Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Boys

We, well my husband, told our son the other night about the pregnancy. He was very excited about it which to me is a double edged sword. On the one hand, I am so relieved that he is happy. He has had such a hard time dealing with Caleb's death. He rarely talks about it or Caleb and when we bring it up to him he always says, "I don't want to talk about it, it makes me too sad". Months ago he told me that if I were to get pregnant again to please not tell him until he figured it out by himself. He wanted to be surprised. I think in his mind he was hoping that if he didn't know about the potential of a baby coming if we lost it, it wouldn't hurt him, again. So when my husband told me that the 'cat was out of the bag' and that all was good I felt some relief. But, on the other hand, if things don't work out, again, his heart may not be able to bear another loss. Who's will, really?
So that night with my daughter off with a friend my husband, son and I all sat at dinner and finally, for the first time talked about Caleb and his dying and how we feel about it and how, as it turns out, we all think about him everyday, even though the boys try very hard not to I was told. My son asked about the chances of this baby dying. Now there's a tough one. I didn't feed him the line of crap about the odds being on our side since we all know that's not the side we live on anymore, but I did try and tell him what I tell myself which is that Caleb got his cord twisted and it killed him. There wasn't anything wrong with him and for that reason the doctor thinks it is very unlikely that it will happen again. But there are no guarantees. I hated saying that to him, hated it, but I can't give him guarantees and I don't want to lie to him, ever.
It felt really good to finally be able to talk about Caleb like we did. I think we all have been so careful with each others feelings that it had almost become taboo, the old "I don't want to rain on your happy day", method of avoidance.
The next night walking into my room I found what you see in the picture above. Normally you would find Caleb's' ashes in the two urns and the footprint/hand print card, alone. The truck was new. I thought my daughter must have found the truck and put it there which would be something she would do, but when I asked her she said no, it wasn't her. I showed it to my husband and he also had not done it. I went and found my son and brought him to my room and asked him about the truck. He said to me, "I put it there, I thought Caleb might have liked trucks because he's a boy so I wanted him to have it. I think his first word would have been 'truck' just like me." And he smiled at me.
I didn't know you could feel your broken heart begin to mend but I did that day. I don't know if it is the possibility of a new baby that did it or if it was the conversation about what happened to Caleb and how we felt about Caleb that did it or a combination of both, but something finally allowed my son to love his little brother out in the open. His pain has subsided enough that he can just love Caleb and not hide from or be afraid of him or thoughts of him.
And so after having myself my pity party about my bday, my son gave me the best gift of all. He showed me it wan't all about me and in that moment I let go of all of my baggage and I let it be, just about my boys.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

I am another year older. Feels like 10. Two birthday's ago, or shortly thereafter, me and the husband decided to try for number three. By the time the next birthday rolled around, I had had a miscarriage and had just discovered that I was pregnant again a few weeks before. My son spent that week of my birthday in the hospital with me next to him, sleeping on a cot. He was released the night before my birthday. I spent the day of my birthday, exhausted both from lack of sleep and early pregnancy symptoms.
One day later I got a call from my parents that they had not been able to reach my favorite Uncle on the phone. He had been ill, fighting pre.leu.kemia and we had all been taking turns driving him to his weekly doctor appts. and staying with him while he had plat.lettes transfused into his body. As my mom had recently had foot surgery, I had become the regular taxi driver and medical companion in the last months, only missing the one appointment he had while my son was in the hospital. It was time I cherished (but for the purpose of the excursion). He and I had spent many hours together in those months, sitting side by side in the hospital, he hooked up to an I.V. and me, deck of cards in hand, ready to learn a new game we could play to pass the time. He had a mind like trap and shared hundreds of stories with me about my relatives, most of whom I had never met. He spoke of speakeasy's, wild party's and time with his mother, who he always called by her first name. He was the youngest of about 14 children, born very premature, less than 3 pounds, and his mother had been told he would never survive. They bundled him in a dresser drawer by the stove and he surprised them all by outliving every single one of them.
He also had a great knack for telling the off color joke, some so off color he would ask me to leave the room while he shared it with his favorite male nurse, being too much of a gentleman to sully my ears with a sordid tale. I didn't have the heart to ruin his image if me by letting him know exactly how much of a lady I am not...
So late that evening after my birthday, my parents called to tell me they were driving over to his place to check on him. I called his house, yelling into the answering machine for him to wake up, telling him my parents were on the way over. I knew how much he hated to be treated like a child and the last time this had happened he was mortified when my mom and I showed up at his apartment at 10p.m. to "check" on him.
About 20 minutes later my dad called again. He was dead. My dad began to cry and I told him, I am coming, I will be right there. I drove over, met my parents outside and then went in to be sure he was gone. And he was.
All in all, last years birthday pretty much sucked except for the being pregnant part. That was what I held onto when I was drowning in fear for my son and then later in grief for my Uncle. The promise of the new life growing within me. The idea that in time things would be better. We all know how that worked out. Broken promises, shattered dreams.
We named Caleb after my Uncle, who was only ever called, by anyone and everyone who knew him, "Uncle Bob". Caleb Robert.
Fast forward to present day. Another birthday. Another pregnancy. The only things I know for sure with this birthday is that IF I have another birthday, I will not be pregnant. Will I have a real live baby in my arms?? I don't know. For today, as far as I know, I am still pregnant, my scr.een came back "not at increased risk" and so the possibility of a real live baby is still here. This birthday feels more like a holding pattern, as if I am this plane who has been circling the airport for years, having made several failed attempts at landing, one a very near fatal attempt and now I am going in for my final attempt, how it ends is any body's guess, but it is my final attempt.
Check back next year I guess, to see if finally, I can actually celebrate my birthday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Something's Missing

My Mother's Day was a quiet one. The husband is almost never home on holiday's because of his line of work, so it is usually just me and the kids. They waited patiently (read walked by my bedroom door about a million times shhshhing each other with "she's still sleeping" and running down the hallway) for me to wake up. Finally, as soon as one of them caught me with my eyes open they jumped on my bed and showered me with the homemade cards and carefully crafted flower vase filled with beautiful tissue paper blooms, my favorite kind, as they will never fade away and die.

After the gift extravaganza, we all went downstairs and my daughter said to me, "I know you are going to make us something really special for breakfast because it's MOTHER'S DAY!!" And so I did.

When the husband finally got home, we all headed over to my mom's house to celebrate her. Driving over as I was sitting in the car looking out the window at the familiar sights, my old high school, an old friends street, I suddenly had this panicked feeling in my chest. It was the feeling I get, maybe you know it too, when I am having the dream where I am supposed to be graduating from college and I am told at the last moment that I didn't take this one required course so I will not be allowed to graduate or the one where I fail the big career test( a medical board, the Bar exam, the CPA one, those career tests, I won't say which one I took:)) and I am told I can't take it again for some quirky only in dreams reason, and I am filled with dread, with panic, how am I going to fix this, how can this be happening, and in my dream I start breathing hard, hyperventilating, everything is moving in fast forward and I can do nothing to change it. I have left something out and as much as I want to go back and do it right, I can't. I wake up terrified until I come fully aware that, yep, I had the 'you screwed up your life again', dream and then I can go back to sleep.
That's the feeling I got in the car. The panic. I started thinking in my head, "What?, What is it?, What have I forgotten?" I mentally ran through my list of things I was supposed to bring to my mom's, snacks, presents, cards, and then I realized, FUCK, I had forgotten one of my kids. Jesus H. Christ, I had left one of the kids at home. Holy Shit.
My eyes filled with tears and I took in a sharp breath getting ready to scream to my husband to stop the car but when I looked in the back seat, there were C & C, my two kids sitting and laughing. It was then that it hit me. The child I had left behind, the one I had forgotten, was Caleb. My baby was not with me on Mother's Day and as much as I had tried to block it out, my heart would not let me.

I sat back in the seat and wiped the tears from my eyes. I took deep breaths to try and calm myself. I recovered enough and was able to continue on to my mom's with no one the wiser to my panic attack on the way over.

And so my Mother's Day gift to myself is the knowledge that at any given moment, I can and most likely will be hit with the overwhelming weight of the fact that for the rest of my life, there will always be something missing.

I miss you Caleb, more than even I know.

Monday, May 5, 2008

On leprechauns, luck and little white lies...

So I left something out back when I wrote on St. Patrick's Day. A little white lie. Not really a lie, more a lie of omission, but since I am not a politician or a Catholic priest, these things matter to me, so here is the whole truth.
That was also the day that I peed on the proverbial stick and much to my surprise I got two lines. It seems we have managed to get pregnant again. I know this is not an easy read for many, so feel free to cross me off your list of blogs you read, I completely understand. I haven't even really wanted to think about it myself, much less talk about it. Both the husband and I have been in denial, he suggested moving to Alaska until we know one way or another how this will all end, but sadly that is not a realistic option.
I suspect many around me have already guessed what is going on but the beauty of the 'dead baby mama' syndrome is that no one will dare ask me anything, so for now we are all pretending this second elephant is also not in attendance during our conversations...I find I have less and less to talk about with folks as a result, the dead baby is a no go for most and now this alive potential one is too. I guess I can't win.
I 've had two ultrasounds, both of which included me crying and trying to answer the techs questions. Lots of fun. The first was to check for viability, the tech was the same one who did my nuchal scan with Caleb, I told her what had happened and she was sweet but she also gave me the "those things never happen" line, which I don't find comforting at all, as "those things" actually did in fact happen to me very, very recently. I think she was trying to get me to believe lightning wouldn't strike twice, but I don't and won't until I have a baby that proves it.
Today I had another scan because the doc(not OBitch, new doc, new office) couldn't hear the heartbeat on the Doppler. You can imagine where I went emotionally after that. I was sobbing by the time I got in the scan room. The tech, same one, had no idea why I was crying, so I tried to explain it to her through my tight throat. She was great tho, she just had me lay back and within a second she said, "The baby is fine, LOOK!" And I did, and lo and behold, there was the little leprechaun, my St. Paddy's day surprise, rolling around with a beating heart and what appears to be all the right parts too.
In the beginning, everyday I woke up and would say, if it has to happen(the loss, the bad things) let it be now, early, before I get attached and up until today I was still thinking if it happens now I'll be ok but, I don't really believe that anymore. It's not that I am attached yet it's just that I am also not at all ready to lose it either, and no matter what I think I can handle, I know it will suck the life right out of me if I do.
So for now I am 11 weeks pregnant, scared and the tiniest bit hopeful that maybe with a little luck, this leprechaun of mine will make it out of me alive...