Monday, August 1, 2016

I had to Leave Her

We knew we only had one night that we would get with Penelope so I was allowed to keep her in the room with us through the night.  She looked different in the morning and it was hard to watch her change, physically, so quickly.  Keith had a meeting that he really needed to be at (plus I think he needed to leave and take an emotional break which I understand).  He left around 7am to go home and shower and head in to work.  My doctor stopped in to check on me and let me know I was good to go home whenever I was ready.  We had to make arrangements with a funeral home and have someone picked to come pick Penny up before leaving.  It was all so overwhelming and Keith wasn't there.  We had talked the day before, but it was just so traumatic then.  Today, it was just me calling different places and trying to get prices.  I really just wanted to bury her, but Keith really wanted to do cremation.  I had a dream during the night about cremation and it was actually comforting. A part of me still wants to bury her, but it just seemed too overwhelming to try and figure out where to bury and price check and decide if it was a location that we could actually go to visit.  Keith was having a hard time with the idea of leaving her somewhere.  He was worried that if we buried her here what if we end up eventually moving out of state and then never got to see her.  Maybe that sounds weird, and honestly I would have thought that was weird, but now that its me facing it...I didn't want to leave her.  The place that I decided on was very kind and the container for the remains was also something that we could eventually bury if we wanted to.  That brought comfort to me that if we did do cremation I could still bury her and have a place I could visit her.  I decided on Heritage Funeral home and arrangements were made for them to pick her up in the afternoon.  I called Keith and asked when he was coming back.  Keith's mom had the kids and ended up having a few extra kids that day so she couldn't bring my kids down to the hospital.  Ada was actually quite devastated by this and was crying. Cary called and I tried to talk to her about how Penny looked different and we had pictures we could show her.  Poor sweet Ada just cried that she wanted to hold her sister.  It broke my heart and I called Keith and asked him to come back and pick up Ada on the way.  I had really wanted to get a family picture of all of us, but it just wasn't going to work.

Keith and Ada finally made it around 10am.  I truly thought Ada would be terrified of Penelope because of how different than a full term baby she looked.  Ada didn't even care, she just was so excited and smily.  She just wanted to hold her.  I had wrapped Penelope up thinking I wouldn't have her see all of her so it didn't concern her.  Ada was determined to see her.  So we let her put Penny on her lap and unwrap the blankets.  She wasn't scared, but curious.  I pointed out her intestines sack, cystic hygrom and hydrop on her brain.  Then Ada surprised us and said she wanted to touch her.  I thought for sure she would be too scared of her looks to touch.  I helped her hold Penny's hand and she even touched her tiny feet.  It was so sweet.  Ada asked me why she looked "gooey".  The first thing I could think of was baking.  I asked Ada what cupcakes look like when we first put them in the pan.  She said runny.  I asked her what cupcakes look like when the timer goes off and we take them out all done.  She said, like a cupcake.  Then I asked what she thought a cupcake would look like if we only cooked it half the time.  She said, gooey.  So we talked about how Penelope only got to "cook" half her time so she looked "half way done".  Ada said she looked like chocolate (she was darker in color being so premature).  She loved wrapping her back up in their blanket and rocking her baby sister in the chair. It was so tender and sweet it broke my heart that these sisters would never get to play together, but at the same time filled my heart with love that my darling 6 year old could love her baby sister so  much.  After a little bit of time together we called the nurse and said we were ready to have them take Penelope to the mortuary.  She said she'd take care of it and that we were good to go.  In my mind I imagined that they would take Penelope's tiny body away and then we would leave.  We waited a while and they didn't come.  I guess they were waiting for us to leave and then would take her away.  For some reason that was much harder for me.  Walking out of that room and looking back at her tiny body left all alone in that room kind of crushed me.  I kind of lost it and Keith guided me out of the hospital.  All I could think was I left her all alone in that room.  I was leaving her...and it hurt!

I don't remember much on the drive home.  I do remember telling Keith I wanted my babies.  He dropped me off at the house and went to pick up our kids for me.  I showered quick (I was still quite a mess from the delivery) and cried till Keith got home with our kids.  I held my kids for a while and we just cried together.  Keith took care of things the rest of the day.  The funeral home called in the afternoon to let me know that Penelope was in their care.  I basically stayed in bed all day and cried or went in and out of sleep.  Keith came in by me when he could, but he watched the kids.  I knew I needed to leave my room and I needed to be with my kids.  Keith needed to get something at the library so we decided to all go together.  This was actually very hard for me.  I didn't want to go anywhere or see anyone.  I didn't want to move.  Keith was good to help and we did all go to the library.  It may have been they only 10 minutes I didn't cry.  It was good to be around the kids and to watch them play (kid area in the library has blocks they love to stack).  Melissa, Keith's sister, made us dinner.  It was a delicious chicken soup with bread and salad.  Apparently people from the ward had been texting Keith and arranged to have meals brought in the rest of the week.  I felt very silly having meals brought in.  Yes, I'd delivered, but I had no newborn to care for.  However, I am deeply grateful for this even though I felt silly.  The rest of the week I really struggled with depression and motivation and honestly I'm not sure I'd have made meals for my kids.  We probably would have just had cereal all week.  I didn't eat much and had no desire for food, so it was very helpful to have food provided for my family.  For FHE we just did some painting with the kids.

Tuesday we went down to the funeral home and signed papers and such for the cremation.  They asked if we wanted to see Penny again, but I was scared to see her.  She had changed so much in one day I was scared to have my last memories of her be ruined by seeing her even less physically normal.  Plus, I didn't think I could handle seeing her and having to leave again.  My eye twitching had come back and was significantly worse while we were at the funeral home.  I'm sure it was just emotional and physical stress.  We signed things and they said they would call in the morning.  They would not start the process until we gave them the go ahead.  We came home to find two bouquets had been delivered.  They were BEAUTIFUL and I'd never realized how much comfort fresh flowers really can bring.  Keith's boss Michael and his wife sent one and our dear friends the Boueys sent the other.  That night my friend Maddie brought stuffed shell noodles and bread.

Wednesday the doctor's office called to confirm my ultra sound appointment for that Friday.  I know it's not the scheduling's fault, how would they know my baby was gone, but man was that a stab of pain!  I told her that I had lost the baby and could she please cancel and further appointments and just schedule my postpartum appointment (3 weeks for a miscarriage instead of the normal 6 weeks).  I was a bit messed up after that and I knew the kids were having a hard time with me just crying and being in bed/couch.  I did my best to suck it up and took the kids to a splash pad.  The kids asked me to invite friends, but again did not really want to be around people.  The kids had a great time and played for a few hours before heading home.  We got home to find Keith's mom here (and the little boy she watches).  We had lunch and our friends the Bryces came by with some brownies.  They live in Anthem, so it was very sweet of them to come all the way with brownies just for us.  It was very sweet.  I had a good visit with Keith's mom and we talked about how we were doing emotionally.  I'm very worried about depression as it runs in both our families.  We had a good visit and then she headed home.  Keith came home early to help me take care of things.  My friend Stephanie brought us enchiladas and a beautiful book about an angel baby.  But, then at dinner our friend Jodi also brought over a dinner of pesto ravioli and fresh veggies.  It was actually perfect because I was going to go to Mesa on Thursday and was worried about having to rush home to meet someone.  It was perfect.  I really struggled this day and cried a good part of it.

Thursday we headed out to Mesa.  I had a cousin, Rachel, that I'm close with but we don't see each other very often.  We talk monthly, but haven't seen her in a year.  She was in Mesa for a family wedding (inlaws).  We were suppose to get together on Sunday, but since I was in the hospital that didn't happen.  Thursday was their last day in town so we either got together then or not at all.  I cried the whole way out there.  I don't know why it is SO hard to face people now.  I'm afraid to see anyone and just want to stay hidden in my home or around strangers.  We got to mom's house and Rachel showed up soon after.  It was actually really nice to just talk about her inlaws wedding and other things.  We didn't talk about the baby we just talked.  I didn't cry for over an hour, it was amazing.  We then decided to go over to the shopping center and just walk around together.  My mom was actually very supportive/pushy about this.  She wanted me to get out and take a break. She even said to leave my kids and just go.  It was very nice.  We walked and looked at things and talked.  She did finally ask about Penelope and if I wanted to talk about it.  We did and I  told her about Sunday's delivery and such.  I choked up a bit a few times, but was actually able to talk about it and somehow it felt better after.  I hate to instigate talking about it, but it is actually helpful and healing TO talk about it.  She had to leave around 1:00.  I'm very glad that even though it was hard I still got together with her.  It was a nice break out of my depression.  Mom was laying with Peter and getting him down for a nap so I played a game with the girls.  I've been a crappy mom lately and need to try harder at being around them not crying.  We had fun playing and then Dad took them swimming.  I'm not suppose to swim or exercise for the 3 weeks.  While dad was swimming with my girls mom and I had a good talk.  I cried and shared with her my feelings and she shared her feelings.  It was a very special conversation.  We both cried a lot, but it was so comforting to just talk about how I was feeling with my mom.  I told her that I feel guilty if I smile, like I'm forgetting Penny by doing so.  That I don't like being around people.  I shared with her my impressions of needing to accept Penelope's disabilities before she left us.  It was literally the day after I feel like I prayed and said I'd accept her come what may that I stopped feeling her.  Mom talked about her miscarriage that she had and pains that she feels in her "loss" of david.  We talked about how there is a connection and ache that only a mom feels.  There are things that I feel and understand now, that I never could have felt or understood without losing my baby.  I don't remember everything we talked about, but I remember a feeling of special connection with my mom.  Teresa then came and she brought me flowers and chocolate pretzels.  Keith worked in the Mesa office so we came over after work as well.  We all had dinner together and the missionaries came over and ate with us.  It was again a break from my depression.  We talked and it wasn't gloomy for a little bit.  The kids had a wonderful time playing with their cousins.  We ate the enchiladas that Stephanie made and it was again, such a comfort that I did not have to worry about meal preparation and was just able to talk with my parents and sister.  We came home to find that my friend (and RS president I work with) left us beautiful wildflowers and a cute pair of fuzzy socks.

Friday the funeral home called and asked if we were ok to start with the cremation process.  It felt so final and if I said yes there was no changing.  I said yes, but then cried most of the rest of the day.  We received another bouquet of flowers from Keith's family in Oregon.  These flowers were stunning.  Keith had been asked at work to go to Las Vegas all next week.  I REALLy didn't want to go.  I wanted to hide in my bed and never leave.  Mom really thought I should go and that maybe it would help me come out of my gloom.  I still struggled, but relented that I would go with him and bring the kids.  Keith really didn't want to be alone at night and I can understand that.  We needed to go through this together right now and now miles apart.  We spent Friday cleaning up and packing.  We hired my friend Jodi's son to watch after our chickens (its been hot and I was TERRIFIED we'd leave and then all my chickens would die.)  We took the dogs to Melissa's house.

Saturday we continued to cry and clean and pack.  Our friends the Echols brought dinner.  Chicken sandwiches and green beans.  It was again, so yummy and helpful to not have to try and pull myself together to prepare and make food.  My friend Jenni came over in the evening.  She is the one who lost her own girl.  It sounds silly, but I was very nervous about seeing her.  I knew that my situation would bring up pain for her and I hated to cause her more pain.  She is one of the few people who actually knows what I'm feeling, but I'm afraid to make her hurt more.  She brought me a beautiful picture of the Savior holding a baby by Simon Dewey.  It is precious and we cried a bit together.  I told her I was scared of going to church and facing everyone.  They are my friends, but I'm scared to face them and have failed in my pregnancy (I know that's not how it is, but it does feel that way some times).  I feared knowing people would ask and I was scared I'd just cry and be a blubbery mess.  Jenni understood and told me if it was too much to just go and she'd make sure our kids got home.  It was nice to finally talk to her.  I hope it wasn't too painful for her.

Sunday was Pioneer day.  The speakers talked about pioneers, which always leads to storied of children and babies lost.  I wept for part of it and was about to give up and just leave.  I managed to make it through and just avoided people the rest of the time.  Only one person actually asked how I was doing and that was enough for me.  A few people just gave me hugs.  We bolted right after church was over and hurried home to pack the car and head out for Las Vegas.  Today marked one week.  It was already a hard day as every time I looked at the clock I thought of what I was doing a week ago.  Getting in the car and diving away I couldn't help but feel like I was leaving her behind.  She was on my mind ALL day, and I ached desperately to have her still inside me, but all I could do was cry and drive out of town.

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