The following months that lead up to my girls supposed to be 7th birthday, which is followed by the 7th date since her death (2 months later) so needless to say my not so good months of the year are soon to come; this time of year for me is heavy.
As the beginning of another season. The changing colors, fallen leaves of autumn, the beginning of another school year. Another year of growth for my other children, a new grade, a new teacher, whole new experiences. And one looming thought… the little girl who would be entering Grade 2, what would she choose to be for Halloween as an almost 7 year old? would she start to love math and hate art? How tall would she be now? …
My birth month, never a big celebration as I do not like being the focus or for money wasted. But the thoughts are always there, as I age. Am I wiser? Do I care more or less? I guess its all changed dramatically over time, through grief, because of life and its unrelenting series of events, be them good or bad. The future or death really is always at the back of my mind. And of course another Thanksgiving holiday without her…
I do not know if you’ve ever been to a schools Remembrance day ceremony? (Nov.11) Usually some of the kids sing sad songs while a slide show of graves and war pictures fill the room. Poems are read by innocent voices, too young to really understand the words that seem to make the adults in the rooms tear up. Outside becomes quite cold, the trees are bare and I always think of how in November of 2011 I was 8 months pregnant about to have a baby…
Was my favorite month, before… I used to decorate December 1st for the holiday season, a fun day of unpacking years of decorations, an activity I would get excited for every beginning of Fall. Something I once loved so much. Is now something I dread. Another Christmas she wont be here, her stocking, another birthday (Dec 30th) we wont celebrate, followed immediately by a new year. December is the worst…
How I made those 3 hour round trips to the hospital everyday, how I begged (felt like anyway) friends to watch my other kids so I didn’t have to drag them there every day. The cold, dark days, the fact another year has gone by just like that…
Is the shortest month of the year but the longest in my memory. I went out, for the first time in 11 months, to a parent advisory meeting, it was Tuesday February 11 2012, I went because an acclaimed parent speaker was giving a talk that night. Another mom commented, how she couldn’t believe I was there, you know having a newborn and all. She didn’t know I was trying for normalcy after what I had been going through since the traumatic birth of my daughter. The speaker had just started and 20 min in I got a call from my husband. He forgot to give our daughter her phenobarb (phenobarbitol is a seizure medication) hers was given through her G-tube and as I had always given the dose, he didn’t actually know how to. I later found out he called because our then almost 4 year old had fallen near where she was laying and it startled her so much that she went blank, he was scared and called me with the excuse she needed her medicine, which was partly true. So I left. I got home at 830, kissed my little 3 & 5 year old boys goodnight and heard Steve scream for me. Sheri come here! I ran down the stairs, I could hear the terror in his voice. Shes not breathing! I grabbed her from him, I yelled to call 911, to tell them an infant is unconscious and not breathing, that is what I learnt you say when you need them to come to you first. But in this case was also true. He put the speaker on, I explained I was giving her CPR but it wasn’t working, she asked me if I tilted her neck (step 2!) no, as soon as I did, she gasped for air. Seconds later the ambulance was at our door and once again I was abandoning my other babies in the middle of the night. Once again I was terrified and watching my littlest baby be hooked up to multiple cords, poked for IVs. But all I kept thinking was how my boys would be scared and sad when they woke up and their mom and sister were gone. I was up all night, they got her stable and all seemed on the up and up the next day, until she had 3 more seizures and I ran down the hallway as the room filled with too many doctors and nurses, codes being yelled over the PA. She was transferred back to Children’s Hospital where, x-rays and CT scans found other problem we never knew about, she needed a tracheotomy to breathe (a hole in her throat) if we wanted her to live. That was on top of the 3 heart surgeries we were already waiting for her to have, before this happened. She would never survive them, she wasn’t healthy enough, chances were slim for a healthy baby, which she wasn’t. I remember sitting in my room staring out the window as the doctor explained all the surgeries. That we needed to meet very soon to make a decision.
The world went still for me.
They tried to move us to the children’s hospice but I was too scared that she would die during transfer. Another regret I carry.
Tuesday February 18 2012 we signed a DNC (do not resuscitate) they took our her breathing tube, and IV and I held her as she took or struggled more like through her last breath.
Her funeral was a week later and shortly after that it began… the you must be ok by now comments that infuriated me, the you can have another comments, the she’s not suffering anymore, those expecting me to smile only months after her death. little did they know my grief journey hadn’t even started, as I was in denial after the shock wore off. Now I relive those early days, the middle struggle and the final blow every year and it starts in September and goes until February 28 when I get a slight reprieve from the heavy feeling that seems to live in my heart 6 months a year.
Thanks for reading,