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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back to the grind/Things I've learned

Hello, friends and frienemies.

As many of you know I've been off the farm for a couple of weeks now, because my family was grieving. I'm always torn about how much detail to give in posts like this, because I tend to be extremely private about my personal life, almost to the point of paranoia.

On the other hand, when I started this blog, Mrs. B and I agreed that I would be as open as possible about who I am and what's going on in my life, because I want readers to connect with me - to feel me, as the kids like to say. My unwritten rule is that once ground rules of respect have been established, then I will consider sharing anything I don't have to be ashamed about. And there's definitely no shame in this instance.

Besides, I make it a rule not to have too many secrets. It's hard to live that way. So my life is a relatively open book. If you wanted to know my bank account info, my street address, and where I'm tattooed? Well, that's a different story that falls under the none-of-your-business category.

All that being said, here's the deal: Mrs. B and I lost our baby. I won't go into great detail. Guys, you wouldn't necessarily get the details anyway, unless you're doctors or dads. And moms, and would-be moms, you'll probably figure it out. A couple of weeks ago, she began suddenly exhibiting symptoms that weren't quite right. The bottom line is after being rushed to the hospital, she was compelled to deliver early - months early - and the baby didn't make it.

We are still sad. We are still grieving and probably will be for the next few months. But, most important, I think, we're living. We're not curling up into little balls shivering in a dark corner somewhere.

I used to think - actually, after comparing notes, we realized we both felt this way - that it was terribly calloused for people who had suffered a loss to say "Life goes on," or anything to that effect. I thought it was mean. I thought it was insensitive. I thought it was an indication that the person uttering those words was in denial. Naturally, I had no idea what I was talking about until this happened.

We realized quickly that this was something that would be with us the rest of our lives, no matter how many more children we have. But we also realized that we needed get our heads and our hearts in order and keep living so that we can plan on the rest of our lives. And as cliche'd as it might sound to you, we don't think our child would want us to wither away, anyway.

And one other thing I've learned over the past two weeks: Those guys who say "we" are pregnant? I'll never make fun of them again. I know I've joked about it in the past. I've called those guys all manner of wuss, 'cause, I reasoned, we're not carrying a baby for nine months. Our wives/partners are. I am one of those guys now.

When your wife/partner is in pain, physical and emotional, over anything to do with your baby you feel it. I'll never know fully what Mrs. B went through that day. I was there. Just feet away. But I'll never fully get it. I do know though, that by the time all was said and done I had stopped referring to her and started referring to we, in terms of pregnancy.

So, my friends, when the time is right we will try again. In the mean time, I/we plan to honor the scant memories we were able to glean, and continue living.

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46 Comments:

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you. This happened for a rason, and we are not capable of understanding the plans of the Creator. So go back to living as best you can, and wait for the next thing to happen.

    Being able to say "we" are pregnant differentiates a FATHER from a SPERM DONOR. It is the commitment that matters, that changes it from "she" to "We"

    By Anonymous og, at 1:27 PM  

  • Og, thanks for the deep words. I have to say though, I was always committed 100%. In terms of language I'd bought into the macho hype. I know better now.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:29 PM  

  • James,
    You and the Mrs have been in my thoughts since you went away and you will be in my and my family's prayers. To say that I am so sorry seems cliched, but I am.
    I am also very proud of you for being there for your wife in what must be an unimaginably difficult time for both of you. You're a good guy, JB.
    The we is important. So is the love, the life you made and lost and the lives you will continue to have. If you did not before, you undoubtedly have an angel watching over you now.

    By Blogger WNG, at 1:50 PM  

  • I am sorry for your loss and appreciate that you were able to share part of what has happened. We don't know each other personally, I only read your blog from time to time, but still there is connection and we all need that at times... knowing that strangers can feel some sadness for your difficult time because we are all *one* on some level. Your experience says to me that you and your wife now share much more and have deepened your relationship and the love that grows from that pain will create another life someday or choose to become parents in another way.
    My parents lost their first born... a son who only lived a few hours. But they had my sis and I and we were okay. Well, I'm quite strange and twisted, but otherwise... okay. LOL
    My daughter almost lost her son early on but managed to make it to 32 weeks and he is with us and now going on 6 mos.
    We just don't know the reasons for why things happen but I think that little soul will come back to you again when the conditions are different and you'll be awesome parents.
    Take care.
    Peace, Mary

    By Blogger CrystalChick, at 1:51 PM  

  • James, I am so sorry for what you and your wife have gone through and will continue to go through. In the comments section of a blog there really is no way to describe the how painful it is to know that someone is going through such a loss and have no way to help.

    Just because life goes on doesn't mean that you forget this baby existed regardless of how brief his time here was. I think in grief we sometimes forget that nothing will be the same after the loss and the best we can hope for is to incorporate it into our lives and get to a point where the pain softens and we remember the person lovingly.

    Best wishes to you and Mrs. B.

    By Blogger qofd, at 2:02 PM  

  • Love and prayers are being sent your way. I am so sorry that you and your wife are going through this.

    By Blogger ADW, at 2:44 PM  

  • Oh, JB... I am so sorry for you both. I won't condescend you by even pretending to know how you're feeling. However, please know that my whole heart goes out to you, Mrs B, and your family at this time. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Much love to you.

    By Blogger Balou, at 3:08 PM  

  • I am so sorry for what you two had to go through. Its not easy dealing with the loss of your child, no matter how new. I'm sending positive thoughts to you and Mrs. B.

    By Blogger My Reflecting Pool, at 3:08 PM  

  • Your lives will go on--forever touched by this loss but not ended by it.

    I am very sorry y'all have suffered this loss and please accept my condolences to you, your wife and your families.

    By Blogger Turnbaby, at 3:51 PM  

  • That's terrible. I'm very sorry to hear about this. My condolences on your loss and hope that you and Mrs. B can work your way through all this as best as possible.

    By Blogger Jay, at 3:51 PM  

  • I'm very sorry for your loss. I know from personal experience how hard it is to go through something like this. I'm glad you felt comfortable enough with your readers to blog about it.

    By Blogger Betty, at 4:16 PM  

  • I'm very sorry, James. And though, yeah, "life goes on," the fact remains that it'll always be a little different now. Best you can do is be there for each other — there's something to be said for the fact that you appear to be doing just that.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 4:52 PM  

  • I was hoping this wasn't what happened and I'm truly sorry. Sending you and Ms. B my condolences.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 6:07 PM  

  • Oh James, I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm keeping you and Mrs. B in my thoughts and prayers. I hope the two of you can find some peace. love, fiwa

    By Blogger fiwa, at 7:00 PM  

  • James, I was stunned to hear of your loss, and will continue to keep you in my prayers and in my thoughts.

    Sharing a haiku from beyond:

    How do I live this day?
    Every day
    Is Father's Day.

    By Anonymous TheFirstDomino, at 9:02 PM  

  • I am so sorry for you both. If I can help, please don't hesitate to ask.

    Monty

    By Blogger The CEO, at 9:02 PM  

  • sorry mate
    nothing is worse than losing a child

    By Anonymous insomniac, at 10:38 PM  

  • So sorry to hear that James.
    You both are in my thoughts and prayers.

    By Blogger KurtP, at 11:16 PM  

  • James, I'm so very sorry for this terrible loss. I hoped it was not the case.

    In my belief system, that soul who chose you for parents will return again in a stronger body.

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers as your hearts begin to heal.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 12:08 AM  

  • My condolences, man. It is a harsh thing.

    By Blogger Buffalo, at 1:30 AM  

  • awwwww James - I was afraid that was your sorrow.

    He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you
    will find refuge ...
    -- Psalm 91:4

    By Blogger Pamela, at 2:59 AM  

  • So sorry to hear that, James. All the best to you & Mrs B.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 6:57 AM  

  • I'm very sorry James. My thoughts are with you and your wife.

    By Blogger captain corky, at 7:02 AM  

  • I am so very, very sorry for loss, James. I'm glad you and Mrs. B are doing well, as well as can be expected.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 9:52 AM  

  • I'm so sorry for your loss, James. My prayers are with you and your brave wife.

    By Anonymous Tamara Lush, at 10:26 AM  

  • Losing a child has to be the most difficult thing ever. I'm so sorry for both of you. I hope the ache in your heart and in your arms is lessened in time by the love you draw from each other.

    By Blogger SWF42, at 11:33 AM  

  • Oh James, so sorry for your loss. You and your wife are in my prayers.

    By Blogger Tere, at 11:35 AM  

  • Thanks, everyone. Mrs. B and I appreciate the words of encouragement.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:05 PM  

  • I am sorry for your loss James. Nobody can tell you how to grieve, so do it in your own way and in your own time. I am happy that you and Mrs. B, are still looking forward to children in your future. God Bless!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:12 PM  

  • There is nothing a person can say to alleviate a loss like that; I can only extend my condolences and wish you both the very best luck in dealing with this.

    By Blogger BobG, at 12:33 PM  

  • I'll keep you guys in my thoughts.
    Take care.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 12:38 PM  

  • I'm so very sorry Mr. and Mrs. B.

    Some things you just can't understand unless/until you've been there.

    (And when you wrote about how you couldn't understand why guys would say "we're" pregnant, I kinda smiled and figured you'd probably know soon enough. I just wish you hadn't had to... Well, you know.)

    By Anonymous Freddie, at 12:47 PM  

  • Oh, James Burnett, thank you for sharing. I'm glad that you understand this is about connecting, and I hope you can feel our love and sympathy.

    By Anonymous 123Valerie, at 1:20 PM  

  • Oh, James, I was so worried when you first posted about this that it might be the case....so terribly sorry for your loss.

    Heather at dooce.com also experienced a miscarriage last week - and I could tell it was difficult to blog about, but she knew that she HAD to.

    I was once told by a doctor that a full one out of four pregnancies miscarry - and most mothers don't realize they were pregnant for a variety of reasons. I know this doesn't make the loss any easier, but hopefully, Mrs. B. will realize that it happens to many, many women, and that she is not alone.

    You'll never know the reason, and it will never leave you - but when that precious child finally does come into your life, you will cherish it even more strongly.

    Take care, friends.

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 9:44 PM  

  • James, I am soooooo hugging you both right now. I only just got to reading your blog, life has been so busy. Rest assured though, you are both in my thoughts and prayers. There is an angel up there who loves you both...and you know, there truly has got to be a place for you to both go and just BE.

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 7:13 AM  

  • I wish I had the words ...
    I'm so sorry.
    Thank god you have each other to hold on to.

    By Blogger jali, at 9:27 AM  

  • My condolences to you and Mrs. B. You are in my prayers and thoughts.

    By Blogger savannah, at 4:12 AM  

  • God bless you and yours

    By Anonymous llh, at 6:14 PM  

  • Many condolences and thanks for sharing.

    By Anonymous Franki, at 1:25 PM  

  • I have been away a bit and had not seen this posting until now. My thoughts are with you and Mrs. B. I'm so terribly sorry to hear of your loss.

    Sometimes the human body knows things in its inner workings that we - with our limited owner's manuals - don't know. For whatever reason, this may not have been a viable pregnancy and Mrs. B's body knew it. That does not make it easier, I know that. But the next one should be just fine and I have my fingers crossed for whatever you do going forward!

    Again, I'm sorry to read of this and send my positive thoughts to you!

    -Aislinge

    By Blogger Aislínge, at 10:36 PM  

  • Sorry James. We went through the same thing -lost a baby at 7 months pregnant. Unexplained.

    Chin up and look ahead.

    By Blogger Alex, at 12:03 AM  

  • James, I am so very sorry for you and your wife. I don't have any words of wisdom, just that you have many friends,and obviously family, who wish both of you well, strength,comfort and God's love.

    By Anonymous Kim, at 6:53 PM  

  • James,

    I am so sorry that you and your wife are going through this. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling, or the degree of pain that the two of you are experiencing. But...I do know that you're hurting.

    My thoughts are with you, dude.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 3:37 PM  

  • Hi James,
    I've been a very bad blogger, totally self absorbed lately with my own issues. I started thinking about you when my birthday came up and realized how long it had been. I felt doubly bad when I read about the loss of a most wanted child. I flashed back to the tubal pregnancy my husband and I had with our first pregnancy and to the subsequent statement by the Docs that I would not have any more children. Of course, I had two more children and they have blessed my life beyond measure. I believe that whatever happens, you will find the stregnth to deal. It is a rare woman who hasn't lost at least one child before being successful. I hope for you that this pain will fade into a distant memory at some point in the future and that life has some happy suprises waiting around the corner.

    By Blogger wordsonwater, at 10:19 AM  

  • James, I have been away for weeks with relocating and had no idea. I am sorry that you and your wife experienced this. I trust that you have grown closer together in the midst of it and that you'll both have total peace in the days to come. God bless you.

    By Blogger katrice, at 11:44 PM  

  • James. I'm so, so sorry to hear about this. Please give me a call or shoot me an email sometime.

    By Anonymous Kelley L. Carter, at 6:20 PM  

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