After my baby girl’s funeral, which was a week after she was born and 5 days after she passed away, it was time to figure my life out. This post talks about my journey of recovery from a c-section and the death of a baby. Because this is a journey that doesn’t end, I will do a series of posts in regard to this. If any of you have experienced the loss of a child, please feel free to share the stages of grief and progress you have made. C-sections and the the death of a baby are difficult by themself, and really shouldn’t be combined. I had all of this love, support, company and companionship, up until Gianna’s funeral. After the funeral, it was time for my in-laws to go home, and for me to go back to being mom to the three little boys I had at home. Hubby was back to work 2 days after Gianna passed away, so life at home was almost as if nothing happened – except there had.
If any of you have had a c-section, you know how difficult the recovery can be. Those couple of days I was in the hospital, I almost didn’t feel the pain. Or if I did – I ignored it. I was more concerned with getting to the NICU when I could, to see my baby. I was blessed with the strength to be able to do that. It wasn’t until I was home, and on my own, that I realized how much I hurt. The previous week was exhausting, both emotionally and physically. I had a lot of recovering to do. My mom was great about calling to check on me, and I had my brother and his family in town to try and distract me at times. The hard fact was that I had 3 little boys who needed my attention. People from church brought in meals that first week, before the funeral, but most everything stopped once I returned home. A lot became my responsibility, so I tried my best to step up. My husband most definitely did not grieve the way I did. After that day when we unhooked Gianna from the machines, and said our goodbyes, he didn’t really cry again. He had work to distract him, and I had motherhood to (distract me?) – yeah, not so much. Motherhood reminded me of the child that I should have had with me.
Although I knew Gianna was in a better place, and that all of her deformities would have made her life very difficult, she was still mine, and I wanted her. I recall sitting in my recliner an awful lot, and feeling kind of numb. I would sit there while the kids watched tv, or played. I didn’t cry, but it was kind of a turning point in my personality. I always considered myself an extrovert who was full of life. I loved to host parties and get togethers, I played with my kids a lot, and I was a pretty happy, outgoing person. After Gianna died, I just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t depressed, but all of a sudden, I developed this anxiety that I never had. I became a lot more uptight and cranky with my kids, and for that I feel guilty. My boys didn’t and don’t deserve that kind of parent. There were times where I would sit in my closet and cry. I didn’t want my boys to see me so upset, so I tried to hide it.
A lot of the problem was that I was in so much pain from the c-section, and I couldn’t just get up and deal with them like I wanted, or like they needed. Adding grief to the physical pain, made it even more difficult to want to get up and deal with the fights and issues, so I started to yell. Rather than get up and deal with my children, I would sit in my recliner and yell. I would yell at them to stop fighting, and to stop getting into things. In my mind, I figured they should know what I just experienced, and they should just behave for me. After all, didn’t they know I was grieving? Some of you may think I am a horrible parent for this kind of behavior, and sometimes I do too. I wish I could say that as time has gone by (since it has been 4 years since Gianna died), that I don’t yell anymore. This isn’t true though. The more time that has passed, the more that I realize Gianna’s death changed me, and the more effort I put into being a more kind and patient parent – like I used to be. I didn’t grow up with a lot of yelling, and I think my husband did. The first 5-7 or so years of our marriage, he did a lot more of the yelling. After losing a child though, I started my own bout of yelling, and it was always to do with being frustrated with the children. Life is just hard, and difficult things are thrown our way. I think it is our responsibility to at least TRY to be aware of our behaviors, our mistakes, our strengths, and just always try to be better than we have been.
The thought that often pops into my head, which brings on a whole new bout of guilt, is this:
I lost a baby whom I loved, and still love dearly. I would love for her to be on this earth with me, but now is just not her time. Because I clearly love all my children with all my heart, why did her death make for a crankier mom, with the children I still have living? I should cherish my children that much more, because after all, they are here with me.
I think about this a lot, and I feel sad when I do, because I want to be better. Dealing with my daughter’s death just took some of my spirit and spunk out of me. Sometimes this thought helps put things into perspective for me, and gives me the kick in the pants that I need, to be more patient and loving with my children. I do love them, and they need to know it, and to know that Gianna’s death doesn’t change that. If anything, it should make it stronger. Don’t get me wrong – I play with them, and we have a lot of fun together, but I just don’t feel the same as I once was. I do feel that I have made strides as time has gone on, and hope to continue to do so.
I hope to talk about my decision to get pregnant again, in my next post about Infant Loss. Just a reminder that this is my story which began 4 years ago. You can read my story from the beginning, with Finding Out There Is Something Wrong With My Baby.
You can now read my next post: Getting Pregnant After Infant Loss.