Soaking Up Memories

Each time I pass Daxon’s bedroom door, I look at it and say something to me either in my head or out loud, depending on whether my boyfriend is nearby. I know he’s not in there, but I think it’s more of s reminder to talk to him and tell him that I love him. I don’t go in often, but about once a week I feel like I need to be closer to him so I go in and sit and cry, usually on the floor beside his crib or sometimes in the rocking chair. I’ll look through his favourite book once in awhile, Little Bear is Hungry, and run my fingers over the fuzzy parts like he used to do. I’ll turn on the sound machine that casts a projection wheel on the wall of different things. The one we used the most was the fishy one, so that is still in there. A couple of times, I’ve turned on the toy I hung in his crib just days before his last. It has a screen with a waterfall in the background that lights up, a monkey that swings, a frog, and something else near the bottom. When I first put it in there, I put him in his crib and turned it on and he was so happy. He got up on hands and knees, making those cute little noises of joy while looking from me to the toy like, “Mommy, are you seeing this?! This is amazing!” 

This afternoon, I started having a meltdown on the couch. It wasn’t even anything that really triggered it either. I went upstairs and into his room, opening the door quietly like I always have, and bawled my eyes out like one of those wailing foreign women you see in movies who have just lost their husbands in a terrible battle. Then, I started looking through things. I looked through books and drawers, when I found his Love You Forever book, I broke down again. That was the first book I ever read to him while I was pregnant and then many times after. He loved that book, probably because it had a little song I’d sing in it. He loved music. I went through his closet and folded and put away some clothes my boyfriend had washed but not properly put away. He has this little chubby fox costume my mom got him to wear for Halloween. That was one of the last days he was alive. I  has a big fat bum on it with a tail and the hood is a fox head, complet and with little snout. I held that costume to me and cried yet again, not entirely surprised to notice that my arms went around it in the exact same way I used to hold my son. 

Afterward, I picked up a few things that were lying around, toys went in his toy bag, baby monitors that boyfriend had tossed behind the rocking chair went into th closet, funeral home bag went in the closet… Then I sat in the chair looking through his baby book, you know, the kind where you fill in all the pages about his firsts and family tree and everything. I never realized how big of a leap he went through at six and a half months. That’s when he first said, “Mum,” the first time he stood by himself for a couple seconds. And I remember these times, too. 

Tonight, as I was walking up the stairs for bed, I looked at his door as always and I felt something different. It was almost a peace, I think. Not quite happiness, but it wasn’t just sadness and longing. It caught me off guard and really confused me. I know it won’t last and there will always be hard days and less hard days, but I think this was somehow a step in my healing, though I’m not entirely sure how. I don’t want to spaeculate either, and ruin it so I’m just going to accept it as that and enjoy the moment a bit longer. I still miss my little boy terribly and want nothing more than to be holding him right now, but I feel like maybe this is God’s way of telling me that he heard me yelling at him today and that everything is okay, we will be together again. 

One day in paradise. 

Jealousy in Grief

I don’t understand how some people simply choose not to see their children as much as they possibly can. There are people who could not care less if they even had kids, and those children suffer terrible lives of being unwanted and unloved. I finally realized tonight why it bothers me so much that my boyfriend isn’t actively trying to get even shared custody of his daughter. He only sees her in the morning when he drives her to daycare, and every second Sunday. Not even overnight. Yet he won’t even talk to a lawyer to find out what the process is to have hr more because the guy is expensive and he thinks it’ll be a huge, expensive battle. I would give anything for that battle to even be an option for me to see my son again. I would give my life if I knew I could hold my son again. So tonight, I realized that this is why I’m so bothered by his procrastination with this. He still has a child that he can hold and teach and love. And he is missing out on so much with her. What isn’t worth that time spent with her? I know he loves her more than anything, so it confuses me why he hasn’t even tried yet. I feel like my grief and mourning is being minimized in a way, I guess. Like he’s taking her existence for granted because his child isn’t going to die and he has all the time in the world to leisurely find a way to see her more. It’s almost a slap in the face. I can never tell him this. He gets angry when I mention fighting for shared custody. I don’t understand why and I’m afraid to ask, as I know it’ll likely end up becoming an argument. 

I will never understand a parent’s ability to dismiss time with their children. I just hope they never have to regret it the way I wish I’d spent more time playing and snuggling with my son before he died. 

Lessons from an Angel

Someone once suggested that maybe my son was an actual angel sent to change my life, to help me out of the deep, dark hole I’d dug for myself, and that’s why he didn’t stay for long. He taught me so much in his ten short months in my arms. He taught me that I don’t need drugs and alcohol to mask my pain, that I can be happy sober. He taught me what love really feels like. Real, pure, unconditional love. He taught me that I can be loved by someone good, and what if feels like to be loved most. And he taught me what real fear and heartbreak are. Fear not the demon hiding in the dark, or that a lover is cheating. Heartbreak is not a boyfriend leaving for someone younger and prettier. I have never experienced the oxygen-vacant fear I felt before the morning I found him in his crib and turned him over. I have never felt heartbreak as I did when I realized I was far, far too late. As I write this, I feel like I’m reliving that morning… The phone call to 911, carrying his body downstairs, the paramedics and the cops, the moment they told me they couldn’t do anything. This is a nightmare I never thought I would have to live through. 

But what if he really was an angel sent to help me? I don’t think that’s possible, as angels don’t have souls. That would mean my son has no soul and that can’t be possible. But I think he was sent to change my life. I saw no way out until he was in my belly. Even then, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to be a good mom. Not because I thought I’d turn back to drugs or anything, but I just didn’t feel capable of taking care of such a tiny, important little person of my very own when I hadn’t even been able to properly take care of myself for so long. But I did it. I wasn’t perfect, but we love each other more than I ever thought possible. I wonder if he remembers me? I wonder if he sees me missing him? I wonder if he misses me? I wonder how long I have to wait to hold him again? It has been 114 days and about 15 hours, 21 minutes since I last held him alive. 

Triggers

Triggers are weird. Sometimes, they’re exactly what you’d expect them to be, like the photo I wrote about in my last post or a movie that has a baby dying in it. Of course those things are going to make you feel like someone just rammed a hot poker through your chest. But some of them are so unexpected and when they blindside you, it feels like an attack as you’re simply going about your day. For me, seeing those packages of pre-cooked sliced chicken or turkey sets me off. I’d bought a couple of those for Daxon as he began preferring food he could pick up himself and chew. A few days after he died, I noticed a package at the back of the fridge. It sat there for a long time. I couldn’t throw it out. I guess Dan must have, eventually. There’s still a pear in there that I bought for him. I’m sure it’ll sit there until it goes bad and Dan tosses it out, too. I just can’t do it, silly as it sounds. That is my son’s pear. Sometimes, I’ll just be sitting in the tub and suddenly start bawling because I remember lying him on my chest when he was tiny and we would bathe together. He would get hungry and I’d breastfeed him right there in the bathtub. That’s one of the things I miss most – bathtime. Especially when he got older and discovered bath toys. Seeing those in stores sets me off. My mom said it’s strange things that set her off, as well. I thought being around my friends’ kids would be difficult, but for the most part, it actually seems to help a bit. Only in short burts, though, or my anxiety builds and I just want to hold my own baby and I feel like I’m going to crack. I know everyone says it’s okay to not be okay and to cry, but I still feel awkward letting go and I know it makes everyone else feel that, too. 

This pregnancy is almost a constant trigger. I remember how Dax felt the first time he kicked, how his footbecame lodged in one spot below my rib age for the last couple months and it drove me crazy, how I’d rub my belly and imagine all the amazing things we would do, who he might be, what kinds of things he might be into. I don’t think I’ve done that even once with this baby, now that I think of it… I feel guilty for it. But then when I do focus on the new baby, I also feel guilty, like I’m trying to replace Dax. I’m sure I’ll love this baby, too, even if it takes a bit longer, but I know there will probably be so many triggers along the way. All of the firsts Dax and I had are going to be replayed in only a few months and I’m sure they’re going to cut deep. I only hope that, by that time, those things that remind me of Daxon will make me smile rather than cry. 


December 25, 2015. The day my baby was born. 

I always thought of PTSD only as something people in the military experienced. Diving for the ground when a vehicle backfires or someone sets of fireworks, waking up in the night, sweating and screaming, hearing bombs and gunshots where there are none. I’m beginning to understand mine. I thought all of this was just grief, but my therapist tells me it is quite different. 

Last night, I was browsing through Facebook before bed and I saw this article about funny breastfeeding mishaps which was accompanied by a couple of photos, before you even open the link. One of the photos was of a baby’s face that was all discoloured, like blood had pooled in certain places… It looked far to similar to Daxon’s on the morning I found him and I was instantly sobbing uncontrollably. It felt like I’d just found him all over again and I had to relive that horrible day. Horrible day…that doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. There are no words to describe the nightmare of that day. Every adjective diminishes the true horror I felt. I still feel. There was a short period where I was mostly able to block those images out, of him lying face down in his crib, of how his body felt in my arms, of the smell of his vomit as I made the futile attempt at performing CPR on his mottled little face…. But now I see it all the time again. For the last week or so, I see these things out of nowhere and I just want to die. 

I can’t finish this right now…

First Day of Healing

I’ve been slowly realizing lately that the rest of my life will forever be shrouded in darkness. I feel that, even as I heal and my life begins to seem full again, even on those sunny days full of love and laughter, there will always be a dark blue cloud of sorrow hovering nearby. I’ve connected with a few other moms who have lost their babies to SIDS and they all say the same thing: it will always hurt…but it will get easier. One woman said that, even 25 years later, she still regresses into denial. That it can’t be real, her baby can’t really be gone, he has to come back, there must be something she hasn’t tried. I was feeling like that for a few days last week. I have a lot over the last three months, honestly. I feel like I haven’t done enough, like I should be working harder to bring my baby home even though I know there is no way. I feel like I have failed my son.

I saw both my doctor and my grief councillor yesterday. I had my first prenatal physical. When the doctor got out the Doppler, I was excited at first. My boyfriend was there with me to hear the heartbeat and he had my phone out to record it. We sat there for so long… I watched her face as she searched across my abdomen and belly for the familiar fast-paced heartbeat of a tiny baby in utero. Every so often, we could hear mine. As time went on and she searched and searched, it sped up. I was holding back tears as my throat closed up in pre-meditated anguish. She was going to say it soon, I knew it. She was going to say, “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.” But she didn’t. The relief I felt when that 150 bpm heartbeat came from the speaker was like a blade being pulled from my heart. I have been (and still am) terrified of losing this baby, before or after birth. If that should happen, I will need to be committed. I do not want to kill myself, as I’ve explained before. I need to be with my babies when I die. But in that situation…I may not be able to stop myself.

I told my grief councillor this that same day. This was only the second time I’ve seen her, but she is extremely understanding. For a reason I don’t recall, she brought in a physician to this appointment to observe. At first, it was a little awkward, but I talked to the therapist as I would have otherwise. When I mentioned the guilt I have felt for not checking on Dax before I went to bed, especially since my boyfriend put him to sleep on his stomach (which he had been rolling onto lately anyway), the physician interjected and relieved a lot of my guilt. She told me that, unless I was there right at the moment it was happening, there is nothing I could have done. Even if I had checked on him, it could have happened two minutes after I left the room or hours later. Or even if it had happened wenty minutes before I checked on him and I was able to save his life, he would have severe, permanent brain damage. My therapist asked me how I felt about that, as I had obviously thought about it before – there are so many what-ifs that circle my mind constantly. Honestly, I’m not sure that would be better than this. Maybe it would be worse. I don’t mean that just because it would be harder and more work, but he wouldn’t even be the same little boy I know I love. He would need help with everything for the rest of his life. I don’t think it’s fair to wish that on my child out of my selfish desire to hold him and have him here. I believe he is safe and loved where he is now and I will continue to pray every night that I may be there with him when this world is done with me, too.

Can a Monster Learn to Love?

Sometimes I go into his room to feel closer to him. I never thought my little boy could feel so incredibly far away. I had been dreading going back to work because I would have to be away from him and leave him with strangers for hours and hours each day. I was dreading the time he would be done breastfeeding and his father would want to take him overnight or even for weekends. It has now been two months and nine days since I saw my baby alive. Two months and nine days. In the last couple months, I had left him with his father for a few hours here and there. Part of me was happy to have a little bit of a break. I feel so awful saying that now… But a part of me always missed him. I was constantly checking my phone, trying not to text more than once to make sure everything was okay. He is my heart, as I’m sure I’ve said more than once. And now, he is much more than a half hour drive away. I can’t text anyone to see if he’s okay, or go pick him up when he starts missing me and saying “Mum mum mum!” I can’t walk in the door and see his outstretched arms and the pure relief on his face that I’m finally there. I have never felt so unconditionally loved by someone. I have never looked at someone and felt so strongly that my heart would explode within my chest, like I had so much love for that teeny tiny little person, it coundkt possibly all be contained within me.

My life feels so long now. The one thing that has been helping me calm down enough to eventually drift off at night is the thought of us being together again. I imagine his smiling little face and gleeful giggles as I enter Heaven’s gates. Just the face he would make when I opened the door of the truck to take him out. He would kick his little legs in excitement and any crying stopped instantly. I keep promising him I’ll be there with him soon and we’ll be together for eternity. I hope I’m not lying. How could a loving God give me such a perfect little boy, love him with every bit of my soul, take him away after ten months, then not allow us to be together in death? But then again, what kind of mother has her unborn child murdered… I am so afraid. My biggest regret in life is that. It has been since the moment it happened. I cried the second both my babies left my body. Though the second was with tears of pure joy. I am a monster. But can a monster be forgiven once it’s learned to love? If it repents and lives and works to help others from now on? I pray I can be. Every night. I’m not that heinous person I was then. All I care about anymore is being with my babies. The two in Heaven now and this new one, who will hopefully join us after I have gone. I’d like to say I can’t imagine an eternity without Daxon, but I can and it is terrifying. I feel as if I’m already living it. He feels so far away from me… I’m his mommy; he should be in my arms. We should be together. One day…