I've been thinking about this a lot the past few days. I know I said I'd come back and write about what we did to remember the anniversary of Yuna's death. Well I'm back. I know it's been an awful long time. But I'm like that. Perhaps it's all the rain. The thinking about life in general. The new year. The thriving tree instead of a thriving, bouncing and squealing baby?
I somehow miraculously, considering all else the hospital fucked up managed to save Yuna's placenta. Thanks mostly to a social worker and not crappy hospital staff. Actually come to think of it. I've no idea how amongst all the shit that was occurring someone said "hey keep that!" Amazing.
Anyway. I took the container wrapped in a hand made blanket given to us by the social worker, home with me the day I was released from the hospital. A whole four weeks after Yuna was born. Yep I got to take home a placenta in a bucket rather than a baby. Nice.
Even before I'd given birth I wanted to do something special with the placenta. It was important to me. Almost like a ritual. It was our last baby. Out of all three pregnancies this was the only placenta I would be keeping. It suddenly became even more important considering I didn't get the baby from this placenta. So there was room in the freezer. One day down the track, possibly on the baby's birthday we'd have a special day and plant it.
Fast forward. Dead baby, butchered womb-less mama and a placenta in a bucket. Keeping it in the freezer was eating at me. I needed to do something. I didn't know how or what to feel on the anniversary of her death. It was an odd sensation. Similar to the actual day the year before. A bit hazy yet so very clear. I thought it was time to plant the placenta.
The days were fast approaching. I stumbled across, well actually Charlie (2) knocked a Cherry tree from Bunnings over. Much to the horror of the staff. That was it. It was her tree! Perfect.
So here's me with a 2 year old trying to get this tree into the back of a car. Very unplanned purchase. Perfect all the same.
That whole weekend we prepared in the garden. I took the placenta out of the freezer and let it defrost. All the while never looking inside the container. I just couldn't do it. Not yet anyway. Maybe it was all part of some grand plan? Fate. Meh.
Everything was ready. I spent most of my time supervising the boys digging the hole whilst I painted a few canvases to do prints on. Something else I'd planned to do after our baby's birth. Placenta prints.
I was ready. I finally took the placenta out of the container to do the prints.
And there it was.
That sick feeling.
The pain like a bullet piercing my heart again and again.
The flashes of the surgeons face.
The hospital smell.
My beautiful placenta hacked into pieces, completely severed in half. Parts missing. The cord in pieces.
The tears. The pain. The shock.
I had no idea. No mention of it before we took it home. It was bad enough that we had to wash blue chemicals off it.
"How many more ways can they hurt us?"
B finally convinced me that I should still do the prints, despite the severed placenta.
It looked like a broken heart. Appropriate.
We tied her silk cord ties that I made before the birth on a piece of her cord and planted them in the Earth.
Despite the emotions that surfaced when I saw the placenta it felt so good to return it to the Earth.
This poem featured at Demeter's Feet really sparked something within me. The words, the pain, the passion. It's all there. It's all here in my heart too. So many sharing the same loss, the same heartache, the same pain...
Let me heal from this loss, but never cure it. Let me heal from this loss, but not get over it. Let me heal from this loss, but not forget it. Let me heal from this loss without leaving it behind. Let my cells heal and my heart open. Let me walk in strength and welcome what comes. Let me heal from the inside, let the outside unfold as it will. Let me heal from this loss while I carry her with me. Let whatever I require for healing appear now.
I'm still swinging violently between feelings but I really do think it's better than spending too much time in one kind of emotion. I don't know if it's the new year upon us but I'm busy doing 'stuff' if that counts for anything?
The other night I went into this crazed cleaning mode. I do that sometimes and it's cleansing in a way. I took all the pictures off the walls and redecorated. I rearranged the furniture and dusted the shelf. The shelf. Not just any shelf. The shelf that holds the remains of Yuna. It's still something I'm not sure I understand or haven't processed entirely. Or maybe I just haven't dedicated time to that process yet. In doing so, I then get hung up on all the decisions we made when we knew that we'd be planning a funeral for our baby girl.
Our last baby. Our only daughter. Ever.
So there she sits in a silver and pink container with doves. I just feel sick knowing that we weren't a part of that process. Even in death she was completely alone and there was nothing I could do about it. Another kick in the guts. Feeling like I failed her somehow. Well that's a recurring theme for me. Just the "ugh if things were different...". Well if that were the case, then she'd be here on my bed breastfeeding and playing or sleeping with her brothers. Meh not my REALITY.
And with cleaning comes the feeling that there are things that shouldn't be where they are. The change table that held all my art supplies. Despite it's conversion it was STILL a baby's change table. The clothes in a box under the bed. They all smell fresh and distinctly of the Eco friendly washing powder I only used for the clothes in preparation for her birth. Most of them brand new.
Can I swear? It fucking sucks.
I read The Alchemy of Loss by Abigail Carter after Yuna died and when grieving the death of her husband Abigail did a similar thing. For a long time she kept his clothes in her closet. And the smell was enough to allow a good deep sobbing session. Sometimes that's helpful. Sometimes it seems like a hopeless eternity of pain and despair. What to do with it?
Whilst grief is universally the same it can be so very different when it's your baby. Well it feels like that to me, a baby lost mama. No matter how much support, how many people you connect with or know that are in the same situation, or have been there, you still feel alone.
I guess the cleaning opened that wound again. The one I'd buried in order to function in this world. The one where I remember that this it it. That most people who lose babies keep their things for that baby in the hopes or even knowledge that one day maybe they will have a baby that will use them. A new baby to love. I know it doesn't reduce the pain or even make it easier but that hope IS there. Even if it's not acknowledged openly. Somewhere deep inside you know.
So here I am with a box of lovingly washed, hand dyed, beautiful hand picked over the course of my pregnancy baby clothes and nothing to hope for.
I know it's just 'things' but it's more the meaning behind them that's getting to me. The realisation that these clothes are going to sit in that box and we're not having another baby. Ever.
I just cannot wrap my head around it. It's so much easier to leave it untouched.
*Random Thought of the Day* I fucking hate you *Random Thought of the Day*
It doesn't matter how many years of therapy, how many friends tell me and how much I'm loved, I'll always and forever have this guilt. The chest constricting, stomach lurching, kick in the guts kind. The guilt that I create for myself. The 'burden' I carry all on my own. Created by me.
It's something that just continues on forever. It seems that way. In a state of what ifs' and endless questioning. Despite knowing that I don't have the answers, I don't really truly need them. The what ifs' aren't helpful.
I struggle with that. The struggle with What.Is.
In some other reality I accept that I had a baby and she died. I do, I mean I live with that knowledge every day, so it's a bit difficult not to accept it in some way. However the reality of why or how is different. I have no one to ask, it's only opinion and used against me at this point. After all I'm the one to blame it seems. I accept that. I do it to myself internally anyway.
I can't help but feel responsible. What mother truly doesn't hold on to some of the responsibility for not being able to keep their children alive?
It's what we live for.
So when your baby dies you feel responsible. It doesn't matter how, it was your fault for not being there/doing a better job/making the wrong decision...
That's how it feels.
I often wish I didn't care so much about birth. Wished that I was like everyone else on the conveyor belt. Wished I'd just followed the crowd. But I didn't.
A new year always makes me a little bit crazy. Well more so than normal. I need to organise everything. Clean and de-clutter. Get a new diary. Buy stationary. Yer I know it's weird but totally 100% me.
So I'm feeling creative. I'm going to try and do lots of crafting this year. Expression. Release.
Here's to a new blog layout. You like? I do. I hate changing layouts because it always seems so complicated and I always lose things in the change.
I'm in the process of doing some photo collages that I'll share later. Right now though I should be showering and getting ready for the back to school shop. There's something about new pens and pencil cases that I can't resist.
Well just a mini update post with nothing too scary or depressing or deep. I'll save that for later. However it doesn't always have to be that way does it? Learning learning learning...
I wrote this a while ago but couldn't let it out straight away. I needed time to sit with it. Perhaps analyze it, like I do with everything else...
"She's not an angel, she was my baby"
This comment has been on my mind lately. It really seems to sum up how I really feel at the moment. If summing up is at all possible in this situation?
I don't want to offend those around me. Which is generally why I don't share how I'm feeling because I do understand that everyone deals with or in my experience avoids grief. Or likes to think they are okay but that simply means shutting down a part of yourself that is too painful to work with. So here I'm being honest. Offensive or not. I need to let this out.
I do not get all warm and fuzzy when I hear the rain or see a flower. I do not thank my dead daughter for the Christmas bonus. I just don't.
That's how it feels to me.
Maybe this is just another 'stage' in a never ending cycle of grief?
I do not find comfort in material or superficial things that are supposed to be representative of my baby. Connections or messages from her.
Ash. Bones. Dust. Dead.
My hopes for warmth and protection are slowly faded. Perhaps I'm doing the angry phase. Surely I'm entitled to that?
I'm damn fucking angry!
People die, my baby died.
I know this but I don't understand placing hopes on the 'make believe'. That doesn't comfort me or help me through this.
I don't want prayers or pity.
I want you to acknowledge me.
My intelligence, my choices, my pain, my trauma.
That my baby existed, a baby that I grew and loved.
A baby that I nurtured and cherished.
She lived and she died.
It hurts but acknowledge me and that pain. It's real.
Imagine how much more it hurts me?
To know that you feel it's too painful to bear.
I don't get that choice.
I open my eyes to life and relive those days over and over again every day.
That pain is still there when I close them again.
I don't need photos of butterflies and teddy bears to know who she was.
That she existed.
I see her tiny lifeless body every time I close my eyes.
I don't need your judgements and whispers.
I carry plenty upon my shoulders, enough for an eternity of pain.
I do not ask for anything special. Do not go out of your way for me.
Just know I am human, I hurt and I needed you.
I needed you to hear me, to support me regardless of your own pain and beliefs.
To love me and acknowledge my reality.
Christmas Inspired Rage
Written over Christmas:
I feel so much resentment, hurt and anger it chokes me sometimes.
Twists my stomach.
Like pure rage.
I want to take away her pictures, never look at them again.
Throw away her clothes, she never wore.
I resent her? Myself?
I feel anger when I look at her tiny face.
She didn't deserve any of this.
Why Why Why?
I don't want to celebrate the end of the year or a new one coming.