Control

I haven’t written often lately, because I find it easier to share my feelings when they are good. Last week, that was not the case. Reality had sunken in and I had noticed the world around me getting darker and darker. At times, I didn’t know where my life was going anymore, and adjusting to that very idea had been very hard for me. The sadness that is associated with being the mother to a stillborn baby is rarely anything less than difficult. It’s often hard to tell the difference between depression, guilt, and grief.

In the two years it took me to get pregnant, I had hope. One day it might happen, one day I might be a mommy. Eventually I had started to lose hope. I recall telling my husband that we were only going to try for another six months. Once we had been trying for a total of two and a half years, I would be done. Now I’m back at square one. We do plan to try again, likely for a year. But I can’t help but think about how much harder it will be. The trying, the pregnancy, and who’s to say we won’t have our baby taken from us if were ever lucky enough to have another.

What if something is to happen again? I’ve handled this once, and not gracefully. I’m certain going through something like this a second time will break me. The uncertainty in life has started to change my spirit. Last week, I wasn’t nearly the person I used to be. I had known going through the loss of my first baby, my son, would change me. I try to limit how much I change, but the truth is, I haven’t got control over anything.

The hardest part about losing my sweet boy is that I feel like I never got to say goodbye. He was gone before I ever met him. I often try to imagine what would have made the situation harder or easier depending on how things could have been different. I do believe knowing something was wrong, but at least seeing his eyes open would have helped me. However, knowing he was already gone, I did have time to prepare myself. I try not to dwell on what could have been, simply because I can’t change it. But sometimes I can’t help myself.

Sunday morning, I sat in the fellowship hall of the church we’ve been regularly attending since we lost our boy. My husband and I were just sitting there talking about where our lives will be taking us in the next few months. My mind was brought back to the night before our sweet Skylar was born, the day I found out he was gone, yet I had to go home. Still pregnant, but aware that the baby in my belly was already gone. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever endured. I looked to my husband, in that busy café within the church, and said “I hope I never have to experience anything like that as long as I live. I hope in all my days that will be the worst of them all.”

I recall the fear I had in saying those words. My stomach felt tight, my throat filled with the lump I have grown so familiar with. This lump that always comes before tears. I was terrified. I’ve always been a person that needed to be in control of everything. God love my husband, as he has always tolerated my controlling tendencies. However, in that moment, as I thought about our future, and how terrified I was of going through something like that again, it became very real to me that I was not in control whatsoever. I had been so ignorant to think that I ever had a grasp on our lives, and what happens in them.

In the time since our son has been gone, I have held onto guilt. I grasp onto the blame like a light pole in a snowstorm. The results that came back making it obvious that it was not my fault have not helped me as much as I had hoped they would. I still can’t shake the feeling that my son literally died in the one place he was supposed to be his safest. My body was supposed to protect him. Instead, my body failed him.

I watched a video this weekend that changed my perspective on guilt. I often watch videos of this miraculous woman that calls herself the jersey belle. She shares stories of life and love, and her perspective on things, and though she always makes me feel better, this time in particular, the tears were rolling harder than they have in weeks.

She told us a story of someone she knew that was holding onto guilt after losing a friend in a car wreck. She blamed herself for the accident, when it couldn’t possibly be any fault of her own. I too, have been holding onto guilt, though what happened to my sweet boy couldn’t have been my fault. While telling the story, she mentioned she tried to understand why this woman was holding onto the guilt of her friends wreck, much like I hold on to the gilt of my sons demise.

She mentioned the guilt was the final thing we have control of. When you’re someone like me, and your nightmares come true, you try to grasp onto the only thing you can. Control is comforting to someone like me, and I’ve been grasping onto guilt because my world has fallen apart, and the only thing I have control over these days, is the way I feel.

This weekend, when I discovered my need for control was the root of my guilt, I was able to let it go. I was able to make a conscious effort to release the guilt of losing my boy. The light pole in snowstorm was not bringing me any healing. We never really have control of what happens in our lives, and once we accept the fact that our lives are completely out of our grasp, we get so much relief. 

It’s miraculous how your mind can go to great lengths to try to comfort yourself in all the wrong ways. Sometimes life throws us the scariest things, and we are simply just supposed to handle them. But, in reality the human mind is truly the scariest thing of all.

 

Life Decisions

There is so much comfort that comes with knowing your family approves of your life decisions.

In the time I was in labor, my husband was by my side the entire time. Holding my hand, and being there for me every time I began to cry. I endured most of the labor naturally, as the physical pain was far easier to handle than the emotional pain I was being haunted with. Through my entire pregnancy, I had not been afraid of labor in the slightest. The end result, or the idea rather, of being handed my healthy baby boy made it all worth it. I still was not afraid of labor. I dove head first into the entire ordeal. Fear was not something that concerned me at that point. My worst fear had become a reality. Physical pain was something I welcomed.

My sweet Michael was there the whole time, and has been ever since. With other people, I try to remain strong, and hold back my tears when they come. I know my hurt makes most uncomfortable. But with Michael, I can let it all out. I can ugly cry until I can’t breathe, and he will comfort me the whole way. Snot and makeup everywhere, and he loves me all the same.

In the time since this has happened, so many people have come to me in praise for my sweet husband. So many have told me how much respect for him they have gained, since they’ve watched him care for me so diligently. Every member of my family, and even some of his, have sang his praises. All of those that were there for our Sons birth have mentioned how good he was to me, and how lucky I am. Not that I didn’t already know I was a lucky girl.

I’ve been writing of my gratitude of him ever since. Last week, I wrote a lengthy piece about a toy ship in a bottle that brought me so much peace when we bought it. The story that came with that ship in the bottle prompted me to get a collection of messages from miscellaneous people, one of which, being my mother. Now, I won’t share the exact message I had gotten from her, but I will mention that it sent me over the moon with joy.

Michel has always been a very timid guy. Out of respect of everyone around him, when he is not familiar with people, he will often not speak, but instead listen. This is something I’ve always loved about him. But, for my family, it was misleading. My Daddy expected a man that would shake his hand the day he met him, and talk to him without issue. This is not the kind of guy I married. Michael and my Daddy have a wonderful relationship now. In fact, he may talk to my Daddy more than I do.

When my mom sent me this message I hope to never forget, she said a few things that warmed my heart so deeply, and it sent me into the best mood I’ve had in nearly months. My mama knows me pretty well, as we are quite a bit alike. My mama knows that I struggle with depression sometimes. She admitted she worried about my choice in Michael at first, she mentioned she was worried that he wasn’t strong enough, and didn’t have enough personality to keep me. I’m a pretty strong willed girl, and she worried about his ability in keeping me happy.

She went on to mention that she made great efforts to be a good mom, and allow me to make my own choices. She was determined to support me in any decision I made, even if she worried they might be incorrect. She then mentioned how she had recently realized how very wrong he was. She mentioned that she now knows that my sweet Michael knows me better than anyone else possibly could, including herself.

She went on to mention the little ship in the bottle I had recently shared the story about. She said she would have seen that very object, and done her best to distract me from it, knowing it would bring me pain. Michael didn’t do that, he allowed me to see it, offered it to me, and we brought it home. He knew it would bring more tears, but it also brought me comfort. My mama mentioned she would have kept me from ever seeing it, but that’s not how Michael handled it. That ship in the bottle is in our little boy’s room, and my heart smiles every time I look at it.

She mentioned she has grown more comfortable with him over the years, as we’ve been together, and our marriage has grown, she has grown to know that he is a good man, and he loves me very much. She then mentioned her respect for him has grown since. After watching the way he has handled the grief we have had to endure in the loss of our boy, and the way he has been so careful to help me through it, with so much care and patience.

The last words in her message were of the most significance. She said “There’s no way you could have made a better choice. He is perfect, and I love him!”

I had always known he was the man for me. When he looked at me so tenderly when we first met, and the way he always respected me those years ago when we were still in high school, I knew he was the man I would marry. He would bring lunch for me at school every day, and he has worked so very hard to support me every day since. He puts me before himself at every given opportunity. Though every marriage has its moments, my confidence in my choice in him has never changed. These days, when I’m not ugly-crying, he has me giggle-snorting, and I love him more every day.

My heart has been so warmed when family members have mentioned how perfect he is for me. There really is so much comfort that comes with your family loving the man you’ve chosen just as much as you do.

My Sweet Husband

Like so many other things in our lives lately, so many people have been offering advice on our marriage. Even the nurses at the hospital told us things that would help, and reminded us that everyone deals with grief differently. I thank god every day for the man he has given me. I’ve talked about my sweet Michael briefly in my writings, but I want to shed some light on him for a change.

Life with him hasn’t always been gravy, but it would be strange if it was. In just a few short months, we will have been together for 9 years. When I was struggling with infertility, I recall looking back at our time together as a time ticking away, as if I had been wasting my life. Now, I think of the time we’ve spent together, and I have a feeling of pride and accomplishment. We have been through so much, and my, how we have grown.

I have always had trouble with depression. Sometimes darkness sinks in, and I have a hard time getting around it. Michael would always be able to see when I was slipping into a bad phase, and he could snap me out of it. When we found out what we were about to go through, I remember feeling terrible when he begged me not to do anything selfish. There were times that he would look me straight in the eye, and beg me not to shut down on him, not to close him out like I used to. Now, every single time I find myself feeling the slightest bit upset, I tell him. He hasn’t once complained.

Looking back on everything we have been through in just the last month, I am in awe of the man I have married. Not only did he stay with me for every minute he could while we were in the hospital, he remained strong for me, and I am so grateful. Because I was in labor for 20 hours, there were some moments that things got a little scary. In fact, I recall there being a time when my blood pressure dropped so drastically that I was passing out every few minutes. The nurses were reassuring him that I was going to be okay, even through all that, he remained calm and comforting, which is not how our relationship usually works. Typically, I’m the strong one when it comes to stressful situations.

My sweet man stayed awake the entire time we were there, and he was holding my hand through it all. At one point, he and my daddy had a conversation about taking care of me. Aside from the circumstances, it was the sweetest thing I have ever heard. My daddy mentioned it has always been his job to protect me and care for me, and Michael reminded him that it was now his job. My heart was so warmed by the two most important men in my life sharing their love for me. I’ll never forget the way my daddy explained his concern for me. As I lay in the hospital bed in labor, he said it was like I was about to get hit by a Mack Truck, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it.

The entire time I was pregnant, I recall dreaming about what our boy would look like. I’ve always admired how handsome my husband is, I simply couldn’t wait to have a little guy running around just like him. Just as he was born, I remember the doctor laying that sweet boy on my chest; I could only see the top of his head. My, how much hair he had. It was dark just like his daddy’s. I’ll never forget how Michael described him to me; I was still scared to see his face, as I wasn’t sure if I was able to handle it. He kept telling me how pretty our sweet Skylar was. He was so precious to me, a little boy that looked exactly like the love of my life. His nose, his chin, his eyes. I loved him so very much.

From the moment I got home from my doctor’s appointment on the day I learned our boy was gone, Michael has been stuck to me like glue. Since I’ve been back to work, he reaches out to me often, making sure I’m alright, and I’m sure there’s no way I would be, if it weren’t for him. He now puts up with all my new quirks. I often feel bad for waking him in the middle of the night, but when I have nightmares that wake me, panic always sinks in, and I have to make sure he’s breathing. After all this, I couldn’t imagine losing him, too.

There was a point when someone told me losing our sweet baby boy would either tear us apart, or make us stronger. I instantly remembered the moment I laid staring at my sweet husband, snoring like a bear. He was curled up with me in my tiny twin sized hospital bed after labor had come and gone. I recall thinking to myself; I had never loved him more. Isn’t it funny, how silly you seem when you look at your past, and realize how wrong you were. I thought I loved him more then, than I ever could. I love him more now than I ever have. I’m not sure how I’ll ever love him more than I do right now, but I’ve thought that in the past.

 

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