Monday, December 29, 2014

Well, I made it through Christmas

Christmas Eve was three months since Psalm was born and died.  I hadn't reckoned to mark it, but I did.  I shared a couple of pictures on Facebook.  This was one of them:

She was so, so tiny.  I will never get over that.  I think I said here before I think that about half of her was just not there and that's part of it, but of course she was a near-term preemie as well.  And I remember the feel of her little head in my hand, of her sweet, soft skin, of her silky hair.

Christmas Day was not easy.  The older girls' father actually bothered taking them for his half of vacation this year for the first time ever, so I was missing them and then missing my girl too.  Three months old on her first Christmas would have been awesome!  At that age they're pushing up and looking around at everything.  I've never had that at Christmas before, always either a pretty old baby or else a little lump of cuteness that doesn't really do anything.

Such a large part of this grief is realizing what you don't have...

I decided to take my usual group photo of the kids the next day when they were all home.  I'd read an article on including a deceased child in some way in future family portraits and decided to do something of the sort.  I put our little pink tree in the gift unwrapping chair along with her heartbeat bear, and added the portrait of her we had on the table at her memorial service, then had the kids stand around that.  Turned out pretty nice:

Of course, that smiling blonde girl there is the same as this girl here:

So you can imagine that the execution didn't come off so well.  I got four pictures taken before Ro burst into tears and I spent the next hour or so trying to calm her down.  She was doing that ugly crying like an animal in pain.  To say she is my sensitive one is an understatement.  I know the feeling, of course.  The difference is she hasn't had the expectation of keeping things in control beaten into her yet, and I really hope she never does.

This is another of those entries without any real point, by the way...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting through

You do whatever you can to get through the holidays.

For whatever reason, not being able to buy Psalm gifts was bothering me.  It occurred to me, though, that I could actually buy them, I just couldn't give them to her.  I'm donating other things in her name, after all, so why not this too?

Initially I was going to donate to either Toys for Tots or Elf Louise.  This thing at Walmart, though, turned out to be easier.

Like I said in my previous post, Psalm would be three months old Christmas Eve.  So we went to the baby toys to find something for her.  The older girls weren't that into it, but the youngest three kids were, especially Esther.

It didn't occur to me until just now that the two things we donated were emblematic of her two youngest siblings.

This is what Marie picked out, with my help.  (I offered her two choices, and this was the one she took.)  Owls first started being a big thing when I was pregnant with her, so she's got quite a few owl toys.  The odd thing is, I usually don't go for pink stuff, given I've got five girls, but this just got me.  I'm sure I would have actually bought it for her had she lived.

Doug picked this out.  He loves balls.  Ball was, in fact, his first word.  This is a little plastic ball with a smaller ball in it that I think has a bell inside. 

Naturally--and I should have expected this--though Doug was perfectly happy to toss the ball in the donation bin, he was not as happy when he realized he couldn't take it back out.  But he got over it quickly.

Esther and Marie.  I forgot that Esther had wanted to be the one to toss this toy in and told Marie she could, so they had to do it together.

The whole thing was rather more emotional than I expected.  Why don't I expect these emotions?  I'm not too good at this feelings stuff, it seems.  I wanted so very bad to have a baby girl to give that owl to.  And I don't.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Advent is a season of hope, of anticipation.  The new Church year has begun and we await the birth of our Savior.

This is a shitty season to have just lost a baby.

In some alternate world, this is the first handprint of many that will be made by my sweet Psalm as she grows.  I would have spent the last ten weeks rubbing my thumb across the lines in her palm and kissing her fingers one by one.

On 24th December, Psalm would have been 13 weeks old.  Three months.  Three month olds can do a lot.  They can hold their head up.  They can track you when you are walking by them.  They can roll around, though probably not roll over.  They're starting to nom on everything.

I bought little diapers when I was pregnant.  Fitted diapers.  Tiny little things, that in the end were too big for her and wouldn't have worked anyway because she only had one leg.  I think oh, she would have been a big baby when she was born.  I think.  She was 4lbs 6oz.  They say they grow half a pound a week, which would have put her at only 6lbs 6oz at term four weeks later, but if she had been healthy she would have weighed more because she wouldn't have been missing a leg and her chest would have been bigger and honestly I have no fucking idea why I am typing this.  It's just word vomit at this point.

We went to church Sunday for the first time since Psalm's memorial service.  Well, my mother and the kids and I did.  Erik had a headache and stayed home.  We went to Resurrection, which is closer to us than St. Mark's.  They had a guest priest, because theirs in in Europe.  Her sermon used pregnancy as a metaphor for Advent, briefly.  How you wait for this child and then she comes and you are then presented with all the potential this child has, you get to think of everything she could become.

And Psalm, she couldn't become anything.  She is written on my heart forever, but she will never grow up, never have dreams, never....never...never...

Also, this song tears me up every damn time I hear it, because Psalm was supposed to be born in late October in San Antonio: