Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Regret

I expected to write about lighthearted nonsense in this post. But last night triggered some thoughts I can't seem to discard from my brain activity.

I have regrets. Never live with regrets, you say? Well then you must not have lost a child. While I understand that statement is meant to read, "You can't change the past so there is no use in dwelling on what could have been", I insist on regretting as I wish. I try not to dwell daily, but sometimes the regrets peek out.

And I'm not talking about ones from college or anything like that. Although I'm not discounting those. I'm just not focusing on them right now. It's funny how certain events in your life trump anything and everything else you went through that was thought to be monumental and devastating.

High school breakups? Not so devastating. My 3-year relationship to a deadbeat, barely a drop in the hat.

Losing my son, absolutely crushing. There's just not a whole lot that could personally happen to me that would top that.

My regrets are all related to things I wish I had taken the opportunity to do while my son was bodily with me in that hospital for those 3 hours. They're personal, but real. I'll always wish things were different and it breaks me thinking of such things. For better or worse, you all get to read these completely personal regrets. If you aren't a BLM, I'd appreciate if you abstained from commenting on them or bringing them up-- not because I fear a breakdown, but because they are personal pieces of myself that I'll never be able to change. And also, a breakdown would be imminent.
  • Not taking a lock of my son's hair
  • Not seeing his body naked
  • Not physically kissing him
  • Not taking his handprints
  • Not seeing his eyes
  • Not taking a photo of Ray holding his son
When in shock, the last thing you can be is rational. I couldn't see a day forward and wasn't able to logically know what I would want once we finally got home emptyhanded. Over seven months later.

I read someone's blog and read the comments about having locks of hair. It struck me in that moment that I don't have Andrew's hair and I want it. And if I did, I didn't know where it was. That spurred a trip to the nursery where I saw bags full of things that went untouched. That look identical to how they looked December 5th. It's like a time capsule in there. A great, big, baby time capsule of what could have been and what used to be my {hopeful but damned} reality. I rummaged through plastic bags of haphazardly strewn bottles and pacifiers my husband quickly emptied from shelves in our kitchen to de-baby the house before my entrance back into our lonely home.

I found the bag given to me by the hospital staff. It included pamphlets on grief, small booklets about losing a child, Andrew's footprints, crematorium paperwork, and 3 boxes of mementos. One box is from a woman who lost here baby. It was obviously her project to honor her daughter. There was a label attached to the box that read something to the effect of "Mommy to Hadley, born into heaven on March 21, 2009". In that box were various angel items. Pins, candles, etc. The next box held Andrew's little beanie hat (melt), baptism outfit, a pair of booties, pants, and a blue top that said something about heaven on it. I didn't buy the outfit. These were all supplied by the hospital clearly for dead babies. As a matter of fact, I didn't even have a hospital bag with me. It was all in the car and Ray was too afraid to leave me to go get it. And it was about 0 degrees outside. But mostly because I was an unpredictable basketcase of mess. The final box holds the blanket he was wrapped in, an envelope of the mysteriously strange (and eerie) gold ring they took photos of him with and some beads on little safety pins. One of them has a bead with the letter A for his name. I didn't understand these things, but I figured they were just standard procedure or small mementos given by other BLMs. Now that I live in the baby loss world, I am starting to piece together why we were given these items. Since Andrew was our firstborn baby, I couldn't compare normalcy to my experiences then. That was all I knew. And finally, the little card they put on those beds with the birthdate, baby's name, mother's name and all the measurements. His card was placed in the box. That probably hurts more than anything-- he wasn't a baby bed candidate and I'll never have one of those cutesy photos of him with his stats in that plastic hospital bed.

Heavy post. I've mostly stopped crying, but just couldn't let go of these thoughts and needed them documented. I'm sure as time progresses I'll add to the list of regrets. And while they will forever be regrets, I will try to live knowing that I did the very best I could in that moment of grief. I know I did. I don't dwell on it daily and I don't beat myself up over it. But it doesn't mean I can't wish circumstances were different. There hasn't been a whole lot I didn't want different in the last 7+ months actually.

Right. I'll work on that.

17 comments:

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so sorry you have regrets and I know how they can eat away at you and cause so much pain.

We never held Liam at the hospital. Like you said, there are so many things going on in our heads that we don't make the decisions we wish we had, in minutes or hours that were so short and precious. I regret it every single day of my life. I have tried to "let it go" but I can't. I will live with that regret forever, just another horrific reality of BLMs.

I hope my comment didn't upset you, just trying to relate.

Sherri said... [Reply to comment]

I wish these regrets were easy to let go of, but I know too that I'll always carry my version! My biggest regret... one that I actually haven't written, blogged, or spoke about to anyone except my husband.... Kristen died alone. When I gave her up, I thought she was gone. The nurse told me later that her heart had beat for another hour afterwards... I wasn't there when my baby died.. and that KILLS me!

Thanks for your post today, that was something that I needed to tell someone, and this seemed like the perfect chance to let it go!
Hoping there are brighter days again soon in your future!
hugs

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

"Never live with regrets, you say? Well then you must not have lost a child."

I've used that quote of yours MANY times to help people understand bc I too have SO many regrets. I am able to handle some of them better with time, but I will never be able to let them go. Hugs

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

I am totally with you on the hair and on never taking photos with Georgie. I can actually feel Georgie's hair under my fingers when I close my eyes. Her hair was so beautiful, like gold. And I wonder how I couldn't have gotten any? It was never offered to me. I was in way too much shock to even ask. I also have no pictures of the three of us, or even of Dave holding his daughter. I regret that one all the time.

I like your Keep Calm and Carry On, though. I actually bought a print of that for my house in the wake of all this.

Hugs, good vibes, and prayers to you, my friend!

JoyAndSorrow said... [Reply to comment]

(((HUGS))) I have some of the same regrets. I only saw my son completely clothed and swaddled. I never got to see his eyes, and trying to do so would have made me feel "morbid" at the time (although now I wish I had). : ( I also never got a photo of my husband holding him, and that breaks my heart more than anything else. I don't know how to cope with that. All I know is that at first he didn't even want to hold him, and then he changed his mind and at the time that for me was enough. I'm so sorry you are feeling regrets, but please know it's so normal. No matter what, we all have regrets. No time is ever enough when you expected to have years and decades with your child.

JoyAndSorrow said... [Reply to comment]

(((HUGS))) I have some of the same regrets. I only saw my son completely clothed and swaddled. I never got to see his eyes, and trying to do so would have made me feel "morbid" at the time (although now I wish I had). : ( I also never got a photo of my husband holding him, and that breaks my heart more than anything else. I don't know how to cope with that. All I know is that at first he didn't even want to hold him, and then he changed his mind and at the time that for me was enough. I'm so sorry you are feeling regrets, but please know it's so normal. No matter what, we all have regrets. No time is ever enough when you expected to have years and decades with your child.

T said... [Reply to comment]

Hello. I just recently started following your blog. Probably because posts like these speak to my feelings, good and bad. My son Liam was born in April 2010 at 23 weeks, likely due to incompetent cervix. He was my first child and I thought everything was going swell in my pregnancy. So, I didn't prepare myself for his early delivery. My husband and I didn't have time to have some sort of talk about "what ifs" so that we could be on the same page.

I appreciate your honesty and courage for speaking candidly about what you regret. Your list is nearly identical to my list. I didn't unwrap him and didn't study his beautiful body...he WAS beautiful and perfectly formed but fragile and I was worried about hurting him...it's a nonsensical thought, I know. I only kissed him once and it was a light kiss. Uggh. It makes me upset to write it out.

The way you ended your post is identical to what I tell myself. It was an emergency situation that we were completely unprepared for, I was definitely in shock and I did the best that I could. I can commiserate with how that logically that helps but it will never change it...

Like you said, though, it's not something that I dwell on daily anymore but it will always be there and I don't think there's any getting around it.

Take care and thanks again. It's nice to not feel alone with these emotions that are alien to mothers who haven't lost a child (they like to say they understand or can relate, but I'm sorry, they can't. It's simply impossible)

CHH said... [Reply to comment]

Thinking of you.

Please be gentle with yourself.

Best,

Coastal Blue Ocean

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

Ugh...regrets. I think no matter how much time you have or all the things you try to do there are still going to be regrets looming. Mine is that I didn't see Addi's little bottom...seems stupid, but it's something I would have seen a million times if I had the chance to change her diaper. My family saw it, my friends saw it, but I did not...her own mother didn't see it and there are no pictures of it. Regrets are so cruel and can hit at the craziest times. So sorry this started out as a hard day already. Thinking of you.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

I know that list of regrets all too well. I have one of my own. No one ever plans to lose a child and when you do the last thing on your mind is thinking about getting that lock of hair, kissing and hugging him,and getting tons of pictures. Your not thinking clearly about the fact that this is the only time you have the chance to do these things. It sucks because there isn't much we can do about it now:(

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

The list for me that day (and the days prior) is never ending. I don't think I did anything right and those are my regrets as well and would do anything for a do over. They didn't even give me my son's baptism clothes or hat. I would have done anything to put on his first diaper...ugh!!! I am so sorry we have this in common.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

Thinking of the 3 of you.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Merr. Right there with you. I regret not taking Cale out of his blanket and examining EVERY aspect of his body. I do that now with his pictures but wish I looked it over when he was with me. I wish I took more pictures . . any pictures, tons of pictures. Thank God the hospital took two, but that's it. I regret not holding him longer. I regret not getting handprints as well. Sigh . . . I am sorry friend.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

xox.

Hope's Mama said... [Reply to comment]

I can very much relate and have some of the same regrets myself. Our time with them will never be enough.
These regrets are tough, as there is nothing we can do to change things or make things *right*.
Thinking of you so much.
xo

lissasue3 said... [Reply to comment]

I think that if I hadn't had an online friend lose a baby before then I honestly would not have thought to do these things either. Because of her loss and her blog (that I read before my own loss) I was aware of the decisions that I would have to make so I took Charlotte's hair, I held her and took pictures of her. If not for my mother undressing her to look at her little body it would not have occurred to me to look either. But she looked so I looked.

I have regrets too though. I knew of NILMDTS, but didn't call them. I should have. All our pictures are grainy and nothing I would share with anyone. Most of my regrets though are from my pregnancy and what I should have recognized as real issues to be taken seriously. I'll never know if Charlotte would still be alive if I had been more anal and proactive.

((hugs to you))

SuzyQpon said... [Reply to comment]

Except for the handprints, which the hospital did, I have all of those same regrets. I thought I was the only one who would regret not seeing their child naked. It seems a little preverse but I would have liked to have seen the body I worked 6 months to make. Hang in there BLM...