I’m not sure if I’ve addressed how I felt during the first days after relinquishing Aerilyn to the funeral home, but I’m about to change that. I need to change it because I am currently feeling the same way I did two years ago. Whether someone can relate or not, voicing my turmoil might help me and I hope no one feels like I did/do. And even if I did breach the subject, I know I haven’t gone that much into detail about it with anyone, not even Josh.
I was being rolled down to the front of the hospital in a wheelchair, with Aerilyn in my arms, trying my damndest not to cry. This can’t be happening. This isn’t happening. Kept replaying over and over in my head. When I handed her to the kind gentleman, I wanted to snatch her back. I didn’t want anyone else touching her, especially not a man who was about to burn her body into unrecognizable ashes. But I refrained, I said my one last goodbye, got out of the chair and walked to my car with Josh and my sister in tow. I don’t even think I looked back. Once I got in the car, I stared at the vehicle Areilyn’s body was currently in. I sat there and did nothing, my exterior stoic and “ready” to leave. If only my outside matched my inside; hell would have looked nicer. Inside I was forcing myself not to leap out of that car and grab her, never letting go. I was screaming at the top of my lungs that I couldn’t leave her, that she needed me. Part of me wanted to run screaming at them and back up to the hospital so I could have more time with her. The fierce need to protect her was raging through me, even though I knew she was already dead and there was nothing I had to protect her from.
How do you protect someone who’s already suffered the fate you were trying to avoid? Answer; you can’t. You can only learn to accept what has happened and try to relearn how to live. I wasn’t ready for that, I’m still not. Not only did I have all these thoughts and feelings running through me, I also wanted to be sedated. I wanted the hospital to knock me out so I wouldn’t have to face the coming days. But I couldn’t force myself to ask them for that, even though they would have gladly given me something for the anxiety and panic attack I was trying to hide. I couldn’t go back in that hospital without my baby, I couldn’t walk up there and see where my daughter should be, only for reality to set in and freak out more. So I sat in that car holding her blanket, saying nothing and wishing I would wake up from the nightmare that was my life. And I’ve been trying to wake up ever since.
When I say I’m currently feeling like I did in those first few days, I’m not kidding. I’m thousands of miles from where she was born, but I want to go back. I want to go to that room and spend more time with her. I don’t want to be two years into this grief or be two years since I’ve touched her. That’s the worst. I haven’t touched her for so long and I feel like it’s killing me. On the outside, I’m snappy and moody, so not nearly as stoic as I was that day in the car. Inside I’m just as much of a mess as that day. I constantly feel on the verge of a panic attack, or like my anxiety is going to make me have a nervous breakdown. It’s making me miserable and I can’t do much about it. I want to be locked away with Aerilyn more than anything, just to calm some of what I’m feeling. I can’t do that, so I wish for peace and even that doesn’t happen. I’m getting nowhere with anything and it’s driving me insane.
The messed up part about feeling like this and being pregnant is when they decide to do a depression screening on you. I went in for my 30-week appointment the day before Aerilyn’s birthday and I had to take the Edinburgh screening that shows your depression level or if you’re at risk. I could have faked my way through the test, easily, but I know better than that. On a scale of 0-30, I scored a 25. That’s pretty damn high and major cause for concerns. They asked me if I was seeing anyone yet since they’d already referred me to someone. Nope, not seeing any therapist yet. Why? Because no one is taking new patients and/or Tricare. Months have passed trying to find someone with no luck. I had to stay at the hospital to talk to the social worker to hopefully find me a therapist sooner rather than later. She had zero luck like me and I was sent on my way. Basically “we’re really concerned for you, but we can’t help you”. If I’d put on that test I was suicidal or thinking of harming myself in some way, I’m sure they wo of admitted me. Since that didn’t apply to me, I got nothing but empty phone calls and promises that they can’t keep. My doctor made me an appointment the day after Christmas stating he wanted to see me face to face no matter what that day. I’ll update on that visit in another post. What a shit show this is turning into.
I feel like I can’t say anything to anyone because I’m supposed to be over this hurdle already. That I shouldn’t be swimming in turmoil or blindly walking off a cliff. It’s lonely, isolated and it’s an unbelievably terrible feeling. I’m supposed to be celebrating my new daughter, right? Preparing for her and taking joy in the impossibility she represents. When all I can do is feel her due date approaching and me having to go back to a labor and delivery room. A place where last time I left empty-handed, heartbroken and shredded to my core. I can see Lenoir’s birth like it’s already happened and I can see what happens to me once we get discharged. Instead of leaving like I’m supposed to with a healthy baby, I freak out. I mean I start screaming that I can’t leave because I can’t leave with just one of my daughters. Even though Aerilyn will have never been in this hospital, I feel it already. Feel the panic set in and doing all the things I didn’t do when I walked away from Aerilyn last time. When I didn’t fight for more time, for one more kiss, for one more hug. I’ll fight for that in a completely illogical way. The poor hospital staff will have no idea what has sparked this outburst or what to do. Especially when I’ll have a completely healthy baby right there!
I’ve had extreme anxiety ever since we found out about Aerilyn’s diagnosis; it’s improved vastly though. At least, I thought it had. This pregnancy has been terrible for my anxiety, but it didn’t peak to this bad until the holidays. October started it, spending my birthday without her, then Halloween and it’s progressively gotten worse. My level of tension now is far worse than I’ve felt in almost two years. I’m feeling very Britney Spears circa 2007 when she shaved her head. Or maybe rocking in a padded room somewhere.
Right now, at this current moment panic is rising in me, it’s starting to choke me and I can’t do a damn thing about it. I’m trying to take comfort in Lenoir making her presence known, but a small selfish part of me wishes it was Aerilyn right now. That’s not even remotely fair to Lenoir either, so that doesn’t help my panic either. I can’t escape, I can’t breathe and I can’t make it stop.