I wonder if the mailman thinks my baby is still alive…

 

With both my pregnancies I signed up for the baby tracking apps. The ones which tell you your baby is now the size of a blueberry, raspberry, cauliflower and whichever random closeish sized fruit or vegetable is comparable. I loved getting the weekly updates and thinking how amazing it was that life was changing so dramatically within me.

I would meticulously log my daily vitamin intake, water intake, minutes spent walking. I was obsessed with doing the best I possibly could for myself and the life inside of me. In this obsessive tracking, I had forgotten how much of my pregnancy data was not just me and my care providers. It was being logged into some crazy database where every company seems to know that I was expecting and that I should have a little nugget arriving from every google search and baby item purchased in anticipation of birth.

The cruelty is that the same day Logan was born I deleted the pregnancy tracking app after Logan’s because there was no magic button to say “STOP REMINDING ME ABOUT MY GROWING BABY!” I so wish I could hit erase and somehow be magically taken off every list for new baby items as quickly as I was put on their lists.

A few weeks after Logan’s arrival we received a box with a congratulatory card from a formula company with a bunch of samples and coupons for diapers. The samples and coupon cards still haven’t stopped 8 months later.

Probably the most shocking was the random customer survey from the hospital who called wanting to know:

‘What could’ve made our stay more enjoyable?’

Really that was a pretty ironic question. Really the hospital could’ve had the crappiest towels, food, and only cold running water and I wouldn’t have cared if it meant Logan was coming home. What would’ve made it more enjoyable is having a baby who opened his eyes and cried after he was born. What would’ve made it more enjoyable is not seeing the panic in my husband’s eyes when I woke from the anesthesia and hearing how sick my baby was.

The random baby survey conversations become very short as I cut them off and say. “My baby died” and hang up the phone before waiting for the awkward pause and the fumbling words from the poor customer service agent who didn’t know. (well, maybe all except the hospital one, probably should’ve had those records!)

We’re only on the brink of my children’s generation which has every moment of their lives documented for the world. It’s no longer just the close family and friends who get notified when I post that my daughter learned how to sing a new song, or that she went on an airplane ride. It is becoming more abundant that our likes and family composition is being used by marketers in ways I had no idea because I was so used to being surrounded by it that it didn’t bother me. After having to try to change all my ad preferences away from babies I realized no part of the internet was safe. Heck I couldn’t even watch shows on HULU without seeing Pampers ads.

Will I be getting coupons for pull-ups and school supplies? Reminders of memories that we would never get to have.

I wish for a magical erase button from all the world that can’t seem to get the memo our son died. I no longer need your expected arrival information. I don’t need tips about sleeping through the night with a newborn. Although, if you have tips on how to sleep through the night when you’re in grief thinking about the baby who should be keeping you up I’ll take it.

A long overdue thank you

I had every intention of writing this thank you months ago, but going back to the hospital in my mind is a place I can’t go often. It’s something I carefully have trained my mind to avoid to stay functional. In order to properly say this I needed to:

I know that you did not go into your calling for birth to have nights like when Logan so forcefully entered on July 26th. That you thought Labor and Delivery was caring for babies who were crying and healthy.

I remember hearing people telling my mom you are so lucky to get to be around babies at work. I can remember her cautious  answer was, ‘most of the time.’

I read a OB who had been quoted that the Labor and Delivery ward is 95% of the time the happiest place in the hospital, but the 5% that remains is the saddes part of the hospital.

I cannot express my appreciation for your compassion and love that you shared with Logan and us. Compassion is not some checklist they taught you in medical school and it truly made us have the best hours with Logan.

To the ER nurse who rushed me in and stood with my husband through uncertain pain. The neonatologist with tears in her eyes. The midwives who told me ‘it’s not your fault.’ The L&D nurses who knew I wouldn’t want to eat and brought me endless cups of ice water and jello. The pernatologist who drove to another hospital looking for more keepsake items to remember Logan. For timing vital checks so we could sleep because we were so numb.

I know days like his are not what you probably thought of when you went into your professions. I’m sure people unknowingly say your job must be so happy. I know you probably give an answer similar to my mom’s that most of the time it is.

Please try not to become hardened by days like his. I know there is probably another family who will go through loss and need your same compassion.

Please remember to close that hospital door because to a loss mom the sound of a newborn crying and happy birthday are needles into an already shattered heart. Remember that her walking out of that hospital without her baby was the last thing she wanted to have happen.

The walk to her car without her baby while passing other rooms with crying babies or the nursery will probably be crushing her and an extra hug may not hurt right then.

I know you probably went home and hugged those you love. I’m so grateful for your love. You gave us both space and comfort. If there can ever be a time for me to pay it forward I will do my best to live up to the status you have set.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for being able to serve in the the saddest part of the hospital when the world only thinks of the 95% of happy days. You deserve recognition for your hardest days on the job.

With gratitude,

Sara (Logan’s mommy 07/26/2016)

 

 

The “If Only” of Mama Guilt

This guilt is a different monster. It is filled with questions like “If Only…”

“You failed to keep your baby alive”

“I had one job.”

“Why did I survive?”

“You failed your child.”

If Only...
IF ONLY….

When I had my first child I thought I had done my homework like so many first time moms. I read all the healthy pregnancy books, first year baby books. I had the aps that told me what fruit or vegetable my little  munchkin was the size of each week.

Then reality hit. I had a baby screaming in my arms and realized that I hadn’t ever changed a diaper much less held a child so small and been expected to keep it alive. What the hospital and all the books failed to really tell me about that was in addition to my baby I was leaving the hospital with a big welcome to motherhood bag of guilt.

Guilt over reanalyzing every choice made for your child. Guilt that I used the TV as a baby-sitter, disposable diapers, daycare choices and being a working mom.

I thought I had figured out how to let it go with my second pregnancy. I had come to the realization that we are not the always clean house put together family. Accepted that my child will probably eat more fast-food, watch more TV than maybe on my ideal wish list.

What I was not prepared for was not taking my child home and the guilt that followed. This guilt is a different monster. It is filled with questions like “If Only…”

“You failed to keep your baby alive”

“I had one job.”

“Why did I survive?”

“You failed your child.”

There’s enough guilt that we put on ourselves that we have to work though. If I can give any advise to those supporting those in grief. It’s lay off any guilt trips. Believe me we have enough of one going on within ourselves.

I need to hear from my husband and other moms that “You did not fail! Not even a little!”

I know that I cannot always be an attentive mom to both my child in heaven and the one here on Earth at the same time. There is always one that is being neglected. It’s a balancing act that has no permanent solution.

The best that I can do is to let go of those questions. I am the best mother that I can be at this time.

I have to let go of thinking my thoughts were so powerful that they wished for any of this. I have made the right decisions for my family.

The only question left is “Am I choosing to forgive myself today and let go?”

 

 

 

 

Would You Like To Tell Me About Your Family

Instead of asking ‘How many kids do you have?’ Consider what will you say if they don’t have any, or what if they came here to not talk about kids. Ask them instead ‘would you like to tell me about your family?’

I used to get so much enjoyment from a day of pampering. A day for me to Just relax and enjoy. Most recently I have found myself having an almost breakdown before having to psyche myself up before entering the salon.

The reason is simple. I know I am putting myself in a situation where I will be asked THE QUESTION.

‘So do you have kids?’

I can’t explain with enough accuracy the gut wrench that is this question. Do I say 1 on Earth and not mention my 1 in heaven?

Do I rock their world and say a 1 day old who died and a 3 year old who loves to talk about him, even at sometimes uncomfortable times.

My most recent time I said a 3 year old and baby hoping to leave it at that. Of course it was eventually asked about him and had to tell about his passing. Which mostly leaves the unassuming person totally shocked and feeling guilty.

For the record I never feel guilty for talking about Logan. He is a part of our family who we talk about every day. What makes me mad is how strangers will never ask me what his name was and how the conversation basically ends there.

Through my journey into motherhood I have met so many other types of mothers who all have their own thoughts on this question.

The mom who has no living child, but fought so hard to try to become one through every attempt surgery and miscarriage. The one who went through everything for her baby girl to have an unfair ruling and custody lost. The mom’s who aren’t sure if they should just say look at the alive child and feel guilt ridden for neglecting the loss.

I beg for all of us with complicated answers to this awful question, please ask us:

‘Would you like to tell me about your family?’

Please allow us to tell you on our terms.

Neverland-That Place Between Awake and Asleep

It was a place between asleep and awake that reminds me of Peter Pan. A place where he’s waiting and will be with me.

Since this I can go to sleep with the hope that someone else will visit me and tell me about whose caring for Logan and hear that he’s ok.

This post has been on my mind to write for a while. This actually happened last October and I had felt hesitant about sharing it publicly because it was so moving for me. After sharing it with a friend pushed me to try to share this because there’s some other adult children who were lost and their parents might like to hear about it too.

To also preface this story after we lost Logan I was having an incredibly hard time going to sleep and would wake up about 2-3 times a night and be unable to fall back asleep and watched hours of Netflix’s trying to take my mind off why I couldn’t sleep. In October we went on a visit to see my mom and step-dad in Arkansas. I’m sure Logan saw his Mama suffering and thought he needed to try to do something. So here goes my Neverland dream:

The dream started with me and Kevin in a really long weaving line. I think we were waiting in line to go into some building. The line made a switchback and suddenly I was standing in line next to Justin. (Justin was a friend of a friend I had known back in college. Justin was one of the most genuine and kind people I have had the pleasure of knowing. In February 2012 he and a friend were on a trip to Houston. They were driving back to their hotel and a drunk driver going the wrong way on the interstate hit their car head on. Justin and his friend Shelia were killed in the accident.)

I saw Justin and he was standing next to Shelia, whom I had never met in my life on Earth. I gave Justin a big hug. In my dream I knew it was weird that he was there because he had passed. I gave him a hug and wanted to talk to him and he was gone. Then Shelia gave me a hug. While embraced with her she picked up my necklace with Logan’s picture on it. She asked me what this was for. I told her this was Logan, but he’s passed away. She said ‘I know and he wants you to know that he’s ok. He’s just not strong enough to come back yet.’ 

Then suddenly she drifted away and I was embraced in a hug with Allie and Kevin. I woke up in a slow floating feeling. I can remember fighting to not wake up that I wanted to go back to the dream and ask Shelia so many more questions.

It was a place between asleep and awake that reminds me of Peter Pan. A place where he’s waiting and will be with me. 

I’m sure that Justin was there so that I would recognize Shelia. I know his pain is over. I know that there are so many more people caring for Logan than I can even think of. I know even though I want to ask for babysitting references for him, he’s got the best references of all.

Since this time sleep has become so much easier for me. I can go to sleep with hopes of another Logan dream. With the hope that someone else will visit and tell me about what he’s doing and that he still thinks of those who love him on Earth.

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