Originally a CaringBridge post. Link to original post is the date.
Throughout the time I’ve been blogging, if you can call it that, I’ve been told I’m an amazing writer. Everything from how well I can articulate myself, to how hermetic my words were. Funny enough I’m a terrible writer while pregnant. My grammar is lacking something fierce, my spelling is a hit or miss, thought order was an issue and my overall ability to properly portray what I meant was terrible. I cringed when I reread many posts. It didn’t matter how many times I proofread, had someone else look it over, I always found mistakes. About halfway through my pregnancy I said screw it and stopped caring it wasn’t perfect; this has continued even after pregnancy. The one thing I could always count on was my inability to run out of things to say. I had a constant flow, whether it be about Aerilyn, life or what I was currently feeling. Now I’m lost. Since the moment Aerilyn was born I’ve had no words to speak, let alone write. So bare with me while I try to write a proper post.
I can’t begin to explain how strange it is to not be able to express myself in almost any way. Josh has been filling in my blanks, rewording my sentences and even deciphering gibberish. It’s a tedious task and I’m grateful he’s been able to do so for me. As each day passes I begin to find my words more, but it’s no where near where it used to be. Grief has a way of stealing the most essential things and this is definitely a by product of it. So if this happens to you at any point in grief, know it’s a normal reaction.
Now that I’ve prefaced this post, I want to talk about Aerilyn’s birth. In my previous post I said she made a grand entrance into the world and I wasn’t kidding. My induction started at 10am on December 15th, 2015. I was 1cm and was 30% thinned out, so they decided to ripen my cervix more in hopes to kick off labor. As you know, I’d been having contractions on and off for weeks. After they placed the pill, my nurse checked my blood pressure 30 minutes later, then I had to wait four hours to see if there were any changes. As Josh and I passed those four hours, my contractions picked up a little bit, but nothing to say I was in true labor. I was even dancing around like a dork hoping to pass time more quickly. A little before they had to check me, my family took Kanin and my nephew home to eat lunch and nap. 2pm rolled around and I was 2cm and 50% thinned out. Before she checked me I jokingly said “come on 6cm”, in hopes to have a quick, painless labor. Obviously I wasn’t, and we all laughed at my “high hopes”. They decided to try another dose of the pill since I was having progress; bad idea, very bad idea. I didn’t need that second dose. (we’ll come back to that). Obviously they said again they’ll check me in four hours. Around this time one of my photographers, Meghan, showed up. We’d told her to take her time since I was obviously progressing slowing at only 1cm in four hours. Good thing she showed up! So 30 minutes after they put in the pill my nurse, Jill, came back in my room to check my blood pressure. My contractions once again had been picking up but again, not true labor. Around 2:35/2:40pm I needed to pee, once I came out of the bathroom I was in full labor. My contractions were one on top of another, with maybe a 10 second rest period. Funny enough, we’d ordered lunch in hopes to eat before labor truly kicked off. Nope, we didn’t get that. Josh was trying to feed me part of my sandwich in-between contractions, I did get to finish my fries though. LoL. Meghan even has a picture of me laboring on the ball while Josh has a quarter of a sandwich in his hand. At this time my nurse and doctor decided to give me an IV to slow down my contractions. They were having trouble hitting my vein (not abnormal) and Jill and my other nurse kept asking me if it hurt. I kept waving them off trying to tell them no. I wasn’t feeling anything besides my contractions. About 45 minutes later I got a point where I couldn’t sit on the ball, or stand because it hurt so much. I asked Jill to check me because I needed validation that these horrendous contractions were actually doing something. I needed to know I was progressing because if only after 45 minutes I was in that much pain and hadn’t progressed much, I might have caved on my natural labor. I was standing on the edge of my bed and she was having problems checking me and called my doctor at the same time. I reached down and felt my bag of waters, as I was trying to get on the bed for a safer place with hand between my legs, my water broke. It was so much, that I’m convinced I had polyhydramnious. The next thing I felt was Aerilyn’s head and told them I had to push. Josh said he and the nurses looked at one another like I couldn’t possibly need to push already, it only having been 50-ish minutes. Too bad I proved them wrong. Within 2-6 minutes (I average it at four since no one can tell me exactly how long I pushed for exactly), I had her out. She was born at 3:42pm and passed at 4:19pm. In the middle of all that Meghan ended up calling my sister to tell her I was having Aerilyn and she had to rip the boys out of bed and race to the hospital. No way would anyone would have made it to her birth, my Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer, Brooke, didn’t even make it in time. Hell, Meghan was barely there! Thankfully she showed up early or else we would have not had anyone. Aerilyn was put directly on me and had blankets placed over her. She lived for 37 minutes and spent the entire time on my chest. She did not make any noises, open her eyes or even breathe. Josh has made this Joke many times. Apparently our daughter is more badass than Chuck Norris, having lived for 37 minutes with not taking a single breath. Beat that Chuck Norris!
In total we spent 41 weeks, 5 days and 37 minutes with her alive. Those 37 minutes were more than we could have asked for. Many people held her and got to experience the amazing presence she possessed. The entire time we had her with us there was no “doom and gloom” in our room, there was only love and peace for her. As we started in the very beginning, we wanted to celebrate her life the best we could. We wanted to give her all the experiences she deserved and her life was nothing but that.
In the time we had with her we saw she had my nose, Josh’s fingers, a mix of our lips and dark curly hair. Kanin met her and was the best big brother she could have asked for. He wanted to see her belly button and he booped her nose. Said she was pretty, gave her hugs and kisses and was so excited to see her. It could not have gone more perfectly, even it being late and a new environment he was enthralled with her.
Giving her up a full day later was the most painful thing I’ve ever done. Thankfully we had an amazing nurse and the funeral home came and took her directly from us. The owner of the funeral home picked her up personally. That was amazing in itself. Since I last held her I have become wrapped up in my grief. “When you lose a child, your whole future has been affected, not your past. No one can really accept that.” This is more true than you could imagine. When I gave Aerilyn to Grover (the funeral director), my future was changed forever. While she was with us I didn’t dwell on giving her up, or the pain I was about to endure. No, we just enjoyed every single second we could. But the moment she was gone, truly out of our hands reality came crashing down and shock set in. For me personally, I’m still in some shock. Still numb to many things. When we planned her memorial service I had no real input. My sister planned the whole thing and I cannot thank her or my brother in law, Dustin, enough for what they did for us while here.
As I’ve slowly come out of my shock, pain has set in. Normally I’m a very private person, I don’t open up and I don’t confide in many people. I’ve had walls built since I was a child and even what I’ve written on here throughout these months has been highly censored. Since Aerilyn was born, my walls are down. Or at least down as they’ve ever been. I am opening up on here more about my pain and grief because I’ve come to realize that many people don’t. They shy away from expressing unimaginable grief for fear of being judged or locked up in a loony bin.
“Children are not supposed to die…Parents expect to see their children grow and mature. Ultimately, parents expect to die and leave their children behind…This is the natural course of life events, the life cycle continuing as it should. The loss of a child is the loss of innocence, the death of the most vulnerable and dependent. The death of a child signifies the loss of the future, of hopes and dreams, of new strength, and of perfection. – Arnold and Gemma 1994, iv, 9, 39”
Losing Aerilyn has thrown my life into unknowns and “I don’t know’s”. I’m to a point where Josh can ask me something as mundane as if I want to watch TV or a movie and I’ll tell him “I don’t know.” That’s my answer for the majority of things these days. These perpetual unknowns are a by product of my version of reality being gone. No more does life make sense, no more does it go round like it used too. Now it’s full of unknowns. Unknown feelings, unknown future, unknown life.
Someone said it best today, when someone gets out of bed they know their feet are going to hit the floor. They know that floor exists. For me, there is no floor. Everyday I get out of bed I step into an unknown. I don’t know if I’m going to fall into that hole in the floor, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get out of the hole if I do fall and I don’t know if there will be a floor that time. It’s a scary place to be and for now I just have to wade through those unknowns.
Since Aerilyn was born I’ve been pumping her breast milk. My plan is to donate to NICU and sick babies. People call this “legacy milk”. Aerilyn’s legacy will help others and give them something she wasn’t able to have. It’s been a tough process physically. Pumping is not my friend and it’s such a tedious thing to do. I need to set a goal on how much I want to pump before I quit.
Going into the New Year Josh and I have decided to do a jar full of memories. The idea has been floating around Facebook and Pinterest for awhile and we’ve decided to do it. Basically you take an empty jar, a pad of paper and a pen and put it in a common spot. When something good happens, when you’re thankful for something etc happens, you write it down, fold it up and read it next New Years Eve.
Going forward is going to be tough, everyday I live with the knowledge and ache of wanting my little girl. 2015 was full of fertility, our pregnancy joys and woes, losing friends who were not so good people and having to say Hello and goodbye to my daughter. Although I would not trade her short life for anything, I’m ready for life to stop kicking me. I hope 2016 brings closure and peace to us because at this point, I’m far from both.
I’ll leave it at that for now. Happy New Years and I hope 2016 is a marvelous year for everyone.