Monday, February 22, 2010

What's with the weird comments

So I posted about the 'abortion thing' a few days ago. Then on Thursday there was the following conversation at the doctors office. Here's the background: I was at the doctor's office with Lexi. She has some sort of reflux/gut/sleeping/screeching issues and we are trying to get it sorted out. I was called up to the receptionist to check in (let me add that I love this receptionist, she is fantastic at her job and very down to earth when you call in with questions or concerns; gives her opinion as a mother and then as a doctor's office employee).

Receptionist: Hi Rachel, are you here for you or for baby?
Me: For baby.
Receptionist: (looking at my file) And that's for Baby Ben?
Me: (shocked) Ummm... Nooooo....
Receptionist: No? Not for Baby Ben? (clearly confused)
Me: Noooo..... (waiting for her to realize her immense error)
Receptionist: (just looks at me confused)
Me: Benjamin was my baby that was stillborn last year.
Receptionist: Oh God! Oh, I'm so sorry (hand on her heart)!!
Me: Don't worry about it, it's okay. This appointment is for Lexi.
Receptionist: (clearly still very upset about her error) Oh, why do they still have that on the file?!
Me: Really, it's okay.

Sooo... What to say about this exchange... Firstly it was a shot to the heart. Made me sad and sick at the same time as happy and tricky feeling. That's hard to explain. It's like when my friend lost her baby and I accidentally used her baby's name in place of her toddler's name in an email asking how her toddler was (days after her baby had died). When she pointed out my error I felt horrible but she replied with "It's okay, it was kind of nice because no one will ever ask me how she is". I get that. By the receptionist asking me if the appointment was for Benjamin I got to, just for a minute, feel like I was his mom; doing something so mundane for him as taking him to the doctor's office. I will never get to do that, but for just a split second it was like that is what I was doing. I also felt tricky because I could feel her confusion but didn't want to right away explain it away. Don't get me wrong, I really do like this woman and it bothers me how much I know she has stewed about it ever since, but I deal with the confusion, the despair, the somethings-not-right-in-the-world every day since losing Benjamin. So for once it wasn't me feeling that way over him. And of course I felt sad and sick because the truth was that it was not an appointment for Benjamin. He will never have a mundane doctor's appointment. He'll never have the entire waiting room smiling at his cute little baby coos and squeals. He will never make a teenage boy uncomfortable by staring at him and making silly noises and faces trying to get his attention. He will never attack the doctor's hand with his slobbery mouth when he is trying to do his assessment. He will never feel the cold paper of the exam table and the utter giddiness as another person tickles his belly and remarks on his chubby little legs. He won't get any of that. And that makes me sad.

But just for that split second I was able to imagine that he was my living baby. Bringing him to a doctor's appointment, concerned about his health and wanting to make him better. Just for that split second that was an option; that making him better. Just for a split second. And since that's all I get, I'll take it when I can.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You have to read this

I was looking for relevant quotes for stillbirth and infant loss today. In my search I came across this blog and started reading it a bit. It's written by a woman, Lauren, who gave birth to her son, Jonathan, 4 months ago. Her son was born with T13 and lived for 40 minutes. In this post ( she talks about a build-a-bear teddy that was given to her by a nurse. For Christmas her husband added a recording of Jonathan's heart beat into the bears chest and a recording of their daughter saying "I love you Jonathan! I miss you!" into the bear's hand. There are no words to describe how special this bear must be to Lauren. Part of me is so jealous that she has this. So envious. It pains me that I don't have anything like this of Benjamin. Sure I have his photos and things that he physically touched. But to have a reminder of him alive would be such a treasure. When I was pregnant with Lexi I recorded her heartbeat so that I could share it with family and friends. Part of me knew that I was also doing it 'just in case'. I also wanted so desperately to go to one of those 3D ultrasound places so that I could get a video of her ultrasound. But it was expensive and I felt like that would be putting too much belief in her not being born alive. Like that would be jinxing things. Silly.

But to have that bear with Benjamin's heart beat...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Odd, disturbing conversation

Last week I was in Wendy's for lunch with the kids. The cashier was fawning over Lexi. Then she mentions to me that she is pregnant. Here's the conversation:

Me: Congratulations, when are you due?
Her: June.
Me: Is this your first baby?
Her: (laughing) Yes, I'm only 18.
Me: Oh (thinking, so?)
Her: Yeah, I just couldn't do the whole abortion thing.
Me: Um... Good for you.

What the hell else do you say to that???? What a stupid thing to say. "The whole abortion thing". Like it's some cool trend that all the other kids are doing, but she just wasn't in to it. So instead she's just going to go through with it and have the baby. I wanted so badly to ask her if she was going to put the baby out for adoption or ruin her life by keeping it (I only say 'ruin her life' because that's the impression she gave). I really hope she looked into adoption since I believe any person that makes the statement "I just couldn't do the whole abortion thing" should have really researched her options before deciding she is the best mother for that baby.

I am not anti-abortion, anti-teenmom, or bitter (okay, maybe a bit bitter). It just pissed me off that she would say that. She doesn't know me. I'd never seen her before in my life and yet she felt it was acceptable to make such a stupid statement to me. Like she felt she deserved some sort of pat on the back for continuing the pregnancy. And you just know she'll end up having a healthy baby, born at term with no issues at all. And then she'll raise this baby, making sure everyone knows that this is NOT the way she wants her life to be. I just hope at some point in the next 4 months she figures out how lucky she is to be having a baby and when that little girl is born she will instantly fall in love with her and realize how lucky she is to be a mom. And then she'll think back to when she told that stranger in Wendy's that she just couldn't 'do that whole abortion thing' and be embarrassed by her immature statement.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Makes it all worth it.

I received an email last week from a woman that received a Benjamin Box. It was the first contact I'd had with someone that actually was given a box. I know there have been many boxes given to families, but this was the first time someone has contacted me. She shared a bit about her son and told me how much she appreciated the box. I cannot begin to tell you how that made me feel. It made all the work I've put into this project totally worth it. It made it real. These boxes really are making a difference. Benjamin's short life has helped to make someone else's pain just a tiny bit more bearable.

The website continues to get a lot of hits every day. Donations are slowly starting to come in. Many people that have donated have done so in memory of their baby or in memory of a loved one's baby. I want people to know about these babies. To know that people that loved these babies have reached out to help other people during their devastating times. But it is not my place to do so. I cannot put on the website that a donation was made in xxx's name. I want to; I so desperately want to. But it is not my place. So if you are thinking of making a donation, please use the tribute page to tell readers about your son or daughter. Tell them that because you loved and lost your baby some other mother will have some comfort in memory of your baby.

It's hard to get the word out about these boxes. I don't feel right asking for donations. And really that's mainly what the site is about. Sure, it's also to increase awareness, but for the most part it's basically asking for money. How do you ask people for money? Even when it's a cause that is so important to you it keeps you up at night; it takes over your thoughts for a good portion of the day? How do you ask for donations for a cause that people don't want to talk about? People don't want to think about stillbirth and infant loss. If they think about it then it becomes a reality. If it's a reality then it can happen to them. And that is a scary thought.

On the site I can see where people have been referred to my site from. Today I saw that some people came from Twitter. People I don't even know are 'tweeting' about me. That blows my mind. This little project that I dreamed up while grieving my son is being talked about by people I have never met; not even on a forum online. I don't know how they first saw the site, but they are tweeting about it nonetheless. And donating money. Blows my mind.

I feel optimistic. Good things are going to happen in memory of my sweet Benjamin. That makes me so happy that it makes me burst into tears.

I love you, my sweet baby boy. I hope you are proud of your mommy.