I had so much to say last week, I had to choose what to talk about. Since then, there’s still alot but the inertia needed to choose again and put it into words stops me before I start. As evidenced by the lack of posts until now. So I give up the meat for the bones this time. Last Wednesday we met with the medical team involved in Anna’s night per our request. We wanted to talk specifically with the labor and charge nurses, and the neonatologist who ran the code in hopes they could fill in the gaps of time (both Brad and I remember only small pieces of the night after about 10:15 pm). Suffice to say we didn’t get alot of new information but everyone cried at one point or another and for me at least, there was some measure of satisfaction in knowing 1) others have gone through that night over and over and wondered if they should have/could have done something different as well, 2) the 4-5 other people who spent more time with Anna than anyone else besides Brad and I will never forget her either, 3) that we can contact them in the future to talk about her without worrying if it’s wrong. Both of us spent the rest of the day sleeping or spaced out (rare for Brad during the day).
A dear friend arranged pampering for me in her small town where she owns the sole coffee shop. In exchange for life juice (caffeine) she arranged for a 90 minute massage, an intuitive reading, a deluxe pedicure, coffee and a night at her Mom’s so I didn’t have to drive all the way home between appointments. Thank you Natalie. All were delicious in their own right.
Returning to work has loomed and is now practically at my doorstep. My anxiety has risen with each passing day. Finally Tuesday I somehow reached a tipping point and took on all the things I was dreading at once. I met with HR (and found out in fact I have as much flexibility as needed in my return to work, thank god thank god). I visited the central Early Childhood Spec Ed building (where I ran into the principal from the earlier post and a couple other key people who I knew would be hard to see). I met with the speech pathologist (named Anna) who works across the hall from me and who had her baby 2 weeks after we had Anna. I knew I had to face her before returning to work for obvious reasons. We had gone through our pregnancies together, shared every appointment, experience, practical concern, and joy together. For one of us to be absent a baby upon return...hideous for both of us. I pretty much cried from 11:00 am through 10:00 pm that day. Wednesday I went back to the school I work at for the first time to face the 5 women I spend all my time with. A meeting I’ve been dreading since I was on the OR table flashing through all the things I didn’t want to happen, all the stuff that happens to a woman with a dead baby. Going back to work without a baby. All the joy and anticipation and sharing of her with all the people who’d anticipated her with me as we watched her grow inside...gone into awkward and horrified silence. Anyway. I spent the rest of yesterday utterly inert after 24 solid hours of facing things I’d been actively running from for nearly 3 months. Capable only of thinking and crying.
Except for checking my email last night and finding one from a teacher in my building who lost her first baby at term 29 years ago. She heard I was in that day and ‘had wanted to reach out but didn’t know how’ and apparently my visit tipped her into action. She wanted to get together to tell her story, hear mine, commune. I know she is coming from a good place and her intention is to support. But at the time it sent me back into tears because I don’t WANT to bond with people over this. I don’t WANT to be the mother of a dead baby anymore. I’m angry I’m not babbling over every little change and fear and delight with my 5 friends who gave birth a few weeks before or after Anna. Those 5 women with whom I haven’t spoken with since December 15. Whose friendship has become effectively silenced because I can’t handle it yet and they don’t know what to do so are waiting for me to take the lead. But....I also think I’m afraid that I will be this teacher one day. Desperate to share my story again. Figuratively panting at the chance to talk about Anna to someone who will listen and understand how much it hurts (because in there somewhere it still hurts as much as it did 20, 30, 40 years ago). Grabbing onto some young woman whose pain is fresh, like new meat to release what I’ve had to stop talking about years ago.
I need to write back to my neighbor Jaime who commented on the last post and broke both Brad’s and my heart yet again with his visions of the future with our daughters. (Though loved that post, because it means so much to know other people wanted her too.) I need to write back to my cousin, aunt and grandma who recently contacted us. I need to write back to a friend who lost her amazing husband 2 years ago. I need to get taxes together. To clean the bathroom. To get insurance information to my counselor. To send out the birth/death announcements. To get together with good friends with whom I haven’t seen in weeks now. To call my other good friends who live out of town. To exercise. To vacuum the furniture. To contact my supervisor at the hospital to talk about how to return to that job. So I’m going to watch “Friends” instead.