Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Heavy

Theodore is cuddled with his dad, sucking on daddy's finger for comfort.

I fed him for what seems like hours before he went down for a 30 minute nap.  His rooting couldn't be for more milk...

I've been wanting (daily) to come to this blog, and dump my feelings and frustrations out.. but the rule of "when baby sleeps, you sleep" is really something I'm trying to adhere to.  I don't sleep at night.  I'm up with Theo for 1 and a half hours per feed.  I might get 3-4 hours collectively each night if I'm lucky.  And those 3 hours usually come in 30 - 40 minute doses.  If I ever get a good nap in during the day that's longer than an hour, I feel like a new person. 

I let Daniel sleep at night.  I need him during the day to be as functional as possible.  I feel so wired, and at times borderline crazy.  I try not to lose my shit with visitors, constant feeds, advice... etc.

But I'm getting close.

And I can't ever really talk about what's really pushing me to my edge. 

I miss Alexander.

I ache with now evident his goneness is.  With Theodore here, it is a constant reminder of what so should have been last year. 

And I don't know if I'm normal.  Am I normal for a baby loss parent even?  Are my unravelling emotions normal for any "new" mom?  Is this overwhelming feeling of sadness over the loss of my first born normal?  Is the feeling like I cannot possibly do this another day without having Alexander here normal?  Is the endless amount of joy I have in the arrival of Theodore supposed to make having Alexander not here easier?  Because right now, it does not.

I love both my sons.  Endlessly and equally.

How is it one of them is out of my reach?  Inaccessible?  Untouchable?  So completely gone? 

Several people "outside" of my circle commented on how next Sunday will be my first Mother's Day.  It hurt me more than I expected. 

Today, MY MOTHER said, "look at you, you're a mom now".  Happily, and without thinking of any consequence, she said this.

I didn't get it.  I don't get people who don't remember that I had a son last year, and he died.  And then still think that with Theodore's arrival I now qualify as "mom" status. 

It hurt.  My mother says things without thinking.  My temper was short and is getting shorter day by day with the lack of sleep, and I told her she's pissing me off.  Getting mad is easier than getting emotional.  If I let myself get sad... it's hard to reel it in. 

Theodore is a little Jaundice.  It's 12 days old today.  Everyone told me that after a week old it should start to go away on it's own... and as long as he's wetting enough diapers.. and having 3-5 poo's a day... not to worry. 

When the poo turns yellowish... the jaundice will be well on its way out.

Today... I started to see yellow.  I saw yellow once or twice a week back, but then they went back to green.  I want to get a follow up, but his numbers weren't high enough for anything to be scheduled. 

I want one anyway. 

The whites of his eyes are still yellowish.  And I swear... his face comes and goes with colour.  Tan to yellow to red.  It tears me apart.  I want him well.  I want him thriving.

He falls asleep on the boob.  He sometimes wants it every 2 hours... for over an hour.  And with that math, he's feeding some evenings for 5-6 hours straight.  I tickle his ear... blow on his face... stroke his cheek... just keep eating baby... but the jaundice makes for a sleeping eater. 

I can't help but think what kind of mother/person I would have been last year with Alexander as my first living child.  Would I be filled with peace?  Would I have a sense of glee with my new baby?  Would I be high on love to no end, and make for a wonderful host?  I still feel so gutted by his death, and as if I'm constantly trying to put my life back together.  What kind of mother/person would I be if I was not carrying around this awful feeling of missing?  This awful feeling of loneliness?  This painful yearning?

The other day, I was in the kitchen, and something triggered a memory from last year.  Daniel and I went to Vancouver for a few weeks 3 months after Alexander died.  All of a sudden, in the middle of my kitchen making my tea... I ached to be back there.  I ached to be so close to losing him.  I wanted so bad to feel that enormous amount of fresh grief.  I wanted to crawl into a ball of sadness over losing my son.  Instead, I was in my kitchen, quickly trying to get a meal and a cup of tea in before the baby wakes and my presence would be once again dominated by a needy newborn.  How could I want to be anywhere but with this new little life, this new little cranky boy who keeps my up and has me thinking I'm at my wits end... why would I want out of this new life? 

But I did.  I wanted Alexander back more than I wanted anything else. 

The moment passed. 

I try to stay present with my new son. 

But I'd be lying if I said I was only over the moon happy-go-lucky-I-love-my-life now that Theo is here. 

I still hurt all the time.  Maybe more now that Theo is here?  Maybe more now that we made it to the other side of a subsequent pregnancy with a living child?  Maybe more now knowing/confirming all that should have been... could have been. 

If I were still pregnant, Theodore would be 39+3 days gestation.

Alexander died and was born at 41+2.

As Theo gets closer to his brother's final age... the similarities are increasing.  He looks most like his brother while in the car seat.  Cheeks slouched and face drooped.  Lips completely pouted out... looking a little lifeless. 

Yeah, when my son looks lifeless, he looks like his brother.  Ouch. 
 Theo in his car seat.  Looking like Alexander.  Beautiful.
At the doctors at 4 days old... Mr. Billy Reuben came into our lives. 
I don't have an appropriate way to complete/end this post.  My time is limited.  I feel like I haven't scratched the surface with my constant battle of emotions.  But I'm reaching out for what it's worth.  This is where I'm at right now.  There are tons of moments filled with SO.MUCH.GOOD, but today I'm choosing to let out the sad.  Let out the heavy. 
I know it's "bilirubin"


  1. This is normal for a BLM, well at least I went through the same thing. I def think the lack of sleep plus fear for new baby plus grief is a crazy combo. I also had some PTSD in there. Aaaaand, my rainbow baby was born 20 months after my son died, so I had even more time to process than you. Things started improving for me around 6 months, and That's when K started sleeping through the night, which is why I think sleeplessness is partially to blame. And hormones. But the grief is hard bc yeah, I feel like having a bew baby did make it harder, not easier as most think it should. A year later, I think the new baby has helped in a way, basically with just filling our lives with joy, but the grief and sadness are ever present. Will be thinking of you. ❤❤❤

  2. You'll never know what kind of mother you would have been without the crippling grief you feel now. It is part of your new life as a baby loss mom to your living son. I wish I knew what my life would be like if Avalon had lived, and it was her in my arms today instead of Jo Jo. I don't wish Jo Jo away, of course not. But I wonder what kind of mother I would've been. What would it have been like to just be... happy?

    Feeling your pain...

  3. Oh, I feel you! It is hard being a parent to a newborn, period. And add in the grief and not knowing if this is the same version of yourself you would have been pre-loss, it's a lot to deal with. For me, the hormones and being overwhelmed really died down about the 4 month mark. It will get better! Then some days it will get worse! Then better again! You are doing a great job, hang in there momma!!!

  4. Yes to all of this.
    I found the same thing with missing Saersha so much when Stellan first arrived. He reminded me of her and what we had missed, especially when he got to be around 41 weeks. Now months have passed and I still miss my daughter so much but Stellan is more is own person now and he is not as triggering.
    Once you get some more sleep things will feel more manageable too. I found it hard to remember at the beginning but babies do change and quickly too in retrospect. I might suggest having your husband spell you off one night if it's possible (like just bring him to you for feeding or something like that). That made a big difference for me, even though I still do most of the night time parenting.
    Stellan was mildly jaundiced for about a month (maybe more) but then it passed. It was stressful at the time but it was OK and I hope the same will be true for you as well. It sounds like you are doing all the right things.

  5. Oh, mama. There is so much here. I don't have a rainbow, so I don't know exactly what you're talking about. But I do know the complete fatigue of just giving birth and then caring for a new baby. It is overwhelming. And the hormones?! Don't even get me started.

    It does sound like you're doing all of the right things, especially sleeping whenever you get the chance.

    Sometimes when the grief is up it is simply unbearable. Losing my Nathaniel is just too much to endure.

    Take care, and write when you can <3

  6. All the postpartum and breastfeeding hormones and grief and sleep deprivation are really hard on their own, all mixed together it creates such a mess. And trying to take care of yourself, deal with other people and be everything to this new little person is amazing and really draining!

    Because breastfeeding was hard and took so long with such effort, one thing that helped me during the night is pumping and bottling (at the same time, I would attach the pump and then hold Bode out in front of me and feed him a bottle with the previous pumpings milk). I did this for several weeks and it meant I was up for maybe 50 min each feeding instead of 90! We worked on nursing during the day and were able to transition to all nursing after I got a little more sleep and he got more efficient. The first time he slept five hours, I felt like a whole new person!

    I was (unnecessarily) paranoid about milk supply so I had to either pump or nurse every feeding. In reality, letting my husband feed Bode and skipping one feeding to get one longer stretch of sleep would have been just fine. Skipping a feeding will not wreck supply (even though I totally get that it feels like it might at the time!)

    Bode still looks like Bear when he is passed out asleep with his mouth relaxed--so sweet and yet sad too. I also wonder what kind of mom I'd be if Bear had lived...

    Hang in there. Being born just a little early is probably also contributing to Theo being a little extra sleepy and jaundiced and eating all the time. It is so obvious what a wonderful mom you are to both your boys!

  7. Sending lots of love to you, Veronica. Its good to choose to let the heavy and sad sit with you, to express it. There is so much of it. To my ears, all of what you say sounds 'normal'...this is a hard, hard time - and a beautiful time - and a mind-bendingly hormanal time. Feel what you feel, say what you need to say; know you are supported here.

  8. I love what March has to save above. So glad you let this heaviness out - because yes, you are so very normal.

    It's so much to deal with - so much. I sobbed the first time I nursed Finn in the nursery because I just sat there staring at the picture of Cale wishing so badly I got to experience it with him. Having a living baby is so amazingly wonderful but it throws in your face how much amazingly wonderfulness you've missed out on and it's hard. I also had times where I almost felt resentful of Finn. He cried and would latch and I was tired and I just kept thinking that his brother was/is this perfect baby - but it wasn't fair for me to put Cale on a pedestal because he will always be perfect, but I would have been tired and stressed with him as well.

    As with this whole insane journey - it will get easier. You'll fall into a routine. You'll still miss and ache for Alexander at time and it will be intense, but easier none-the-less.

    Also, eventually those mother f-ing hormones will die down and your sanity will return to normal :)

  9. I cry for Liam every day. Leif will do something new for the first time or i'll watch Justin cuddling Leif on the sofa and all I want is Liam. Some days the moment passes quickly and then other days it lingers and i'm so exhausted by the end of the day. It's a hard time and a beautiful time as Jen says above. I'm here, reading and listening and feeling exactly the same way you are. Sending love and a big, big hug.