When we exchanged rings, we hoped our family of two would grow.
It has, into a family of 4. We're just split in half.
Two of us walk the Earth while two of us fly in Heaven.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Right Where I Am Project: 11 months 16 days since Evan Riley

Following other bloggy mommas with the right where I am right now in my grief project.

It's been 11 months and 16 days since our little Evan Riley was born and died and resuscitated. Evan died twice. The first was moments after birth in the arms of an unknown doctor or nurse when his oxygen starved little body shut down, the second 4 days 2 hours later in my arms surrounded by family and a very close friend.

I feel numb, in disbelief that it has been almost a year exactly since our adorably handsome perfectly chubby baby boy was born. I'm incredibly pissed off that we're not pregnant again yet. It was almost 11 months after Julia that Evan announced his presence (morning sickness). Its now after 11 months and still no two pink lines. I'm angry that my second child has been taken from me when I just want my baby to raise. I'm jealous of my daughter who gets to mommy him until I kick the bucket. I'm frustrated that I've no children to nurse, clean up after, wash clothes for, babyproof the house for, arrange playdates with their cousin, frantic midnight phonecalls to my inlaws for advice on how to break a baby's fever, no diapers to change, nothing, I mother a child who was barely here, and another who was full term and healthy before birth then decided to be born backwards and is now dead. I mother one grave while longing for a second with my girl's name on it for the world to see. I long for a place to go and mourn her. I long for my babies stories to be told so the world doesn't forget them.

I long, kick, scream at the sky and sob for a child to love and raise and spoil to bits. I long to see my grandmothers hold their greatgrandchildren before they die. I long to see joy and happiness in my husband's eyes as he holds his child, his healthy living breathing child. I ache for my son. My arms ache to hold him and warm him, to kiss his booboos and clean scraped knees, to use scooby doo bandaids and clip playing cards in his bike wheel spokes. To have mudpie parties and excursions into the backyard finding worms. I've said repeatedly "I'll hold a baby slug at this point, just let me hold your baby! I'll give your arms a break for a while..." I hurt because my son's blanket no longer smells like him. I burn as his adorable clothes and toys sit unused in boxes, patiently waiting the "next baby" to use them. I envy my sister in law who is leaving her baby girl with our mother in law to babysit as she goes back to work. Meanwhile, I went back to work 3 months after I laid my son to rest. I resent and yet can't resist my niece some days. She gets to grow up where her cousins don't. They'll be forever young while she grows up and grows old. She'll never know Julia or Evan aside from pictures and stories.

I'm eager to get the investigation report from the ambulance company of Evan's birth. I yearn to know what happened to Evan after he was delivered from my womb, while he was in transit from one hospital to the other, after he died. Was he carried to the morgue still swaddled in his blanket? Did the morgue people cry at how perfect he was and how unfair that he should be in such a cold and sterile environment instead of in my warm and loving arms? Did the funeral home people cry as they bathed him and combed his soft hair nicely into place before swaddling him back into his diaper jammies and blanket and placing him in his casket before we got to see him? Do the cemetery staff wander over to the infant section and just sob at all the tiny babies that represent broken hearts and lives?

I cringe when I walk into Evan's nursery and see his things with their light coating of dust. The crib bedding that I so lovingly washed and dried, the stuffed animals that keep his picture company, the books on his bookshelf that I never got to read him. I melt when people comment on how perfect and precious and "he looks so perfectly normal!" when they see his pictures. I silently pray each night when I take my folic acid tablet that this month will be the magic lucky month. That I'll conceive and Evan will be a big brother, Julia a big sister. I hesitate to finish Evan's baby book as that symbolizes the end of him. I'm still stunned that my baby boy is gone. That he's really truly gone and all we have left to remember him are a few bits and pieces that he touched, a myriad of pictures taken and a couple keepsakes from both hospitals.

I treasure the tiny bloodpressure cuff a nurse handed to me after I first got to see my son in Special Care Nursery. I regret not responding as the nurses tried to get my attention to see Evan after he was born. I hate that I never got to touch him seconds after birth, that he didn't get skin to skin time with me until he was 12 hours old. I regret not demanding more skin to skin times while in NICU, that more people didn't come to visit us so we could introduce them to Evan as he was. That my parents only got one snuggle with him before we turned off his life support. That my brothers never got to hold him.

I have sleepless nights wide awake with "what if's", sleepy days where I can't face the world as the world still turns when mine doesn't. Forcing myself to congratulate coworkers on their new babies when secretly I wish they knew what hell it was for me to see a live baby in another mother's arms when my babies are in the ground. I'm paranoid that the next baby we have will be buried with their big brother, and the next baby and the next. I'm scared to death of having a c-section and still not taking my baby home. I'm petrified that I'll never see my husbands eyes light up with tears as he introduces our baby to our church family on baby's dedication Sunday. I'm horrified to think that the rest of my 20s will go by and I'll still be childless. (So I'm 28, almost 29.) I hate it when people say "you're still young, you can have another" when they don't know what a twisting knife in the gut that comment is.

I'm in a fog planning Evan's first birthday, half wanting it to never come, half wanting it to be just over and done with so I can bury myself in my bed and sleep for a week.

that's right where i am, right now.


still life angie said...

Thank you for sharing right where you are. I found coming up on my daughter's first birthday/death anniversary so impossibly hard. I couldn't believe it was a year and that she died. I still couldn't believe it. Thank you for reminding me of that.

after iris said...

Remembering Evan as you approach his first birthday x

Dana said...

I have been thinking about you and will be especially as Evan's first birthday approaches. It isn't easy, but you've been through it once already which is so unfair it makes me want to scream.

You could put a plague for Julie somewhere for the world to see. On a park bench or a stone at a park or a sign in front of a tree....

I was sure that I would either have a rainbow baby before Jacob's first birthday, or be very pregnant. Turns out I had a chance at both and lost both. Realizing that we just have no control over whether or not it happens helps somewhat, at times.

I hope it happens for you soon.

I've often wondered what happened to Jacob after I left the hospital. How did he get to the morgue. Did a nurse carry him down or did someone from the morgue come to collect him. What was he in when the funeral home picked him up? How long did they keep in wrapped in the blanket that I handed him to the nurse in?

I have a friend who is a nurse. She said that she has talked to pathologists and said that they all seem sad when they talk about doing an autopsy on a baby, even if they have been doing that work for 30 or 40 years. It never gets easier for them and she said they handle the babies with a great deal of care.

Sending you hugs and love.

Ausmerican Housewife said...

I've still to save up the money for Julia's plaque.

We didn't have an autopsy done on Evan, it wasn't necessary. Evan's chief NICU doc (Dr. Davies, no relation) offered us one but said it wasn't medically needed as we knew what caused his demise. He also said we didn't need to know that Evan was being cut open and disected like a frog in science class! He was right. It was torture enough to walk out of the hospital under my own steam while clutching Evan's blankie. It was torture enough to drive out of the parking garage and sit in the back left passenger seat. That's where Evan's carseat was placed and where he should have been. I cradled his plaster hand and footprints and sobbed most of the way home.

Ausmerican Housewife said...

When we met with the funeral directors, they asked what we'd like Evan dressed in. Without missing a beat, we both said "What he's already dressed in, his jammies and blue blankie." When we saw him a few days later (is it weird that I couldn't wait to get to the funeral home?) he was dressed in his jammies, his hair was scrubbed and combed very nicely, he was wrapped in his blue blankie and he had a bit of make up. (My lil glamourpuss. :p)

Hope's Mama said...

This really resonated with me:
"I long, kick, scream at the sky and sob for a child to love and raise and spoil to bits. I long to see my grandmothers hold their greatgrandchildren before they die. I long to see joy and happiness in my husband's eyes as he holds his child, his healthy living breathing child."
Thinking of you so much as you approach Evan's birthday. Such a difficult time.

brianna said...

I still think about the "what ifs" too. I don't know when those will ever subside...

So sorry for your losses.

erica said...

Those "what ifs" are so hard. Kara, I am so sorry for the loss of Evan, and I'll be thinking of you and both your babies as you approach his birthday. Love to you.

Matushka Anna said...

Just wanted to let you know something:

While I was still working as a nurse, I worked on a gyn/gyn oncology floor. When women had suffered a loss, they were moved from the postpartum floor to mine in an effort to lessen the pain. So all of the postpartum women I took care of had lost their babies. Our policy was to fetch the baby from the morgue any time the parents wanted to see him or her, then take them back later. I made far too many trips to the morgue (not that I grudged any of the, of course). When we got back to the unit we took the baby out of the shroud to get him ready for the parents. A lot of times the baby wasn't wrapped in anything or was even wearing a diaper. We always had supplies on hand for this purpose and would diaper and swaddle the baby in a clean baby blanket and put on a cap. Then we would carry the baby in to the parents like that, rather than in a shroud. I cried every time. Every. Single. Time.

Fireflyforever said...

I'm working my way through all the posts on Angie's linky. By coincedence I've picked up this post on Evan's birthday - I hope his special day is passing gently for you - and that you are able to rest afterwards. I know I found the days after Emma's first birthday very hard.

Catherine W said...

I am so, so sorry. Evan was just a beautiful little boy, I'm so terribly sorry that your son isn't in your arms. I hope that his first birthday passed as peacefully as it could for you.

That aching, that burning for a child is so heartbreaking and you have described it so eloquently. I am hoping for you and your husband that you will not have to wait long.

Matushka Anna - That was a beautiful comment, it is wonderfuul to know that those who look after our babies do so with so much compassion xo

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