That’s how I feel my life has been this week. Taking off VERY fast. Taking off in directions that I wasn’t expecting. At least not so soon. Let’s hit the brakes and back up…
In the first few weeks after Grady died, I was searching incessantly for a support group to attend. I read lots of stories online, but I so badly needed to be face-to-face with other moms who had lost their babies. Most of the groups were general grief groups or groups where people experience the loss of a child at any age. This just wasn’t what I was looking for. In my anger, it came to my mind that I should start a group. That I needed to be the agent of change for moms like me.
I feel that I need to give you a tiny bit of background about me. Because after all, what would qualify me to lead such a group?
First of all, I’ve personally experienced a lot of loss in my life. I think I explored this in previous posts, but if you missed it, I’ll tell you again. My dad died when I was 13. My grandparents died one by one between 1996-2003. We almost lost Emma Grace in 2003. I had a miscarriage in 2005. My mom died in 2007. Grady died in 2008.
Professionally, if you don’t know, I am a registered nurse. I have not worked in the hospital since 1998 and even then, I have only a short time of experience in the adult ICU. When Jessica was one, I became a Certified Childbirth Educator. For the past nine years, I have taught childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant safety/cpr classes. I also led a support group for new moms called Motherlore. I loved it. I was very sad to leave, but I just can't talk and teach about babies all the time now.
Now back to the present. The thought of starting a group remained in the back of my head. In January, as I drove across town to the only support group I could find that suited my needs, I met a wonderful woman who runs that group. I was talking to her and shared my desires and interest in starting a group. She agreed that there was a huge need in our area for an infant loss group. To make a very long story short, after emailing back and forth, her organization sponsored me to take an RTS Bereavement Training Course (hence my trip out of town last week). One point of important clarification: I did not ask for this training. She offered it. It literally fell in my lap. I knew it was from God and an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. I know it is very soon after Grady’s death, but it was the only training this year that was in driving distance, and I didn’t want to wait until next year.
RTS is a very credible and reputable organization in hospital-based bereavement programs. Dr. Joe (my OB) agrees that there needs to be some kind of group at the hospital to serve moms/families like us. Not just a stillbirth, but any perinatal loss – miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, death from prematurity, stillbirth, and death shortly after birth. This works in my favor as he is the Chief of OB! Can I just tell you once again what a wonderful person he is! He, too, is one of those God-sends in my life!
****Here’s where I feel like the space ship is taking off, and I’m standing in the trail of smoke left behind saying, “Wait for me!”
I had my yearly appointment with Dr. Joe on Monday. We talked some in his office and over lunch, and he feels it would be important and valuable if I would speak at an upcoming Performance Improvement meeting to present my ideas. Immediately my anxiety rose to levels far beyond the roof! I don’t like speaking in front of a bunch of people, especially a bunch of doctors. Don’t get me wrong. I want to do it! I’m just very anxious and nervous, and the meeting isn’t until April 15th!
Tuesday morning I emailed two of my friends at the hospital to ask some questions. I received a text that morning AND a call from Dr. Joe’s office telling me that there was a bereavement meeting that day at 2pm. Was I available? After scrambling for childcare, I WAS able to go. I was immediately put at ease as I saw some familiar faces from our 4 months in the NICU with Emma Grace. I thought I was just going to observe, listen and learn at this meeting. Nope. I am now a part of this committee and have been assigned to a sub-committee. This bereavement committee has been in place for the NICU for a very short time with some very big and much-needed goals. They are trying to expand it to reach Labor and Delivery at the hospital because that is where most fetal deaths occur. I really hope that I can be a voice for other moms who lose their babies!
Don’t ask God to use you if you’re not really ready for Him to! On my way to the training I asked the Lord to help me be attentive and learn as much as I could to reach out and help grieved families. On the way home, I prayed for Him to use me in such a way that would help people and bring Him glory. I’m seeing answers to these prayers already. It’s powerful but overwhelming!
This is MY NEW MISSION that I’ve referred to in previous posts. I KNOW that God has called me to this particular ministry. There is NO doubt in my mind. I rest in that. I have peace with that. However, I’m having a very hard time with how fast things are moving. BUT, I know God doesn’t make mistakes. I just didn’t expect to see Him working so soon and opening so many doors at once. I’m going to have to be careful with what I take on as I am still very much grieving my Baby Grady.
Speaking of him, I found out today one year ago that I was pregnant with him. It’s been a hard day.
I have had a hard time lately anyway. I feel myself starting to struggle much more emotionally than I was before. I was never OK. A better way to describe me was that I was better. But, I’m more sad and maybe even a little depressed. I think I’m entitled to that, though, don’t you think?
I think it’s a combination of the training and the mix of emotions in this new mission of mine. I have read that 4-6 months is particularly hard because the shock is wearing off and reality is setting in. Unfortunately, I’m finding this to be true.
I am SO excited about the opportunities in front of me. But the life I REALLY want is a life that I just can’t have. My new reality IS becoming evident and it becomes more and more real every day. I want my new reality and my new normal to be as I had imagined before that life-changing, awful, earth-shattering day of November 12th, 2008.
I really just want my Baby Grady here in my arms.