I hadn’t realized the heaviness I’d been carrying around with me until it was lifted. I’d like to be all dramatic and say (hand to head), “I don’t remember how long it’s been,” but that’s a lie. I think I may remember precisely the last time I felt like I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop.
February 10, 2008, 10 AM
The first time Alex slept through the night.
He’d been such a hard little baby – a Benevolent Dictator of a person – insisting that no, in fact, his mother would NOT be sleeping for a year because, in fact, absolutely no one else may touch His Majesty. My parents called him “Devil Baby” because, well, he kinda deserved it.
However, sleeping through the night meant that he’d finally turned a corner. I wouldn’t perhaps, be up every 1 to 3 hours for the rest of my life, so sleep-deprived that I’d manage to dump and entire pot of hot coffee on my hand without realizing or, quite frankly, caring. Functioning on that little sleep was hardly functioning; it was surviving. And I had.
Not two hours after waking up from my first full night’s sleep in nearly a year and writing that blog post, I got a phone call. My friend Stef had died in her sleep. Age 26. Cirrhosis.
I didn’t sleep, eat, breathe or function properly for a very long time. My grief was heavy. Dark. I couldn’t make even the smallest decision.
Then came Amelia’s pregnancy, which, all three of you who read my blog back then, was fraught with peril for the first twelve weeks as my progesterone bottomed out, followed by a nice heaping dose of prepartum depression.
My daughter was born gravely ill, but alive. And so began a nice fresh hell.
I’d told myself I was past it – that I’d accepted she was okay because she was…mostly. If you ignored the gigantic scar and the creepy diagnosis. I would accept whatever hand fate dealt me. If she was special needs, well, she was special needs. If she wasn’t, well, then she wasn’t. Either way, she was my kid, and I’d fucking love the shit out of her.
Which I do.
It was simply a matter of figuring out which kid I loved.
Turns out, being pulled out of limbo has lifted that feeling of dread, that heaviness, and replaced it with an emotion I can hardly recall: lightness. Joy.
While I can recall the last time – by date – that I felt so light, I’d forgotten what it felt like. The world, once again tinged with sky-blue-pink, my heart carefree and soaring, and, for the first time in so long: truly happy.
It seems a lifetime ago that my daughter was born, pissed-the-fuck-off at the world with an ominous lump on the back of her head. That day changed us both.
Once shattered and broken on that hospital floor, I’ve slowly pieced myself back together, removing the bad bits and replacing them with good. Stitched up and mostly whole now, I’m not the person who waddled into that room and popped out a very sick daughter. That’s okay.
I begged her doctors, all of them, for something, anything, to hold onto while I schlepped my ill daughter from neurosurgeon to neurosurgeon and I heard the one thing patients abhor most: “we don’t know what this means for her,” followed by the kick-in-the-teeth, “time will tell.”
So we’ve been watchfully waiting from the sidelines, celebrating the victories while fretting the small things: Does that foot-drag mean she’s brain-damaged? How brain-damaged? Is that a seizure or is she just fucking with me?
I don’t know when you exhale. I don’t know how to accept, “it really IS okay.” Because those words nag at the back of my brain, my own untouched brain, just below the surface: “time will tell.”
Sometimes, I get angry, because it’s such a bullshit thing to do, wait for time to do anything. It’s always been there, “time telling” underneath all the milestones and victories, as I wonder what next.
Today, we finally got our answer.
Time, that fucking bastard, got off his ass and came to our Early Intervention meeting and opened his whore mouth and said, “Amelia is at or above level for everything. We see no reason to continue services.”
And for the first time in a long time, I exhaled as my daughter, the Princess of the Bells, led me into the future.
First let me say I fucking LOVE this place. I see myself in you, but not in the creepy way. As in we have the same personality and I tend to respond to things how you do . I love ya!
Anyway. I have 3 living children – all girls. I’ve lost two pregnancies in the third trimester. One was eight years ago and one was two months ago. I do not want any more children. But my dreams are filled with being pregnant, hearing babies crying, etc. Even during the day, I hear a baby cry. What do I do? Is this normal? My worldview eight years ago was different and I kind of never dealt with the loss. So I didn’t have to feel the pain, I suppose. And I guess I’m doing that now….
Why am I doing this?
Thanks Aunt Becky,
LW in Misery (Missouri)
First, Prankster, let me tell you how sorry I am for your losses. I have a number of friends who have lost babies and there is nothing more devastating.
I’m no shrink, but two third trimester losses sounds like a hell of a stressful thing to live through, so props to you for surviving. Seriously.
Your last loss was two months ago which means you’re still in the postpartum period, so I’d venture an unprofessional guess that you’re experiencing a bit of postpartum depression AND PTSD WHILE grieving your losses. The nightmares and flashbacks are classic post-traumatic stress disorder and your losses, well, they’re significant.
(I’m linking you there to the resource pages on Band Back Together. I hope they help a bit)
Prankster, I’m going to say this and I don’t want to be preachy or peachy or anything fruit-flavored (purple is a flavor. NOT grape), but I think you should see someone. Just talk to someone. You need to get this grief out because it’s eating you up.
And, because we see a lot of baby loss on the site, maybe you should write your story for Band Back Together. Getting it all out, well, it could help you, or someone else reading.
But please, talk to someone.
Much love to you, Prankster. I wish you nothing but healing and light.
Dear Aunt Becky,
First off, LOVE the blog, and the fact that my mother told me I should read you because you sound like me makes me come to your site every day.
Aaaannnyway, so my ex-dipshit and I have joint custody of our 9 year-old son. Said son is usually with his dad (multitude of reasons, mostly because I’m in school), but with me this summer.
Now, I’m not a hardass, but remember when we were kids and our parents told us to, “Go play in the street,” or some other shit like that?
Well, apparently now it’s “the thing” to sit on your ass all day and hop from gaming system to gaming system, and that’s their exercise. I call BULLSHIT! So when I suggest my son go on a bike ride with me this morning, he threw a hissy fit. I basically had to MAKE him come with me, where the whole time he had a major melt-down and finally when we got home, I sent him to his room to calm the hell down. Well, actually, it was so I could calm down before I had my OWN temper tantrum.
So, after all that rambling there, here is my question: Short of beating your kids our the door with a wooden spoon and locking the door, what the hell do we do with kids these days?
Short-tempered in Minnesota
See, I have a nine (almost ten) year old son too. Did you know what a complete and total motherfucking idiot I am? He does. Did you know how much I suck at life? He does. Did you know how much I fail at breathing properly? He does.
And he’ll motherfucking TELL your ass about it. He tells me constantly, with the eye-rolling and the “you shut your whore mouth, Mom,” attitude.
I think ages nine through twenty-two are a lost cause for our kids. I’d expected to have him not loathe the very oxygen I’m forced to inhale a little longer, but apparently *feet stomp* not.
So just grin and motherfucking bear it. When in doubt, there’s always vodka.
P.S. Lock his whiny ass outside.
Hi Aunt Becky:
I’m wondering if you’ve ever waxed the hair in your nose.
It’s actually pretty painless. And as I approach 39 years, I hate the hair in my nose more and more.
However, my friend recently told me I am risking sending those pesky staph germs that my nose hairs supposedly catch straight up the 3 inches to my brain. Which leads to all kinds of bad shit.
I’ve never waxed my nose hairs. I’m actually sitting here with one hand over my nose (a total lie) because that sounds epically painful. Like worse than having to sit through a Celene Dion concert.
Your nose hairs do serve a purpose (some of ours a bushier purpose than others), and that’s to catch germs. Kinda like pubic hair.
But I doubt you’re waxing high enough up there to worry about that. I mean, you’d have to go pretty fucking high.
And I’d have to BE pretty fucking high to do that. If I were that high, I’d probably think listening to Leonard Skynard and eating six soft shell tacos from Taco Bell was a good idea, not pain.
But that’s me.
As always, Pranksters, fill in where I left off in the comments. Because, as my son would gladly tell you, I suck at life and probably should never answer another question again.