Jan 29, 2011

Virtual Memorial

By Thy righteous judgment, Thou hast cut down like a green herb before it has completely sprouted, the infant that Thou hast taken, O Lord. But, as Thou hast led him unto the divine mountain of eternal good things, do Thou plant him there, O Word.

The sword of death has come and cut thee off like a young branch, O blessed one that has not been tempted by worldly sweetness. But, lo, Christ openeth the heavenly gates unto Thee, joining Thee unto the elect, as He is deeply compassionate. (Ode 5 of the Canon)

O Most-perfect Word, Who didst reveal Thyself as perfect Infant: Thou hast taken unto Thyself an infant imperfect in growth. Give him rest with all the Righteous who have been well-pleasing unto Thee, O Only Lover of Mankind. (Ode 3 of the Canon)

No one is more pitiful than a mother, and no one is more wretched that a father, for their inward beings are troubled when they send forth their infants before them. Great is the pain of their hearts because of their children ... (Ikos following Ode 6 of the Canon)

This further intensifes in one hymn that seeks to articulate the words of the infant if he could communicate with those "left behind" Here we find a realistic acknowledgment of intense grief suffused with a certain hope that God can bring relief to that very grief:

O God, God, Who hast summoned me: Be Thou the consolation of my household now, for a great lamentation has befallen them. For all have fixed their gaze on me, having me as their only-begotten one. But do Thou, Who wast born of a Virgin Mother, refresh the inward parts of my mother, and bedew the heart of my father with this: Alleluia. (Ikos following Ode 6 of the Canon)

the year

happy birthday?  i'm not sure what to do today.  my little tessie.  my kickiest baby.  you would be walking.  you would eat cake and ice cream today.  shane would hug you too hard and knock you over.  you would cry.  or maybe hit or kick him.  daddy would get all overwhelmed at the commotion. 

anyway.  mommy loves you loves you loves you.

thank you for Noah.  if you're reading this, you probably already have the sensitivity not to suggest that one child can replace another.  i am more comfortable telling our story when strangers ask.  and i'm going to start correcting this suggestion.  i want to keep all of my children,  wouldn't you?  i would have kept them both, i'll say.

Brynn, please know how dear you are to me.  Hey.  Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?  She walked out on me ... i think i mentioned earlier i had this Roger Whitaker song in my head on the way to that most hainous of midwife appointments.

The experiences of this past year have made me stronger and wiser, and most significantly given me the sense of community support.  that has been the most powerful thing to me.  like so many others in my situation, some people who were previously close did nothing, but others who stepped up more than made up for it.  i've written before how every little gesture, message, whatever, just physically upheld me.  What a gift to be given this empirical knowledge.  It is enough to heal as deep a sorrow. 

 i do understand how you could be afraid to do the wrong thing.  here is the advice i give to myself now, going forward.  don't do nothing,  do something.  you dont have to say anything.  bake something, send a card and just sign it if you dont know what to say.  don't be afraid of the bereaved person.

i used this phrase a lot: "so and so showed up for me."

i'm not capitalizing because i hold my sleeping baby with my left hand.  yea for that!  What a mother f-ing year.

Jan 26, 2011

Brynn's last day

How do I feel this week?  The progressive anniversaries of Brynn's life, death, and birth, all out of order.  Mostly I feel love.  I'm grateful for that.  She is a legend to me.  A feminine spirit so wild and free that no body could hold her.  Not mine, not her own.  Still she had so much purpose here.  Touched many lives.  Softened my heart forever.  I'm grateful for that too.  It could have gone the other way.  We saw her doing a front walkover at her 20 week ultrasound.  She kicked me so hard that last week of her life, you could see her foot extending my belly. 

I feel like there are things I should do, and others who want to, to commemorate her anniversary.  I feel like buying myself flowers, makeup and jewelry, and something ridiculously pink.

She was the most efficient self-nourisher.  By that I mean I really only "craved" the healthiest foods during her pregnancy.  With Noah, my little Buddha, I ate refined carbs and red meat, and sweets.  With Brynn I ate dark, raw leafy greans, grapefruit, limes, eggs, nuts and beans.  No meat.

When I think of her I think of being unapologetically who I am.  And cosmically connected.

Jan 16, 2011

Noah is born ALIVE

wow.  i can't believe it's been so long since my last entry.  i thought about writing often, as i processed the last phase of pregnancy... In brief, it was hard.  the final say, 7 weeks of pregnancy are the hardest for me.  especially this time, although this child, Noah made even that part easier on me.  He is so easy, i don't recognize him as a newborn,  i stare at him and whisper, "who are you?"  Gently demanding to know how this patient a being got into a newborn body.  his face resembles a mature man's.  he doesn't even look like any of us.  he is adorable, and makes sweet little baby grunts and mmmmm's while drinking mama's milk.

i should back up a bit.  On December 7th i was playing with shane upstairs, and i heard my phone ring downstairs, but didnt take stair trips unless i had to, so i let it go and went on playing scooby doo.  i have to be daphne when shane is freddie, and velma when he is shaggy.  we can do any normal thing as long as we're in character, and being that pregnant, i usually steered it toward lying in bed.

we were downstairs making lunch at about 2 oclock, both of us still in pajamas, when my phone rang again.  Jimmy said did you get the message?  no.  I fell at work. i'm at the hospital.  i thought he was joking.  We hadn't been getting along, for awhile now.  Just that morning I made some sort of ultimatum, more to myself, more just letting him know very seriously that things needed to change. 

We got dressed and packed a bag for him quickly.  A 15 foot extension ladder gave way while he was working on it, by some miracle he landed on his left elbow rather than his head, back, either leg, or right arm for that matter.  (at times I'd rather be the kind of person, I allowed myself to be the person that instead of looking for the positive here can just plain admit to herself that although it could be worse, and we count our blessings, this in fact really sucks in and of itself.  It actually felt validating when a neighbor commented that perhaps our family was cursed.  I was like "I Know!")   His arm was broken so badly that he would be transferred to Tufts in Boston, where the surgeon would call me in the wee hours of the morning to chat about how surgery went, that they couldn't in fact save the bone, it was so badly shattered and took her 45 minutes just to flush the pieces out, blah blah blah (she was way too chipper), we instead stretched the muscle so he probably won't have full range of motion, but maybe for some reason be in less pain over his lifetime than if they'd left the bone in? 

In our follow up visit, when asked about a timeline for returning to work, she suggested Jimmy go back to school, ha ha.  No, seriously, maybe 6 months, maybe never.  And we're reminded again and again, good thing it happened at work so we can receive workman's comp, good thing it wasn't his head, back, legs or other arm, lucky to be alive, yes, all these good things but the two things that stood out most to me were:  #1; We are not safe.  any of us.  anywhere.  This is not a safe place.  He could be dead.  What if he had been?   #2; How are Jimmy and I supposed to live in the same house ALL THE TIME for 6 months?  Let alone his pain, his loss of function, let alone I was 36 weeks pregnant, scheduled to induce at 37 because our last baby died at 37?  How was I supposed to bare all that stress at once?

It was a tough time.  As I was helping Jimmy bathe for the first time at home after his accident, it occurred to me that maybe this induction at 37 weeks could wait.  I didn't like it, but we needed to consider it.  I spoke with all the experts caring for me and we made the decision to wait 1 week.  That put us at Christmas Eve, and they don't schedule inductions on Holidays, which put us at Monday, December 27th.

In that in between time, we tried to give eachother space, fought a lot, probably not fully realizing that we were both extremely anxious about the baby, both of us every day wishing we hadn't put off the induction but afraid to bring it up.  I took Shane to some place fun every day.  I read a long book (thanks again to the gal who lent it to me), I tried to distract myself. 

Finally, on the Friday before, I sat down to my last Non-stress test.  I was notified that when they submitted for an induction appointment for the 27th, the hospital was booked for that day.  And the next day, and the next day.  I started to cry.  I said I was very uncomfortable with that, I, yes, I played the dead baby card.  My midwife didn't know what to say, she didn't have the authority to bump anyone.  I didn't want anyone to be bumped, but I wanted to have my baby and I couldn't be rational about it anymore.  As in the last minute of any good drama, the nurse jumped into the room, someone's in labor!  There's a spot open for Monday!  My midwife scrambled to get me down for that spot.

On Monday morning I waited for the call to come in.  3 hours after the time they said they'd call, I was really panicking, I guess I will never have this baby, I guess this had all been a dream, kick for me baby please.  Finally.  Finally.  the call came.  Pitocin was started at 1pm and my labor progressed ideally.  Within a few hours I was 5 centimeters dilated and like 70% effaced, they broke my water and took me off of pitocin, and I considered getting drugs but at that point, it was easily manageable so I let it continue naturally.  The pain soon became so intense that I wished for death myself, as is my usual thought.  I hated it, hated it, forgot all about the baby, kept trying to tell them I was done, but no one did anything but encourage me.  I said some ugly things to my dear midwife, who I hope did not take it personally.  I told her to shut up when she asked me if I wanted to feel the head.  I shouted at her when she moved her hand off of my knee, which I felt was the only thing I could focus on.  Then, a surge came over me, I heard this primordial sound come from my mouth, I could not make it again if I tried, and I pushed my son out so fast my midwife barely had time to put her gloves on.

And he was crying, and on me, in all his warm and slimy white glory.