Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Wow.  December 20.  Last night, I read back through my posts from December last year.  This time last year was most certainly my darkest.  This year, light is beginning to shine through the cracks.

I miss Otis so desperately, and we hit some really rough spots here at home this month.  E had a few really sad nights, sobbing in front of our Christmas tree, crying those tears that come from the deepest part of your belly, missing Otis and asking all the why why why questions all over again.  We hung all our O ornaments on the tree, this year they take on a new specialness with our new O addition, but even just pulling them out of the boxes gave me the body sensations of last December, the hollow, empty, pit at the bottom of my stomach that lasted through all of December...E and I also fought some really nasty fights this month, lots and lots and lots of emotions...I think it's fair to say that December may always be tough.

One of the main sources of our fighting is my anxiety, my difficulty in wrapping my head around and appreciating the joy that is here this year, the beautiful gorgeous miraculous little man that inhabits our home...

We have been hooked up with a program at our local Children's Hospital that specializes for families with fussy babies.  They do home visits and provide a team of support to parents just like us.  And it's all covered by insurance.  It's pretty amazing - all in the hopes of preventing child abuse, neglect, and attachment disorders, among other things.  The team is made up of psychologists, doctors, nurses, social workers.  Each week we get a visit.  Yesterday was our second visit.  They are still getting to know us, but they provide a listening ear as well as advice about specific issues to raising our baby.   I'm pretty sure when they heard about our referral (firstborn died, second born is incredibly challenging), they acted FAST to help us, realizing that an anxious mom and a fussy baby is a dangerous combination for both mama and baby.  We saw the director of the program last week and will see her every other visit, I think. The woman that came yesterday was a psychologist, and we spoke about Otis for a long time, and also about Owen, of course.  Owen, by the way, was a dreamboat while she was here, we all got a good laugh, "WE SWEAR he's a fussy baby, don't kick us out of the program!"  Anyway, she listened, and observed, and provided some suggestions and observations, and it was really helpful. (Geez, I wish I could verbalize it better, but I am still pretty brain zonked these days.)

In good news: Owen celebrated his three month birthday and slept an amazing stint the other night - from 7 pm to 2 am, then again until 6 am.  Last night was a little shorter, but still quite a respite - he slept 7 pm to 11, then 11 to 3, then 3 to 7.  He's been pretty dreamy all day today, smiley and happy.  We've moved him into his crib, from the mini bassinet next to our bed because he has started rotating while he sleeps.  The other night I woke up to him turned completely perpendicular in the bassinet and his head against the rails.  Hence, the move to the crib.  But he's still turning perpendicular in his sleep.   No rolling over, not yet, thank goodness, since he still sleeps swaddled up and I'd freak if he flipped in the night.  (I know the rolling will happen soonish, and we'll have to address the situation, but he's really not ready to sleep unswaddled.  He even naps in his double swaddles still.)

Totally haphazard post, I apologize.

Please know I am reading along with all of your blogs, and I'm thrilled to hear of so many BFPs of late, and also the arrival of some beautiful rainbows, or the very very soon to be arriving rainbows...  Missing all of your babies too,  I know this month is difficult for all of us, with the holidays and the emptiness that is there no matter what.  If you've sent me a card, or a present for Owen, or an ornament for Otis, please know that this means the world to me, and I am finally feeling like I might be able to send a note of gratitude in the next month or so as I emerge from the craziness of these first three months with Owen here.  I said it so many times in my earlier blog posts - I am eternally grateful for all of you who walk this path with me.  I miss connecting more regularly with you all, but please know I think of you and your children often.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I miss him.  So much.  So very very very much.  Something about having our tree up and lit, the weather cold and gray...it brings me back to last December - the coldest and saddest on record.  December was so much harder for me than September, October or November last year, and I think my body remembers that.

As Owen is maturing and able to sleep on his own for a lot longer, I realize there are more times that I am left alone right now, and I realize to an extent what a blessing his neediness has been in the last few months.  Huh?  Because now that I have more time to myself, and I'm less hyper-focused on Owen (though still incredibly hyperfocused, don't get me wrong), I have time to reflect on all that we lost when Otis left this world.

This morning I felt physically ill with my grief.  The sinking hole in the stomach feeling.  The "nothing will ever feel right" feeling.

The other night I was standing in E's office talking to him, holding Owen, when all of a sudden I realized Owen's gaze had fixated on something part way across the room.  I followed his gaze, and tears filled my eyes as I realized he was staring at an enlarged black and white photograph of his big brother.

Last night I cradled Owen and bounced him to sleep listening to the lullaby station on Pandora, in the dark of our bedroom, lit only by the lights of our Christmas tree (yes, our tree is in our bedroom, we use it as a night light these days).  I snuzzled my nose into the nape of his neck, into the fuzz on his head, I breathed in deep and tried to take in his smell as best as I could.  I listened to this song, and it felt like my dad sent it down from heaven, and as tears streamed down my face, I missed my first born and held Owen tight in my arms, and reflected on how much has changed since last December, and then also, how nothing has changed at all.

I wish he were here.

I miss him like crazy.

Otis, mama loves you.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saint Otis

I don't think there is a "real" Saint Otis.  But the last few days have had me praying to my boy, asking him to please "pull some strings" and watch over us, and take care of his baby brother.

We are sort of back at square one, in terms of Owen's reflux, the oversupply/undersupply, the fussiness, the lack of sleep.  It feels impossible and disheartening and I have moments where I am not sure it will ever be different, and yet I also feel that if it isn't different soon I will lose my mind and end up in an institution.

Last night we were up until 2 with a boy that refused to sleep anywhere but our arms.  I finally fell asleep with him in a chair, only to be awakened at 3:30 to a very hungry little guy; nursed until 4 and then dealt with a screaming burp session (the reflux makes the burps very painful), then a huge blowout (likely/hopefully the reason he was so uncomfortable prior to that), then finally, finally he settled into his bassinet around 4:30.  We all slept until 8, which feels miraculous and like a huge gift and then I wonder when did I start to feel that 3 1/2 hours of sleep is a miracle?

E said to me last night, "This is so much harder than we ever imagined it would be..."

Understatement of all time.

The phrase keeps running through my head, "We have a very sick little baby..."

But see, we don't, really.  Because those were the words that Otis's neurologist told us that fateful day we realized he'd be coming off life support.  And this is nowhere near that.  Owen is a feisty, spirited, healthy baby - except his digestive system is totally immature and he is incredibly sensitive to pretty much everything it seems.  He grunts in his sleep and wakes himself up from about 2 am on, on the nights when he actually has gone to sleep.  He spits up copious amounts of milk every day.  He has days where the spit up causes him to writhe and scream.  But he is not "a very sick baby."  He is not Otis.  And I think I'm wrapping my head around that.  I am really starting to believe he's here to stay...but that doesn't make these days any easier, and I have trouble understanding that.  All I wanted was a healthy, live, baby.  And now I've got that, and I'm still having moments of crawling on the floor sobbing my eyes out and thinking that I can't possibly go another day like this.

I miss Otis.  I miss him more and more every day it seems.  I hold Owen and realize that Owen has now outgrown his big brother, in weight, in age, in breaths taken...I hold Owen and wonder what life with Otis would have been.  My heart hurts to be away from Owen even for an hour, and then I realize I'm spending a lifetime without Otis - and it's almost too much to bear.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On Joy and Sorrow
 Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.