Saturday, October 29th, we had a memorial for Michael and Alena.
My husband and I, along with a few family members, decided to take our chances and hike up to Mirror Lake to say goodbye to our babies. We chose a lake in the mountains that we frequent almost every summer so that we could visit (almost) whenever we want. It's serene, crystal clear, and surrounded by trees.
We knew there was a great chance that it would rain and rain hard. It is Washington in the fall after all. But honestly, our time was running out. It could be snowing in the mountains soon and if we were made to wait until next summer, after the snow melts, I may not be able or willing to hike at all. I am hoping to be pregnant again by then and I won't take any chances. So with all of this in mind, we knew we had to try.
My mom, along with Mike's parents, sister and brother-in-law came with us for support. Luckily, we chose a spot that didn't require you to be an expert hiker because I am still on the mend and couldn't have done anything too strenuous.
On the way there, I saw a rainbow. It made me feel like this was the right thing to do and the right time. It was a sign from the world that things would be okay.
Once we arrived at the lake and I took a little while to ready myself, we prepared the babies for their new home. I held them, sent them my love, and said my goodbyes. Mike's father did a reading and then my husband read something he had written for the occasion. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I was proud of him for having the courage to make himself that vulnerable. I certainly couldn't have made it through something like that, and I am the writer between us.
There was a lot of crying on my part and Mike had to be the one to spread their ashes in the lake. It was the one thing I was having too hard a time coming to grips with, so I sat beside him while he did the task. Afterward - we sent two red roses and two floating candles into the lake with them. The candles stayed lit longer than we expected them to.
Leaving them there was the hardest thing I did that day. It took everything I had to turn my back and walk away. It felt like I was leaving them there alone and I hated it. People kept telling me I would see them again soon and that we would be back, but that was not enough in my mind. I didn't want to come back to 'see' them that way. I wanted to be bringing my children there in the baby carriers we bought and for them to be spending time at the lake in our arms, not living there. I wanted them alive and safe.
Somehow I managed to turn away, and on the way back, the skies cleared and the sun came out. Again, a sign from the universe that they were where they needed to be and that I would be okay. I spent the rest of the hike back enjoying the sun on my face and mopping up silent tears. I already missed them so much.
Now I have mixed feelings about their ashes being gone.
I am sad because now I feel more empty than before, with few living memories to hold on to and now their bodies were gone as well. It was a comfort to be able to talk to them and spend time with them and I won't have that ability anymore.
But I am glad, because having them in the house with us made a harsh reality of the fact that they were no longer living inside me. They were dead. It may have made it harder to move on if I could see the physical evidence of their loss every day.
I am torn in two directions and it's hard to bring myself to the middle.
Nights are the worst. It's always been the time when I think about my day and everything else in my head. I get so tired in early evening, just waiting for a reasonable time to go to bed and then I can't sleep. I have always had a hard time turning my brain off and now is no exception. I go through all the stages of grief in a matter of an hour and it's exhausting and draining. And I know I will have to do it again the next night.
Sometimes I get so sick and tired of feeling down. I just want one whole day where I can block it all out and enjoy myself. One day to be happy like I was before. And I do try to be happy...but it always comes back - the loss and the sadness. I know it's to be expected, but I just want to be normal again. It seems like I am the only one who can't just 'turn it off' when I want. Maybe it's the hormones or the body changes or the simple fact that I had been carrying them with me every day for 20 weeks.
But it's just so frustrating that I have to feel the loss ALL the time, while others can laugh and talk about sports and move past sad feelings whenever they put their mind to it. I know some people can't see the point in dwelling and try to go back to normal... or maybe they just want to portray strength around me to hold me up. I get it, but HOW do they do it? I can't just turn it off or forget. I can get through a work day or other busy work if I engross myself, but it only lasts for short periods of time. I'm just tired of being like this.
I went a little off topic, but hey, that's the way my brain works right now. It's a bit of a mess.
I will leave you with a few pictures my mom took from the lake-side memorial. If only the sun had come out a few minutes earlier, the lake would have been a sight to see.
I also wanted to thank you all profusely for all the comments, love, and support you have shown in the last two weeks. It helps so much to know that I am surrounded by such wonderful people.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sometimes I feel like it was all a dream.
None of it seems real, like I was never never pregnant at all. Like my babies never existed.
And other times...I feel like I am still pregnant and the labor and death never happened.
The first week all I knew was my loss. My only reality was that my son and daughter were gone and I was without children again.
Now? I feel a numbness and a sense that I was only dreaming. It is such a strong feeling. I forget sometimes and think that maybe it never really happened.
And then I absently put my hands on my tummy or look down and realize with a sharp pain, that my belly is gone. I am thrown back into a reality that I could never imagine, let alone understand. The life I saw and felt only 12 days ago has vanished.
Was I ever pregnant with two babies?
That confusion doesn't last long however. There are signs of them everywhere. Signs that I have refused to eradicate. I won't pretend that they didn't exist or that I wasn't anticipating them with all the joy a mother could conjure. I won't erase them.
But this also means that as soon as I start to exist in a moment without the pain of their loss, I am reminded that they are really gone. That they were real and at one point thriving.
There are the flowers, candles and sympathy cards. There is the pile of baby items we collected recently stored in the garage. Their footprints and stuffed bears (that our nurse gave us) are sitting in the living room. I have a pile of ultrasounds in the guest room to be put into a memory book (as soon as I get up the courage). When I walk up the stairs, the first thing my eyes move to is the half put together nursery. And of course, the babies' ashes are usually nearby because I can't stand for them to be alone.
And those are all the things that remind me - at home - that they are gone. When I am out, my body reminds me. The cramps, the blood, the sore boobs, and the pants that no longer fit me. When my body fails to remind me, I have the teller at the bank or someone at work who is out of the loop.
I try to forget when I can. But then, I feel so guilty. We will talk about guilt another day as it's a big, long topic I can't get into now.
I think to myself at least daily...'why couldn't this have happened earlier?' Why couldn't I have miscarried at 15 weeks before I celebrated at my gender reveal party? Why couldn't I have lost them when I bled and had to go to the emergency room at 12 weeks? Why couldn't I have said goodbye to my twins at 7 weeks instead of seeing their heartbeats? What was I supposed to learn from all of this?
Not for one second did I take them for granted. I loved them the moment I saw them as a mass of cells. I wanted them before I even started trying to conceive. I waited and waited for Michael and Alena to find me.
Instead of miscarrying early in my pregnancy, I was given time to grow attached to them and get to know them. My body decided to wait until they were big enough to be delivered to take them away.
And now I am stuck in this surreal limbo. One moment I think I am still mid-fertility treatments and haven't gotten that positive test yet, and the next I think I am still pregnant.
I feel a little nuts honestly.
It's a disorienting place to be when you don't know what is real and what isn't. Granted it's only for small amounts of time, but boy does it throw me wildly from one emotion to the next.
I know that this is all part of the grieving thing and it will feel less dramatic as time goes on. I know that reality will always return to stare me in the face.
But I hate when it finds me, because it's so much easier to dream that they are still with us.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Who would have thought that I would be joining the millions of grieving parents on today of all days?
I don't have much energy to put into today, but as I have only been without my children for 3 days, I will most heavily be remembering them.
Please join me in lighting a candle this evening for Michael and Alena. I only held them in my arms for a short time, but they have forever made an impact on our lives.
Hugs and kisses to you angels,
mommy and daddy