Sticks and Stones

sticks-and-stones

One of the biggest lies we tell our children is the old adage: “Sticks & stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  We have told our children this with good intentions.  Sincerely hoping they understand that the words are fleeting & don’t mean anything.  Which is true – the words themselves dissolve in the air as soon as they are released.  But it’s not that simple.  I have gone through so many things in my life.  And to be brutally honest, I would much rather take a bone-crushing beating than have heard some of the things I have been told in my lifetime.  Words can bring so much happiness & joy, but they can also bring devastation, heartache & tears that won’t cease until the wounds have healed over & the scars are all that remain.

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After losing two babies in less than six months, my heart and soul was broken.  My brain was not where it needed to be either.  In times like this, you need the people closest to you to be completely supportive – even if they think you are crazy or it’s hopeless.  You desperately NEED them to just be as understanding and supportive as possible.  But some people just aren’t like that.  Instead of saying simply, “I’ll be praying for you,” they try to be logical & tell you “maybe it’s just not meant to be”, “you should give up” or “if you could just move on.”  Which makes complete sense from the outside of the situation.  But I wasn’t on the outside.  I was locked in – trapped – on the inside of the insanity brought about by devastating loss.  I could not hear the helpful intentions in those words.  All I heard was someone reiterating the mantra I kept hearing in my head.  Only they were saying it out loud – for all to hear:  “You’re broken.  Why are you bothering? Just give up.  You’ll never be able to give Al a baby now that he wants one.  Remember – you’re broken!”

Then you have the honest people who finally tell you what they’ve thought all along.  The ones that do not realize that what they just said was not just a kick in the teeth – it was a literal stab in the heart.  In the heat of an unnecessary argument, I was told by someone I dearly love (not my husband so don’t misunderstand!) that they never wanted me to have Abi to begin with.  Now whether they meant what they said in the heat of the moment or not, does not matter.  What was said left an undeniable scar on my heart that will never go away.  I was not mad; I was not angry.  I was crushed; I was devastated.  And all I can remember was the sinking feeling wash over me that in my brokenness, I truly was all alone.  Al came to my rescue because that is who he is.  And because his first reaction is to lash out in anger whereas, mine is to walk away.  I don’t know that I could have survived any of this without my super hero husband.  He has rescued me so many times over the last three years.  And probably all without ever knowing he was rescuing me!

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I have done a lot of praying since then.  I have apologized to many people because my reaction to things said was not always in keeping with their intentions.  I know they will never be able to understand where my words came from unless they were placed in that situation & had to survive.  I would NEVER wish that on anyone – ever.  I just hope they know that I am truly sorry.  While my brokenness remains, the heartache & hurt that was such a huge factor in my reactions before has eased.  I only write this blog to help others understand that sometimes those “innocent comments” are not always so innocent to the person hearing them.  And those words that were not necessarily intended to be hurtful, can be quite devastating.  Don’t walk on eggshells, but try walking in their shoes for a moment just to see if your words could be taken some other way.  “Be careful what you say.  You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.”  – Joel Osteen.

The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do.

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” – James 3:5 (KJV)

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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The Obsession Begins

obsession

If you have never experienced some minor form of obsession (whether it be in love or having to keep the car clean) or full blown OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), you will never understand my next phase of dealing with the chaos.  To be honest, I never really understood the overwhelming & quite literally uncontrollable need to do something – whatever it may be for the sufferer.  That is until now . .

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We lost Abigail in July & in November miscarried again.  Two babies in a year.  Heck, we lost two babies in less than six months.  How does anyone survive this torture?  For us – we lost ourselves in our work.  And when we weren’t at work, Al had his various projects.  He took up scroll saw work (wood working) & began creating some exquisite pieces.  (The shelf that Abi now sits on being one of his first projects.)  I began crocheting everything I possibly could.  I seriously thought I could handle it like Al did.  If I could keep my hands busy I could keep my mind shut off to the agony of our losses.  But apparently I don’t work that way.  My mind wouldn’t shut off.  No matter what I did.  I couldn’t stop thinking about my babies.  I couldn’t stop thinking that I had let my husband down.  I had broken both of us & I needed to “fix it.”  I was so unbelievably broken.  I felt as though my heart, my mind, my body, my spirit was all broken in a million pieces & I needed to fix it – all of it.  So I began researching everything that I possibly could find on getting pregnant.  I found supplements & apps.  I began charting everything from daily symptoms to cervical mucus to basal body temperature to weight loss/gain, etc., etc., etc.  Every waking moment revolved around getting pregnant.  I truly became OBSESSED with doing whatever I needed to do to get pregnant again.  I quite literally couldn’t stop.  I read in to every “sign” or imagined symptom.  I got my hopes up over & over & over & over & over again.  I never knew just how self-destructive obsessive behavior could be until I began living it every day.  And even then I didn’t realize it until over two years had gone by.

I used to joke about being obsessed about my weight.  I absolutely HAD to weigh myself every morning.  It would drive me crazy throughout the day if I didn’t.  Or at least I thought it did.  I will never say that again.  And I will never down play obsessive behavior again.  Until I experienced true obsession, I didn’t understand just how awful not being in control could be.  This felt like my own mind was my enemy.  As though it was out to destroy me when I already felt destroyed.  It was not a joke & it was not something that I could just “get over.”  I learned first-hand that people with OCD or obsessive behaviors truly do SUFFER from them.  The mental anguish that I put on myself during this time is unbelievable.  And I can only imagine the physical toll that it took as well.  The stress, the anger, the depression & disappointment that revolved around my obsessive behavior was maddening & exhausting – both mentally & physically.

It has taken me two & a half years to gradually work myself away from my pregnancy obsession.  It was a lot of work to convince my warped brain to go ahead & give it all to God.  Let him be in control.  And it took a lot of prayer – a LOT of prayer.  Prayers for God to help calm my mind & continue the healing of my heart.  I still hope & pray for us to be blessed with a child of our own.  Maybe now that I have minimized the stress in my life, our miracle might happen!

P.S.  I had students who suffered from OCD & now I feel horrible because my office had to have absolutely driven them crazy back then!  If you were one of those kiddos & you are reading this now, please know that I am truly sorry for not being more understanding & for not allowing you to organize my office stacks/piles!

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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Heartache Upon Heartache

Just when you think that you have survived the storm & nothing else could possibly go wrong – it does . . .

The next few weeks after my granddaughter was born were tough, but Al & I soldiered through.  I made sure to keep the tears hidden as much as possible from everyone who would worry.  Only crying when I was alone – driving, in the shower or after everyone had fallen asleep.  Al continued to be my rock throughout this time.  He was so strong.  When November came, it was hard to think of being thankful when my heart was still so broken, but I was trying to make a point of thanking God every day for the time we did have with Abigail & for the lessons we had learned from her tiny & short presence.  It was NOT an easy task, but believe it or not, God did provide some comfort in those moments of prayer.

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It was a couple weeks into November when I took a pregnancy test & discovered I was pregnant again!  The joy & elation – the relief – was unbelievable!  I couldn’t wait to tell Al!  Our fervent prayers continued for God to bless us with a baby that we could bring home & cherish, but there was hope behind them now pushing them towards the heavens!  But . . . there is always a but . . .

It was a week before Thanksgiving & I thought it was time to tell someone very important to me of our news.  So I worked up the nerve & spilled the beans.  And then my world was turned upside down.  The one person in the world other than Al who I thought would be so supportive & excited & loving upon hearing our good news – was less than thrilled.  And within hours, I was being lectured as if I was an unmarried, pregnant teenager still in high school.  I was told what an awful mother I had been in years past; I was being selfish; I was too old to be thinking like this; I didn’t really want a baby anyway, etc.  I was heartbroken.  This was someone that I loved dearly reading me the proverbial “riot-act.”  I fell silent during our “conversation.”  I couldn’t say anything.  I didn’t know what to say.  A moment that should have been full of laughter, loving hugs & tears of joy was suddenly filled with emptiness, even more sorrow & tears of despair.

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Afterwards, Al & I talked & we prayed for God to open this person’s heart.  We decided not to tell anyone else for a while & continued to pray for a healthy baby to enter our lives.  And then the unthinkable happened.  Four days later, I began to miscarry.  Within a week, the sonogram confirmed the miscarriage.  I have miscarried before, but this one was different.  There were so many dreams; so much hope & joy & expectancy connected to this baby.  There were so many hours of prayer tied to this great blessing.  And all of it was torn away – in what felt like another devastating moment of helplessness.

Have you ever felt worthless? Helpless?  Broken?  Damaged?  Unloved?  Thrown away?  This cloud of doubt & fear & hopelessness was swirling around me.  Threatening to pull me under into what appeared to be a sweet & quiet oblivion.  It was so tempting to just let go.  It was hard to see a reason to go on . . . but I had to.  There were too many people relying on me for one thing or another.  So I took a very deep breath & continued to hide the tears that were – quite literally – always on the verge of spilling over & flooding my every waking moment.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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The Fear Sets In

I was desperately fighting the depression that was constantly looming over me & threatening to drag me into the depths of oblivion.  The house was now full of people with my pregnant daughter & one year old grandson living with us.  For the most part it was a blessing to have them home.  But there were moments when the fear would set in.  Not just fear – moments of literal panic would overwhelm me.  What was I going to do when Heavan had her baby?  How would I survive that?  All the questions aimed at my God would flood my mind.  All the “if onlys, whys & what ifs” would crowd all other thoughts out of my head.  I struggled with the “but it’s not fair” thoughts on a daily basis.  And I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to be there for my daughter when she needed me most.

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The next two & a half months were both a blessing & a nightmare.  A blessing to have my family close.  A nightmare because the closer the time came for my granddaughter to arrive the more frightened I became.  The internal struggle was exhausting.  Being a mother, I absolutely had no choice, but to be there for my daughter – no matter what.  But having lost Abigail, the other side of me was crying out that it just was not fair.  I could not survive this heartbreak.  Someone else having a baby, but I don’t have mine.

And yet . . .

When the time finally came, the mom in me won out.  I took Heavan to the hospital when she went in to labor & was with her while we waited for her doctor to arrive from a delivery downtown.  The nurses continued to check on her many times for the next several hours.  As her labor increased in intensity & the doctor had not arrived yet, she began to worry because the baby was ready to come in to this world.  She was not interested in waiting!  At the point when the nurses finally thought they were going to have to call the doctor on duty, Heavan’s OB finally made it to her room.  He took one step into the room & immediately told the nurses that the baby was breach – why hadn’t they caught that before he got there?  So now there was a whirlwind of activity to prep Heavan for an emergency C-section.  She was scared – which I completely understood.  I was just here in this exact same situation just 4 months before.  Same hospital, same doctor, same operating room – same panic – same tears.  And just when I thought that I would have broken down & left her alone because I couldn’t handle it all – I couldn’t leave her alone.  I couldn’t walk away & wait for the inevitable.  I couldn’t abandon her in her time of need just because my heart was supposed to be breaking.  Everything else shut down & I was Heavan’s mom in that moment.

In that moment, I never even considered the thought of leaving her.

I still thank God that He wrapped my heart in His love & comfort so the sadness from the lose of my Abi wouldn’t tear me away from such an important moment – for my daughter & for myself.  I thank God that I could be there for Heavan when Arya was born.  While my heart would still ache & the tears would still come in the months to follow when I would look at that little baby girl & catch glimpses of what I dreamed Abigail would have looked like, I love that little girl with all my heart & soul.  She was a saving grace for both my husband & me.  She helped us to survive during a time that could easily have been un-survivable.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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Unexpected Challenge

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The time had come to begin the major endeavor of “being ok” & moving on with “normal” life – even though the minutes, hours & days were all a heartbreaking blur.  I was ready to go back to work in the hopes that I could distract my brain from dwelling on losing Abi.  I had hoped that we were done with all the hurt & bitterness & craziness & struggle.  But then something else arose & tore my heart in two.  We faced a challenge that I was not ready for & one that I never dreamed would be so hard.

My daughter & one year old grandson were living in a situation that was no longer providing a healthy environment for either of them.  Things had not been great for a while, but the time had come to make a change for the better – for everyone’s sake.  It was an extremely difficult choice for my daughter to make, but she asked my husband & I if she & Julian could move back in with us.  Under “normal” circumstances, I would not have thought twice about it.  Of course, they could move back in.  Here is where the proverbial “but” comes in though.  She was pregnant again.  Not just pregnant, but pregnant with a little girl.  Which again – under normal circumstances – would not have been a problem for me. But my heart was breaking in two every time I saw someone who was pregnant; every time I walked by a baby, etc.  It took everything I had to not break down in those moments so the thought of having someone – anyone – in my home & pregnant, seeing them on a daily basis, was almost more than I could bear.

Don’t get me wrong –  I love my daughter with all my heart & soul.  She is a part of me & always will be.  I would give my life for her.  But in those moments – my heart was in a small urn on a shelf of the wall of my bedroom & I wasn’t sure I could survive this move.

But once again, my husband & I discussed it & made the decision to bring them home.  I survived losing Abigail; I could survive this.  So 3 weeks after losing my Abi-girl, my Heavan moved back home.  Again, much of it is a blur, but I do remember a moment of the moving day.  My husband & brother-in-law were bringing Heavan’s stuff inside.  She was dealing with that & had put Julian in Abi’s room in the crib in the hopes that he would take a nap.  Being in a new place though, he was not having it.  I remember hearing him crying & screaming.  My heart was breaking so I went to the door – Abi’s door – which I had not opened since before Abi’s death.  But I couldn’t open it.  I stood there for what felt like a lifetime.  I’m sure it was only a minute or two, but in my heart & in my head, it was an eternity before I could put my hand on the doorknob & push the door open.  Now it was a matter of actually stepping across the threshold & into a dream world that would never come to be.  All the monkeys & daisies on the wall were no longer going to be seen by my precious Abigail.  That dream was gone, but it was still Abi’s room. And I needed to get my grandson.  So with a deep breath, I crossed over into my heartbreak & went over to him.  As I picked him up, I told him he couldn’t cry in there.  Gigi couldn’t listen to him cry in Abi’s room so he needed to be happy.  And it was in that moment that I sat down with him & began to cry also.  Al, James & Heavan all came in to the room & while I tried stopping to let them know that I couldn’t let him cry in her room, I just couldn’t make the tears stop.

It was so hard.  And there were so many times that I prayed for strength & comfort.  But to be honest, there were probably more times I prayed for God to take me home.  I didn’t want to die necessarily.  I just didn’t want to “be” anymore.  I thank God every day since then for His grace & mercy to walk me through that time.  While I still have bad moments/days every once in a while, I know that God is still holding my hand & walking with me through every day.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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Dealing With Multiple Personalities

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As though losing a child – not just a child, but an infant – one that you never heard gurgle, cry or coo – wasn’t enough!  After bringing Abi home in her beautiful urn & placing her in her forever spot, I began to find myself questioning if I was losing my mind.  I truly felt as though I had a multiple personality disorder!  There was the me that everyone knew, but there was also the bitter Melissa that was forever lurking just under the surface.  Let me explain . . .

When you suffer a loss like we did, you always have those well-meaning people who want to provide “encouragement” & sympathies during your time of grieving.  There is a problem with that for some of us who literally just want to be left alone.  You have to understand that my husband & I are both introverts.  We didn’t want to talk about losing Abi.  We didn’t want to hear all of the “I’m sorry”-s or the “I can’t imagine”-s that everyone feels obligated to say to the grieving parents.  I would try to accept the condolences & comments with grace & dignity because I knew those sending them truly meant them.  They were truly heartfelt.  BUT . . . while the one side of my brain would struggle through the conversations with the silent prayer “just don’t let me start crying,” there was another side that was screaming inside my head at these kind people who were only trying to help.  That side desperately wanted to scream at them to “JUST SHUT UP!”  “LEAVE ME ALONE!”  “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!”  There were moments when I feared that side would slip out & I worried that I would find myself yelling at some well-meaning, innocent victim of my multiple personality!

I never stopped praying for God to give me strength to survive each day – heck each moment of each day.  I prayed for His mercy to touch my heart & mind, His peace to comfort my grieving soul, His strength to carry me through every second of every day.  I know I would not have survived this aftermath if it had not been for Him carrying me through the storm.  I did not have the strength, kindness, patience nor heart on my own to deal with myself, my husband, my family or friends.  He held me & carried me when I could not walk on my own.

And there were moments that we found were more difficult than others.  Comments that friends & loved ones would make that would set off that screaming & angry side within both of us.  The worst thing anyone could say was “What can I do?” or “Let me know if I can help.”  Things like that would set off the hateful, bitter, hurting side within us every time.  Or maybe it was just the grieving personality that would start screaming.  Every time we would hear these type of statements, the only thing we could think to say would be “You can’t help” or “Turn back the clock” or the mother of all hurtful responses – “Bring my daughter back!  If you can’t do that, then you can’t help.”  Of course I never threw that in anyone’s face, but the bitter Melissa inside my brain sure tried to spit it out time & again.

Don’t get me wrong – we truly appreciated all the kindness, support & love that everyone gave us.  I am sure that it would have been an even more devastating time for us to get through if we had not had that circle of love around us.  But it was not easy.  I can only describe it as excruciating.  But it was sincerely appreciated.  It also showed us just exactly how truly blessed we were – even while we were hurting.  It was just difficult.  So if you ever have a friend that goes through this, just keep in mind – sometimes the most helpful thing you can say is – absolutely nothing!  Just a show of support – a hug, a hand on the shoulder – with no words, just a silent show of love, can make all the difference in someone’s most devastating moments.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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The Wait

Once more I must apologize to those who have been supporting me through this journey.  The holidays are still very hard.  I am sure that it will be an ongoing issue that I will have to face.  I will try my best to not let anyone down & continue this healing process.

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So what we believed to be our last wait had begun.  We began counting the days until we could bring our baby girl home forever.  I know that I got up every day.  I know that I functioned every day.  But I seriously could not tell you what happened.  This time was an agonizing blur of waking up, eating when my loving husband told me it was time & avoiding Abi’s room. My loving in-laws took us to a movie.  I know dear friends from church came by the house.  Ms. Dixie brought us a lovely dinner.  But it was all a blur – just waiting for the mortuary to call & tell us that Abigail was ready to come home.  It was about 10 days I believe when they finally called & we took the drive back over to that sad place.  Once again, everyone was so nice to us.  They brought Abi to us & her urn was absolutely beautiful.  She was finally coming home.  This time my prayers had come true.  She would be with us forever.

Al made an absolutely beautiful shelf for our little girl.  She had a spot on the wall by the door to our room so that we could be sure to see her all the time.  Al had to go back to work, but I had not been released to go back yet.  He would leave for work in the morning & I would get Abi & crawl back in to bed.  I would hide under the covers with her & cry until there were no more tears.  I would then get up & wander around the house in a fog.  My dear sweet husband worried so much about my being home alone.  He didn’t want to lose me in the abyss of depression & loss.  And he was right to worry.  I was well on my way to the edge.  It would only require a little push & I would fall in.  Thankfully, I received the release from my doctor & the approval from the campus clinic to return to work.  I could lose myself in my work & not in the hell of losing my Abi-girl.

My supervisor had been kind enough to let everyone know that I just needed to be left alone & didn’t want any kind of a fuss.  I will never forget the 3 people who did come by my cubicle though.  Two sweet & beautiful ladies came by to give me a hug.  They said nothing more than they were praying for me.  Just that & nothing more.  It meant so much.  I know I had said I just wanted to be left alone – and that was true – but what they did touched my heart & soul at a time when I truly needed it.  One other person came up to see me.  He was one of my engineers & had actually come up to talk to me about work.  To this day it amazes me how God can touch our hearts at just the time we desperately are in need of His love, grace, mercy & peace.  Anyway, he looked at me and said, “I’m not going to say anything, but I am going to give you a hug.” He proceeded to give me a hug & then it was back to business as usual.  Another woman that worked in my building caught me a couple weeks later in the bathroom & shared her story with me.  She had lost a son.  But she shared a bit of knowledge that her experience taught her.  She told me “The loss & pain will always be there, but the despair will fade.”  Two & a half years later, I now understand what she meant.

It was at this time that I had to face something that was both a blessing as well as a heart-wrenching challenge.  But that is a story for next time.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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The Arrangements

For those of you who have truly been reading/following this blog, I apologize.  I thought this journey would get easier with each additional post.  The truth is it hasn’t though, but  I know in my heart it’s something I need to do.  I need to work past the agony.  I am sorry to all of you who have been awaiting the next part of the story.  I will try to do a better job of writing this story for you – and for me.

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We sat & waited for the gentleman to come help us bring our angel baby home.  Steeling ourselves to get through this ordeal.  When he came in, he was so very nice – understanding.  As we begin discussing what was to be done, he tells us that he has already spoken with the benefits office at my work & everything financially has been taken care of which was quite a blessing for us.  We have nothing to worry about – except making it through this nightmare.

One of the things that we had discussed before coming to this appointment was our desperate need to bring our baby home.  Neither of us could bear the thought of putting her in the ground anywhere so the only viable option was cremation & then bringing her home to be with us.  The kind gentleman was very understanding of our situation.  We explained that we had already had a “service” for Abi & couldn’t bear going through another.  We told him that we had already spoken with our pastor & that we had made our decision.  He proceeded to show us the infant urns & as we looked at them I remembered something that the nurses had forgotten at the hospital.  I had asked the nurses for a lock of Abigail’s hair, but when we finally made it home & I looked through the box, they had forgotten it.

I had to ask for a lock of hair.  I just had to.  And to my surprise – he tells us that she has already been brought to the funeral home.  She’s in the back – cold & alone.  All I can think of is how desperately I want to go back & find her & never let her go.  Tell her once more that I love her & that she will always be a part of me.  Smell her & touch her.  Try to memorize every detail of her face, hands, feet, etc.  I don’t want to forget a single thing about her.  But I know that it’s impossible.  So we sit & look through urns, while he goes back to get my lock of hair from my baby girl & we find the perfect one.  It was called Coming Home & was absolutely beautiful.  Just like our beautiful Abigail Elisabeth.  Now it’s just a matter of time before we can bring her home with us for good.  We just have to survive until then.  A new waiting game begins for us.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

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The Aftermath

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We had said our last goodbyes to Abigail.  We had taken our last hug.  Given our last kisses.  Prayed our last prayer to wake our little girl.  And then the goodbye process truly began.  There’s a part of this that you never see in the movies or TV shows.  A part that we were not prepared for.

When we were finally ready for them to take Abi & leave the hospital to crawl into our hole of despair, we found that we couldn’t.  The staff came in to take the “complimentary pictures” for us.  So while we sat there, they took pictures of the empty shell that had been our baby girl.  I know it was well intentioned, but I was dying on the inside.  When we asked if we could leave, we are notified that we are waiting for the San Antonio Police to show up.  Did you know that the hospital is required to file a police report on any infant death?  We had not even thought about that.  So we waited.  While they took pictures in Abi’s room – while we waited for the police officer – while we began to disappear into a well of shock & grief.

Al had called my daddy to come & get us that morning.  He was outside in the lobby while we were waiting.  I recall the officer & nurse sitting outside the room – we could see them through the window.  All the other nurses were doing their rounds with the other babies in the NICU.  Couldn’t they see that our world was falling apart?  Couldn’t they see that the world should stop turning?  But I knew that it couldn’t stop.  Not for those other babies.  For those other families.  I would never wish anyone to ever have to go through this nightmare.  I can’t remember how long we sat in that room with the lifeless body of our precious angel.  I remember the nurses & the hospital chaplain coming in with a decorated, pink shoe box.  Full of Abi’s things from her stay.  Her entire 10 days of life – squeezed into a shoe box.  It was a very sweet thought.  I appreciated it.  But it still hurt.  To be carrying this box out of the hospital instead of our baby.  It wasn’t fair.  It just wasn’t fair.  It wasn’t fair to be walking out of this room & seeing what used to be my baby girl lying on the bed just waiting for someone to pick her up again & hug her one last time.  But I couldn’t.  If I did, I knew I would never let go.

Daddy took us to breakfast & we put on a brave face.  I think the shock had set in so it wasn’t as hard as you would have thought.  After eating he took us home so that we could attempt to sleep.  While that was exactly what we needed – I could barely keep my eyes open, but I was afraid to close my eyes.  What if when I woke up, I had forgotten what she looked like?  What if I forgot what she smelled like?  Or felt like?  What if I forgot the way her fingers looked when they wrapped around mine?  What if?  What if?  What if?  But by the time we walked upstairs & laid down, we passed away into a blissful oblivion without dreams, without heartache, without pain, without regrets.

Unfortunately, we had to wake up though.  We had an appointment with the funeral home.  Since we had our farewell prayer service with everyone in the hospital, we knew we could not survive another service with everyone else.  Al spoke with our Pastor make sure it was ok because we didn’t want to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings.  Thank the Lord Pastor agreed & said that he didn’t see a reason for us to go through that unless we wanted to.  Daddy was kind enough to chauffer us there.  I knew I was in no condition to be driving anywhere.  As we walked in for our appointment, all I could think of was all the other services that I had attended here.  As a teacher, I had been to too many funerals for kids that died too young.  And now here we were to make arrangements for our 10 day old baby angel.  I once again felt as though I had stepped through the door into the Twilight Zone . . .

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

http://www.plumfund.com/medical-fund/MyHealingHeart

Goodbye My Precious Girl

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It was time for us to be with our baby girl – without all the tubes, without all the wires & alarms.  Just us & our precious Abi.  My in-laws, daddy & daughter all went to await the inevitable in the hospital waiting room as we prepared to hold Abigail for the last minutes of her short life. I think we all assumed that it would be over rather quickly.  We cried & told her it was ok for her to go home.  We told her how much we loved her & how we would always love her.  She was going to be in our hearts forever.  We were ready; at least we thought we were ready.

We spent the first couple hours handing her back & forth so that we could both have time holding her.  I changed her diaper & suctioned her throat & handed her back to Al.  It was so cold in her room that I had to go ask for a couple blankets!  They came in & changed the thermostat so that it would warm up & it became a lot more comfortable – as comfortable as could be expected when holding your dying child.  Eventually they brought us a little tray with some snacks & drinks which was greatly appreciated.  The nursing staff throughout our stay was absolutely wonderful.  They would come in about every hour or so to check on Abi & see how we were holding up.  We were just so appreciative of their kindness & of our time with our precious girl.

By 10 or 11 that night, my daddy & pregnant daughter decided to leave the hospital.  Heavan was so exhausted & daddy knew she needed to go home to her son & get some rest.  I went out just long enough to say goodbye to them & then headed back in to Abi’s room.  Time was ticking by so slowly.  Not that we were complaining.  I think we both had a small hope in our hearts that Abigail would miraculously wake up & shock us all.  But the reality wasn’t working out like that.  The reality remained that our baby girl was still silent & unmoving.  We would have given anything to hear her cry out – to see her smile – to feel her move.  All we had was this precious little body to hold until she went home to our Lord.  And each other.

At some point we started dozing off while holding Abigail.  She was being so strong & hanging on.  I believe that God was allowing her to stay with us to help ease our heartache.  Not fix it, but to give us some sense of solace with our baby girl.  I can’t believe it was to torture us – although there was a sense of that as well.  At some point in the night Al received a text that his parents & brother & sister-in-law were going to go ahead & leave.

We were truly alone with our dying child.  And we were ok with that.  We are both loners by nature although some people would never believe that of me.  We prefer to deal with our loss & tragedy alone – in our own ways.  It is a trait that drives many of our friends & family crazy, but it is who we are.  Luckily, those  who truly loved us allowed us to crawl into our caves & waited somewhat patiently for us to reemerge.

As the night turned into morning, we were still holding Abi close & praying for God to take her home or to wake her up.  I took her from Al to change her diaper once again when I realized she had stopped breathing.  I handed her back to Al & waved for the nurse through the window.  He had wanted to be holding her when the time came.  The nurse came in & confirmed that she wasn’t breathing, but her heart was still beating.  Our baby girl died in his arms in the minutes that followed.  About 30 minutes later the doctor came in.  It was the same doctor that was there the night Abi was admitted.  He pronounced her & I remember him taking my hand – “God be with you.”

The hole in our hearts was ripped wide open at 7:55 a.m. on July 3,2013.

Til next time, take care & God bless . . .

Melissa

Psalms 18:6

http://www.plumfund.com/medical-fund/MyHealingHeart