Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The family newsletter I didn't send.

I want so badly to write a funny post, about the family newsletter I didn't send. I'd recap 2008, including the births of Joseph and Frankencoochie - one adorable and wonderful, the other terrifying and still needing repair. I'd talk about anesthesia being the best (and feeling like the only) sleep I've gotten, and the stresses that can be added to a family by the birth of a baby, threat of the loss of that baby only 12 days later to bacterial pneumonia and my concurrent illness. His was 8 days in the hospital, mine was 8 months of antibiotics and two surgeries...with the after effects still ongoing. I want to make jokes, make light.....but the words get caught in my throat.

I want to write that post, but I can't.

Instead, I want to write about my son.

In less than three weeks, my son will be a year old. I'm not having an easy time with this. It was hard when Emily turned a year old, my baby having grown so fast.....but it is harder this time. This year seems to have gone so much faster than her first, and we've all been through so much more this time around.

My son is going to turn a year old, and it will mark the biggest miracle I've ever witnessed. He is on the verge of walking, he's saying some words (Mama, Dada, Hi, Wow, yes, Emmy, yeah, kitty) and he lights up every room he enters. He is such a flirt, shameless. He is healthy and vibrant and funny. He is HEALTHY.

So many times I prayed for his safe arrival, not knowing the worst of the danger would be after he was out. It's starting to get easier to forget (or at least not think about) how he looked with the oxygen tubes he wore for weeks. More days go by at a time without me remembering how he looked, tiny and small in a hospital bed, hooked up to so many monitors it was hard to hold him - but I did every chance I got.

He's going to be a year old, and sometimes it's hard not to feel cheated. Cheated by the time that passed while he was so sick and in the hospital - time that should have been spent nesting with my newborn. Hard not to feel cheated by the time I've spent ill, in surgery, recovering, then in surgery again. I want a rewind button so I can go back and enjoy some of those days, because he will never again be that little. So instead I try to hold onto these days.

Sometimes that means when he cries at night, even when I should let him settle himself, I still go in. Sometimes it means I go in to check on him when he's sleeping - to make sure he's warm enough, to look at his sleeping body and watch his chest rise and fall.

I'm not ready for him to be a year old, but I am more grateful than I can ever express that THIS is my problem, that THIS is what I'm grieving.

If I were to sum up the real message I'd send my friend and family,
"2008 was bad in so many ways, but it could have been so much worse, we have been incredibly lucky and we are grateful to have had friends and family that came through for us when we needed them most."


Emma B. said...

I think it's harder because you know he's the last, and you'll never get these infant moments again. Most moms either don't have that certainty except in retrospect, or they were well and truly ready to close the door on more children -- not like us, where the decision was made for us by our health and fertility failures.

I'm struggling to hold on to the gratitude, too, in the face of the sickness and the anger. It's tough when you're not done with the sickness yet, haven't fixed acute problems or settled into an equilibrium with chronic ones. I've got nothing more helpful to say than that you're not the only one with this particular problem.

Mandy said...

Emma, talking with you IS helpful - but man I wish you knew nothing about what this is like. :(