Monday, April 18, 2016

Shut it down

I'm still here, we're all still here. I mean it, Bram's presence is still very much here with his family and his beautiful brothers and sister. Much has changed.

Our lives have changed dramatically, for the sake of growing. I had to shut down my blog, to step away from the pain. The words here are so very filled with pain, anger, mourning, grief. I'm ok opening it up again. I want others to find my words in their darkest moments, when families like ours are desperate for a "what's next" when the road ahead seems like a black hole of torture and pain. I want them to find these words and feel validated in their grief. I want them to know that, sadly and wonderfully, they are not alone.

I feel stronger than I have, strong like in the before times. Our lives are still marked in the before and the after. That strength has been infinitely tested and proven. So with that strength I've gained confidence. I was brave enough to pull out his clothes, his beautiful mementos, and add them to a cedar chest. I smelled his clothes, and his smell is gone. I also found some memories in them that had fallen away. Tears and laughter all around. It didn't knock me out like it used to. It felt healing and so right.

Best of all I feel happy. That happiness may always be tinged bittersweet but I've got it. I know I said I'd never feel happy again. Because that is what I felt. That wasn't wrong, it didn't need correcting, I needed to dig my heels in and feel it all instead of trying to escape it. And then I needed to find me. I'm finding me. I'm loving me, because Bram did, without question.

I'm in the light more than the dark, but I'm not afraid of either. I'll make it through. I don't know if this is the last post for me, but I feel this chapter of monotonous pain has come to an end. Things happen and I'll revisit it of course, as it's every grieving person's right to do so. As great as my love is for Bram, my grief is equal in it's greatness. Its part of me, our family, this life. I'm still here. I'm alive. I'll forever be a bereaved mother. I'll always cry for our perfect boy, but I laugh for him too.

Monday, December 29, 2014

I don't believe in healed

I don't view healing the same anymore.

It's a forever, like grieving. It's just something that you're always in the process of. 

You slip and you fall, you open wounds that were faded away. You take strides and leap over mountains, and you take baby steps and one breath at a time. It's all part of the process. You're never the same again after surviving your trauma, you'll never be who you were before the trauma. It changed you, and some of what we survive changes us to our core. You can choose to find the person the change made you, embracing the newness of you with loving arms, or you stay stagnant in it and sink. And it isn't either or, cause sometimes you sink for a while before trying, and that's ok. I don't believe in healed, but I believe in healing. Healing is a forever.

Wishing everyone a peaceful new year, with lots of healing in whatever form you need it.

dedicated to my SSBT friends-you know who you are <3

Monday, December 22, 2014

Struggling to believe

For the last few months I've felt like there's nothing after this. I haven't felt Bram, I haven't gotten any signs. I've been feeling like you die and that's it, and I don't want to believe that. I want the comfort of an after life. I want the comfort, I want hope, I want the ability to make sense of this world and existence. But I haven't been able to have any of that.

Today, just this morning I saw 3 things: the first was balloons, on a baby carrier. The very same fabric was made into a blanket for Buttercup as a piece of Bram, the second was stumbling upon his name and his sister's name together, the third was a friend sharing the geese oddly occupying her street (Bram loved geese). And it hasn't just been today. A few days ago a friend suggested a children's book as she described it to me, I cried. "Mama kisses the palm of her baby's hand and folds it up and tells him, "Whenever you feel sad or miss me, put your hand to your cheek and think 'mama loves you, mama loves you' "" She didn't realize that as Bram laid in his hospital bed, time of death already called, I kept kissing his hand and holding them to my cheeks saying "mommy loves you."

It's been nice, and maybe it's just my mind reaching for comfort. Maybe it's Bram. I'm feeling him, real or imaginary I'll take the comfort. I'll take the hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 2014

Deep breaths

It hard updating here, though I want to share. I'm still in this weird place. My heart is tender right now, some days I'm ok, and some days I'm really low. Self-loathing reigns, and my humor is dark. I'm not loving this season, this time of year, the holiday. Which is weird cause Christmas is my favorite, like buddy the elf favorite.

But I keep breathing even if it hurts, and I keep putting my feet in front of me.

I don't know what this place of grief is, I feel really detached from Bram. I've turned my back on believing. I've given up a good chunk of hope for an after. I wish this wasn't going to be my life forever. I'm present though, I'm here and I'm in this moment more than I'm in that moment.

I find myself thinking about the killer, the one who mistakenly took his life, and wondering what that life is like, what that weight feels like. I can kind of see why the hesitance to not reach out, but it still hurts that it hasn't happened.

Lots of sleepless nights, and not for buttercup, just for me. Too many nightmares, too many thoughts they keep me up. I've had quite a few nights recently waking up in the middle of an anxiety attack. It's so scary, makes you not want to sleep. But this is my life now.

Mostly I miss Bram, I miss hearing his name every day, I miss saying his name, I miss his voice, I miss what should have been and could have been.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2 years

The truth is, I don't know how to do this. 2 years since he died, 2 years since I heard him say I love you, 2 years since we hugged, 2 years since he hogged the bed, 2 years since he played with his brothers. 2 years and while I'm not screaming out loud, the agony is still here, just as fresh, just as raw. My son was killed because of a driver's negligence, he doesn't need to be dead. And I still see it everywhere, the distracted.

This weekend as I half heartedly prepped for bramiversary I held my boys as they sobbed for their brother. I hear the words no child should say "I wish my brother was never killed." I fought sleep in fear of another prophetic dream. I tried to fill the holes. We hurt, we bickered, we hugged, we struggle. So often it's a struggle.

We've lost 2 years of our lives, and maybe this next year will be better, they there's firsts we will face this year, like him being dead longer than he lived. I'm not ok today. I'm not healed. We're not healed.

My stomach hurts, my heart hurts. I don't know how to carry this. I don't know how to breathe through this. Contrary to Bram's "that's too much" meaning more, this is actually too much. I avoid the grief, I avoid and fill. I have to fill the holes, with food, with obsessions, with sarcasm, with anger and bitterness, with apathy. Plug up those holes, even temporarily and I can numb the hurt. but it doesn't matter how hard I try, the holes, the bleeding oozing Bram shaped crater in my soul stays. I've learned that I have to face this pain. I've realized I need to use love for the holes. Not fillers.

All of us miss Bram, and I don't want to imagine a future without him. I want him there, I want to see him grow up, I want to know who he was meant to be. How do you ever except a future without your child? How do you hold hope for a future without your baby there?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Birth story part 3

Immediately buttercup cried. I lifted my leg over her cord, rolled over to see her. Bright pink baby, I scooped her from daddy's hands and took her onto my belly. She was gloriously covered in vernix, I rubbed it into her. I was amazed. My baby, my baby girl, my buttercup.

My mom dashed, as quickly as she could being less a week post op, up the stairs and snapped a few pictures with my phone. I asked hubs the time: 1:49am. 

I did it!

No one interfered, no one touched me, no one talked or tried to put a hat on her, my cervix was untouched my entire pregnancy and birthing time. No one scrubbed her with rough blankets, or tried to suction her, or forced her to rush her her physiology. Our first moments were only with buttercup'ss family. Two older brothers watching it unfold (one snoozing in the next room, and one hopefully there in spirit), daddy's hands supporting her, and mom trusting her journey. 

We did it!

It wasn't long after I started feeling really uncomfortable. I asked hubs to get in the tub so he could hold buttercup. It's good we tested the pool before labor to makes sure we both fit. But wow, The pain was getting worse, I had never had a placenta hurt so I was worried it was a surprise. My mind said "that better not be another baby!" 

I was very thankful it was just the placenta. But it was a beautiful placenta. 

Our oldest, T, had fetched our bowl for the placenta. I plopped the placenta in. I was ready to get back into bed with our new baby.

We stayed up for a few hours. Falling in love, watching I Love Lucy, learning to nurse, snuggling skin to skin, noticing all the ways she looks just like Bram.

After we rested and the sun came up we weighed her for fun, a healthy 10lb girl. We kept her cord attached until it naturally fell away. The big boys were in love. Hubs was and is so excited and proud. 

I'm so proud, content, and thankful for the gifts this baby brought us. Thankful for her connection to Bram, and all her brothers. Thankful for a chance to be her mom. 

Birth story part 2

There's this limbo land that exists at the end of pregnancy. The way I experience this doneness is that I'm convinced I will be pregnant forever, where I plead with the person in my belly that they should just come out. Where I seriously offer things like tacos, or a pony, if baby would just come.

Of course, I've never been pregnant forever, rationally I know I wouldn't be. But pregnancy isn't a rational experience. Baby never takes me up on my offers either. They've all been stubborn like that, always picking their own birthdays.

As I laid in bed, minutes past midnight, a full moon in the sky. I was ready for my baby. I finally had contractions that felt big, big enough to bring a baby. I could feel my skin pickling up into goosebumps. Another contraction was big enough to pull myself and my fully bloomed belly out of bed. I didnt get my hubs out of bed, I wanted him to rest. I knew I'd need him once baby was actually coming, I wasn't convinced this would be it.

My birthing pool sat in our living room, pictures of Bram all over the walls. Affirmations from my blessing hung in my bedroom. Pieces of my community filled my home and birthing space; my necklace and bracelet made for me, a dear one sent my pool liner that I wrestled onto my pool, my belly binder, candles that remained unlit, cards, love touching all our spaces. I was safe, I was surrounded by love and comfort.

I decided the birth pool should filled, it would at the very least be a good test to check for leaks. I pulled the hose out, got it connected to our shower, but the next wave stopped me and forced my attention toward my body. I still hadn't admitted it to be real labor, I was still sure that at some point the waves would stop and I'd go to bed to greet another sunrise with a baby tucked beneath my heart. Hubs stepped in and did all the things I needed him to do.

My A, at 2.5 years, was very excited that we would "him" (swim) in the living room. I stripped naked and lifted my aching legs into the pool and let the water fill around me. A joined too so he could "him him." It was quite and beautiful being in the tub. The contractions were coming, I have no idea how often or how long, but regularly. I cried "what if it's too soon to be in the water" but what if it's not. I asked hubs for the time, 12:50am. The tub was full and warm, it felt so good.

I suddenly needed to throw up. I asked for a bowl and hubs quickly found a large one in the kitchen. I threw up and A was so disgusted he started gagging. Through my retches, I asked TJ to get A out of the tub. As soon as he did, A threw up next to the pool. Poor hubs cleaning up everyone's vomit. He brought me an electrolyte drink to help my belly after throwing up.

The next contraction that came was huge and I yelled louder than I had been at this point. I couldn't get comfortable. I very obviously was feeling waves in my sacrum. I was rolling and squirming all over the pool. My legs kicked wildly without much direction from myself trying to open my pelvis more to help baby move her back away from my back. I leaned over the edge and screamed. Every contraction I screamed louder. I screamed how much I hated labor. I screamed how I didn't want to do this any more. I screamed for an epidural. I screamed for sleep. I screamed swear words over and over and over. I screamed help me. I screamed until the screaming didn't help. I cried and said I needed the hospital but I knew I couldn't and wouldn't be getting out of that tub.

Oh the back pain was so intense and consuming. When the screaming stopped helping, biting was the next option. I squeezed hubs hands and chewed on him. But I wanted to bite harder to get through the pain. So he handed me the hose, and I bit down with every wave until I couldn't take another wave. I was done. I held hubs hands and pleaded that he help me, he assured me I was doing it, anything I wanted he would do for me. I cried. I hurt. I needed my baby out. 

I felt my water burst, it felt so good for it to flow. And then I growled a deep gutterly growl. I rolled over floating on my back, legs pressed against the pool walls holding my labia wide and I pushed. I swore my butt was going to explode. I chanted I love pooping I love pooping. Hubs giggled, I can't blame him. After a few pushes I reached down to feel my baby and couldn't tell if it was a head or a butt. With my next push I felt and knew it had to be baby's head. Another wave and I had to move before my body pushed again. I've always thought it miraculous for women to move with baby  half way out. Still I was able to move my body, flipping myself over, all while her head hung from me, the rest of her still inside. Such a phenomenal feeling. I got back to my hands and knees and told hubs to catch his baby just like I had told him for Bram and A. I wanted him to take her out, he held her head and shoulders as I pushed the rest of her plump little body from mine, into his hands.