I think about Thomas every day. He's always sitting there in the back of my mind, and thoughts of him float freely to my consciousness with comforting regularity. Most of the time the thoughts are quick and gentle - they're no longer always desperately sad. But sometimes the thoughts are intense, and not gentle at all.
For some reason my brain takes me back to a particular moment and plays out the memory like a movie - word for word, just as it happened. These movies start playing without any warning - I'll be in the shower and suddenly I'm transported back to the birthing suite, or I'll be washing dishes and the next thing I know I'm at Thomas' funeral. They're always jarring, these daymares of mine.
I usually end up with an ache in my stomach and that empty, gnawing feeling of desperation because I know what's going to happen next and I can't do a thing to change it. No matter how many times I play the movies in my head they always end the same way. And the worst part of these movies is that they're true. They're real. They happened to me, to My Beloved and to our precious little boy.
It's just so frustrating. I can finally think about Thomas without automatically remembering the complete horror of his birth and death, but for some reason I still can't let go of that horror completely. I take myself right back into that terrible darkness and confusion when I let those movies play out in my head.
But I can't stop them from coming.
My last OB appointment, the induction, laying on the couch timing contractions, waiting for the birthing suite, My Beloved plugging the toilet, having my water broken, getting the epidural, the fitful three hours of sleep, being told it was time to push, the increasing pain, three hours of pushing, begging the nurse to let me stop, the OB giving me the option of continuing or having a C-section, being prepped for surgery, falling in and out of sleep during the delivery, waiting for them to show me my son, hearing them bagging him but not knowing what the horrible squeaking sound was, seeing the backs of what felt like a hundred people as they tried desperately to revive him, asking anyone who would listen what was wrong with my baby, praying desperately for God not to take my son, waking up in the recovery room, being told he had a 1% chance of survival, telling a nurse I didn't want to pray with her, not being able to look into My Beloved's eyes, calling my Mother to ask her if she thought taking him off life support was the right thing to do, sobbing, asking My Beloved if he believed Thomas would go to heaven, seeing him for the first time before being taken to my room, marveling at his beauty, feeling the warmth and softness of his tiny head underneath my hand, holding him while we waited for him to die...
I don't think about these things all the time. I couldn't possibly or I'd go insane. I take the good parts - the sweetness of his little face, the weight of him in my arms - and I change them into memories that are somehow not connected to the horror of those two days in March. That's what I do most of the time. And that's how I survive.
I'm startled by the movies when they happen, but I'm just as afraid to have them stop altogether, to be honest. What would I do then? My memories are doctored up as it is, if I lose the real ones I'll have nothing. So right now this is working for me, I suppose. I'll just have to accept the jarring nature of the movies when they start playing and know that once they're over I can go back to the way I've become accustomed to living - with the sweet thoughts of my baby instead of terrifying ones.
I never in a million years would have dreamed I'd have the mental energy for all of this, but somehow you do what you have to do. I want to remember Thomas - I want to remember everything about him - but I don't want to be sad all the time.
So this works. It's a roller coaster, but it works. And since I can't get off this ride anyway there's nothing to be done but make the best of it.