My way or the highway?

Long time, no hear right? I’m like that when I haven’t got a deadline.

Last year there was a need to keep people updated. It was a window of time where people wanted to know what was going on for us and for our baby.

This year, of course people want to know how we’re coping, but how I feel grief-wise feels a little less newsworthy.

If you read my last blog, you’ll be pleased to know though, that flat balloons do re-inflate… if you let them. Despite the fact that the last 3 months have been some of the most challenging in this grief process, I feel far more myself. There are certainly times where tears just slip out at the most random moments. Words spoken or situations tug at you for a reaction. But they don’t sting as much anymore. I’m not just puffing myself up for public appearances either. I do feel far less emotionally wrung out. Overall I think I’m finding my new normal, and it’s not bad.

There is a danger in this new normal though. Your grief can go without a real thought for weeks in the bustle of life. And I’ve realised parts of it really do need attention.

My good friend lost her first baby when she was almost a month old, with little warning. She hit grief hard, and knows the depths and journey of it very well. The other day she gave me this great analogy – ‘My grief is like a toddler,’ she said. ‘If I don’t give it the attention it needs it acts out at the strangest times, almost like a tantrum.’ And her words are so true. I’ve lost my rag completely over the silliest things a couple of times lately. And while shrouded in blame about things that have or haven’t happened around home, I’ve realised later on that it’s actually just that pot of grief boiling over.

A couple of things I’ve figured out –

#1 – I really have very little grief over Nina. I think most of that came out in the month or so after she died. In fact I think I did most of my grieving for her before she was even born, weirdly enough.

#2 – But I do have this secondary grief and it’s massive. It’s all over not having a third child. Well, as the hospital counselor kept reminding me, I do have a third child just not a living one. And there is very little hope of another in the pipeline.

I did let myself hope for a while that maybe there would be that chance, but I have to resign myself to the fact that it ain’t going to happen. I have to. Because if I don’t, resentment will grow.

Here’s the back story… To get a shot at #3, Nina, it took a good two years of planting seeds, waiting, getting upset, waiting, prodding, and finally pleading with Russell. He finally gave in and gave me a shot at it. We said to each other that this was it, whatever happened.

But for some reason, after all that happened with Nina, the desire is still so strongly with me. Even Russell had a momentary change of heart about having another baby after meeting Nina.

But, he has good reason to not want another kid:

  • There’s a 50% chance any next pregnancy will not be successful either through miscarriage (25%) or another Nina situation (25%). Those are pretty high odds.

  • We’ve had six pregnancies so far with only two living kids out of it – he’s happy with two healthy ones! Why test your luck (again!)?

  • Life is just harder with three – more of everything is needed… time, love, room in your house/car, etc.

  • Life’s pretty sweet right now – why upset the apple cart?

  • Kelly loses it with the family too often already – another kid will make that worse!

Yep. I know the reasons. I see them. And I raise my one… pathetic… reason…

  • I just have this super strong desire to have another… I don’t know why. It’s totally illogical. But my family does not feel finished. Maybe you’ve got to be female to understand?!

Anyway, this discussion has been hanging over us all this year. We’ve walked every path to try and get some clarity, but still none.

  • IVF – Yep, looked into it. Been to the meetings. Waited for an answer. But we’re not funded for pre-genetic screening for another baby, as we already have two healthy kids. We have the option to front up with $20k and pay for it, but that seems a little too grasping to me, considering the fact that we have 2 kids already. In conclusion, the fact that IVF is off the table takes away two things I was hung up on… a 2 year waiting list – that’s a long time when your last kid is almost 5. And secondly, I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about possibly having to discard any extra embryos left over, if we were successful.

  • Adoption – Seriously, almost impossible in NZ, particularly with two kids in tow and a husband who’s still on the fence ;).

  • Having another naturally – Facing another pregnancy like the last is a pretty daunting situation. Risky, risky, risky business. But at the same time it’s the same risk I’ve taken with every one of my pregnancies. A little different next time round, as I now know the reality of that risk. But, I’ve done it before. And I could do it again. Hardest thing for me would be people’s judgment, I think – like ‘why the heck is she doing this to herself again?!’ But you know what, this option is the most appealing to me.

It’s a massive call getting pregnant again and I’ve come to the realisation that I need to be ok with not having another baby. Whether that means getting pregnant and having another Nina situation. Or never even getting the chance to try again. I have to work my way to being ok with not getting another, because if I don’t, resentment will build and damage our marriage. I can see the roots of it trying to get hold already.

Yep, I could hold on to hope that maybe Russell would be convicted to have another kid ;)! But even if he did come round to that right way of thinking (hah!), I’ve got to be ok with the possibility of my baby dying again. And that’s a very real possibility. So whatever way life plays out, the only way I can move forward in my life and grief is being ok with ‘no’ as an answer, however that comes.

So, how do I do that?!

Well you know I’m a Christian and that’s been the biggest grounding factor in all of this. My faith is strong. Our faith is strong. And I have a heck of a lot of hope in the fact that I’ll get to see my daughter again one day. If you believe wholeheartedly in God and heaven, there is so much joy in the fact that this world and all its hurt ain’t it. But boy, it still breaks your heart to not to be holding your baby here and now.

I thought losing a baby would draw me in to God. Like I’d need him desperately just to get by. It didn’t happen that way. I just went on. But I see very clearly now that this secondary grief, around not getting the third child I long for, is where I’m going to hit a wall if I don’t turn to Him for help. A wall of resentment. And a wall of bitterness.

This is my thinking at the moment… (from a great conversation I heard on a podcast recently)

‘That may very well be the purpose of hardship – brokenness, so that we do draw closer to the Lord, so that we see it, understand it and embrace it, as opposed to the bitterness that can creep up.’

There is blessing in the battle. I’ve never gotten particularly deep into God’s word. I’ve spent my Christian life serving and doing… but I’ve kind of only scraped the surface of the getting deep with God bit. I can see very clearly that the purpose of this ‘battle’ is to finally get my attention and draw me in. I need to get real with God, to actually put some concerted effort into Him and his word, to walk through this and come out the other side. My heart depends on it, and so does my marriage. Because a load of resentment has the potential to weigh things down to breaking point.

I’m on my way :).

PS. I know how silly this argument to have another kid seems in the light of situations where people can’t even have kids, or long to even be in a relationship where they can entertain that prospect. I get it. It’s trivial in the light of many things going on in the world. But at the same time… this is our journey, we’ve shared it, and this is just part of it.

#healing #hope #grief