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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Four Year Check-In

Hello World,

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. :)

24 comments:

Sharon said...

Nice to hear from you Mon.
I relate so much to what you have said about marriage in the aftermath. We only realized the damage our years of infertility and RPL did to our marriage after the trauma had ended and we'd achieved the goal of parenthood. It has been a struggle to find our way back to each other but slowly one day at a time, we are getting there.
xxx

Hope's Mama said...

Great to get an update from you. I went and had me another baby in all the time you've been away. Call me crazy!
Hope to hear more from you again soon. Miss your voice around these parts.
xo

*~*Lis*~* said...

Wow, good to "see" you! I just reread your book a few weeks back good timing. I remember thinking the pain wod never go away, and it doesn't, but I've also found happiness with my little ones - currently pulling at my oeg and asking to do a project.

Lesley said...

It's wonderful to get an update from you. I love your words and I hope that you keep blogging. Even if not, it was great to hear from you. You helped me so much through my pregnancy losses (which were even more ephemeral than wonder bread, so I can't speak to the lingering grief as concretely-- still, I wonder wonder wonder about those little flutters, especially in light of my daughter's warm individuality).

Did I mention that you should keep blogging? :)

JoyAndSorrow said...

Thank you for this. I really needed it today. Just a glimpse of hope is all. Great post.

Jenn said...

You're still on my reader, nice to see the update!

Sonya said...

Maybe you remember me. Maybe not. I was the crazy freaky stalker woman who sent you an email cursing your happiness because it took away my misery mentor....

I'm writing this hunched over a three month old, warm, living, breathing half asleep baby boy who is intent on kicking the laptop off *his* mama's lap.

It was nice to hear your 'voice' again. It's nice to hear mine, sounding normal.

Fireflyforever said...

I was so excited to see you launch to the top of several blog rolls and realise you must have posted. Hurray! I missed your snarky and borderline inappropriate things to say about stillbirth - which always seemed utterly appropriate to me. And I'm hearing you on the tremors that continue ...

skytimes said...

So thrilled about the update. Always a pleasure reading you. Every few weeks or so I drop by, read some old posts and listen to your song... :)

Hope the tremors ease up a bit. You're missed big time in dead baby land.
xoxo

Anonymous said...

Happy to see your post in my blog feed thing! I think of you often and often wish I had the time to write you a big email about life with a living baby (now nearly toddler!).

Life is good ... and complicated, as I suppose life is;)

Shanon

rebecca said...

What a treat to hear from you!! I usually just glaze over the feed where I have your blog on my list since it hasn't been updated in forever, but I just noticed today that there was something new. Damn, I miss reading you!!! Please please please start blogging about parenting after loss (really just about parenting, but I know the loss hovers) because I just don't have many blogs that speak to me anymore, and yours got me through some rough, rough times!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog not too long after I lost my baby boy. Actually, I gave birth to him on the very day you wrote this, October 19, 2011. That was one of the hardest days of my life. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for leaving your blog up. Us "new" dead baby mommas appreciate it. It is nice to see that someone has made it to the other side of all of this pain and misery. Please keep writing and again thanks for leaving this up!

Anonymous said...

Monica- so good to hear from you again. Love your words and your wit. Please keep writing.

Ruth said...

I COULDN'T AGREE MORE

Pieces of Me said...

Monica- Thank you for keeping this blog up. I'm a newly bereaved mother of a perfect son, stillborn a few months ago. I've perused your archives and have found a measure of comfort. Recently, I decided to blog as well.
Griefland

Anonymous said...

SO good to hear your voice again and hear your update. Your blog has helped me tremendously and broke through my numb grief bubble. My husband was so confused when he suddenly saw me laugh while looking at my computer only a month after our loss. Can't wait to read when you do get back to writing. I'm sure you have lots of material. When you're ready, whatever it is, I know it will be great!

Anonymous said...

SOO great to hear your voice and update. Your blog has helped me tremendously. When you're ready, can't wait to read your next writing journey!

Cassie said...

Oh, Monica, it is SO good to see you again. I feel the same, and I have a live, wriggling little Graham in my arms (9 mos now). My situation is further complicated by the fact that he is not the little girl that Alison was, the little female being growing so patiently inside me until she was not growing one day. And I am left with three boys, three wonderful, magic, scrumptuous boys....but no girl, and tied tubes (out of time, energy, resources...). It gets more complicated as I go on, I know.
Don't worry, seeing a good shrink...a cool metaphysical one, one into Chinese medicine and auras and shit. I'm liking it.
Please, please keep in touch!

Faridabad Escorts said...

People come to me and say that now good posts are not available. Now I will give them link of this post. Surely, my step will change their thinking.

JenWa098 said...

I am approaching year 2 of losing my baby, Ethan. I found your blog through a pinterest link.

We do survive and life can be awesome, great, happy, and full of laughter, but I am still different. Some people get that, but most people don't. I am still amazed at the stupidity of people from my past and into my present. Reading your words...I wish I could have called you 2 years ago!

Thank you for leaving it up!

Echo Wysocki said...

Today marks a year since I found out my little Ryder was gone... Tomorrow is his dirthday. I luckily found your blog a few months after I lost him and it has been my light at the end of the tunnel, often times the only thing that gets me through. Thank you for leaving it up and being the voice in my storm.

Desiree said...

I still remember you from the old days and you just popped into my mind so I thought I'd come check on you. I'm glad to read these words from you, even though they're old and you've no doubt moved on even from this place.

My best to you.

tnygirl said...

On the off chance that you still read these comment, I just wanted to let you know that your blog has been a haven for me.

It's only been two weeks, but when I feel like I'm drowning in sappy sappy emotional fog, I come here and laugh. With tears in my eyes, and head nodding in unfortunate agreement. But I'm still laughing.

So thank you, Monica. For sharing your story (it's awful that anyone has these stories to share).

tnygirl said...

On the off chance that you still read these comment, I just wanted to let you know that your blog has been a haven for me.

It's only been two weeks, but when I feel like I'm drowning in sappy sappy emotional fog, I come here and laugh. With tears in my eyes, and head nodding in unfortunate agreement. But I'm still laughing.

So thank you, Monica. For sharing your story (it's awful that anyone has these stories to share).