Rainbow Guilt

I don’t know how to write this without it sounding horrible. Or totally confusing. Or just completely fucked up (excuse my French). It’s a rabbit hole I try to stay out of because once it starts, it’s hard to stop. And it’s laced with so much guilt.

Once Benny was born, Parker was done having children. I had had always wanted 3, but I was pretty set with being pregnant again and was happy with our little family. So I began to get rid of the baby gear, my way of acknowledging that  the baby factory was closed. I had always wanted to be younger when I had my kids because I had lost my own mom so early on in life. It was feeling like a good decision for us.

And then Benny died. Suddenly our little family became too small. Everything felt wrong. It is really hard to wrap your head around someone dying in an instant. I watched my Mom suffer from cancer for 2 years. As awful as that was, it made the end a tiny bit easier. What happened with Benny is completely illogical. I will never understand why he had to die. I will never try to find meaning in it. It just is.

I remember being in my room with Parker the night that Benny died. I remember looking at him and saying I wanted more kids. This was never to replace Benny. I just knew in that instant that I wasn’t done. I wanted Darcy to have more siblings. And Parker felt the same way. We were numb and terrified. The worst had just happened.

We waited almost a year. Then I miscarried. And I was angry. I stupidly believed (again) that more awful things couldn’t happen to me. How completely naive I was.

By some small miracle we had Fletcher and Perry. I know how very lucky we are to have them. Rainbows aren’t promised. 

So here in lies he rabbit hole. If Benny hadn’t died, would Perry and Fletcher cease to exist? It’s pretty awful, right? I’d give anything for Benny to still be here and make it all just a horrible nightmare. But how do P and F factor into that?

It’s kind of like, what came first, the chicken or the egg? I can circle the drain a bit if I think too hard about it. But honestly, none of it was ever my choice, it’s just how things happened. I guess there’s a romantic notion in thinking we can change the past.

I used to think about this constantly after Fletcher was born. And then I would feel guilty. Guilty because I would do anything to have Benny back. And then guilty because I would do anything to protect my new baby. It was this awful dance of guilt between the deceased and the living.

As Benny’s birthday comes closer, these are the things I think about. This is the ‘stuff’ it brings up. The missing just gets so hard sometimes.

My Miscarriage

In a perfect world, I would have 5 children. I cringe every time that I go to the doctor and they ask how many times I’ve been pregnant. I then have to tell them that I have 3 children at home, one that has died and I miscarried.

Im not sure I ever really processed my miscarriage beyond anger. We had just finally decided to start trying to get pregnant again after Benny died. It had been nearly a year and we were emerging from our grief fog and felt ready.

We were shocked when we were pregnant on our first shot. It took us four months with the previous two. It really made no sense, we were getting older, but alas, here we were. I saw the two pink lines on our eighth wedding anniversary. It felt like kismet.

I was excited and nervous. Still a little shocked it happened so quickly. We were due on May 8th, which happened to be exactly 6 months from when Benny died. It would have been a year after we buried Benny’s ashes.

I wasn’t really sure how I felt about all of that, but I decided it was life’s way of turning lemons into lemonade. Parker and I were truly excited. It was that hope that we had been looking for.

Then I got the call from the doctors office, my numbers weren’t increasing, my hormones weren’t going up enough to sustain a pregnancy. I started bleeding and as soon as it had started it all came crashing down. We barely made it 6 weeks.

I was beyond angry. How could this be happening after all that we had already gone through? It all felt very unfair and I was livid. It felt like we were in a better place with our lives and then this was a slap in the face. I felt cheated.

And I was alone. This loss was so completely different from losing my son. Few people tell people before 12 weeks. I now had to quietly grieve by myself. This was a different kind of hard.

I began to panic. What if I couldn’t get pregnant again or sustain a pregnancy? What if we weren’t able to have more children? I began to imagine the worst and try to figure out what our options were. We knew we wanted more children and that was the hope that propelled us forward.

Then one night about a month later I had a dream. It was about 2 little boys playing in the sand at the beach. One was Benny. I woke up and took a pregnancy test and was pregnant again. Before I could really even process my miscarriage, here I was again.

This time was different. I was anxious about miscarrying again and every other possible thing that could go wrong. I was really scared. I didn’t sleep because anxiety and pregnancy do not get along. I was a nervous wreck.

Something about that dream though took a little bit of the edge off. I felt like it was sign for me to breathe and know it would be ok. And it was Benny introducing me to his little brother Fletcher.

And here we are 5 years after that loss on May 8th. That babies due date. I’m the only one that grieves this day. Carrying this silent grief is tough. If you’ve lost a pregnancy I see you and I’m so sorry for your pain.

CYG – Day 15

CYG – Day 15:  Wave of Light

I’m going out of order, but I really wanted to keep this post for today, which is pregnancy and infant loss day.  While Benny was older, I really relate to the others that have lost babies, as well as grieve our miscarriage following Benny.  Today is for all of those mammas out there that have suffered through this in silence and I know way too many.  Hugs.

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Replacement

Someone close to us actually tried to explain away my miscarriage in the Fall.  I got the whole, ‘oh it happened for a reason, and if it didn’t, you wouldn’t have this baby,’blah blah blah.  I probably could have been a little more rational if this happened before Benny, but I honestly wanted to cause this person bodily harm when they said what they said.  I ‘uh huh’-ed them and moved on.

This really bothers me, because a baby is a baby and hope is hope.  If anyone ever says this about Benny, that we wouldn’t have this new baby if it weren’t for his death, they probably will be hurt.  One life cannot replace another.  We didn’t ever consider having another child to try to ‘make up’ for Benny’s loss.  If anything, his loss makes this whole thing that much harder.

Parker and I talk constantly about the what if’s.  What if he looks like Benny?  What if he acts like Benny?  Will he be as smart as Benny?  What will our relationship be with him?  Will we put him in Benny’s clothes (probably not), so what will we do with those clothes now?  Do we try to put the baby in his old room?  Does Darcy really understand any of this?  Do we want her to?  What stuff is off limits here?

There are no right answers.  I’m constantly burdened by what is the right thing to do for our family.  I’m sure that there will be plenty of judgment (there has been already).  As excited as I am, I’m scared of all of it.  I don’t know what the right choices are.

Silence – Last September

After the accident happened and they loaded Benny and I into ambulances, I started praying.  I’m not a religious person, but I knew in that moment that I needed a miracle.  When they don’t let you ride in the ambulance with your child, you know it’s bad.

I don’t remember much about the ambulance ride except for the pleading that was going on in my head.  I begged my mom over and over to save my little man.  I begged my grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, Parker’s aunt, Jodie, anyone to make it better.  I begged and pleaded over and over.

When we got to the hospital, the EMT’s told me that they would let us in where they were working on Bennett, but that I had to control myself.  If I couldn’t hold it together or I became a problem, they would take me away.  I nodded and knew it didn’t matter because I was so devoid of feeling at that point anyway.  I just kept praying.

I begged the doctors to save him.  I tried to explain how special he was.  They just kept saying that it didn’t look good.  I kept begging, praying and pleading in my head.  Someone had to save him.  This couldn’t be happening.  Not to my son.  Not to us.

There was nothing, there was silence.  No one saved him for me that day.  We didn’t get our miracle.

10 months later I am here again.  We found we were pregnant, on our anniversary.  We were surprised, happy, elated.  I was ecstatic that Darcy would have a sibling to grow up with.  I was scared, but so happy for the first time in a long time.  For one week, things were looking up.

The night of the 10 month anniversary of Benny’s death, I started bleeding.  I knew something wasn’t right.  So I started praying again, begging even.  This couldn’t be happening, not again, not to us.  I spoke to the doctor’s office and they said based on my bloodwork, my numbers were low, it was ‘indeterminant’ if I was pregnant.  A chemical pregnancy they called it.

I’ve prayed, I’ve begged, I’ve pleaded.  I don’t know what else to do.  It’s been met with silence.  I don’t know how to make sense of this.  What cruel fate have we come upon?  How many times am I supposed to pick myself back up?  Do we ever get the miracle?  Will we ever get a break?