Monday, November 22, 2010

Addison at One Year Old

First of all, thank you so much for your messages letting me know that you care about me and how things are going. It just means so so much to have you girls out there thinking about me and shooting your good thoughts into the universe.

Addison's first birthday was October 28th. I geared up for the day, knowing it might be tough. I went to work and had a therapy appointment scheduled for that evening. I decided that I would honor Addison by having a good day, and I actually did. I feel like I've done a lot of work in the past several months to become more emotionally healthy. As much as I want to hold on to Addison, and perhaps even linger in her space, I have realized that I have to let go--just a little bit--in order to keep on living. My therapist does sand tray therapy (go ahead and Google it--I know you want to). When I first started seeing her, just a couple of months after Addison died, she wanted me to do a sand tray to honor her. I wasn't ready by any stretch of the imagination to do one. I felt I would be saying a permanent goodbye if I did one. But as Addison's birthday approached, I felt like I was ready to honor her, not as "closure," but simply as a way to remember her in a positive way. After therapy, I picked up a little birthday cake, and after dinner we lit her candle and ate her cake. Calvin is still terribly confused by why Addison had to die. He says he used to love her THIIIIIIIIS much, but now he loves her just a little bit, because she left us. I think none of us understand why she had to leave so soon.

And about 2 days after her birthday came my semi-breakdown. I became temporarily obsessed with researching cool cap therapy in full-term infants. I still have so much anger and frustration about how the doctors dealt with Addison before and after she was born. When I went to the hospital because she wasn't moving, they never did an ultrasound. They didn't push for an emergency c-section. When she was born, they told us she simply lacked surfactant. Twenty-four hours later we found out the wretched truth--that she had pretty much choked herself out in utero but didn't finish the job. Part of me feels that had they immediately taken her that night via c-section and started cool cap therapy, she might have had a chance at life. But then my brain takes over and considers the possibility that even if they COULD have gotten her from "brain dead" to simply "severely cognitively handicapped," that would have been no good. But sometimes my heart doesn't want to listen to my brain. I just have so many questions that will never be--can never be--answered. The "what ifs" do the worst damage. And I think that's what I'm trying hard to work on--moving past the coulda shoulda wouldas and into reality. What happened to Addison, happened, and as terrible as it is, nothing can be done to change her fate. And life marches on with or without me. Painful as it is, I must continue to choose to keep moving on with life. Not only for me, but also for my husband, my living child, and my unborn child.

I'm 22 weeks pregnant with a little boy. Calvin is beside himself with excitement, although he does ask from time to time if this baby will live or die. He wonders the same about himself, and I try to reassure him that he has MANY years left on this planet. Oh how I hope I'm right. This pregnancy has been physically easy, but mentally tough. I have struggled with a subchorionic hemorrhage that initially caused me to gush blood while we were on vacation in Florida during Labor Day weekend. And after that, the SCH continued to grow, and even very-temporarily forced me on bedrest. After a short reprieve, I bled horrendous amounts for 2 straight weeks and thought for sure I was losing the baby. But at my perinatologist appointment last Friday, the hemorrhage was no longer identifiable on the ultrasound. For the first time, I had a glimmer of hope that this pregnancy would actually result in a living, healthy baby. I can't picture holding him or bringing him home (that seems WAY too optimistic), but cerebrally, I imagine that he might live.

It's nice to feel the baby kick, but in a way it is terrifying, because now I've assigned myself the full and total responsibility to keep him safe. I will need to do my kick counts and be aware if he stops moving for too long, and act accordingly. As diligent as I could possibly be, I know I can only do so much to keep him safe, but the pressure we put on ourselves can be tremendous, can't it?

And so is my constant internal battle between holding onto Addison and living in the empty space she left that I fill with tears and sadness--and living in the here and now. The reality that my future does not include Addison breaks my heart. The reality that I can't picture her as the toddler she should be, because she will forever be trapped as a one-to-seven-day-old infant, is enough to cause me to be institutionalized if I dwelled on it long enough. There is no reason that this terrible thing happened, no silver lining in the cloud of despair, but even so, I am trying to accept her life and death as part of my own life story. She will always have her place in our family and in my life, but it can no longer be center stage.