Thursday, June 26, 2008

Waiting to lose

One of the cornish cross chickens we are raising for meat was run over in the chicken tractor. Something happened to her leg, or wing or something. She can't walk, she just sits. We put her in a separate pen indoors, all by herself, because she wasn't able to get food or water in the pen with all the other chickens. We put the food and water right in front of her. She just sits there and eats and drinks, sort of. She's not growing, we find her in another part of the pen, she somehow she flapped herself into. Then we have to move her back to the food and water.

It's sad.

She's not growing, she looks bad. We've been trying to keep her growing until the butcher date next month but I just don't think she's going to make it. My husband and I were looking at her last night and discussing putting her down. Our daughter came into the pen area to look at the 'poor chicken', as she calls her.

Papa told her the chicken was going to die. I quickly looked at my husband as if to say, "Don't tell her that!"

Later in the kitchen, he asked me if I thought he shouldn't have been so blunt with her.

"No. We could just say after-the-fact that the chicken went away. She's only three, she wouldn't know or need to know. " Then I said, "It's just too sad to know something is going to die before it happens." And as soon as I said it I just wanted to break down right there. Sometimes I can't believe that that actually happened to us. But it wasn't a chicken. It was our daughter.

Aren't you glad you didn't know something bad was going to happen the day before it happened? How about 6 weeks before it happened? Because how could you cope or what would you do had you known?

It was terrible knowing that our baby would die.

I remember walking through the mall when I was almost 9 months pregnant, looking in the baby stores. To sales clerks and shoppers I looked like a pregnant mother searching for baby clothes.

And I was.

I was searching for a gown small enough to bury my baby in. The baby whose heart was beating inside me at that very moment. I was looking for grave clothes.

I wanted to scream out to the other happy pregnant mommies there shopping. They smiled knowingly at me as if we were on the same journey. We're all in the same club. We're almost through with our pregnancy. I wanted to tell them "NOOOOOOOOOO!! We're not on the same journey. You have your due date to look forward to but my baby is going to die!!!!"

Going through grocery store lines was very hard too. First of all, I'm pregnant. And nothing is more inviting to complete strangers to get into your business than a pregnant lady. Your stomach is free anyone. They always say, "Oh, when are you due?"

I just didn't want to go out and be in front of strangers, because those normal, innocent questions would always come up. What do I do? How do I handle it? Do I lie? Do I break down? Because if I answered truthfully, there was no question...I was going to fall apart.

One day as I was going through the line, there was a young cashier, very upbeat and cheerful.

"Hi! (huge smile). How are you?"

That's what they always say. The dreaded..."How are you?". I tried to be nondescript, but I was more like Eeyore. I just couldn't make myself respond with the usual "Fine" answer that is expected and required. I just could NOT say it. I don't know what I said, I probably just mumbled. A pretend answer.

She didn't let me off the hook. "Come on, what could be so bad? If there was one thing you could change to make your day good, what would it be?"


She seemed so proud of her happiness, almost daring me that things couldn't be all that bad, I was just grumpy to her. At least that is how it seemed to me.

I told the truth that day. I told her that nothing could make me feel better that day. My baby had no kidneys and was going to die after she was born.

I don't remember what she said after that. Probably nothing. It was like I slapped her in the face. And I wanted to slap her in the face for her innocent happiness. For treating me as if I had no reason to feel sad.

I wandered out of the store and drove home in tears.


Jessica said...

Wow, Debra. It's poignant to read this today, exactly eight years since our daughter died. We had no idea it was coming. I've wondered what I would have done if I had known in advance. I'm with you on dealing with babies afterwards, though. I wanted so badly to talk about MY baby, but... I don't know. Why would anyone want to hear about it? I felt like it would seem I was looking for sympathy, when really I just wanted to hold onto her existence in my life, to keep her real for me.
We lost our first, so it was just adults dealing with it. I would imagine going through what you did and having your children experience it with you must have been incredibly traumatic for them.
I'll be praying for you.

Debra said...


Thanks for commenting. And thank you for praying!

Sometimes I think this blog is just too much...dragging on and on...and I think maybe people think "Get over it already." But maybe they don't.

Even though I don't cry everyday over Isabel, I find I am constantly thinking and processing our loss, how it relates to my life, my relationship with God, etc. I have alot of things still to write about. If only for my own healing and journal.

My hope is that others who have experienced a loss with be able to be encouraged if only by the fact that they are not alone in their thoughts and wrestlings.

How do you handle the anniversary of your baby's birth? What was her name?

We just had Isabel's birthday, I am going to post about it...someday. It was strange. What do you do? It's not a celebration, as a normal birthday is.

What happened to your daughter?

Sarah said...

I don't blame you a bit for what you said to that cashier. If I had been in your boat, I would have felt the same way.

Thank you for continuing your blog. You reassure other grieving mommies that they are normal, too. Even though we often feel alone, we're truly not.