The things I would do for you

Tucking him in… 

“Sometimes I think a bad man is going to come in and take me.”

I look down at him. Sometimes I forget how little he still is even though he is so big. I crawl in bed with him and wrap my arms around him and do my best to find the words to ease his worried mind. 

These talks of fears and thoughts that lead us from one conversation to another and I get to see a small glimpse of what’s happening inside of his head. I get to see a little bit of what makes up the parts of who he is. 

We talk about the dog, our protector, our guardian. We talk about locks and latches and things that keep us safe. We talk about how I would never let anyone hurt him. How I would never let anyone take him away from me. I rub the hair away from his forehead and we talk about everything. 

He tells me of his nightmares… which he still calls nightmarers. He asks me how come I gave him my protector for his dreams when she won’t be able to keep my safe. I tell him the simple truth… that I care more about him than I do myself. 

I’m sure some of this has to do with his daddy being at work during the nighttime lately. He asked for him three times at bedtime tonight. It’s easier with him here. It feels safer with him here. 

Instead I will tuck him in and check on him again before laying down my weary head. Because he doesn’t know the extent of the things I would do for him. He doesn’t know how deep my love goes for him. He doesn’t know that I would do anything to keep him safe. 

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I can do hard things.

I’m sitting on the operating table with my legs dangling over the edge, hugging both a pillow and a nurse I met an hour ago.

Stay super still now. Just a pinch. It’s going to sting. The anesthesiologist is messing with my spine. I’m in my head. Words of encouragement are coming at me from three different people at once. I can do hard things. I think. Suddenly, I am very nervous. Breathe. Remember to breathe.

Babies his gestational age don’t come out breathing. The nurse in the E.R. told me the week before. She didn’t know my medical history. She changed her tune when she found out. Better out than in. She said trying to save face.

Now they are laying me back and covering  my view with the paper cloth. Jason is there now. Oxygen and a can you feel that? I’m pinching you very hard. And we are holding hands, trying to focus on each other instead of everything else. He is breathing hard. Are you okay? I think he may pass out. We can do hard things. This is the last time we have to do this. The last time. 

They are talking on the other side of the paper. There is pressure but not pain. They are tugging and sucking and moving everything around. Are you okay? I can do hard things. 

I am vomiting. It’s from them moving everything the anesthesiologist says. Are you ready? He is pulling at the clamps. He is pulling the paper down. Are you ready?  And I hear it. He is screaming! You have to breathe to scream! Hello! Hello! I say I love you! 


This is the last time we have to do this. We can do hard things. And now I can breathe again.

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William Jay- born Friday, May 6th at 8:01 a.m. – screaming

Memory- The morning you were still born.

I was 37 weeks pregnant and I called off of work the night before on a hunch that I didn’t want to be working the next day. It was a Monday morning in March, exactly 3 years ago. I woke up in so much pain. I sat up in bed and felt a huge gush. It’s time. I think my water just broke. I think I’m in labor. There was rushing to get your big brother around. You are coming early. We are not ready. I go into the bathroom to wash up and change. There is so much blood. Should there be blood? I’m not sure. Phone calls are made. I am speaking to doctors on the phone while I’m in the bathtub, sitting in bloody water. Then we are rushing. And the pain has not stopped. It’s one continuous contraction. Surely it’s not supposed to be like this. 

Jack is dropped off at Noni’s. She is waiting at the door. Her face shows excitement. I can not get out of the car. We are rushing and I am cussing and saying why isn’t it stopping? Why does it hurt so bad? 

At the hospital we are rushed up to labor and delivery. They are asking so many questions and I am still in so much pain. The nurses scurry in and out of our room. I look at Jason pleading Why aren’t they doing anything? He needs OUT! There is a searching, then whispers, then and ultrasound technician looking seriously at the screen. And I know then. I know what everyone in the room but Jason knows, but no one is saying anything. Just tell me. I tell the technician. The doctor will be in shortly. She replies leaving us alone in the room with my other two nurses who are still standing on the other end of the room just looking at me.

The doctor comes in. Fetal demise. No heartbeat. He is saying these things. He is asking me what happened. Did I fall? What happened? What happened? I look to Jason. Did you hear what he said? He is just looking at me. He is just holding my hand, nervously. He is looking at me but not responding. Jason, did you hear him? He’s gone. The baby is dead. 

Your Daddy starts crying, quietly, in his way that he does. Emergency c-section they say. Immediately.

I need to call my sister. The phone sucks and isn’t working fast enough. She answers, excited, says she’ll be on her way soon. Don’t come up here. I repeat it over and over and she keeps asking why. The baby is gone. I need you to make some calls for me. 

I don’t know how much time passed. We are left alone in the room. I am not crying. I don’t know why I’m not crying but I can’t cry, not yet. We can’t stop talking to each other. He says. I nod. I don’t remember when the pain stopped or what they gave me… but at some point it did. They are saying it almost time to take you out. They are asking if we want to see you. Absolutely not. No. Too hard. He’s not here.  We are being wheeled away. Other loved ones have arrived with terrible looks on their faces and questions. So many questions. No one has any answers.

In the operating room it is somber and different. There is rushing to get you out but not to make sure you arrive safely. Now, they are trying to stop my bleeding. They are trying to save me. And the nurse is there, waiting to take you away into another room, to clean you up. Wait, I do want to see him! I do! Okay, Okay they say. Okay. There is pressure then relief and you are here. But there is no brilliant cry. There is no hustle to get you breathing. You are handed off to the nurse, covered up, and hustled out before anyone can lay eyes on you. Methodical, business-like, the business of dead babies. The operation takes less time then I remember my previous one. Before we know we are back in our room surrounded by both sets of your grandparents and a friend of Noni’s that worked at the hospital.

I looked around and remembered you were coming. They’re going to bring him in here. So if you don’t want to see him you can leave now. But before I can finish you’re here. The nurse has put you in a nightgown and a beautiful knitted blanket. She hands you to me.

You are so little, 5 lbs 9 oz. But what I wasn’t expecting was how perfect you are. You look a lot like your older brother. You have my nose and your Daddy’s olive skin and forehead. Peaking out from under your little hat is your black curly hair, another thing you got from Daddy. You are perfect. But you are so, so still.

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Happy Birthday Benjamin Scott!

This morning has been a quiet one. Daddy is working until 5:30. Jack and I ate banana bread for breakfast and will hang your birthday decorations soon. We’ll be eating your third birthday cake this evening with your grandparents and thinking about who you would have been today. I think about you all the time. There is a space in our little family that only you can fill. You will be a big brother in May. I spend lots of days thinking about what it would have been like to be a mother to three boys. I miss you. Have the happiest of birthdays little bear.

 

The things I want to say to you- A letter to my first born.

Little bug,

Today I woke up late so we were in a rush to get you around for school. I’m sorry that I am sometimes grumpy when I have to get up and go. I’ve always been this way… and I’m still working on it. I’m sorry that I joked with you that you’d only get to wear one sock to school because you lost the other one. I’m sorry that the joke made you cry. Some days, in this parenting journey, after everything’s all said and done I sit down and think Man, I really blew it this time. This morning was one of those mornings.

In my life I’ve had authority figures who have made me feel less than. And I never, ever, ever want you to feel that way. I never want anyone to crush your spirit. I know what that’s like and it’s a terrible feeling to not believe in yourself because someone that you look up to has told you, or made you feel, like you shouldn’t. I hope I never make you feel that way.

Re: Your eyesight

No mother wants to see their child struggle and this last few months have been hard for me. I know that you can’t see bug. I know that we’re trying our best to make your eyes stronger… but I also know that this process is going to take a long time. So please hang in there with me. I will do everything in my power to help you so you don’t get behind in school or feel less than. It breaks my heart when you get so wrapped up with the expectation of knowing and remembering all of the things we’ve been working on the past few weeks. I can see that you’re discouraged. I promise that it will come. I promise that one day the letters will not be so blurry when you are looking at them. When you are trying so hard and you point to your brain and say I just can’t Mom, my brain just isn’t working. I want to scoop you up and make it all better. But with all of my experience, the only things I have to offer you to make it better are my time and my patience. I hope this is working. I hope you know that I love and believe in you.

Re: Your heart

You have such a good heart bug. I know that sometimes that same kind, sensitive heart can allow others to make you feel like you’re not handling things correctly. I will tell you now that there is a difference between self-regulation and empathy. That sock you cried about this morning… you were not crying because you thought you only had one to wear to school. You were crying because the other one was lost and you know that socks cost money… and money doesn’t just appear out of thin air. You and your heart always see the bigger picture. You have comforted me so many times when I was mourning the loss of Ben. You have “taken care” of your Dad and I when we both had the sniffles. You were so concerned when the dog got fixed, that you would not leave his side. Don’t ever lose that bug. Don’t ever let the world make your heart hard because right now it is perfect. You are perfect.

Re: Your brain.

You are smart. You are smart. You are smart. You are smart. I will be chanting this to you your whole life if I need to. I will scream it from the sidelines with every year of school. You can do anything they put in front of you and once you’re eye sight improves you will be able to do it twice as fast. You are so good at figuring out how things work. Literally, taking them apart to figure out how they work… What you don’t know now is that everyone learns a different way. You, my dear, have a hard time sitting at a desk to learn. And that’s okay. Mommy will set up obstacle courses, and magnets on boards, and sand to write in, whatever you need to learn… Because you are a hands on kid! And that’s okay because you are smart.

Re: Your life.

Though you don’t know it yet, we are not normal. I’m sorry in advance for this. At this point in our lives together as a little family, I can not let you go to birthday parties with out me even though other children get to. I can not let you be baby sat by some one I do not know very well. I can’t not know where you are. This is a me issue, not a you issue, and again I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I can’t let you be more of a normal kid. You are my most precious gift. You are my whole heart. And since we lost Benjamin I have not been able to let you just be, without me, in social situations. And I’m sorry. One day it will get better and I’ll be able to let you do more things on your own… But for now, this is how it has to be for MY heart and MY brain. Because I can’t lose you too Bug, I just can’t.

I hope you know and can feel how much you’re loved; even when I blow it.  I hope you see how proud I am of you. I hope you know how special you are. You are smart, strong, sweet, and courageous. You have a great imagination. You are everything I’ve ever wanted. Thank you for being my boy and allowing me to be your Momma.

All my love,

Momma

Adulthood and having my shit together…

Things that make me feel like I have my shit together:

  • Paying my bills on time
  • Getting my son to bed at a reasonable time
  • Waking up more than an hour before I have to be at work
  • Keeping up on laundry
  • Not having a sink full of dishes
  • Mascara and eye liner
  • Having a made bed.

Now… to say that all of these things happen for me all of the time would be a ridiculous lie. In fact, as we speak, the sink is full of dishes, both the washer and dryer are full (and probably need to be reran), there are baskets full of clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away, my son is still awake and he has “school” tomorrow, I set my alarms for tomorrow’s work day but honestly know that I won’t get up until 55 minutes before I have to be there, and my bed is not made. If all of those things make me feel good you may wonder why they are not done… because today I chose not to do any of those things. Today I chose to spend 3 hours at the park with my boy, exploring, having a picnic, and playing instead. Then we spent sometime with family and by the time we got home it was just enough time for everyone to take a bath and relax. Because, after all, we need to be clean and stress free.
 Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my shit together again… but probably not. But here’s to hoping!

Memories and Milestones

We’ve joined the official big kid club today. For as long as I can remember J has been a baby to me. Just recently, this year really, I have found myself looking at him differently. Who is this kid? Where did he come from and where did my baby go? J is a sweet kid, who tries so sincerely to be a “good boy”. He also has a ton of energy but can read people’s emotions and moods pretty well in order to know when to tone it down or step back. I find myself struggling with him getting older. He’s going to start big kid school in the fall and he won’t be coming to “little kid school”/ mommy’s work with me anymore. I understand that most working mother’s don’t actually get to spend the day peeking in on, or getting to catch glimpses of their child’s day, but I have and well I know that I’m pretty lucky because of that. But as he’s growing and turning into a fine young man I find myself wanting to spend more and more time with him. I want to slow down time to keep him little for a while longer. To keep him from saying more things like “duh?!” or “Actually.” or rolling his eyes with a “whatever…” I want him to be my baby still. Today my baby lost his first tooth. Seriously though, babies don’t keep.