Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Letting Go

Letting go.  Not of Ethan...most certainly not.

I am trying to let go of the intense emotions associated the trauma of Ethan's death.  Trying desperately to cling to the love and wonderful memories of our time, though brief, with Ethan.  It's a tricky balance, one that I fail at often.  Perhaps that is PTSD, most certainly some kind of anxiety disorder at least.

Writing about my trauma has become a release.  A way for me to put those memories forward, instead of keeping them locked inside.  Part of me wonders if sharing what happened helps others appreciate the layers of my grief, validating why I am such a mess.

So here goes.  Read if you want.  Or don't.

I let go of...my milk coming in 2 days after my baby died.  I had pumped and pumped and pumped but my milk dried up from stress the moment the neonatalogist told us Ethan was likely going to die.  And then it came in, when I didn't need it any longer.

I let go of...being told we had to step out for the attending to put a needle in Ethan's chest.  Of no time for formal consenting to happen beyond the quick explanation and the doctor looking to me for permission.  I let go of the "well if you don't do it, he will die right?"  I let it go.

I let go of...the phone call from my insurance company congratulating me 2 days after Ethan died on the birth of my son.  "Is there anything we can help with?" the poor lady asked.  No...my son died, please don't call again.

I let go of...the terror that filled the room that first night of Ethan's life.  Of Josh and I sitting in the dark of my post-partum room, waiting for the phone to ring from the neonatalogist telling us if Ethan was going to live or not.  I let go of the terror that filled that room, being so scared to answer that phone.

I let go of...having to walk into the funeral home the day after he died.  I let go of saying "well, this is shitty" to Eddie - our friend, the funeral director, who kindly and simply replied "Yes.  Yes it is."

I let go of...having to fill out health insurance forms for my baby who died.  The letter began with a "congratulations on the birth of your baby boy..."  I let go of having to send in a copy of his social security card, birth certificate and death certificate.  The nice people at my husband's pension boards couldn't get around the death certificate.  This was the first week after Ethan died.

I let go of...throwing up on the side of the road just 12 days after Ethan died from horrendous kidney stones.  Landing me in the emergency room, shaking and vomiting from the pain while I had a CT scan to rule out an internal abscess from my c-section.  Doing this alone, crying at times, telling God that I had had "enough."

I let go of...my head being face down on that conference room table as I sobbed, hearing bits and pieces of what the neurologist told us about Ethan's brain bleed.  I still can't remember her saying those words, but I remember the gist.  I wonder if part of that is because I didn't really like that neurologist - she was young, and far too cold, not much of a bedside manner.  I wonder if we were the first family she was telling such horrific news to.

I let go of...my knowledge, perhaps parental intuition, perhaps experience as a medical social worker, that the doctors were about to tell us Ethan was going to die as we went into that conference room.  I let go of having to tell the nurse to be sure there are lots of tissues in there.  I let go of the nice fellow neonatalogist trying to casually sit next to me in that meeting.  I knew what was happening.

I let go of...telling people 8-10 times a day at work that my son died.  Of seeing their faces go from joy to horror, while trying to reassure them that I will be OK - when many times I was unsure myself.

I let go of...the intense, endless jealousy.  Of my jealousy over friends who have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.  I let go of my annoyance with people who complain about being 9 months pregnant, with people who complain about being tired from caring for a newborn overnight.  Of the "just appreciate your blessings!" thoughts that I want to yell at those people.

I let go of...moaning in my hospital bed 6 hours after Ethan was born.  Staring out of the window at the same triple-decker in Boston, just moaning as it was too painful to sob after my c-section.

I let go of...my frustrations when people say "it's not fair" about stupid things...when I want to tell those people that "not fair" is my son dying for no reason.

I let go of...being wheeled out of the hospital, without our baby.  With a light blue memory box in my lap instead of my son or any hope of returning to get him one day.  I let go of being wheeled out the "side exit" by the transporter to give us more privacy, though he accidentally brought us to the ambulance bay instead.  I let go of that drive home - of that overplayed Maroon 5 song of the summer that came on as we got into the car.

I let go of...the well-intentioned, yet very painful, "where's your baby comments?"  I let go of the pain those bring, and try to embrace the joy that people remembered I had a baby, not just that he died.

I let go of...not being happy when I phase out the baby things.  Of being devastated that I don't get to use the bottles one more time, as I should have.  Of having to give our baby things away, because our baby didn't get to use them.

I let go of a lot.  At least I am trying to.  I am not naive enough to think I won't have moments where jealously or annoyance rear their ugly heads again, but hopefully those will be less frequent.

1 comment:

  1. I have re-written this comment five times and still can't say what I want. I love you Annie Gray. That covers it!