I've watched her birth video over and over (It's about 30 secs long) and I stare closely to try to see if she looked at me when they held her up for me to see her, if her chest moved on it's own, if I could get a glimpse of her body moving at all. Any bit of life in her. What I missed while she was over on the table and I waited for to finally hold her.... I would give anything to go back to that day and hold her again.
I have watched the funeral video, looked at the pictures, remembered every detail of the cold December day I had to walk away and leave her in the cemetery. I am just left speechless and the tears flow as if it was still that very day.
I do this all in an attempt to not forget her. To remember everything I possibly can. I don't want to look back and not remember a single detail of what I knew of my daughter, even if it makes me cry. And I have cried so much lately. I still can't understand how I can miss someone I hardly knew so much. She is my baby, but the truth is, if I didn't have these photos and the videos I made, I probably wouldn't remember her so well. She was here such a brief time in the midst of my greatest pain and I was in shock. Without the photos, I just don't know how I would keep her memory in my head and that scares me. But the truth is that my pain would not lessen one bit. She is a piece of me that is gone and my heart knows it - no matter how much my mind remembers.
I've spent a lot of time lately looking at the kids' baby photo albums. When I see the ones of me holding a new baby at the hospital, my face doesn't look any different then when I was holding Rachel. It was full of love. Yet when I look at them, I can't help but ask "how does it feel to hold a live baby?" It's not like I've never held one before, but I can hardly remember it. My most vivid memories of holding a new baby of mine consist of a silent, still baby, waiting to hear the official time of death so I know how many minutes she lived and posing with my dead baby for the only photos I'd ever be able to get with her, while trying to etch the short time into my mind forever all while feeling intense emotional pain.
A baby that you have after the loss of a baby is referred to as a "rainbow baby". Here is a definition that I found on a group I'm in that my friend Josie started for people who are pregnant with a rainbow baby after losing a baby to anencephaly:
"A Rainbow Baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."So Asa is my rainbow baby. Unfortunately, my rainbow isn't doing anything to relieve the effects of my storm. I love him to pieces, I see his beauty, I know the gift he is. I understand that he could only exist after the rain.
But I'm still in the storm.
The idea of watching my other childrens' birth videos has seemed like something that I will never want to do again. I was able to have natural births with them and hold a healthy baby and everyone is happy. I just don't know if watching that would be too painful right now... and yet, I'm preparing to go do it in real life. Except at least in the videos, I know the outcome. I know they came home with me. I know they are ok.
I've found myself extremely irritable and grumpy lately (good sign on the hormone change, I hope) and it dawned on me that I am getting anxious to know how this is all going to play out. I just want to go into labor so I can stop thinking about all the different scenarios and so I can just know if I'm going to get to keep this baby. I just want to fast forward and be at home holding him safely.
It's funny how many people, after hearing about Rachel, will say to me "But this one's okay, right?" I hate that question. I hate the "oh good" that I get after I say "as far as I know". I hate how they like to switch the subject to him and leave the discomfort of Rachel in the dust. Well, how do I know? Most people who have a baby die during birth don't expect it. they don't know it's coming. So, yes, right now he's fine. Will he come home with me? I hope so, but only God knows.
I'm growing really tired of the "have faith" and "think positive" comments too. I am not in need of more faith. My faith is strong. And no matter how positive I think, does it really change whether or not my baby dies? I like to believe I don't have that much control. Believe me, I don't think Asa is going to die. I truly believe that everything will be ok... but excuse me for a moment while I'm HUMAN. The past year and a half, I have come to know of hundreds of women who went to the hospital thinking everything was fine and left empty handed. My innocence and naivety has been stripped from me. I know that meeting the 12 week mark in pregnancy isn't any more a guarantee that you won't have a miscarriage then going full term with no signs of problems means that the baby won't die suddenly. Both of those tragedies happen all the time and have happened to people I know and love.
The idea that if I have peace about something, it must mean the outcome will be fine is crap. I had peace about Rachel and she's dead. That is why it is called the "peace that passes understanding". It doesn't say we have peace when everything is great. That's easy. I understand to a whole new level that my ways are not His ways. And yet, His ways are much better. So please, if you think brushing off my concerns in order to help me be positive is helpful, don't bother. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't want you to say "you're right, he could be dead tomorrow" but my fears are real and not unfounded so please don't dismiss them.
My rainbow may be beautiful, but my storm is still raging. That's a lot easier to brush off when you're on the outside looking in. And I wouldn't trade any of it to not know the blessing of these two gifts from God, but man, sometimes it seems like people take a snowstorm more seriously. You'd never hear someone say to a person who is all in a tizzy over a storm where they might lose electricity for a couple days "aw, come on, think positively... everything is fine right now, just have faith!" Nope. Everyone gets into that... stocking up on food, buying supplies... it's all over the news and everyone wants to talk about it and it's completely acceptable to worry. But the possibility of another dead baby?? No, no reason to worry - have faith, think positive, you'll be fine - "it won't happen twice" - storms like that only happen once in a lifetime, right? That's what I'm told anyway...
I'm sure I will be fine. I'm sure it's not likely to happen again. But I know that is not a guarantee. I know people who have had more than one of these storms and even have lost their Rainbow Babies without warning. It happens every day. But they aren't the ones telling me to think my way to a positive outcome. It's the people who have never had to walk this road that say such a thing.
I'd love to go back to my ignorant bliss.