Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fragile. Handle with care.

I can't wait for this year to be over. Not the calendar year, I mean what should have been Thomas' first year - March 2005 to March 2006. I need this year to be over so I can stop remembering what I was doing a year ago when that year included Thomas.

I thought the holidays were bad - and they were - but I now find myself almost apoplectic at the thought of March so fast approaching. I can remember it all like it was yesterday, those last few weeks with my boy.

The evening of Valentine's Day, 2005 we spent at the hospital with other expectant couples. It was our labour and delivery orientation - a night that reassured Sandy and completely freaked me out. Afterwards we went to the store where we'd bought Thomas' crib and picked up the missing screw set that we had to order once we discovered we only had half the hardware. Then we had ice cream and went happily home, thinking about what was to come just a few weeks later. Or what we thought was to come, anyway. We naively believed it was going to be the start of a brand new life, but we had no idea that new life would be not his, but ours without him.

February 28th was Oscar night and we spent it at my sister's house, as always, trying to win her annual Oscar pool. I made a ballot for Thomas too. None of us won, but of course I really didn't care because I had everything I'd ever wanted. I was truly blissfully happy. Scared to death at the prospect of giving birth, but blissfully happy just the same.

The next day at my 37 week appointment my OB determined that an induction was in order because my blood pressure was starting to act up ever so slightly. And that's when our journey into hell began. The induction ended up being delayed for a week and I got my first application of gel on Monday March 7th. Thomas was born via C-section two days later.

Then came the horror of finding out he was brain dead, the horrible decision we had to make, the infection, the prolonged hospital stay, planning the funeral, the service and the slow road to both physical and mental recovery.

Which brings me here - January 26th, 2006.

Lately I've been having really strange and disconcerting flashbacks. They don't come in pictures or memories exactly, they come in feelings - in disturbing waves of emotion. It's hard to explain, but obviously something is triggering memories I've tried very hard to forget or to move away from, and the trigger takes me screaming back to an instant of horror and then back out again before I can fully piece together the origin of the terror. Sometimes the sensory memories (for lack of a better descriptor) aren't even horrific ones, which leads me to believe that those are happier, pre-trauma moments I'm being reminded of. Both kind shake me up and leave me feeling more fragile than I care to.

I really hope I'm not going insane.

I can only assume that because I'm getting closer to his birthday I'm remembering more and more of what I was doing and feeling and experiencing a year ago. Maybe I'm mentally preparing myself for March - maybe my brain is giving me sneaky little reminders so I won't be overwhelmed when I'm swimming in memories and sorrow on his birthday.

I don't know.

Oh God, just when I think it's getting easier...


Sherry said...

It's still so unreal that this is how your first year after Thomas' birth has been spent - running from flashbacks and nightmares - instead of messy diapers and sleepless nights. As you've told me, it will get easier with time ... and maybe what you're feeling now is a temporary setback.

And, you most definitely are NOT insane. If you know nothing else, please know and trust in that. ((((HUGS))))

Bronwyn said...

The first anniversary was really intense for me, so I can completely understand your apprehension. It really did start to get "easier" after the birthday passed. I think once you're past the "A year ago we were doing this, thinking that, feeling this way" the intense pain starts to ease a bit. (((Big hug)))

kate said...

I second what Bronwyn has said -- the first year is just so hard and the first birthday is a whopper. I will be thinking of you and your sweet Thomas (((((((hugs)))))))

Anam Cara said...

I could have written this exactly one year ago. My Thomas' first birthday/anniversary was in March 2004 and I was feeling everything you are feeling. I was convinced I was completely losing my mind. I kept reliving and replaying everything in my mind, the "happy" days and weeks leading up to my labor, then the labor itself, and the horror of how it all went tragically wrong. I'm sure I had post-traumatic stress disorder. The first anniversary,and the time leading up to it, is incredibly difficult. I think what you are going through is normal. You aren't going insane. But it was dealing with the first anniversary that made me seek out a therapist, because I couldn't handle the feelings and emotions on my own anymore and I had no one else to turn to. I'm not saying that is what you need. But the next few weeks will be intense and difficult so try and be gentle with yourself. And we will be here for you. (((hugs)))