I miss the days when Gemma was alive. I miss being so unbelievably happy. Life was too good to be true so of course something terrible had to shake me to the core, but losing my daughter? My sweet little 2 1/2 month old baby girl didn’t have to be the thing to bring me down. I would rather have lost all my hair, gotten cancer, lost a limb than lose my baby. I lost my soul, my heart, purpose and happiness when she died. Everyday I miss her, everyday I cry for her, and everyday I hope I don’t get pregnant. I’m not ready. I cannot move on and have another baby. I feel as if I’m betraying my baby and moving on. I want her, not another baby. She was my whole world. How can I come back from this? How can I live without her and be happy? She is my happiness. I’m an empty shell without Gemma. My soul is lifeless and there is nothing inside me but pain and agony. I wish I could make it stop.
This picture is what you think it is. That is the first time we saw our beautiful Gemma since we saw her lifeless body at the hospital. I’m not sorry for sharing this causing people sadness or causing people to feel uncomfortable because we live everyday without our daughter. This blog is raw and true just as this photo is. I debated on putting this on here, but its a part of our new life.
My birthday is tomorrow. I actually had forgotten about it until last week and it’s another day I dread. What is there to celebrate? My greatest gift, creation and purpose is no longer here with me. She’s always on my mind and in my heart, but I want her in my arms. The ache and pain never stops, it just seems to happen more often. I miss my daughter. I long for her. I feel as if I’m just floating through life until I see her again. There are so many days I think to myself, was she really here? Did I actually have a baby? The time she was with me was so brief I have to pinch myself and make sure it’s not a dream. A nightmare. I was meant to be a mom. It felt right and as if I was truly happy.
Gemma was definitely a baby that wanted to be held all the time, some people call it spoiled, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care when she was alive and now I’m more thankful for it because I got all those extra cuddles and the closeness. I felt as if there was no way to “spoil” a baby. What’s wrong with them wanting their mommy or daddy? Was it hard to get stuff done? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I will do the same for my future children. I think I will be the one that will want them all the time versus them needing me. I had talked to Patrick about co-sleeping. I know people say it’s hard to break them of sleeping with you, but I want my children close. I need them close. Gemma slept with me when it was just her and I. I had this bed bassinet though because I was terrified to roll or her or for me to push her out of bed. Having her right in the bed however was so nice, especially because I breastfed. I would just feed and change her right in the bed, then put her down next to me. I didn’t have to get up all the time when she woke up, which was only about 2-3 times a night.
I feel like I’m forgetting what she looked like in my mind. I have pictures, but if I didn’t, would I remember her? I know I’m forgetting other things as well like how she felt in my arms, breastfeeding her, the feel of her skin and just our day to day activities. I want her back so bad. It’s too difficult to keep going without her. I wasn’t supposed to live without my baby. She should be rolling right now and laughing. She isn’t supposed to be in a little ceramic box. I felt as if I tried so hard to be a good person and an even better mother. I know Patrick has come so far from where he used to be. He has made some mistakes in his life that he is still paying for, but he was hoping to teach our children not to make those same mistakes. He was a great dad and would have taught Gemma so much about being a good person to making an impact on this world like he wants to. I feel as if Gemma would have been extremely intelligent and ambitious like her parents, but she never got the chance. We will never be able to see what kind of person she would have been.
Today is such a bad day I don’t want to go on anymore. I want to see Gemma now. I need to hold her, smell her, talk to her and be her mommy. I’ve dreamed about her for so long. I was meant to be a mom, but I blew it. She’s gone. I never got to hear her laugh, her first word, crawling, walking, rolling over (without cheating), teach her how to count, see her first day of kindergarten.. I don’t deserve another child. I couldn’t even keep Gemma alive. She only lived for 9 weeks and 6 days. She wasn’t sick. She could have lived to 90 years old but I killed her. I may have not been there that night, but I put her on her tummy to sleep too. I made it “okay” for her to be on her tummy. I wish I never did and for that mistake it cost my baby her life. I don’t deserve another child. I’m a bad mom. I’m not even a mom anymore. I have no daughter and my milk is gone. I would give my own life if it meant she could come back. I don’t wanna be here. She was my world and reason to be mentally healthy and she’s gone. There is no point anymore.
Patrick and I had finally went to a group support that had people there. The first one we went to was in Fond du Lac. The person running the group had not lost a child, which I would never wish upon anyone, but it would have been nice to talk to someone who knew EXACTLY how we were feeling or what we were going through. Talking to these two ladies at this meeting tonight gave me comfort. I can’t speak for Patrick, but it helped me knowing I’m not alone.
First the two women shared their stories of losing there children. It’s hard for me to tell their stories because I fear I cannot do them justice, but neither woman had gotten to bring their children home. These two women continued to live their lives and have more children. One was nine years ago and the other was two I believe. They still ache and grieve for their children that never had gotten a fair chance, a shot at leaving the hospital, but they live on by talking about them, helping others, and continuing on living their life. We had also shared our story and told them our fears and concerns, which were the same or similar. When the first lady, we’ll call her A, had her child after losing her baby, she told us she was constantly ensuring her baby was breathing, that she only had gotten a few hours a sleep a night. She never got to bring her baby home, but the fear of losing her next child was still there. The other lady, B, was currently pregnant. She also has fears that her baby will be sick, that she will not be able to take this baby home either. She said she’s waiting for the bad news, for the other shoe to drop. A fear her and I both share is that we are afraid and unsure how to separate the next baby from the one we had lost. That it will take the place of the angel baby. We both know our angel babies can never be replaced, but that fear is still there. I’m worried I will try and pick up where I left off with Gemma, treat that baby like they’re her. Gemma was her own person. She will never be forgotten.
Family support also came up. A’s family was not very supportive. Some were but most just moved, don’t talk about her baby or get uncomfortable if they see a picture or hear his name. B’s family was more like mine, which I’m eternally thankful for. Our families talk about our girls, and do things in their memory. Keep in mind A lost her baby nine years ago and B lost hers two years ago.
I had told them something that had hurt me on Easter, which I never thought of doing myself or asking my mom to do it either. I was hurt that my mom had not thought about getting an Easter basket for Gemma. She had gotten one for the three other grandchildren, but not Gemma. I told myself that Gemma doesn’t need one, she’s in heaven, but it still hurt. I felt as if she was forgotten already. I know my mom didn’t mean any harm by it and just like me, I never thought to mention it to her or even do something for Gemma instead. Both women had mentioned that I could still do a basket for Easter or hang a stocking for Christmas. I wish I would have thought about doing that, but I didn’t. They said some women put letters to their child in the stocking, or items in remembrance of them. One of the ladies also had a first birthday party for her baby where the gifts would be donations to the NICU where her baby was and the other would take her other two children out and do something fun in remembrance of her baby. I’m unsure of what we may do because Gemma’s birthday is the day after Christmas and it is also my nephew’s birthday. I don’t want to take away from his birthday, but it’s also my baby’s birthday. I love my nephew, but my baby was my true love. He will have many days to celebrate with his mom and family, my baby only had gotten nine weeks and six days.
I also want to say I do not know either woman’s story, they merely shared a page from their book. I am also by no means judging either woman, their families or how they grieve. I admire both women with how they can continue to go on because most days I want to give up and be with my Gemma. Group was comforting and I know I will continue to go.
It’s been over a month now that I had lost my baby. I’ve never felt more empty, alone, or dead inside than I do now. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager. It was always up and down and had gotten pretty bad before I had Gemma. I finally decided to talk to my doctor a month before I was due to get a hold on it. I didn’t want to get postmortem when I should be taking care of my beautiful baby. My pregnancy was hard because I went through it alone for the most part. Patrick and I live 45 minutes apart, he worked part time, was tending his garden full time, and was in school full time. He wasn’t around much which was extremely difficult for me. I went to almost all my appointments alone and lived by myself. So it was just me and Gemma. I needed to be better for her, to be able to give her the care she deserved, so I did get better. I was on medication and Patrick and I were doing okay so I felt better.
Then Gemma was born. Patrick was around every day for the first week or so, the after that he was busy at home so it was just me and Gemma again. That was hard again. I had to take care of a newborn on my own. He wasn’t around for a couple weeks stopping over here and there. We fought a lot. I was stressed taking care of her alone and she wasn’t really on a schedule yet so I was so tired. I was also breastfeeding so even if he did come around that day to help out, I had to feed her. Still not much of a break. He did eventually come around and step up. It was so nice to have a partner in raising and taking care of Gemma. He would get up with her in the middle of the night change her if she needed it and hand her to me to feed. I did start pumping which was nice because then I got to sleep when he fed her. I miss those days so much, just being home with my baby, having my family whole.
I was only off 6 weeks, which now I’m so angry that’s all I got with her. I would just be going back to work now. Why is it that mothers get such a short time off with their baby? That’s wrong. Other countries get 6 months minimum paid to be off after having a child. If I was with her, maybe she would still be alive. I would have gotten more time with her. But what if I was the one to find her not alive? I could never imagine the pain, seeing her purple and not breathing, giving her CPR and trying to call 911 while trying everything in my power to save my daughter’s life. Patrick did that. That’s a burden I’m thankful I never have to carry, but he does.
I miss her so much. Nothing I do or people say make anything better. Crying in Patrick’s arms gives me comfort, but it doesn’t help. I have been having bad thoughts lately about wanting to be with her. I get so sad because she needs her mommy, she’s just a baby. My heart aches and breaks every time I think of her. She was my baby cakes. Being a mom was the greatest joy I could have ever imagined. She literally was my whole world. How can I go on without her? I want more children, but then I don’t. I can’t. I’m so hurt and broken I can’t foresee having more children. I just want my Gemma back.
Patrick and I are going to a group meeting in Appleton tomorrow night. It’s for people that have had miscarriages, stillbirths and lost a child under a year old. I’m nervous to go, but it will be nice having people around that can truly sympathize with what we’re going through. I will let you know how it goes.
I bought a couple books, but don’t like them. The first one is When a Child Dies, stories of survival and hope edited by Richard S. Hipps and When the Bough Breaks, forever after the death of a son or daughter by Judith R. Bernstein, Ph.D. I want to read some books that relate to my situation of losing a child to SIDS or losing an infant under a year old. I enjoy reading and reading books the help give hope to losing an infant may help me; bring me out of my depression a bit. If anyone has heard of any books, please recommend them.
I went back to work for the first time since Gemma’s death. On top of not wanting to leave Patrick and not getting the comfort of sleeping by him, I’m sick. First day back and I’m sick. It was hard at times, I tried to stay busy for the most part. I work at a factory operating a wax press, so I just kept putting out molds. Kept my mind busy. It’s been 3 whole weeks since I lost my baby. The love of my life. The reason for my existence.
I was welcomed back by a few friends of mine and had learned last night that one of my friends I work with had also lost his grandson to SIDS. His grandson was about the same age as Gemma. When he was telling me the story I started tearing up. I didn’t want to cry at work. I was trying to be strong. He had said his grandson had just stopped breathing in his sleep and they couldn’t get him to wake up. He had also said the parents ended up breaking up. I hope Patrick and I can continue to stay strong and be there for each other. He’s really been my rock, support and angel. Gemma gave me her daddy.
My friend had also told me the parents had gotten a alarm for their next baby to alert them when the baby stopped breathing. I want to get something where I’m alerted when the baby’s heartbeat stops. He told me sometimes the alarm would go off for no reason or the baby would take a second to breath and it would alert the alarm. He said the parents were constantly anxious and would watch the baby sleep. They ended up sending the alarm thing back. He said his grandma told them if the lord wants that baby, no alarm will stop the lord from taking that baby. I didn’t like hearing that. Made me upset. The lord TOOK that baby. I’m sure they wanted their baby just as I wanted my baby.
The only thing keeping me going some days is that I know I will be able to hold her again one day. I want to be able to hold her now. When I first lost her, I seriously debated on taking my own life so I could be with her. She needs her momma. I need her. I wanted to be with her so bad. I still do, but I know I have to keep going for her. I need to be strong for her daddy. He needs me. He can’t lose me and his baby girl all at once.
All in all, work was bearable. I was sad near the end of the day and wanted to throw in the towel and go home, but I forced myself to stay. It was nice to see the few friends I made there, but being at home with Patrick would have been nicer. I had my baby’s mittens to keep me grounded and the locket with her name, birth and death dates that I had gotten from Patrick’s dear friend. Those few things kept me sane, along with my mom texting me to make sure I was okay.
Patrick and I had gone to a group therapy tonight. We were the only people that showed up except the person running the group. Not exactly what we had in mind, but we still had a wonderful talk with the lady running it. We had told her what had happened with our Gemma and that its been 2 weeks now. 2 weeks. I haven’t heard my baby cry or coo for 2 weeks. I haven’t nursed and haven’t seen her beautiful smile for 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago I lost my true love. My precious Gem.
We had talked to the lady about our fears of losing another child. I cannot speak for Patrick, but I know I am terrified to have another baby, raise it with all the love I had also given Gemma, and then that baby dies too. Whether it be SIDS, an illness, or an accident. My heart cannot take losing another baby. I would feel that someone or something is telling me I’m not meant to be a mom. Not only am I afraid to lose another child, but I am also afraid that I may feel detached to my next baby. Detached because that baby is not my Gemma and because why love it with everything I have when that baby can also be taken from me in a blink of an eye.
Gemma was just starting to come into her own personality. She would mimic my coos, she had ticklish spots even though she wasn’t sure what that strange sensation was yet, but she did squirm. Her little toes would completely spread open when you touched her feet and Nana always said she could climb trees with those toes. She enjoyed being read to, for the most part, and liked being sung to. I miss that baby with my entire being. Every fiber in my body aches for my Gemma. It’s a rough night and talking about her is too much tonight. What I wouldn’t give to have my baby back.
I’m part of a few breastfeeding support groups on Facebook along with extended breastfeeding support groups. There are so many things I loved to do with Gemma. I could go on and on all day long, but one in particular was breastfeeding. I loved it. That is one of the things I miss the most. It’s similar to when Mommies get that “achy womb.” I suppose I long to breastfeed and have the “achy boobs” (And I mean that literally too because it is quite an adjustment to suddenly stop pumping and feeding). I miss breastfeeding my baby in particular, not just any baby would do. That bond shared between a mommy and her baby breastfeeding is unlike any other. I’m not shaming bottle fed babies, as Gemma’s Daddy bottle fed her when I slept or was at work, and I’m not shaming formula fed babies. As long as that baby is happy and healthy, food is food.
People posts in these groups and it’s not always about breastfeeding. Today in particular a lady had posted about putting her baby on his tummy to sleep. That was a trigger for me and I felt that I needed to help that mommy and her baby. I know back then every baby was on their tummy and some babies only sleep on their tummies, ect, ect, ect. But my baby had in fact died because she was on her tummy. She did not turn her head to the side when she could not breath and smothered herself.
Everyday I beat myself up for allowing her to sleep on her tummy as does her Daddy. We go over it again, and again in our heads, why didn’t she move her head!? WHY!!?? She did pick her head up all the time, hold it up high for long periods of time. She did move her head from side to side when she was on her tummy. She had before slept on her tummy and was alright. I had put her on her tummy along with her dad. It was good for her gas problems and she seemed to like sleep on her tummy. If I could go back, I would never EVER put her on her tummy until she was able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. I feel like a bad mom. I feel like I had a hand at losing our daughter’s life. I made it OK for her to sleep on her tummy. Never will I make that mistake again. It had cost me and her Daddy dearly. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this. Because of this guilt, when I saw that post about the baby on his tummy, I had to chime in. I had to save this baby.
I had told the mommy what had happened with my Gemma and that I too in fact thought she would be OK on her tummy, but I was wrong and now she is no longer here. Other babies might have been OK on their tummy and other babies might only be able to sleep on their tummies, but is it worth the risk of your baby’s life? No. She had later posted that she had watched her son sleep and he was unable to move his head in his sleep once his nose was flat with the bed. She said he will continue sleeping on his back. I had also shared this information with Patrick and he too was concerned and made sure I warned her and told her about Gemma. Once she had posted about keeping her baby on his back, Patrick and I were both relieved. We felt that we had a part in saving this baby’s life, even just a little one. I don’t want any parents to go through what Patrick and I are going through, ever. We will continue to push “Back to Sleep.”
Gemma & Daddy February 3rd, 2018 & Gemma’s Memorial Card