Sunday, July 11, 2010

Three-parted Post

I'm going to preface this post by stating Yes, we'll be seeing a counselor starting next week.

I'm just always shocked by how many people have had similar or relatable traumatic experiences, especially the loss of a child.

No one talks about it. And as a result, we live in a world where our expectations don't match reality's baffling statistics.

Part of me says, if we don't discuss what we've learned - how difficult it really is to have a healthy child - then how can we share knowledge and spread awareness?

The other part of me answers - duh, it's because it's too painful. Obviously. If I open myself up to my emotions, they overpower me so fast, and I quickly become unable to function.

The other part of me says, would I have wanted someone to sit me down and tell me everything that could go wrong? Back when I was reading pregnancy books, they do tell you about millions of things that can go wrong, and I sat there thinking, "well, i'm young, i didn't do cocain, so this will never happen to me." (Irony here is that the book was reading didn't mention Trisomy - except in regards to Downs Syndrome.)

So, yes, I suppose they do tell you about the risks of having a healthy baby, but who paid attention to them before it affected them directly?


As I said, if I open myself up feeling all my emotions, it's bad. As I've posted before, it's not like we lay about the house being sad all the time. But it sure would be easy to do that. But some days are just more... pensive and fragile than others. So we build walls and keep distances.

Some of you may have noticed how impossible I am to get a hold of now-a-days. (Maybe I was before, too, I don't know.) I let my phone ring to voicemail a lot. The truth is, it takes so much energy to keep up our walls. Some days are harder than others, other days are easier. Usually on the easier days I'm more prone to chatting. But I can't predict which days will be what. Some times it's an hour-by-hour thing, too. I find myself calling people one minute, and when they didn't answer and call back 15 minutes later, the moment's gone and I no longer feel up to it.

I just wanted to put this out there because there are quite a few of my friends and even family that this happens to. I just wanted to let you know "it's not you, it's me" and it's not personal. I'm trying to force myself to be "out there" more, because if I let my relationships fall away before our tragedy and trauma strike, what will I do after? Who will I lean on then?

So don't give up. Keep calling, emailing, facebooking, snail-mailing. (I can't tell you how many time's we've gotten a letter from someone from church, home, or college just letting us know they're thinking and praying for us, and how that brings a ray of sunshine in our darkness.)


Now I'm almost 8months pregnant, and there is just no hiding it. Because of that, I get more attention from strangers or people I don't know well.

I almost want to wear a stickynote on my forward "DON'T SAY IT." Don't say "How far along are you?" "Is it a boy or a girl" "When are you due" "Oh you must be getting close now, are you excited" "are you so ready for him to come out" "do you have everything set up" because you really have no idea what you're asking. I try to remember, these people don't know, they're trying to be supportive of the pregnancy they think we're having. And I do a pretty good job - mainly because of constant practice - of smiling, nodding, and telling them what they expect to hear. But then I come home and feel sad. Because I want to be able to answer all those questions joyously, and I do, when I answer, Yes I'm looking forward to it, I really am. But these strangers don't know the what's looming ahead of us.

And that's what I am afraid of. I'm not afraid of the unknown. I'm afraid of what I know will happen.

Being Catholic/Christian, I know that Noah will be in God's hands and be in a better place and all that jazz. I know that. I believe that. But knowing and believing that doesn't make pain of future-loss go away. I really thought it would help. But it doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not losing my faith in God. I'm not even angry at God (at least not yet). I'm not blaming Him. I believe he'll keep his promise to us - that's why we named Noah Noah. But there is only so much solace to be found in that. This knowledege makes the rational mind say "it's okay, in the big picture, it's really ok, Noah's not meant for this world." But the emotional part of me says, "but I want him to be." And it doesn't make it easier.

I thought it would. But it doesn't.


  1. Oh ~ I get it! I honestly get it all...each and every thing you said.

    It is hard, walls do need to happen as a part of keeping your sanity, I think. When you face loosing a baby, in that slow and painful way...being pregnant and journeying each day with the joy of carrying your wee one, all the while the current of pain and grief can sweep you away. Just let your feelings happen ~ let them come and have them as they do. Talk to those you can trust to honor your feelings and not try and fix them, belittle them, or judge them. Someone to unconditionally listen is a good thing. Honestly, any therapist should tell you this (and I should know...I was a practicing therapist before my children came along).

    When I found out about Amelia's diagnosis, and then lived out the last 17 weeks of my pregnancy with the knowledge that she was going to die...well, there were days that I was just not functioning well. This is to be expected...this is anticipatory grief. It is also normal and hard. So much happened in my head that I could never talk about...but for some reason, I could post about it. Typing into cyberspace and not having to say the words or feelings in a conversation was/is very helpful for me. This way, I could let it all be real on line, and choose those special people who I felt safe to talk to, when I felt like it.

    Here is the are totally right ~ no one talks about their dead baby. I believe that our society doesn't allow grief to really happen. Too many people are uncomfortable with it, feel the need to fix something that cannot be 'fixed' and must be felt. We as a culture are not supportive and want to see a happy face. We throw pills at things. But that is just my point of view.

    From what you have written in this post...I can totally see how horribly normal this all that I have lived it. It has been almost 4 months and I can honestly say that after Amelia was born was a lot harder than before. Knowing she was alive within me, that my body was growing her, despite her condition and that I would loose her, was hard...there are no words really for what comes after. It is not something you can prepare for...although God knows I sure did try. I used all my time with her to prepare, make memories, and teach my children about their sister and what was to come. But death is still death. It is devastating.

    I know that you have loads of people who love you and want to support you. And for those reading ~ don't give up on her. Give her space when she needs it, but don't walk away or forget to speak Noah's name. As a mother who has lost a baby, this is a big fear...that people will forget. And ironically, many people may not want to mention Noah's name because they will be afraid to 'hurt you'. The truth is that a mother NEVER forgets and she will be thinking 'Noah' forever...hearing that you are thinking of him too will be comforting. Help keep his memory alive always.

    I hope that I haven't overstepped any boundaries, but I just felt lead to share some of my experiences and I have found that many many mommies and daddies in the baby loss community feel the same way. I know that saying 'you are not alone' doesn't make it better, but there is a huge and amazing community out here if you need us.

    If you want to visit my blog please feel free to get to know me.

    Phone calls can be hard, so be patient with yourself.

  2. You don't know me, but I found your blog through random-clicking. Your family is changing my faith and causing me to think and feel deeper for the humans around me. You have a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing this battle. If you ever go private, it's understandable. But as long as I can read, I will. A post like this- it's pure God and beauty. Praying for you.

  3. I love you Annie, and I figured this was the place you were in. I think about you and Noah and Dave all the time. We are all praying for you all the time. I am sad that this is your path, such suffering and grief. I wish I could carry some of your pain for you...

  4. Annie, please know every time I read one of your new post, I am blown away by your strength and love for Noah. I am so proud to be your friend. To know that you and Dave are amazing parents. I just keep thinking, you two could have taken the easy path. But you choose to take the path that would give Noah a chance even if it brought you pain. Isn't that what parenting is all about? As always, you are in our prayers.

  5. You and Dave and Noah are in our thoughts every day. Do not be afraid to make for yourself the space you need -- we will still be here when you feel like talking.

  6. I haven't been in your shoes, but what you wrote makes perfect sense to me. I really hope those whose love and support are vital understand as well (you made it easy - you literally spelled it out for them!) and continue to be patient and put in extra effort. And I'd think that "emotional part" is called being Noah's mom, so let that side of you be acknowledged as much as it needs to be. Thinking of your family...

  7. Annie, you are touching so many lives, more than you know. We are all so proud of you and Dave and Noah!

  8. Annie, Thank you for writing. You really are my hero for what you are doing and for sharing this battle and grief in this blog. What a tribute to Noah! Jed and I are praying for you and love you and Dave dearly. Thank you for letting me get to know your heart through your writing!