The First Days of Grief, Initial Ways to Cope.
So now we begin the journey after Noelle's death, trying to accept that she's not here, searching for answers that we may never get.
It has been almost a week... a week tomorrow. Tomorrow will be her funeral. I am dreading it. My Dad asked me last night if it is getting any more tolerable... the answer is no. When I think of what happened I still cannot fully believe it. The first couple nights were horrible, I didn't want to sleep, I was afraid of waking up and living the reality fresh. I still can't sleep, but it is improving (with the help of ambien). I cry myself to sleep and I wake up crying, usually in the middle of the night and in the morning. My husband is always there to wipe my tears and tell me it's okay.
Here are some things I am finding helpful in these first days...
I sleep with her delivery blanket and I feel that I may sleep with that blanket the rest of my life. We also sleep with our 5 month old mini goldendoodle, Archie, who is a great comfort at this time.
While I was pregnant I joined a facebook group specific to Hydrops Fetalis. Most of the stories on this site do not have happy endings... I always thought that mine would be one of the rare ones that did. The support was somewhat helpful during my pregnancy but even more so now. The first night in the hospital after her death I spent most of the night on this site and others looking for comfort. I did and do find it comforting reading others stories and sharing my own (clearly that is why I am writing this blog!). Another site I have found helpful is Compassonatefriends.org and threelittlebirds.org
I also started writing to Noelle in a journal. Feeling that I am speaking directly to her helps a lot. I cry the entire time I am writing but I know she hears me.
My husband and I have felt a strong urge to help those in need since the first day after our loss. I wanted to do something to memorialize her and hopefully make it a tradition. On Wednesday, my husband and I, and hopefully some of our family members, are writing letters for those who are lonely this Christmas. The organization is angelcardproject.com and we feel this is a great way to honor our little angel, Noelle. The deacon, who married us less than a year ago, and who will speak at our service tomorrow, gave us a wise piece of advice: Do not feel like we have to start this tradition now, it is OK and it is healthy to focus on just Noelle's life and our own grief... we owe it to ourselves and to her. So we will approach this urge to help others slowly and thoughtfully.
The way we will live each day is forever changed. We also started a book, The Purpose Driven Life, which is short spiritual reflections over 40 days. Day one was today. This again is something I feel Noelle was pulling us towards... I found this in my childhood room last night when I was there gathering special items to bury with Noelle. My Mother, whom is a very spiritual woman as I mentioned in previous posts, gave this book to me 5 years ago and like so many other spiritual books she has given me along the way, I had never opened it. I was meant to find it and meant to read it now, with my husband.
We found some groups that we are anxious to get to that specifically gear towards those who have experienced Neonatal Death.
For now, we will go to bed and hold each other close and prepare to tomorrow. I know Noelle will help us through.