Thursday, November 26, 2009


Last night, U had a seizure.

I knew I loved my children but did not realize the depth and power of that love until I thought that one of them was dying.

Piper came into our room at about five. I heard the bed squeak in the children's room and told H that "U is going to be scared without Piper." Then I heard a thumb, and a kind of rhythmic beating on the floor. I must have known at some level what was going on because I got up and ran in. I wish there was a way to convey the terror of seeing your child, so tiny and vulnerable on the floor, their body arching in rigid movements, eyes rolled up into their head. There was a part of me that knew he wasn't dying but it didn't stop anther big part of me from thinking that he was. I screamed for H to call 911. He was really right behind me. I was kicking stuff out of the way, and H was on the floor beside U. I ran upstairs and called 911.

Then I couldn't go back into the room. For a few seconds, I stood terrified at my open door, talking to the dispatcher, trying to hold it together but knowing deep inside me that I was not sure I could mentally survive U dying. And there was dark terror that one could love another human being to that level. To love something as fragile as a human takes such an enormous risk.
All this went through my head in seconds.

When I walked into the room, at the dispatcher's request, H was sitting on the floor, holding a non responsive U, and crying "Please Goosey come back." "Is he breathing?" I cried. "I don't know." H said his voice hoarse with panic and that same despair that had settled deep inside me. He was breathing. H moved with him onto the bed while I paced on the phone with the dispatcher waiting for the medics to come. At first, Umberto was unconscious. When he came back to us, he didn't appear to recognize us, and then he finally looked at me and whispered "Mama."

I felt detached at this point.Almost as if to feel would take him from me. Maybe if I could shelf some of this intensity the pain would be less. I ended up driving him to the ER. Trying so hard to chat like everything was okay. Inside I was crumbling, terrified that he was going to seize in the car or that he would die before I got him to ER. Once in ER, he quickly came to himself. He was reading, talking to me, responsive, not shaking anymore. He only lost it when they had to draw blood.

They don't know what's wrong with him if anything. I guess it's fairly normal for children to seize without reason. We were told to watch him basically to see if it happens again. Living like this is a bit scary. I didn't dare go to sleep when we got back until I knew H was going to be awake watching over him. I find it hard to let him out of my sight. I have broken down a few times today, leaning into H and sobbing. This love is scary and painful. To know that to lose someone so fragile could be so devastating is a frightening prospect to look full on. And there is no longer the option of distance. This is the child I carried in my body, that I pushed into the world, that I nursed. He is like my own body but not...even more of a wild card than my own body. But I can not not love him. Not have him buried deep inside me.

Love is a wild and dangerous thing. Unpredictable. But for today, on this day where we are supposed to give thanks, I give thanks every time I see my little man. Knowing that he is alive.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Four Months...Give or Take a Week

Apologies. Still awaiting that glorious second trimester when the world is wonderful. Where I am fertile pregnant goddess with thick, silky hair, and boundless energy and patience. Currently, I am still sick. Two months of being congested, plagued by awful headaches, and an itchy chapped feeling face have left me exhausted, grumpy, and a bit bitter. Tonight I am riding the worst spell yet. Headaches that are so painful that I literally can not move for hours on end. I am attempting to sleep in the recliner because I am unable to breath laying on my back. It's all quite dreadful.

The blueberry seems utterly unaffected (of course one could argue he's a damn parasite sucking my life energy away but we won't go there will we?) His (no I have no clue about the sex) kicks grow stronger each day especially when I lay down at night. His nudges are reassuring as I plod through this fog of illness. H has felt him a bit which is pretty exciting. This pregnancy seems to be flying by....soon to end with my last baby. Funnily it feels so complete that I don't have any sadness over this image. With Piper I felt a bittersweet emotion every time I imagined her as my last one. I knew, I guess, that I wanted one more.

And Piper. I am sad about my baby girl. I find myself cuddling her, holding her on my lap, nuzzling her soft fat cheeks, her little neck. She squirms, eager to get away, to run and play with her siblings. It makes me sad to think that she's not the baby in so many ways. Sometimes, she still creeps into bed with us at night, and I relish the feel of her little body against mine. I bury my nose in her hair and inhale her scent. I know that when day comes, she will break from me to assert her own self into the world. When we go to the park, she runs with the big kids now, and I find myself panicking a bit but then remembering that Camille ran with these kids when she was four.

The other ones are home now. I will write more about this decision on their blog. Maybe tomorrow. But we are all happier and at peace. I love waking up to them! Not waking up to the dread of having to get them up. Umberto's already making more and more progress in his reading. Camille is nearly fluent. They act liked freed birds.

And I finally have a place to give birth. I had given up on my home birth, and had decided we couldn't afford the birth center. I didn't feel like I had in me to fight my insurance over this. Then about two weeks ago I got an email from the midwife who works at the birth center. It was about insurance, and I felt like it was a sign. While the OB practice I was going to was was just fine. I didn't feel happy about my decision. It was impersonal and no matter how much they tried to hype it, I was going to give birth in a hospital. I called her and made an appointment to meet. Of course we didn't have an auspicious start. H took my keys to work along with my wallet so I had to cancel about a half hour before I was supposed to be there. She was wonderful about it and we re-scheduled.

On Tuesday, I loaded up the beasties (they get to come to these visits) and we head to South Carolina. The center didn't look like much. A brick office building, bleak on a cold rainy day. I bundled up the kids, feeling discouraged. Did I want to give birth in an office building? But then we walked in, and Damaris came to greet us. I knew immediately this was the place and that she was the one. The inside was peaceful and simple. There was a quiet waiting room with a big TV (much to the joy of the beasties), two lovely rooms (Camille wanted the purple one) with big friendly looking beds and a birthing pool (I can have a water birth!!!!). The exam rooms were not doctor like at all. Damaris was wonderful. She spent a lot of time talking to me, getting my birth history, getting to know me and my concerns. She also talked to the beasties, and explained them to every step of the exam. She let them hear the heartbeat, and I will never forget the awe in their eyes. The way that Umberto sort of visibly melted. She understood that this was our baby not just my baby.

I have no idea how we'll afford it if the insurance doesn't cover it but we'll figure out something. I simply must give birth here. It's the closest thing to home.

Hopefully I will be back to write more. I have many things to write about. I have finally begun to read Proust and am now consumed by memory.