Right after hearing the news that your heart had stopped beating, I stopped living in reality. I mean, I knew everything that was going on, and I was definitely sad, but I pretty much went into shock. When I was sitting in the exam room and my doctor was explaining that you had died and that I would need to deliver you, I couldn't even cry. Dad was sobbing, my mom had tears streaming down her face, and I just sat there, in utter disbelief. Numb. As soon as the doctor left the room, Dad tried to hug me. I kind of pushed him away and said, "Mom, can you call my boss and let her know I am not going to be in today. Make sure she knows I probably won't be in on Monday either." I have no idea why, but I was very concerned about work. It didn't hit me that I wouldn't be going back that Monday. That I wouldn't be going back for awhile. That I was going to need to recover from delivering my dead child.
We went home to get some things before heading to the hospital. I can remember standing in the shower, washing my hair, thinking, "this is the last shower I will ever take with Stevie inside me." Then, I decided to blow dry and straighten my hair, something I was usually too lazy to do the majority of my pregnancy. I remember actually thinking, "I want my hair to look good in the pictures from the hospital." Clearly, what was about to happen hadn't really sunken in yet.
Once we were at the hospital, I truly went into survival mode. I was running on "auto-pilot." I really believe our bodies do this as a defense mechanism or something, to keep us from going absolutely insane and shutting down in times like these. If I had truly realized what was going on, and the enormity of the situation while I was living through it, there is no way I would been able to make it through 20+ hours of labor to deliver the daughter I knew was already dead. No way. Aside from the few moments when I was holding you, I really felt no emotions my entire hospital stay. I just wanted to get the whole thing over with and get the hell out of there. Like I said, I was not living in reality.
Once we got home, the numbness gave way to pain. A kind of pain I had never felt before. A pain so raw and intense, I felt physically sick. My heart literally hurt. For the first week after you died, I was experiencing real emotions, but I was still very far from living in reality. During the those first days, the outside world did not exist to me. I was living in my own mind. I didn't leave the house. I barely spoke. My mind was absolutely consumed with thoughts of you. I relived the moment I saw your lifeless body on the ultrasound screen over and over and over again. I was either crying or fighting back tears, all the time.
Since that first week, things have gotten progressively "better." Eventually I started venturing out of the house, first just for a walk around the block, then to the grocery store, to now where we'll go out for an entire evening. I started being able to get through an hour, and then four hours, and then almost a whole day without crying. I started hanging out with my friends again. I got a new bike and have been going on lots of bike rides with Dad. I even slowly started back at work. I thought I was back to the real world. Back to reality.
But I was wrong. I think I figured out why I've been in such a funk this week: I know that actual reality is sneaking up on me and it's only a matter of time before I'm forced back to it. For the last six weeks, I've been allowed to live in my own little world, where everything revolves around me and my grief. I've been able to go to sleep and wake up whenever I feel like it. To think about you and talk about you all the time. To spend all my time online, in what I like to call "Stevie's world" (my blog, other baby loss blogs, pregnancy/infant loss support forums, etc--all places that revolve around you). I haven't really had to deal with any real responsibilities. I haven't even had to drive myself anywhere, other than work. I've been in mourning the last six weeks. But I know I can't be in mourning forever. Eventually life must go on, I must go back to reality, and it scares the crap out of me.
I know I can't just call into work whenever I'm feeling particularly sad forever. I can't expect everyone to want to talk about you all the time forever. I can't allow Dad to do everything for me for the rest of my life. For some reason, six weeks feels like some kind of magical "cut-off" time for heavy grieving. I feel the world moving on and expecting me to come along. Up until now, I've only dipped my toes in the pool of reality, but now it's time to jump in (or at the very least wade around in the shallow end before getting my hair wet).
I've been watching at least five episodes of Law and Order SVU everyday since the day after we came home from the hospital and realized Netflix had ten seasons available to "watch instantly" through online streaming. I'm currently on episode eight of season 10. 13 more episodes and there will be no more SVU left for me to watch. 13 more episodes until reality. It's coming, I can't hold it off any longer.
I'm so scared of reality, baby. I am scared to go back to a life that doesn't revolve around you. Part of me wishes I could stay in my safe little Stevie-centered, Law and Order world forever, but I know that wouldn't be healthy. I know it will get easier and easier to live with this hole I have in my heart, but it's a hole that will always be there. It's a hole that will never be fully healed until I get to hold you in my arms again someday.
Please stay near, Baby girl. Let Mama know you're okay. I miss you so much.
Love you forever,
Makes the Missing Lighter
1 hour ago