I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 10 months processing the trauma of losing Brady. Weekly appointments with a therapist, grief support groups, grief hours, journaling, and, of course, blogging. Losing a child is a horrific, unnatural kind of loss. Even if I you haven’t experienced it yourself, I probably don’t have to tell you this. What I have started to realize is that I haven’t scratched the surface of processing some of the other traumas I’ve experienced. The fact that a significant date is looming, less than 2 months away, is making this all the more clear.
The answer ended up being 28, and it wasn’t even close. Because Brady’s due date and my birthday were so close together, we wondered how old I would be when I became a mom. Continue reading “28 or 29?”
The first piece of clothing we bought Brady John was a onesie to help us announce his upcoming arrival. At the time that we ordered it, we didn’t know that Brady was a boy, so I ordered a cheery yellow-striped onesie and figured it would work whether we had a boy or a girl. We chose “Schmitz Just Got Real” as a funny play on words. When you have a child, shit does get real and we thought this was a fun way to share that things would never be the same as they were before.
We drove over to my mom’s house in order for her to take the picture that I would post on Facebook to announce my pregnancy. Jeff and I planned that I would look super excited in the photo, and he would put on his best nervous face. I think we did pretty well.
You’ve already heard my thoughts on pregnancy announcements here, and now I think it’s time to discuss another, somewhat related, trigger. The dreaded baby shower. Keep in mind, I’ve never been a huge fan of showers… but I have also not dreaded them until now.
I think some of these situations happen because we’re into the 5th month since Brady passed away. Those peripheral people in my life have started to forget that I experienced a loss.
I am grateful for my life, and sad that my son isn’t here. Those two things are not mutually exclusive feelings, and while that might not sound earth-shattering, it has taken several months for me to come to this realization.
Recently, I read an article about a young, healthy woman, Lauren Bloomstein, (a NICU nurse, actually) who died from HELLP Syndrome. (It’s long, but you can read it here if you want). While I had a very short amount of time to accept my diagnosis, I’ve always understood the gravity of HELLP Syndrome, and how sick I was in the hours before I delivered Brady. However, it’s taken me several months to come to terms with the fact that the decision to deliver wasn’t a decision of my life or Brady’s, it was a decision that was best for both of us. HELLP is not a slow killer, and had I not been under the care of competent doctors, I truly believe I wouldn’t have made it long.
It dawned on me last night, as I listened to a friend talk about how they chose their baby’s name on a podcast, that I hadn’t shared how we came up with Brady John’s name. I even looked back at my earlier blog posts to make sure. There’s a brief mention of why we chose John, but otherwise, nothing. Like most stories, there are two sides. In this case, I’ll share mine and my husband’s.
With everything that happened with my pregnancy with Brady, we had a lot of questions about what future pregnancies would look like, and whether we would be willing to take on the risks associated with any future pregnancies. We had always been hopeful we could find a way to reduce our risks and still be able to have children in the future. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make more babies with this stud?
Brady’s second week of life is a bit harder to write about. While his first week was full of ups, his second week was much more of a roller coaster. Then, of course, there is the fact that Brady’s second week of life does not have a happy ending.
This is the point in the story that I have to start looking back at journals to make sure I get all the details right. I thought my life was crazy leading up to Brady’s arrival, but it pales in comparison to how hectic NICU life is.
Sunday started out like any other day, well, besides being on day 4 of our hospitalization. Due to my sassiness the night before, and my hesitation at staying longer in the hospital, Dr. Pates had requested that Dr. Wagner round with me first that morning. Jeff had to leave early that morning to deal with our cable hookup at the new place (#priorities) so my mom had come by to hang out with me.