I figure if I really talk about them... they might go away. But even if they don't, at least I have looked them directly in the face and called them out by name.... so maybe it will get easier over time. Somewhat like if you see a strange person in a parking lot near your car you should look them in the eye so they know you know they are there..... they leave many times.
There are many things you "miss out" on when you give birth to your child at 24 weeks. I had another 4 months to go, and most of the exciting and fun things you get to do as a pregnant woman.. especially your first... happen during those months.
I had a wonderful photographer booked to do my maternity photos and birthing photos. I doubt she will mind me mentioning her name... Stephanie Murphree! I had plans to get my belly painted like so many do. I was planning on having a hockey rink painted on it with babies in NY Rangers and Dallas Stars colors playing.
I never got to have the baby shower where you are surrounded by all of the people you love admiring your HUGE about to burst belly..... though we had a lovely shower after the fact with all those same loving people. So I won't by ANY means down play that. It was a beautiful shower thrown by my lovely Cousin Cathy and her Best Friend Lisa, my Mom and Sis.
But still.... I had always imagined having our daughter WITH us (meaning inside my belly).... rather than in the NICU.
I never got to have maternity photos like most do and the few photos I have of me pregnant with Eden were all off of an Iphone... though I am grateful to have any.
I can say I did get to perform WITH my daughter before she was born. She traveled to a few gigs with me and was a great performance partner.
I did get to go to a Ranger Game while pregnant. That is NOT a milestone I would ever recommend to anyone no matter how early along you are in your pregnancy. But I did have what I think is most adorable belly pic. At least I have that.
Best possible escort too.
But all in all those pics represent as big as my belly ever got.
I also never got to feel her move from the outside or visually see her move.
However she did move when I sang in San Francisco... she danced a bit. At least I had that. A feeling I will never forget.
I could not wait to play music through headphones to her of all kinds of music..... but I was waiting until she pooched a bit more.
I realize this is sounding perhaps a bit WHINY. Maybe it is. But they are real feelings I have had and still have from time to time. Denying they exist only proves to fuel the fire of those negative emotions.
The guilt is so powerful of not having been able to provide the proper home for her to finish growing and at the same time of not fully getting to experience growing my little girl inside me.
Am I GRATEFUL for my daughter? ABSOLUTELY
Am I GRATEFUL to be alive? YEP
Am I GRATEFUL Eden is doing so well? NO QUESTION.
But in so many ways I feel robbed.
Breast feeding was not an option for a 1 pound baby and the fact that my milk supply BARELY came in and only lasted for a few months of pumping my gals until they were dry. I sat that there at 3 am as my nipples were being pulled and squeezed only to retrieve a few mls.
I wanted to bond with her that way. Yeah, Yeah I did what I could.... I know.
Truth is while I was pumping those three months... I knew what I was doing was GOOD and RIGHT for my baby. However, I was exhausted... still recovering from a serious illness, still hormonal, and I HATED every time I had to do it. I felt HORRIBLE about feeling that way.
There really isn't a graceful way to experience it all. You just have to. Or you crumble. It's a MESS. All of it. But you have to. I HAD TO.
I never got to look into her eyes when she was born. How could I? They were fused shut.
And while certain HUGE moments are very clear in my mind like the first time I held her and how she felt... I can't even remember the first time I looked into her eyes.
The truth is that writing this is helping me deal with a large ocean of sorrow, disappointment, anger, anxiety, night terrors and more. Survival mode is just that... for survival. But life isn't just about survival. I want to do more than just breathe and eat. I want to re experience life through my daughter's eyes and show her the world with her Daddy by our side.
Lately I have felt completely STUCK emotionally. Afraid to move forward, afraid to remember and disappointed in myself because I know I am better than this.
So I am slowly coming to terms with the special circumstances in which our daughter entered this world. I told my Aunt the other night that I was given a glimpse of my soul last week in a vision and it was so full of anxiety and turmoil..... true there is SO much love and gratefulness there but I knew I had to face and admit all of it in order to cool the Volcano.
It IS working.
And it will eventually be ok with me... all of this.... as long as we get to have moments like THIS:
Did I mention she has the BEST possible Father in Greg?
And I have the BEST Husband and BEST Friend.
And we have GOD.
And God gave US all of YOU who have prayed and supported us.