It lives in my head, the most haunting of images. And while most would assume it would be that of my lifeless baby, it actually isn’t.
It is the image of my husband sitting, with his head in his hands, at the end of a long hospital corridor. I saw that, and knew it was over.
Because had there been any glimmer of hope, he would have been in the room with Oliver, while they were trying to revive him. But they had been shocking his heart for 30 minutes with nothing to show but faces of solemnity. Someone had suggested my husband wait outside the triage room, in the hallway.
And when I came rushing in to the hospital, a (very slow) nurse accompanied me to the triage room. But I left her behind as I ran up to my husband. And he looked up at me with broken, sad eyes. And his eyes confirmed what I had assumed by seeing him sitting, with his head in his hands, at the end of a long hospital corridor.
I have a lot of updating to do. Life is beyond hectic, and that sometimes keeps me from actually feeling the things I need to feel. I push them down because I just don’t have time to deal with the emotions.
The “anniversary” of Oliver’s death was 5 days ago. It fell on a Sunday, which means the kids were home and I didn’t have much downtime to grieve, or even think much about, my sweet boy.
But oh, we have a baby now. After 10 years of infertility, and needing IVF to have the babies we had, I got pregnant the old-fashioned way. First time in ten years. TEN FUCKING YEARS. I got the positive pregnancy test a few days after the “anniversary” of Oliver’s death. My due date was the EXACT SAME as it was with the twins. I realize it sounds like I’m full of shit, but this happened. And while the twins were born on March 1st (two weeks early), my sweet new babe arrived on March 20, six days overdue. On the first day of Spring. And her name is Violet.
Violet is amazing. She is the perfect baby… and I’ve never had one of these! She is happy all of the time, she is a great sleeper. She’s just an easy baby. I really never thought I could make one of those.
But, Violet being born in March, so close to Avery and Oliver’s birth day… she’s hitting all her milestones at very similar times of the year, and it’s so hard. It’s so wonderful, but so, so hard.
Violet is almost four months old. I’m feeling my paranoia and my anxiety ramp up. Today was a Friday in July. Oliver died on a Friday in July. Violet ran out of milk at daycare. Oliver ran out of milk at daycare on the day that he died. Violet’s daycare teacher told me that it’s ok, she’s sleeping now, so I don’t need to bring more milk down. I wanted to scream at her to not let Violet sleep! Please! Keep her awake and alive.
I wear Violet a lot in a baby carrier. And I give her so many kisses on her forehead. Tonight, it’s a balmy 75 degrees in here, and we have plenty of fans blowing. Violet’s skin feels a little clammy, and upon the last kiss on the forehead I gave her, she felt a bit cooler than normal. And I instantly think of the last kisses I gave Oliver on his forehead. Hours after he died, as I was holding him in my arms, never wanting to let go. But, he started to get cold. The warmth was leaving his body, and it was time for me to give him up.
Having a new baby after your baby dies can be at times uplifting and comforting, and at other times a cruel reminder of what you once had. And soon enough, once Violet turns 4 months and 8 days old, it will be a reminder of what never was.
This evening, Henry was loving on his baby sister. He said, “She’s my baby!” and then said “but when baby dies, we won’t have anymore babies left”. So I had to try to explain to my 4-year-old that it’s not typical for babies to die. And that even though Oliver died, most people die when they are old. Then he said, with a hopeful look on his face, “Will he come back??”
And then the pieces of my broken heart shattered into even more pieces.
My Facebook feed is filled with graphics proclaiming “I am 1 in 8”. My feed is filled with these because I have a LOT of friends who struggled with infertility. We connected over our struggles to conceive. I am infertile. And it sucks.
How did I get so terribly unlucky to always be on the wrong side of statistics? 1 in 4 (pregnancy loss), 1 in 8 (infertility), and 1 in 2500 (give or take).
Just the mere fact that I am having to Google “how many babies per year die from SIDS?” is utterly depressing, in the minimum.
Infertility was hard. Soul-sucking. It dominated YEARS of my life. But now, what I wouldn’t give for that to be the worst of my defining statistics. Because this struggle I face now… the death of a baby after trying SO HARD to have the baby… it’s nothing short of brutal, heartbreaking, debilitating.
And National Infertility Awareness Week is just another reminder of what my life was like before. Of how things can always be worse. And of my sweet IVF baby boy, Oliver.
Beyonce is having twins. Haven’t you heard? Unless you live, well, nevermind. I know you’ve heard.
It’s everywhere. Her announcement photo. Memes about her announcement photo. Memes saying “I had twins before Beyonce made it cool.”
And I can’t avoid it. I cannot get it out of my face. It’s everywhere, and each day a new something to be shared all over my newsfeed.
And I can’t step away from Facebook, because it is essential to my job.
I want twins again. I want Oliver to be here. It’s not FAIR. I hate saying that, because I feel like a 6-year-old. But fuck. It’s not fair. IT’S NOT FAIR.
Recently, I’ve been reliving so much of the time around Oliver’s death. Not full days, ever, but specific hours of certain days. Specific happenings. Crying in the car. Crying at the computer. Crying as we moved in to our new house. A house that Oliver was never in.
This is not cohesive, I know. My brain is not organized enough right now to write a post that makes much sense.
I just miss my boy so, so, so much. I see photos of 3-month-olds, and 4-month-olds, and I want him back. I want him back so desperately.
Sometimes, I relive the most painful memories of the day that Oliver died, in an effort to force myself to accept that this is, in fact, my reality. That this isn’t some weird nightmare I’m in, it isn’t someone else’s life I’m looking down on. That isn’t someone else saying, “Yes, she had a twin brother, but he died.” That’s actually ME saying those words. That’s actually ME saying, almost sickeningly nonchalantly, that I just ordered the headstone for my baby’s grave, and it should be here in February, on a truck full of other headstones.
That’s me wondering what to do with the “Oliver” stocking I ordered while I was still pregnant, because PB was having a great sale. That’s me talking to my mom about ordering a Christmas “blanket” of fresh pine for his grave. That’s me making payments on his medical bills. That’s me looking at the photos from Avery’s recent photoshoot, and cursing the heavens or the Gods or whatever the fuck took him away from me.
That’s me wondering so often what he would look like now, today, right this second. What he would be doing that would be the same as his sister, or different than her. That’s me softly telling Henry that it’s not nice to say, “Baby looks dead” while talking about Avery.
That’s actually me, missing my sweet, chubby, perfect baby boy, every second, of every day. That’s me fearing that someday, I’ll forget so many of the little things he did. That’s me fearing that I’ve already started to.
It’s ready. The autopsy report. After three and a half months of waiting, it’s ready.
I got a letter in the mail stating that it has been completed, and if I send a check for $15, they will send me the report. They don’t usually send a letter like this, apparently. It was only because I called and requested the information (well, I called, and then had to send in a handwritten request for the report once complete).
It’s odd that the state Medical Examiner’s office won’t just send the autopsy reports to parents who have lost their child. But I suppose not everyone wants the documents.
I will be calling Avery’s pediatrician tomorrow to see if we can schedule a time to go over the report. I’d like to understand what I’m reading. And then will schedule a therapy session for husband and I. We will definitely need it.