My life has become a void. An endless succession of hollow days, going through the motions, accomplishing nothing for months on end. I stare at an rectangular electronic device from the moment I wake to the moment I close my eyes, lulling my mind into a stupor to mask the emptiness and pain. Hours, days, months…it’s all the same. I think the seasons have changed. I feel like a building that’s been condemned, dark, empty of life, pathetic. The only true proof I have of the passing of time is my ever-growing belly. Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of happiness and excitement, two people feeling the movements of their unseen child, discussing who he might become with eyes full of joy. Sometimes I’m successful at being excited and happy, but he seems disinterested. I long to hold my child in my arms again more than anything in the world, even though this child will never replace the one I’ve lost. I’m trying my best to prepare for his arrival, in both the traditional way and mentally. Will I love him like I did Daxon? Will he share my eyes, or will they be blue like Dax’s, or maybe both blue and green like his father’s? Will he sometimes make the same expressions as Dax, sending a thousand needles through my heart? Will he live? This…this is what plagues my mind. I am where babies go to die, it seems. I want him so badly. I need him to survive. But I feel like a deep, dark part of me knows that he won’t, and then I won’t either. I can’t have three babies in Heaven before me. I can’t. When will this day ever end?
You know that feeling when you’re kind of lethargic, but you want to do something but you just can’t figure out what you want to do? You look around, run through your options in your head…video games? Nah. Read a book? Maybe, but not really. Watch a movie? Ugh, no. I get that feeling a lot, especially since I haven’t been working since before my son was born Christmas of 2015. I had the year off to raise him until he was old enough to go into daycare, but then after he passed and I found out I was pregnant and was diagnosed with PTSD, they allowed me to just stay off. I’m very lucky my boyfriend is so supportive. I help out as much as I am able. So all this time off, being alone with my thoughts now, trying to find distractions to fill my days, I get that feeling a lot. Slowly, it dawns on me what it is I really want to do. I want to hold my little boy. That is the only thing in the universe that could satisfy my needs in that moment. But I can’t. In a few months, I’ll be able to hold a new little one, but it won’t be my Dax. I can’t hold him until the day I die, and that day is so painstakingly far from sight. I used to feel like my life was speeding ahead of me and I could never catch up. Now I feel like my death is running from me, playing a cruel game of tag and I’ll never catch it. Not until I’ve forgotten what his little fingers felt like or the way his hair smelled after a bath, or how soft and fine it felt when I ran my fingers through it. I remember the deep divet above his butt crack, the tiny little bump on the daith part of his right ear and the indent on the lobe of his left one that looked like his finger nail had been dug into it in utero when the ear was forming and left an imprint. I remember how every single little part of his body felt in my hands and the weight of his body lying on my chest as he slept. My arms fit around him just perfectly. Nothing had every felt so…belonging, I guess. He belongs with me. He belongs in my arms where he fit just perfectly.
Now, all I have to fill those moments is tears and gasping breaths, begging God to tell me why He took my baby from me, begging Him to turn back time to that last day so I could stay with him all night long and try to save him.
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.