Adaptation

I know I’m finding peace. I know this because I’m doing things I couldn’t have fathomed doing three weeks ago. Yesterday I went to the zoo. The Zoo. Swarming with children, babies, and pregnant women. Instead of having to look away from them, I found joy in their smiles. I found happiness in their excitement. I was able to look at pregnant women and pray that their babies would make it into this world, and not meet the devastating fate that we had. I was able to heal a little in this environment.

It has been a process to get here. Right after we lost Delilah, it was emotionally painful to see pregnant women and babies. Why were their babies healthy and ours was not? What had we done wrong? I realize that these are ridiculous thoughts, but I’ve learned that they are normal reactions when you experience pregnancy loss. I was bitter and jealous, two feelings that I despise. So I am very proud to be making this progress.

Last night I had a dream and it was very reflective of my shift. I would like to share it in this space.

It was a stormy night. I was travelling with a female companion whose face I never saw, but she was familiar. We were both riding on one bicycle. I was pedaling and she was riding on the back of my seat. I was pedaling so hard through the storm, trying to move us down the road. But the harder I tried to pedal, the slower the wheels went around. It felt as if my legs were moving through thick mud. It was exhausting and I had the overwhelming fear that I could not carry both of us much longer. It made me feel ashamed and guilty. Just as I was about to give up, our surroundings shifted. Now we were at the top of a snowy mountain, standing in front of a steep slope. Other people whizzed past us, skiing down the slope. The slope was extremely steep and I was terrified to ski down it. I told my female companion “My legs won’t hold me, I’m not strong enough, I’m scared!”

I was alone in my fear and self-doubt. She went down the slope without me. She left me on the top of the mountain.

Feeling sure that my legs weren’t strong enough to hold me up, I lay down on my back and proceeded to slide down the mountain. It was a long, cold ride down, but an adrenaline rush. When I reached the bottom I looked behind me and saw the huge mountain in all of its glory. I couldn’t believe I made it to the bottom! I looked around for her, but was she gone.

I woke up.

Dreams like this are special to me, because I know that they carry deep meaning. Initially I thought that the girl was Delilah. I was trying to carry both of us through the turbulent journey, but it became too heavy, too exhausting. As hard as I tried to pedal, it just didn’t get us anywhere. When we were on the mountaintop I was too terrified to go down, so she proceeded without me. She continued alone, towards her own journey.

Upon further analysis, I had another interpretation of this dream.

This experience has changed me so much. I am not the same person that I was before my pregnancy. It has opened up my heart to be more compassionate and kind. I am so much more aware and considerate of other people’s battles. We are all someone else’s children, and that makes us ALL precious in some way. The female companion in my dream may have been a version of myself that I got tired of carrying. Tired of carrying the ugly, the mean, the insensitive, the critical, the grief, and the past. I was ready to let her go so I could move on and grow into a better version of myself

Laying down and sliding down the mountain was me adapting to a terrifying situation. I didn’t give up. I just changed my plan.

 

Healing Kit

Since Delilah’s departure, grief has taken her place as my constant companion. I am becoming very familiar with grief, and it’s fickleness. Grief is fluid and ever changing. It is never concrete. It can have you feeling despair one moment and peace the next. It is a constant flowing river that I am riding, until I feel strong enough to put my two feet back on the ground again. To be honest, I have no idea when that might be, and that’s okay. I am grateful that I have the time in my life to really dive into the healing process and go wherever the river takes me. To my surprise, the gaping wound that left me broken a few weeks ago is beginning to mend itself back together.

The most terrifying thing about life is loss. We will all experience the loss of a loved one. When we do, we are given a very important choice. We can put the pieces back together and live life to the fullest, or we can let life slip away from us. I think it’s important to always remember that our loved one wants us to be happy, and continue on our Earth journey.

I miss Delilah desperately, every day. I miss being pregnant with her. It was the happiest and most meaningful time of my life so far. But God had a plan and there was no way to alter it. She has gone, and I’ve been given that choice. I want my life. I miss being happy. So I’ve begun to laugh a bit more and not feel guilty. She wants that for me.

This ordeal left me stripped of all emotions. Literally. I remember feeling like I’d never care about anything else again. I’m beginning to recognize distinct things in my life that are huge components of my healing process. I like to think of these components as a “Healing Kit” for grief. Everyone’s healing kit will be different. But these are the components of mine at the moment:

Time

Support

Relationships

Therapy

Exercise

Nutrition

Music

Writing

Spirituality

Reading

Animals

Nature

Laughter

Meditation

I try to focus on a couple of these things every day, and they have the power to save me in a weak moment. Focusing on my healing instead of my sorrow, is definitely helping to soothe the pain of heartbreak, and to move me forward with a happy mind and peaceful heart.

Everything Happens For A Reason

I woke up today at 5AM with my mind and body in a state of panic. I observed my husband sleeping so peacefully beside me and it made me realize how alone I am in my grief. I’ve come to realize that my grief is in a category of it’s own.  Along with the mental grief, my body grieves, because my body was her home. My body is physically grieving her absence.  I have these bouts of panic where my body seems to scream at me: “WHERE IS THE BABY??!!” As if my body has forgotten that she is gone. This 5AM alarm made sense when I got out of bed later and realized that my body was ready to feed her today. There was milk for her. But she is not here to receive it. What a beautiful thing a woman’s body does to prepare to nourish her baby. What a horrible thing to be reminded of when there is no longer a baby to nourish. I keep comparing it to a royal kick in the teeth, because that is exactly what it feels like!

A few days ago we went to the funeral home to start the process of getting Delilah’s ashes. It was surreal. Very difficult to write “Mother & Father of the Deceased”, when you’ve never even seen your daughter, or held her. As we sat there signing the documents, all I could think was, we should be picking out a crib and a stroller right now. I would have never expected to be picking out an urn for our baby’s ashes. Another thought I had as we walked the cemetery grounds was, Is it more tragic to leave behind a lifetime full of loved ones and memories, or to leave behind a life that you never even had the chance to live? It’s something that’s been on my mind and surely puzzles me.

I’m still struggling to understand why this happened. She was literally my hopes, dreams and prayers packaged into one tiny body. The loss in my heart is profound and deep. This meditation popped up on my news feed today and it was exactly what I needed. It felt appropriate to share here. Maybe I will never fully understand this loss. But to try and hold onto my belief that Everything Does Happen For A Reason…definitely brings me a tiny bit of peace, and returns me to some sense of Faith, that God has a plan, and this was just a part of it.

How I’m Doing

Some days my brain can’t seem to form one single thought. Other days the thoughts come so fast and hard I feel if I don’t write them down quick enough they will crush me like an avalanche. Today is one of those days.

Each day seems to greet me with the same question. “How are you doing?”

The honest to God truth is I don’t know how to answer that question, because there are a thousand answers and I don’t know which one to give you.

I am alive. I am managing to eat, sleep, laugh and smile.

I am sad. I wake up to tears and fall asleep to them.

I am fucking pissed off. (Sorry Grandma). But I am. Out of 100,000 babies ours was the one that won the Congenital Heart Defect Lotto.

I am completely lost. I was going to be a mom. That was my next job, and the one I wanted most. Once again, I am back to the drawing board. What am I going to do with my life? What is my career going to be? What corporate institution will I have to return to and give two shits about? I am completely overwhelmed with having to give up my dream of motherhood at the moment, when I was so close, and return to a life I was impassionate about.

I am broken and empty. My body has been through a trauma. My body is in shock and literally wonders, “Where is the baby I just grew for 5 months?” It is a hormonal rollercoaster that leaves me in a place between hopelessness and hopefulness. My mind can’t keep up with the ups and down of this ride that I never wanted to be on in the first place. I didn’t stand in line for this ride. Yet I’m forced to ride the waves of its unpredictability.

I feel like Marc and I took a giant step forward, to end up taking multiple steps back. We are in the middle of a tornado trying to hold onto the pieces of our lives as they rapidly swirl away from us. This is not where we planned to be.

Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am. Positivity is a mask that I easily wear to be strong for everyone else. When tragedy strikes your own life you don’t have a choice. What is my alternative option? Give into the darkest thoughts I’ve ever had? Give into the urge to want to go be with my daughter? It is easier for our spirits to heal than our minds and bodies. My spirit is at peace. My mind is not. There is a lot of darkness there that seeps through when I am alone.

Sometimes I catch myself going through the checklist of rules I followed for this pregnancy: I began taking prenatal vitamins months before we even tried, never drank or smoked, ate healthy, exercised, didn’t touch the cat litter, didn’t eat sushi, didn’t go to Mexico with my family so I wouldn’t catch the stupid Zika Virus. I was so aware of the rules, and so abiding. But it didn’t even matter. In that regard I feel completely defeated.

In my heart I know that “everything happens for a reason, it wasn’t meant to be, God works in mysterious ways, etc. etc.” But it’s still hard to digest. The worst is when someone says, “There will be other babies, and you still have time”. It’s like telling a widow “There will be other husbands”.  Delilah was her own person. Half way baked I like to say. She will never be replaced. I want that baby. It is hard to get over the fact that I will never have that baby. Our baby.

If there is any positive that can come from this, it is that another woman going through this finds my blog. If I can be a support to one other person, then I can find a little bit of peace. I know I’m not alone in this tragedy. I’ve already been connected to other women who have shared this horrific experience, and our stories unite us. The world is a very scary place, but if we can unite in our stories it is a little less terrifying.

So when people ask me how I’m doing, it is an impossible question for me to answer. I just am. I don’t know how else to explain it. I am here, I am trying to smile more and cry less. I am trying to pick up the pieces of my life and move forward. I am trying to take care of myself. I am trying not to miss my daughter so much that it destroys the rest of my life. I am.