This weight we must carry…..

Henry, I feel so incredibly lost, as each day passes I feel more and more like an alien to myself and to others. I look in the mirror I don’t recognise the girl who can’t seem to smile much at all and I stare blankly at my reflection, wondering who it is that I am now? I look wondering how do others see me? and I worry, I worry they all must think I should be getting back to being me….. but who is that anymore?

I am struggling, I struggle each day, I feel like its more as time goes on not less. After our last couple of weeks of meetings, of hearing that you should be here, I find it hard to see through the darkness which surrounds me, sometimes there is no light, It is like being in a completely dark room and trying to walk still and I just have to hold on the walls with my hands unable to see ahead but keep taking slow small steps with my hands holding on and hoping I will get to a point where some light shines in.

When I saw the psychologist Thursday morning after we had our final hospital meeting Wednesday all I could do at first was cry, cry as she asked about the meetings and I explained about what they had found, that they found you should be here, I cried and cried as I said to her “we used to be so happy, Tim and I used to laugh everyday, we had always said no matter what we would make each other laugh everyday and we used to do that everyday no matter what sort of day we were having, now either of us can barely laugh at all, we used to be so happy” those words came out while tears streamed down my face I could taste the tears as they hit my mouth, this was the first time I had cried this much in front of her and I couldn’t stop it, it feels Henry like the hurt may never go, I feel as though your Dad and I can never get back to that happiness we once had. “Your grief really begins now” she said to me “Up until now you have had the meetings, the emails, the research, the complaint, your submission all as some form of focus and now its all done it means you stop and you really grieve, it’s not going to be comfortable, you’ll need to sit with feelings as they come”

Sit with these feelings, I know Henry I need to feel them, I know that I need to acknowledge them, I know I need to allow myself to go through this but Henry how? when it hurts so much ‘what kind of life is this?’ I ask myself, where you wake up each day in so much turmoil, in so much pain, with so much heartbreak and you barely function to get through a day.

After last Wednesdays meeting I needed to just get away, I don’t know why…. A good friend organised with me very last-minute to go. I worried Henry, I worried about leaving your Dad as I know he feels the same as me daily so was concerned to leave him on his own, I worried about leaving my security of your dad, of home but I also knew I needed to go, to try to so after my appointments Thursday morning I headed to a friend’s place and then from there we left.

We drove through the blue mountains stopping along the way for lunch, we talked quietly as we travelled about all sorts of stuff, when we arrived at our destination it was cold, cold but we got there and settled in to our accommodation to relax, as much as one can relax when they are feeling the way that I do.

One thing I know Henry is it doesn’t matter where I go, there is no escape, I could travel across to the other side of the world and it is still there, that incredible pain which consumes my heart, the ache which I feel all throughout my body and the thoughts which take over my mind, it never goes away it is something I am slowly learning to carry with me. It is like life has added an extra weight which I must continually carry with me at all times and I am never allowed to put it down, I must walk with it, when I am not walking it is sitting on me, it is weighing on top of me as I sleep. It must go everywhere I do and although it makes me feel incredibly weak and it is so damn heavy, although at times it pushes me right in to the ground, with a lot of time, even though it wears me down now, I will get used to carrying the weight and become stronger with each step I take carrying it. After all the weight is heavy, but part of it is filled with the love, all that love we have for you.

Getting away was nice, different scenery, fresh air, I even met Snuggles the winery sheep, who happened to be absolutely huge… my friend and I tasted wines, ate good food, we explored a little…. she just allowed me to be however I needed to be, she didn’t expect me to be any particular way which was good. We had nice dinners, drinks and having a few drinks allowed me when my head hit the pillow to actually get to sleep, but Henry that’s not something I can do or keep doing, it’s not me and its not healthy but I was glad for those two nights that I was able to get to sleep as some nights that doesn’t happen at all.

We joked about how to ‘warm my uterus’ as this is what the traditional Chinese medicine practitioner told me she was doing and needed to do, we googled how to do that and what I should eat, we laughed about how the different advice on different websites and joked about things such as tying a scarf around my lower abdomen, we talked about your Dad eating oysters and pomegranates…. I tell myself to be positive, I tell myself there will be siblings for you which will help, it won’t replace you but it will help us show this love we have, give us a new door to open.

Then Henry it’s like a shadow casts over me and my mind takes me to those places I don’t want to be, the ones that hurt, those thoughts that add to the sadness the ‘what if it doesn’t happen?’ the ‘how long can I keep myself going if it doesn’t happen this month and as more time goes on?’ then there’s even the fears if it does of ‘how will I get through a pregnancy without being anxious’, ‘how can we ensure something won’t happen again?’ this hurts my heart Henry it really hurts my heart as I feel siblings for you will be the only thing that would help us and I try to remind myself apart from the sickness I did everything right with you, I still exercised, I still swam, you were healthy, so incredibly healthy and I had no reason to worry during my pregnancy with you….

Despite being so sick Henry I tried to enjoy my pregnancy with you and I documented photos, movements, milestones, I spoke to your dad about you, we spoke to you, I read you books, played you music and each weekend I would do something, something to prepare for you, whether it was searching eBay or online for a cot, for furniture for your room, buying you books and researching the right plants, the right lamp, buying up on nappies and wipes… I did all those things so very excited about having you here.

Now I look, I look at the empty bassinet still in our room and I break down, I can’t stand so I sink to the floor allowing my body to fall against the edge bed as I cry, I cry out “why why us” but theres never any answer back, as there is no answer to that Henry. I don’t want to move the bassinet I can’t bring myself too, yet it remains empty like my arms…. will it always remain empty? will we always be this broken?

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How will I be able to enjoy another pregnancy Henry? how will I be able to allow myself to do all of those things I had with you? when I no longer have the ignorance I did then, and I know no time is safe during pregnancy, how will I be able to become attached to your siblings when I will be so damn worried that whole time. It’s another form of grief Henry, grieving that I will never be able to enjoy it in that way. Then I worry how will others respond when we tell them we are expecting, will they not be excited for us either?, will they wonder if they tip toe around us? will we be treated differently? I wish I could switch off my mind.

In the car returning home yesterday my friend just said to me “It is just shit really day by day it is shit, I don’t know how you keep doing it, people say things like I did to you about cleaning your hairbrush and you probably just think shut the fuck up my baby died I don’t care about the hairbrush” and she’s right Henry sometimes those thoughts do enter my head as things such as cleaning my hairbrush and other small things seem so insignificant right now and aren’t things I can even think about.

As time wears on its not feeling easier like I thought it might, as each day just reminds me I am without you, I think about what I am doing and think ‘this is not what I am meant to be doing’, ‘I shouldn’t be going away on my maternity leave I should be with you’ but I am not and then I think to myself you just need to say to yourself this is what I am doing, this is what I am doing and accept it, but how am I ever supposed to accept this? How? you are my baby, my little boy, our son, one so bloody wanted, how does anyone accept their child was taken away from them?

We have so many beautiful people Henry, so many who have said “call if you need us” who offer to be there, but then I feel like at this time my mind is my own worst enemy, it thinks ‘I dont want to bother anyone’, ‘people will think I am too sad’, ‘people will think I should be over it’, ‘what do I say’, ‘how do I ask’  and so most times Henry I just don’t. my mind creates this barrier and it’s like a wall I cant seem to climb.

People see us, we run in to them in the street, we talk, we even smile, they genuinely listen and care but I sometimes think they think we are ok, we are ok as we are there, we are out, we are smiling, yet somehow my brain, my body wont let me crack, it wont let me break much in front of others, so I look fine yet really deep down, I’m far from fine.

I have been trying to tell myself Henry you would want me to live a good life, you would want your dad and I to do things, to live, to be, to smile to do all we wanted to do and I want to try I do but it’s so hard when all of our future plans were about doing things with you and now we focus so much about moving through the day we often don’t think of the next. Each morning I wake up and the sadness of not having you here in my arms hits me, it is there instantly and each night as I try to sleep flashbacks of it all enter my mind.

Your dad messaged me as my friend and I were driving back yesterday, he talked about wanting to get back out in the water and I want him to Henry as I know it is what he loves so very much to do and it is his escape for a while, we talked over text with me encouraging him too “Do we have enough to get a new lens I am after?” he asked.. I paused a minute before texting him back, I did this because Henry I know the lens he wants and I had planned to get this for him as a father’s day and birthday present from you to your Dad, I was going to say leave it with me but I could tell your dad needed something now, I told him that had been my plans and he said we would discuss it when I got home.

We did discuss it Henry and I ordered him the lens now as I want him to have it but as we discussed it there were tears in both our eyes, really I thought to myself what do you get for father’s day? for your dads birthday? when we both know the only one thing he wants, that we both want is you and that’s what we can never have. We hugged one another without saying any more words, we hugged and held each other tight for ages.. “It hurts” he said “It sure does” was my reply

This morning Henry your Dad got us both up to take Missy and Snikkers for a walk on the beach, the sun in amongst the dark clouds and clear parts of the sky made for a beautiful sight, Snikkers ran and ran excited to be there. Your Dad and I laughed at her with all of her enthusiasm and smiled at Missy enjoying her walk, we even tried to get some pictures of the four of us using the timer on my phone, I looked at the pictures later feeling that little sting, you are not in them, part of our little family and you are not here.

 

Your Dad cooked us a yummy breakfast, we went out and when we came back I made sure I made a decent lunch, I could give up Henry, I could not eat lunch or have something not good for me, but I guess the one thing I can have some sort of control over is looking after myself, which includes trying to eat well, it includes exercising, attending appointments and working out small ways I might be able to relax. This will hopefully help, help us both to keep moving, to help my mind and to be able to create your siblings.

It’s a year Henry since we created you, this time last year you were without us knowing beginning to evolve to grow inside me, it would be over the next few weeks this time last year I would begin to feel so tired and not know why, come home from work and lay on the lounge not feeling like getting up, start falling asleep much earlier than normal, all because my body had begun to do what it needed to, to grow you.

I remember this day last year we had been out to see one of our friends favourite singers live, we went to dinner, enjoyed the show it was a good night, the next week my PT had said to me our other friend had said “Maggsy and Kristy need to have a baby” a comment which I laughed at as we were planning a trip.. weeks later when we found out about you, your Dad and I had talked about how our friend jinxed us 😉 maybe she can do it again, with a little help from you too. We will love you forever.

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

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