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My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Numbing Out

It is 1a.m. in the morning. I am sitting outside looking at the Japanese maple that we have strung with lights. The fountain beneath the tree is not running and the lights make the tiny white flowers in the garden glow. It seems peaceful out here...but in HERE it is sadness and grief and anguish and heartache and desperation and utter pain.

So I can't sleep...nothing new here...totally exhausted but my mind won't turn off. I don't want to take Ambien and so I will wake up later this morning feeling hungover and tired...drag myself out of bed to play with my son. My husband is going back to work next week. Somethings gotta give because this pattern of no sleep + grief + having to function with my son is not going to work.

I don't drink alcohol or rather I haven't in the last year....and before that it was maybe 4 drinks a year. I don't smoke or have any particularly bad vices that I can throw myself into except self hate, blame and general mind fucking of myself over the death of our daughter. At first ALL I wanted to do was sleep; I didn't want to wake up because the nightmare of Camille dying didn't go away except when I slept. Now I can't sleep and during the day I just don't have time to grieve. My son needs me to play baseball, read books, cook food, tickle him, play hide and seek and generally mother him. Instead of finding a space for the thoughts in my head and the ripped open wounds of my soul during the day I pack it away for nighttime. Then the night comes and

Holy Crap the most GIANT Opossum just jumped up and started drinking from the fountain! CRAZY! I kind of want to catch it...it looks kind of like a miniature rodent of unusual size....Distracted...

So the night comes and instead of actually facing the swelling of grief...I have started watching TV and movies...now this might not seem so strange to many but I am not the type to turn the TV on. I am a huge book lover but I can't read books right now, I can't concentrate. I did just read The Exact Replica of the Figment of My Imagination which was phenomenal and I felt like she was writing about my experience minus France...Anyway NUMBING OUT...watching TV...I guess I am trying to escape. It's not that I don't want to face Camille's death, I face it every day in my heart and soul BUT sometimes it is just SO EXHAUSTING being this SAD ....ALL THE TIME!

So I watch TV or a movie and I get through the evening after Kai is asleep...and then I can't sleep. Why? because now I am sad and I have to face all the sadness I haven't been focusing on all day...What a SHIT cycle. The other bad thing about this is I am a person who needs a lot of sleep. I don't function well under normal circumstances with too little sleep. So now I am grieving and broken and sleep deprived.

I have read on different blogs about doing creative things to remember my daughter. My mother is a professional artist and I grew up in a artistic house. I do art projects with my son all the time...but I feel paralyzed by my grief. I don't know how to be creative in the face of this devastation. I have so many thoughts swirling in my head with no direction...I just kind of sit and stare and think and think and think. Yeah paralyzed by sadness. I can't make phone calls, I can't do art, I can't read...everything seems like so much effort.

You know how when you stand in the soft wet sand at the beach and let the water crash around your ankles, if you just stand in one spot your feet sink deeper and deeper into the sand? I feel like my soul is being washed over by the waves while standing still. I don't want to numb out but I am not sure exactly how to proceed. Maybe if I got more sleep...I would know how to proceed.


  1. Oh Renel, I am so horribly sorry about your beautiful girl Camille. My son, Tyler, also died when I was 38 weeks pregnant with him, he would be 5. I did not drink or smoke, I had a healthy pregnancy, at least until about 35 weeks. I still have nights where I cannot sleep, I spend a lot of time with the "what if's", which I know is not healthy, but I am his Mom and I am human, I grieve for him.
    For almost 5 months I did not leave my house, Tyler was our first. I couldn't sleep or eat, I didn't want to do ANYTHING, but I did take Ambien and my tv was on 24 hours because the silence was horrifying~ though I never actually watched a show. I took my time and did things in his honor, Camille just died, give yourself some time, you will know when you are ready to do things, art, read or even make phone calls. right now you need to worry about YOU, so YOU can heal.
    Sending you all of my love and support. I am so very sorry and wish I could hug you.
    I am attaching my beautiful son's page.

  2. I wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your sweet Camille. My son, Drew, was stillborn because of a cord accident, exactly one year before Camille (June 30, 2010). I was 37.5 weeks pregnant and had a perfect and healthy pregnancy.

    I wanted to let you know that I am sending good thoughts your way. I know it doesn't seem like it, but getting through each day will get a little easier each day. A year later, I can tell you that it never gets better, it just gets a little easier to function again. Take your time getting there--and take care of yourself along the way. It's a very bumpy road you have ahead of yourself, but know that you have a lot of support from people you know--and many, many others you don't.

    If you're up to following blogs, I just started one about two months ago. Mine is http://spendtimeinmyshoes.blogspot.com/

    All my best to you,

  3. I'm so sorry that Camille isn't here, where she belongs. It breaks my heart. I know where you're at, my son was stillborn due to a cord accident at 37 weeks almost 3 years ago exactly. Your writing brings me back to those early days when it was so raw. Sending so much love to you. Be gentle with yourself. And it wasn't your fault. xo

  4. Amy and Kate~ thank you for coming by my blog and saying hello. It means so much to feel supported and less alone.
    Amy I am sorry about Tyler. Your pictures on his memorial page are beautiful and made me cry. they took me right back to the day they told me Camille died and I had to deliver her. I tried to send you two different messages through Tylers memorial page but the web page said there was errors.
    Kate~I am sorry about your son Drew...I'll be coming by and reading your blog. June 30th SUCKS!
    Monique~ I am sorry about your son. Thanks for saying Hi.
    I still have yet to write her Camilles birth story. I need to do that... this whole blog world is new to me. Thank you again.

  5. I'm so very sorry. Like Monique, I lost my firstborn daughter almost three years ago to the day. She was stillborn five days past her due date.
    I absolutely love your daughter's name and my heart hurts that you have to be here. The early weeks and months of this grief are so brutally painfully.
    Again, I am so sorry.

  6. I"m so sorry you have joined this circle. It's so hard. The babylost community is a life saver though ...

    My son would be 4 this September. Not a day goes by where I do not think of him. I love him so much. Somehow we continue to breathe despite the pain. And another moment passes. Then a minute. Then an hour ... a day ... a week ... a month .... a year. Somehow we survive.

  7. Hi Renel, I've just found you via Angie (still life with circles) and wanted to send my love. I'm so sorry. Camille is a beautiful name.

    Grief *is* exhausting. I know you will find your own way through it, so I won't try to dispense advice, except to say I'm glad you're able to recognise when you slip into self-hate and blame. I don't think it is possible to stop those thoughts, but at least if you can recognise them, you can let them go on their merry way and hopefully not hold onto them too long.

    I love that a giant oppossum came to keep you company in the middle of the night.

  8. Renel, I came across your blog from my beautiful friend (Still Life) Angie. I'm completely heartbroken that you have lost your baby girl. The numbness, insomnia and racing thoughts you're experiencing are completely normal for being 6 weeks out. My baby boy, Aiden, was stillborn on 8/13/2010 when I was 37 weeks pregnant. There were no findings on the autopsy.

    With his first birthday only 3 days away, I'm right back to where I was one year ago, numb, exhausted, and unable to concentrate.

    I'm thinking of you and your family as you continue to mourn sweet Camille. xo

  9. hey Renel
    I'm sorry you baby girl Camille died. the pain is unbearable and grief an unwanted companion.
    like Amy said time is measured one breath at a time since the day you birthed her, held her and then had to say goodbye. Life as you knew it is changed forever. I remember wondering and hoping and wanting just a shimmer of happiness or hope to come back to me.
    I'm so very, very sorry. it does come back, unexpected and slowly and in a turmoil of other emotions, but one day you will sleep again and learn to smile again.
    just keep breathing, one in breath, one out breath at a time.
    sending you lots of love
    xxoo Ines

  10. I'm trying to comment and google chrome is giving me the blues.
    You've commented on a post of mine in glow. Also Angie shared my blog when I was about as far out from my loss as you are. My son, Holden was stillborn at 38 weeks on April 13, 2011. I am so terribly sorry about Camille. There are so many things you have said in this post that I identify with, I could have written it myself. (barring the part about the possum) The sleeplessness, the loss of creativity, or having the creativity and your grief clouding your mind so much it feels impossible to put it down. I am so sorry to meet you this way, but I am glad you've found us. I hope you feel well taken care of in this new community you've found. email me sometime if you'd like to chat, sweetheart.
    dreamersdisease at yahoo dot com

  11. Renel,

    I am so sorry we've all been brought here. I know the pain of losing a sweet baby girl. (My first daughter, Sophie, was stillborn almost six years ago.) I'm sending you warm thoughts, especially for this first year. You've found a group where Camille will always be remembered as a part of you, and where you can constantly embrace her spirit. Keep writing.


  12. Renel, here is my e-mail~ Amy9038@aol.com and my facebook page~
    You have been on my mind so much, I am so sorry.

  13. It IS exhausting, and I am in the same cycle you are. I stay up way too late after my daughter is asleep, then I feel like a zombie all day. I am trying so hard to break the cycle before I return to work in a few weeks after having the summer off. UGH. (hugs)

  14. Just checking in to see how you are doing. You have been on my mind, I know how horrible this is, especially those first few months. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  15. I'm a bit late in sending this.
    I still stay up way too late. Evening are kind of my time once the boys are in bed and I spend hour upon hour reading babyloss blogs. I'm averaging being in bed by 2am. Sleep doesn't come easily at all. And the mindless TV, mindless anything for distraction seems to work. I can't tell you how many games of solitaire I've played on my phone over the last week! We need to shut the mind down, it's self preservation I think. It's also a way of not completely feeling so sad 100% of the time. I found after about 6 - 8 weeks the shock wore off and the sadness set in. It's not AS overwhelming as it was, but it's still there.
    Your interlude about the opossum made me snort Renel. Much peace and sleep to you. xo


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