Friday, October 28, 2011

Walk the Line

I've jumped on my blog probably a dozen times in the past week to write a post, but things always seem to get in the way. Either Kaia needs feeding or changing or just wants to be held, or I need to pump, or wash bottles, or do chores, or eat or sleep.

Those are all excuses however. What is really keeping me from writing is the sense of not being sure where I fit in. I no longer need this as an outlet to write about the disasters in my life, because really, comparatively, I don't have any. While Kaia's upcoming surgery and casting will (I'm sure) occupy a few (or more) blog posts, there isn't the sense of 'dire-ness' that has plagued me for the last two years. My complaints would be of a much more mundane nature, which I'm afraid come off sounding whiny and ungrateful.

I think this is the hardest thing about being both a dead baby/living baby mommy that I have experienced. I don't feel guilty about Kaia's pPROM issues and I don't feel badly about her prematurity. Those were things I could not control and we have and continue to deal with them as best we can. What I do feel badly about is sometimes, when Kaia wakes me up for the 3rd time in one night, or when she won't fall asleep until well after midnight, or I'm pumping for the 7th time in a day, or I'm washing my 2nd or 3rd round of bottles...I sometimes forget how lucky I am. Sometimes I am decidedly crabby. And that makes me feel guilty.

I suppose I naively thought, since I usually had not one but two sick needy newborns under my care in the NICU, I would have this baby stuff down cold. Change diapers? No problem. Bottle feed? Cake. Wipe up spit up? Sure, bring it on. But it's different when you don't get to clock out at the end of a twelve hour shift, and there are no days off. I also thought that my dead child, and my disastrous pregnancies would somehow make me more tolerant and appreciative. I would be like Glinda the good witch, calm and serene in my fluffy white dress and crown, able to float above it all in my happy soap bubble. I would laugh (or titter behind my white gloved hand) in the face of little sleep, a messy house, and a fussy baby. It's harder than it looks though. Sometimes I feel more like the Wicked Witch of the West. Green, and warty and crabby as hell. In the long term I guess I probably am more appreciative and will look back in fondness. But, sometimes in the moment, I am a little ashamed to admit that I lose sight of how good I've got it.

I suppose I have been afraid to admit on here how challenging I find it sometimes, because over the last year and a half I have read so many BLMs post about how they hate hearing mothers complain. And I want to be sensitive to that. I don't want to sound ungrateful or unappreciative. I recognize that my life IS better than after Aidan died, for sure, definitely, but I also can't pretend I don't also have a better understanding of what those other mothers were complaining about.

On the other hand, I also feel like anything I post about Kaia and how damn cute and adorable and wonderful she is, is a slap in the face to those who are still waiting and hoping that their 'rainbow' will make his or her grand entrance one day. That waiting game is HARD. I know, I've been there and it sucked to see everyone else hop on that 'isn't-my-kid-just-the-cutest-thing-in the-whole-word" train while I felt like I fell off (clutching my sad little dead baby urn) somewhere along the way.

So where do I fit in? Kaia is adorable and wonderful and has made our lives so much happier and fulfilling and easier...while also making us incredibly tired, sometimes frustrated, occasionally crabbier and has complicated and made our lives harder as well.

I feel as though I am walking along the top of a hill. On one side are the dead baby parents who are feeling intense grief, or who haven't had the chance to parent a live child which they desperately want. They may feel lost, angry, sad, left out. I can relate to them because I can remember so clearly being there too. On the other side of the hill are the parents who have never had a dead child and who can't really appreciate the feelings of grief and loss that come along with that experience. These parents may have their own challenges and struggles with their living children, while also experiencing the joy and love that children bring. Both sides have a hard time seeing each other. They haven't walked in each others shoes. I'm walking along the top of the hill. While I want to comfort and be sensitive to my fellow BLMs, I can't help but have all the same happiness and concerns that those of a live baby do too.

This was brought into clear focus the other day when I sent out an e-mail to my extended family members regarding our kid's Christmas gift exchange. I have a big family on my mother's side. For DECADES we have gotten together with my cousins and second cousins and even a few third cousins at Christmas time, and the parents of children under the age of 21 have done a gift exchange. Every child's name goes into a hat, and you draw out as many names as children you have. Every kid gets a present. No one gets left out. I looked forward to this tradition as a child because (duh) I got a present to open! And who doesn't love that?! This year I might be looking forward to BUYING a present just as much, because it means I HAVE A KID! Anyway, we drew names last weekend at a family gathering and I was put in charge of e-mailing those who weren't at the gathering the name(s) we had drawn for them.

Yesterday I got an e-mail back from one of my (funnier) cousins stating that he was going to give away his KIDS as the present. ie: "Suzy will get Joan, John will get Alan, Tim will get Tom and Sarah will get baby Mike, but we'll put him in a dress to make him more 'girly' for her. Haha! Can't wait until Christmas!" (names have been changed, obviously). I first reacted as a dead baby mom": How can you joke about giving your kids away? Don't you know there are people out there who would go to the ends of the EARTH to have just one living child??!! Jeez, try to be more sensitive!!!

Then I found myself joining in on the joke. I might have even smiled. Because the man has 4 kids...and good God that would be tiring. You would want to give them away sometimes. Plus Sarah clutching little Mikey in a dress would be cute as hell.

I guess to sum up, I feel like I'm walking a fine line on my blog these days.

Sorry if I step on any toes.

Are my posts harder for you to read these days? Do you ever feel like you censor yourself on your own blog, fearing to offend? Does anyone else feel like they are walking the line between the living and the dead? How does it make you feel?


  1. No, I never censor on my own blog. I'm not forcing anyone to be there and if they don't like what I post they can always leave. My blog is my outlet for pain, hurt, anger, frustrations, fears, bad luck, etc. It's real and I have no need to censor myself in that area.If it offends someone, too bad. I figure my site, my right.

  2. I've decided to post what I want and hope I don't offend anyone. One day I write about Charlotte, the next Bennett, it's all a toss up because that's my life right now.

    I relate to this post. I really, really relate to this post. I too imagined being serene and calm, not frustrated, grumpy, tired, overwhelmed.

    Love to you and Kaia.

  3. Oh Emily. You know what? I love seeing photos of Kaia and how lovely she is.

    I think, still being "on this side, albeit pregnant and hopeful" I don't feel jealous or frustrated with BLMs who have been here, but are onto their rainbows. Yeh, I mean, I guess if you came online and wrote about how you would give anything for some peace and quiet I might roll my eyes... Because we BLMs might think to ourselves, "yeh, but anything? Why are you jinxing what you have?", But hearing about things you find challenging about your baby? I think that's how all parents think. That's normal.

    At the end of the day, it's nice to have a happy ending to aspire towards. Just recently I referred a BLM who is currently experiencing PROM and hoping for her waters to re-seal, over to your page, to give her a little hope that sometimes you can be hopeful.

    That's all I've got for today.

    Ps. As one of four children, my parents constantly tired to pawn us off on whoever told her we were cute.. "Do you want one?". ha.

  4. I totally get what you mean. I have 2 older living children and then I have baby that I lost when I was 15 weeks pregnant. So, I am on both sides of the hill as well. I know how fun but sometimes challenging it can be to raise children....but I also know the heartache that comes with losing a baby. Before I lost Ian, I loved to see a pregnant woman...and now I find myself cringing when I see one, and I always complained when I was pregnant, but now when I hear someone whine I feel like yelling "suck it up! At least your baby is still alive" yeah I get where you are coming from. As far as censoring my ways I do. Not when it comes to talking about how I feel about losing Ian (sometimes I don't even edit that for grammar) but I try not to talk about my living children too often...since the blog was created for Ian. I thought about creating a "sister blog" to talk more freely about their crazy antics...(sorry it was so long LOL)

  5. I have found your blog to be a wonderful feel good story. For me personally I think it is nice to know that you are now able to live in the present and enjoy what is going on around you. I lost my 4th child and currently pregnant with my rainbow and even though I still have the craziness of kids running around I am still stuck missing Logan desperately. It is reassuring that things do get better.

    Don't feel guilty about expressing your frustrations of motherhood. It is hands down the most tiring, stressful and exhausting job out there, but at the same time the most rewarding. This is your life now and you should be able to share it grief, happiness, and all!!

  6. I know how you feel about not wanting to sound like you're complaining even when things are really hard. We're supposed to enjoy every second with our living children right? We've lost a baby and had our rainbow and now everything is sunshine and butterflies! That's not possible. Children are a gift and they are fun and beautiful and worth every stress. But they're work too. Especially babies. I was up with Caleb four times last night to feed him. I'm tired. You have every right to express your feelings in your space. It doesn't mean you don't feel gratitude or love for Kaia, it just means your a mom who is having a rough day or rough hour and needs support.

  7. Absolutely! You took the words right out of my mouth, I completely relate!!! Thank you for sharing honestly! I have also felt guilty for having so little time to blog & keep up with others.

  8. I know exactly what you mean in this post. I never imagined how difficult it would be to have a baby with severe colic - and it still is traumatic to think back to those first few months. Aside from the colic, there is the normal baby stuff - that is completely exhausting too.

    So, yeah, I kinda left my blog in the dust. Mostly because I never really had the time. And I was also aware of how ungrateful it must seem to be complaining when I had a live baby - and so many others do not.

    By the way, exclusively pumping is EXTREMELY hard. Kudos to you!

    So, as far as I am concerned, don't worry about censoring yourself on your blog. I get it! We've all had different experiences - but I completely understand the "life with a newborn" grind.

  9. I love your blog and your new posts certainly aren't hard for me, but then I'm a few years ahead of you on this road, so I don't find the rainbow/happy endings hard as I once did. I've now done this whole live baby thing twice, which is amazing to me.
    I think because of that, people stay away from my blog. I don't know. I know that I am one of only a few who at three years out, still reads and comments so much. I see so many new bloggers, so new to loss, and I can't help but notice they don't visit my blog. That's ok. I get it. I sometimes had to avoid certain blogs three years ago when I joined this awful club.
    I don't know if you read my blog, but my last two posts touch on exactly this subject - not knowing where I fit in anymore and my struggle with gratitude on some days, when it is all so tiring and relentless with the living kids. That said though, that IS the easy part of my motherhood. Missing and living without Hope will always, always be the hardest part. I'm sure you can relate to that.
    Love to you, Emily. This post really hit home with me.