Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Fear

My new fear obsession is SIDS. I have a mantra that I connect to every time O wakes in the night (which, lately, has been quite often), or even during the day: Awake=Alive. Somehow I've latched onto this fear because, as I've read, there's NOTHING anyone can to to 100% prevent SIDS. Sure, breastfeeding, sleeping on his back, having a fan running in his room, no one smoking in the house, on and on and on. But there's no guarantee. I don't remember being this paranoid vigilant with E, but then again, I hadn't lived through the death of my baby yet.

And all of a sudden it hit me. From the minute I found out I was pregnant with O to this very second, I've been fearing for his death. I've been enjoying the heck out of him, loving him fiercely and with wild abandon. But there's always a little tickle, a nagging fear on the edge of my consciousness. If I'm being honest, it's often at the forefront of my consciousness. So much so that I've woken him accidentally, checking to make sure he's still breathing.

Tell me I need to get a grip. Tell me this is normal stuff, not just post-trauma, hyper-vigilant behavior. Because I'm starting to worry I'm losing my mind.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dark and Scary

I did not go running this morning. Not out of laziness, the beckon of warm covers; no aches or pains; no winter weather . . . OK, it was really cold, but that wasn't the reason either. I was afraid of the dark.

Not really the dark, but what could happen to lil ole me out there in the early pre-dawn cold, all by my lonesome. When did I turn into such a wimp!?

Maybe wimp is too strong a word, or maybe it's the wrong word all together. I keep thinking of the potential dangers; the drunk drivers weaving their way home after Buffalo's (previously-loved-by-me-now-loathed-by-me) 4AM closing times (You read that right. 4 in the morning. Oof.); the assailants and rapists lurking behind trees and parked cars; the rats who could run right at my feet out of a garbage can . . . OK, that one actually did happen the other morning. At least I wasn't alone, though.

I have to stay alive these days. I have to be whole and accounted for. It's a strange shift, going from fearless  about what could happen to me (NOT ME! NEVER! They'll find out who's hardcore . . . ) to realistic and actually fearful. The things we do for love.

I ran later this morning, in the full cold sunshine.

After I went back to sleep before 6AM (well, I might as well, yes?) I had the most terrible dream. I can't remember how it started, but it ended with Baby O being lost, or possibly kidnapped. I was screaming his name, frantically looking around some apartment I was in. I woke up in a sweat, to the sounds of C getting E and O out of bed. E climbed into bed with me to hide and wake me up. I exhaled.

E has been sick this week. A child who has been sick only a handful of times in his short life, who has never thrown up (knock on wood), we spent most of Wednesday parked in his "nest" in front of the television.

O has spent the past week drooling, chewing maniacally on his fist. We're awaiting tooth #1. I'm aware that this child is not yet 5 months old.

These are the small scary things. The small scary things that I welcome in place of the bigger, much more scary things out there.

I realize I've been a bit of a blog slacker lately. For those of you who might be interested in reading, I am sorry. But even though it's been quiet around here, I'm not leaving. My words are firmly planted here. In the weeks and months after Calla died, blogs kept me alive. I read the stories, I desperately searched for life "after." I lived vicariously through other mama's subsequent pregnancies, starving for good news and hope. I devoured each morsel of time, how it went, how it goes. I needed to know how to move forward. Heck, I still do.

It always made me a little sad to see blogs close up shop when the new arrivals came home safely. I understand, understood, but I craved the "after." I wanted to know how life would go on, good bad and hideous.

And so here I'm staying, in case someone wants to know how we are going on.  Because life does go on, like it or not. My baby's death does not get better, or easier to accept, but it's a part of me, a part of our family's history.  We will love and miss her forever.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Laugh or Cry?

Call me strange, but one of the highlights of my day is when the mail arrives. I don't know why the mail in the box is such a thrill; maybe I'm just easily amused.

As a rabid shopper I get about a zillion catalogues. I am in the process of unsubscribing to many of them. Some are still coming for our house's previous owner. The ones that really chap my ass are those specifically marketed to girls. Why on earth am I getting catalogues full of girl clothes, dolls, pink? Insult to injury that my preferences somehow skew toward female child wares.

Today's mail drop really packed a wallop. Imagine my surprise when I opened a letter telling me my "daughter is eligible to compete in this year's state pageant." Apparently she was referred to the letter writer as someone who may "enjoy modeling, acting, or learning stage techniques that will help empower and enable her to accomplish her future goals."

Really? MY daughter? Lucky us!

If I was feeling really morbid, I'd wonder about this dead-daughter pageant. What future goal might she have? To come back to life?

You've got to be kidding me, right? I mean, rational me knows this is a form letter, and I'm on some demographically incorrect mailing list. But really?

Just yesterday in music class I was having mild daughter envy. Once again the universe is messing with my head.

***On a lighter note, the letter stresses NO MAKEUP for participants age 12 and under (whew) and that she should dress as though going to a job interview. Please think about a little tiny girl going to a job interview for a minute, dressed in a little business suit. I don't know. Maybe I need to get a sense of humor and not want to vomit all over this letter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Yet another something from my former life has lost its shiny luster.

After my initial swan dive into my new existence, realizing I'd lost the taste for so many things once delicious, I thought maybe it would end. My likes and dislikes, tolerables and intolerables would sort themselves neatly into boxes. Little did I know there would be a constant shifting, a few pebbles stuck in the corners that, months, years later, would filter out.

I used to be the girl who'd listen to your baby stories, your pregnancy stories, your newborn stories with real interest--not feigned, not patronizing. Tell me about your morning sickness, your aversion to any smell, your need for Wendy's on an hourly basis. I devoured birth stories like chocolate chip cookies.

And then my baby died, and was born.  Holy cats, did everything change. Suddenly it was, don't tell me about getting pregnant; do not tell me about how you're feeling or about vomiting or about eating or about fitting into your clothes or about names or birth plans or doulas or epidurals or ANY OF THAT SHIT.  I didn't want to couldn't hear it. Unfortunately, I still needed to function as a human and a friend and a family member. And, when Calla died, I was halfway surrounded by pregnant friends.

So I sucked it up and went to baby showers and bought baby gifts and met newborns and smiled and cooed and oohed and aahhed. I did these things because, while I was puking and screaming inside, I still loved these people and their babies. No matter how much I wanted to build a time machine, go back a few months and demand to be induced at 35 weeks even.

And when O was born, I thought maybe I could find my way back to the land of the normal mother. Well, somewhat. Maybe someday I could FOR REAL enjoy hearing about friends' pregnancies, or maybe be elated by a good birth story, or maybe even joke about eating nothing but french fries for nine months.


Just a few days ago a blog writer who I have followed and read for a few years dropped some news: she's pregnant. Again. For the third time. After having, tra la la, a healthy boy and then healthy girl. Surprise! How great! OMGEEEEEEE! Can't wait to hear all the--


I can't. It's hard enough with real life friends. Real life family. Real life babies. No matter the beautiful, breathing, living one in my arms; no matter my wonderful big boy toddler. I can't. All my positive energy, all my smiles, all my choked back tears (yes, still) are saved for my real-life friends, and my new blog mama friends who get me too, who REALLY NEED THE GOOD ENERGY.

I'm not saying, well, I don't know what I'm saying. Everything will, hopefully, be wonderful for my unfollowed blogger. I wish her all the beautiful things in this world. But I can't read nine months of morning sickness and maternity fashion updates in my Reader. It's not my reality anymore. And pretending that's who I am, or could ever be again, hurts too much.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Amnesia and Worse

I can't remember if I was like this with E. I think maybe I was. It feels so much more immediate and desperate and consuming this time.

I am trying to not fall down the rabbit hole of panic that something is going to happen to baby O. That he won't wake up, that he'll be lost from me. I still feel this desperation about E, when I really stop to think and worry. I try to keep that in check, but it's so very hard.

Sneaking upstairs tonight I started to feel like a real worrywort. But I can't help it. Just lightly resting my hand on O's chest to feel it rising and falling releases the pressure. For now.

Please let him stay.