Apologies for slacking on the blog (as if anyone was really freaked over that), but the extraordinary sleep deprivation does not get easier with each subsequent kid, probably because you get older and older as you have them.
I don’t use any real names in this blog besides Jay, and when I was pregnant I called our new little boy Floyd as a joke. So here we will call him Floyd.
I had a c-section. The moment he came out I loved him with all my heart. They laid him next to me so that we were cheek to cheek. I cried my eyes out. I thanked him for being with me during almost the entirety of this long, horrific year. He was my silent partner, the person who would (literally) kick me in the tummy and remind me constantly that life happens, too, along with death. It felt so good to feel him against my face. I cried so deeply that I remember wondering if they were having trouble stitching up my stomach.
During week 2 I missed Jay on an atomic level. The combination of exhaustion, a drop in hormones and grief is a horrid combination. I was afraid of how much I missed Jay and afraid of the future, too. Who was this new child? As you know, newborns don’t have a lot of pizazz, so it’s hard sometimes to figure out how the baby will fit into your family. I knew that Floyd would not ever replace Jay, but I think we all hoped it would make things easier. So far, it wasn’t making anything easier. It was harder. I loved him to pieces, but it was harder.
Floyd was an early smiler. Once again, he reminded me of life, and of hope. By the third week, there was no way I could imagine not having him. I have spent an exorbitant amount of time in the last year wishing I could turn back time. I wanted nothing more than to do over that terrible moment that Jay began to fall back in the chair as I reached into the fridge to grab blueberries. Over and over again, I reach out and grab the chair just in time, or I ask my husband to come get him out of the chair, or I feed him in the stroller. I couldn’t do that anymore, because another thought intercepts that thought process: What about Floyd? If I could turn back time, how can I save Jay and still have Floyd, too? I now loved them both with everything I have. In my heart I am hugging all three.
But before you say it, let me stop you. I am not ready to say this was “meant to be.” Is Floyd a miracle? Absolutely. Jay was a miracle, too. Don’t tell me it was meant to be, though. Don’t tell me my little boy was meant to be brain dead. Don’t tell me that my daughter was meant to lead her life with a little dark cloud over her heart for the rest of her life. Because that isn’t fair. Life doesn’t fit into a Hallmark card, as much as I wish it did, and as much as I know many people need it to. Having Floyd doesn’t close some loop, so that ultimately this whole thing makes sense and is fixed now. No. You cannot think that. I won’t let you. Don’t believe those inspirational quotes written just about everywhere, how there’s a meaning to everything, how whatever you’re doing is exactly where you should be. Let me be the first to tell you that actually isn’t how life works. Sometimes random bad things happen. Take a look around at the senseless suffering in this world. Are those people exactly where they’re meant to be? Yea, go tell them that. Shit happens and miracles happen, and the goal in life is to get lucky with more miracles than shit. That’s an inspirational quote you can take to the bank.
When I was pregnant, I likened having Floyd to turning a light on in a very dark room. That is how it is. He is a bright, beautiful light. We are still grieving, as I think we always will. And it is hard for me to imagine what Floyd or my daughter might grow up to be. Will they grow up? Will they be OK? Something that I cannot yet replicate from my old life is Hope. I know I need to live for today, to not worry about what’s around the corner. But I can’t. I have been scared to pieces. I have seen my worst nightmare come true. Fear still rules me, and it’s a demon that I will have to work for the rest of my life to keep at bay.
And yet, we had another baby. I know what can happen in life. I have walked out of a hospital with my brain dead son still inside, and yet we actually did this again. We opened ourselves to whatever life will bring us. I have dived headfirst into an endless sea of love and devotion yet again without knowing what will come next. I am full of fear, but I keep living.
Floyd woke up at 5am this morning and proceeded to have two blowout poops while I was nursing him. I took him to his room to change. He lay on the changing table, and in the dim light of his bedroom, he flashed a giant smile at me. Clad in a t-shirt covered in teeny tiny vehicles and a pair of pin-striped green and white trousers, his crazy mismatched outfit oozed with cuteness (and poop). His smile washed over me. It was full of joy and complete innocence. He has no clue what his family has been through. He knows nothing of loss or sorrow or fear. Oh, to smile like that again. To feel like that once more. He is chock full of Hope.