Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A big sigh and Christmas

Man, I have been wanting to post for awhile. I have not posted, not only because I'm lucky if I get both hands to use on the computer, but, honestly, I am having trouble finding the words to post about what I want to post about.

It's Christmas. I want to post about Christmas. And now, it seems almost silly to post about something that was 2 weeks ago. But, I'm gonna try.

I had baby A here at Christmas. And it was wonderful and awful all at the same time. I almost couldn't wrap my mind around it. How could it be the biggest high of my life and also make me so sad?

We do Christmas eve at the in-laws, and Christmas at my family's house. Christmas eve, I tried to suck every bit of joy out of the fact that baby A was here. I took pictures of her in front of presents and the tree, made her wear a santa hat, and, just sat and stared at her in wonder. I also cried about 6 times during the evening. I kept flashing back to Christmas after M died. How awful and how different from what I was experiencing this year. And when I say "flashing back" I mean it. The memories, especially certain details just kept swirling around my mind. I had somewhat the same experience the next day at my parents, but it seemed more intense at the in-laws. Not to sound dramatic, but I have wondered if people who have experienced what we have can have some mild form of post traumatic stress.

I know everyone means well, and a lot of their behavior comes just from the fact that they are so happy for Mr. g and I. Of course they are. But, I think the reason the memories and feelings were more intense at the in-laws was because I couldn't help but feel their sense of relief. Relief that now maybe we won't be the *sad ones* at family gatherings, especially Christmas. M's birthday was 3 days before A's birth, and only one in-law called us. One. I made cards, just like I did on M's first birthday, just to let the family know where we were donating and that we were thinking of him. And just like last year, no in-law mentioned the card. I love both my children, and one being here, even so close to when I lost the other, does not lessen or erase my thoughts of him. I found it making me think of him more, actually.

At my mothers the next day, I spoke of my feelings and even admitted that a part of me started thinking maybe I should have waited to schedule my c-section till after the holidays. Of course, I don't think I could have waited, but the parallels were a lot to handle.

I said it once, and I say it again. I enjoyed the heck out Christmas this year, enjoyed the heck out of baby A. But, other than the Christmas he died, it might have also been my saddest Christmas at the same time.


And, unrelated, but just because it struck me so much- Has anyone seen the movie Easte.rn P.romises? Nao.mi Wat.ts plays a midwife (whom, you find out, had a baby "die while inside her"), and a young girl died while giving birth on her shift. The baby lived, and the midwife would like to find the family, so the baby may go to live with one of them. At one point in the movie, V.iggio Morten.son is giving the midwife a ride home. She is explaining about the death of the young girl. V.iggio gives her a confused look, and says, "I thought you worked with births" The midwife replies, "Yes, well, sometimes birth and death go together" Oh yes, truer words were never spoken.


Monica H said...

Birth and death DO go together and I'm glad someone (even if it was in a movie) finally said it. I'll have to see this movie.

I'm sorry that only one person called you about M. That must have been difficult. I'm glad you posted about Christmas even if it is a couple weeks late. I hope you'r edoing well :)

charmedgirl said...

i SO need birth-after-stillbirth mamas to talk about what it's like after their live baby is born. i know, i'm selfish.

it is such a temptation to get pregnant again...even for someone like me, who didn't expect to with paige, and didn't want more children (before). it's so confusing.

but i am so thankful for those like you, who can at least save me from the fantasy that having a live baby will take all the crap away. thanks.

loribeth said...

So many bereaved moms I know who go on to have subsequent children say the pain of their loss never really goes away -- & in fact, the subsequent birth usually magnifies it. And the fact that everyone else expects that things are fine now only adds to their burden. (((hugs))) You had a lot on your plate this holiday!

Monica said...

It makes me upset that some people want to share in the joy of Andy for the same reason you mentioned. They dote on him and pinch his cheeks and all. I want to scream at them, "why the hell don't you ever talk about Jimmy?". They want to celebrate the joys but don't want to be reminded of the lows. They want to hold you hand at the finish line but not when you are peeling yourself off the asphalt.

I hate that.

It's hard enough to deal with the emotions and hormones falling a pregnancy, much less to add in the stress and melancholy of the holidays. Add to that grieving for a lost child at it is just amazing you were able to enjoy any of it. I hear you.

Julia said...

I am finding that I have less and less patience with people who think things will be normal and all good when we have another living child. Yes, dammit, it is hard to talk to people in pain, but is it an excuse to minimize us, dehumanize our children? It shouldn't be.

I am sorry it was such a hard Christmas for you. Unfortunately, I think, that's the way it goes-- there is no way a living child won't remind you, vividly, of what was lost, of who is missing.

Tash said...

I said this elsewhere, but I often wonder if I don't want another child because I'm afraid people will forget Maddy. Not me of course, and you go to show that anyone who thinks this is just replacing a broken toaster is way off base. There will always be space in the family, and that emptiness will sadly be magnified at the holidays. I'm glad to see you writing again.

meg said...

Yep, post traumatic stress, I know I have some of that, for sure.

I'm glad you are writing too. And I will have top check out that movie. I know it will be hard to see, but I have to experience it.

CLC said...

Congrats on the arrival of baby A! I am sorry about your loss of Baby M and your subsequent miscarriage. Your blog has helped me feel a little bit less lonely in my grief.