September 03, 2012

What's on your whiteboard?

I read a metaphor by Elizabeth Edwards on another blog over the weekend. She likened life to a whiteboard on which to try to fit all the seemingly "important" things in life, constantly try to squeeze in more stuff. Then you experience the loss of a child and everything seems so trivial. Your whiteboard is again blank and this time, you're more careful with what you write on it. More thoughtful about what you fill your life with, whom you choose to allow in your life. You realize what the important things are, it's the "little" things that matter.
Seems cliche but spend more time saying "I love you", appreciate your loved ones, appreciate what you have because this life is fleeting. I'm so grateful and happy for the time I got to spend with Ademide. I wish we had more time together to experience more on this side but God has other plans. I will go to him but he won't come back to me.

As humans sometimes we see others go through tragic times and we say "I'll pray for you" with the sincerest of intentions but life gets in the way and in the midst of your prayers maybe the person gets a quick mention "God please comfort X" and you move on in your prayers. You thank God that you're not the one enduring the tragedy. Hey I've been there before. Then just like that it comes knocking at your door and your whole life changes.

I've had a lot of people say "oh you're so strong, I don't know how you keep it all together." I respond with thank God and I'm not being all Christianese. I really am so grateful to God, I'm actually much better than I thought I would be. Somehow I haven't lost my marbles and taken to running around London like a crazed person. It can only be God.

In Luke 22 : 31 - 32, the Bible talks about how the devil asked to sift Simon as wheat but Jesus said He had prayed for him that his faith would not fail so that he could strengthen his brethren. Perhaps, God has allowed me to experience this to be a blessing to others.

I guess when you experience tragedy and one as devastating as the death of a child it makes you realize what's important in life. It forces you to cling to God because nothing else makes sense.

I'm an uncommon woman and I've been called to walk an uncommon path. As I heard in Church once, there are places in God, you can't reach without enduring pain.

September 01, 2012

Awful but functioning...

For the four months and seven days that Ademide was here, my schedule and days were defined. I woke up, called to see how my son had been doing in the last 3 hrs since I called, I showered and went to his bedside. Then check his numbers, sats, FiO2, pressures, meds, nappies. Ward round, chat with docs about plans for the day. Pray for a quiet uneventful day, nappy change, pump, feeds, research medical jargon. Cuddles with my son. Bath time. Story/reading time. Physio. Ward round.

Now I have nothing to do. I wake up, shower, get dressed and sit at home. People keep asking "how are you?" "are you ok?" "are you bored?" how am I supposed to feel? My son died! He's not coming back. I'm ok, I'm functioning. Bored? "blank stare"

Miscarriages, infant loss (can't get over this term) my son isn't lost, he died. But I digress, neonatal death happens to a lot more people than you think. It's like a secret unspoken club, but once you qualify, suddenly the members open up and tell you about their loss. Sometimes others tell you about those that have had losses and then say but she has a little girl or boy now, so move on. It's only been 24 days, you just don't move on...

How do you answer the question "do you have children?" if you say yes, where is he? If you say no, it's like denying Ademide was here...

My personal favourite? Hurry up and have another child while you're still young... You'll feel better. Would it help? Maybe, at least maybe I wouldn't feel this horrible ache when I see mums with their babies or blissfully happy pregnant friends planning for their bundle of joy. But getting pregnant again comes with it's own stresses - the blissful ignorance is gone - ask any mom who's had a NICU baby, there are a million things that can go wrong and I am unfortunately aware of too many. Even a "textbook" pregnancy isn't all that, met a few moms in the cardiac ICU (CICU) at GOSH that had blissful pregnancies only to find their babies whisked away by ANTS (Acute Neonatal Transfer Service) hours after birth. Or even those that had blissful pregnancies, went home, had all the baby and toddler firsts only to take their 3 year old to the dr for flu like symptoms only to be blue lighted by CATS (Children's Acute Transfer Service) and to be told that your little perfect boy has cardiomyopathy and has 10 days to live...
The blissful ignorance is another DBM ( dead baby mom) put it you mentally consciously or unconsciously tag "if he / she lives" to thoughts about your children.

I cannot understand how people endure this without God, the only reason I still have hope and faith despite all these is because of Jesus. "In Christ alone my hope is found" that song just reminds me that no matter how bitter my situation is right now, there's hope and now I understand what the Bible means when it says we shouldn't mourn like those who don't have hope. Not that we shouldn't mourn at all, but even though weeping may endure, joy comes in the morning. I will have other children, I will be happy, I will be ok. But I will never forget Ademide.