October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day
There’s a birthday in our little family that comes around every year just like all the rest. The kids all remember it, and lovingly remind me that it is approaching. I get an email from a dear friend, or an encouraging facebook post from her, with a Happy Birthday wish and telling me what a great mother I am.I wake up thinking about the day of his birth and holding him in my arms listening to his content sighs. Most years we go to the zoo on that day to celebrate his birth. There have been years when the kids have asked me to make a cake for him. Two years ago we went up to the lake and released balloons with messages of love and Happy Birthday. The only part missing is the birthday boy himself.
This past July 5th marked Reed’s 8th birthday. For the first year ever I did not blog about it. Some of my readers know his story and have followed me for years over at another blog. Some of my new readers may not even know that I am not simply the mother of four. I am the mother of 4 and a little angel who watches over all of us.
I was over on one of my favorite blogs the other day http://www.mommywantsvodka.com/ and she posted that October 15th was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.You can read more about this day at her awesome sister site http://www.bandbacktogether.com/remembering-bands-babies Aunt Becky and her Band of Merry Pranksters are putting together a Wall of Remembrance on that day for all of us who have walked that path of losing a baby. Whether it was through miscarriage,still birth,or infant loss.I encourage all my reader’s to go and visit that day because it will be updated all day long.
It is still hard for me to believe that 8 years ago I welcomed my 4th child onto this earth for only a mere hour. It’s even harder for me to believe I went in to that situation knowing my baby would not live to see the beyond the hospital room walls. There are days I look back and think,” How am I even standing here 8 years later as the woman I am today.”
The days after his passing were the hardest. I had three young kids at home one only being 6 and a half months(yes I was pregnant with Reed by my 6 week post checkup with Lane), I had a husband who only knew how to deal with the grief by locking himself in his room and going to work. There were things that needed to be done,one being clearing out all the baby stuff.Thankfully my friend April and her mother did that all for me and when I insisted on her throwing it all out because I would never have another baby again….she didn’t.(I also thank the OB for not just taking me into c-section and tying my tubes for the same reason or else I would never have Holly.)
There was a burial service as well as a funeral to plan. How do you have a funeral for a child who only lived an hour? I felt we should have a funeral but was it the right thing to do?When nearly 100 people showed up all to show their support to my family I knew it was.
Then was a headstone to pick out. I remember getting a phone call from a bill collector on my way to do this. They wanted to know when I could make a payment and I remember screaming into the phone”I’m on my way to pick out a fucking headstone for my baby so I’ll pay you when I fucking can.” I mean HOW does one pick out a headstone for their child?These are things I never envisioned myself having to do.
When all the formalities were done I still had to return home and take care of 3 children under 4. I had been and was even much more so the primary care giver through this time. There was no time to lock myself in a closet and cry for the loss of my son. There was no time to just even stop for 5 minutes and try to process it all. I begged my doctor to give me anti depressants, but she insisted it wouldn’t aid in me going through the stages of grief. Finally when I told her that every time I drove by the lake by my house the only thing that stopped me from driving into it was the fact I had the kids with me,she wrote me the script.(I was never before or since then suicidal),but at that point all I wanted to be able to do was hold my baby in my arms again. This was the darkest time of my life and I still to this day have no clue how I made it through.No I do,had it not been for my church and my friends, I probably wouldn’t have.It took me nearly a year to be able to sit through a whole church service without hearing a song,or feeling angry with God, and walking out of the sanctuary in tears. Every time I did though I was met with open arms by one of my friends.
I have never written about the dark days after Reed’s passing before. I remember asking a friend of mine at his funeral, who had also lost a son. “How do you keep living….when does it get better?”
Her answer was simple. You just do keep on living, and each day you remember, eventually the pain gets a little softer but it never ever goes away. She was right. There is still pain in my heart but it has lessened. I often wonder what Lane and Reed would’ve been like being only 11 months apart. We try to do something each year to celebrate his birthday and my baby girl Holly has his name for her middle name.
Infant loss is an ugly,most the time unspeakable event that the parents end up walking through alone. I am sharing my story not out of pity for myself but to let others who have gone through this know they are not alone and at some point it does get easier. Everyone grieves in different ways, and there is no one right way to get through the grieving process. I have been honored since Reed’s passing to be the arms of support for others who have lost their babies as well. If we can be there for each other, it makes this dark time a little easier.
So I ask of you my readers to take time on October 15th to remember friends or family members who have walked down this path. Let them know you are thinking of them, and their baby. If you have time go over to the wall of Remembrance and read some other stories. The only way we can let others know they are not alone is to talk about it, support each other, and share our stories.