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Wellness

How I Survived The Death Of My Baby

I didn’t know she was sick, and I didn’t know she had an aneurysm, and I didn’t have time to see her the way other people do. But in a couple days she made it through the procedure without incident and we were able to tell her the good news.

This is the story of how I survived the death of my daughter. She came to work with a cold, a fever, and her skin looked a little flaky. But she always woke up in the morning, smiled, and said, “I’m fine.” Her immune system had fought back, the cold was gone, and she was back on the doctor’s schedule and getting good. So I figured, “What the heck, it was just one more bout with the flu.” So I got a cold every week.

There was one thing I started doing in this battle to get by without my baby that did work: It was taking more and more effort to make myself better on a daily basis. I was constantly telling myself, “No, it’s the cold. It’s just the cold.” But I couldn’t really change how I felt. It was all about the weather and how good and comfortable it was. It became so ingrained in me that, after a while, I started to think of the weather as a manifestation of my thoughts and emotions and didn’t pay enough attention to my health.

Then I had an epiphany. I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel without my baby, my heart, and my mind, but I just might survive without them. This was the first time I had accepted that I didn’t need the weather in order to live anymore.

It took an event that I wasn’t in any mood to think about. The day of the flu shot. So I went into the doctor’s office with my cold and my stomach on fire, and he told me that the flu shot might help. This struck a chord of shock and confusion. What did that mean, exactly? What were the risks?

So, after all the talk about the risks and side effects, the doctor walked me through the procedure. I knew that the flu shot was a terrible idea. I knew that it was something I couldn’t get. But I also knew that if I didn’t think it through and I didn’t ask the right questions, I would be choosing to accept the horrible results in exchange for an uncomfortable life.

Well, he told me and I decided that I would try the shot that day. I told myself that it was for a reason, that it’s because of the fact that I wasn’t coping well and wouldn’t be ready by the time I got my baby back. 

And lo, it was there, in the parking lot of my local clinic. I went through two weeks of colds without complaint. No rash. A tiny bit feverish one night, no headache for three days. It wasn’t pretty, but it lived.

I began to see improvement by the following Saturday. I felt like a different person. And by Sunday it was perfect.

For several weeks I was able to put together and understand what my body was doing in order to help me fight these flu-induced sicknesses. Over the course of six weeks my stomach and brain had been working together to help me recover. I noticed that I had a tendency to become more anxious and more irritable as the weeks went on. I was more tired when my brain thought about the flu than when it wasn’t. I felt stronger mentally and physically.

And then I had a big breakthrough. I was sick, but I was not sick enough. When something doesn’t work the way we expect it to, we don’t feel like we accomplished anything. On the surface everything seemed fine and my mind and body felt fine, but underneath was this persistent ache.

I didn’t want to feel like an experiment. I told people that I was doing just fine, but I know that wasn’t what was really happening. I knew I might never really be comfortable with my recovery.

So I started over. I did a lot of research for a time. I found myself able to do things like walk and eat and drink once again. My body had already recovered and I wanted to make sure it could recover again. I got a lot more rest and I learned and practiced what I needed to know. I was able to go to work. I found a way to manage my anxiety. And when I got to work, the day just felt so peaceful. 

But I know it’s not until I stop to put it into perspective that I can truly appreciate the true nature of what my body and my mind are doing to help me.