Saturday, September 22, 2007

But I'm still okay

We went to a Fall craft fair this afternoon, My Beloved, my sibling and I. Even though I was initially disgruntled by the unseasonably (and decidedly un-Fall-like) warm weather, it really was the perfect day for strolling along outdoor corridors lined with craft booths.

I could have spent a fortune, but I ended up leaving with a catnip toy for Lucy, a tiny stained glass stocking ornament for the tree, a bar of cranberry olive oil soap (sounds weird but smells wonderful) and pumpkin honey, courtesy of my sibling.

It was, as my Dad would say, delightful.

And the whole time I felt peaceful and happy. I enjoyed myself. Really and truly.

Yeah, my uterus ached a little whenever we passed a booth filled with gorgeous handcrafted baby clothes, but as long as I kept walking (at a good clip) and didn't let my eyes wander, it was okay.

The whole day was just so good. So much like old times - the old me.

The funny thing is, I'm not entirely sure why I'm still managing to feel so good. A spate of recent births has brought up some very vivid flashbacks over the past few days.

Without warning I find myself in the OR staring at the back of the hulking pediatrician as he instructs the team working on Thomas. His gown draped over the front of his massive shoulders, the ties dangling down his back. His hands on his hips, his body bent over the tiny, lifeless body of the son I can't see and haven't heard.

Or laying in my hospital bed splayed out like a thief about to be crucified as nurses try to find veins in my arms that hadn't collapsed while a small, humourless doctor staples up a leak in my incision.

Or looking out the bathroom window of my birthing suite at the dark, almost-spring sky and the snow drifted up in mounds along the side of the roof. Before the epidural, while I could still walk. While Thomas was still alive.

They keep popping into my head, these flashbacks. They usually end with a wince and a shake of my head as I force myself back to the present. Back to a life that somehow feels okay despite having memories like these.

I wonder if people who have normal births and take home live babies do this when they hear about three or four people giving birth within a few weeks of each other. I wonder if a volley of births does this to everyone or if it's just me - just those of us who didn't bring our babies home.

I don't know.

I wish I could quiet the memories. But at least they aren't intruding so much that they're ruining the progress I seem to have somehow made, against all odds.


Rosepetal said...

I have these types of flashbacks quite frequently. I also wonder how it was ever possible for life to go on but it has.

B said...

I have a theory about feeling OK in times of trauma. It is so suprising to not be feeling horrendous that you feel almost elated by the experience.... as sense of anticipation... or of super-power.... or something.

As for the flashbacks and all the babies being born around you. Well, all I can say it "That's hard" . I hear you respond "tell me something new". Which I can't.

Enjoy your pumpkin honey

Shan said...

After having both birth experiences, I still have flashbacks to the one that ended sadly, especially when I'm surrounded by recent births. It never seems to go away. *sniff* *sniff*

Sarah said...

Lurker here, hi! (I wanted to email you but I can't find your email on your profile. But I'll post a comment instead.)

I'm so sad about your losses.... just devastating.... What you describe in this post sounds like PTSD. Maybe it would be good to talk about those traumatic flashbacks with a counselor...just thinking out loud here and I hope you aren't offended by the suggestion. Counseling has been helpful for me for other things that seem to be much smaller than what you have experienced. Just a thought.

On the other hand, it sounds like you are managing through it in a healthy way.
Best to you,

Ruby said...

I have flashbacks of both my babies births. I even have flashbacks of my miscarriage and more recently the death of my mother. Most often though it's of my daughter. I guess lately it's been of my mom. I think it's absolutely normal. We were there, it was a major event in our life.

Sending you hugs & prayers.

Hennifer said...

My 1.2 cent... I haven't suffered the loss of a child but I did have two very unwanted c-sections with my children and everytime I hear a baby is born, or a birth story, I flash back to my births and all the what haves/could have beens. I am going through a horrible divorce too and according to my therapist flashbacks are completely normal when you have been through trauma. It is your brain's way of going back and trying to process parts of the trauma you couldn't deal with any of the previous times you've dealt with the trauma. Like I said, her words not mine but they make sense to me and don't make me feel like a freak.