Archive for March, 2010


New guilt

March 17, 2010

Somewhere in either my second copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting or What to Expect in the First Year (and considering how I feel about WTEWYE, the fact that I own two copies is an odd and contrary thing, but the first one we purchased in the early weeks of my pregnancy with Teddy and I can’t bear to throw it away, and the second, newer edition was given to me by my doctor’s office at my first prenatal appointment with Dot, and it felt like bad juju to decline it or throw it out) there’s a paragraph or two about second children.  Parents might feel guilty about the attention taken away from the first child, the book says.  This is normal, the book says.

I remember thinking, before Dot was born, that this would probably be true for me even though Teddy died, and – normal or not – it is.

I have moments where I feel like I’m letting go of Teddy’s hand, when I’m so wrapped up in Dot and breastfeeding and trying to reenter the workplace in a way that causes the least trauma to 1) Dot, 2) N, and 3) me, that I don’t have enough time for him, enough time to remember, enough time to chant my not-a-rosary prayer of “I want you back, I want you back, I want you back.”  As though I’ve let go of his hand in a giant grocery store or the park and he is wandering away alone.  I don’t want him to be lost.

I tell myself he isn’t lost.  Wherever he is, he is not only beyond my touch but beyond pain and loneliness and doubt.  Unlike his sister, who shrieks with outrage and panic when she wakes up all alone.  The LIONS could have eaten me, Mommy!  Why did you put me down?  Why did you leave the room?  How could you do it? I scoop her up and bounce her up and down and think, It’s not easy, Little One, not easy to be so far from you as even the next room, but sometimes a woman needs a shower.

Sometimes a woman needs a shower, a back massage, a hot meal, a nap, and a large tumbler of single malt, but has to make do with a shower.  A five-minute shower, because hair conditioner doesn’t rank as high on the list of priorities as it once did, and as for shaving the legs – forget about it.

I know the lions won’t get you, Teddy, my brave boy.  If there are lions where you are, then you growl and roar with them, scratch them behind their ears and run with them over the plains.  If there are lions where you are, you are their king.  But I wish I could protect you, all the same.  I wish I had more time for you, that I could hold more time for you now.  Even when I can’t, you are not replaced.  I hope you know that, but I need to say it anyway.  You are not replaced.  You are still wanted.  I still miss and love you, often desperately.



March 15, 2010

I’m back at work, part time only for a while, but I cried as I left the house this morning, as I took my breast pump and left Dot, who was (hopefully) drifting into her morning nap as she danced in the arms of her daddy.

I’ve never been apart from her this long.

I would really rather not be apart from her for this long for at least another year, but so go the realities of my finances and workplace.

I would have felt this way with Teddy, too, but if he’d been born healthy and thriving, if he’d lived, I probably wouldn’t feel this irrational sense of entitlement. I should get to spend all the time I want with my daughter, after losing my son, shouldn’t I? I ask this of the universe somewhat hysterically, my voice going up in pitch until it’s a near-hysterical shriek.

Shouldn’t I, damn it?

I order books and fix a few web pages and annotate some document I wrote last year, and exchange pleasantries with the few colleagues who are in over the spring break.  I sit here with her photographs on my computer screen as I long for the weight of her in my arms again, for her sleepy, milky smell to fill my nose.  It’s full of aching, this day, full of ouch.

But in not too long I get to do something else that I never got to do with Teddy – I get to go home to her.  And this is a dear, dear thing that I am not taking lightly, about which I don’t dare be ungrateful.  So I stew in the gratefulness and ungratefulness that is today, wishing I were home, wishing I could go home to them both.



March 8, 2010

I keep poking her or pulling on her little hands to make sure she’s only sleeping. I have a feeling I’ll be doing this, one way or another, for her entire life, and I can only hope that it doesn’t drive her crazy.

And I find myself looking at her every day, wondering if her brother would have been this alert at this age, if he would have been making the same kinds of small grunting noises when starting to nurse, how his personality would have started to make itself known.

It’s such a joy getting to know this baby, but such a wrench (and the postpartum hormones probably haven’t helped with this) to see so many of the details of what we’ve been missing.



March 5, 2010

These words from Much Ado About Nothing kept coming back to me before, during, and after Dot’s birth. We didn’t send birth announcements, but if we had, I would have worked them in somehow.

…for out o’ question you were born in a merry hour.

No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star
danc’d, and under that was I born.

(This is also a strong hint as to Dot’s first name, for the curious.)

Here are two shots of our girl. She looks much less like her brother than I’d thought she might and much more like herself than like N or me.

We’re so excited for the chance to see how she grows up.

Dot, sleeping

I’ve been away from a computer with an internet connection for far too long, and my phone, while wonderful, just isn’t quite the same. That, and the fact that Dot doesn’t like to be put down very often, and the fact that it’s taken us a while to get the hang of the breastfeeding thing (thank goodness for lactation consultants is all I’ll say about that for now) are my excuses for not posting these pics earlier. I hope to be posting more often now, though. I’m starting to shake off some of the hazy isolation of new parenthood and reemerge into the world a little bit – a mixed blessing, but hopefully ultimately a good thing.