10 months with a piece of my heart missing. After the progress that I made with my grief in month 9, month 10 seems to feel like I have taken several steps back. We started the month learning that we couldn’t continue with fertility treatments because I had 5-6 cysts on my two ovaries from the fertility meds we used the month before. After that blow, we had to celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday I never particularly cared for and one I really didn’t give a crap about this year. Now we are fully into the holiday season and I find myself more emotional than I have been in a few months.
There is a name noticeably absent from some of the Christmas cards we have been
receiving and it breaks my heart. I find myself angry that Asher’s name isn’t on the cards. Have people forgotten? I gave birth to a son this year (let’s not forget I still had to go through a normal birth to bring him into this world still) and he is nowhere to be seen on some of the cards we received. When his name does appear or the card is addressed to “The Lied Family”, my heart smiles. They remembered. They know that we had a son this year. They know that this season without him absolutely sucks. They know that even though physically it is just the three of us (don’t forget Murphy), that really we are a family of FOUR. It is a simple gesture but it means the absolute world to me. It means my child is still being acknowledged and he is not forgotten.
While I live with the pain of missing my son every day, the holiday season has seemed to magnify that pain. All around me are happy families sharing photos of their child’s first visit with Santa and here I am with empty arms. The other day I saw a photo on social media that said something along the lines of “I use to think Christmas as a child was the best thing ever….turns out having kids on Christmas is”. Insert knife to heart. All I thought was “Really? Is it?! I WOULDN’T KNOW!”. This holiday season has seemed to bring back a bit of a resurgence in my anger. It’s our son’s first Christmas and he isn’t here. Can you really blame me for being pissed about that?!
At the same time that my anger is reappearing, so is a small flicker of my hope. On Sunday I was listening to last week’s sermon from the church where we were married (it is about a 45 minute drive from where we live, so I try to listen to the sermons online). It was an advent sermon about the holidays. The pastor was talking about how even during the worst times of your life God is saying to you, “I got you”. He gave us Jesus to give us hope and to reinforce that he “has” us, always. I sat there listening to the sermon and crying. I needed to hear those words. This time of year has been hard on me and the struggle to conceive again has really caused me to lose my hope in having a living child. I needed to be reminded of the fact that God “has” me, no matter what.
Yesterday I had an ultrasound appointment to see if my cysts were gone and if we could move forward with injectables this month. I told the ultrasound tech, I just needed some good news because I’m really grasping at straws here. She told me she understood. She said the patient before me said a similar sentiment and she got the good news she needed, so hopefully it is the day for good news. She proceeded to give me a guided tour of my reproductive organs. She told me my uterus looked “beautiful” and that a baby would be very happy in there (so that’s good). She moved on to my right ovary… no cysts! Now the left ovary held all the power on how would proceed this month in its hands…follicles(?). She moved over there and…no cysts! I went in there expecting them to tell me the cysts were still there. I mean I had about 5 or 6 of them. I just felt like they wouldn’t have gone away that fast, and yet they did. Now that they are gone, we can move forward with treatment this month and hopefully conceive a sibling for Asher. I have a little bit of hope again. For the first time in a long time, something went right. Of course, it’s not a huge win, but it’s still a small one that gives me the teeniest bit of hope that maybe this will be the month our luck changes.
Month 10 has also been a month of donations in memory of my sweet boy. We reached the point with the Lucky Anchor Project that we have generated enough revenue to make donations in memory of Asher and Ezra. This month we are making three $100 donations to three different loss non-profits that have helped us on our loss journeys. I was also able to donate several crocheted items to two other loss non-profits in honor of my Asher. It helps to know that good things are being done in his memory to help others who have, unwillingly, had to join this “club”.
The blankets on the left were donated to The Still Remembered Project (photo from their Facebook page). The blanket and hats were donated to the Patrick Palin Foundation (photo from their Facebook page).
Another month has gone by without my son. The days, weeks, months, and years will continue to go by without my son. The holidays are amplifying the pain and causing a resurgence of my anger about that fact. The anger is kept in check (slightly) by making things for other loss families, whether that is filling an order for the Lucky Anchor Project’s store or making blankets for loss families precious babes. I’m ending month 10 with a teeny bit of hope, something I feel has been missing from my life for the past month. The hope I have for a future child, in no way replaces the ache I have for the one I lost. I miss Asher, every day, all day, and I always will.