Friday, September 18, 2009

The Secret Garden

For the past 6 months, I've been haphazardly following the blogs of other moms who've lost their babies in one way or another. I've come across an oft used term that perfectly sums up this unspoken sisterhood of women who've lost a child: 'babylost'. It's very fitting: a man who's lost his wife is a widower, a child without parents is an orphan, and a woman who's lost her child is babylost. I've yet to use it colloquially with people who can't relate (i.e. those who haven't lost a child), but I'm going to start integrating it soon enough into my everyday conversations.

From this point on, I'm also going to start participating in a monthly blog questionnaire called The Secret Garden Meeting. I feel compelled to talk more about all-things-Shiloh. Life is going on around me, for me, and I find the pain and the memories, even only 11 months later, becoming dulled. I hate it. I want everything to remain vivid. I want the world to stop for just a moment everyday and carry a silent vigil for baby Shiloh. But I know that's not going to happen outside of my home, so this is my way of preserving her brief existence, her memory. The way The Secret Garden Meeting (TSGM) works is that Carly from Love Reign Over Me posts questions which we then copy and paste into our own blog, answer and then return to TSGM to leave the hyperlink to our blog. This month I will answer her questions from August, even though it's already September (Sept questions aren't posted yet). The topic of "the baby room" seems to come up frequently amongst other babylost parents, and this is what August's questions pertain to.

If you created a bedroom for your baby tell us what it was like.
We did create a bedroom for Shiloh. She is our first child and creating a baby room was one of the leading things on my to-do list. I was so excited. I knew I wanted to paint her room (we live in small, ugly apartment with run of the mill paint!), so I started researching designs within the first few months of pregnancy. After a few weeks, I came across a Disney design that I loved. So I downloaded the templates, printed them out, and went to Home Depot to pick out the Disney paints. My husband and I painted for two straight weeks, and it came out amazingly. The walls consist of three main colors- 2 shades of pink and 1 of brown, and are decorated with trees, leaves blowing in the wind, and birds. The opposite walls have a solid pink on the top half, and different colored stripes on the bottom half (see photos below). We bought Oeuf furniture- a beautiful white, modern crib and changing table/drawers with dark wood trim to match the brown wall; a cream colored futon, a white rice paper lamp and shelf from Ikea; and an old white dresser that I painted in stripes to match the wall. To hang Shiloh's clothes on, my mom and sister had made, just for baby Shiloh, an awesome clothes giraffe. We finished off the room with Baby Einstein layette. Putting her room together was certainly one of the happiest moments of my life.

Did you have it ready for them before they were born?
Shiloh's room was complete about a month before she was born. The last tasks (finished by Oct 15th) were washing all of her little baby clothes, folding them, and placing them into her dressers. I had also put her velour sheets on her organic crib mattress and on her changing table. The diapers and toiletries were organized in the top drawer of her changing table and I made a space for her towels, bath toiletries, and extra sheets in the linen cabinet (which was a BIG task considering the size of our apt!) so we could find all of her things easily when she needed to be bathed and changed. The outfit I was going to bring her home in was sitting neatly in her crib, underneath her Baby Einstein mobile. Everything was perfect.

If so how did you cope coming home to it without your baby?
During the first few months, I just cried uncontrollably every time I went into her room. But I let myself go there. I wanted to feel the pain because I knew what I was missing. I want to fully grieve for Shiloh and this is one avenue for my grief. Most people go into the hospital being pregnant and come home with their baby, but most unfortunately, I wasn't one of those lucky people. So her room held, and still holds, all of these dreams for me. As the months go by, it gets easier and easier to go in there because I let the good feelings come to the forefront, rather than just the sorrow and pain. I still cry and it's still very, very bittersweet, but it's one of the few things of hers that I have.

Did you pack it all away?
No- we didn't pack anything away that was in her room. Everything is still in its place. The diaper cake remains whole on top of her dresser, her French bear, books and cds sit on the bookshelf, the sheets are still on her crib and changing table, her clothes are in the dresser, and her Baby Einstein mobile continues to turn in the breeze. I can't bear to move her things around. They are still hers. Packing up her things, to me, is like trying to pack away her memory.

What is your baby's room now?
Nothing has been changed except to make space for my husband's desk (which I am REALLY not happy about!). He needed his own, quiet workspace and so has usurped a corner in Shiloh's room. I almost feel like he has violated the sacredness of it, but I guess I'll do anything for the breadwinner to be able to work more efficiently! It will always be Shiloh's room though, never an office.

If you lost your baby after they had come home what is it like going into there room now?
Since Shiloh was born sleeping due to an umbilical cord accident, this question doesn't pertain to me.

If you are trying to conceive again, or are pregnant again how do you feel about setting up another room before your baby is born?
When I get pregnant again, we won't be setting up another baby room, but will use Shiloh's. I would love to have her sibling 'borrow' Shiloh's things. If she's anything like her daddy and me, she would have loved to share! I haven't quite thought about what we will do if the next baby is a boy (since her room is pretty girly), but I think we will take it as it comes. I want to do everything differently next time. I feel like doing anything to prepare for another baby (once I am pregnant again) will be jinxing it. I hate that I can't be innocent anymore.


Lisa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's nice that you still have Shiloh's room all together. It is a very pretty room.

Emily said...

Shiloh's room is sooo lovely. Very impressive that a room in our apartments could look so magazine worthy.

The love is in the details!