Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caught Off Guard

My mom & I were talking yesterday about how grief can catch you off guard.  I was talking about how I hadn't had any trouble being around babies yet... there are lots of them in our church and a couple at Isaiah's pre-school.  I see lots of them in people's arms and in carseats and have yet to be anything but smiles when I do.  I love babies.   But on Sunday, out of nowhere, I got sad.  It was a baby boy, not a girl... that's not what I thought would happen, I thought only baby girls would be hard.  It caught me off guard that as I watched this mama and her baby, I got sad.  I realized it wasn't the baby that was making my heart hurt, it was the bond that she and her baby had that my heart is longing for.  She was totally loving on him, rubbing his head with her cheek...  that's what I miss.

Today I had another doctor appt... every time I walk down that hallway, Aug 4th comes back to me... the feelings are right there again, but today, I felt strong.  I saw a brief flashback in my mind of what I have come through over the last 6 months and how God carried me and I feel honored to have been a part of His plan.  I sat down and started reading a baby magazine... (I know, it's daring)  Every page I flipped had some headline that said something completely different to me than it would to the average girl...

 "Saving your baby's cord blood may be life saving for your family" (picture of chubby baby girl)
We donated Rachel's cord blood for anencephaly research...
"Dreft - turns preparing into caring" (pictures of pregnant mama cuddling a cute pink outfit)
Our "preparing" turned into funeral plans...I cuddle an empty blanket every night
"Life's better with Baby"
*Sigh* Not just any baby...
"Happy Hair Days - Losing a lot? This will help"
For once in my life, I wish my hair was falling out from nursing an infant...but it's not.
"I'll protect you - Babies feel the difference of our best sensitive care" (they're talking about wipes...I'm thinking about life)
I loved her from the start and would do anything for her... I know she felt my protection and care.  I know it.

They called my name, I put the magazine down and followed the nurse, impressed with how well I handled looking at all that stuff in the waiting room.  What's that verse... "Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”   yeah...

She handed me a postpartum depression questionnaire... 

First question:  How old is your baby?

I lost it....  totally caught off guard.

I told them they need a different form for people like me.  You can't ask a woman who just lost a baby, how old her baby is and then follow it up with "how often do you cry?" and think you're going to be able to tell if she's depressed.  You need a different form... if a form is ever really going to be able to see depression through grief.  Not everybody that cries is depressed... and not everybody that is depressed cries.  Then she told me I scored high on the depression scale... huh?  I am SO not depressed.... or in denial...

cry? yes.
want to go many places? no.
feel anxious? sometimes.
sleep good? not without help.

Could it be "depression"?  yes, if I didn't just have my baby die in my arms... 
Oh, and she is almost 8 weeks old... just for the record.  And although sad, I have never had more JOY in all my life.  I felt guilty that I didn't say that for Rachel.

Next time someone asks me how old she is, I'll be more prepared to answer.


  1. A certain sound, person, color, food, smell, flower, song, movie etc. Any and all of these can suddenly and unexpectantly trigger grief or the memory of grief. It can catch you unaware. When we were kids our next door neighbor died. The father brought the daughter to our house while he went to be with his dying wife. When he returned to tell his daughter that her mom had died we were watching The Wizard of Oz. I will always think of Barbara Donovan whenever I see that movie. When I was driving to your house to bring Rachels casket to the funeral home the song "Upon The Journeys End" was on. That's also one of the songs I listened to during all the long drives for Uncle Dales treatments hospitalizations etc. Once it gave me strength. Now it makes me sad.
    And of course since Nana died, Mothers Day has always been bitter-sweet. I no longer cry when I see a Mothers Day card, but I always feel the loss.
    I'm sure if I was asked certain questions at certain times I could be classified as depressed. Personally I think the checklist they use to determine postpartum depression is useless at best and could be pretty destructive all by itself. Obviously if they read your chart instead of relying on a checklist they would not have asked you how old your baby was. But I suppose they fulfilled the requirements of a "postpartum visit". Foolishness.
    Love, Mom

  2. Awww Stacy, I'm so sorry that your day went that way. I'm so glad that God is continuing to give you peace and joy in spite of the grieving process. Love and prayers sent your way tonight!!!

  3. Stacy, I am sorry that you had to go through this. Grieving for your child is not depression. The Dr office should know that! Most of those questions I would answer the same you did and I am a year into this journey. big ((hugs))
    Love, Chrissy

  4. I agree, you can't give a bereaved mom a form like that and expect her to pass it. Duh. I'm glad you told them they need a new form.


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Thank you! ♥ The Aubes