“There is no heartbeat.”
I started crying, screaming and tightly hugging my husband. My fingers clawing into his back like if I didn’t hold on hard enough I was going to fall into a deep, dark hole and not be able to find my way out.
Hailey. Hailey died. I couldn’t say the words out loud. I had to send text messages: “she didn’t make it.”
I couldn’t say that out loud.
Going through the motions of being induced and giving birth – how does one master the strength to go through all of this knowing your baby has died inside of you?
Shock. I was in shock. I am still in shock. It is what saved me.
It’s like my brain turned off the “fear” section and numbed me just enough to deliver my sweet girl.
After leaving the hospital with empty arms and broken hearts we went home and I dove into any project I could. Writing, reading and crafting.
Sometimes I say (besides support from our loved ones) it’s what saved my life. Being busy, in honor of Hailey.
Although, what I realize now it is also what delayed my grief process.
My body was on automatic. I’d make lists of goals I wanted to accomplish, crafts I wanted to send to other bereaved families and books I needed to read on stillbirth.
I was a robot. I avoided therapy and support groups.
Instead of talking about Hailey with loved ones, I would stare off and think about her.
Once every couple of weeks the grief would hit me hard and I would have a toddler-sized meltdown. Throwing things, shaking from anger and screaming into a pillow.
Those were the days where the veil would come down off of my eyes and the shock wore off.
All I felt was anger, helplessness, confusion and I was just sad.
I knew I needed to find a way to help myself. I knew I couldn’t let myself walk around in shock anymore. I needed to learn to live with this grief and welcome it in good times and bad or I’d never make it through.
I started therapy.
I attended support groups.
I found my people.
People I could cry and laugh with (within seconds of each other).
And to not feel guilty about having those two emotions intermingled.
Joy and grief.
It felt good to be around people who could show me that these two emotions can live side by side.
Within my whole first year of losing Hailey, my goal was to make it to the year mark. Her first birthday.
That’s when things would get better. I’d feel more myself, right?
The shock seemed to wear off even more. Reality smacked me in the face.
Hailey should be a year old. She should be starting to toddle around.
As time goes by, things seem to get easier but harder at the same time.
Easier, because you do slowly learn to carry this grief.
Harder, for obvious reasons. You’re further away from the last time you held your child. You find yourself wondering all the time what your child would look like now, be doing now, etc.
People talk less about your child when she’s the only thing that’s on your mind.
You want to scream her name from the rooftops.
I don’t think the shock ever completely wears off.
I still believe I walk around in shock. It’s how I can get through my everyday motions without crying all day or give up.
But, I also still work on my emotions and grief when I feel up to it. I’m a lot more open with my husband and I’ve never felt closer to him.
If something is on my mind, no matter who I am with, I say it.
It feels so good to put myself and my emotions out there. I feel a lot lighter and people are always appreciative of my openness.
I hope this article can encourage you to do the same.
Share your story, feel your grief and speak your mind. If people don’t take well to it then they are not your people.
I promise we are out here. We want to hear you and your child’s story and get to know your babies through you.
Face your grief. It is going to be there your entire life. You may as well make friends with it.
Learn to laugh with your grief and also know it’s okay to cry and scream with it too.
Find ways (when you are ready) to spread love and kindness in your child’s name. Make memories in your child’s name.
Also, know when to take a break and take care of yourself.
From one bereaved parent to another, I’m sending you my love and encouragement. We can make it together.