So as it turns out the ticker is fine. Stress is the reason for the sudden (and, in my mind, alarming) increase in the frequency of my heart palpitations.
It took a while to get the results back (evidently cardiologists and family doctors see nothing wrong with buzzing off all footloose and fancy free on vacation while I sit at home worrying about my impending cardiac arrest.) but all's well that ends well. My heart is just fine.
Which of course means that my head is the problem.
On Saturday My Beloved and I went to a local maple syrup festival with my sister-in-law and my five-year old nephew (who, incidentally, is the cutest and smartest five-year old on the planet).
It was bone-chillingly cold, but the bonfires, candy shanty, scavenger hunt and maple syrup drenched pancakes and sausage more than made up for the biting wind.
I was having a really good time.
But on the wagon ride back from the pancake house the "if" word crept into my head. Because, of course, if Thomas was alive, we'd have taken him too. He would have been sitting beside me and his cousin in the wagon, bumping along, giggling and enjoying the beautiful winter day with his family. With me.
If instantly crushed my heart.
But I battled back.
"Yes," I told If, "We would have brought Thomas along. But this is still a good day. The sun is shining, my tummy is full of pancakes, and I'm spending time with another little boy that I love. It's still a good day. It is."
And If shut up.
I bought a shadowbox, finally. I've been wanting to take some of Thomas' things and display them in a small shadow box for a long time. His crib card, the hat the nurses bought him, his wrist band, maybe even the little lock of hair they saved for us. They're all still tucked up in the lacy white fabric bag they hospital quietly gave us after he died.
I brought the shadowbox home, got out the bag, took everything out, and almost instantly felt sick to my stomach.
I couldn't do it. I smelled the little hat, which has been sealed in a plastic baggy, and the hospital still clings to it. I could smell the day he died. I could smell the days after it, the days I refused to leave my room and kept the door shut against the sound of live babies crying all around me.
And I felt sick.
And then achingly guilty for feeling sick.
So I put it all away. Packed it back into the little white bag and put the empty shadowbow in the spare room along with my yarn and Thomas' change table that now doubles as craft supply storage.
It'll be there for me one day when I'm able. If I'm able.
Today at dinner, after asking me what I was thinking about and listening to my answer, my Beloved paused and said, "There's a lot of thinking going on in that head."
Yeah. And that's the problem.
I've been having some really, really odd dreams lately. The strangest involved Cher and a sadomasochistic dwarf.
Clearly my sleeping mind is doing its very best to keep me preoccupied lest I think of something very real and very sad.
Excellent job, mind. Excellent job.
But, uh, you can stop now.
A very good friend of mine just got herself a brand new nephew. A beautiful, chubby legged little boy joined their family a few days ago, so new he squeaks.
I was snooping through photos of the baby posted on her sister's Facebook profile, when I suddenly realized I was dizzy.
I was loving the pictures and then, in an instant, had to get them off my screen.
This is all new, these physical reactions to grief. Feeling sick, feeling faint. All new. And annoying and disturbing.
I tested myself today by watching a few minutes of A Baby Story.
Just so you know, I'm not ready for that either.
March came so quickly.
I might not be ready for A Baby Story, but even though it snuck up on me, I'm ready for March.
We have Thomas' special birthday plans made, I have work to do this week and a children's art class to teach next week during March break, and I'm ready for all of it. I am.
I miss the boy. I miss the boy dreadfully during March. But I'm looking forward to celebrating his birthday in the cozy way we've settled into remembering it.
And I know he'd approve. And that's all that matters.