Not sure if anybody comes around here these days, but if so: HI. How the bleep are you? Nice to see you again. It's been a while. I am back to the moss-green-and-charcoal-blue blog-scape again for a check in. And maybe even to serve...casually anyway...as a guinea pig of sorts, in case anybody is wondering or researching for a thesis project: what happens to women in the longer term future after death of a not-quite-born baby?
A little over four years ago, my sweet and dark-brown-haired boy Zachary was born in a non-living state. The year before that, a four month male "fetus" miscarried. Now, zipping around the house is a very much alive, headstrong, personality-filled and bright-eyed year-and-a-half-old toddler, also a male. A firecracker of will, guts, and determination - this one. Blond haystack of hair, light blue eyes. Not Zachary but someone else, his own person. Oh my lord; the love I have for him is like a freight train roar inside my head - but that goes without saying.
Attempting to process all of these babies and memories and baby-like entities in an organized way, I've got this sandwich of babies analogy in my head. I know that might sound disturbing, but just go with it for a minute. Male one, 2006 - this weak and fluttering ghost of an almost-person, the top piece of bread. Wonder bread, soft and feathery, white flour. Male two, 2007 - this strong and sturdy (albeit not strong enough) - the sandwich filling, potent and flavorful, coloring my life, my outlook, during several intense years and even still. Finally, male three, 2010, the strongest by Darwin's measurements, forming the sandwich base: the thick slice of hearty German-style wheat bread. Got it? That's how I thought about it, last week anyway.
Thinking about Zachary now is like looking backward through a tunnel of smoke and prisms, backward to a whole world, actually - a mental mind-scape. Being a dead baby momma is...well...a mentality, I guess. It's an identity, a way of seeing and feeling, of surviving. It puts you squarely on a certain side of multiple lines - making you part of certain groups, not a part of others. It's a unique and ancient predicament - one of experiencing triumph over extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
Now - in the four year aftermath of stillbirth (GAWD - I still hate that medieval sounding word), living and awesome child in tow:
- Motherhood - just as magical, challenging, awe inspiring, exhausting, life-embracing, god-damned amazing as it probably is for a "normal" mom. I guess, anyway. Current kid truly has his own shit going on - he is SOOOO not Zachary, SOOOOO not a drifting relic of the past, or a replacement baby. God no. He's his own little man, and you had better not ruffle his feathers or you're in big trouble. Ka-peesh?
- Marriage - complicated. Or maybe it's just me being complicated. That's a whole 'nother blog. I am married to a simply wonderful man. The trauma shook our relationship foundation in ways we couldn't know or predict - long term ways, even, that still affect us today. Things are cool and all, but I won't deny that we are still feeling the tremors from that. Sometimes big tremors. Anyway...
- Self - I'm still just me - same job, same friends, same antics, same this and that. Things are good in a general sense. The past lurks, not too far away. Every 3-4 months or so, I get that hot-behind-the-face, tears-welling-up sensation. It's a memory of death, pushing upward and outward against my chest cavity and eyeballs, times - usually - when my current son does something particularly interesting, or when I see Zachary's photo propped up in the bedroom and really pause to look at it. There he is. Was. It's not the need for a warm, wiggling ball of baby-ness in my arms, as it used to be. I've got that now. It's just a sadness, I suppose, a whoosh-feeling memory of the wind knocked out of me, and a melancholy yearning to know who that child would have been.
OK - that's all for now. If you're new to this blog, if you've lost a baby recently, I guess I would say: you survive, you move on, because you have to. Things suck, and get better. Better in most ways, complicated in others. If you're a seasoned "old hand" at all this, then I say: carry on, and thanks for reading my words again. I have to say, I miss writing. Just...thinking of stuff and putting it out there in the form of words, on the off chance that those words strike someone in a meaningful way. Coming up with snarky and borderline inappropriate things to say about the trauma of losing a baby. Stillbirth is so...confusing. Writing, connecting with the world, got me through so much of it. Still does. :)