I found myself 40 minutes away from Boston Logan International Airport not too long ago. This wasn’t the first time either.
I left in the middle of the night while the members of my house were asleep. I grabbed my jacket; Aerilyn’s baby blanket, my phone, water and quietly left. Having no true knowledge as to where to go, I just drove. It doesn’t even surprise me I was headed towards Boston. There’s a giant airport that’ll take me to the far reaches of the earth. Too bad I have nowhere to go. There is no far away land that’ll help me escape what I was truly running from; myself.
Once I made my way back from wherever I was at, I went to Wentworth Douglas hospital and sat across the street looking at the room Aerilyn lived and died in. I’m sure I seemed stalker-ish, or at least would have were it daylight hours. I sat there thinking of how much I missed her. How that one room was her entire life outside my womb. It didn’t seem fair…it really isn’t fair. Sitting there all I could think about was how she should have had so much more than she did.
There were people in her room, people that probably just welcomed a perfectly healthy baby that they get to bring home. I’m jealous of them, of their ignorance to the pain of child loss. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but that doesn’t change the feelings. It doesn’t change how I wish it were me who got to bring Aerilyn home and live in ignorance.
Guilt has been creeping into my thoughts recently. Guilt of how much I’m unable to take care of Kanin. Guilt of how much Josh has to do. Guilt I can’t be a stronger, better person. There’s even guilt that Aerilyn died. Of all those things, Aerilyn hits me the hardest. I couldn’t have done anything to prevent the Anencephaly or prevent her death. Yet I feel I should have.
Should – Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
My therapist says “should” is a shaming word. I can see how it is. With that in mind, my thoughts turn the guilt to shame. I am shameful I couldn’t protect my innocent daughter. I’m full of shame for how I act in my life. Be it with Josh, Kanin, strangers or myself. It’s a vicious cycle.
There have been some seriously silly irritants in my life recently and I do mean silly. Josh and I have been trying to figure out what workouts we want to do. We —I— couldn’t decide on if we were going to workout together or alone. Or if we were going to do it in the morning, nap time after bedtime? Then we—I— couldn’t decide if it was going to be a gym type thing or an at home one. See? Silly. But they made me so angry and frustrated with the situation and myself. With myself because such simple A/B questions were and are so difficult for me to make. I know I want to start working out and I know I need to, however decisions aren’t easy for me anymore.
I’m not sure why, except they are. The reason could possibly be because I made two of the hardest decisions of my life recently. One, do we carry to term?
Which was a no brainier, I knew I had and would carry Aerilyn. But I also knew the repercussions and that made it extremely difficult.
The second one was choosing the date to be induced. For me that was choosing her “death date”. It doesn’t take much stretch of the mind to see why I call it that. I was literally choosing a date to force Aerilyn out of my body and ultimately the day I knew for certain would be the day she died. There are some cases of Anencephalitic babies that survive longer than a day, realistically though, almost all don’t.
Those two decisions had a rippling effect on me. One could not be made without the other. Then there were all the other slightly smaller decisions we had to make. Her name, mementos we’d want from her, what to do with her while she was still alive… Everything was so difficult during my pregnancy on so many levels; I’m not surprised I can’t make simple decisions anymore. Frustrating as hell, yet perfectly sensible.
I feel like I have to relearn how to do the simplest of things, like decision-making. Food choices are even overwhelming for me. Saying I have to relearn everything is accurate in a great degree. I’m relearning how to do everything as a Bereaved Mother, as a person who went through a traumatic event and as someone who’s lost their basic self. I’m sorry for all the frustrations I create for others. If you only knew how frustrated it made me!
On to something I’ve been avoiding a bit. My sister came up here to help us before and after Aerilyn was born. A few days prior to induction, Jenn told me she was pregnant even though it was early on and there was a great risk of miscarriage. She told me so I wasn’t blindsided, or upset if she told me after Aerilyn was born and basically because we’re sisters. We know each other well enough to know what we’d like and she knew I’d rather have known before, than after. I’m so excited to become an aunty again. She’s well past the “typical” miscarriage phase and baby seems perfectly healthy.
Well there-in lies the problem; She is pregnant. Not just pregnant, but with a baby that by all accounts, looks healthy. Before I go on I need to stress I am happy this miracle is happening for her, especially since it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns to get that way. However, I am a green-eyed monster. I’m extremely jealous she’s pregnant, let alone with a baby with a perfectly round head. I wanted so badly for another child and fought hard to get pregnant again. Then to find out she was going to die? Bullshit!
My nephew and Kanin are eleven months apart. Aerilyn and this new baby will only be a few months shy of that gap as well. It was great seeing my sister go through her first pregnancy not long after me and see how it worked for her; Give her advice on how I did things; For once, she got to come to me, the younger sister, for advice. Baby number two mixes things up so much and I was looking forward to possibly having that happen again, except for advice on how to deal with two instead of one….
Now I get to look in from the outside and see how my life could have been with two kiddos. I wont be able to tell Jenn about how my two get along and how they terrorize one another and me. I will get to hear about it from her. I’ll have to play the aunt to two siblings and learn that dynamic as an aunt, not a mom.
I’m heartbroken my new niece/nephew won’t have a slightly older cousin to help them out when they’re older or to play with. We all know how older siblings can be. I grieve for a future Aerilyn won’t get and grieve for anyone in our family who wont have a chance to meet her. I just grieve.
Right now, aside from my sister, I have at least eight other women on my Facebook who’re pregnant. Everyone deserves these pregnancies, but I can’t help but pull back from them all. It’s not them it’s me. This is all about me and how I feel. Sometimes I get angry or frustrated at things in life, like other pregnant women, and immediately try to shut it or them out. I do it without reflecting on what’s really causing my pain or any other emotion I’m feeling at that particular moment. With my sister I’m not jealous of her, I’m not mad at her or the baby. I’m incredibly sad I can’t help her like I would have been able to had Aerilyn lived. I’m sad I can’t enjoy her pregnancy without fear in the back of my head. The “what ifs” plague me. What if she doesn’t get to take the baby home? I have no illusions that it is 100% possible that you can have a healthy, normal pregnancy only for it to end badly. It happened not too long ago to a friend of mine.
I can no longer look at a pregnant woman in the innocence I used too. For that, I grieve. I grieve, and then get mad that I’m so damn Jaded. I even grieve for my friends who’ve lost children. For Kimberly who lost Sloan —a perfect baby boy— for no detectable reason. You can follow her journey here. And then I get to the point where everything I see and hear from these “trigger situations” makes me run for the hills. Run to avoid all the feelings because everything is circled back to me. I’m sad for myself. I’m mad for and at myself. I’m jealous of myself. I’m screwed up. I’m so screwed up that I’m finding it hard to believe there will be a light at the end of my tunnel.
I want Aerilyn. I want her so badly my arms physically ache. I need to hold her and see her alive so much that many times I lean over her trunk of stuff and bawl. Uncontrollable, inconsolable sobbing. All the pictures I see and things I hear are like a gavel, continuously slamming down. SLAM. SLAM. SLAM.
I live everyday with the knowledge I will never see Aerilyn’s eyes, never see her smile, never hear her voice or see her walk. I live everyday with a living breathing, three-year-old reminder of what she won’t get to do. But I don’t need those reminders because I can’t just “be reminded” my daughter died. I know that. I 100% remember her.
The best way I can think of to describe what’s going on when I look at Kanin or see my pregnant sister is if you think of my brain as a fish tank. My thoughts are constantly moving like a fish in a reef. Swimming in and out of holes, darting to the surface and back down, drifting around. Then I see a picture of my sister’s belly and BAM, a fishing line caught a fish, dragging it to the surface, all the while the fish is fighting to stay down. Once out on the surface it flounders, sucking for air and not getting any. Feeling closer and closer to death until the fish is about to pass out (if fish can pass out) and it’s put back in the tank. It lived to see another day, but just barely. Knowing it can and will be subjected to the fishing poll again. It’s me.
It’s all about me. And not in the self centered type of way. No, it’s about my journey through it all. I have a lot of work cut out for me…