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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Things I've learned as a mommy to my angel baby

John and I didn't know anyone close to us who could have guided us along the journey especially that day of our crisis. I gathered information from the MEND support group and discovered lessons through regrets.
1. I grieve over not holding my Joey. I wish that the nurses were persistent on asking me to hold Joey but I don't know if that still would've made a difference. At the support group, we discussed what if the nurses held our babies - could that have made the difference? I think it would have...I wanted to tell the nurses that I was scared and that I needed their support just to look at my child. My arms ache for her and sometimes guilt overwhelms me.
2. I wish that we handled Joey's body rather than accepting the hospital's service. It is funny how everything was a blur for us and we feel like we were not in our "right mind." I was talking normal and emotionally I felt numb. We didn't know that funerals could be affordable and we just signed the papers that the chaplain gave us. The hospital offered to cremate her but I didn't know the right questions to ask. Would they allow us to spread the ashes? How soon would the memorial be held? Nothing afterwards went our way... I called the chaplains couple days later to retrieve Joey's ashes out of regret and it was too late.
3. Joey was stillborn not miscarried. John and I didn't even know the difference back then with these two terms. Stillborn refers to the loss of babies beginning from 20 to 21 weeks. Stillborn is significant to me not to undermine a valuable baby that is miscarried, but to give Joey the credit for her gestational "milestone" so to speak.
4. The state of Texas gives a certificate for stillborn children. I discovered this through another mom. At first I didn't know what I was going to do with it. The more I thought about it I knew that I needed Joey to be recognized as our child. I filled out the application and sent in my twenty dollars. I grieve that she wasn't acknowledged with a birth or death certificate. As depressing as a death certificate may sound, it would have still validated Joey as a person.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A good poem

Ask My Mom How She Is

My Mom, she tells a lot of lies
she never did before.
From now until she dies,
she'll tell a whole lot more.
Ask my Mom how she is
and because she can't explain,
She will tell a little lie
because she can't describe the pain.
Ask my Mom how is she,
She'll say "I'm alright."
If that's the truth, then tell me,
why does she cry each night?
Ask my Mom how is she,
she seems to cope so well.
She didn't have a choice you see
nor the strength to yell.
Ask my Mom how she is,
"I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping."
For Gods sake Mom, just tell the truth
just say your heart is broken.
She'll love me all her life,
I loved her all of mine.
But if you ask her how is she
she'll lie and say she's fine.
WE are here in Heaven.
we cannot hug from here.
If she lies to you don't listen,
Hug her and hold her near.
On the day we meet again,
we'll smile and I'll be bold.
I'll say, "You're lucky to get in here, Mom
with all the lies you told!"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Joey's Picture from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

For a long time Joey's pictures brought me pain. I didn't want to remember how my "grossly infected placenta" (as stated on the biopsy record) and low amniotic fluid affected her. Her facial features weren't quite fully developed...Later I found out that all babies around 21 weeks have the reddish skin and their bodies become swollen once they are out of the womb. We found a group of volunteer photographers called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who take pics for parents enduring infant loss:
One photographer was willing to look at some difficult pictures in order to modify them. Her face was minimized and it looks far more presentable than the pictures we have from the hospital. I was so thankful for this picture! Although Joey will never look like a full term baby, as a mom, I just want to show off my baby just like any other moms on facebook and blogs. I've seen other moms share their baby pics around Joey's age and it is astounding to know the features that God already gave our babies so early in gestation! One mom's little girl resembled the exact nose and long skinny fingers of the mom. I truly believe that Joey had my nose and lips even though John doesn't believe me (LOL!). Joey had John's wide feet and stubby fingers. I guess I'll hold on to my maternal instincts.

Mother's Day reflection May 9th, 2009

"Do you have any kids?" I have been getting this more often AFTER losing Joey. Maybe I look older after having Joey that causes strangers to ask me the baby question. Last month, I heard a nail tech talk about his son being 2 months old and my mind wandered realizing that Joey would've been about the same. Today is the exact 7th month anniversary of Joey being born sleeping. May 14th would be her 3 months earthly birthday.

This whole week was an emotional week for John and me. Maybe I felt bitter again that she was not here and the only one not here among church friends and coworkers as my school held their last two baby showers. John and I were also placed in a situation where we had to defend our child when a friend disagreed with something we did for our child. We both felt discouraged to lose friendships along this journey. My last visit to the physical therapist on Friday was emotional because the staff have seen me while I was pregnant Joey and afterwards for postpartum rehab. In a way, it was emotionally therapeutic too because I focused my mind on moving forward through physical recovery.

My physical therapist also had his daughter born at 24 weeks last month. A tiny preemie. I was so happy to see their daughter fight so hard to live. To this day, she is still making it... However, on the other side I still had Joey in mind. I wished that she could have hung in there a little longer... just 3 more weeks to 24... there's my "only if" again - only if my placenta wasn't infected.

I read Angie Smith's book (her blog is called Bring the Rain) "I will Carry You" this Mother's Day weekend. That was my way of "spending time" with Joey. I wanted to think about her and just process what I felt as I read the book. Even though the writer had three other girls, she was aching for her lost daughter. How does God give us moms so much love for each child? I was reminded to surrender to God all my fears of having another pregnancy and my fear of losing the loved ones around me. It is easier said than done. Couple months ago I was offended to hear others say "God is good" simply because Joey was not here. He has shown John and me His love through our old friends and new friends we met along this journey of loss. We are STILL confused, wounded, uncertain of our future... but He is the only one that can give us HOPE.

An older and wiser friend who walked the same path before emailed this to me recently "You are every bit a Mommy Patty - you have the hardest task of being a Mom - surrendering your child back to her Creator. I love you." It is hard but God who created her must be taking such good care of her. Mommy and Daddy miss you and love you, Joey!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Joey's Daddy - His Pain

John and I watched the TV show "Lost" since we've been married. I don't know if many people will remember "Lost" years from now. There was one clip that hit home with us. The character Ben lost his daughter after he gave everything up for "Jacob" and expected "Jacob" to come rescue his daughter. These are John's words that he posted on Facebook after feeling a connection with Ben...
That link is for a video clip from the show LOST. If you haven't seen it, watch it. It's a great clip of what I have been going through the past 5 months. It's of a man who has lost his daughter and doesn't know what to do or who to follow. He thinks he's done everything he can only for it to go to waste. That is how I feel. I've done ministry, I've gone to teach in a christian school, i've worked hard, gone to mission trips, gave tithe, volunteered, join church groups, changed churches and with all that, I feel that it was all for nothing. I felt like that I had sacrificed so much for God. and after all this sacrifice, it was for nothing because i still lost my daughter. i felt like what the character felt, that God didn't care for me. i did all that for Him and there was nothing for me. the thought that always comes to mind is "why me"?

that was the pain i was in. we have been trying to conceive for 3 years. we have racked up all these doctor bills. we went to see so many different doctors. we both had to leave work early a couple of times a month. we were more and more in debt. for us, things were worse and worse until we finally conceived and it was the most joyous time of our life. and then as soon as we high, we came crashing down in a huge fire ball...

The past 5 months, i have yet to close my eyes to pray, sing a song to God or even talk to him. i don't know what to say or what to ask. the pain inside is killing me and i know there is nothing right now that can make it go away. every letter i type it hurts me because i know i'm talking about Joey and just wishing she were in the next room crying. but even with all this pain, i know what i'm suppose to be doing and what i'm suppose to be saying. i know God is there, i know he's waiting, i know he wants me to run to him, but right now, my back is to him and i'm just walking away further and further. again, everything in me tells me to turn around and just look, but my head is down and i'm in so much pain wondering "what if".