Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finding My New Normal

Today I'm going to be spotlighting Finding My New Normal.  It's an anonymous blog written by a mom struggling to find her way through life after the loss of her son.  I have to say...I was drawn to this blog because of it's name.  I truly believe that there is no return to "normal" life after the loss of a child.  You have to go on to find a "new normal".  Life is forever changed, and so are you as a person.  With that said, this is some information about the author of Finding My New Normal....
Originally from California, I now live in London with my husband. We have had a great life with lots of adventures, love, and fun. On August 13, 2010 our lives were shattered when we lost our son at 36 weeks pregnant. After struggling with infertility for many years, we thought we were finally going to have our miracle baby. Sadly, this is not what happened and I struggle every day to make sense of it all. But I am determined to get my life back. Not my old life of course, but a new life,,,, a new normal. I have no idea how I am going to find it yet but I just know I will.
Below is her story of losing her baby boy.

                                                       My Story

I married the love of my life in July of 1998. He is my rock and I am amazingly lucky to have found him. 5 years ago we were given the opportunity to move from California to London. Life in London has been good to us, we have settled in and made lots of wonderful friends. We have also had the chance to get to travel all over Europe and beyond. Sure we miss our friends and family back home, but we're loving the adventure and challenge that a life abroad allows us.

After a 7 year struggle with infertility we finally got the news we had been waiting for. On December 24th, 2009 I found out I was pregnant. What a fabulous Christmas gift that was. We were deliriously happy. The infertility treatments had finally worked. We were going to have our miracle baby after all. A month later I turned 40 and I remember thinking to myself, "40 isn't so bad when you're finally going to have a baby. No chance of mid-life crisis when you're shopping for maternity clothes. 2010 is going to be the best year ever!" 

Boy was I wrong about that one!

After a great pregnancy with no complications (other than the normal nausea) I was super excited to meet my baby boy. He was due in September 2010. Photos of my growing bump and ultrasounds were posted on facebook. The family came to visit me and we took a "babymoon" trip to Portugal. My friends threw me a baby shower. Our house started to fill up with baby stuff; clothes, moses basket, baby bouncer, car seat,,, you name it- we had it. We were ready to start our new life as parents.

Then at our 36 week scan it all went horribly wrong. A few seconds into the ultrasound I knew something wasn't right. Normally I could see my son wiggling and moving all over the place. This time he was perfectly still. The doctor started asking me about the baby's movements and when was the last time I felt him move. He got this horrible look on his face, I asked him why he wanted to know. That's when he said those 3 horrible words, "There's no heartbeat." 

But how could there be no heartbeat? I had just felt him move right before the scan. I had been feeling him move all week. Sure, he wasn't kicking as much but that's because I was close to the due date and he didn't have as much room, right?? But they told me he looked like he'd been gone for several days based on the absence of fluid. So in fact, he had died and I had not even noticed it. I didn't know. How could I not have known??

I was completely numb and in total shock. I remember hearing my husband start screaming, "No, no, no. He can't be dead. You have to save him. Someone has to save him." The doctor was pushing the paddle hard on my stomach trying desperately to find any signs of life, but there weren't any. I could hear my husband sobbing and screaming and feel him squeezing my hand. But I was frozen, I said nothing. The doctor doing the scan called for my doctor to come down to verify. It's all a terrible blur but I vaguely remember him showing her the scan, saying something about no heartbeat and no fluid left. We were then left alone so I could get dressed and we could go upstairs and talk to my doctor about what to do next.

I made the call to my parents back in California (who even knows what time it was but I know I woke them up). Still in shock, I told them with barely a tear in my eye. I was totally numb, almost like a robot while my husband was absolutely inconsolable. I suppose it's good that we both didn't fall to pieces at that moment because there were decisions to be made.

I didn't break down until the next day right before the C-Section was about to begin. I walked into the operating room and had a total meltdown. "Why did he have to die? I want him back," I screamed. I was crying and shaking so bad I almost fell off the edge of the bed. I remember the anesthesiologist telling me that I had to calm down so she could give me the epidural. I had to sit still or she might damage my nerves. As hard as I tried, I couldn't calm down. In the end, the midwife had to lay on top of me to keep me still enough to have the epidural. Once they were sure I was numb, they gave me some sedative drugs and the rest I don't remember.

My son was born on August 13, 2010, he was already an angel. 

After the surgery I spent a few days in the hospital to recover. I couldn't have asked for better care. I was at the Portland Hospital in London and I cannot sing their praises enough. They put me on the Gynecology floor and not on the Maternity floor. So I did not have to see and hear other people with their new babies, smiling and getting gifts and flowers. They were so helpful with everything and amazingly compassionate. I wasn't emotionally ready to see my son right away after he was born so they kept him nearby and waited until I was. 

I did finally gather enough strength to go and see my son. I was so scared about how he would look. I was afraid of having the image of my dead son burned in my mind forever. I wondered if it would be better if I didn't see him and could just keep the idea of him in my memories instead. But when I saw him, he was beautiful and perfect. He didn't look scary, or strange at all. Sure, he was dead, but he was still my perfect baby boy. He was wearing the shirt my husband picked out for him and he had the most beautiful face I've ever seen. I only wish he wasn't bald because now I'll always wonder what color hair he would have had. The midwives took some photos of him that I'm still not ready to see, but they are keeping them in my file for me. They also took footprints of him which I cherish.

The day we went home was a very sad one. I remember crying all the way home in the taxi. My mom flew over and stayed for a couple of weeks to help me recover. My fabulous friends had cleared the house of all the baby stuff so it wasn't mocking me when I got home. Physically I recovered quickly. My friends rallied around me and offered their support.

When we got home from dropping my Mom off at the airport my husband said to me, "Well, it's just the two of us again." I was hit with how true and profound that statement was. We were almost 3, but now we're back to 2. So now I am striving to get my life back. I know things will never be normal again, so I am now in search of my new normal.

Stop by Finding My New Normal and leave her a comment.  Thank You for allowing me to share your blog and your heartfelt story of losing your son.  


My New Normal said...

Thank you so much Monica. Not just for spotlighting my story, but for all the work you've put into making some great resources available to all of us.

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