Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

31 weeks + 5 days, 15 weeks post rupture, day 14 in the hospital (again).

Awww, I feel so loved. Thanks everyone for commenting on my last post. Keep em' coming. I'd love to hear from all 124 followers!

I'm glad that Acorn and Aidan have made such an impact on so many. Aidan only lived 54 minutes and yet so many of you have connected with him and with us in a way that I could never have imagined last year on April 21st when he was born.

Your 'cyberspace' connection with Aidan reminds me sometimes of the feelings and thought I had towards some of the families I cared for in the NICU. Our staff would look after a baby sometimes for months, so you'd get to know the family. You would get to know their hopes and dreams for their baby, know how hard and stressful things were, how hopeful they were for a good outcome. Then, sometimes, the baby would die. And the family would leave, empty handed.

Good bye. The End.

Only it's not, of course.

While I don't think I truly understood the 'grief' part of their journey until I experienced it myself (I don't think you really can), I would often wonder about those families. Because what happens 'after' is still part of their child's story. How was the family doing? What memories did they have of their child? What were their sadnesses and regrets about their time with their baby? How often did they think of their baby? What is life like 3 months, 6 months or a year or more after one loses a child? Which families recovered 'well', and which ones 'didn't'? Would they be happy to know that I remembered their child? If those families had blogs, I would have loved to read them...and it might have given me better insight as to 'what the hell happens after the baby goes to the morgue?' I feel a bit like you guys out there have got to experience Aidan's 'after' story in a way I felt I never did with those NICU families I cared for...but would have really liked to.

Your cyber relationship with Acorn has me a bit more concerned...not because I don't LOVE and appreciate the fact that so many are rooting for him or her...but I'm so afraid to disappoint you. I know I'll get lots of commenters saying 'don't worry about us'...but I do. Some of you have had major losses of your own, and while I realize you're not as 'invested' in Acorn as you would be your own child, sometimes hearing about any further bad stuff happening to babies and families is just one awful thing too many. So I really hope our little Acorn does well and lives. Mostly for his or her sake, and ours...but for yours too.

Which brings me to my next point. Some of you reading haven't had a loss of your own, but may have experienced one through a family member or friend...or not. Whatever brought you here,
kudos to you for delving into dead baby land, a world that is by definition, scary, sad and uncertain. No lollipops and sunshine over here folks. I remember last summer, when a teenage girl wrote a post on her own blog blasting people who had 'dead baby blogs' as she found them 'morbid and depressing'. People's responses to her were along the lines of 'well, pray it never happens to you!' or blasting her right back for being 'insensitive and rude'. I wrote a response to that here in case you haven't read it.

Anyway, my point is, that it takes courage and strength of character to really just 'be' with someone who is in crisis or who is talking or writing about their "deepest darkest". I have realized this time and time again over the past year. The people in my life who I relate to most, who I appreciate most, are the people who just 'listen', without having to paste a smile or an 'up side' to a terrible situation. Because sometimes there just isn't. And willing it, ignoring it, or faking it, won't make it so.

My mom and I were talking about this today. I haven't spoken to many extended family members since this all went down, but my mom is the great communicator and people in the family come to her (by phone, in person or by e-mail) to get updates about me. I get it, of course. She is out in the world and one of the main questions people want to know is "how's Emily?" My mom, having lived with me, realizes the moment to moment worry and stress this situation brings. There isn't a time when we have been able to 'let our guard down' for 15 weeks, and we are still slogging away. While we are hopeful that Acorn will be okay, and I will have a quick recovery after the C-section, there are no guarantees. Life is tricky that way.

My mother today was upset that some family and friends have insisted on ending conversations that surround me and Acorn as the topic with "well, you just have to think positively!".


It's like they didn't hear a word she said.

That's not being 'with' someone. It's also not a very 'supportive' comment. That is slapping your own shiny label on another's grief and fear and loss and stress and saying "I don't really want to deal with you right now". Which in some respects I get. Just as I could say today "I'm going to think positively about those nuclear reactors in Japan...all that stuff turned out just fine right? No news is good news, right? Those Japanese people just have to think will all work out in the end!" But that is my 'other side of the world' prerogative. I don't have to deal with that fallout (literally) on a daily basis. My house isn't 5 km down the road from the power why wouldn't I put it in my mental shredder?

My mom still gets angry at these people for not 'hearing' her, which I understand because some of them are close to her. I, on the other hand, basically have learned to put them in my mental 'outbox'. They don't get it. They can't get it. They aren't here on a daily basis. It's not their kid, and it's not their problem. We have specifically chosen NOT to make it their problem, by keeping relatively quiet and to ourselves these past few months. So, while I'm sure they care and are hoping for a good outcome...they can afford to 'think positively' because they won't be affected on a daily basis by the outcome, whichever way it goes.

So instead of looking for support in places I'm not sure I will get it, I come here. And I write. And you read...but only if you want to. And you take away from it what you will, and you leave supportive comments if you feel like it (which I do appreciate). But I don't sugar coat here and you don't expect me to. Plus I've always found it easier to express myself through writing...and I don't have to end on a high note like I might feel I have to in a conversation.

It's hard to understand babylostness and baby "I'm afraid I'm going to lose-ness" if you've never experienced it yourself. They are not nice experiences and ones people normally shy away from. Both are hard, scary, sad, and depressing. And hard for others to understand because they are (fairly) rare, and are centered around tiny people who aren't 'real' to a lot of outsiders.

So I guess what I want to say is thank you, no matter why you are reading. Those of you who 'get it' because you've experienced it are great and I'm really glad to have your support. Those of you who haven't are special too because you try to 'get it', and I'm glad all of you are taking away something from my life story. Because when you think about Aidan, or root for Acorn you are helping to make my babies 'real'. You are helping to make them matter.

And that means the world to me.


  1. both aidan and acorn are very real to me, and most definitely matter. hugs to you.

  2. This post, this is why I check in several times a day. Because I am a young woman, about to be married and hoping to start my own journey of motherhood in the next few months...and well aware that being a mother means needing tremendous courage and inner strength. I read you, not just because I am hoping desperately for Acorn to be brought into this world safe and sound, but because you have a way of expressing yourself so eloquently and are I hope to learn from your courage.

  3. Thank you for letting me be here, and to share in your family's journey. Your strength is so inspiring to me, and Aidan and Acorn are lucky to call you their Mommy. I hope they always know how much you fought for them, no matter how hard it got. Without a doubt, you are doing them proud.

  4. I was drawn to your blog by the name. I have one son named Aiden. I then learned your story and wish so hard there was something I could do for you (but, I live pretty far away from you!). I am constatantly looking for updates from you and waiting for good news. Do know, if good news does not come we will not (speaking for us readers) will not turn our back on you. This blog family is here to celebrate or try and catch you when you fall. Thank you for being so open and allowing me into your life.

  5. Emily, I have been following your blog for about 3 months now (found it through Laura Jane's blog). I have been hesitant to comment because things have been going so good and I am a bit of a superstitious person. I had a full term loss in Dec.(cord accident, so I understand your fear of cord compression) and also found some peace and healing in my blog...dead baby and all. I am also 9 weeks pregnant with my rainbow and just found out I have a pretty significant SCH and am scared to death I may lose this baby as well. Positivity is so hard when you learn the brutal truth of what pregnancy can or cannot bring. It has been very uplifting to see youf progress through this struggle and can't wait for the picture of your sweet Acorn 14 short (long) days from now. Stay strong Momma, you have come so far!!!!

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  7. Emily, I have been following your blog for some time now...thank you so much for sharing Aidan and Acorn with the world and letting so many of us follow your journey. I don't leave comments often, but I check in daily to root you and Acorn on, desperately hoping and wanting him or her to be delivered into this world safe and sound. Last August I lost my son Aaron at 3 days old after open heart surgery. I completely understand your loss and grief, and can only imagine what you are going through with Acorn. As you've stepped into the world of pregnancy after loss, the strength and courage you show amaze and encourage me. Thank you for sharing your life...continuing to read and cheer you on daily.

  8. So much to say, this was such a great post. I too felt I would let my readers down if I lost Angus. It was a hard load to carry.
    Just want to say again, great post, and sending you love.

  9. I am one of those who has not suffered a loss, have 3 healthy kids and I consider myself very, very lucky. Like you said, life is tricky and I'm just the kind of person who is very aware that it can all turn on a dime and so I truly try to appreciate every little moment. I'm drawn to people who call it like they see it and don't hold back and I find that is what keeps me coming back to check up on you and Acorn. You don't sugar coat and in your writings I feel your realness and it's harsh and raw and at the same time beautiful because you describe the fragility of life. Thanks for being real and allowing me to really get to know you. All the best to you, your hubby, Acorn and Aidan.

  10. It's funny because when I started reading here it was in the beginning of Acorn's pregnancy.. just before the storm hit. I remember 'looking' at you and wondering how you were going to fare if you lost another child. In the beginning of my own journey towards 'pregnancy after' I looked to you for light and a 'positive' outcome. When you ruptured I remember wondering how this whole story would end.. and now as the months have passed I realize more now than ever that the story never truly ends. Do I have a whole lot more hope for a positive outcome for you and Acorn? Of course. Do I realize that something could go wrong tomorrow, or next week, or next year or in the years to follow? Absolutely. We as bereaved mothers have a very altered timeline, and therefore an altered view of life in general. There is never really going to be 'end'. There is life before and life after, but every day we spend without our children is quite simply life in between.

    Thank you for continuing to share this part of your journey.. and that of your children as well.

  11. This is a fantastic post.

    My mom is one of those eternally positive people. I will go through a long story/rant/explanation of whatever shitty thing is happening to me. Then she will come out with something like, "it will all work out, anyway..." and changes the subject. Or, every time she sees me she makes a comment about how great I'm doing with my recovery from the accident. She never, ever wants to acknowledge the permanence of it, and how that has forever changed my life. It's so damn dismissive of my feelings. Then I can't continue the discussion without feeling like I'm just being negative or petty.

    Sometimes she tells me a story about someone else's sad turn of events and says, "doesn't that make you realize how lucky we are that nothing has gone wrong in our lives for awhile?" She said those exact words to me after I lost my first pregnancy at 11 weeks. Maybe a month or two after. No, I don't feel good. My goddamn baby died, did you forget that? Ugh. She made a similar comment after my dad (her ex husband) died, just 5 weeks before my wedding.

    Because she's my mom and has an extra level of influence over me, it sometimes makes me feel like I'm making too much of things. Then I talk to the people close to me that are normal. Lol.

    Sorry to unload that in your comments! I'm glad your mom is the one fielding those comments for you and not the one saying them.

    It's Thursday. Did you have a scan today? I was also curious if they have given you Acorn's estimated weight lately?

    I will restrain myself from ending this with a positive comment. ;)

  12. I read back over what I wrote and realized I referred to my miscarriage as my baby dying. I didn't mean to imply that my loss was the same as yours or anyone else reading this. I am very aware that a first trimester loss is not at all the same as losing a child youve given birth to. Those were just the words that went through my head at the time when my Mom made that comment. I hope I didn't make you or any if your readers cringe. My sincere apologies if I did.

  13. So I hesitated to comment on the last post, but I will now, because I want you to know a specific way you are helping others by writing this blog.

    I come from a similar situation, I am a PICU nurse and have been present at the passing of many children, some babies, some school-aged, some adolescent. After a child dies, whether they have spent months on our unit or hours, I always wonder what the family goes through afterward. I feel like as nurses, we are cut off from the grief process. We say goodbye to our patients and then the are gone and we are supposed to pick up and move on, admit somebody new and pretend like it hasn't affected us.

    I found the babyloss community through another mom's blog. We were pregnant and due around the same time, and when she lost her daughter I was devastated (even though I didn't know her at all) and terrified that the same thing could happen to me. It didn't, I have a young daughter who is healthy (now) but my job has taught me that there are no guarantees. Life is so variable!

    I guess the meaning of this comment is that I just wanted you to know you are helping so many people with your words, and your story. Even people who have never lost a child. At least not one of their own.

  14. A friend of mine said to me one day that she'd rather not visit Sky's grave, because it's a 'sad and depressing' place. I wanted to jump in her face and scream: No really? Do you have any idea how depressing it was to bury my son there? If you find it hard, think twice about how tough it must be for me.

    Can't blame her though. Sometimes the dead baby fear must be overwhelming for other people... and they are to be envied for not seeing the dark side of parenting.

    Thanks for writing here... all the best to you and Acorn!

  15. Hi Emily,
    How could I not follow you? Your loss was terrible and I have so much hope for you now. I had a loss, too. And now I have a baby. I just hope your story has the same happy ending mine did.

  16. Emily -

    I have always been a little weird about death, I am always intrigued by other peoples reactions to it. Of course when my baby died, I got the old tried and true, perhaps Danielle it was for the best. Oh really? So it is for the best that I spent the last 6 years of life thinking about what I lost? Really? And yes of course I am grateful for the baby I successfully carried to term, but what about the one that didn't make it? Should I forget about him or her? I don't know whether I had a boy or girl, I lost the baby at 16 weeks but the baby wasn't developed properly.

    I really hate to say this....I mean I really do, because I do not wish baby loss on anyone. But it is nice to know that someone else "gets it" I am not alone out there floating around. Wondering if I am normal.

    Big hugs to you and Brian!!

  17. I read the post you created the link for. I thought it was such a great post in response to how you felt about the girl's comment on babyloss blogs. It brought me to tears when you described your shift to your friends about the dead baby and having to put him in a body bag and bring him to the morgue. I can't imagine what it must have been like to do that as part of your job and to see the families sadness and then you had to experience it first hand when you lost Aidan.
    Thinking of you, Aidan, and Acorn always...

  18. That was such an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your heart. I have those people in my 'mental outbox' now too. And while it's sad, it's what I have to do to survive. And in the end when I think about how much richer my life will be in many ways because of experiences such immense loss I think they are the ones that are missing out on life's experience. I am so glad you and I have this space and people that can get it.

    I am praying for you today as it sounds Acorn is making their arrival today. Hugs to you.