Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas Ethan

I will tuck a note inside your stocking on Christmas Eve.  I've already wrapped the small gifts and treats to fill your sister and brothers' stockings...but there was nothing to wrap for you.  There will never be anything to wrap for you, and that sucks.

You are with us.  This I know.  And I'm so thankful I feel you.  It means more than I can say really.

I bought a puzzle, one of the nice Melissa and Doug ones, for a one-year-old boy at Ryan's early intervention program.  It should be yours.  I'm sure you would have liked it.  Heck, I liked it.  It would have been nice to have it in our home.  I'm sure that little boy will enjoy it too.  So that brings a smile.

I miss you E.  A lot tonight.  In a sad way.  Not just in the beautiful, loving, warm way that has (thankfully) frequented my days.

I have the beach stones we painted for your apple tree back now.  I think I will put your name stone under the Christmas tree.  I don't know what else to do with it.  Not yet at least.

So on Christmas Eve I will tuck a little note from me to you in your green stocking monogrammed with a white E on it.  I'm thinking of filling your stocking with flowers on Christmas day this year.  A celebration of your beautiful life and the continued presence you have in ours.  It shouldn't be look empty, for it is filled with love and beauty...inspired by you.

Love you E, always.   -- Mama.

P.S.  Be sure to pop in when the kids run downstairs and open their gifts under the tree.  It's the best moment of the year.  So you need to be there too :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Price of a Teeth Cleaning

I consider myself a healthy person.  I love to run.  I have a healthy weight, blood pressure and all that jazz.  Yes I love my sweets but eat salads too.  The only thing I have really slacked at is going to the dentist over the past years.  With that said, I am neurotic about brushing and flossing...I just haven't made the time or had the money to go for regular dental appointments.  But today I finally went.

Truthfully I was a bit anxious as to whether I would be shamed for waiting so long.  Thankfully this new dentist was really nice about it.  In fact, I am a big fan of him.  Didn't hurt that I have no new cavities.

Before I went to the appointment this morning I saw another friend's birth announcement.  We all know how this goes by now, right?  How nice for them.  Cue my sadness.  But, whatever...on with my day.

New patient paperwork.  Us women get grilled (OK, perhaps it just feels that way for me given everything) as to whether or not I could be pregnant.  Understandably they don't want to give x-rays if I could be pregnant.  It's the first medical question on the paperwork.  Followed by have I ever been hospitalized?  Answer: Yes.  Reason: Other.  Nothing that could affect my dental care.

Apparently they needed more details so the administrative assistance asked me loudly in the waiting room.  So much for HIPPA.  "Was it just child birth?"  Well no, I thought.  A bit more complicated than that.  I told her it was related to a past pregnancy and medically a non-issue going forward.

Back in the exam room they wanted to start with x-rays.  The hygienist was very thorough and asked me twice if i could be pregnant.  I wanted to yell "NO I CAN'T BE PREGNANT ANY LONGER!  STOP ASKING ME!"  Poor lady, she had no idea.

The hygienist starts asking me if I have children.  Yes.  How many?  4.  You can see where this is going.  Ages?  Fast forward to me saying that my son died as a baby a year ago.  No tears, no wavering voice.

Now I'm stuck in the chair while my teeth are being picked at listening to this rather nice lady talk a lot.  I mean the nice thing...she is rather nice, just clueless as to how her words can hurt a bereaved mom.

It's part of the job I guess.  Having mainly one-way conversations with people who cannot respond as their mouths are open.  Somehow her conversation went to "at least you have your other 4 children."  I had to take a break from the teeth cleaning to clarify that when I had answered I have 4 children I was including my son who died.  She had assumed I did not include him in that number.  And there's some hurt on my part.  That other's don't consider my son, because he's dead, worthy of inclusion.  Yeah, that's how it feels on my end.  Even if that's not what's intended on the other end.  Back to the picking and I skipped over the "cheer up! you have other kids at least" line.  She went on to share that her mother lost a child, and still talks about it.  And that her sister had a loss as well.  This rather one-way conversation ended with "it takes some time to get over it."  My response, "I will never 'get over' it."

From there the conversation went to her beliefs that evolution is not scientifically supported as she finished picking my teeth.  It was an odd experience.  At the end of which though, I still found myself liking this woman overall.  Just not her comments.  I continue to be amazed that people, good people, are capable of such idiocy.  And it causes me to hold a mirror and acknowledge that I must hold the same idiotic capabilities.  So, to all I have hurt through my idiotic comments...I am truly sorry.

Well, my teeth are now clean :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I'm 1.5 years out now.  For the most part people have stopped asking how I am doing.  That's OK I guess.  Until it's not.

What does my grief, my life look like now?

Lots of days are fine.

Some days are not.

A few rare days are great.

My eyes are open for the signs that Ethan is with me.  The songs that come at just the right time.  I'm listening to Jackson, really listening to him, when he teaches me about his brother.  As he shares about their visits.  Just the other day Jackson said Ethan continues to hang out with him around bedtime.  All along speaking about these visits as completely normal and of course they would be happening.  And then asked me "what's the round thing around his head?" - while using a finger to draw a circle around his head.  I guess it might be a halo of sorts.

Tears still flow.  Often with a smile.  Often not.

Some aspects of my grief have simmered down.  Bubble up every now and then, but return to a simmer.  One thing that hasn't simmered is the pain that comes up when someone tells me they are pregnant.

Here's how it goes.

If I see a pregnancy or birth announcement on Facebook I've been punched in the gut.  Breathing immediately becomes painful.  Really painful.  Breathing gets faster and shallower.  I suddenly feel hot, yet cold.  And tears instinctively well.

I think "how nice for them" while crumbling to pieces myself.  Oddly, like the trauma victim I am, I search for the details.  Is the baby a boy or a girl?  Is this their fourth?  Is the due date in May?  Lord please, don't let it be in May.  Not a boy in May.

If I feel moved to, I offer kind words to the new parent(s) and then block them from my news feed.  Blocking them is a necessity.  One I have learned from repeated mistakes.  A few friends I haven't blocked...the friends who have been extra supportive to me in my grief.

If I hear someone is pregnant or had a baby in person the visceral response remains the same.  But now someone sees my tears.  Or hears the catch in my breath and break in my voice as I say "how nice for them/you."  There is no computer to hide behind this time.  Not that I try to hide my grief, it's not my way.  But some people would find it more comfortable to have a buffer from my grief I am sure.

In person or on the phone I see the surprise that registers with the other person.  That such happy news doesn't evoke happiness for me.  Instead evokes my personal devastation to be honest.  Not that it necessarily takes much for that to happen.

Seeing that others are surprised about this hurts.  It's painful enough to be brought back to my trauma, and face my loss knowing I will never again have a pregnancy or give birth.  Kind of feels like I'm being kicked when I'm down.  Having to explain to people (usually third parties who tell me of others pregnancies) that YES, I'M STILL GRIEVING.  And then these third parties try to backpedal.  Oh, of course you are sad.  But what it reinforces to me is that most people cannot have a fucking clue how pervasive this loss is for me.
Some days it's rough being 33 and surrounded by friends having babies.

Perhaps one day this will be gentler.  But it's not yet.  Not at all.