Saturday, March 10, 2012

Back into the Shadows

After losing Alice, you'd think that the people closest to you would stick around and help you throughout tough times.  You would think that having an idea of the type of pain you're going through, or even knowing that pain, that you would stick by your side no matter what.  I do have people who have been here for Chris and I from the beginning, and have helped tremendously.  There are multiple people who have been here.  But for others, I can't say the same, and it hurts pretty bad.

Losing a child is the worst thing I could imagine a person having to go through.  I'd rather be tortured, killed, disfigured, broke, homeless... anything but lose a child.  Knowing that, how in the world could people just break friendships and family ties over trivial things unrelated during a time of healing?  This isn't singling out a single person that I know.  This sadly applies to multiple people, and I can't help but wonder what is going through their heads.  They knew that I needed them.  Literally, I needed their support.  All of them had a very big impact on my life and healing process, yet they just get up and leave.  Some things for ridiculous little things, some for bigger things, but none justifiable while we're in so much pain.  I don't understand, and it hurts.  It's sad to have to realize that not all of your best friends and family will be there for you during the times that you needed most.  These people that I refer to would've been on the TOP of my list for going to in such harsh times. 

Why do people do this?  Is it a lack of respect?  Is it them not being able to empathize?  Is it them pushing away because they don't want to see or be a part of this disastrous mess?  I know people get sad when they see Chris and I.  Who wouldn't?  This is a horrible tragedy and it happens.  It's like someone with cancer walking through a room.  You see them, and wish the best but at the same time you're also deepened with sadness.  People stare at us and feel the same.  I feel like a spectacle sometimes.  I can understand why people wouldn't want to be a part of this, but completely tying off our relationship with something small and unrelated... that hurts.  I already lost my daughter.  Why make me lose friends and family, as well?

There is one good thing that comes out of this mess.  The people who have stuck by throughout it all will be there throughout anything else.  I doubt (and hope) that nothing this bad ever happens to Chri sand I again.  Those people will be here.  It also reminds me of previous struggles I've had, and reminds me that those people hid in the shadows at those times, too.  Is it worth the struggle?  Is it worth me apologizing over something that I wasn't at fault for?  I am so thankful for my family and friends that have stuck by me.  But for those who pushed me away, I will forever be hurt and I cannot forgive this time.

Enough of me hurting over this.  It shouldn't be causing me more pain.

Chris and I received news of Alice's official autopsy results a couple of days ago.  The cause of death was SIDS while cosleeping with a parent.  That extra addition hurts every time I hear it run through my head.  What if cosleeping had nothing to do with it?  SIDS is not preventable, so why would they include a fact of cosleeping?   That is almost an oxymoron.  The results leave a little bit of closure.  Her death is no longer an "ongoing investigation."  But I don't understand the results.  It's probably so simple and I'm over-thinking it, but what if I'm not?  Is it implicative?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

September 7th, 2011

I feel sick to my stomach that I'm even attempting to write this right now.  It's almost been 6 months since Alice died, and it's still hard to muster up the strength to remember what happened on the morning of September 7th.  Some may wonder why I'm so open.  In fact, a lot of people I know disagree with it.  But, I'm the type who doesn't care what others think, I want to write down thoughts, and I want people to know what happened. 

Alice generally woke me up around 7am to 9am, depending on the day.  That morning, I believe I woke up around 10am or so, with no instigation from her, and I immediately knew that something was wrong.  I turned my head over quickly to look at her, and started saying her name.  I knew there was no possible way anything could've happened, and that she was still sleeping, but I wanted to be sure.  I said her name again.  Not a single movement from her and I couldn't see her face.  She was lying in my arms, and I gave a quick nudge to her.  Still nothing, not even a slight leg movement, a sigh, or a stretch.  That's when I knew that my world was over.  I sat up and her swaddle was over her head, but not tightly.  I pulled it down, and the blood had pooled to the side of her face she was sleeping on when she passed away.  She was half white and half purple.  I couldn't cry, I couldn't breathe.  I just kept saying her name, rubbing her chest, and stroking her face.  I knew she was dead.  That thing that happens to 2 in 1000 babies happened to my daughter.

I got up and stood there for a moment, got my phone and ran to get it plugged in.  It had died through the night.  Things started running through my head and what I did to her and how I killed her.  Chris had called early that morning... maybe if my phone was charged, it would've rang, and I could've prevented her death?  Maybe if I would've swaddled her more tightly, she would've lived?  Was she really dead?  The phone finally turned on, and I immediately called my mom.  I couldn't manage to say anything other than "Alice is dead."  She told me to call 911 and that she was on her way home from work.  Nothing was real.

I called 911 and they had me go get Alice, unbotton her onesie, and perform CPR.  I knew she was gone.  They said the fact that I could feel the air going through her chest and out of her nose was a good sign, but nothing was a good sign.  How could it be?  She was gone.  She was cold and lifeless. It seemed like I was giving her CPR forever, hanging in time, knowing she was gone but still having that flicker of hope in the back of my head that something miraculous could happen, like what you read about in books.  But in my heart I knew.

The ambulance came.  All I could do was pace around the living room... I'm not even sure what they did.  My whole body was being sucked to the floor by gravity, and I was empty.  They brought her out to the ambulance.  I grabbed my shoes, still in my pajamas, and ran out to the ambulance.  My feet were bloody from running on rocks, but if there was a slight chance that they could save her, I didn't care about my feet.  I just wanted to save every second we could and get her to the hospital.

The drive there was hard.  I got angry at people for not getting out of the way in time.  Seconds meant everything to me.  I kept glancing back to see what they were doing to Alice, but I couldn't keep looking.  I just put my shoes on, cried, and hitting the dashboard in front of me.

When we got there, they took her into the closest room they had available.  No makeup on, pajamas, shoes untied, morning hair, and crying like the world had come to an end (my world did, in any case), everyone there in the ER looked at me like I was crazy.  I paced, I threw up, and I slid down to the ground to wait.  It felt like seconds later when the doctor came out.  He didn't even have to look at me.  I already knew.  I just kept telling him no.  NO.  I told him that it wasn't true.  I told him to do more, to do his fucking job... to get in there and make my daughter breathe again.  They had to take me away into a separate room, in the dark, so I could sit in a corner.  My best friend came, along with my mom.  We just held each other.  They told me I could go see her.  I didn't know what to do or say... I couldn't even move.

Somehow, I don't remember how, I got into the room.  She was laying on the table, naked, with a white blanket covering most of her.  I immediately ran to the sink and started vomiting and shaking.  They asked me if I wanted to hold her.  I was only able to hold her for about a minute.  I kissed her cold forehead and cheeks, stroked her hair... but I couldn't do it for very long.  I just wanted to vomit all of the pain out of my body.  My mom held her for awhile after that while I continued to puke and heave into the sink.  Then they took her away.  That was the last time I saw my daughter until I received her bones in the form of ashes a week later.

What happened next?  The police came to my house, searched through our room, took pictures.  I had to lay down on my bed and hold a teddy bear with how I found Alice that morning.  They looked for anything strange, like blood or abuse.  Then they left.  What do you do after that?  I tried to eat, but I couldn't.  All I could do was stare and cry.  The days following that were pretty simple.  All I did was ask myself a few specific questions.  At that point, I KNEW that Chris was going to hate me forever for killing our daughter.  Why didn't she cry when she couldn't breathe?  Why didn't she struggle?  And then the real questions came.  How am I going to kill myself?  Should it be a bullet to the head, a hanging, an overdose on pills?  I knew that my life was over.  I just had to decide how to do it. 
Chris came home.  Things were hard.  We picked up our daughter together at the mortuary, and wrapped her in her blanket.  We slept with her every night.  We cried and we drank until we couldn't remember anything anymore.  We started to slowly heal, and the thought of suicide went away with the thought of a new child coming into our lives.  My life was ruined in less than 24 hours, and it's finally slowly starting to rebuild.  I will never be happier than the moment I got to hold my daughter for the first time.  She was a piece of my heart that I will never be able to get back.  I'll miss her always.  My beautiful baby girl... Alice Ann.  I love you, baby.