We all have regrets, right? Maybe you don't. But I do...
I don't have too many pertaining to the normal parts of my life. But I have some related to my time with Grady. I'm having a hard time grappling with this lately. I'm trying to "let it go" but my heart aches. And it aches deeply. Let me explain.
I've blogged about my two NICU friends from Emma Grace's 4-month long visit there. Lori is an RN, and Suzanne is a Nurse Practitioner. These two beautiful, loving, caring women had planned to be at Grady's scheduled c-section with me on Nov. 14, even though they weren't officially scheduled to work. When we found out Grady had died on Nov. 12, Suzanne was already working at the hospital, but Lori came in that evening to be with me at my c-section. What a precious gift of her time! (Many thanks to you!)
When I got to the hospital at 3:30, Suzanne came out to the waiting area with a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep brochure. The brochure was a bit overwhelming to me, and I immediately said no to having pictures taken. We had our camera and planned on taking a few pictures with it, and at that moment, that's all I wanted. She didn't pressure me at all.
Closer to the time of my c-section, she and Lori came in to my pre-op room. Suzanne had the brochure again. She was very gentle yet firm, got in my face and straight-up told me that this was my only chance....I wouldn't get this time back....I never had to look at the pictures if I didn't want to, but I would have them if I decided to. That's what it took. Hearing it was my "only chance"..."I wouldn't get that time back"....I agreed to have NILMDTS pictures taken, but ONLY of him....
Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
Here's the deal. It felt "morbid" (if I may use that word) to take pictures of my dead baby. We don't usually take pictures of dead people! I felt disrespectful to Grady and thought how simply "wrong" it would be to smile at a camera with me holding him.
Have I mentioned the word "STUPID" lately?
I would give my right arm (and I'm right handed!) to have a picture of me holding my baby. I didn't have to smile at the camera. I could have just looked at him. What was I thinking? That's just it....I wasn't!
I held him for two days in the hospital. All I have is the memory in my head. At least I have that, but it isn't enough. But it has to be... I can't go back... I have nothing to look at to prove that I held him. That I cuddled him on my chest under a blanket just like any other alive baby. Nothing. How nice would it be to have pictures of Gib holding him? Pictures of our hands with his? A picture of me and Gib with him? Maybe even pictures of the girls with him? A picture of all five of us? Imagine that. But, I can't get that time back and do it over...
Why didn't I have Gib leave the camera with me at the hospital? I could have taken 100 pictures of him, capturing every inch of his beautiful little self.
I was alone at the hospital a good bit of the time. Just me and Grady. Gib was in and out as he chose to be (he's NOT one to sit at the hospital!) I asked for no visitors, even though a few did come. I wanted it that way. It was a very private, intimate, alone-feeling experience. But why didn't I take more pictures?!?!
The nurse asked me if we were going to bring the girls to the hospital to see their brother. Mine and Gib's immediate answer/reaction was "No!" She left the room, and we talked about it. It was SO hard for us to grasp the situation. Seeing this perfectly beautiful newborn still, not moving, not breathing...I didn't want them to have that image in their head forever. I thought, at the time, that it would be enough for them to see pictures of him and form their own images in their head. That seemed okay until three weeks after I was home, and Jessica (my oldest) said "I wish I could see Baby Grady." I told her that she could see the pictures and DVD from NILMDTS any time she wanted to. She said, "No, I mean see him in person."
My heart sank, and I began to cry. I explained that her daddy and I were trying to protect their little hearts but that maybe we had made the wrong decision. I told her how hard it was to see him not alive, but that maybe we should have asked them instead of deciding for them. I was heartbroken. I didn't know what else to tell her, but I asked her if she thought she might ever be able to forgive me? Sweet girl said yes. That lifted a little of the pain, but very little.
I robbed them of their ONLY chance to see their baby brother this side of heaven!
So there you have it. My BIGGEST regrets in life to this point.
I needed someone to explain things to me. I needed someone, like Suzanne, to be blunt and tell me this was the ONLY chance. To put it in perspective for me. You would think that I realized this after her telling me about my only chance to take pictures. But I didn't. It's SO hard when you're in that moment. I was simply trying to process and accept that my baby had died. The baby I worked SO hard at trying to keep safe and healthy had somehow slipped away from me. I was going home with empty arms. It was a lot to digest...
Regrets....maybe someday I'll be able to move forward and accept my STUPID decisions. (Maybe the title of this post should have been STUPID!)