Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Congratulations C&L!!

I know that I've mentioned that I co-founded a support group in town for bereaved parents (specifically stillbirth and infant loss). The turnout for the group has been surprisingly minimal, but there are a core group of about 5 of us that attend the meetings and keep in touch. It's interesting because of the 5 of us we have one mom who lost her baby girl at 19 weeks, another who lost her baby boy very shortly after birth, another who's son died a few weeks after birth, another who lost her baby girl at term, and then me. There have been many meetings where it is just the other full-term loss mom there with me. We've talked a lot about our loss, but also about our hopes for the future and our day to day lives. I feel a real connection and bond to this woman.

So I could not have been happier when she told me that she had started the process to adopt a baby who was to be born in June (this was back a few months ago). It was not something that she told many people because they were, understandably, scared that the adoption wouldn't work out and they'd have to face another loss. We talked a lot about how a new baby changes your life after you have lost a baby. I told her the different emotions I went through when I was pregnant with Lexi, and then when I gave birth to her. I told her the conflicting emotions I felt when I had that first ultrasound that told me that this new little bean I was carrying was a girl, not a boy. The confusion, heartache, and excitement that created. It was as if in that second Benjamin died again, I could no longer pretend that I was carrying him again and he was getting that second chance to live. Now I was carrying a brand new baby. That was exciting but also heartbreaking. When my friend went with the birth mom to the ultrasound and they were told that the baby was a boy my friend later told me that she was better prepared because she remembered what I had told her about my experience. I'm glad I was able to help. You never know how much something can affect you until you live it.

On June 10th I got the email that I had been excitedly waiting for. My friend's new son was born!! You could feel the joy and love just coming off the computer screen through her email. I could not be happier for her and her husband as they welcome this little baby into their lives and hearts. I have only known her since her daughter was born last September and I can't wait to see her happy and holding this new little love of her life. I'm sure her daughter would be proud of the mommy that C gets to be to this baby. She's been a mommy for almost a year now, but now she gets to show the world outright the wonderful mom that she is.

Congratulations C&L. Both little K's could not have better parents.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

19 months

Benjamin should be 19 months in two days. He would now be older than Jackson was when Benjamin was born. I remember how old Jackson seemed to me at that time. Barely a toddler anymore, more a boy. An older brother. How can it be that my sweet baby Benjamin should not be a baby anymore? He should be able to talk, run, jump, throw temper tantrums. He should be able to chase Jackson around and have matches to see who can yell the loudest. He should be here to help Jackson look after their baby sister. He should be Lexi's other proud older brother who is so excited for her to be able to play with him. The three of them should be our terrible trio; the three wonders who make us so happy to be parents and naively believe that parents do not outlive their children.

I love all my children. Some days I honestly believe that Lexi has, in a way, replaced Benjamin. Whenever I think that it makes me sad. I don't post on here very often because it makes me wonder if I am a decent mom to Benjamin. Do I mourn him to the extent that I should? Have I now had my 'rainbow baby' and thus pushed him to the back of my mind? Was he just a brief period in my life? One that is now overshadowed by the yummy baby in my arms?

I talked to a friend yesterday who has a friend that lost a baby at 3 days old. His birth and anniversary of his death are next week. Every year this friend sends a card to the family, to let them know that she still thinks about their son every year. While I talked with her I surprised myself because I found myself thinking that this woman who has lost her 3 day old baby has more of a rite to mourn her son than I do. He was born alive and then died. Why am I always stuck on this? Why do I think that just because Benjamin was not born alive then I don't have the rite to mourn him? I know that his death was the saddest day of my life. I know that I have a rite to mourn. I do, I know all of this. But I suppose since I never saw him alive then I have, in some way, convinced myself that he was never mine to start with. Does that make sense? Not really. I 'knew' him while he was safely tucked away inside me. I knew him as only a mother can. And yet, I don't feel I am 'allowed' to mourn him as I would a baby who was born alive. In the back of my mind I question whether I really feel that I lost a baby, and not 'just' lost a pregnancy. And trust me when I say that that belief pisses me off when other people have it! I know he was a baby, he was a big baby, he was perfect in every way (other than that pesky living part, yes I use dark humour to cope). I think a lot of it is societal. People don't talk about stillbirths. No one wants to acknowledge the horror that they are. And so we parents are left to wonder where our grief falls. Is it a 'true' loss, or is it mostly just the loss of what should have been?

I don't know.

But I do know that I am truely missing what should have been; my second born son who DID exist and should look similar to this right now...

(Jackson at 19 months)