Thursday, March 22, 2012

In the Wee Hours of the Morning

Scene: Baby cries and attempts to break free of his amazing, miraculous swaddle blanket for the 24,986th time. This time, he wants food. Husband picks him up from the co-sleeper and changes him before handing him off to me in bed for a feeding. Baby is fed and put back into his super secure blanket made for none other than crazy babies who flail their arms like lunatics. Baby is back in the co-sleeper attempting to break free once again, but instead grunting as loud as his little body will allow. A conversation begins.

Husband: So how are you doing in the head?

Me: Um, okay. I had a PTSD moment yesterday.

Husband: What about?

Me: I was driving home from Danielle's and looked in the rear view mirror at B in the back seat and was certain his lips were bright red/purple.

Husband: Like A-man's, huh?

Me: Yeah. It took everything in me not to pull off to the side of the road to check and make sure he was still alive. I know it's totally irrational to assume that within 5 minutes my son would be dead and his lips turned that awful color on an 82-degree day, but I swore I saw it.

Husband: I have had a few of those moments, too, where I have to stop and look closely to make sure he's still alive.

PTSD plays tricks with your mind. It's awful. There just is no proper way to describe that horrendous color, is there?


This morning was B's third doctor's appt. since he left the NICU on February 26th. He's officially 4 weeks old and marks one month out of my belly tomorrow. I think I'm most shocked by not being pregnant than I am him being a month old. I've just spent so much of the last few years pregnant that I don't know what to do with myself!

Back to the appt. B's last appt. showed he was at 7lb 3oz. at 2 weeks old. He was expected to be back to his birth weight (7lb 6oz.) but was not. He wasn't the best eater for his first three days of life as he couldn't breathe and was struggling to master that. I'm proud to say, however, that in those 2 weeks+ since his last appointment, he hasn't had a single bottle or drop of formula. He has been exclusively breastfed and is now at a whopping 8lb even. It's always the fear of a breastfeeding mother that their child is not getting enough-- especially when they seem ready to eat just an hour or two after the last feeding. Knowing the doctor was still concerned about his weight gain, she had us schedule a 4-week weight checkup for today (yay, another co-pay!). He made sure to pee all over their table. Atta boy. I felt a bit defeated after that last appointment, as you can imagine. He had left the NICU based on our demands and had been eating like a champ, but was still not up to the recommended weight.

Maybe it's a misconception, but as a BLM, I feel a strong urgency to prove myself as a mother. I know that breastfeeding is best for B. We knew that pulling him from the NICU when we saw he had healed of his TTN was the right decision. We're taking every extra precaution to shield him from germs as we can in his infancy. I still can't help but feel like I'm being judged on the outside for being an unfit mother. I am not asking for reassurance, just stating a fact. When one of your children is dead, it lowers your confidence and ability to judge just how well your mother's intuition works. It didn't work the first time... so why now? Others must think the same. They must think that I don't have what it takes to be a fit mother. It's completely false, but it's also something I'm totally sensitive about. I'm no expert, but I might assume that's another area of PTSD that creeps in to invade what good is left or left uncovered in my life.

I spend hours upon hours just reveling in how beautiful and precious our son is. I'm thankful for every moment. I just know I'll miss these moments. With every grunt, cry, movement, breath... I'm still in absolute awe that this little baby came from my body and he is ours.


Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

It does go by so fast...Layton will be 2 months tomorrow and he looks completely different than the 8lbs 6 oz version I brought home just 8 weeks earlier.

Keep doing what you are doing...he looks very strong and healthy!!! Good Job mama!!!

FYI- I am constantly checking to see if Layton is breathing...i almost feel obsessive about it at times!!!

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

Yikes... I'm sure we will all have moments like that one. I check Sloane's breathing probably 5 times a night. I either have to hear her or see her chest move before I can relax. Sometimes it seems like she is taking a long time to take a breath, and in that spilt second, I am convinced she is dead. And she is three. Don't know how I'm going to deal with the thought of SIDS post loss.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I've been able to relax a little as time goes on, but those PTSD moments are definitely still there. And still very real and very scary and hard. And your description of A's lips. . . I wish I didn't know what you were talking about and no, there's really no way to totally describe it.

B is a lucky little boy. Keep on keepin' on momma

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

i understand the PTSD thing completely. we've been through a lot and those thoughts will always be there. i hate it.

B is just adorable!! and i can't believe that he will be a month old. it really feels like just yesterday i was reading his announcement on your blog. wow.

Nik said... [Reply to comment]

I love the diaper butt picture and the one of him and Ray <3
I'm sorry you feel judged. :( I'm sure you're doing a fabulous job.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I was shaken to my core over how much I did not "know" with G. Every decision I made I judged or felt judged. I can't imagine how magnified that must be for you.

You're doing wonderfully.

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

LOVE the pictures of B!

My cousin who lost a baby warned me about the EXACT experience you had in the are not alone in that! Gosh I wish I didn't know what you were talking about when you describe that lip color, but I do :( I'm impressed that you didn't pull over! I would probably have to!

Exactly 8 pounds...that's how big Addi was.

I know what you mean about feeling judged. I am not even there yet, but I feel like people are questioning my pregnancy like I don't know all the "right" things to will only feel worse once he is here, those mommy instincts are never supposed to fail us. I would have been such a smug mother before this, now I will question everything!

It must feel odd to NOT be pregnant. It's the running joke that I am always pregnant no matter what we are doing. How foreign to have a baby in your arms and not in your belly! So happy for you guys that you have already had a month of memories with B <3

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

I feel you. After having Natalie, we were all "I got this" with Adam. Fail. I question everything I do and all of my common sense now. Big hugs to you on that front my friend.

In happier news, B is adorable! I love the way he is looking at Ray in that first picture. Adorbs.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

B looks so smart :) I love the diapered booty. :)

PTSD, check.

Sherri said... [Reply to comment]

he's perfect perfect perfect! I love the pictures!

Sherri said... [Reply to comment]

he's perfect perfect perfect! I love the pictures!

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

Even though baby girl is not here yet I often feel like I am being judged as an unfit mom also. I have no reason to believe anyone is judging me but myself. I guess that's what happens when you lose a baby and I am sure I'll still be questioning it once my baby is here also.

Monica said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

Oh girl, I know. PTSD abounds and I'm still 2 months away from meeting this little guy.

On Monday night, I spent nearly an hour bawling while sporadically putting the Doppler on my belly, convinced the curse of March 20 was going to strike again and kill my second child.

I got my glucose results the other day--133, the same as with Georgie. I totally panicked for at least ten minutes, worrying that because both my children had the same glucose number, obviously my son was doomed as well.

The red mouth. Yes, I wish I had gone my whole life without knowing this reality.

Hoping your adorable B is giving his mama extra love. He will probably never know the extent of the harrowing journey it took to get him here to you safe, face to face.

He is precious, especially that adorable little diapered tushie.

Olaina said... [Reply to comment]

Happy one-month-birthday! Benjamin is beautiful.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Love Benjamin's big diaper booty...who says not enough weight gain!?! :)
You are your lil mans best advocate! God put that in you as are doing well!
Give that B some sugar from his friends far away!

sarah said... [Reply to comment]

He's gorgeous, love that little diapered bum!

I've had so many of those ptsd moments, you're not alone, not at all. Mine got to an extreme though, and I started having serious panic attacks...I hope you don't get to that point (but do know that zoloft helped amazingly to abate them - I only wish I had started earlier.)

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Gosh he is just SO PERFECT! I want to say someting about being a fit/unfit mother. The fact that I haven't had a living child after Camille's death is something I will contend with when it happens and I am not sure how I will feel...BUT Brandi~ Even when I had my son, my first child, I doubted my ability to read his cues, to know if I was feeding enough or not enough that other people were doing it better or judging me. I think this is mostly because we want so badly give everything to our children. I know it comes with a whole other bag of fears when a child has died but the feelings would be there regardless, I think they are just heightened. I am acknowleging you and your fear. I haven't been able to comment because of my computer...something is tweaky with it but I am thinking of you all the time. I am sending so much love. The vision of you thinking B's lips have changed color, it haunts me.