Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proud of Myself

Dear Stevie,

Yesterday, I had to go back to my doctor's office. After my 4-week postpartum appointment back in June, I really, really, really did not want to step foot in that place again, at least not until I was pregnant again.

The medical building the clinic is in is really close to both our house and my office. For the last five months, I have figured out all kinds of crazy routes to avoid having to even drive past that place. If I'd see that parking lot, my mind would immediately go right back to the morning of May 7th, stumbling around in the rain, frantically scanning the sea of vehicles for our car through the thickest of tears. Pulling out of the lot into busy traffic, secretly hoping someone would run a red light and put me out of my misery.

So yeah, there are just a lot of pretty traumatic memories attached to that place, and I was really nervous about going there again, especially by myself.

But I did, and you know what? It was really not that bad at all.

I walk in, and of course the first thing I see is a huge, 38 weeks+ belly signing in ahead of me. No tears. It doesn't really bother me, honest. Then as I'm waiting to get called back, there's a couple 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over a long strip of ultrasound pictures. Instead of getting all sad, I actually smile. Really! I remember the day we were that excited couple. I let my mind wander back to the moment the Tech said, 'it's definitely a girl,' and your dad and I looked at each other and both exclaimed, 'really?!!' at exactly the same time, and was just...happy. Strangely, instead of feeling jealous of this random couple, I'm excited for them. I'm thankful that I have had the chance to experience that joy too (even if the ending wasn't what I thought and hoped it would be). I'm hopeful that I'll get to experience it again someday.

Later, when the nurse is taking my blood pressure, sees the tattoo on my wrist and cheerfully says, "5/8/10, what is that for?" I confidently say, "that's my daughter's birthday. She was stillborn." Then, when she says, "Oh I'm so sorry. How are you holding up?" I answer, "you know, it's really hard, but we're taking it day by day, and I'm doing okay." And I actually believe it.

Then I see my doctor. She tells me she saw me on the news back in July, asks me if I'm still blogging. I timidly tell her that I've actually started a pregnancy/infant loss support nonprofit. I fumble around in my purse, mumble something like, "I think I actually happen to have some cards in here somewhere..." I pull out a big stack of postcards, a bit self-conscience, worried she's going to think it's silly. But she looks at them, tears up, and says, "Kristin, I have goosebumps." She totally gets what we're trying to do, loves the idea. She gets dangerously close to the "maybe there is a reason why Stevie died" territory, but I let it slide because she's just so nice and making me feel so damn good about my self. She says, "you should be really proud of yourself." I say, "I am." And again, I actually believe it.

At the lab, I make small talk with the nurse who is drawing my blood. When she's able to find a vein right away and makes the comment, "you have really great blood," I refrain from saying, "actually, my blood sucks! It's what killed my daughter!" and instead smile and thank her for the strange compliment (whatever it means!)

I make an appointment to come back for another blood draw in a couple weeks, and leave feeling really, really, good. Strong. Hopeful. Human.

Yeah I know, it's really not like making it through a doctor's appointment is some huge accomplishment. But I think it just helped me to realize that even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, I am making progress. I'm not getting over it, but I'm getting through it. And if I squint my eyes hard enough, I am starting to see some light up ahead at the end of this tunnel.

Miss you, baby.



Michele said...

I am so proud of you. SO proud.

Tiffany said...

oh kristin.... your post made me tear up. Especially the part about your dr looking at the cards and I can tell that she was in amazement of all you have done for the BLM community. You are amazing. We know it. Your dr knows it. And I get the feeling you are seeing it too. Love you so much!!

Lilly's Mom (Desiree) said...

:) Glad everything went BETTER than expected!

Antoinette said...

<3 no words...really proud of you!! dr still freaks me out....i try to imagine every preggo is a rainbow (even if they never lost) because to me alyssa was my rainbow even though she was my first...doesnt always work..but i try

Lisette said...

I am so proud of you too.
"I am making progress. I'm not getting over it, but I'm getting through it. And if I squint my eyes hard enough, I am starting to see some light up ahead at the end of this tunnel."

I feel this same exact way ((HUGS)).

Andrea said...

"I'm not getting over it, I'm getting through it"


So proud of you sweet girl :) I admire your spirit.


Jodi said...

"I'm not getting over it, I'm getting through it"

Perfectly tears stream down my face.


Stephanie said...

I am so proud of you ~ you made it through something that most would not dare to tread close to. And you kept spreading the word about Faces through it all!

Catherine W said...

You should be proud of yourself xo

Erin said...

Kristin, I love this post. You should be proud of yourself!

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with the rest of us. And I'm so glad your doctor was supportive.

Good for you!

Maggie said...

I'm so proud of you too!! This post made me smile. :) I had to change doctor's offices because I could not stand going back to that Stevie's proud of her Mommy too! XO

Leanne said...

As everyone else said, I am SO proud of you! You really have come SO far! It has been so awesome to see you through this whole journey. I don't know how you do it but you had me in tears and yet with a huge smile on my face while reading this. Thanks for being so open and sharing your heart day after day.

Rhiannon said...

I am so glad that your appt went well. You are getting through it and you should be proud! :) You are such a strong inspiration to all of us!!

Anonymous said...

Kristin, you're a freakin rockstar. : ) Again, like the "early days," I see so much of myself in you and your experiences. <3 We're doin ok mama.

Susan said...

You have so much to be proud of! So much. You are surviving the unthinkable....and in the process you have launched such an inspirational website. Those two things alone should make you hold your head up high.

Susan said...

Kristin, Do you have cards that you can spare about I Am The Face or Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope? I wouldn't mind giving some to the nurse that coordinates that loss program at our hospital so she can put them in the informational folders that they give to loss parents. I also wouldn't mind taking some to my OB's office if you have enough to spare. You can email me at sand0113 at gmail dot com if you have enough to part with, and I will give you my address.


rebecca said...

So glad the appointment went well, it's amazing how you find yourself in these situations and can sense the strength that has become a part of who you are with time. That's wonderful you were able to speak confidently about Stevie and share FLFH with your doctor. You are such an incredible amazing person Kristin, this world is without a doubt a better place because of people like you!

Ausmerican Housewife said...

I went back to the hospital (where I birthed and lost Julia and birthed Evan) yesterday to talk to my midwife and to meet the "pregnancy loss coordinator". (She happened to be off the week Evan was born but has since heard the whole story and the aftermath.)

Both of them were excited to receive the Faces postcards and said (with a twinge of sadness) "We'll probably go through these pretty quickly. But they are another resource, another service we can offer."

When I asked about giving them some of the business cards, my midwife said "If you're ok with me handing your details out I'm ok with it." I told her that I can't mother my daughter or my son, but if there's a mother out there who just wants to know that I'm nearby and available to talk, maybe I can help mother her through her pain.

The Faces message is getting out there through Australia.

I also handed a few to the cemetery where Evan is buried. The very idea that a grieving mother can go online and get in touch with mothers who have had similar experiences is comforting. I've been referred to Bonny Babes, SANDS and Compassionate Friends but I'm not interested. I don't want to sit with other parents and hear their stories. I don't want to face others. I like the slight anonymity that Faces gives. I know I'll probably never meet any of you in person but I like knowing that you remember my babies as I do yours.

Good for you for making it through a doctor's visit. The first one is the hardest.

cainml said...

you are an inspiration!

Lori said...

This post just makes a little awe-struck at such power behind your words and your actions. So impressive that such grief can foster such positive steps in so many, many different scenarios and lives.

You have every right to be proud of yourself--if not for all the amazing things that you've done in Stevie's memory, just for as you said...getting through it.

Angie said...

This post made my heart smile. I look forward to progressing this far. I have realized that, after a little over 2 months, I actually have days where I feel acceptance. Although, that acceptance is usually closely followed by guilt, but I think it's a good start in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

i have a bleeding disorder that affects my reproductive capabilities too. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I don't understand why you would take money to support babyloss moms without trying to stop the problem for people like us forever? It seems like you could google babyloss and find this group, and money would be better spent on medical research? Is there a board that helps you determine where everyone's money should go?

Kristin said...

First of all, throughout the last 5 months I've met many, many babyloss moms, and while a few of them suffered losses because of bleeding disorders, there is a HUGE range of reasons, from pre-eclampsia, to incomptent cervix, to genetic disorders, to the majority--simply unknown causes. My passion is helping provide support and connection to ALL mothers who have suffered loss, not just ones with bleeding disorders.

Most importantly, the explicit mission of Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope is to provide support and resources to survivors of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, and raise awareness of pregnancy/infant loss throughout the greater community. All nonprofits should have a clear mission-this is ours. We do have a board of directors, but again, they are responsible for making sure the money we get in donations is used to further our mission. Medical research is not included in our mission.

Maybe there are others who would be greatly suited to start a medical research organization, but it's not me. And that's okay.

And while I hope someday there is a 'cure' for pregnancy/infant loss, until that day, I want to make sure there is a place for those suffering from it to find the support they need to make it through.

Holly said...

You did great at the appt. BTW you had a wonderful reply to anon!

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