Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Right Where I Am: Two Years, One Month, One Week, One Day Later

Where am I?  

I'm still here.  

Further along the path, but still travelling.  

I guess I thought somehow I would have arrived by now. To where? I'm not sure. But still, there is no end in sight. Perhaps that's the point. When your baby dies, you're never done, never finished. Never done grieving. Never done remembering. Never finished wishing for the things that might have, almost, could have, would have, should have been.  

Things change over time, of course.  They always do.  

Except the fact that he's dead.  That never changes.


I'm in a much better place this year than when I wrote my post for Angie's project last year.  Having Kaia is a big part of that. Kissing a chubby baby tummy, holding a soft dimpled hand, feeding a tiny greedy mouth and waking up to a light-up-my-life smile is beyond wonderful. Kaia is all that and more, wrapped up in daughter-y goodness. 

But it's not just her presence that has pulled me out of the darkness.

A year ago, I feared she would die. I was afraid that I would have to burn another child. 

A year ago, I feared she would live, but with crippling health problems. It would be a miracle...but with so many strings attached.

That she is who she is, and does what she does, seems like so much more than I could have ever asked for. That she defied the odds and lives to tell the tale is the greatest gift I have ever received.  On days that are hard, where I'm tired or she's out of sorts, or life isn't as simple as it could be, all it takes is a reminder, and I'm grateful again. I know it could always be worse. Much worse.

The fact that she is miraculously alive, against all the odds, continues to astound and amaze me. That this time I got what I wanted, that she wasn't taken away, has healed a part of me that was so damaged when Aidan died. Having her alive and well has restored my faith in life's goodness.

So maybe it's no wonder that sometimes I feel I no longer deserve to be sad over Aidan's death.  He died, true...  But she lived! 

You got what you wanted. How much more can you ask for? You know that life isn't fair. Can't always get what you want. Be grateful. 

And I am.

But...(a small voice says). 

Other people have no dead children. 

No pregnancies that cripple them and place them on life's sidelines for months. 

No post-traumatic stress triggers (NICU, sick, possibly dying babies, sad, sad parents) that await them upon return to work after maternity leave. 

No reason to think that a next pregnancy would be anything but joyful anticipation.  

No reason not to have another, very much wanted (alive), sibling for their child.

I am so lucky...and not, all at the same time.


It's still all so complicated.  So awash in love and fear and longing.  

But now? That is utterly normal. 

Just life.  

It is what it is.

And I'm still here.


  1. This is so beautiful. I get this deep within me. The buts...thank you for sharing right where you are. Love to you.

  2. "Other people have no dead children".
    This gets me all the time. I am happy, but....
    Loved your post.

  3. You write so beautifully about the tangle of joy and loss and love and fear and gratitude and all of those buts.

    Thinking of you and your children and sending love.

  4. Emily, I always love reading your words and you always manage to write what I feel but can't seem to get out of head. Perhaps because we have, to my mind, similar experiences. One baby who died. One baby who, unexpectedly and surprisingly, lived.

    That fear of death and of crippling health problems circling and that burden of an accusatory voice that says that I have no right to be sad. Be grateful. Be grateful.

    But . . . but . . . I also have a small voice too. That other people have twins and it doesn't end in death and illness. Other people didn't have to sit in the NICU for months. Other people just have anticipation ending in happiness. And yes, that agonising over the next. I'm there again. Trying to weigh up the risks and not reaching any conclusion.

    But lucky. And unlucky. I'm thinking of having that tattooed on me somewhere.

    Complicated and normal. And we are still here.

    Thank you Emily, celebrating Kaia and remembering Aidan xo

  5. My son is called Aidan, too. (I hope it's ok for me to tell you that..) He died when he was two days old.

    I've been freaking out, wondering what will happen when I see another baby with his name (because it seems to belong to him, you know?). But here is your Aidan, and photos down the side of your blog of things with his name on. And it's SPELT RIGHT!! (I am so sick and tired of people using an 'e'. Aidan, not Aiden. It's Aidan with an 'a' for a reason, and he's dead - can't you make an effort to get it right?)

    My little boy's name, belonging to another little boy. I honestly thought that I would drop dead on the spot when that happened. And guess what - I'm okay. I've cried, and it stung to see his name there, in broad daylight, not connected to him in any way. I've wished that all those photos you have with your son's name on, were photos of things for my son. But, I'm okay. Don't get me wrong, if I saw all these things in the photographs in real life, I might lose my head. If I hear a Mother shouting for her child and using my son's name, I might actually drop dead on the spot. But right now, seeing photos, I'm okay. Baby steps...

    I've been wondering when I will 'arrive' (who knows where I've been assuming I'll arrive), and what you said struck me so much.
    "When your baby dies, you're never done, never finished. Never done grieving. Never done remembering. Never finished wishing for the things that might have, almost, could have, would have, should have been."
    - Reading these 'Right Where I Am' posts is teaching me something. That, it's never, ever done. Thank you for putting that lesson so beautifully.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Aidan is beautiful (yours, and mine). I'll be back here, to read what you write, and quite probably just hover around and stare at the pictures of things with your son's name on. And to try and believe that Aidan is everywhere, in everything - your Aidan, and mine.

  6. Argh - something else.. "Baby of Mine".. I sang that song to Aidan when I was carrying him, I sang it to him after he died, and it played at his funeral. Is it a special song for you too?

  7. Thanks for sharing. This post really speaks to me. Exactly like you said, I'm grateful, but...I am lucky, and unlucky. So true.

  8. That's life and it is how it is. It still astounds me that through all the rage and shock, we learn to assimilate this.

    Quite so.

    Thank you for writing.

  9. I remember your post so vividly from last year, especially as our losses were so close together. Poor little Aidan.

    What you say at the end there, I think that is it for me too. The complicated nature of life has become, well, normal. And that says something.

    Peace and love to you. And congrats on Kaia!

  10. I'm so sorry to read about your Aidan William. Thank you for sharing the picture of him - he is so sweet. Kaia is also extremely cute! I am so happy for you that you've had another baby, and a chubby and sweet one at that!

    sending love

  11. Emily, you are definitely an inspiration to me as I embark on this pregnancy after pprom journey. I was really struck by what you said about how lucky you are that Kaia is alive and thriving after the unimaginable happened and pprom struck twice but at the same time, most women have all their children alive. Our ideas of "lucky" and "unlucky" can be so complicated. Thinking of you and Aidan.

  12. "Other people have no dead children" - I think about this often. Sometimes I wonder what it is like to walk the world and not carry this burden.
    Thank you for sharing where you are now. So sorry for your loss of your son Aidan.

  13. I feel very similar feelings to this. Beautifully put.

  14. Beautiful post. I feel similar sometimes like I shouldn't be sad because I have my rainbow baby...but like you said many people don't have dead babies so I reserve the right, with not apologies, to grieve my three angels. Much love to you... I am so sorry Aidan is not with you on earth. I pray your journey continues to be filled with smiled for your daughter and memories of Aidan that bring peace. Thank you for sharing <3

  15. So well said Emily. We appreciate all that we have and yet we will always long for all that is missing from our arms. Other people... for so many it is so different. That is why I am so grateful for this community.
    Sending love and hugs always... and PS- I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments on understanding the NICU on my blog. THANK YOU!

  16. "But...(a small voice says).

    Other people have no dead children."

    Oh yes. Nearly four years ... that little voice still lives in my head too. I think it always will.

    And your last paragraph is beautifully put. Thank you.

  17. Emily, I'm so sorry your sweet Aidan is not in your arms, but so glad you have Kaia to bring you hope and healing. You're right, it's lucky and unlucky, happy and sad all at once. Complicated, but normal... Just life...

  18. I am only 3 months down the path to who knows where, from losing my daughter at 23.5 weeks gestation after being put on hospital bedrest, and still this post resonates with me so deeply.

    Your blog - Aidan's story, Kaia's story - is inspirational to me as I confront taking on another pregnancy, one which is nearly guaranteed to involve months of bedrest and an uncertain outcome. Thank you for putting this all out there.