The Conversation

A few months ago, my niece Mia ran up to me and put her hands on my tummy.  "Where is he?  Where is he?", she asked with twinkles in her eyes.  I was struck dumb.  What do I say?  My brother told her what happened, she knows he's dead...doesn't she?  I finally muttered, "I don't know...go blow your nose."  She smiled and ran off.
Recently, we were in my car where I have a photo of Owen hanging from my rearview mirror and I also have one of his sonogram pictures attached to the passenger sun visor.  When we lost Owen, I told my brother’s children (ages 14, 11, and 6) that they could ask me anything about him and what happened – I would always be straightforward and honest with them. 
Mia: what are those? *pointing to sonogram*
Me: those are from when he was still in my tummy.
Mia: oh, and then he came out?
Me: yes, and then he came out.
Mia: and he looked like that. *pointing to ohc picture*
Me: yes, and he looked like that.
Mia: and then he died...
I was stunned by her blunt statement.   Usually people avoid talking about Owen; I can see them become physically uncomfortable when I mention his name or my pregnancy.  She was just saying what was on her mind.  I respect her for that.  To be honest, it was a breath of fresh air to have this sort of conversation, even if it was with a six-year-old. 
Me: *stunned silence* yes, Mia, he died.
Mia: why didn't I get to see him when he came out?
Me: I thought it would be too sad for you. Did you want to see him?
Mia: yes, I wanted to see him, but they didn't let me.
Me: I'm sorry.
Mia: then he went up there, right? *pointing her tiny index finger skyward*
Me: yes, he went to heaven.
Mia: did you see him go?
Me: no, but we know that's where he went.
Mia: do you know why he passed away?
Me: no, we don't. I think it was just an accident.
Mia: what if you have another baby?
Me: what do you mean?
Mia: what's going to happen if you have another baby?
Me: then we'll have another baby and Owen will be a big brother.
Mia: I want you to have another baby.
Me: so do I, Mia.
Mia: I'm sorry he died.
Me: so am I.

It was as if we were talking about something completely different; shooting the breeze, chatting about school, not talking about my dead son.  I was amazed at how okay she was talking about this. She wasn't uncomfortable, she was fine.  She had questions and she wanted answers.  I wish more people were like her.


The Rant

I sometimes wish I could look as ragged and aged on the outside as I feel on the inside.  I feel ancient inside, I’ve lived a lifetime in just 7 months.   I wish people could see how weathered and broken I feel sometimes.  Maybe then they would understand just how hard it is.  “You’re still young, you can have more children,” does make me or any grieving parents feel better.  I could have a hundred more children, but they could never replace my Peanut.  My first.  I never thought I could love someone so much.  A pure love, a mother’s love.
Quite frankly, I don’t care if talking about my pregnancy or my dead son makes you uncomfortable.  He is and always will be a huge part of my life.  Not just some unfortunate event from which we will try to heal.  I spent 10 months waiting for him – preparing his room, talking to him, eating the right things so he could grow.  How dare you expect me to just *poof* move on.  You weren’t the one who had to put all those baby things away. You weren’t the one who had to tell your family that the new addition they were so anxious will not be coming home.  You weren’t the one who had to lay there and endure 9 hours of labor and delivery only to leave the hospital empty handed.  You are not the one who has to live with this anchor called grief every day.  Carry it around and still manage to smile and force yourself to have good days.  You think it’s easy?  Some days I would rather the Earth split open and swallow me whole than have to walk around like I’m not completely broken inside.  And yet, here I stand.  After all that I have been through, I am still here.  Broken, yes, but here.  My soul weathered from the storm that was Owen, but more resilient having known him.  You should all be so proud that we grieving parents have chosen to share this part of our lives with you.  You should feel cherished that we who hold our children in our hearts think to share them with you.  You can’t see them running around or sleeping soundly in their beds.  Many, I should say most, people we meet in our day to day lives will never know how strong we truly are. They will never know that we go home and cry ourselves to sleep.  They will never know they hell we endure every day without our children.
Put aside the fact that only a fraction on the “swimmers” actually make it to the egg. How’s this for some knowledge:  there’s only a 24-hour window each month within which one can become pregnant.  BOOM!  It almost frightens me that some mothers I know were not aware of this.  While pregnant, I read and read about pregnancy, becoming pregnant, the birth.  I don't like not knowing what is happening or what is going to happen.  would it be considered ironic how I planned and planned for Peanut to be here, but then the most unplanned, unexpected thing happened?  I don't know if that's the right word. 
How is it that I know the facts, did the research, plan it out and yet I am still without child?  How is it so difficult for me to get pregnant?  I temp, keep track of my cycles, and more all to one day have a new born in my arms again.  And yet I come up with a “-“each month. Am I trying too hard?  Do I not want it bad enough?  What do I have to do to show the universe, God, or whoever that I want to be a mother.  Speaking of "mother", I am dreading mother's day.  I planned how I would spend it with Peanut and was already planning on what to do for Mike for Father's Day.  I pictured us making Mike a little clay imprint of Peanut's hands and feet that said something like "Happy Father's Day - 2012".  And now what?  Little things will always creep up that remind me just how much I'm missing out on.  I see parents walking with children in strollers, carrying little ones in baby carriers, "baby on board" signs.  Each time a little piece of me breaks.
Maybe, so that’s why I decided the best distraction would be work.  I’m not broken, I can still work.  I’m hoping my new job will distract me enough and make this whole baby making a lot easier.  My husband and I are agreed that I will work through my next pregnancy.  I feel that it is the best thing for me because I cannot go through those 40 weeks, knowing how wrong things can go, without a distraction.  I hate that I will have to try to enjoy this pregnancy rather than just letting it be.  I hate that I already know I’m going to focus on the bad, and I’m already trying to think of ways to calm myself down. I’m not even pregnant yet.
I’ve never been so disappointed to see “not pregnant” on those stupid digital tests. Pregnancy test, how can you be so blunt?  Don’t you realize you’re stabbing me in the heart?  Have you no compassion?  Of course not, you’re a machine.  And I’m obviously crazy; arguing with a home pregnancy test.
Losing my son is the worst thing that will ever happen to me.  I can say that with certainty. While I have lost other loved ones in my life and will eventually lose more to age, sickness, and what not, nothing will compare to the loss of my son.  I have memories of my grandfather that I will cherish forever; my family and I often tell stories of him and as we laugh, we remember and mourn him.  He was loved by our entire family.  I don’t get to share stories of Peanut the way we do of my grandfather.  Because no one was there.  It was all me, and some of my husband.  No one can remember how he’d kick when I would watch ‘I Love Lucy’ and laugh so hard, only me.  No one can reminisce about how Mike would have his hands on my belly waiting for Peanut to kick, talking to him while we were in the car…none of that.  That’s what makes it that much harder.  I want to talk about him and remember all the wonderful things that happened while he was alive, but no one can remember those with me.