Z is for Zoloft

My OB won’t re-prescribe me Zoloft. I should have re-arranged the situation throughout the last year and found a doctor through my secondary insurance who would keep the Zoloft coming. I plan to drop my primary insurance and stick with my husband’s when the new year arrives.

I sought care from this particular OB through my secondary insurance because I preferred their practice during my pregnancy. Prior to experiencing the most blissful, most nauseating six months of my life, I was on Lexapro—prescribed to me from my primary insurance.

I chose to stop taking my antidepressant during my pregnancy but was prepared to re-start a medication after giving birth. It was a logistical fail because instead of coordinating with my primary doctor to re-start medication, my OB sat on my hospital bed and wrote me a script for Zoloft the day after my baby died.

Having double insurance coverage has been a bit of a shit show for me.

I have two pills left, and now I have to find a new doctor, take time away from work to visit the doctor, and basically just waste more of my time because my OB won’t re-prescribe this medication.

This is the stuff that irritates me. I hate wasting time … I already know what needs to be done. I just need my Zoloft. Give me my Zoloft.

I know there are processes and procedures to be followed, and I can appreciate that. But sometimes, I don’t need counsel or help—sometimes I just need my Zoloft.

One year ago, I was living life as a NICU mom. I’d awake and do my work for the day. My work included exercising and any chores I’d committed myself to for the day. I’d *get ready for the NICU and be on my way. Somewhere in between taking a shower and driving to the hospital, I received calls from a social worker. Her job was to make sure I was okay.

“Do you think you’re suffering from post-partum depression?”

“Well, my baby died two weeks ago, and my other baby is in the NICU. I’m taking an antidepressant; I’ll figure it out.”

My goal was to get off the phone as soon as possible.

So—Zoloft—let’s make this quick and easy. Find doctor. Make appointment. Drive to doctor office. Sit in waiting room. Get vitals checked, **which never goes well. Talk to doctor. Get prescription. Go to pharmacy.

My biggest fear is that this process is going to waste too much of my time. But I have to do it because I need my Zoloft.

*Bathe. Hair looks like a bees’ nest. No make-up. Old leggings. Major Ugg-boot sag. Holey shirt with leaky boob stains.

**I wish the nurses would take my blood pressure under my direction or just not at all. There’s always this rush to slap the cuff on and get a reading. My readings are always appalling under these circumstances, and then it becomes “a thing”. I have to excuse my blood pressure’s bad behavior and convince the doctor—and myself—that I’m actually okay because I check it obsessively.

Breathe

I hold her close ‘neath the covers.

I feel her breathe; her body rises and falls.

I hear her breathe. She’s a top notch breather, my friends! A champion.

It’s hard to believe that this delicate girl required assistance ever … at all.

She breathes in and out. So natural. So involuntary.

*I have a confession to make …

It seems I’ve known her for five months, but – yet – she’s a completely different person from the stunning fetus displayed in her magnificent isolette. 

I stared at her today and almost told her Daddy, “There she is, that face. That look. Emmanuelle.” The resemblance. I did not want to bring him heartache; I kept it to myself. But I saw her.

I saw you, my darling.

I wish I could have her … because she’s my baby. We created her, our dancing Emmanuelle.

I want to know what she’d look like. I want to know what it’d be like … because that’s how it was supposed to be.

Lord, I miss her. 

My Rowan is the light of my life.

Oh, the heart. The matters of the heart.

*Co-sleeping: Something I never thought I’d do.

In 3s

In 3s they go …

I connected with her during our vacation in Turks and Caicos.

It was right before my second fresh IVF cycle. I washed my birth control and Metformin pills down with rum and Caribbean beer.

We vacationed together, introduced by mutual friends.

Three married couples having the time of our lives.

She was a NICU nurse. I asked her an unlimited amount of questions. I was fascinated. What a heart she has.

I told her about our quest for a family – about IVF. She offered me an expression of sincere compassion and gave me a hug. 

She told us that they go in 3s. They don’t lose babies often, but when they do …

This stuck with my husband following the events of October 9. I didn’t even go there. Thank. You. Jesus.

Emmanuelle was number two. You can imagine what consumed my husband’s every thought. 

My beautiful Emmanuelle met Jesus nearly five months ago. 

My husband’s Papa met his Savior three weeks later. His funeral occurred during Rowan’s NICU weekend from hell.

In 3s they go …

Off the Record

I would like to meet up for tea with her nurses and ask if the state of a premature infant can be glamorized.

I would like to whip out Emme’s doctor’s business card, send him a quick note, and ask if it’s appropriate to have mentioned her #preemiepower on photos of her I shared with loved ones on social media. I wonder if he would think I was glamorizing her condition.

I’ve been accused of glamorizing Rowan’s prematurity. This hurts my feelings; on behalf of my friends who’ve walked – and are still walking this journey … this hurts my feelings.

When a baby is born, and baby looks like a fetus – it’s serious. And it’s a reality for the #nicumom. (Crap, I really shouldn’t use that hashtag either. Being a NICU parent does not present its own emotional challenges. Why would I glamorize it? *insert sarcasm*)

To be honest, I have felt bad for my crappy attitude. I have felt very vulnerable sharing my feelings with others. Because my feelings are a bit harsh, and my language – well – it can be a bit much. In my heart, the f-word is the least of my worries, but I suppose it’s shocking to some.

There’s this idea that the happenings in one’s life can create a very bitter person out of the tender-hearted girl she once was. That’s my story. One year ago, I could not have guessed the happenings of my life today – both incredibly joyous and perfect (Rowan) and incredibly heartbreaking.

Mark my words, I do not seek a trophy or sympathy points. Some people suffer. Some people suffer a lot. I just express my suffering. How dare you scrutinize my daughter and her #preemiepower? What’s inside your heart that allows you to critique my every move, de-throne me as my parents’ daughter, even have the audacity to be jealous of the love and support my loved ones offer my daughter?

I trusted you because I thought that was a given. I should not have trusted you.

And – pardon my language – but you’ve officially fucked with the wrong mama bear.

Misunderstood

It’s the little things—like wearing my black dress flats for work and noticing they are too big … outstretched from my pregnancy-induced edema.

I haven’t worn my flats for months. Who cares about shoes when your daily goal in life is to take care of chores at home then accompany your baby on her NICU journey?

I wore slippers during those days—for the most part. I got a little fancy on Christmas Day and wore boots. Whoa.

But the point is—I wanted my pregnancy. Duh. But I wanted the whole thing. I worked to achieve my pregnancy for a long time. I began missing it at week 18—thinking I still had at least 20 weeks left.

I’ve been misunderstood.

Well, maybe not. I understand my heart is hardened and full of poisonous things—save for my husband and baby girls.

What some people may not understand is that I feel no need to justify my emotions. Morally, I don’t quality them as “bad” or “wrong”. Regarding the death of my daughter, I do not evaluate my emotions on a moral compass and adjust them accordingly. I can feel however the hell I want to feel.

I mean, people tell me I’m bitter and miserable and sad and can only feel pain. No shit. Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me why my baby died.

But you have Rowan so your heart shouldn’t be filled with ugliness due to the loss of Emmanuelle.

I disagree. Watch your child die. Watch your dancing girl fade away … then feel the need to enlighten me of the ugliness I carry in my heart.

What I haven’t shared is that I have more respect for TTC sisters who admit to being jealous and bitter than those who pretend like they aren’t.

Because that shit is real. It may not be nice. It may not be Christian-like, but it’s real. There is something beautiful about vulnerability. When we allow our walls to fall down, we connect with people. When we present ourselves and all our imperfections, there is grace.

But—in all sincerity—if you struggle from infertility and literally do not feel an ounce of jealousy or bitterness toward fellow sisters, you are a saint. You have a heart of gold; good for you. I hope you use that gift of a heart in a powerful way to impact others’ lives. Because they need your touch. I need your touch.

I do not strive to win a gold medal in the “Pain Olympics”. I mean—I’m just in a shit ton of pain. Reprimand me.

Upon witnessing some of Rowan’s “downs” in the NICU, I pulled away emotionally. I could not lose her too. The thought of losing her … I would have crumbled. My heart would have been destroyed. I don’t take lightly thoughts of suicide; I have been clinically depressed for several years. If I would have lost Rowan …

I have life; I have joy because of my Rowie. And you know what? There are women far stronger than I.

Women who’ve lost both babies—even three babies during a single pregnancy. I couldn’t live.

A teenage girl who endures a cancer battle with her high school sweetheart, only to be rewarded 15 years later with five cycles of IVF; two miscarriages; a death-threatening first trimester carrying her rainbow baby; fucking pre-eclampsia; and a NICU journey starting at the ripe old gestational age of 26 weeks. How incredibly unfair.

A woman whose lost her best friend—her mother—to cancer and endures the loss of several pregnancies; a genetic connection with her children; and the opportunity to carry her babies—an experience that’s supposed to be the silver lining of donor egg treatment. Oh—AND—she has a heart of pure gold.

A woman who mothers her long-awaited baby for just a few days, resting on the promises of a birth mother who assures her for months that baby belongs in an adoptive home. All the joy and anticipation crumbling in a single moment. Where do you even begin to put the pieces back together?

If you are offended by my candid comments regarding TTC sisters who carry jealousy and rage, then—simply—you’ve not seen their Instagram memes and/or blog posts that suggest they—in fact—carry these emotions. And, you know what? I don’t think they’re ashamed of feeling that way, and they shouldn’t be ashamed. In fact, I’m proud of them. Again, I have far more respect for them than those who fail to admit they feel the same way because of societal expectations regarding manners … or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

It’s human nature. We struggle and fight to become the one thing we feel we are meant to be in this world—a mother. We envy those who’ve won their battles before we have without acknowledging the baggage they carry. All we see is the baby bump, and we are desperate for it. Good heavens, it’s just the way some of us are wired—myself included. How else do you think I’m able to identify these twisted emotions? Pardon my honesty.

It saddens me that a journal entry mentioning Emmanuelle turned into such a debate. My beautiful girl deserves more than that. And it’s not a guilt trip; I take full responsibility.

I’m also disappointed that I won’t get to share Rowan’s beautiful face with you. I’ve been waiting to receive her newborn three month-old professional photos to show you all what she looks like. But—this space isn’t safe enough for her. And I acknowledge that—though this is my journal—it’s on the fucking internet. It’s free for anyone to make of it what he or she will, I suppose. How naïve of me, right?

Tangent: I noticed today that a new follower has taken some of my language from a recent post and “written” a blog post of his/her own. And this blog post’s very little re-arrangement of words and phrases barely disqualifies it from being straight up plagiarism. A loved one of mine tells me I ought to be flattered. Would you claim photos of my baby as your own too? A very scary thought indeed.

Lovely women, you amaze me! You are so gracious! I truly admire your hearts and understanding. I pray for nothing but the absolute best for you all. May all your dreams come true. You have blessed me more than you will ever know. If you have not received a personal thank you from me, please do forgive me and know that I am so lucky to have you in my life. God bless each and every one of you.

82 Days

We have a 6-pound 12-ounce little princess who is keeping us on our toes, no doubt!

I was told preemies LOVE to be held and snuggled A LOT. I think my husband can attest to that. He has spent hours doing so …

My beloved let me sleep in this morning. Mommy ate some breakfast (chocolate cake) and took her medication (antibiotics for a UTI that must be chopped into a million little pieces). Now Rowie is just hanging out at the breast for however long she wants. Well – until it’s time to get ready for her eye exam.

Rowan has been home for two days now after spending 82 days in the NICU. I’m not as scared as I thought I’d be. Having her in a “normal” newborn environment sans wires and monitors – it makes sense. Of course, before I lay me down to sleep I check for her neck/head placement; her coloring; I check for moving air beneath her nostrils on that adorable button nose. I do this several times; I also rearrange any cloth near her neck. “Do not obstruct my baby’s airway, swaddle blanket. D’ya hear?”

I mean, Rowan and we spend very little time sleeping at the same time, so the hours of not monitoring her airway, coloring, etc. are few.

She de-sats, gets a little ahead of herself during feeds. And that damn reflux. But we know her well and how to help her recover. “Earth to Rowie.” We watch the blue turn back to pink, and it’s a beautiful thing, I tell you!

I can tell you she has the best daddy ever. I can tell you I have the best parenthood companion ever. Patience. Grace. Selflessness. Endurance. I don’t know – that’s our recipe I guess.

Grandma and Papa have been visiting us, keeping us company in the evenings and bringing us real food for dinner. I love them. Thank God for them and grandparents in general. My mother-in-law is traveling here for a three-week stay. She’ll arrive on Sunday, just in time for Mommy and Daddy to go back to work and make that money. Well, Daddy’s been working, supporting his girls like a champ. He took this week off for the homecoming of his little princess. Thank Jesus, I could NOT do this alone.

I will miss my Rowie, but – it’s weird. I’m used to not having her with me 24/7. That’s what an 11-week + 5-day NICU stay will do to you. I’m going to go ahead and call it grace. I can’t deal with emotions of that nature right now.

Sarabi has been phenomenal. We have had Rowan’s swings and hospital blankets in our living room for quite some time now. She has been trained that those items – and that scent – is off limits. She is very slow to approach Rowan.

I remember walking into our bedroom – where Sarabi currently resides – with Rowan and Daddy on Rowie’s homecoming day. Sarabi’s ears perked right up. It was really sweet; not aggressive, but she was just very curious. I have a good feeling about these two. 🙂

And so it’s New Year’s Eve. My New Year’s wish for the last four holidays has been what I hold in my arms and heart today. Thank you Heavenly Father. Finally …

There’s not really an adjective to describe 2014. January-April: Hope. May-September: Joy. October-December: Joy/Brokenness/Fear.

January 17, April 11, April 16, April 22, April 29, May 1, May 9, September 29, October 8, October 9, December 29 …

Those days define my year. My 2014.

I have hope because the joy I carried in 2014 remains with me. I have my husband and my girls, don’t I? My heart is content. The pain of 2014 were incapsulated into just days. Those days are over; I don’t have to live them again.

Of course there is an enduring ache in my heart for Emmanuelle, but that is her place. She will not be forgotten. There is no closure or healing when you lose your baby. I can still have joy amongst that ache though. I choose to have joy, though my baby is with Jesus.

In the darkness last night, I looked at Rowan in her bassinet. I saw Emmanuelle’s face. When Rowan smiles in her sleep, I wonder if she’s dreaming of her sister.

Our suffering was never welcomed, but – boy – has it taught us how to cling to the good stuff. We let go of the small stuff, even the medium-sized stuff. Life is messy. But where there is love, there’s a lot of hope for tomorrow.

And I’ve got a lot of love.

My Cup

I hold my precious girl as I sob for my angel.

Rowan has endured five eye exams … among many other “things”. Her cry during these exams is absolutely heartbreaking. I can’t describe it, but I know it hurts. I sit in the room with her and the eye doctor and nurse. I am told I can leave the room because it can be tough. If my girl can stick it out, I can too. I don’t want to leave her side. I cringe and am on the verge of tears every time her tears start streaming. I’m not a masochist; this is just part of how I mother I guess.

I hear silence, confirm the exam is over, then scoop up my precious, brave girl. I hold her and am in awe of her bravery and strength.

I can’t believe she’s mine. I can’t believe I finally have her. My heart is so full. I thank Jesus for her as she snuggles against my chest. I ache for my Emmanuelle; I hold onto hope that Jesus is snuggling her in His arms.

I am vulnerable this week. I am starting to doubt Rowan’s homecoming in time for Christmas. It’s disappointing; I had daydreamed of Christmas Day with my family at home. I feel guilty too; my heart aches for my husband as I know he’d anticipated this as well.

It could be worse. I know. Trust me, I know. But I’ve hit a rock bottom that is so overwhelmingly fucked up – I just want my baby home for Christmas. I have endured my fair share of disappointments.

Melancholy.

The anticipated sleep deprivation hurts so good. These moments; these precious moments.

Her father and I watched videos of Rowan last night. Videos of her shortly after birth. I cried. It’s been a long, tough road.

I ache for Emme. The joy is overwhelming at the same time.

The gratitude also. That.

The Lord taketh, but – boy – does He give. My cup runneth over. Other happy assholes wouldn’t think so if they read my story.

But it does. It overflows.

Small Talk

Her doctor said he could arrange for a NICU transfer if we were unable to return to the unit where Emmanuelle passed.

Rowan still resides in Room 14; Room 15 was Emmanuelle’s.

I’m okay being here. Clearly, since today is Day 62. I never really wanted to leave. I’ve always trusted these people. They literally did everything they could.

For a little while, it was hard to look anyone in the eye who was working on Emmanuelle that night/morning … whatever. Now, it’s bittersweet. I know they carry a piece of my Emme with them too. I know Rowan has a special place in their hearts as well.

The charge nurse who administered chest compressions on Emmanuelle still refuses to acknowledge us. But I like that. It blesses my heart because Emme had that much of an impact. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want these caretakers to feel responsible or guilty. But Emmanuelle was a special little girl, and we fought hard for her that morning – all of us.

During the week of Halloween, Rowan’s heart rate and oxygen dipped down low for what seemed like forever. I was holding her; it was fucking terrifying. The doctor who cared for Emmanuelle while she was passing visited Room 14 to assess Rowan and the situation. He explained what scary things and what non-scary things could have caused this “episode”. I was shocked; I was scared; I started crying. I passive aggressively complained to him about how long it took a nurse to assist Rowan. I did this in front of the Godsend nurse who actually stimulated Rowan to “come back to us” as well as the nurse who was assigned to care for Rowan that day. She – the nurse responsible for Rowie – had sauntered on into Room 14 a bit late.

“My baby is 31 weeks gestation, and she just brady/de-satted for about two minutes. Alarms were screaming – the whole nine yards. Hurry. the eff. up. next time.”

That’s what I was thinking.

I really can’t imagine the look on my face during this entire exchange. Of course, Rowan was behaving very well; she had gotten it out of her system apparently.

Emmanuelle’s doctor blatantly stated: “You probably don’t want to be talking to me about this.”

“No, I don’t.”

Bless his heart. He’s a very compassionate doctor. I think that morning was hell for him too; I don’t know if he’s ever lost a baby.

“Trust me, I remember everything about that morning,” he told me a couple of weeks ago. “I even know it was your birthday.”

“Yea, we’ll just celebrate their birthday from now on,” I told him.

The week of Halloween was a low for us. We received a call on Friday night around 10:30. The doctor on duty was requesting a verbal consent to perform a spinal tap on Rowan. FANTASTIC. Her blood culture had shown bacteria … which could have been a false positive because Rowie didn’t seem sick at all outside of her … umm … “episodes”.

Excuse me, a false positive on a preemie’s blood culture?

Within the next week we learned that this sample was – in fact – contaminated because her follow-up culture was clear. Kiss my ass, you morons who contaminated my baby’s blood test. Do you have any idea…? Any idea at all…?

Thank our Heavenly Father that week is really the only low-low we’ve (I’ve? I don’t want to speak for my husband.) experienced with Rowie during this roller coaster from the depths of hell. Dramatic? Well, it IS that dramatic.

So … I spoke to Emmanuelle’s doctor today and asked him if we need a monitor at home for Rowan. He said no.

Damnit.

Rowan doesn’t need a monitor, but they’ll assess the situation before she goes home. You don’t understand how hard it is to watch your child’s stats teeter-totter for nine weeks, and think about taking her home without a monitor. Because she will de-sat. She will brady. Her reflux doesn’t only cause discomfort; it causes these episodes. And that’s why it sucks. Who knew heartburn could be so dramatic, right?

He told me I will be stressed. I will be afraid. He said it’s okay and totally expected … and – yet – Rowan will be just fine. *sigh*

BUT I WANT A MONITOR.

He explained what precautions he took with his own baby who was born full-term. He said he was scared too … because he knows too much. But – she will be okay.

He saw the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree I brought in for Rowan. Her nana bought it for her.

He very excitedly told me there’s a new Charlie Brown movie coming out next year. I imagine he will watch it with his family, which led me to ask how many kids he has.

“Just one. Yea. Will you have more?”

LOADED QUESTION.

He knows our history. He reminded us of it the morning of Emmanuelle.

“… and I know how hard you worked for these babies. Six cycles of IVF. Donor egg. I’m so sorry.”

He quickly encouraged me to take a lot of time to recover. Enjoy our little miracle baby, Rowan.

“I don’t even know,” I said. “If there’s even a chance of this happening … I can’t do this to another baby.”

And this was the best part. Without even missing a beat, he said:

“You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault. This is just how your body responded.”

Home Stretch?

Rowie is taking her time. She’s in no rush.

I, on the other hand…

Praise Jesus, the bradys and de-sats do actually go away. I couldn’t have imagined it if I tried. Thank you Heavenly Father.

Rowan received a large dose of caffeine last Friday to help her de-sats vanish. She just needed a little boost, and it seems to be working. If she can continue to remain stable – even after her eye exam this morning – the doctor will remove her cannula. If she can breathe on her own and remain stable – what a huge step! No more air blowing in her nose, maybe her feeding tube will be moved to her nose – and perhaps baby girl will be more interested in feeding by mouth.

Breastfeeding is my current dilemma. She does very well with the nipple shield, but lately she’s just been falling asleep when I hold her. It is wonderful to know that I calm and comfort her, but she won’t stay awake to eat! And I’ve tried skin to skin, tickling, etc. to keep her awake, but the cuddles are just too relaxing I guess. She also must learn how to bottle feed as she’ll need fortified meals and a way to receive her medication at home.

She’s, like, a baby now. I think she likes me. 😊 She makes baby noises and is huge! She gets upset, and I can make her feel better. I’m her mommy, and she knows it. I’m starting to realize that she needs me more than she needs the nurses/doctors. That makes me feel really, really good. I love her so much. She’s everything I’ve waited for.

I’m “allowed” to hold her whenever I want. I’ve been taking her temperature and changing her diaper. Daddy and I have been doing that for a while now I suppose. I’m very familiar with babies. I know how to care for them. I handle my Rowie like a baby. I’m not scared to pick her up or turn her over. I don’t worry about hurting her. I know what I’m doing; I get babies. Before, though, it was different. She. was. so. fragile. Limited touch, noise, light, etc. Now she’s my baby whom I know and understand how to handle.

I look at her “newborn” photos – the ones from her first days. To me, she is my two-month old baby. To you, she’s probably a newborn now. I never intended for her to experience our third trimester in an isolette, but she’s grown up so quickly before my eyes. I experience those bittersweet emotions just like any other mommy. I suppose I get bonus newborn-baby time though – if that’s what you want to call it.

There are other things here and there regarding her health that Daddy and I pray will resolve. They’re not worth mentioning, though. Daddy and I will worry about and deal with them. The point is: She’s perfect.

I cried on my way to the hospital today. Emmanuelle. I miss her – my sweet baby girl. I wish I could have her. I wish Rowie could have her. Often times I think about my experiences with Rowan and am reminded that I was supposed to have those experiences with Emmanuelle too. Gosh, that button nose and those eyes.

It sucks. She was so feisty. She was doing so well, then everything changed so quickly.

I’m holding Rowan now as her gavage feed is ending. There’s nothing better. But I’m starving; I haven’t eaten all day. Okay, I had two Ensure shakes this morning before my run. I ought to sneak in some lunch.

I wanted to write more, but I don’t have the words right now …

… Something about Emme being Rowie’s guardian angel … and how it annoys me when people compare Rowan’s birth gestational age to another preemie baby’s … and how it really fucking sucks to see #birthwithoutfear photos on Instagram because those moments look beautiful, and the birth of my daughters was horrific. How did Nina put it? “Violent and unpleasant.”

Alright, I’m pretty hungry. It’s time for my millionth Subway Flatizza at the hospital’s food court.

Unacceptable Weakness

To those of you I call friends and family:

How could I possibly be so insensitive … to disregard how you must feel, what you’re going through?

After all you’ve been through, you just want to celebrate the new baby: Baby Rowan! Just like any other baby who’s arrived on this beautiful earth, Rowan is no different. You don’t really want to see photos of her at two weeks old; I think those photos are precious, but you try to hold back your grimace because she probably looks like an “alien” to you. What kind of person am I to show you such images? I am so sorry. Let’s just talk about Rowan when she’s out of the NICU in her cute little outfits, content as can be. Does that sound okay? Let’s just disregard this place in time, move along with our routines. Of course all you have to offer right now are congratulations. I appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement; I bet you’ve never expressed such thoughts to new parents before, huh? The words you have to offer are so genuine, so sincere.

Oh, to mention your thoughts and prayers are with Rowan right now while she’s healing? No, no, no. Those words aren’t acceptable to write in a cute little card. We must. remain. happy. You have hearts of gold: Trying to help me “not remember” that my baby is in intensive care … oh, and my other baby is … um … dead. Were you sent from heaven as an angel to bring my heart healing?

I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to know that Emmanuelle died. It must be terribly uncomfortable for you to mention her. Really, we ought to sit down for some coffee or tea so you can tell me how hard it is for you. Please, please don’t put yourself through more pain by sending me a text message asking how I am or acknowledging Emmanuelle. I mean, she was only here for, like, a sec. Her life doesn’t really count. I don’t know; it’s almost comparable to the loss of a beloved dog or something. Let’s just stick to Rowan. Let’s just talk about Rowan. No, not that Rowan is in the NICU, and her heart rate dropped to the 50s and oxygen saturation dropped to 19 two days ago. No, when I say let’s just talk about Rowan, what I mean is let’s just talk about happy, cute, girlie, baby shit. I don’t want to cause you more pain or make you uncomfortable.

To those of you I call friends and family:

You are not going to help me “not remember” the hell I’m living. Rowan is the most precious baby on this earth; she is my entire heart. She is everything … and the moment I feel secure regarding her health, it all goes to shit. She “forgets” to breathe; her heart rate and oxygen saturation drop dramatically; her skin turns “dusky” – another word for pale as shit; and you have to forcefully offer physical contact for her to get her shit together and come back to us.

You are not going to spare me an ounce of sadness by not mentioning Emmanuelle. Would you like to know how it makes me feel when you completely disregard the life and loss of my daughter? It hurts my feelings. I am offended, and it breaks my heart for Emmanuelle. This precious gift, this beautiful baby girl who deserved better. She deserved all the love her daddy and I had to offer. She deserved Christmas mornings. She deserved family vacations. She deserved fucking Disney World. And you disregard her. How dare you disregard her. But you’re only human, right? And talking about her makes you feel too uncomfortable. Well, let me tell you: I was not uncomfortable at all that morning as I witnessed my intubated daughter dying. As I watched nurses and doctors give her chest compressions. As I looked across the room and saw my husband sobbing. As the doctor looked to us for a solution, for the answer – to let her die. He explained to us how much damage had been done internally. He told us they were offering 120%, but Emmanuelle was giving nothing back. My active, lively girl who danced on the right upper area of my womb. She was now dying.

I’ve never been to a funeral. I’d never seen a dead person. I certainly had never watched anyone die. Until that morning. I witnessed the struggle and death of my child.

And you refuse to acknowledge it. Not me and my feelings. Not my sorrow and depression. I couldn’t give two shits about my feelings. You refuse to acknowledge Emmanuelle. Does her name give you shivers? E-M-M-A-N-U-E-L-L-E.

I don’t expect the world to care about my daughters and me. I do – however – expect certain family members to utter or type Emmanuelle’s name during our encounters. And if you’re going to send me a damn card, I don’t need you to tell me what an adventure parenting is. Trust me, I know; it’s been a mother fucking roller coaster.

We are so afraid to talk about feelings. It’s as if feelings and sadness are signs of weakness. It’s a bunch of bull shit. These things happen, people. This is real life. It’s messy and unfair. Not my-baby-mama-is-a-bitch unfair. Really unfair. Like a 1 pound 10 ounce baby who’s fighting for her life and is 100 times the warrior you’ll ever be no matter how many damn marathons you run.

But we can’t talk about that. We shouldn’t even whisper Emmanuelle’s name … because it makes you too fucking uncomfortable.