About Me

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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.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Photographs Lie

Tonight, after watching a couple vlogs from Still life with Circles I was very emotional.

Earlier today I was looking at Harlow's feet. I had this moment where I realized that her feet looked very much like I remembered Camille's looking. I knew I had to look at my pictures to see if I was right. After I watched the vlogs, with Camille very much on my mind, I decided to look at the photos.

It breaks my heart, my eyes become blurry with tears. My daughter is not as beautiful as I remember. Damn those photos for not being what I remember, but rather what was reality. Damn them for not making her look more alive, for not washing the dead away. No instagram filter to soften the death.

Ever since Harlow was born I tell everyone how much she looks like her brother and sister. They all have very similar characteristics...similar features. All my children have the same nose, chin, ears and feet. I call them cookie cutter kids because our genes seem to match up the same way each time. I could see them in Camille, but she was dead.
no tone
no spirit
no life
It changes the way she would have looked. Some sleep deprived nights I can look down at Harlow and it is like I am nursing Kai. That is how similar they look. They look so much more alike especially because of their aliveness. In my moments of sadness in the middle of the night I sometimes secretly wish that maybe just maybe Harlow and Camille are the same, that my baby didn't really die. That never happened to me. I don't want to be the women who's daughter died. I wish it hadn't happened. I want it to go away. I am not confused and I do not pretend. It is a passing flicker of a thought. When I look at those photos, Camille looks a lot like Jean, Daryl's mother, to me; mostly in her mouth. I remember being fascinated with her tongue. I kept thinking about how it should move and cry, what it would feel like sucking on my breast. A newborns tongue is so different and unique from a child or adults tongue. And so there are a lot of photos where her mouth is open because I wanted pictures of her tongue. But this just made her look more dead, mouth gapping
no movement
tongue still
Her hand that should be clasping my finger, lay open and limp; perfect tiny fingers. .

But the pictures lie...My daughter was beautiful. It took me a while to see past her death and recognize her beyond the lack of life. Now that is how I choose to remember. I am so thankful for those photos but I don't really like looking at them. Memories are softened and many times our mind chooses to remember the joy more than the sorrow, but when the memory is of the death and birth of your child there is very little except sorrow and pain, anguish and loss. And so I am trying to choose to remember the beauty I saw, the photo filter my mind has created around the fading memory of her beautiful face.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Time To Remember

For October 15th, Angel Babies puts on a "Time to Remember" with a candlelit walk and dove release. They read this:
With these doves,
We remember our infant loved ones who have died.
Death has forced us to let go of the children we would hold.
 As we let go of these doves we send forth a message.
To the community the message is:
Our babies were wanted, were real, are loved, and grieved, and remembered.
To one another as bereaved families the message is:
We are not alone. With support we survive and grow.
To our beloved children we have spoken of today the message is:
We remember you! We miss you! and most of all, we love you!

Last year I was angry I had to be there. I thought it was cheesy and lame. I was just really upset that my daughter was dead. I was only 3 months out from my loss. I still wish I didn't have to go to this. But....I am so glad they have something. I need something, and so I am grateful for the cheesy electric candles and the doves and the sad music sung by the man and women with guitars. I am thankful for the little name tags saying who we are remembering. I am grateful that they read each and every baby's name. I am grateful for something that allows us to publicly remember our children. I remember her everyday.

The balloon Papa, Kai and I wrote on for Camille

Papa and Kai Remembering (Harlow is on the blanket in front of them)

Our Wave of Light

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Unfortunate I'm An Asshole

I had a particularly angry day last week. Usually the waves of anger I feel last for a few hours. This day it just hung on and made my heart a black and twisty place. I also noticed that my feelings haven't really subsided over the past week. You see I am having a difficult time being happy for people. It could be a recent pregnancy announcement, finding out the sex of their baby in the direction of their preference, a new job or promotion etc...

 When I hear the "good news" my first thought is "FUCK" or "Of Course". I was examining these feelings. I wasn't jealous....For goodness sakes I just gave birth 6 weeks ago to my beautiful rainbow baby girl. Everything is good right? So what were these nasty feelings I was having?
I realized I WAS jealous, not of the object, the event or outcome...what I realized was, I was jealous of the "feeling" of having things working out, of the feeling that you deserved good luck, or that working hard toward something results in success. I am jealous of the naivety of bliss and joy without consequence. Jealous that things work out for other people just not me.

I can say "I'm happy for you" and mean it because in a parallel universe where my daughter didn't die and things work out for good people, I am happy for them. But my twisty black heart pulls me down sometimes. I don't always like who I've become since Camille died. At once more compassionate and then also a bitter bitch.

Everyone who has had a child die knows the fallout of losing friends. Something that has been hard for me lately is even losing friendships with people who were initially very supportive after Camille's death.Is it me? Am I just not good friend material? I've always been a really loyal friend, I was once witty and fun to be around. If people just hung around long enough they would see there are pieces of that person who struggles to surfaces like blades of grass in a cracked sidewalk. It feels almost extra painful when people who had proven themselves as the type to stick around end up abandoning you as well. Like my grief just isn't going away and they can't deal with it anymore. I don't have a choice I have to live it daily. It doesn't just go away after a year or after a rainbow baby because my dear daughter is still dead. I've been having a lot of flashbacks lately. Sleep deprivation and holding a gorgeous living child in my arms I think fuels the missing. The late nights with no sleep although for a good reason this year takes me back to my sleepless desperate nights last year.

Here is my angry song...I play it to and from therapy visits and anytime I'm pissed off.. Enjoy haha!

Brandi Carlile- My Song

Everything I do surrounds these pieces of my life
That often change or maybe I've changed
And sometimes seeming happy can be self destructive
Even when you're sane or only insane
But don't bother waking me today

I'm so young I know I've been bitter, I've been jaded, I'm alone
Every day I'll bite my tongue
If you only knew my mind was full of razors
That cuts you like a word if only sung
But this is my song, it is my song

Now, I live every day like there'll never be a last one
Till they're gone and they're gone
And I'm too proud to beg for your attention
And your friendship and your time
So you can come and get it from now on

Here I am, I'm so young I know I've been bitter, I've been jaded, I'm alone
Every day I'll bite my tongue If you only knew my mind was full of razors
That cuts you like a word if only sung
This is my song, it's my song
And it's you, it is you

Here I am, I'm so young I know I've been bitter, I've been jaded, I'm alone
Every day I'll bite my tongue If you only knew my mind was full of razors
I'm not sure I can take it, I'm nothing strong to hold to
I'll wait to only hate you, my mind is full of razors
That cuts you like a word if only sung
But this is my song 

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Happy birthday. Happy birthday? I'm not quite sure on the punctuation this year. Last year was the worst birthday of my life, 3 months out from Camille's death. This year I was so sure I would have a fantastic birthday, I wanted to celebrate, there is so much to celebrate. I have found that I am bound and determined to be happy. But... Sometimes intentions are high jacked by feelings. I woke this morning irritable and on edge. I dropped Kai off at school and almost cried as I drove down the street. Because regardless of intentions and reasons to celebrate and the beautiful family I have, it is supposed to be different. That is what I kept saying last year: it's just supposed to be different. It's hard for me to say that and write that while Harlow lays in my lap. I love her with my whole heart. But my heart is still broken.

Nobody asks me how I'm doing anymore. I guess everything is supposed to be better. Things are better. I've survived the first year of my daughter being dead. I've survived a subsequent pregnancy, I've grown a bigger heart. I am still sad. That just doesn't go away. It sits there like a wicked thorn in the side of my happiness.
 I am more happy than sad.
36 is better than 35.
My 35th year was a bitch and I'm happy to say goodbye to that year.
I look ancient. Grief grabbed my face and gnawed on it. I'm skeptical plastic surgery could do anything to help with that. The damage is the inside out version. Your face sometimes reveals the status of your soul.

I didn't just drop off the planet when Harlow was born. She got sick 2 weeks after she was born. Just a cold. But you can bet I've lived at the pediatricians office. Than Kai got sick and than me and than my mom. Snot does not = dead baby, but the crazy in my head from crashing hormones, worry and carry over anxiety makes for sleepless nights and constant bedside vigilance. I've read some blogs and intermittently commented. I posted on FB about Harlow's birth which was a big step for me. We got Harlow's newborn photos taken. If you would like to see them they will be up for another week or so: Derksen photography, go to proofs, find Harlow, type password ralston.

My intention after Harlow was born was to have a meet and greet/ sip and see. It hasn't happened...yet. D's school threw him a baby shower and signed us up for the PTC (Parent teacher club) sunshine committee meals. These people we don't know literally showered us with gifts. It was so incredibly kind. But I'm also not blind to the fact that there was this outpouring because Camille died. I guarantee you that Daryl didn't go around telling people about his dead daughter but the word spreads quickly amongst teachers especially at an elementary school. So we graciously accepted the kindness that was given and we went from having hardly anything for Harlow, save for a couple outfits I had purchased on a brave day, to swimming in a sea of pink. I've spent a lot of time writing thank you cards but the ones I need to get to the most are for the nurses who helped me in the hospital. I don't want their kindness to be left unacknowledged. I never finished Harlow's quilt. I had to go to the hospital unexpectedly. Not having it done before I went to give birth REALLY freaked me out. And so it sits with only a couple things left to do on it. These projects that I feel I must complete pile up as I sit and type or do laundry or sit and gently stroke my daughter's head and limbs.

Well vomit and baths for the baby and me interrupted the flow of this post...

I cried today, I am thankful today. I hear the wind chimes my friend gave me for Camille's birthday and it is soothing. I have so much to say. I will not stay away too long.