Friday, August 04, 2017

WTF Emotions

When Lucas was born, I was totally unprepared.  I thought I was prepared.  I had planned for months for the hypnobirth, listened to the tapes, read about baby's first year of life, breast-feeding, went to all the pre-natal visits.  I would bring a boy baby into the world, he would be tiny, he would cry - a lot - I would be sleep and shower deprived and eventually I would go back to work and Phil and I would take on the task of raising an awesome human being.  How hard could it be?  My mom did it 7 times!  She didn't have any special warnings or give any advice for what to do if things didn't go as planned.
Things did not go as planned.  My baby didn't want to enter the world easily.  I ended up with an unintended c-section that I was badgered into by a doctor who needed to leave for his holiday vacation because the baby was not moving into position after my water broke.  Fine, c-section had not event been on my radar, but fine.  Except, not fine, because I hadn't planned on it, so hadn't read up on any drugs they might try to give me after birth, which might make breastfeeding difficult and which might make my mind very foggy.  I just took what they gave me.
He was (is) a beautiful boy.  But soon after bringing him home, he was crying all the time.  I do not exaggerate.. it was pretty much most of the time.  He could not latch on and I did not get it until much later that the reason was because I was so engorged.  So we went to some formula to supplement.  He never did well with that and was pretty much unhappy for for a year.  I can happily report that he remembers none of this and is now a very happy teenager and the most "chill" kid.  He goes with the flow and will strike up a conversation with just about anyone.  Love him forever!!

Cut to 2nd child, I knew I might end up with a 2nd c-section but hoped for natural birth.  But my daughter also didn't want to move into position many hours after my water broke and I had gone into labor.  But this time I had a card up my sleeve.  I politely declined all pain medication, save regular tylenol, from the nurses.  I was not going to be in a fog when my baby was near.  I was going to read all of her cues and all the cues from my own body.  I ended up with a healthy girl who cried a lot, but not more than a normal infant, who nursed easily and was a very happy baby.

I learned a lot from my first pregnancy and from Lucas' first few years.  I was able to take that knowledge and use it to help with the arrival of Amanda.  I have often heard that first children are the guinea pigs... we parents don't really know what the fuck we are doing the first time around.  But the second time... we've got it.  Sucks to be the first kid.

Why am I writing all this... my children are tweens/teens?  Phil and I had a rush of emotions this evening when talking about Phil's mom, Jeme.
Jeme was a  beautiful woman who deserves her own post devoted to all the cool things she was, but this post has to do with what Phil and I were lacking when she became sick.

I have been racked with guilt ever since she died.  If I had known this, if I had done that, if Phil and his brother and father had done such and such... I have laid awake many nights in anguish, never sharing my thoughts with Phil.  Tonight I did.

Jeme is the first of our parents to die.  She should not have died.  And if she had been the 2nd of our parents to become sick, she wouldn't have died (at least not yet, we will all get there eventually).  She was our guinea pig and I don't know if I can forgive myself for not knowing what I should have known.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, we listened to what she said the doctors said.  We went along with her choice of treatments. Phil and I visited every few weeks and noticed her weakness and chalked it up to the Chemo.  We sent care packages to make her more comfortable.  The grandkids called.  But what we didn't do was go to a doctor's appointment with her.  What we didn't do was question her choice of treatment.  What we didn't do was be there more.  We knew Jeme didn't like to impose, that she didn't like to push.  She wouldn't have asked us for help if she needed it.  We should have insisted.  We should have questioned chemo for a 77 year old woman who was not the most virile of people.  She was strong in mind, but not in body.  We went with the flow, not wanting to rock the boat, just like Jeme.

Her death was totally unnecessary and avoidable.  Yes, she had colon cancer, but she could have lived with it for years without treatment.  Happy years to sing in the church, be with her husband and watch her children and grandchildren.  But she died too soon because we didn't push and she didn't push.

Phil and I have knowledge now about what we will do different next time.  But that is fucked up!  Next time won't save Jeme.  Next time is shit. And it kills me and I think it kills Phil too.

I miss Jeme most when I look into my son's eyes.  I remember the first time she cradled and rocked him and kissed his sweet head.

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