Below is a compilation of some random thoughts and experience I wanted to share.
What I wish I had done with Tinsley at the hospital:
- Taken more pictures. Taken more pictures of her– captured every dimple on her face and every single nail, hair, finger, toe, and limb on her sweet body.
- Taken more pictures of us: of me and her, of Charlie and her, of all three of us.
- Cradled her naked body on my naked chest, like I would have done had she been born alive.
- Unwrapped her out of her blanket and admired her in her wholeness. I simply did not breathe her in enough, study her enough. My ‘thinking brain’ had been kicked offline and I was just in survival mode. I couldn’t think clearly about what I might treasure for the rest of my life…
- Bathed her and put clothes on her
- Sung to her or read her a book
- Asked for a lock of her hair
***My loss mom friend helped me realize that nothing I could have done at the hospital would have “been enough.” I had 5 hours with her and I was supposed to have a lifetime.
Persistent “crazy” thoughts:
- I wanted to literally take Tinsley from the funeral home where she was kept before she was buried. And then after she was buried, I wanted to dig her out of her grave and bring her home. This urge has not passed….it has only softened a tiny bit. Every time I visit (and I visit A LOT), I consider digging her out.
- She’s cold. She’s lonely. She’s afraid. Even though I know she is not having an earthly experience anymore, I have a hard time shaking thoughts of her being in earthly pain… it’s the only thing I know. I have to tell myself “she is not an earthly being anymore.”
- Tax Exemptions for Stillbirths: Federal law doesn’t allow for claiming stillborn children on U.S. tax forms, but some states do have stillborn tax credits.
According to the Star Legacy Foundation: “Currently five states have enacted legislation providing a stillbirth tax deduction/credit for stillbirth families–Minnesota, North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Arizona. And efforts are underway in several other states.
These tax credits provide one-time financial relief to stillbirth parents to help offset the unanticipated expenses of funerals, burial, testing, therapy, etc. Minnesota is currently the only state that provides a tax credit. The others provide a tax deduction similar to the dependent child tax credit that can be claimed each year for living dependent children.”
- If your baby is stillborn, you typically don’t get a birth certificate, death certificate or social security number. This can feel like a very raw, hurtful statement–that your baby didn’t really exist (other countries are different. Australia, for example, includes stillborns in its census data).
- But you do have to help the nurse fill out paperwork to classify her as a stillborn…
Insomnia: I didn’t sleep during the first two weeks after Tinsley died. That’s not an exaggeration. I kept thinking ‘I’ll be tired tomorrow’ but I never got there. I wish I had known how normal this is for the grieving process. Now I sleep fairly well, although falling asleep is the hardest part of my day. It’s when visions and memories of her come to me and sometimes they are so upsetting I have to just get up, walk around, and try again. Or, let myself wail, and then pass out from the crying. This is also the time I tend to worry about her being cold, lonely, afraid, etc.
Phantom kicks: How long are these going to last? It’s 14 weeks and I still think I ‘feel’ her.
The “getting better” part: Who would think that “you’re looking better” would be a hard thing to hear? It has been. It translates to “you’re forgetting about your baby, that’s good.” No, it’s not the intention behind the statement, but it’s how I sometimes hear it.
Fetal Microchimerism: According to an article in the New York Times, “in the 1990s, scientists found the first clues that cells from both sons and daughters can escape from the uterus and spread through a mother’s body. They called the phenomenon fetal microchimerism, after the chimera, a monster from Greek mythology that was part lion, goat and dragon.”