Sunday, May 29, 2011

right where i am project : one year, 5 months- from Gabe

this was Gabe's take on Angie's project.

One year, 5 months.
by Aquila's daddy-

There are some days that I don't think about my daughter being born already unconscious for several minutes in a rush of blood. Or my toddler boy explaining with wild eyes that his baby sister died coming out. Or my wife devastated. Or the chicken bones that were thrown in the kitchen trash by one of the wonderful families caring for us when we were grieving. Or our basset hound who swallowed the chicken bones and had to be euthanized. Or any of the sharpest pains I felt at that time.

What I have now is the space that is left, where I used to believe that if you did good, if you trusted, that Nature would protect you and your family. I feel anger now, and hatred, mostly at myself. Holding my wife's hand as she had contractions that were too strong, as she had way too much bleeding, not saying, “fuck this we are going to the hospital”. Trusting birth, trusting my midwife who in turn was trained to trust birth. Not remembering my own family's experience with a critical eye.

I was born unassisted by any professional care provider. My mother labored with her best friend and my father with her, in an AirStream trailer in the late-August Texas heat. In her circle of friends in the back-to-nature movement in the seventies, there were a few other couples that did this. One of them did not transfer to the hospital in Johnson City until hours later than they should have. Their daughter was born with severe brain damage. Life didn't bring her (the daughter) any happiness, and she killed herself about three years ago.

So I ask myself, why did I keep on trusting birth? Why did I believe in a supernatural aegis of protection? Did I think my family was more special than her parents? Really, I never thought about it, except to be afraid of not knowing what might happen or not being able to control it, and so responding to my fear I would prostrate myself further to this way of thinking. It would decrease my self-examination and in so doing give myself a reassuring rush of comfort, like a hit of opium. I did that during my wife's labor. Here's a cool rag honey, it will all work out. I should have been defending her and our daughter. My family doesn't need me to think happy thoughts, they need me to protect them.

Now I have this space where faith used to be, not at all convinced that it was ever a virtue. I detest the supernatural explanations for things that used to satisfy me, and I miss the feelings that they used to give me. I sit in the audience at my family's church, which I saw as pleasant and innocuous but not a path to truth before Aquila died, now finding myself powerfully put off by messages everyone else takes as endearing. For example, the sermon where the pastor described climbing up a small but steep hill with his young son holding onto his back, feeling alarmed at one point about their safety but getting through it, and his son's explanation to Mom upon returning home, “No, Mom it wasn't scary. Daddy was there.”

Yes it was safer that Daddy was there, and I don't propose we all raise our kids in gerbil balls. Neither to I propose we try to explain to our toddlers that they could die horribly at any moment. I'm still dealing with my oldest daughter's terrors at night that her parents might unexpectedly die. I would like them to go on not worrying about it when they are children. But I can't bring myself to have faith again like I had as a child. From where I sit, there is no Nature, there is uncaring, insensate nature, that brought us into this world by a self-emergent network of interactions that favored self-propagating networks of interactions, and any old thing could let it all slip away.

I feel anger at irrationality, especially if it hurts kids, like anti-vaxer conspiracy theories, or the reckless narcicism of unassisted child-birthing. I was an anti-vaxer. I was against the hospital birth model before. I feel disgust at the sentiment that death is okay, a natural part of life. We are fortunate enough to be here, and we cease to exist when we die. So how could dying ever be okay? Why is everyone so at peace with 100,000 people dying of old age a day? Or so ecologically conscious all of the sudden that 100,000 deaths per day is a small affair. People believe that there is a Natural Order of Things. Things Happen For a Reason. “Gott mit uns.” Oh, sorry, that last one was the motto of the S.S. God is With Us. They wore that on their belt buckles.

That's where I live now. I lost my trust and faith and got anger and hate. But I've had my spring, too. The things that hurt and terrified me before, that I would have to watch my children realize one day how bad it was all going to hurt, to see them suffer their own losses, to leave them to bury me and their mother, I used to stop thinking about and soothe with comforting beliefs and magical thinking. Now, in the absence of anything to believe in, I feel free to dream of a world without those terrible things, free to plot the victory of humanity over all the terrible facts of our existence. Because if nothing is Meant To Be, then that means our suffering is just a relic of chance, how we got here. We have no divine protection, but then the specters of disease, suffering and death don't either. And so I have dreamed.

I wish I could have been man enough to wake up and look at the world on its terms before this. I looked away and my baby girl died. I try so hard to not hold despair in my eyes when my kids ask me about what things will be like when they grow up, but instead hold onto that hope for them in the world, hope grounded in fact. I want so badly to make that world for them. I go back and forth between wanting to change careers, be a research scientist and find novel disease finding drugs and other therapies, and just doubting the idea that a man so prone to inaction that he watched his daughter die in the womb is what the leading edge defending humanity needs right now. Would she want me to go out and defend the rest of the world after I didn't defend her, or would she have nothing to say, because she never knew me and I just trusted somebody else and let her die?

right where i am project : one year, 5 months

Angie , over at still life created this project. For grieving mothers to talk about where they are in their grief now. Because grief does not ' go away'. people like to say it "gets better over time". maybe it does with the loss of a grandma or a dog. But the loss of a baby does not go away. it does change though.
i am certainly in a different place now than last year, or even last month. My grief ebbs and flows it changes daily.

angie said
"I have read about this happening to other people. I remember from my early days reading about it with people years out. When their real life peeps into their online diary, and then have things held against them. They went private or password protected or went anonymous with a new blog name. I don't know how to deal with it, because I never thought I would care or not be able to just ask someone if they were reading my blog. I don't want to ask now and draw attention to my blog, and on the other hand, it feels like a violation if someone is reading about my emotions on a day to day basis. And that is just it. In the beginning, I didn't care if people read because I knew that grief was trumping everything. Now that people expect me to be normal again, I can't quite figure out why I ever thought telling anyone about my blog was like a good idea. And yet, I have come to rely on this space. So, that is the awkward grief place I am at now. I don't mind if people in my day to day life comment, or let me know they are reading, it is the awkward place of me not knowing what everyone knows. If they read here, they know way more about me and my weird hiccups in life than I know about theirs. It feel unsafe sometimes. It makes it sound like I dwell in grief, but this is the place I process that part of my life. And it is so important, I can't give it up. Blogging is strange, because the temporary feelings become permanent, and little dalliances with the annoying take on the gravitas of epic angers. Nothing is ever permanent with emotions. Nothing, except people can pull up a specific blog post and say, "But you feel like this.""

and what she said there is so how i feel (i bolded the points that really hit the nail on the head). Grief is such hard, dirty work. there are several people in my life (many who are actually family) who have taken what i write on here and stabbed me with it later...or taken my words and silently judged me..or gossiped about me with other people in the family. what i have to say to those people is ' shame on you.' it is so blatantly obvious that you have never been through anything resembling what my family has been through. If you had you would never take my words here and twist them or use them as weapons.

Why is it our society at large says the only way to acceptably grieve is quietly, alone, or with your therapist? Other than that, any negative emotions must equate to mental instability. Well, i have news for you---- this is dirty , real work i am is not pretty. i refuse to pretend to be pretty to appease your discomfort. What happened to Aquila was wrong. i have every right to be be mad... to be indignant at the whole mess. i was robbed. i was cheated. i am mad. i am STILL MAD.

But that in no way means i don't love my kids, or my husband.,,that we don't laugh or play.. that life does not go on.

So where am i right now?

i am coping. i cope by keeping busy. when a still moment comes i feel myself suffocated with self-pity. so i keep those moments as rare as possible. i focus on others instead of me. We have two extra (very time consuming children) here in the house. i find that keeps my sorrow put away. I just have less time to picture the little dark haired impish girl running through the house. Even typing this opens the floodgates. so, that is why i still blog...even after all the crap thrown at me for it...i blog to be near her. this is the little compartment she fits in.

please: if you do know me in real life, and you read this- say something. just hello, i read at least...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

sad news.

today i heard of another baby dying last night in a homebirth. it was a friend of a friend's attempted HBA2C. i am so sick of homebirth midwives taking clients who are clearly high risk and then saying things like ' babies die in the hospitals too '.

prayers sent for a family of 4 who should be a family of 5........

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a sweet sweet little girl needs a home

baby Maeve has lost her family. you can read about our family and her here
she is back to waiting for a mama and a papa to claim her my heart is broken and i can't stop crying. please pray hard for her parents to find her!
go here if you think you might be her family!

the closest Willow can get

to playing with her sister....playing with a locket of Aquila's hair...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On fostering, some thoughts

we get a few comments anytime we step out of our house. one of course is "my, you have your hands full!"

yes, yes we do.

another is "how many kids do you have now?"
the answer on good days is "8 in the house" which i say to circumvent the whole "i have a dead child" talk...which i rarely have the time or emotional energy to get into. The answer on bad days is "umm..i don't know?"

but my least favorite comment is "oh, I thought about fostering, but I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't let them go."

i never know what to say to this one. I cannot figure out if these people are insulting me , or themselves more. See i take it as they are in a way saying i must be quite cold-hearted to be able to 'let them go'. like i do not get attached or anything. Or else, they might be saying they are too selfish to consider the needs of child that is not their own over their own emotional needs.
well for each train of thought i have a response-

i am not cold hearted. i bond with and get very attached to every child we have, even the teenagers who mouth off and then steal from my wallet..of the baby who won't.stop.crying.... or the toddler who hits me strait in the face. They don't have to be "mine" for me to love them like they are mine.
i see it like this--- imagine you have a sister. she gets very sick and can no longer care for her children. they are your nieces and nephews. you take them into your home. would you treat them differently than your children? would you hold back your love from them? would you not fully support them returning to their mother when she is able to care for them?
I don't see my foster children as "my' children, but they are children i love. i claim them.

and about the other side of it. i have a dear friend Toni who says "fear of heartbreak is the stupidest reason ever not to love a child" Amen Toni.
Fear of heartbreak is the stupidest reason not to love anyone. we were made to love.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

happy Mother's day

another day without my baby girl Aquila. Last year, without a baby in my arms, church was torture. this morning, i look forward to praising god for the one i will be holding.

But, i will still be missing my forever baby.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

the situation we are in

shortly after Willow's birth i was ready to pack up and move random does that sound??
I have always wanted horses as long as i can remember and grew weary of Texan summers mixed with red hair and freckled skin years ago. I wanted a farm where the kids could run and i could fulfill my lifelong dream. Added to that was the constant reminder of my daughter's death when i am showering , or sitting in my living room. i am afraid to go to any parent type groups or LLL meetings, for fear of running into someone who knows my story, or worse yet someone who wants to go on and on about how wonderful homebirth is. My biggest fear is running into someone who had Faith Beltz as their midwife. i don't think i could deal with it. So we became recluses. And i began planning our move.

Trouble is my plan was not God's plan (at least not yet). God's plan was that i take on two children near and dear to my heart to keep them from getting swallowed up in the system. to give their mother a chance to get it together. So for now we sit, and wait.
Kentucky is on hold, and i am holding, holding....
and God is daily reminding me that serving him is not about what is easy, or benefits us, or makes us feel good. Serving him often means forsaking our selves, our needs, our desires.

i just keep chanting---- this isn't about me...this isn't about me....