester and get that burst of second trimester energy!

The pregnancy talk brings me to my main reason for posting today. The question: How many kids do you have? It’s not a difficult question. It’s actually considered polite by most people. Why should it make me cringe? Why should I actually have a mini panic attack at the thought of someone asking me? Well, that’s simple…my life isn’t standard in this area. I’ve actually been very average in most areas of my life, but not this one, not even close. I don’t want to offer my entire life story (i.e. Caroline’s life story) when someone asks me such a well-meaning question. I don’t want to NOT tell them about her. It seems like a lie not to include her in the count. More than that, I want people to know her. I want people to know that she existed. Yes, she passed away before she was able to live outside the womb, but she LIVED. She was my buddy, my constant companion during those months I carried her. I talked to her, she kicked my ribs, it was our thing! She loved getting to see her Daddy at the end of the work day. When I’d lay eyes on him, she’d kick…she loved him so. Those are real memories, from our real child.

So someone asked me today. My answer, “This one is number 2!” And I felt okay with that answer. I didn’t bring her down into the dumps by telling her that our first child was stillborn in the 39th week (see how that’s just a major downer!?). I didn’t lie and say that this was our first. I just told the truth. The truth as I know it. The truth as it is. And I feel good about my answer.