Saturday, June 29, 2013

The light returned last night

Last night was the first time since May 8, 2012 that I have been genuinely happy...without the depression lurking behind my shoulder.  Seriously, that's a long time not to have felt pure happiness.  A long ass time.

It's a little early for me to be assured that my major depression is gone, but signs are looking good thus far.  I finished weaning myself off of my anti-depressant a week ago too.  And besides feeling dizzy and countless incidents of having "brain zaps" or something bizarre and uncomfortable this week, I am feeling OK on that account.  And last night, I felt good.  Like the real smiles, leave the stress behind for the night kind of thing.

My friend Potts and I have known each other since Kindergarten.  We've done the sleepover thing a million times, peewee soccer thing, and on for the last 27 years.  And last night, she married a wonderful man on the coast of Maine.  My husband performed their ceremony, I was honored to read in the ceremony as well, my best friends were celebrating with us for the night (all away from our kids I might add - that's never happened in 6 years), and it was a high school reunion with the greatest group of friends ever, only made better by several significant others joining in on the fun.

Somewhere around the toasts I realized I was actually happy.  The pure kind of happy.  Sure, sad that my son died...but not in the forefront of my day kind of sad.  I remembered him all evening long, as several friends have had or are expecting babies - and I was only a little bit jealous this time.  That's saying something too.

Last night affirmed that Ethan is not forgotten.  Not by me or my family.  Not by my high school and college friends who I only occasionally see these days.  And not by many acquaintances.  Last night, I put my biggest fear away.  For the world has not forgotten Ethan.

Last night also offered me another blessing.  To see the tears of joy, the tighter hugs than usual, the sweet conversations of mildly intoxicated friends, that caught me off guard.  It's not just Ethan that they love.  It's Josh and me as well.  And for that, I am very humbled.

So thank you Potts for last night.  For giving me the mirror to see that the light has returned to my eyes.  One of the best gifts anyone could have given me.  And one I will hold onto for a long time.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Daily Communion

I just split some of my 10mg Lexapro pills in half and quarters.  I have been taking this tiny pill for a year now, and I think it saved me in many ways.  It chemically lifted me out of the well of Major Depression.  This tiny white substance allowed me to feel hunger again.  In turn allowing me to put a few pounds back on top of my gaunt frame.  Allowed me to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.  To experience genuine moments of happiness alongside my depression and grief.  It helped me to survive.

Another babyloss parent wrote somewhere, I cannot recall where, that his act of taking an anti-depressant daily was an act of communing with his child gone too soon.  That resonated with me.  For I never took an medication for mental health prior to Ethan's death.  Sure, I tend to think us anxious people, myself included, would likely benefit from a little SSRI anyway...but I'd never made the move towards it.  As my other coping skills were sufficient.  Until Ethan died.  So this small, ritualistic action of swallowing a pill after eating a nutrigrain bar each morning was my physical way of validating Ethan's existence.  That it all wasn't just a beautiful dream and terrifying nightmare.  That he was and is real.

So tomorrow I will begin weaning myself off of this communion.  My body will tell me how it goes over the next month or so.  No need to rush the process, no need to force the outcome.  For I have worked far too hard to be depressed unnecessarily again.  But I'm kind of excited about the potential for weaning.  I like to think of it as a sign of healing.  Time will tell...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

An unfair choice

One of the saddest things for me to come to peace with is Caroline, Jackson and Ryan having never met their brother.  He lived for 4 days, we just didn't know he wouldn't get to Friday, 2 days further.  For Friday was the day they were to come to the hospital, being a state away, with my parents to meet Ethan.  It was a lot of work to have someone bring a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and 11-month-old to Boston.  Physically and emotionally...that was a lot to coordinate and ask of my parents.  Who were already pulling crazy amounts of weight during those days.  

Saturday Ethan was born and was the most traumatic day of my life.  It was evident that it wasn't appropriate for Ethan's siblings to come down then.  As we weren't even allowed into the NICU for hours at a time that day.  Sunday came around, and we were still shell-shocked that he had almost died, yet miraculously survived the night.  Monday morning things actually looked promising.  That was when his nurse Maureen pointed to another NICU mom doing kangaroo care with her baby, and said "that will be you in a few days."  Well, that never happened.  If I had known what was to come we would have had everyone come and meet him, but nobody had the crystal ball.  Three hours later the shit hit the fan and we were all in survival mode again, literally.  So it didn't seem appropriate for siblings to come in at that point - as we didn't want to scare them and again, listened to the care team saying that things were hopeful.  

Tuesday was more of the same.  Wednesday morning came along and Ethan was severely sick, but they all remained hopeful that medicines and interventions would start to do their 2 steps forward, 1 step back NICU thing.  I was being discharged that day as well, so having the kids come into Boston when Josh and I were coming home didn't make much sense.

And then 3:00pm came and things went south.  The doctors and nurses left Josh and I in that large conference room for privacy, as we discussed it was time to let him go.  Ethan's body was failing him, quickly.  The choice before us was unfair.  A choice no parent should have before them.

Do you hold your son, who you has never been held before and you will never be able to hold again, while his eyes are open?  To look into each others eyes with no isolette in the way.  Or do you call your parents a state away, crush their hearts and ask them to pile your children into the minivan and drive across the state border, into Boston at rush hour without scaring them or driving unsafely given their trauma and grief?  Knowing that by the time they arrive, there is a chance that Ethan would have died anyway, and if he did survive to meet his siblings, when we held him he most certainly wouldn't have had his eyes open.  

That's a shit choice to have to make.  I don't regret our decisions in the moments.  I just regret the way it all played out.