It has been five months now since the birth and death of my son and daughter. When I close my eyes at night it still feels like yesterday that I was holding them in my arms saying goodbye. My life has been shaped and changed in so many ways since August 19th, 2012. I can see some positive changes coming through, and some negative too. I am holding out hope that the positive changes will stick around and I will slowly be able to let go of the negative. In some ways I have come a long way, but I also have a long way to go.
Since the day my daughter Gwenevere was born I have been a laid back parent. Even after she hadn't nursed for 24 hours in the hospital and the nurses were concerned about her blood sugar getting too low I knew she would be fine. She would eat when she was hungry, and she did. When she got sick for the first time at four months old, I didn't freak out or really even worry. I knew that the virus would run it's course and she would be fine. This in not to say that I never worried. I had my concerns like any normal parent. I worried mostly about my breast milk production and if it was enough for her. I worried about what foods to feed her when it came time to start solid foods and I decided to make her food myself from organic fruits and vegetables. I worried when she got a MRSA infection on her toe and I took her to the urgent care to get her on antibiotics right away. I worried about her frequent ear infections and that she was on antibiotics for too much of her first year. One thing I never worried about was her ability to live. That seemed like a given. She may get sick and hurt, but she would be fine and would grow up into a wonderful young lady.
Now that I have watched two of my children die with the knowledge that there was nothing anyone could do to help them I have developed a fear. I fear for the life of my toddler. She is an overall healthy toddler, with the exception of a nut allergy. Logically I know that she will be fine. But, emotionally I can't help but freak out whenever anything goes wrong. Yesterday she woke up from her nap crying and inconsolable. I didn't know what was wrong and I couldn't help her. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that perhaps her appendix was about to rupture, or maybe she developed a severe form of autism during her nap and she wouldn't be able to communicate with us anymore. Crazy, I know. Eventually, she calmed down and within an hour she was back to her normal happy self. Perhaps she woke up with a tummy ache, or she had a bad dream, or maybe she was scared because she woke up at my parents house instead of her own bed. Whatever it was, she didn't die from it.
I think before James and Penelope came into my life I never really knew what loss was. I have never had someone so precious to me die. Now, I know what it feels like to lose someone that is part of you and it scares me to death. They have made me realize just how precious Micah and Gwenevere and all of my friends and family are, and how quickly they could be gone. I let my irrational fears of Gwenevere dying take over sometimes, I can't help it. She is my child and the thought of losing her is just too much. I have learned that hospitals can't always save your child. Sometimes they gently put their hand on your shoulder and tell you "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do". That is terrifying.
I know I can't live in fear forever. It will break me if I let it take over. I am working hard to let go. I remind myself that my child is healthy, and if she gets sick or hurt we can most like fix whatever is wrong. There is always a chance that my daughter could die. Everybody has that chance, everyday. But I can't let the fear take over my life.
The one good thing that has come from this is my complete and utter appreciation of my little girl. Gwenevere is a miracle. Everyday that I am with her is a gift and I plan to live it that way. I don't roll my eyes when she she has a tantrum over getting her coat on. I don't lose my temper when she says no to everything that I suggest. She is amazing, she is my gift and I love every moment that I get to spend with her. I can't wait to watch her grow up into an amazing young lady.