This morning Eli asked, “You thought baby Sidney was going to come but then he didn’t get to come?” “Yes, my love,” I said, pain wrenching in my gut.
The only way I can be at all functional, and we are talking minimal levels as it is, is if I focus on the moment. I can’t think of tomorrow without experiencing horrendous waves of anxiety and pain. This is a very different mindset than I am used to. I can’t plan, I can’t imagine, I can’t daydream. The thought of anything, not just the exams I need to grade today and tomorrow, but even something as basic as looking up something on the internet, overwhelms me. And thinking about our family and the future is even worse. so many unknowns, so many dreams torn away. This makes me worried about the type of mother I will be for Eli. I am trying to be present for him, moment to moment, but it is painful. I smile and laugh-and it seems false.
I left the house this weekend, for something other than a therapy appointment or a walk, for the first time since Sidney’s death. On Saturday, we drove out to Cunningham Falls State Park, and did a short walk in the rain to a waterfall. For the first time in my life, I carved a name in the wood by the fall. It was not deep and I know it won’t stay, but I wrote Sidney’s name and birth/death date and listened to the water dropping in the creek below. Then on Sunday, we went to a birthday party for one of our neighbors. It was at Chuck E. Cheese. Loud, flashing lights, a lot of parents and babies. I didn’t cry. I felt numb. Too much noise, too much stimulation, but I didn’t leave or ask to leave because where would I go? There is no where to escape to, no where where this is better or different. I have been crying a lot less. Numb? What is the point in crying? It won’t change anything. But my lack of crying also scares me. It’s just a horrendous gnawing in my gut and chest.
The amount of time I have makes me angry, and is another knife in my chest. I should not have time to write blog posts, to read novels, to sleep. I should be nursing, and up around the clock, and busy. We thought about watching a movie last night, and I got upset. I don’t want to be able to do any of these things. I should be busy with an infant. Why am I not? I want to scream and get angry but at whom? If only I truly had faith in some higher order, that there was a bigger picture for things. But I don’t. Not just because of this, but in general, I have never really believed in God in that way. At that same time, a small part of me wonders if this happened because I didn’t appreciate what I had, and was always stressed out, and not making time for the right things, and that this happened to change my perspective on the world. But I mostly think that is bullshit, and that is not how things work. If there were a god who intervened, why would he kill an innocent baby, just to teach me a lesson?
I keep thinking of Sidney’s picture, his face, wondering what type of child and person he would have been, and feeling intense sadness that we will never know. I think he would have been mischievous and kind, and I long to have him as a present part of our family. But he is not here. I still don’t understand how this could be real. And if I think about expanding our family, I get hit by another wave of intense pain and anxiety and retreat to the safety of trying to take things minute by minute. Adjusting to this new life, the realization that everything has shifted forever, is too much.
Oh, and I thought it wouldn’t happen, but it did. And at meditation for grief, set up by a hospice organization, of all things. I went, so out of place, me, three older women, and the two facilitators. And one of the facilitators said to me, “When my dog died, it was really hard. I know how you feel.” One of the facilitators…..
And the guilt is bad today. thinking about how probably between thursday, when I lost part of my mucus plug, and had some early contractions, and tuesday, when I went into full labor and Sidney died, he didn’t move as much. his heart was probably slowing, and he was dying inside of me, and I did nothing, went about my normal days, not knowing what was going on, and not protecting him. my one job. a lot of moms on these babyloss boards lost their babies due to genetic problems, or placental problems, but maybe I lost Sidney slowly, because I didn’t know to go to the hospital earlier, because I was in a bad mood, and felt a hormonal shift, but didn’t do anything about it. And know I have to live with that, and Sidney does not get to live because of that, and it is so painful to bear. to know there could have been a different outcome.