I've been thinking that maybe I should seriously consider writing a book, afterall, I have a lot to say. Haha. But how could I if I can't get it all out? Maybe I'm too full of myself.
So today has been one month. Seems that it went by really fast. I actually thought the 7th was tomorrow, which made me feel bad; like I should have been mourning all day or something. So this afternoon, on the computer I began to think about everything and kind of accepted the notion that Charlotte probably had T18. I was online at the Kaiser website and was looking up the characteristics and my sister came in. We spoke for a bit and I told her that I think Charlotte may have had it, then I said I know it really doesn't matter anyways. I felt like I was giving into my flesh needing answers rather than allowing for God to have ALL of the knowledge. Just then, Airenne called and I had to go. I guess there was my answer. "And He shall provide an escape..." I never returned to my search.
So later tonight, I was bombarded with more mental questions. I've found that they come when I'm still. I don't like it. That's when I feel like I should write things down, but I don't then I get frustrated and angry.
I was thinking about how maybe I should, or maybe I just want to, write another email to give an update of how I'm doing. Then I think, geez, how long will this go on? Is it all about me??
That's not what I want, but I feel like I almost owe it to people because I've dragged them through everything else with me. Maybe I'll try to start up a web page, just like the mom of Abigail did. I think that was her name...
Anyway, I read another book called "Silent Cradle". It was written by two sisters one that had lost her third child, and the other helped to write. She also had questions to prompt journaling, which was great. But I couldn't help the feelings I had though. To hurry up and "fill-in" my own pages as there were many differences in our opinions on grieving. I felt like I needed to defend myself or justify my feelings to no-one, or perhaps to everyone.
The book often times referenced being angry at God. But I'm not. I'm not trying to sound self righteous or anything, in fact, I've felt horrible thinking it was ok for Charlotte to die. Was it because of my reluctance of being pregnant or having to raise another child right now? Or was I comforted in KNOWING God is sovereign & providential. Have I been using these ideals as a scapegoat of denial? I suppose even the word "scapegoat" applies---as the priests of the Old Testament allowed for one as a sacrifice, which alludes to Christ--oh,I don't know...that thought was gone before I got it all out!
But has my hope been just a defense mechanism of my heart? I think not. I had BELIEVED things were going to be different. So did a lot of other people. Are they sitting on the same fence that I am right now, questioning what they had believed? I want to clarify that the question lies in WHAT I believed, not in WHOM.
I hope I have not shaken things up for people. Maybe I have. Maybe we all needed it. Sifting.
But I've been questioning myself. Why was THIS pregnancy different? What made me shout from the mountain tops everything that was happening. Why am I so willing to "move ahead" and consider more writing? I need to ask the Holy Spirit to search me. Am I wanting attention? This just doesn't seem to fit in with the other mom's experiences.
Speaking of, the other moms, I mean, almost all of them refer to their babies as stillborn. I've said it a few times but feel guilty for doing it, like it's minimizing Charlotte or dismissing her. I feel like I had a daughter that died, not a "still born". I've even described her death as "her heart stopped beating before she was born" or, "yes, I did have a baby but she passed away". I wonder if these feelings will ever be replaced. Or if I will ever sprout angry roots towards God. I hope not.
I found myself the other day going to the bank to pay for the mortgage. For the last 3 months I've walked in the payment and spoken with the teller who always commented on my pregnant figure. I was actually excited to go in and tell her "Yes, I did have my baby. She was perfect looked like her big brother." Then I knew what the next line would be "...but she passed away." That would make me so sad. So when I went in, I took Mathias...everyone was looking at him so much they didn't even ask about Charlotte. But that was ok. Maybe I wouldn't have been as "up to it" as I thought.
There was something that was kind of funny that happened 3-4 days after she was born. (Goes to show how self centered I can be).... Brian, the boys and I were going to develop the pictures of Charlotte when we saw Bobbi. She was walking to her car and we were walking into the store when I said "hi". Well, apparently, she didn't know anything, because in her big hug hello she asked when the baby was due! You know, my first reaction was "Crap! I still look pregnant?" So I then explained everything and she apologized profusely. Still makes me chuckle.
But as for the Silent Cradle book, I think I'll keep it around. The journaling questions are good. I suppose the biggest difference between the author and myself is her anger towards God and my lack of it. My lack of anything, really.
I don't feel depressed, per se, just more relaxed. The things that used to bug me like the house being messy or whatever, have now taken a backseat. But other things have made me more fearful. For instance, I want Brian around me all the time. Way more than usual. I noticed it in the hospital. He had to go out to use the bathroom and I asked him to hurry up and come back. I was almost scared.
So now we're re-modeling Airenne's bathroom. I thought "what a perfect project" Brian will be at home with me, we'll get the ugliness in the bathroom taken care of AND have a great sense of accomplishment!" I realized that last one after reading that book too. That yes, I do feel like I need to "complete" something. I know Charlotte was not "my fault", but I do have the urge to prove that I can make something good again.
In other books that I've read I noticed that I turned way more to the sections for newborn deaths over miscarriages or stillbirths. How weird that I would even care. But she was my 'baby'. Not 'a' stillborn. I bet all moms feel like that.
This writing feels good. Takes the edge off. But it's overwhelming how suddenly a thought of Charlotte floods my mind and my heart. I've been carrying around her photo album in my purse, just in case I run into someone. At least I have those to share. Can't pass around a bubbly baby; but I do have the pictures.
It's ironic though. The pictures are somewhat ugly. I mean, it's of a dead baby. But I treasure them more then anyone else's. That's all I have now. That and the castings.
Can I make it one night with out crying?? I will try tonight. I've had a perpetual headache for a month. Tomorrow I'll try to get a grip on my fleeting thoughts. I've had a horrible memory lately. I have to literally keep a calendar. I hope that clears soon.
Then a few hours later I was clearing out my room and the boy's room and when I opened the door to place the bag of old clothes and toys outside, there stood the Funeral Director. It took me a few seconds to realize who she was/where I knew her from, but then I lost my breath. I didn't know if I should invite her in; it was so strange to see her outside of the funeral home. I knew she lived nearby, but to see her on my porch....
Thinking now, I guess I wished that she came by to give Charlotte back to me, handing her over like we'd made a mistake, but she didn't. Instead, she handed me an envelope with clippings of Charlottes' hair, a paper template of a headstone and her death certificate. I studied that dumb piece of paper for a long time. Each neatly typed box, spelling, noted time, Doctor's signature. Cause of Death. Like there was going to be an explanation or some information I wasn't aware of. The last line said there was multiple cysts on her brain & possible Trisomy 18. Not even a note about her heart problem. I suppose this is a way for Satan to tempt me. Maybe I should've asked for testing or an autopsy. To get more "answers". To not trust God.
When I went over to my mom's she bluntly asked me if the days date was bothersome. Well, gee, not until you asked. I was somewhat surprised that Brian's mom didn't call. She probably didn't want to upset me.
So, in the mail the other day I received a book called "When a Baby Dies". What was so surprising to me was how "normal or "text book" my feelings are. I feel like I'm experiencing them somewhat at warp speed. I guess I somehow thought I was different. I was ( I thought) stronger, more able to deal with it. But I'm right in line with a typical grieving mother. I suppose there is a lot to analyze in that one. 1.) Christ needs to be my comfort and I am beautiful to Him when I have a broken heart & 2.) I need to remove my pride and realize I can not do this alone. Nor am I any different/special that I could ever do it by myself.
A scary thought is that the hard part of this process doesn't usually come until the fourth month after. It is hard enough but now it may get even worse? Another "thing" that got me in the book was the description of a baby's skin after in utero death. It was just like Charlotte's red shiny flesh on her torso where it was starting to pull. Not pink delicate skin. This too reminded me of a "natural process" it wasn't only her that it happened to. But yesterday, as I was cutting an apple for the boys, the skin peeled off in the midsection. There she was again.
The gravity of losing Charlotte hits at the strangest times. I was sitting at the desk, putting things away and realized that I have a baby that died. I've become one of "those" women. Who are they? Now it's me.
Brian told me today that he is depressed and stressed out. I don't know if it's only work or not. I hope he's sad about Charlotte. I hope he never forgets her. I went to the cemetery today with my mom. I was excited and nervous. It almost felt wrong to go with out Brian. So we stopped and got roses. I used a coupon from one of the arrangements that had been sent to us. I felt so cheap. We arrived at the cemetery and I walked to where I thought she was. My mom was not too near me when I spotted Charlotte's plot. I remembered she was next to two "Infant Hall" children. I expected to see freshly turned dirt. I almost missed it. I barely eeked out: "There she is." My mom was talking about something and I interrupted her. I don't even know what we had been talking about , I was so preoccupied with looking ahead of me that I didn't recognize that she lay just 2-3 plots to my right. It felt like the wind was in my face and it took away my ability to speak. All I could say was "there she is"...my mom stopped and asked where and I pointed to the flower can thing. Immediately I started crying and so did she. She hugged me tightly and whispered "I'm so sorry baby." She was hugging me so tight that I thought that I shouldn't move, like she needed the hug too.
So we placed our roses in the can. I noticed how the dirt was pulling/caking around the can. I saw the outline of the grave in dirt, but the rest was grown over with grass. We walked over her area, over to the northside fence. There were a lot of other babies buried there that I hadn't noticed before. Sounds lame, but it felt good to know other mom's and dad's had placed their babies there too. Then we left because it was so cold.
On the way home, I told her how Zachariah woke up yesterday morning. He was all misty eyed and he said he was crying for Jesus. When I asked him why he said it was because he missed Charlotte. That caught me off guard; big time. I told him that it was ok to cry to Jesus and that Charlotte was so lucky to be with him. That was the first time he's mentioned her. I thought maybe "it" was over with for him, but I guess not. Even this afternoon, when we were buying wipes for Mathias, Zach asked if they were for Charlotte too. Later, on the clearance rack, he asked if we could buy some food/formula for Charlotte. What do I do now?
At lunch, my mom asked what we were doing about birth control. I was knocked off kilter when she asked. So direct. But while the boys and I were shopping later that day, I had to pick up a few things and we saw her again at the store. I was worried that she would see the condoms in the basket and ditched the cart. I feel funny talking about sex with other people right now.
Do they think it's too soon? How could I? I keep thinking about what came out of me. A dead baby. The morbidity of it all. I don't want to say too much about that stuff to Brian. Don't want to freak him out. I mean part of me (physically) wants to be with Brian; but another part of me feels guilty. I know that's only a part of my grief, but it's still there.
One of the things my mom said to me was how tiny Charlotte's nose was. That all of her features were so petite and perfect. She says she thinks Charlotte would have looked like me, but with dark hair. Ooh, that burns. Finally, one that could've looked like me. Oh well. She also said she thinks that I'll have one more. I don't know if I even want to, but I can't explain how comforting it is to hear that. Karen said that before too. So warm, can't describe it.
But after re-reading this entry, I see how I can be wrong. About a lot of things I suppose.
But today I asked Brian's mom how her day was on my due date. It was fine. She actually didn't even think about it. Good for her.
From: Brian & Christine Curry
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2007 9:18 AM
Subject: Charlotte's Page
Friends and Family,
I finally got around to creating a (rudimentary) Blog page for the emails that I'd sent out during my pregnancy with Charlotte. There are a few quirks to still be worked out, but I like it so far. It's my version of a virtual scrapbook!
There are links to a photo album as well as music clips. (The music link may ask you to walk thru a configuration process, but it's really simple.) The blog posts are a little out of chronological order,but I'll get around to fixing that later.
I will be transferring my journal entries onto this page as well, so feel free to stop by and read them at any time.
Thank you all again for your support.
So I've been meaning to write in this journal of all of the things, big and small, that cross my mind, but writing these things down is daunting. I want to record them, for what -I don't know. But everyday there's more, and I'm already so behind.
Well, the first one or two days we came home, people started to bring us meals. I went to the kitchen to try to tidy up and noticed that our fridge was full of junk. Jelly jars with only one knife's spread left in them, bundles of ketchup and hot sauce from drive-thrus. So I decided to toss some things out to make more room for all of the chicken casseroles we'd rec'd. So when I came to the vegetable drawer, I saw the cucumbers and the tomatoes that were going rotten. They were still in the clear grocery bags, but very soft and mushy. Some were leaking, some had mold on them. All I kept thinking was that it looked like Charlotte's head. Soft and mushy. I know that's a disgusting thought; but that's all I saw. Bruised.
Another thing was when Brian and I had gone to the cemetery to choose a plot for her. We drove around and found an area that we liked, then we went back to the office to meet with the Caretaker to see what was still available. Brian went into the office ahead of me; I stayed in the car. My sister had given me a "mourning locket" in memory of Charlotte a day or so before. Actually, I think she gave it to me right before we left for the cemetery. Anyway, it's very lovely. Silver, antique. A little larger than what I'm used to. But as I sat in the car, that locket seemed to grow very heavy around my neck. Almost to the point where I felt like it was pulling my body down. It was so strange. I just looked around the office area an thought about how much it reminded me of my great grandparent's house.
I got out of the car because I was tired of waiting and I felt like I needed to see everything that I could. To try to sear it into my brain, every detail. When I got up to the office door, the screen was locked. I felt so stupid because I couldn't unlock it without disturbing Brian and the Manager. when I went inside, I saw a dingy one room office with a bare desk and four shabby upholstered chairs. The office smelled like cigarette smoke and only had a phone and fax machine.
There was a doorway that lead to what looked like a mud room or maybe a laundry room, with a kitchen just beyond that. I wanted to get up and walk thru the house, but obviously we weren't there for that. There was a big black vault that held the diagram of all of the plots on it. Some where handwritten names, some were typed. Very primitive. Nothing was computerized. This diagram was glued to a large piece of particle board.
The man behind the desk was friendly enough, but down to business. He looked like he was average height, and wore a dirty baseball cap or something like it; with an old flannel jacket.
His hair was dingy grey as was his mustache, with yellowing in certain areas. The flannel and pants he had on looked like they hadn't been washed in a very long time, with a large hole ripped in the midsection on the jacket.
A thought crossed my mind of the cemeteries seen on TV that re-use plots, scamming people out of their money. But I didn't care, I just wanted it overwith. So he took us out to the area that we liked and told us how he wasn't going to charge us full price for her plot. I can't remember why. It had something to do with the size or what ever. I didn't care. I considered it a blessing that she would get a large plot to herself.
So we went out amongst the big oak trees. There was one smaller tree in the middle of two grand oaks. That's where I wanted her. Nearest the little tree. It was perfectly shaped and I thought about how shady it would be in the hot summers here.
There were two plots available. One was next to a 2 year old girl, named Katie. And another one next to two infants. For some reason I found it comforting to have her closest to the other babies. I don't know why. But I do know that as we were choosing and talking, Jim the Caretaker kept calling the plots "graves". Oh how it made me cringe! It stung everytime he said it. I know tht that's what it is, but not for my baby, not for Charlotte. I wanted to slap him and tell him to quit saying that word. He told us that because it was for a baby, he would be digging the hole by hand, well, with a shovel instead of a back-ho. I thought that was tender. What a nice thing to say for a Grave-digger to do. After all, if he was gong to put her in a grave, that made him a grave-digger.
So later, at her burial, he was there. Still wearing the same flannel; but this time he had an assistant. A hispanic man, in his 40's. They asked if the family was going to leave before they put her in. But Brian and I said no, we'd watch them put her in. So they took her tiny casket off the table and held it under one arm like a shoe box. It was almost cute. The one thing I noticed though was the cloth they had covering the table was a horrible green with a white cross stitched on the front. Really cheap looking. It was all wrinkled like they wadded it up and shoved it in the spare tire chamber of the hearse. I know, hyper-critical. But it's the strangest things that set me off.
So when they lowered her in, the one man, the assistant, stood on the cement liner and straddled over it. My dad came over and dropped a small golden medallion on top of the casket and that was it. Brian walked over to it, looked into the hole and looked away. I stood ther not knowing what to do. Should I go to Brian, was he ok? Was I brave enough to look into the hole too? Was everyone expecting me to freak out and sob or wail?
All I know is that I didn't want them to place the cement lid over the liner. I knew that three feet of dirt would be piled on top of that; but what if she cried. No one would hear her if she cries.
During the speech that Pastor gave at the burial service, the most precious thing that he said was that there will be a day, resurrection day, when Jesus will come back with Charlotte's spirit with Him and He will stand at her grave and say "Charlotte, come forth." And she will come up to Him and say"Where's my mommy and daddy."
Whew! Just to hear him say "come forth"; how beautiful. It reminded me of what Becky said. She said that when I breathed into Charlotte and called her name, I was putting myself into her and GAVE her name to her. So while she is waiting for me, she will know me. That's why it touched me so much that Pastor said Jesus will call her up by her name.
But that initial visit to the cemetery was surreal. The smaller tree that I liked so much, the Gravedigger Jim said was a flowering photinia. We have that planed in the front yard. Brian and I had talked about removing them because they haven't done much in 2-3 years, but Jim said they are very slow growers. Now I feel like we can't take them out, not even a remote possibility.
So I noticed today that I haven't cracked my Bible open. I don't know why. Am I mad at God? No, not really. A little confused though. I re-read an email I'd sent out and started to feel dumb. Like I sounded like an idiot. Not for, well, I suppose for, believing that I heard from God. I knew at the time that I did. I don't know what I know now. Maybe that's why I haven't read my bible. I'm afraid I'll be wrong again.
Brian and I went to our friends' Holiday Open House this evening. It was refreshing to get out and be among other brothers and sisters, but also hard. Especially when a Pastor and his wife asked how many children we have. I told them that we just lost a baby, but we have three other children. They seemed to know who we were because of the emails. They had pity on their faces, and by the time we left, I wondered if I shouldn't have mentioned Charlotte. I was afraid that I was going to make other people feel uncomfortable, but I couldn't deny her. She was too beautiful.
I miss her so much. Which is strange to say, because I never really got to know her. But she looked like Mathias, and probably would have been just as sweet. There are so many details that I'd like to write down so I don't forget them in the days following December 7, 2006. But for tonight, I'm exhausted. Maybe tomorrow I'll spend some time. I love you Charlotte.
Original email has been modified for public viewing
This is a portion of a letter I sent to my friend as she had a few questions for me. I suspect the same questions are on everyones' mind, so here you go....
I went into the hospital on the leading of Brian. To make a very long story short, I have waited for years for Brian to be my leader and spiritual covering. He hasn't really been the "leader" of our relationship or things of that nature (which has been a problem for us... uh, mostly me) which has made it hard for me to be submissive. I know that I have a strong personality and Brian's lack of gumption in decision making and charging really show how impatient I can be. I like to do thinks quick। I almost always take the reins. I somewhat railroad him quite often and do things without his "approval".
Anyway, we had gotten in a pretty big argument on Wednesday and words were not held back. It was very much an attack of Satan and we almost let him win. In the end of it, I really felt that God wanted me to submit to my husband and follow him as to what he thought was best. It was hard for me because I sooo... much wanted my body to go into natural labor,but I was also ready to have someone else "take over". I have become so very weary ..all around. Spiritually, emotionally and physically. Brian was getting very scared that I would get sick and he wanted me to go in. I just wanted to be carried.
The delivery wasn't that traumatic. I had a TON of amniotic fluid that gushed out everywhere. Possibly, God allowed me to be in the hospital when that finally happened because she slid right out. LITERALLY. I weighed 200 lbs going in and came out at 180. She only weighed 4lbs 2oz. That's 16 lbs of water! It spilled over the bed and splashed up on the walls. She tumbled out of me and rolled across the bed 3 times before she stopped. No sound. The room was silent. Everyone held their breath. I begged Brian to put his mouth on her and breath into her nostrils, but he wouldn't. He felt that the Lord answered us in that moment, so I did it instead.
I wiped my face off, wiped her mouth with my fingers, and placed my mouth over her nose and mouth. I breathed into her 3-4 times, but nothing changed.And that was ok. It wasn't like I was preforming CPR, but I had to try.
She was beautiful though. Looked like Mathias. Tiny nose, curly hair. The memory I have of her is not what the pictures look like that we took. The pictures are real, but not pretty. Not what I have to keep in my heart.
Her body was formed perfectly. No clubbing, webbing or malformations. That I suppose is what God healed her of. But He still called her home. It was His perogative to do so. But it still hurts. Brian and I held and kissed her. Airenne was there the whole time and held her a lot. She was very strong. I am so proud of her.
We had a professional photographer there... well, she arrived about 3 minutes after delivery. She took pictures of everything including me breathing into Charlotte and took a casting of her tiny little feet. We should get that stuff back soon I hope. I want to show the pix at her memorial. We plan to have a private burial maybe this coming week with a celebration a day or two after that. We're working out the details and location. Brian and I really want to celebrate Charlotte in honor of Jesus then.
Whew! What a time, huh? The crying comes in waves. But I am ok so far. I thank you for your prayers. I can't make sense of much right now, other than I have been so blessed by this whole thing.
I will write more later. And thanks by the way for calling. And your last note. I didn't want to call your friend who had the baby that had T18 because I truly believe that God had healed Charlotte... Which by the way, He did.
He also sealed the deal to any future questions I might have by not allowing for testing of her for T18 or anything else. I'd asked the doctor and nurses if they were going to send out samples of her blood to be tested and they said there wasn't enough blood left in her cord and her placenta already had my blood mixed through it too much. They said if I really wanted it, they could try to draw some of her blood from her, but I don't want them poking her for anything.
It's kind of like how we (as humans) have learned how to figure out what a rainbow is. An easy explanation we can wrap our limited minds around. Just a bunch of prizms that catch light. But God tells us that a rainbow is a promise. And I choose to believe Him. The view is better from up there.
I love you and I'll keep you posted,