Monday, December 28, 2015

A journal of grief and healing Part One

I've toyed with the thought of sharing these random thoughts/impressions/opinions for a very long time. They are very personal and it has seemed almost imprudent to put something so private on the web. However, I just recently (yesterday) felt VERY strongly that I should put them out there. They're raw and jumbled but in the order of the way they came to me. I also recorded them as they came to me. Sometimes I would write down several in one day. Other times I'd go days or weeks in between jotting my thoughts and questions down. At one point I even went months without writing anything. Not exactly sure why I did that. I sometimes remembered to write the date and time of when these impressions/questions came to me. You'll see a lot of times they were recorded very late at night when I would lie in bed and think long and hard about my situation and life. Writing them down was a way of organizing my thoughts. Most of the time I couldn't sleep unless I had written them down, like I'm doing now at 1:30am. Sometimes I repeat myself or say a thought more than once in a different way. I didn't want to censor anything so if I wanted to write it again, I did. The prompting hit me to share this and my mind is racing with what I want to say about this. It's all very personal, and like I said before, pretty raw and real. My hopes in sharing this is that maybe, someone who goes through a similar trial to me, might find something that they can connect with. If that doesn't happen, then maybe someone who hasn't experienced something similar can get a glimpse into what it's like to grieve and then begin to heal.
(Side note, I've also added in a few notes here and there to explain what a few things were if I was vague or used acronyms.)

>When you start to feel better physically you can really start to heal mentally and emotionally. It's amazing how much feeling poorly physically can bring you down mentally and emotionally.

>Why can't we just be normal? I don't want her to be too special or too precious for this life. I just want her.

>I want to get pregnant ASAP. The thought of all those months being pregnant with no precious baby to hold and raise in this life makes my heart ache. I'll go through all of the pains of pregnancy again to have that warm squishy baby in my arms and to keep in a heartbeat. It just seems so incredibly far away. I was so ready for her in my heart to come to us now. I don't know if I was ready to be a parent, I had no idea what I was doing but I was ready to do what I needed to do.

>I now somewhat know what it feels like for a woman who is having problems getting pregnant when they see other women that are pregnant or just giving birth. There's a small hole in my heart that yearns to be filled by being where they are.

>We want to be the best that we can be so that if Indi’s ever visiting us we won't offend her.

>I want to hold her and feel her soft warm body. I want to kiss her perfect little sweetheart lips and smell her breath. I want to hold her in my lap and stare at the wonderful creation that we made. I want to give her a warm bath and smell her soft baby skin. I want to snuggle her in my arms and fall asleep with her in my safe embrace. I want to kiss her soft cheeks and belly and make her smile. I want to watch her in her sleep. I want to wake up every morning eager to see her and watch her change and grow. I want to see those beautiful little eyes open up and watch me in recognition as her mother. I want to wrap her to my chest and feel her warm breath on my skin. I want to watch Andy dote over her and love on her with a love he's never experienced before. I want to see her napping on Andy's chest while he naps on the couch. I want to watch Andy be a father to her and teach her to gain a love for the outdoors. I want to watch him learn to change a diaper.  I want to see Andy be so gentle and sweet with his little girl.

>She came to us with ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, two ears, beautiful dark hair, sweetheart lips, all four limbs and a dimple in her chin. What a miracle it is that she formed so perfectly inside of me.  Our perfect baby girl.

>I didn't kiss her enough.  I didn't snuggle her enough. I didn't hold her enough. I'm so grateful to have shared her with so many people but I look back now and wish I had held her more. I wish the three of us would've had more time to ourselves. We only got one night before bed and then the 40 minutes before they took her away with just the three of us.

>Sitting in church. Last time I was here I was pregnant. She always seemed to move like crazy while sitting here in sacrament. We spent  a lot of our sacrament feeling her roll around and kick and stretch and punch. I would sit here so uncomfortably and would very frequently have to get up and walk around the church to relieve the tension in my ribs and back. I was SO uncomfortable! What I wouldn't give to be uncomfortable and walking around the church again. What I wouldn't give to sit here and watch Andy's face react as she would kick his hand so hard in my belly.

>I wish we could've had just one day with her alive. To feel her warm breath and see any movement from her. To actually see her eyes. I have a baby and Ive never even seen her eyes. Her lifeless fragile body was perfect and beautiful. I wish she could've at least drawn a few breaths so we could have a few memories of that little heart pumping outside of my body.

>Getting answers won't take away the loss.

>My daughter is in a small box on the top of a shelf... Everything is not ok.

>Let's say I get pregnant pretty quickly here, like April, that means I won't be giving birth until December or January (since the doc said I most likely won't ever deliver past 35 weeks ever again). Which means I'll be closer to 29 when I have my next baby. This was not the life plan I had set out for myself. I was hoping to be on my second child by the time I was 30. I know technically I would be on my second child but I think we all know what I mean.

>I am angry. I feel overwhelmed and blam the doctor. Lack of understanding has led to confusion. Confusion has led me to replay every teeny tiny thing that happened leading up to her death. I feel like I was swept aside. That I fell through the cracks. That the doctor did not take me seriously. I trusted him. I trusted his judgement because I didn't know any better. He's the doctor here! I know he's human and makes mistakes but this was a HUGE mistake. I trusted him with not only my life but most importantly, Indira’s life and she's gone. Saying he dropped the ball is an understatement.

>I have to go through every emotion. I have to experience it all as it comes and not fight it.

>A mother's intuition is real. I knew I felt "off." I knew she shouldn't stay inside of me as soon as we found out the results from the cholestasis blood test . Why wasn't I more proactive?

>She trusted me with her life and I couldn't provide what she needed to survive and thrive and grow.  

>Indira is the greatest example of Christ’s pure love that I have ever personally experienced. How is it that one tiny little individual who never even took a breath on this earth can teach me so much about love? She was and is about selflessness, charity, love, joy, greatness, any adjective that describes perfect.
>I want to live my life in a way that will be worthy of Indira. I want to be the best that I can be so that if she is ever in my presence I will never offend her.

>How do this happen to us? Why did we get chosen for this?

>I never thought, in my wildest dreams that something like this could ever happen to me. But then I realized, I'm not exempt from tragedy. No one is.

>I don't know how to answer the question, "How are you?" I don't know what to say to someone when they tell me, "I'm sorry for your loss/I'm so sorry." Kind of an odd thing to say when you think about it but I admit that really it's one of the only things we can say. I understand these times (when someone you know has experienced a tragic loss) are delicate and everyone handles grief and loss differently so saying a simple "I'm sorry" is the safest thing to go with. But it doesn't make it any easier to respond to.

>I think I'm at a place in my grief/mourning where I'm overwhelmed with "talking." Rehashing the whole thing to people that I run into makes me emotionally tired.  I get to a place where I just want to have a normal conversation. But I also want people to know that they can talk to me about her. She is my daughter, I don't want to feel like she's forgotten.

>I haven't quite figured out how to handle the situation where I/we have to drop the bomb on someone that our baby was stillborn. So far, as of March 6th I've only experienced dropping that bomb three times and it sucks. It sucks because, one, I actually have to say it and somehow that always makes it worse, and two watching that person's face drop in horror is absolutely heart wrenching to watch. I automatically feel like I need to comfort them Such an uncomfortable experience for all parties. Dont quite know how to remedy the situation yet. We'll see what time will bring.

>I know we'll get to a time in the future where people will stop tip toeing around us and it won't be brought up that much anymore. I understand why some choose to tip toe because going through the grief cycle is absolutely, completely different from person to person. My first month of grieving has been very open. I'm now going into the phase of being more vague about details and not giving all the information that we have like I have been doing in the last month. Where as others in the grief cycle don't want to speak to anyone for the first month and may now be just getting to a place a month later where they want to start opening up and sharing the intimate details. That time in the future could be a bittersweet place. I hope that place doesn't bring me a different type of sadness where I start to feel like she's been forgotten or that she's fallen through the cracks.

>I see the beautiful maternity photos that Andy took of me a mere three days before Indira passed away and I see the look on my face. I see so much excitement and happiness that comes with the unknown of what is about to change a couple's life forever. The excitement of wondering who this little human being inside of me is going to be and what she looks like. I now look at these photos and see that belly from the other side of pregnancy. The side where you are no longer pregnant and have given birth. I look at my belly now knowing who that human being inside of me is and what she looks like. So that is who was in my womb for all these months! So that is who was kicking and pushing and hiccuping inside of me! So that is my child. 3.8.14  12:04am

>Just seems like so much work and time and effort to create that little body and she doesn't get to use it in this life. 3.10.14.  11:17pm

>What if, at the beginning of our mortal lives, we were told and given a full understanding of what our trials throughout life would be? What would we do? Would we accept it or say, "forget it?" I wonder how knowing beforehand and preparing for these trials would affect how we react to them and deal with them. 3.13.14  11:48 pm

>Everything is exactly the same, but everything is completely different.  3.16.14  9:51pm -- Andy
We are totally changed but have nothing to show for it. We are not the same human beings that we were a month and a half ago. On the outside it looks as if our lives haven't changed at all but on the inside, you may not recognize us.

>Four weeks ago, I was all consumed by my grief and thoughts 24/7. Now I find myself being less and less consumed by my thoughts and emotions of her and I almost feel guilty like she's slipping away. 3.16.14 9:54pm

>Just heard a Country song on the radio called "Hey Pretty Girl." I imagined it was indira as a grown woman that this singer was singing to. Made me think of what Indi's life may have been like had she lived. What kind of person would she have grown up to be and who would she marry and start a family with? What kind of mother would she have been? What career path would she have chosen? What would her talents have been? What would her trials have been? Which leads me to think about the millennium and how her life will be at that time. I believe that I will be able to raise her from infancy as my child. But I wonder if we will be able to go through all the motions of raising a child just as we would've in this life just without the trials and temptations. Will we get to give her her first haircut and watch her take her first steps? Will we watch her play out in the yard with other children? Will we be able to help her pull out her first tooth? Will we be able to watch her grow into a young woman? Will she date and find the love of her life just as people do in this life? Will there be a wedding celebration when she is sealed to that man that she loves? Will she get pregnant and give birth to her own babies? Will life just be as it is now but without the trials and temptations? I know all will be made equal in the millennium. For me, that equality would mean being able to do all those things that we had hoped to do with her and witness all the different stages of her life. I want to take road trips with her and teach her how to climb and ski. I hope those will be things that we can do in the millennium.  3.20.14  5:20pm

>People tell me I'm strong... I don't even know what that means. I don't feel strong. I'm just doing whatever comes natural to me. Sometimes that means anger or gut wrenching sorrow or depression. None of those things represent strength to me right now. 3.25.15   10:21pm

>I wonder what it was like for Indi when she died. Did she experience fear or pain or suffering? I don't ever recall any feelings that she was in distress but part of me wonders if she did react in distress and I just didn't notice. If that is the case it makes my heart ache that I couldn't recognize her distress. I hope with all hope that is in my being that it was peaceful for her. I hope she did not feel lonely and afraid. 3.26.14  11:27pm

>Sometimes going to that place in my heart to visit Indira is too hard. The ache and the sadness outweighs the joy and happiness. 4.2.14    1:12am

>At night I like to talk to Indira in my mind. I "pray" to her in a sense and ask her to watch over me. I usually find the next morning that I fell asleep while talking to her. Which brings me comfort because talking to her calms my mind and very few things calm my mind when I am laying down to sleep 4.2.14  1:14am

>Sometimes, while lying in bed, I reach my hand up into the air and I feel like she is reaching down to me. I can feel the tips of our fingers brushing each other's.

>I went to grab my scriptures from the cupboard and I found my gratitude journal from my (LDS) mission. I decided that I wanted to see what I was grateful for five years ago on February 6th which is Indi’s birthday. It surprised me to see that I was celebrating my one year anniversary as a missionary. Meaning that February 6th, 2008 was the same day I entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center). I came in to tell Andy what I had discovered and he got a shocked look on his face and said, "No way!" I asked him what was so crazy and he told me that he entered the MTC on February 6th, 2004. For Andy, myself, and Indi, February 6th is a birthday for all of us in a sense because we were all starting a new life on that date. We all started a new mission. Indi started her "mission" in heaven on February 6th, 2014.     4.2.14   11:00pm

>I signed Indira’s paperwork yesterday to have her final autopsy records released to us. It's only the second time I've written "mother" in regards to myself. I have a sense of pride when I write that but it also brings a somewhat uncomfortable feeling knowing that, that may be the last time I ever write that when it comes to Indi. While other mothers are signing permission slips and excuse notes and signing waivers or signing their children up for baseball and dance class, I sign my name for my daughter's cremation forms and her autopsy.  4.2.14   11:40pm

>This is so stupid and messed up!!!!!! I want to scream at the top of my lungs and swear and forget about everything but my daughter.  She should be here! She should be warm in my arms! 4.2.14   11:43pm.

>I feel like this is my greatest lesson in discovering how strong I am as a woman and a mother.    4.2.14   11:55 pm

>How can something be so beautiful be so painful simultaneously? Some days it's more beautiful and some days it's more painful. Right now, going to that place in my heart for her is more painful.   4.6.14   12:49am

>I've stopped crying everyday. How is that possible? I think subconsciously I'm protecting myself. This suffering is too hard. My mind won't allow it.   4.22.14   11:39 pm

>Her room is so empty. I can't go in it. 4.22.14

>If she had been born on or around her due date she'd be around 6 weeks old. I can't even imagine me actually having a baby to take care of. I don't know how to imagine myself in that role. I'm a mom but I don't know what it's like to be a mom. Such a foreign thing for me that should actually be something that would've been coming so naturally right now if she had lived. I know I would've made mistakes and it would've been hard but I wish I knew that hardship rather than this one.  4.22.14   11:43pm

>Church for all three hours for the first time in 11 1/2 weeks. Probably went to the wrong Sunday school class. It was a marriage and family class. The topic was raising children properly and in the gospel. It was hard to think about how I have no experience when I should have some. The question arose, "How do we help our children make correct choices?" The thought struck me, "My daughter is teaching me to make correct choices." She is the one that is setting the example . She is the one that is helping me to rethink my thoughts, actions and words to become a better person. She is the one giving me more of an eternal perspective. Because of her I am learning more about life and how to live it and love it. My choices will affect whether or not I can live with her again. She is my teacher. I am not her teacher.    4.27.14.    11:19am

>What if we knew from childhood exactly what trials would come to us in our lives? What if we knew what demons we would struggle with or knew what our inadequacies would be? Would it make a difference in how we would live our lives? Would we be able to adequately prepare for these trials and be ready for them? On the other hand, what if we knew all the joy and all the blessings and good times that would come to us from the beginning?  4.27.14   11:52am

>Maybe it really just was not my time to be a mom. Maybe I wasn't prepared or ready for this. I know no one can ever be really fully prepared for a baby, but maybe there was just something about me that The Lord knew was not quite there yet. It's weird to imagine me having a baby right now. Doing all the things I see other mothers do. It just seems so strange and foreign for me to be doing that in this exact moment. I just wasn't ready for it I guess. 4.26.14   2:23pm

>Everything with Indi is either past tense or imagined.

>Today we saw the mfm again. Andy and I were both on the verge of tears the whole time. I came to realize it was because I was starting to get a little taste of the panic and the anxiety that will come with the next baby. Andy agrees that, that was why he was holding back tears too. We were also told that I do not have the antiphospholipid syndrome which is very good news but then at the same time it would be nice to blame something. With no clear answer it just makes me feel like a failure. That by some fluke accident my body wasn't able to do its job and I feel like a failure.   4.30.14. 8:00pm (Mfm = maternal fetal medicine. Also, we later found out that I do have antiphospholipid syndrome)

>You go through so many stages of worry in your preparation of becoming a parent. Many people say that the moment they hold their child the worries of the world and anything bad that could happen to their child, hits them. As soon as Indira was born, the worry ceased. The worst had already happened. 5.6.14   11:15 pm.

>For a time, writing thank you notes was cathartic. It helped me to heal and connect with those that had been supporting us. Then I came to a place where I shut myself off to anything that led to speaking or writing of her. I went into hibernation mode when it came to her.  I realize it was subconsciously done and was a way for me to protect myself. In fact, I didn't realize I had done it until several weeks had passed. And now, I know what's happened but I've still had a hard time facing the music again.  5.6.14. 11:23pm

>Disneyland was an interesting choice for us on this Mother's Day weekend. It was bittersweet. Both Andy I looked at children in a more precious way. We seemed to notice their purity and excitement more than ever. We loved watching how excited they would get and see how loved they were by their parents. On the other hand we seemed to recognize more when the parents just seemed to be going through the motions with their children not really enjoying them or appreciating them in the moment. There were so many little girls that looked maybe like what Indi would look like. With olive skin and dark hair, dark features. Watching the dads play with them and hold them was very sweet and heart breaking. I was a little afraid of being forgotten today but so many friends and family stepped up to the plate and made sure I was recognized as a mother. That too was bittersweet. I wasn't forgotten but was reminded all day of how I'm a mother without my child and I'm going to be ok. It doesn't make me any less of a mother. Someone commented on my photo that they know Indi is celebrating me as her mother, today. The image popped into my mind of heaven having some sort of an Instagram and Indira posted something about me to honor me as her mother. Sounds silly but that's what came to mind and it would be sweet.  5.11.14.  9:33pm

>All I want for Mother's Day is a letter from Indira. I wish I could know her thoughts and feelings. I wish I could know what she thinks of me as her mother. Would she tell me she thinks I'm brave and strong? Or beautiful or lucky to have me as her mom? 5.11.14   10:37pm

>I wish I could just take a peek into heaven and just see her. Just one moment to see what she looks like, what she's doing, to know her a little better. I don't have to even touch her or talk to her, even though it would be torture not to be able to. But at least I could just see her again.


  1. Love you, neena! And love that little Indira. Thank you for sharing your inspirations, thoughts and whisperings of the Spirit. These are incredibly sacred moments and I've definitely been uplifted by them. That little Indi teaches us all so much and reminds us of what is important and why we are here and what we should be focusing on. So grateful for that little girl and your example as a mama!

  2. Loved all of your thoughts. So many similarities it was comforting to read but of course completely devastation still. The MTC/mission dates gave me chills. And I 100% believe we knew what we were getting into before we came here as did our sweet babes. So thankful you have your rainbow baby. They are literally the sweetest things on earth!

  3. I am a friend of Priscillas and I came across your IG on people I may know. I clicked on your blog and started reading from the beginning. From what I have read, you are simply incredible! I just have to say and I hope you have realized, you are strong! The part where you say that you may not have been ready or the Lord may have known.. it is the exact opposite. The Lord knew you were strong and knew you could take on such a difficult trial in your life. My sister had a stillbirth and I tell her all time that she is so brave and strong and incredible. I think the same of you!