Friday, May 31, 2013

Night and daytime struggles

At night, when I finally decide to lie my head down, I struggle to go to sleep. My mind wanders to what I should be doing with my newborn at that time, how my life should be different, and reliving all the awful details of a day that should have ended differently. Even on my "good" days when I don't really cry during the day, tears come pouring out once I hit the pillow.

Sleeping doesn't seem to be any better though. When I finally drift off to sleep after hugging my pillow and crying, I have terrible dreams. I have dreams about what happened to my sweet girl, dreams about other babies that look so happy while I'm desperately looking for mine, and dreams about how lonely I am. I wish I could have happy dreams about my sweet girl, but I'm stuck with these dreams that just beat me back down into this pit that I'm trying to climb out of.

Waking up from these awful dreams doesn't bring any comfort either, it just serves to remind me that my reality is just as awful and cruel as those dreams. It's a struggle to face a new day without my baby girl. I know I must try my best to face the world with a positive attitude but how the heck is that possible when the one thing I longed for so much this entire year has been viciously ripped away from me?

I go to sleep with a headache and a heavy heart, and I start each day the same.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Due date

Today is my due date for Evangeline. The fact that it's her due date isn't really what has been hard for me today... Most babies aren't born on their due date anyway. The hardest part about today is that we lost her on a Tuesday, exactly 3 weeks ago.

This morning all I thought about was how 3 weeks ago I went into work on Tuesday having contractions throughout the morning. I joked to my pharmacy technicians "Let's just hope I hold out until 1pm because that's when I go home, or at the very least until 11am because then the other pharmacist will be in." I was so absolutely naive to the situation that would unfold that day after I got home from work. It hurts to look back on those hours at work and remember how blissfully happy I was, and everyone around me was so excited for us.

After 1pm passed today, I thought of how I drove home and met Ryan in the kitchen to let him know we might be meeting our baby that day. He thought I was kidding until a contraction came on and he joked "I still have classes this week and finals next week, why are you doing this to me already?" Not only were his classes and finals interrupted, they were interrupted by a baby we couldn't even bring home.

I made it a point to not even watch the clock later on in the afternoon today. Evangeline was born at 3:32pm and if I had been watching the clock today the 20 minutes after that would be a cruel reminder of the 20 minutes I clung tightly to my husband crying, "I'm so scared Ryan, I'm so scared" while he told me "Just pray, just pray."

Three weeks ago right now, I would be holding my sweet baby girl... my sweet, lifeless baby girl. She would be meeting her grandparents for the first and only time, and getting her only family pictures taken with her mommy and daddy in the evening. How unfair is it that our first family pictures with our second daughter are also our last?

I don't want to relive that nightmare of a day, but I do wish I could hold her just one last time... And if that would mean I'd have to relive all the agonizing details of that day, I would... just to look at her beautiful face one last time, touch her hair and kiss her forehead.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A vow to my baby

Dear Evangeline,

Today I woke up and decided that I am going to try my best to have a good day. I am going to play outside with your sister and enjoy the warm weather. And I want you to know that this isn't because I'm not hurting over losing you anymore. I still hurt and ache for you everyday.

I have come to the realization that if you can't live then the least I can do is live for you. If you can't smell the flowers, I will smell them for you, and tell you how lovely they are. If you can't look at the stars in the sky at night, I will look at them for you. If you can't play with your big sister, I will play with her, but I won't ever let her forget about you.

You see, mommy spent many days during these last few weeks in bed just wishing you were here, but that didn't bring you back. If you can't live and I just lie in bed all day and am not fully living then I'm cheating you. Some days I know it will still be incredibly difficult to face the world, but I will try my best for you.

I miss you so much my sweet girl.

Love you forever and ever,

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Man's best friend

My 6 year old boxer, Abby Rose has always been such a comfort to me. She is the epitome of a dog being "man's best friend". She follows me around and loves to snuggle. She will even stare me straight in the eye waiting for me to get on the floor and snuggle with her (she's not allowed on the living room furniture). You should see her stump of a tail wiggle when she realizes I'm getting off the couch to sit on the floor with her. In the weeks before Evangeline was born, Abby and I spent a lot of time snuggling on the rocking recliner in her room. I would daydream about how special it would be to have a baby in that room and Abby was right there with me.

 I've been through some tough times in the past and Abby has always been right by my side. When we lost Evangeline, I knew I'd need her comfort big time... And she's already proven that she's up for the challenge.

The first night we were at home after we lost Evangeline I was so afraid to go to sleep. It just wasn't fair that we were at home without Evangeline. She was not in the warmth of my belly anymore and her room was empty. I held tightly to the blanket she was wrapped in at the hospital and drifted off to sleep. When I woke up I cried uncontrollably and looked down at the side of my bed for my dog. She always sleeps on her dog bed on the floor next to me but that night she was not there. Then I heard Abby jump down from the rocking recliner in Evangeline's room and she came into our room. She walked right up to me and nudged my cheek that had been wet from tears. I kissed her head and whispered "thank you for keeping my girl's room safe." With that she nudged my face once more and turned around and left the room. I heard her jump back into the recliner and I was able to lie there in peace knowing that my beautiful baby girl's room was not empty.

After that night I remembered something special. On Monday May 6, the day before Evangeline was born, Abby spent the entire morning on that recliner in her room. This may not seem significant until you know that Abby follows me everywhere in the morning. Usually she will follow me from the bedroom, sit in the bathroom while I shower and then sit at my feet in the living room while I watch the morning news. That Monday she did not follow me, instead she went right to Evangeline's room and spent the whole morning there until I had to leave for work. It makes me feel as though she knew what was happening... She knew we were losing Evangeline. Monday morning was the last time I really remember feeling Evangeline move. At the time I didn't really think anything of it. Because she wasn't a very active baby and I worked 1-9 pm on Monday. I didn't usually feel her while I was on my feet at work and when i got home that night I just ate something quick and went right to bed without waiting for Evangeline to move. Tuesday morning I started having contractions... I didn't feel her move but just figured it was due to the contractions. Tuesday afternoon she was born sleeping. It makes me wonder if the last time I felt her move on Monday morning was the last moments she was alive with me. I think my dog knew.

I wish I somehow knew what my dog knew... Everyday I wonder what I could have done differently to save her... What if I asked my doctor to check her heartbeat more often because she didn't move much (even though that was her norm, so I didn't really think anything of it at the time), tried to get another ultrasound to check her size or even just pay for a 3d ultrasound for the fun of it like I thought about doing... These things could have potentially saved her if they would have recognized something wrong, like not much movement due to being entangled in the cord or that she was a little small for her gestational age. Maybe it would have made the doctors intervene and had her delivered early, while she was still alive.

I know I can't dwell on the what ifs so I guess at this point I'm just grateful that if my dog did have some kind of premonition, she was there for my baby girl... And she was there for me in the aftermath. I couldn't ask for a better furry friend to pull me through my darkest hours.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My rock

Ryan has been my rock through all of this. When we got home from the hospital he made sure I ate. This may seem like a small feat, but I wouldn't have eaten without him cooking for me and placing it in front of me. I didn't feel like eating and sure as heck didn't feel like cooking. That first week I just sat around and did nothing. He took the reigns with Mariah and made sure she was fed, played with, put to bed, happy and knew she was loved. I kind of feel terrible with how disconnected I was to Mariah, but at least she probably didn't even notice because she had a daddy who made sure she was taken care of when I couldn't help.

With how strong he has presented himself I worry how much this is hurting him inside. Ryan has had to endure some of the most difficult parts of this ordeal... Talking to our parents on the day Evangeline was born, calling daycare after our baby was pronounced dead to arrange for someone else to pick up Mariah, and going to the funeral home to make arrangements for our daughter. I am so grateful for how much he has done to ease the burden off of me.

Ryan also was the one who came up with a way to break the news to Mariah that her baby sister went to heaven and was no longer in mommy's belly. I was dreading the conversation with my 4 year old and kept pushing it off. Ryan came up with the perfect idea to tell Mariah that even though Evangeline was no longer in mommy's belly she was always in our hearts. Just those simple words gave me such peace of mind in such a sad time. To know that we all will always hold her near and dear to our hearts is so important to me.

I at least got to spend every moment of my and her life with Evangeline for 37 weeks... Ryan didnt get 1 minute with her alive. That kills me. She also wasn't a very active baby in the womb. She didnt have crazy big kick sessions like Mariah did, so Ryan only felt her move a few times. It makes me sad that he didnt really get to bond with her like I did when she was alive.

I just want Ryan to know that he is a great husband and daddy. I wish I could take away his pain in this and give his baby girl back to him, because even though it was so very sad to see him hold our sweet Evangeline and talk to her, it was also one of the most beautiful things in the world. He was so gentle and sweet with her, making sure she knew she was loved beyond measure. He is so great with both of our girls, I just wish he had more time with our baby girl.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not so good mornings

The mornings are so hard for me. They bounce me back to this cruel reality that I'm living everyday. I wake up to the sound of the birds chirping outside my window with a headache and the feeling that I haven't slept in days. No matter what, I don't feel well rested. How can I? I shouldn't be well rested because I should be up all night taking care of a newborn, but instead I feel drained everyday from this emotional burden that has been placed upon me.

I used to love to hear the birds chirping outside my window. Now they are just a reminder that a new day is to start without my daughter in it. How can there be such cheery chirping outside my window when I'm in so much pain? I just want to scream for them to shut up. There shouldn't be any happiness outside my window when I'm still dying inside.

It's so difficult to crawl out of my bed in the morning. I usually lie there at least an hour or two before I can finally convince myself to try to get moving. Ryan says I need to get out and do things to help ease the pain and just focus on how we can live now since we can't change the past. I understand what he's saying, and I'm glad he is able to do that, but I am just not ready to be at that point yet. Even when I do go places she is constantly on my mind. I like to think of her, and even though it makes me cry, I feel as though if I didn't have those moments to cry I wouldn't feel right and I wouldn't be going through my grieving process. For me, I NEED to cry. Believe me, it's painful when I cry and all the moments of that day come back,  but afterward I feel some sort of relief.

Well, I've finally convinced myself to get up for the day. Here's to hoping it's an easier day than every other day these last 2 weeks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My biggest fears

I've had so much extra time for my mind to wander these last two weeks. There are so many things that I've started to worry about. It would be so easy to worry about things pertaining to myself... but my worries revolve around Evangeline.

Are people going to forget about her and not acknowledge that she is a member of our family? I worry so much about this because she was, and is so very real to us. It would be unfair for her to not be included in anything. She is, and always will be, a member of our family. When people ask how many children I have I want to always include Evangeline. I have TWO daughters.... But I know with further questioning I'd have to explain that only one is alive and I know that'll just make the other person feel uncomfortable. I'm so worried that when I'm put in that situation I'll be tempted to lie and say I only have one daughter to avoid the awkwardness but I feel like I'll be betraying my sweet, beautiful Evangeline who doesn't deserve that. She deserves to be loved, remembered and thought of often.

Will people always feel uncomfortable to see pictures of my beautiful daughter? Just like any other parent I think my daughter is absolutely beautiful and would love to show her off to people... But I know others may find it strange to see pictures of her since she was born sleeping. It's not fair to her that I should be afraid to show people how absolutely perfect she was. From her sweet button nose to her long piano fingers and beautiful dark hair, everything was perfect about her.

Will she feel like I'm trying to replace her when we are finally ready to have another baby? This may seem illogical since she's not alive so how could she feel like I'm replacing her... But she's so special to me and I don't want to do anything to take away from how much she means to me. Nothing will ever replace my Evangeline, but I do still long to have a baby in our home. We were ready to have a baby in that yellow room upstairs. I still go in her room and rock in the recliner and talk to Evangeline. Hopefully one day I'll feel comfortable enough to allow another little baby to share the room that belonged to my Evangeline.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A weekend away

We decided to take a trip to the beach this past weekend. We did this in the hopes of lifting our spirits; building sandcastles with Mariah would certainly be soothing to my soul. And it was... But I won't lie and say it fixed things....

I still broke down and cried everyday we were there. Sometimes it was for a few seconds or minutes and other times I cried for an hour straight. I was happy to be at the beach, but so sad for the reason we were there. If Evangeline was born healthy we would have been at home snuggling our new baby girl. My girl would never have the joy of playing in the sand or running from the waves as they came rushing in.

I wrote Evangeline's name in the sand near where the waves were coming into the shore. It looked perfect. I took a few pictures and smiled at the beauty her name added to the shoreline. Finally a big wave crashed in and washed her name away. I stood there and cried. Just as the wave had crashed in and washed her beautiful name away so suddenly, my sweet baby girl was taken away from me that suddenly too.

Mariah talked to her baby sister at the beach. When she wants to talk to Evangeline she bends her head down and talks to her heart. This is because we explained to her that Evangeline is no longer in Mommy's belly, she is in heaven and will always be in our hearts. Mariah asked if she'll be able to feel the baby in her heart and I told her that every time her heart beats it means her baby sister is still with her. Mariah told her sister all about how to build sandcastles and dig holes. As much as it makes me smile when Mariah talks to her heart, it kills me deep inside. This should NOT be the only way Mariah gets to talk to her "Ebangeline" as she calls her.

We went out to a nice restaurant to eat. Our waitress was pregnant. I don't dislike pregnant women or newborns, it is certainly not their fault my baby is gone, but right now it is very hard for me to be around them.... I only wish the best for them and would never, ever want anyone in the position we are in, but it's so hard for me to see them... I always think "that should be me" or "people should be oohing and aahing over my baby like that too." (Friends who are pregnant or have babies please do not take offense to this, it is just a hard time for me right now, in the beginning stages of my grieving process, over everything we and our little girl will miss out on.) I held my composure while she served us, until the table next to us started asking her questions about her pregnancy.... She was due with a baby girl next Saturday, three days before Evangeline's due date. And she had a four and a half year old at home, almost exactly how far apart my girls were to be in age. Talk about putting a dagger through my heart. I didn't cry while we were there but I certainly didn't hold back the tears when we got back to our room. It's not her fault, and I'm so happy she gets to answer those questions with a smile and be excited for the joy in her life. I just wish I still had that happiness as well.

I'm so grateful we were able to have a getaway to the beach. I loved watching Mariah have fun and smile. I just feel so bad that I spent much of the time completely overcome by grief.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The day my heart broke

My husband and I decided early on in our pregnancy that we didn't want to know if our baby was a boy or girl. We wanted to look forward to the surprise of finding out when our child was born.

On May 7, at 37 weeks pregnant, we would finally find out....

The moment my child was born nobody yelled "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!". Our baby was immediately placed on a bed while a nicu team ran into the room. We waited 20 agonizing minutes while the nicu team tried with all their might to save our baby. " Keep doing CPR, I need Epi! How much time?" The neonatologist yelled.  Finally the doctor came over and said, "I'm sorry. She didn't make it." 

SHE. We had a baby girl. My daughter had a baby sister. A baby sister she would never hold or play with.... Our sweet baby didn't make it. 

How is this possible?

My sweet Evangeline didn't have the chance to take one breath. Not one. She passed away in the warmth of my womb before birth. 

In the blink of an eye, our day went from what we thought would be one of the happiest days of our lives to the deepest pit of sadness we could ever reach. This blog is my journey through a struggle no parent should ever have to face, losing their child.