Last night I experienced a dream
where I had just delivered a teeny, healthy baby girl. She nursed with ease and
I felt joy in nourishing her. This of course contrasts my last nursing reality,
where my baby daughter preferred a bottle to my warmth because the stress I was
under stole my milk away. In my bright dream my body was strong and
healthy. I was up moving; going places the first day after delivery which, while in the dream gave me happy satisfaction, upon waking left me utterly empty. Because I wake up to a body with three c-sections, all products of the tragedy of my
conceptions. Even if I had the miracle of carrying a baby girl healthily to
term, I would never again give birth naturally: certainly wouldn't be springing
about hours afterward.
All dreams string along some bit of the bizarre and this dream's oddity was that I nursed my sweet
baby for twelve perfect minutes, then laid her to sleep while I left the hospital
and visited my sister and brother in law. I shared my triumphant delivery news only
after chit-chatting for some length. How had I forgotten such a monumental life event? They looked from my flat stomach to my empty arms and their eyes
asked the question their decency did not allow voice; why had I abandoned my baby?
scene the dream’s warm, joyful feelings were drowned out by several sudden fits
of panic as I dashed from place to place, ecstatic for the physical ease of
vaginal delivery then suddenly seized with fear that I had forgotten to go back
and nurse my baby! I was a busy mother of four kids already and I couldn't
remember to feed my new girl baby every three hours. What kind of mother was
I? How could I take my miracle so lightly? Why didn't the joy I felt lead me to
hold and cherish my baby? Was she okay, left alone with nurses and sterile
rooms, possibly crying for food? What was wrong with me?!
with the wanting of a baby coursing through my body, and the shame of failure bubbling
up from my gut. I did love my first two children and their natural deliveries.
How could I have known how special those seasons were and what grief I would
later carry when I could no longer experience such birthing joys? Dreaming for a child is simple, pure, filled
with love. It is both noble to pursue and magical to experience. I have been
given so many gifts in my children, more than many, both in the children living
and the dead. As the door for healthy, natural delivery of a Haught child
closed, my heart began slowly, ever so quietly to grieve.
Now, almost two years
after my last girl was miraculously born via a reckless C-section – the stubborn fighter I was told was
miscarrying – this grief has spilled over. I wade daily through the loss. Last
night it poured over into my dreams, though babies were not on my mind the day
before. I feel gratitude for what I have been given and sadness that I can not
control my family and reproduction like many other Americans. My sadness
surprises me! It shocks me. Sometimes it shames me. So here is my confession - a voiced fear. Here's to living with peace, contentment, gratitude, even
while dreams are stripped away.
Reading about seratonin, that lovely "happy chemical" which I appear genetically low in, I came across this -
In humans, defective signaling of serotonin in the brain may be the root cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy genetically modified lab mice to produce low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The results showed the mice suffered drops in heart rate and other symptoms of SIDS, and many of the animals died at an early age. Researchers now believe low levels of serotonin in the animals' brainstems, which control heartbeat and breathing, may have caused sudden death. If neurons that make serotonin — serotonergic neurons — are abnormal in infants, there is a risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
(Wikipedia article explaining seratonin)
Happy to hear a possible, likely scientific link that can be measured and even altered. Irritated that I have never had a hormone panel done in pregnancy and neither have my little babies. Knowing people who have lost an infant to SIDS, who also have depression in their family, I wonder, could a lack of seratonin have been culprit? Could a life saving solution be so simple? Once again, the gross under-researched mental health part of humanity leaves a chasm of pain that will no doubt one day be filled in with hard-packed grains of awareness and simple cures.
My still born's birth day is in 2 days. I think about it a lot;or more to the point, the fact pops into my head a lot. Then it gets quickly rerouted under a pile of other avoided thoughts in my mind. Certainly this sorting isn't conscious, but it's real. My infant death daughter, Claire, with her shimmery copper hair, had her own birth day just two months ago and I did the same thing leading up to it. I have been doing the same procrastinating and avoiding each and every passing birthday - combined now there have been 9 (well, will be in two days). So I think 9 times over this behavior can be considered a pattern!
My heart feels the reality and the love and the loss but my mind doesn't want to linger there for long. No answers yet, just an observation.
One day, hopefully soon, I will write about Claire's special 4th birthday. It was a powerful one that I am still recovering from. This birthday particularly struck my daughter this year. And for Jackson's 5th year birth day service? I've decided to veer from our "normal" service and do something less monetary but nonetheless vital: write. I've decided that I will write a piece about his life/birth/impact/etc. I AVOID it like I do the planning of these babies birthdays, even while it hurts me to do so. I never feel completely at peace if I'm not writing about it in some fashion.
While I still don't understand the losses or my life in any sense, really, one tiny solid gem I do have is this: that the stories must be written. Jackson told me there was a mission for me and my husband in his death. So here's to discovering it, to living it. This year I am giving service to myself. (Sad that I really do need it this year. But that's okay, right? We all need some servicing now and then.) I am going to sit with that side of me that avoids the pain and the plans and the memories and I am going to allow her to come to the top of the pile. Then I am going to write about it. Somehow I know that this would greatly please my son.
I'm going to AZ soon. One must do on the trip is a visit to the graveyard. Urgency compels me to check in and make sure it's safe and intact (it's a private graveyard in the high desert). But I dread the visit secretly. I haven't told even my husband (have I? hmmm...can't recall) how going there makes me feel helpless. And I HATE feeling helpless in regards to my babies! As other parents know, not getting to save your child's life is undermining enough. I hate going to the grave and wanting to make it better while physically unable to do much. I want a tree, or two or three growing there. Mesquites grow naturally. We might prune a few into trees and with just the magic of the sheers and time receive a beautiful shade source. But the Haught family has some powerful aversion to mesquites and my husband forbids it. My mom and step dad planted a Palo Verde once, to commemorate a birthday. It was gone when I came back a few months later. Apparently the Haught aversion extends to Palo Verdes as well. Desert Landscaping doesn't translate well into Peaceful Haloed Gravesides. So I feel helpless and maybe just a tad resentful of this hand tying!
Nature itself seems to push down my high imaginations for my family's gravesides.
One thing thrives in the graveyard - red ants! They love Jackson's grave. Each visit we faithfully eradicate the ant hills and each time in between the visits the bustling ants build another home.
Still, I would not trade my helpless frustrations for a public graveyard. In AZ so many cemeteries require only silk flowers - NOT my ideal gift of love to my babies. In Coupeville, Washington, where I currently live, the town cemetery forbids silk flowers! I just discovered that gem this weekend while on a rambling drive by the seaside cemetery. That's one thing about the small town I really love! Maybe I aught to empowering myself with my graveyard and only allow real flowers to be placed there!
Christmas is around corner and I just wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my thoughts.
I am being a secret santa to one of my best friend who became a single mother of 2 young girls last year.
Instead of buying gifts to each other or to our family, we decided to send cash to her in memories of Jackson and Clair.
She won't know who it came from, but she'll know that she's rememberd and loved, and that someone wanted to be extra nice to her because of 2 angels I know.
I think of you and your babies a lot, and i hope you and your family will feel their presense close always, especially this Christmas season.