Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Seven months

After passing the six month mark, I actually had a string of pretty good days.  We flew across the country to visit my family, and while the plane trip was tough, being there was good.  Traveling as a family to go see family made me very aware of the fact that someone was missing, but beyond that it was really okay.  But then last weekend Tim and I had a silly argument and just that was enough to push me right back down into a really dark place.  Last week and the beginning of this week, I've really been struggling.  I miss her so much, I'm so sad, and I'm so frustrated that I was starting to feel better and now I'm back in a darker place than I've been in quite a while.  Last night I dreamed I was pregnant, full term, in labor, but I had barely any belly bump at all and I knew the baby was going to be born too tiny to survive.  People were asking me how I could go through a whole pregnancy without the baby growing.  I woke myself up before the baby was actually born. Today I was a weepy mess, fighting to concentrate at work, and now I'm exhausted.

I know that grief is not linear, that it's normal to feel like you're taking one step forward and three steps back at times, but I haven't really felt that yet - not until now - and it's just discouraging and frustrating.  I also feel like I'm just now grasping the fact that she's really gone - forever - and that at least some of this grief will be with me forever, and the weight of that thought is crushing me. 

Last week I stumbled onto a website with a list of babies born alive weighing less than a pound who survived their first year, and in several cases, went on to be relatively healthy teenagers or adults.  I'd seen this list before, but not since we were trying to decide if we should deliver Sierra, weighing an estimated 12 ounces, or not.  Not since Tim calmly and gently said, in response to me saying that some of these tiny babies do survive, "well, some people win the lottery, too."  Delivering her certainly would have been a huge gamble, one where the person with the most to lose would not have had the option not to play.  In the end it just seemed too risky to deliver her, and we chose to let her go relatively peacefully in my belly.  I thought I was working toward peace with that decision, but that damn website has me wondering again.

The word IF just keeps echoing in my head...if I hadn't continued to nurse Austin while I was pregnant with her...if I had gained more weight, eaten better despite the food aversions I had at first...if I had been as physically fit as I was when I got pregnant with Austin...if I had gone on complete bedrest instead of just restricted activity...if she had been just a few ounces heavier...if she had been just a few weeks farther along...if the placenta had been just a little less damaged...if we had delivered her anyway, at 27 weeks and 12 ounces...would she be here in my arms right now? would she be healthy?  I'll never know and I'll probably always wonder.  I don't know that I'll ever be completely at peace with our decision, although I hope, with time, I'll be more so than I am now.  We love you, baby girl, and we did the best we could.  I'm so sorry.


  1. I found it was one thing to know that grief was not linear and another thing entirely to experience its strange, illogical twists and turns. 'Discouraging and frustrating' yes, a perfect summary.

    It's difficult. I know that when G died, I always seemed to be stumbling across stories of babies who had been born at lower weights or shorter gestations who had survived. I obviously have an example right in front of my eyes. I think a part of me will always rage 'why not her?' but that voice gets quieter with time.

    Please try to hold on to the peace that you feel regarding your decision to let Sierra pass away inside you. I often question my own actions with regards to the girls. Sadly, I needed to make two different choices and I don't think I would ever have seen that. Only if I had been able to see into the future would I have known what to do, to know whether putting my daughters through all that pain would pay off. Sadly, none of us can see the future. It is such a huge gamble with incredibly high stakes.

    The techniques that are used to save babies even the size of my twins, let alone a child as tiny as Sierra, are truly 'extreme measures.' They are hard to watch. Even harder when it is your own child.

    Geesh Erika, I don't even really know where I'm going with this. I don't think that those IFs ever go, that kind of wondering ever ends but you loved Sierra so much. You made every choice you did because you believed it to be the right one for her. She was surrounded by love through her entire life. x

  2. Erika, it is disheartening isn't it to be thrust backwards? even when you know you won't move forward in an orderly progression? I'm sorry it's been such a hard week.