01-19-11 / Two Weeks Strong
It dawned on me today that it has been two full weeks since we got the worst news of our lives. When I mentioned it to Aaron he argued that it was three weeks so I checked my calendar to make sure I was right and I was; that tells you how long these two weeks have felt. It’s truly amazing how you lose all track of time, it feels like it’s standing still and we occasionally wake up to realize that life is still going on around us.
This morning was harder on me than the last few mornings. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I was so upset. I spent most of my shower crying and trying to picture my little one to the best of my ability. I’ve seen his images and he’s beautiful to me, long arms, long legs, big feet and a nice round belly; how is it possible that he’s not complete? I do not get it. If the doctors hadn’t shown me the specific problem area I would still think he was a perfectly huge and healthy baby boy. I can feel him in my arms, literally. I can smell the fresh newborn smell and I can even smell those wipies they give you in the hospital; they smell amazing. I was so sad when we ran out after Aaden was born; I tried to purchase them with no success. I don’t know if my heartache would be worse or a tad easier had I not already experienced the unexplainable joy of giving birth to a healthy baby. I know how things could and should be; I remember it like it was yesterday. I want that again. I don’t want to wait for another pregnancy; I want it with this baby. How in the world am I going to handle going in to have a baby and coming home empty handed? How do people do that? I will endure a painful operation that requires weeks of rest to heal, at least two nights in the hospital eating chicken broth and stupid green jello (they can’t even be kind enough to bring red), I will lay in my room hearing other newborns cry and other Moms, Dads, and family members going on and on about their latest addition to their family; for what? To come to my house, with no distractions, empty handed and worst of all with a very empty heart. I want to wake up from this nightmare. I want it to end. I don’t want to live through that pain and suffering.
Today was Aaden’s “well” visit for the big number 3; I felt like the worst mom in the world because I had forgotten, in all the madness, to make his “well” visit appointment. I called Monday, a week after his birthday, and they scheduled him for today. Keep in mind, I’m the type of mom that calls a month ahead to schedule these visits and I always ask what immunization he will be receiving so I can educate myself on it prior to him receiving it; I had done none of this. I did cut myself a break this time, it’s been a rough couple of weeks and prior to these weeks I was just insanely busy. Aaron and I knew that today was the day we had to break the news to Dr. Derrick that our baby would be born with anencephaly. Let me rephrase that, today was the day HE was going to have to tell Dr. Derrick because I, being the coward I am, was going to hide at work and let Aaron go it alone. I finally realized why my head was spinning the way it was this morning, I knew it was selfish of me to force Aaron to face our very special pediatrician alone. I knew I was going to have to go to this visit and see the “look”, the one I’ve avoided so well; the one that says, “Oh Dear God”; I wasn’t ready for that. Dr. Derrick was my pediatrician from birth until I was way too old to be sitting in a pediatrician’s office; I think it’s time to go to a big kid doctor when you can drive yourself. I still call on him when I’m sick. He’s like an extra Paw Paw, he loves our family and I just really didn’t want to share this devastating news with him; not to mention I haven’t had to share the initial news with anyone face to face, I’ve done it all through writing. Needless to say, this was a long day of anxiety over how this 2:30 appointment would go, on top of blood work and a shot for my boy we would be sharing our oh so sad news with a person that will care so much that it hurts.
I got myself ready and loaded up the car to head to Orange this morning, a drive that is proving to provide me time to cry before having to face everyone. My sweet friend, Jessica, made me an amazing CD that I will always cherish and I listen to it every single morning on the way to work. I always play number two on the disc first. I always want to hear it but it always makes me cry. It is the song written by the author of the book I’m reading and the song is entitled, I Will Carry You; the words proclaim exactly that. It comes from a mother who is destined to lose her baby and she sings of how she will carry that child while her heart beats here. It’s a song designed to show me that Jesus will carry me through this and for the rest of my life because I am a child of God and I am loved very much. Now you see why I play it first, it gives me the rest of the 30 minute drive to cry my eyes out and get my act together just in time to walk in the doors of work. I made it through my day pretty well I think. I saw many of my kids today, which is a huge improvement. I was able to laugh with them and hold their hands as we walked down the hall, which I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do. You just never know how you will respond to other children in a time like this. I didn’t know if I would resent them or if I would love them the same way I always had. Turns out I still love them! They still drive me nuts and I still want to stuff my head in a pillow and scream after I’m done with Kindergarten groups, but that just means my normal life is coming back. I enjoyed their silly stories and several of them told me how much they love me and have missed me; I think most just missed my treasure box but I’ll take what I can get. I’ve had lunch in the teacher’s lounge the last two days, which is also a huge improvement; the slow cycle of pulling myself back into life unfolds!
That dreaded time finally came around, 1:45, time to pack up and head to Beaumont to see Dr. Derrick. You have to realize that this man is in his 80s, he’s no spring chicken but he loves his babies. When Aaden was born we chose to go with another doctor in Beaumont, huge mistake. I just knew he seemed old when I was a kid and retirement must be in his near future; I didn’t want to switch pediatricians mid way through Aaden’s younger years. After awful experience after awful experience with the dumb doctor we chose when Aaden was born, we finally switched and haven’t regretted it yet. When we saw him at first we asked him when he planned on retiring and his response to that was, “when you read my name in the obituaries, you’ll know I’ve retired”; oh how I love this man. He’s a Christian man that just loves what he does, which so happens to be providing amazing medical care to my son. Our visit went as it always does, he kissed and hugged Aaden, gave him a sucker, bragged on how healthy he always is, spoke of his amazing vocabulary and language abilities and joked around with us about how huge he is; not really a joke, he’s a huge kid. I knew he was about to leave the room to prepare the shot for Aaden and I had to tell him; I knew once Aaden got that shot there would be no more talking over his screaming. I had to force the words from my face, I honestly thought Aaron would be the one to tell him but he didn’t seem to be acting fast enough so I jumped on it. He was in the middle of writing us a new prescription for Aaden’s eczema and I blurted it out, it didn’t flow as well as it seemed it would in my head. It was all choppy and honestly I think I sounded a bit dumb. I was watching his face though, I wanted to see what a doctor’s reaction would be; it was just as I thought it would be, awful! He stopped in the middle of his writing; never raised his head and he honestly had a look on his face that seemed a bit confused disbelieving. He stumbled over his words but eventually the first thing he said was, “anencephaly?” and that was it. I said, “yes sir” and that’s all I said. It was so odd and uncomfortable, not how our conversations usually are. He finally gathered himself and asked us if the doctors had given us any idea as to what they felt the cause was; of course we told him we weren’t really sure because it seemed the medical profession isn’t really sure. I had a tiny bit of hope that my much older and much wiser pediatrician might have some type of hidden answer for us that these younger doctors didn’t have; no such luck. I really think that was just the only thing he could get to come out of his mouth because he agreed that there is no “known” cause. I was a little disappointed, not sure why I was thinking he would have the magical answer but I did. We chatted for a minute and he hugged us both and assured us that if we just needed to talk we could call him day or night, which I know he means since he hands out his home number like candy; what a good man! He came back in joking around with a shot in hand, told Aaden a mosquito was going to bite him, stuck my boy and he began to scream bloody murder; the tension was broken, it was time to comfort Aaden. He squeezed us one more time and kissed my cheek before he walked out of our room and that was it, another dreaded moment down, tons more to go.
All in all I don’t know how I feel about this day. It will end on a high note, watching TV with my family then off to bed to wait for another day.