Monday, August 1, 2011

Trying to be Strong

What does that mean? Strong. "You are so strong." "You are stronger than you think." No, I don't think I am strong. Quite the opposite really. But what other option do I have? I must wake up. I must care for my son, whom I love more than anything except my husband. I must get up and go through the routine. I want the beautiful baby girl growing inside me. So, I continue on. I try. I try so very hard.

I have been fighting tears the last few days. On Saturday we went to the Ronald McDonald House where we stayed during Ellie’s fight. We try to bring lunch occasionally to the brave, humble, loving parents staying there because people did it for us when we were guests. We decided to stay and eat with them this time and spoke to a nice father and mother-in-law. We also got to see Ellie’s “heart” displayed in the hall. If you aren’t aware, the RMDH memorializes children with hearts…this chapter has several, several display cases full of them. It was emotional to see hers.  I miss her so badly. I think about what she would look like and what her personality might be. My heart aches for her.

This morning, after we dropped our son off at daycare, I had a flashback to the moment I was holding Ellie and signing as her heart slowly stopped. I didn’t want to upset or worry my husband so I fought as hard as I could to make the tears stop. I’m not sure he noticed. But I could hear and smell everything from those last moments. I caught myself starting to rock in my seat as I thought about it all. She felt so good in my arms even thought I knew it would be the last time…

Tears. I try so hard to think back on my grief counseling. Distraction. Looking at a picture of my son. Deep breaths. Take a drink of water. Count something to use that other part of your brain. Take a walk. This is so hard. When will it get easier? August marks the 19 month since Ellie died and it still feels so fresh.

I start my third trimester this week and I am terrified. Although we got the “almost” all clear from the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist and Pediatric Cardiologist (you will never get a 100% bill of health) at 20 wks, I am still worried. Ellie was okay at 20 wks too. And it was at her 4D ultrasound at 28 & 30 wks when we discovered her severe heart defect and hydrops. We are having a 4D for Adelaide this Friday and I will be 28.3wks. What if they see something again? And how will I react to the 4D in general? I have been trying hard not to obsessively call my doctor or rush to Labor & Delivery at every twinge of pain or fear. I try not to talk about my constant anxiety and awful thoughts that something is wrong. I try to make other people comfortable when I can and not talk about any of this (except here). I try. I try so very hard.

I know what some of you are thinking. Stop with the dire thoughts. Think positive. Everything will be okay, you just know it will be. Just TRY. That’s what I thought last time too. But now that the unimaginable has happened, it makes it much more real. Bad things happen. Period. And they can certainly happen again. There is no reason why some babies live and others don't. I don't care what your philosophical views are, there just isn't! It's not fair, but that is nature. 

I will continue to hold my breath through this pregnancy. And I will continue to worry. But I am hopeful. Enjoy this pregnancy, you say? It's time to move on and stop dwelling on the past when there is nothing I can do about it? You think I should just try harder? Walk two steps in my shoes and tell me that again.  


  1. oh Sarah, i'm sorry this journey is so hard. if i had known before getting pregnant how hard this would be, i don't think i would have done it. the milestones are scary. we lost noah to a cord accident - 3 times around his neck. i was terrified the entire pregnancy that grace would suffer the same fate. during her c-section as the drs were getting her out, they said she had one loop and a true knot in her cord. we about sh*t! who knows how close she was to death too. it sucks! the fact that babies can and do die sucks!!

    i pray that your 4D scan will only be beautiful pictures of adelaide. i pray that her heart is perfect. i truly believe that our angels help to get their younger siblings here. i believe that your sweet ellie is hard at work now ensuring that.

    sending you so much love and wishing i could take some of your fear away from you. (((big hugs))) and to those that say you are strong or to think positive...send them my way and i'll give them a good tongue lashing!

  2. Praying for you and sending you many ((HUGS)). It is such a scary journey. Those echos are nerve wrecking. Even after my rainbow was born and they did it again I was still scared. I am sure her big sister Sami was watching out for her and making sure her heart would be perfect.

  3. Thank you, Jen and Lisette. <3

    I wanted to share what a friend wrote about strength below after reading my post. It is so beautifully put and so very true. I hope it speaks to my fellow BLMs.


    A word about strength:

    Some people have this idea that being strong is like being iron or an oak - unyielding, tough. The things is, iron and oak are weak BECAUSE they are unyielding and tought - once broken, they break. Steel, on the other hand, is flexible, supple. It can take a pounding and keeps on coming back. In the early days, I believe, steel was made by tempering iron - submitting it to fire and beating the crap out of it, until you had a substance that could bend and still bounce back.

    You have steel in you; you bounce back. Scar tissue is five times stronger that unscarred tissues - maybe not as pretty, but five times stronger.

  4. Yes, I have walked in your shoes ... well not exactly YOUR shoes, but have lost a child before she was even born and then had to hold my breath through a pregnancy ... a long nauseating pregnancy. It is a long journey and comments and judgments from those who have never walked in these shoes don't really help, do they?

    From this baby loss mom's perspective you sound as though you are doing the best you can and that is all God asks of us ... keep praying ... keep hoping ... keep loving

  5. I am so sorry you are having a hard. I am praying for you and your little one. I do know how you feel since I lost a child. She lived three weeks and it has been 37 years ago and stills hurts but we do go on and love our other children. I do know the worry through your pregnancy because I had three children after I lost my sweet Mary Christine and it was very scary every time.

  6. Sarah, your comment with the post about strength was so perfectly put. "You have steel in you; you bounce back. Scar tissue is five times stronger that unscarred tissues - maybe not as pretty, but five times stronger."
    I sure hope that I have the strength of steel and not of iron or wood. Because right now, I only feel broken and not flexible to bounce right back, just broken.
    I really liked reading this post because I could completely relate to some of those feelings. For very different reasons, of course, but they make sense to me.
    Thanks for sharing with me.