Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Why us?

That's all can I think today. It has been a hard day. Thursday is creeping closer. I want to get it over and done with but after that what do I have left?
We went to town as I have asked everyone to wear something pink, even if it is just a scarf. Then I realised I don't actually have anything pink myself. So off we went. And the first thing we see at the carpark paystation? A young couple with a brand new baby, clearly their first as they everything is brand new right down to the 'baby on board' sign. And the Dad is struggling to figure out the pram, and they are laughing and I am staring at them and all I can think is how that should be us. I should not be shopping for an outfit to wear whilst I  cremate my daughter. I should be shopping for pink, girly baby clothes. It hurts like I have been hit by a truck, I feel weighted down, I can hardly walk and my eyes are full of tears. That's pretty much how the rest of the shopping trip went. Everywhere you turned there were happy couples and their babies, the same way when you break up with someone all you see is loved up couples. And I wanted to scream at all of them "Why do you get to keep your babies and not me?" and I want to tell everyone what heartbreak we are going through, as all they see is a childless couple. And we are not a childless couple, and it hurts because that is all they see when they look at us. So I cried in the car all the way home. Because I should still be pregnant now. My due date has not even passed yet, Lucy was due on October 14th. I should still be complaining of heartburn, and no sleep because my belly has grown so large, and we should still be laughing in bed about her kicking John in the back when we are spooning, and people should still be having to lean right in when they kiss me hello as my tummy precedes me so much. It should be all about Raspberry leaf tea, and pineapple, and hot curries. Instead I'm about to have my daughter cremated.
One of my best friends moved to Glasgow over a year ago. She found out she was pregnant 5 weeks behind me so all through the pregnancy we have been on the phone for hours every week, gleefully comparing notes and anticipating motherhood. Except I'm not quite ever going to graduate fully. I have the stretch marks and stitches to prove I have been there once, but empty arms and sagging breasts to show everyone I didn't quite make the grade. I am sickeningly jealous that she will probably go on to graduate (with hounours) and in a few weeks time have a newborn to tend to. I am sickened that I have this jealousy, I am mad at myself for not being able to wish her well sincerely. Because I can't, I want what she will soon have so very, very much. I don't wish her ill, not by a long shot, but I do wish her not to be pregnant because it is a bitter pill to swallow.
To make it worse she has just called to say she can't make it on Thursday. She has appointments (they are moving into a new flat soon) and only one day of holiday left...blah..blah..blah. And I am so upset and mad with her that I can't speak, she asks if she can come and see us at the weekend and I mumble some bullshit about going away or staying with my parents because I don't want to see her at the weekend. I need her to be there on Thursday, the day I cremate my Lucy, my baby girl. I don't need her at the weekend or the weekend after that but I really do need her on Thursday. I am sure she could sort something out with work if she tried. Even though seeing her enormous baby bulge would be hard, having her there to hug me on Thursday and making it feel like my daughter mattered to her would be worth it. Just penciling me in for the weekend is not the same, or maybe I am being unreasonable in my crazy, bereaved state. She also seemed to have joined the throng of people who say the most stupid, insensitive things. She asks what we've been doing and I tell her we've been making the arrangements for Thursday. And then she asks "How has that been?...I guess it's been awful?"

Well yes, it's not exactly been a pleasurable experience for us, I guess you could say preparing for my little baby girls funeral is 'awful' (FFS!).

I ended up passing the phone to John as I couldn't bear to speak another word to her (the vile tirade that's been waiting to be unleashed upon someone was about to spill out). I sent her a rather curt text to try and explain. I just told her that awful doesn't even come close to this unbearable pain we are both feeling, and that I am really sad she can't be there on Thursday. She hasn't replied yet, she may be mad at me or she may be sad. Who cares really. So I am now sat on my sofa crying, and feeling very hurt by my friend who I thought I was so close to. It feels like we were both sailing on a raft towards a beautiful desert island. And then the raft splits in two, her section of the raft has the sail and continues on towards the island. My section of the raft falters and I start to sink. I can feel that I am sinking fast, and I am trying to keep my head above the water. I can see her sailing further from me, and she is not looking back to help me - she is looking ahead to the beautiful island and all the amazing things that await her on shore. And I am thinking 'Why couldn't it have been my part of the raft that kept the sail, so I could sail to the island?'.
Jealousy, a very nasty side effect of this dead baby business.

I don't like it.

But I can't stop it.

John keeps saying to me "You can't begrudge everyone else for having babies" (hmmm, well actually I can). It's true I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, that goes without saying. But I wish so much it wasn't us. Wish, wish, wish. I seem to spend all my day wishing. I am trying to work out in my head how this devastating lottery works. How does Mr. Probability figure out who will be the one in one hundred to make up the statistics? How can this have happened to us? We are good people, we are not perfect people, but we try to live our lives as well as we can. All I want is to be a family, to give my husband the child he wants so much. The child I want so much.
We have our house, we have our dog. We visit family, we go out with friends. We give to charities, we moan about bills, we try to be compassionate, we sometimes fail. We laugh, we shout, we swear, we come home and cuddle and watch TV. We are ordinary. Why can't this part of my life be ordinary? Why can't we have milky smelling shoulders, sticky fingers and tantrums? Why couldn't we have kept Lucy? Why am I left wondering forever what she would have been like? Would she be fiery like me, or placid like John? Would she have been artistic, academic? Would she have grown up to be good looking like John or plain like her mother? What was the point of her short life? Why did I get to carry her for nine months, only to have her snatched away? She never saw the outside world. My lovely girl, my angel, my darling Lucy. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you, I'm sorry if my body failed you. I would give my life in an instant to allow you to live and see this world.
I am told this experience will make me a better person. Was I such a bad person, that I have to suffer this misery?


  1. I see a lot of myself in your posts. These first weeks are so brutal and raw. I remember shopping for a dress for Hope's funeral. The lady in the shop asked what it was for, and I broke down in tears. As I went to pay for the dress I told her. "It is for a funeral. I had a little girl on Tuesday, and she was stillborn. It is for her funeral". Now there's a sentence to end a conversation! That woman in the shop was the first person I ever told. And she was the only person I'd told for months on end, because after her funeral, I didn't emerge from our house for months.
    Yeah, everyone kept telling us to take a holiday too. After six months, we eventually did. But yes, grief goes with you, even in the sunshine.
    Take care, Amy.

  2. Amy, my heart is breaking for you. Nearly every word you wrote is one I've thought myself. At the risk of placing myself among the idiots that say the wrong things, I would like to offer this: I believe our babies came to us for a reason. Their painfully short lives were worthy lives none the less. The meaning of my Noah's life is still unfolding for me - I imagine it will continue to unfold for as long as I live - and beyond that - for as long as he is rembered by any breathing soul on this earth. I suspect your experience with Lucy may be the same - and so she isn't really gone from you or from this world - she has touched too many lives for that.

    I am, and will continue to pray for comfort and peace for both you and John. You are doing such a beautiful job of saying what needs to be said.


  3. Now I'm crying. You could have written my story! Leila's due date is (was?) Oct 12, and I too have a good friend who is 5 weeks behind me, preg-wise. However, she's been very discreet and compassionate about my feelings (maybe we should have her contact your friend, huh?).

    This sucks. It's a sucky place to be. It's the nightmare that just won't end. I wish I had some magic words for you, but all I can do is pray for you. And I am, Amy. All the time.

    Sending my go-go-gadget arms for a big hug across the pond. (())

  4. I think all of us would like to know why this had to happen to us. We wouldn't wish it on someone else but we don't want it either. I see moms with babies around how old Carleigh should be now and it hurts. I am missing so much. I see pregnant women and I want it to be me. I want a baby to fill my arms.

    I often wonder what Carleigh would have been like. I think she would've been a lot like her sister but I can only guess.

    With your last line, I do feel my daughter has made me a better person than I was before and I considered my self a good person before. I don't know how I could not be better for just having known her.

  5. So, so sorry. I remember reading in John Walsh's book, "Tears of Rage" how the pain of losing a child never, ever, ever goes away. I do not know how horrible that must be, but I know it must be unbearable. Having had 2 miscarriages, I know the pain of loss, but not of a full-term developed baby. I am shocked that people aren't in touch with your pain. If I were you I would HATE all pregnant and new mothers. I don't blame you one bit for feeling less than thrilled at the sight of them. I think it is amazing that you are going to honor your daughter. I hope Thursday is a tribute that you can feel proud of. Thinking of you -