Thursday, May 17, 2012

The journey of stillbirth - part 2

It's been at least 2 years since I've felt so utterly depressed. And really, the word depressed is not one I throw around. Down is not depressed. Sad is not depressed. Depression is dark. It is a sense of utter hopelessness and that is what I am now fighting. Thank God for Tandi. A million zillion times over. Thank you God for Tandi. It's very hard to cry with a little girl splashing water in your face from her bath, trying to hide Gubby (the Guv) in the cupboard or pinching your nose and wrenching open your jaw to try shove food in while laughing manically. She is incredible. Thank you God for Tandi. Back to the stillbirth journey. I really hope that these posts can be of help to someone.. I mentioned how important it is to hold your baby - you wouldn't want to miss that - but there are of course times it won't be a good idea. If the baby is in a bad way then perhaps it's best not to and that is a very very tough call to make. It's important to take photos - even just to keep in case the mom ever wants them. I took many photos of my neice (her name is Lily) and sat with a friend who helped me edit them to soften the colour etc. I printed them and my folks bought a special album on which we engraved Lily's name. Well I only chose the very best of the photos for the album (want to play with the others a bit more) and every time I see my SIL the album is either in her hands or nearby. It is utterly precious to her and I'm so glad I did it. In some of the photos I placed one of Lily's toys, a bunny, and my SIL now has that bunny to keep forever. I also helped the nurses take hand and footprints - not always possible to do - but it is another precious keepsake for my SIL. The hospital room is a safe place. People who visit are there briefly to pay their respects and the nurses, hopefully, would be caring. But once you leave that hospital the world will confront you. In my case, we stopped at a chemist on the way home to collect my prescriptions. I stayed in the car while The Band went in. Sitting there, I saw a woman walk past. She had her baby to her chest in a kango pouch, covered in a blanked. All I could see was a little pair of pink-clad legs. It was all I needed to see. I will never forget the searing pain of that sight. Once you are out of your hospital room, in 'normal' contexts, people feel the need to act normal. I remember going to dinner with my folks (we were all staying in a hotel in Plett when it happened and so dinner out was a given). I remember my folks making conversation and seeming very cheerful and having a drink or whatever and by the time we walked into the hotel I lost it. I could not take the normalcy, how quickly they returned to normal, how quickly they could laugh again, how quickly they could forget, how quickly they could move on. I broke down and said it was all just a bit much. Last night - my SIL's first night out the hospital - was the same and I feel sick for not preempting it. There were too many of us there and we were chatting. OF COURSE none of us had forgotten and of course I now know that my folks were doing their level best that night in Plett to try cheer me up and had not at all forgotten - but that is how it felt and that is how my SIL felt last night. It is an agonising thing. People - even your very closest family - WILL forget. They WILL move on. but it won't be in the first week. The other thing that happens by about day 3 is that you start to be able to have conversations yourself about other things and even to laugh and have pleasant moments. Unfortunately, the aftermath is fierce. You feel sick and guilty and like a bad mom for forgetting for a moment that you have lost your child. It is a sickening awful feeling which makes you want to guard your grief almost jealously to avoid feeling that way again. TBC


Angel said...

Oh Caz... I don't want to equate my pain with what you feel for losing your child, but this post had me in tears! This was so much like how I felt when we lost our Nathan. He wasn't my son and he wasn't a baby, but I couldn't take being with my family because they were trying to be "normal" and all I was, was angry! Every time I smiled or laughed or thought of something other than my sadness and anger at our losing Nathan I felt guilty!
My heart aches for you and for your SIL.

Anonymous said...

ah yes - the NORMAL reaction/treatment.
When I first got back to work I felt like a leper. Colleagues did not know what to say or how to treat me so they thought they should leave me in peace. It was AWFUL! I wanted to be busy busy at work so that I could get through the day quickly! I need the hugs. I need to talk about our Nathan. Now they treat me as though I am over it - its better than the avoidance thing and at least I am occupied. But SO NOT over mourning for Nathan,missing him wanting to talk to him. I have spoken to him and even offered him winegums which he loved! I dont think the longing will ever go away ......
embrace the mourning and go with the flow.
Love & blessings - Nana Glen

Edyta said...

This is going to be major weird... You might remember I blogged at writing poetry and short stories. From nowhere, I decided to look at my old blog and I found it still there, looked at the comments and thought oh-my, that was an amazing experience and I felt such an influx of warmness.

I am back to blogging with a completely different topic, haha :D Fashion! If you'd like to be back to reading my heresies - I can be found here: :)

If you decide that you are soooo over me - then just treat this email as a thank you for the great days when blogging was blissful experience, t'was 2008, dontcha-know!

Anonymous said...

I lost my daughter last month suddenly when my bag of water came funneled down through my open cervix. I was 22 week and she was a totally healthy, beautiful baby. Before it happened I had no complications. Her heart was beating all the way up until my water broke in the middle of vomiting some antibiotics the hospital had given me. I was and still am totally devastated. The normalcy around me kills me and people's responses leave a lot to be desired. They justify her death by saying she could have had a defect. My daughter was perfectly formed and healthy. I'm also told often that I'm young (23) and the world is my oyster. In other words, a child is a lot of responsibility and maybe I can go out more of the weekends or land a more brilliant job now that I won't be raising my daughter. Who needs marriage and family these days when you have youth, right? I mean why would I want to care for and raise my flesh and blood when the world is out there for the taking?? And the normalcy...the people at work talk to me like nothing ever happened. I get to hear all their small talk or comments like "you're quiet today". I felt better at the hospital. I felt connected to my daughter, her father, and was surrounded by people (nurses) who knew EXACTLY the gravity of what I went through. I long for those things in the outside world, I really do.

Caro Sabbagha said...

Thank you for these posts. I've been searching for SA forums but not with much luck.
My daughter died on the 1st of Jan at 38 weeks. It's been a crappy year so far to say the least. What you say here is so true though, and it's something I wrote in my journal today. Everybody is just so normal, everyone just seems to carry on. Everyday is another day for everyone else, but everyday to me is a day that my baby is not here. It is such a lonely place. It's been 2 months but it all feels timeless.

Caz said...

Ah man. My long abandoned blog received some attention from me today and I discovered all these comments. Thank you all for sharing your hearts, mine hurts with yours and while most of these comments are pretty old, I know that while the pain is diluted somewhat by now, it is no less real.

Caro! I see you commented a couple of weeks ago only. I wish I had a way to contact you. No idea whether you'll receive notification of this comment, I hope you do. Your loss is so recent and your pain is so raw. The world is still far more cruel than it is kind at this point where you really are simply trying to manage to keep breathing.

If you do see this, please won't you send me an email? cozitcounts at gmail dot com. I'd love to be in contact and there's a book I'd love to send your way. So much love and prayers xxx