Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside - 12/12/12

Sweet Otis,

I miss you more than ever these wintery days, these cold nights.  We have our christmas tree up in the bedroom where your photograph normally sits, so tonight as I moved your photograph to a different place, I stopped, and looked closely.  I looked at your eyelashes, your eyebrows, your lips, your nose. The fuzz on your face.  Your pudgy perfect fingers.  I caressed the photograph, trying my damnedest yet again to cuddle you and not just your image. I stroked the photo, wishing it was your cheeks I was stroking instead. I remember the way my heart swelled with love the moment I saw you, Otis. It still sometimes catches me by surprise, how the wind can just be totally and completely taken out of my sails, in one brief blink of an eye like it was tonight.

My beautiful boy, I miss you so much. I love you forever and ever, to the moon and back.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


I look at Otis's picture as I lie here in bed, and I realize that Owen finally looks older than Otis.  For so long, because Otis was such a big, handsome baby with a full head of hair, he really looked the part of Owen's big brother, in every way.  I could look at the two of them, Owen lying there next to a photograph of Otis, and Otis still somehow would look older. Even though he only lived to be 36 hours old.  Even with Owen pushing 10 months, Otis still somehow looked older.  

But now, I look at Otis's picture, and he looks like a little baby.  A tiny, fragile, baby. A newborn. He never looked like a newborn to me, even the nurses remarked on it.  I even thought it was a bit of a gift, I got to really see what he looked like, he wasn't a generic newborn wrinkly squishy baby.  He was Otis.  A head full of hair.  A big 11 pound baby with chubby legs and long fingers. But now, I look at his pictures, and my god, (this sounds so obvious), he was so small.  A baby.

And Owen is no longer a little baby.  He is a strong, sturdy, BIG and healthy baby boy....just the other day I was buying puffs at the grocery store and saw that the container said "Organic Puffs for Toddlers" and I was like, "But where are the BABY puffs?" and then it hit me that the "toddler" puffs were the right ones.  That Owen is transitioning into "toddler."

It blows my mind.  He plays with toys marked "12M+"  He wears 18-24 month clothes.  When he was born, I looked at tags that said things like "12 months" or "1 year and up" and it seemed so very very very far off, and, in reality, I wasn't even sure we'd ever get there.  And now here we are.  And now, he sleeps in a room down the hall, in a crib, and when we returned from our trip to Wisconsin we decided we didn't want to reconnect the video/sound monitor, so now he sleeps without us even watching him.  I never thought I'd get to the place of security and comfort I have in his sticking around with us, and yet, here I am.

And at the same time, I panic about a lot of things.  Our friend broke his leg the other day in a freak accident.  He had to call out to his wife, and she had to find him in a remote corner of their property, and stay with him while she waited for the ambulance to arrive.  I asked her if she is able to maintain calm in those situations, or if she catastrophizes it. "Oh no, I pretty much can be totally in that mode of, 'this is just a break, we'll get to the hospital, it'll be ok," she told me. "I just didn't want the kids to come out and see us...."

Meanwhile, my dog hurt his back the other night and was whimpering and having trouble jumping up and wasn't begging for food (the number one sign that something is VERY WRONG with him.)  I made E take him to the emergency vet at 11pm.  I was certain it was cancer. Or that he had eaten rat poison.  That he wasn't going to come back home.

It's like there is no "in between."  I cannot imagine having to take Owen to the emergency room and not having it be some horrible life threatening catastrophe.  (I am pretty certain though, that at some point, we will have to go to an ER, and, please please please, let him come home alive.)  We have been blessed that he has not been sick since birth, with the exception of those 3 months of excruciating colic (but that's not "sick" per se) and one day of a fever (that went away as quickly as it showed up.)

E and I were talking tonight about a third baby (no I'm not pregnant).  About how scared he is, even in considering another pregnancy, another child.  That we got SO lucky with Owen.  He is strong, happy, and (finally, knock wood, please please please don't jinx it) sleeping peacefully (almost) through the night.  He's really a pretty easy baby these days.  But the worry.  Is there space in my heart, in my head, to accommodate the worry for another child?

I feel entirely confident in the ability of the heart to stretch to accommodate the ginormous amount of love that a child generates - time and time again.  I now know that my heart can stretch to infinity and beyond to hold the love I have for my Os.  And I know my heart could stretch to love another.  I would love for it to do so. But I don't know if my head could handle any more fear.  It's not like we are making any decisions or even serious discussions about any of this.  To be fair, we are leaving it up to fate, for the most part.  My body doesn't seem to have any interest in ovulating right now, so it's all pretty much a moot point anyhow.

. . .

I stare at Otis's photo. I lie here in bed.  His brother fast asleep down the hallway from here.  My two boys, my heart longing, stretching, bursting for them both.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Right Where I Am: Year Two: 20 months, 11 days, 4.5 hours

As I commented to Angie on FB when she posted about doing this project again, writing this "Right Where I Am" post feels incredibly daunting tonight.  I fear that it may rip me wide open.  (As I added in my comment, "maybe that's what needs to happen.")

20 months, 11 days, 4 and 1/2 hours since my boy left this world.

Most days, I still can't believe it.

I was recently thinking of getting a tattoo across my inner arm:  "He was here.  And then, he wasn't."

That is the refrain that echos through my mind on my dark days, in my dark moments.  It's this paradox. This riddle of sorts that my brains tries to puzzle out and solve.  How is it so, he was here, and then, he wasn't?

Now granted, there are far fewer of those exceptionally dark moments, or at least there is more space between them these days.  For a few reasons, I suppose.

The first reason, joy of joys, is my second born son, Owen.  The most beautiful 8 month old that I have ever known.  He fills my days with laughter, with smiles, with tears of joy, of gratitude, of fulfillment.  And he keeps me busy.  And the only bad part about that (well, other than the constant state of disarray of my personal hygiene and home) is that it often keeps me from Otis.

My cousin (not technically my cousin, but close enough for lack of a better term, a family friend that I've known since I was a child and cousin to my cousins) came over yesterday.  Her son Henry died and was born just before Owen came into the world in September 2011.  We were talking, and I mentioned how it's hard that I can't tend to my grief in quite the same way that I used to.  I used to keep fresh flowers on Otis's table, next to his photograph, and also on the dresser by his ashes.  I kept them constantly refreshed.  I planted so much last year, rosebushes, daffodils, tulips, trees - and tended to them constantly.  It was my way of mothering my firstborn son.  And now, the rosebushes need to be trimmed.  The daffodils and tulips came up again this year, but amidst many weeds they were hard to see.  Our favorite Otis tree needs to be repotted or put in the ground, but we haven't been able to find time to get to it.

I miss having the time to light candles, to cry uncontrollably for as long as I need to, to scream in the shower, to cut flowers, to stare at his photographs.  I miss the tenderness that E and I shared in our grief.

Some days it feels like I'm running from my grief again.  That if I stopped to actually touch it, think about it, feel it - I would collapse under the enormity of it.

Having Owen here has brought an entirely new dimension to my understanding of what we lost when Otis died.  It makes it so incredibly much harder.  Every smile, every giggle, every milestone that Owen meets is one that we missed from Otis.  Every "first" is a first that we should have done with Otis.  The way my heart continues to stretch and grow in the enormity of love I feel for Owen - it kills me that I don't get to have that same stretch for Otis.  I wrote it a while back - Owen grows and surprises and is ever changing.  As is my love for him.  Otis is frozen in time.  Forever a newborn.  Forever in that striped jammie set the hospital put him in.  Forever with his head full of hair combed just so.  With his arm draped across his body just so.  The photographs have now almost become more real than he ever was.  My love for him is still fierce, still all encompassing, and, sure, it grows and changes and evolves - but HE doesn't.  And this kills me.

I had a nightmare last night.  I lost Owen.  He didn't die - I actually LOST him.  Like, misplaced him.  I could hear him crying, I knew he needed me, I knew someone was taking him, but I couldn't find where or who.  I was screaming for him.  It was terrifying.  I don't overtly fear his death anymore, but clearly my subconscious does.

Reading babyloss blogs and Glow the last few nights has really put a hole in my heart in a way that it didn't used to do.  All these new names, all these stories that seem to keep repeating themselves, with a new cast of characters - it's devastating.  Too much for me to stomach right now.

So it's interesting.  In many ways I would say OF COURSE I am "better" here at 20 months than I was last year at 8 months.  My day to day operations do not shout out "MY SON DIED!" (Though I do find ways to weave it into almost every conversation I have with the moms I have met since Owen's birth, and I usually do it rather early in our meetings, as well.  I must share him, you must know him.)  I work part time, I raise Owen, I do not cry daily, probably not even weekly, I laugh, I dance, I giggle, I function.

But, this idea that "of course" I'm better, I can't say it with much conviction.  Last year at this time I was pregnant, full of hope and dreams (and a healthy shot of fear, too, sure) for this new little boy that was going to grace our world just a week after his big brother's first birthday.  I think I deluded myself into thinking (even though I logically knew otherwise and had also heard from enough blms on "the other side of the rainbow" that it wasn't going to magically make it all better) that somehow having a living baby to bring home would change it significantly.

And it has, yes.  And it hasn't.

It's like my life has split yet again.  There is now the me that operates as Owen's mama - full of love, fierce protective instincts, joy, even, dare I say it, a sense of peace.  And then there is the me that is hidden away in a drawer, along with a lock of the finest, most lush, beautiful brown baby hair that I will ever touch.  In a box, tied with a bow, along with prints of handprints and footprints that are so big you wouldn't believe they came from a newborn.  (I was unable to take Owen's hand and footprints when he was born because doing so reminded me too much of Otis.  It felt like a betrayal to take them of my living, breathing baby - when that is all Otis could give me, and Owen will be giving me mementos for (hopefully) many many many years to come.)  I have yet to be able to reconcile these two mamas into one.  Then again, Owen has just started sleeping at night and allowing me some time to myself before I go to bed, so perhaps as I settle into that time I may begin to reconnect with the parts of me that have been hidden for the eight months that Owen has been here.

I miss him.  I wish he were here.

Nothing has changed.  Everything has changed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day

To all of you, I wish you peace this coming Mother's Day.

I miss being more active in the babyloss community, I hate that my browser doesn't support my commenting on more blogs. I've figured out that I can only comment when the comments are in a new window. If it's the same window as the blog post, it won't let me comment.  I don't know why. I don't even know if any of you still read along here (save for those of you who comment) but I think of you all regularly.  Lots of babies being born right now, more coming soon...you are all in my thoughts so often.  Whether you realize it or not, you are still such a lifeline - keeping me sane as I navigate the confusing world of parenting two babies but only watching one grow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

rainbow 4.16.12

As I sit here typing, a rainbow falls across the keyboard - coming from the light beaming through the prism that hangs in our window.

As I sit here typing, my beautiful rainbow boy is desperately trying to get himself to sleep in his crib for his morning nap. (This is HARD.  Sleep training SUCKS, no matter how gentle the methods are, as our pediatrician said, "It kind of all comes down to some crying, unfortunately.")

As I sit here typing, so many of you, my dearest BLM friend,s are awaiting the births of your rainbow babies, and I wait almost as impatiently as all of you, desperate to meet these oh-so-wanted, oh-so-loved little brothers and sisters.

I listened to a podcast with Anne Lamott the other day as Owen and I were out walking.  She wrote Operating Instructions (a must-read for all new mothers, I think) and has a new book out, Some Assembly Required (which I have yet to read).  She is one of my favorite authors and I loved so much of what she had to say about parenting and, now, grandparenting.  I highly recommend you go check out the podcast link and listen to it if you have a moment.  It's not directly related to the grief aspects of parenting after loss but I still found there to be many nuggets of wisdom in there.  It also inspired me to want to write more to Owen (Operating Instructions was written as a journal to her son, and he calls it "the greatest gift he's received") I haven't done a decent job of documenting the first half of his first year of life, and it's passing so quickly and I can barely remember that he hasn't always been just as he is today.

For example, my mom was over yesterday, and remarked on how he was passing a toy so adeptly from hand to hand (and pausing to put it in his mouth, of course).  "Well, of course," was my response (or something of that sort...) And she reminded me that it was not that long ago that he could barely hold on to a toy.  It seems like a vague and distant memory.

Similarly, the days of colic and crying fussy baby seem like such a vague and distant memory.  We are just now getting a handle on the sleep issues, yes, but the inexplicable crying has long gone.  The fussy no matter what we do has long gone.  He is such a cheerful little guy, it's a little confusing to remember that he hasn't always been that way.

So I'm going to attempt a project of sorts, writing him a note at least once a week (start small, I vote) and track what he's doing, loving, working on during that week.  Tell him what we did, blah blah blah.

I can't decide if I want to post these letters here or not.  It's easy, and it's a familiar way for me to write.  But at the same time, I kind of want to keep them all as separate word documents on my hard drive, and I'm just not efficient or organized enough to type it in word and then come to blogger and repost it. (I know that sounds crazy lazy, but for some reason typing on a word document feels quite different than typing into the blogger text box.)  And of course, this is Otis's space, first and foremost.

But there is no delineation anymore, really.  Otis's space, Owen's space.  They both fill my heart.  They both fill our home.  They are incredibly separate, my two sons, and yet they are so intertwined I can't untangle them.  Owen is now growing into sizes of clothing that we never even had for Otis.  New purchases, new gifts, no more hand-me-downs from his big brother.  The playthings in our home are no longer the ones we planned to use with Otis, as Owen has outgrown so many of them.  Even his infant seat is likely not going to be used much longer.  We are talking about moving Owen's crib out of our bedroom and into his own room, which requires a rearrangement of that room (currently my office/Owen's "playroom").  We are finally nesting, setting up a nursery for a baby that is almost 7 months old.

In many ways, I feel like my feet are finally getting under me again.  The ground is feeling a lot more stable.  I trust and believe that this beautiful boy is going to stay with us, grow with us, challenge us and teach us...Setting up his room seems to be a tangible sign of that belief.  Finally.

And as things with Owen settle into a calmer place, I realize this has created more room for me to remember Otis, for me to grieve him, and also for me to honor him.  I was finally able to get out to his garden patch and pull weeds this weekend.  I feel inspired to do some planting again for him.

It is so strange, for lack of a better word, to have a son that will forever be a newborn, and to have another son that is growing in leaps and bounds every minute.  It still boggles my mind, and breaks my heart.  My words to Otis are repetitive, stagnant almost: "I miss you. I miss you.  I miss you. I want you. I want you.  I want you.  I love you. I love you. I love you.  I miss you.  I love you.  I want you.  I miss you. I miss you. I wish you were here." (repeat ad infinitum)  My words to Owen are ever changing, reflecting the crazy trajectory of both his learning curve and growth, and my own. Underneath both sets of words is the same ferocious love that a mama has for her babies, of course.  But somehow that's not much consolation today...

Monday, March 19, 2012

6 months

My dear sweet Owen,

6 months old today, dear one.  You bring me more joy than I ever imagined possible.  Your smiles and squeals fill my heart and stretch it out exponentially.  Being your mama is worth every minute of missed sleep, every ounce of spit up, every missed shower and all the stretch marks.  It's worth all the tears and all the stress and all the worry.

The days are long, the months are whizzing past.  I've already started romanticizing the early days of sleeping on the big chair in the bedroom with a tiny little jellybean of a boy in my arms.  I look at the clothes we brought you home from the hospital in and my eyes fill with tears - such a tiny little being you were.  You are a big boy now, a "big, fat, baby!" as your cousin proclaimed the other day with glee.  (Nevermind those growth charts that say you're small for your age or you're in the low percentiles.  Bah!)

Last week our family suffered another great loss, your GG, my grandmother, who passed away after 98 years on this planet.  She was so well loved, and I'm so happy she got to meet you.  You know, I was never certain that she really understood who you were, and after the loss of your brother, I wasn't sure if she allowed herself to fully believe you were here.  (Lord knows it was hard for me to believe you were actually here, I don't blame her one bit, especially as her memory was failing her so much in these last months.)  But.  Owen.  My sweet, sweet boy.  When GG went into the hospital last Saturday night, she was almost already gone.  Her heart was failing, her kidneys were failing, her blood pressure and pulse were both extraordinarily low.  She was not lucid.  My mom and brother were there by her side, and she was mostly making babbling noises or little moans.  But around 5 in the morning, as clear as can be, she started spelling your name.  "O. W.  E.  N.  Owen."  She said it four or five times, my mom said.  It was the only thing she said that night that they could understand.  Her last intelligible words.  If there was ever a doubt as to whether she knew you were here, that doubt is now gone, little boy.

I'd like to think that she's now cradling your brother, spelling out his name, O. T. I. S. and singing him lullabies and covering his body with kisses and holding him in that warm lap of hers.  We both know that doesn't really match my idea of what happens after someone dies, but I still have allowed myself the fantasy more than a few times in the last week.

When Papa came in to tell me that GG was in the hospital, you and I were asleep, and amidst all my sadness, all my fear, all my grief, all I could do was hold you.  You were in bed with me, and I just couldn't let go and put you back in your crib that night.  You snuggled close all night, and you kept me safe.  Yes, you read that right.  You kept me safe.  Thank you, sweet boy.

Baby boy, please stick around, please keep growing, keep delighting us all with your beauty.  (And if you want to start sleeping just a few more hours in a row, or napping in your crib for longer than 45 minutes, well, that would be just dandy as well.)
All my love,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Deep Breath

The boy is napping.

I am so madly in love with him, it's mindboggling.  We are (finally?) settling into some semblance of routine and I feel like I'm breathing again, for the first time in so very very very long.

And yet I miss his brother with every breath. Sharply, softly, and everything in between.  It sneaks up on me, and then again his absence has become such a part of my very existence I don't know how it could possibly still surprise me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Argh, blogger

I don't know why, but I am having serious issues leaving comments on blogs today.  I've finally got an afternoon napping baby (in his crib! not my arms!) and I went to go pay so many of you visits and check in and blogger keeps eating my comments.  Argh.  So frustrating.

I'm thinking of all of you - so happy to see so many rainbow pregnancies progressing along so beautifully...and the babies that have been born recently as well - gorgeous.  And to those who are currently TTC - all my best wishes that this is the month.  And to everyone else as well - love and light to all of you.


We're doing pretty well here.  Not really sleeping, still fussing, but getting the hang of it pretty well.  We had some serious marital stuff hit the fan a few weeks ago but we are bouncing back fairly well I think. (I hope.)  E is back in school full time.  I am interviewing for a new job.  I am NOT ready for a new job, but I need to pursue this one because it's pretty ideal.  I'm at stage 2 of the interview process right now (of three stages) and it's gone pretty well.  I'm hoping it will even be a job that has an option for transitioning slowly to full time, and also with a work at home component (it seems likely it will, but directing your good juju in that direction would be appreciated!)

I love my boys so incredibly much, it amazes me daily.   A few nights ago I was tearing up just thinking how incredibly lucky I am to know love like the love I have for my family.  For Otis, for Owen, for E, for our dogs, for my mom, who has become a semi-permanent fixture here and an incredible support, and Owen's favorite person besides Mama and Papa.

Last year on Superbowl Sunday, we were in Maui, and I took a pregnancy test (I was *maybe* 8 dpo?).  It was a barely visible line, really almost invisible, to the point that E said "there's no line," and I believed him, but I also didn't believe him....and I carried that test with me all day and held it up to the light and compared it to plain white paper and saw lines and didn't see lines...and then when the Packers won the game, E looked at me and said, "NOW I believe you're pregnant!" and we sort of did let ourselves believe it might be true, and then there was the most amazing sunset I've ever witnessed, and we definitely thought it was a sign, but then the test the next day didn't look any more positive, so we decided I wasn't...and now, here we are, our four month old napping in his crib.  Owen Kekoa, I love you so much.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Only Thing Constant is Change

Raising Owen is like one huge lesson in learning to be flexible and adapt to change.  Little Man clearly has no intention of adapting to a routine or a schedule.  What works one day is futile the next, what failed miserably yesterday may be a stellar success tomorrow.  The only really reliable constants I've come to expect are that he wants to nurse about every two hours (often sooner) during daytime hours (though he has occasionally gone up to three hours) and he will sleep at some point in the night.  But the specifics around sleep, we have yet to figure those out.  He went through a stint of "sleeping through the night" and then shifted back to waking every three hours.  He was going to sleep between 6 and 7 for a while there, and then last night he didn't truly fall asleep until close to 9 or 10.  Some mornings he sleeps until 8, others he's up at 6.  

It's a bit crazy making for a control freak like me, to have a baby that is so defiantly opposed to routine and scheduling!

This morning we are having a rare, dare-I-say-it successful nap, and I have a moment to fold laundry, hop on the computer, breathe.  Many days he won't nap unless he's in my arms, and then he doesn't nap very well. Yesterday was one of those days, lots of piecemeal naps that added up to shoddy rest and a very cranky little guy.

And why, why, why are new parents so obsessed with sleep?  I swear, I feel like an opium junkie, chasing the dragon of a few precious hours of uninterrupted sleep.  My planning for the day and night seriously revolves around whether or not I may get some sleep in there.  I would go to bed every night at 7 if I could, but that would likely mean I haven't eaten or showered or responded to emails or gone to the bathroom or folded laundry or done dishes...and two nights each week I work until 9.  Those nights are so hard, I can barely keep my eyes open but still don't get into bed until close to 11.  Oof.

Speaking of 11.  E responded to an email link I apparently had sent him, of some dandelion wall stencils that apparently I loved.  He claims we even had a conversation about them.  I have absolutely NO RECOLLECTION of sending him the link.  Of ever seeing the stencils.  But there is an email, sent by me, with the link, and a time stamp of 11:30 pm on a Wednesday night.  No. Recollection. Whatsoever.  Sleep deprivation is a bitch, yo, and I can only wonder what else I've been sending in the wee hours of the night/morning.  Yikes.  

Owen continues to amaze and delight us with his smiles and giggles - he is a charmer, that's for certain.  When he's in a good mood, there is nothing to stop him from bringing joy to everyone that crosses his path.  Every day he surprises me with something new - a coo, a rollover, a grab for a toy, an easy transition to napping or bedtime...I love watching him grow and change - I cannot believe he's already been here with us for four months.

However, when he's upset, there is also nothing stopping him...it breaks my heart.  He clearly has difficulty regulating and has little or no ability yet to self-soothe, it is agonizing to hear/watch him cry.  Yesterday he just did not want to be in the car seat running errands with us, and he cried and cried and screamed and cried.  He was fiercely tired, but couldn't get himself to sleep, it was agonizing and heartbreaking.  He would doze off for a second or two then awake screaming again.  

Last night I caught myself thinking that Otis wouldn't have been this challenging.  Partly because I was more flexible to begin with back then, because I wouldn't have been held back by the fear and worry around doing any and everything, and also because I have it in my mind that he would have just been an easier baby.  This line of thinking does NOTHING to serve any of us, and it makes me sad that I keep going there mentally.  But Otis lives only in my idealized memories of what was going to be, not in the reality of bringing him home.  So in that idealized memory, I am the mommy who can walk two dogs all by herself with a happy baby in the Ergo carrier while she drinks her latte (god I miss coffee and milk) and then leaves him with papa and a bottle while she goes to yoga class. (Ugh, that sounds a little obnoxious, actually...)  And I will never know if that would have been my reality with Otis or not.  My idealized memories persist, and I ache for them - because I miss Otis, because mothering Owen is so vastly different that what I expected - but it doesn't serve me to sit in the "what could have been."  

Similarly, sitting in the "this isn't what I expected, this should be different" does nothing to serve me or Owen.  I love him so incredibly completely with every cell and fiber in my body, and spending my time comparing my reality to what I thought it would be like or what I thought it should be like or even what other mamas are experiencing with their babes is detrimental on all fronts.  It's so tough to not get caught in the comparisons, but in those moments when I find I've broken free from them is when I feel the most joy, the most comfort, the most satisfaction and peace in mothering this little guy.  He is truly amazing, I can't say that enough.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My heart aches tonight, for two mamas in particular...one whose baby valiantly fought for his health for five months in and out of nicu and picu and lost the fight last night; and another mama who lost her son when her water broke way too early and her little G left this world after 37 minutes in her arms.

Again, I shake my fists at the heavens, I smash things in my head, I yell and kick and cry and sob at the unfairness of all of this.  I've had a lump in my throat all day since I heard about Auggie, and when I finally came home from work tonight I burst into tears while telling E about this horrible loss.  Just last weekend, I burst into tears telling him about another dear friend who was in L&D with a baby that would never come home with her.

It will never make sense, no matter how many of these stories I hear.

I miss Otis with a fierce sadness every day. As I put Owen down to bed each night, I stare at his brother's picture, and wish that they both could be here with us.

For Auggie and Jill, for Gavin and Jen, for all the mamas missing their babies tonight:

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Thank goodness for zoloft.

It's helping.  So much.

The panic has abated.  I'm still anxious, but not to a debilitating point anymore.

Which is good, because I've been in a bit of a chaotic craziness the last few days - losing a client (mom is a crazy alcoholic in the midst of divorce and fired me because I spoke to the husband's atty), losing my milk (and then having it come in crazy full force after taking an herb that then caused Owen to have a full blown gastrointestinal nightmare)....so in between speaking with lawyers and sending off resumes, Owen was projectile spitting up and blowing out diapers and screaming non stop...which, two weeks ago, would have felled me in one quick swoop.  But I'm still standing, breathing, functioning.  Go me!

This is a magical time in Owen's development.  He is so uber-social - he loves nothing more than to have a conversation with someone - he mimics sounds (well, easy sounds, like "hi" or "oooh") and smiles at every person he meets, it's pretty damn cute and fun.  He's turned into a pretty great and easy baby, provided he's not hungry, tired, or uncomfortable (it took me three months to figure that out?  geez.) I realized today that I no longer resent it when E won't help me put Owen to bed, I actually get greedy and want that time with him all to myself!  (Now, the 4 am wakeup is another story...)

giggling at grandma's house over christmas

My mom was over today and Owen was sleeping in my arms, mouth all agape and drooly...and my mom leaned in and kissed Owen and whispered, "You look so much like your big brother...."

It was so touching, so tender.

And he does, it's his mouth, his lips.  When he falls asleep in my arms, milk drunk or because we've been bouncing on a yoga ball for 20 minutes, and his mouth falls open like that, he looks so much like Otis.  It's pretty darn sweet and pretty darn heartbreaking all at once.

We went to visit my grandma today and she was having her hair done when we got there (she lives in an assisted living facility so the salon is right down the hall from her room).  The stylist was cooing at Owen and asked us, "You guys just have one?" and E answered "Yes." I shuddered.  It was not a moment to explain that well, sort of, just one, but two, but not two...

Moments like that eat away at my gut.  For the most part, I am upfront and vocal about Otis.  I always answer the "Is he your first?" question truthfully.  But the, "you just have one?" question stumped me today. Damn, I miss him so much.  It still boggles my mind.  I am a broken record, I know this.  It will always boggle my mind.  I will always want him here.  I will always fail at putting it adequately into words how desperately I miss him, how desperately I love him.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Whew.  Made it through the holidays, barely.  Harder than I imagined they would be.  Owen did surprise us all by sleeping 10 hours on Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas indeed.  He then hit a spurt of sleeping 7 or 8 hours in a row each night, then 6, and now we're back to about 3 1/2 hour stints.  Meh.  He's also been fighting naps, although today he's off to a good start with one (but likely because he had a really, really restless sleep last night. He snorts and grunts and tosses all night long, it sounds like he's so super uncomfortable, but he's asleep almost the whole time, only occasionally wakes himself up; but it's so difficult to sleep when he's doing it, and I can't imagine he's exactly getting a restful night's sleep.)

Owen has turned a lot of corners.  He's a pretty cheerful little guy most of the time now - smiling and giggling and he's started to "talk" this week too - making all sorts of new and interesting sounds.  He's found his hands and has started to interact with the world in a new way - it's pretty amazing to watch.  I try not to worry about him being "behind" in his development - I have to remember he came into this world five weeks early and he's going to do things a little later than other babies his "age."  Still, I worry.  I worry that he naps too much, then I worry that he doesn't nap enough.  I worry that he is pooping too much, then that he hasn't pooped in a few days.  I worry that he's not making a lot of noise, then I worry that he's talking too much.  That he cries too much, or not enough.  It's absolutely exhausting to be me.

I finally made the decision to call my doctor and get some meds.  In addition to all the worrying I mentioned above, I've also been having horrible anxiety and panic attacks for a few weeks now, and they are pretty debilitating.  I don't feel it's postpartum depression, per se, because it doesn't feel like depression (I don't cry that often even) but it's definitely postpartum anxiety.  Like I said, I worry about everything - about Owen dying, about Owen being sick, about trying to take Owen to the store, on an errand, to a friend's house, for a walk - anything.  I worry about pumping and going back to work, I worry about our finances, I worry I worry I worry.  I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the bottom to fall out from under me (yet again).  I pace the house and when I'm not pacing I'm googling rare diseases and disorders that might snatch this beautiful baby out of my arms. But I also had a few episodes where I really panicked, shaking, crying, hyperventilating...and we knew we needed to get me some help. The doctor put me on an AD, which caused some lovely side effects this week (I've only been on a low dose for a week now), including MORE ANXIETY.  Oof.  So now I wake up at 5:30 am and tremble for a while.  Nice.  Dr says they'll subside, and they seem to be, but it can't happen soon enough.  I really, really, really didn't want to be on meds, but it got to a really scary point just after Christmas where I had a full blown panic attack one morning and finally E sat me down and told me we had no choice but for me to try the meds, basically.  I *think* I may be starting to feel a bit more like myself, but I've still got a long way to go.

I mentioned to a friend last night that PPD/PPA is the craziest thing (ha, she said 'crazy!') in that I can really see it for what it is, it's like when you get the flu, you don't suddenly think all your muscles have failed you and you will never not have a fever again, you know you have the flu...similarly, I can feel how this incredibly debilitating anxiety and panic is not me, I know I have ppd/ppa...I just wish it would pass the way the flu does.  I hope hope hope the meds help.

I continue to miss Otis and have thoughts of him pop up out of nowhere to bring me to my knees weeping...and that doesn't feel like the ppd/ppa - that feels like good old grief, still sticking around...Just two days ago I was driving home and all of a sudden I had such vivid flashbacks to holding him in the hospital as we said our goodbyes, as his little heart stopped beating, as we rubbed our cheeks on his full head of hair and our tears streamed down his milky white soft skin.  My goodness, I miss him so.  I want him here.  I want him in my arms.  I can't believe he's not.

Today Owen is wearing a shirt that was bought for Otis.  I put it on him and told him that it was his big brother's shirt.  He wears a pair of shoes (slippers?) that my mom gave him for Christmas, and she told him that they were bought for his big brother as well.  I wonder how, or if, this will all ever make sense to him when he is old enough to understand.

Last night I was back at work, and E was in charge.  Owen needed a bottle and E gave it to him, but even after a full bottle he was inconsolable. I walked in to a semi-frazzled husband and a very sad little boy.  His face was all red and his eyes were red and puffy from crying - it broke my heart.  I held out my arms and E handed him to me, and the minute he got into my arms his body went soft.  His screams turned to whimpers, and then slowed to sighs as he continued to melt into my arms.  It was the most intense feeling of "I am his mama."  I mean, sure, I get that sense all the time, but this time, it was different.  More...I don't know...more tangible.  Like he knew my smell, and it was the only thing at that moment that was going to comfort him.  Like I hold the key to this little boy's heart, just as he holds the key to mine.  That he needs me as much as I need him.

I've always been the one holding the crying baby, passing the baby back to Mama for that consoling that only a mama can provide.  Last night, I was that mama, not the one passing the crying baby back.  It felt real in a way that so much of this journey so far hasn't.

Crud, baby crying now...must hit post or else it may be another few weeks before I update....