12.14.2008

Residue


Finally, home is home again. We are still pretty traumatized by all that went down, and glimmers of how close we came pop up frequently. Just now as I opened up our blog to make this post, I realized that the last batch of pictures that I posted could have been the last pictures that I had of my daughter. I stare at them and think, these could be the pictures that I spent the rest of my life looking at, wondering what she would have looked like all grown up.

One of the days we were in ICU (they all blend and mix together- already our memory has the twists and holes that traumatic memories have) this reverend from the pastoral care department at the hospital came in. Now, I'm open to some spiritual support or what have you, so it wasn't unwelcome or anything, but I'm also just a tad bit busy staring at Hazel and watching each breath on her ventilator come and go, willing her to heal. So this woman comes in and introduces herself and she has like 8% of my attention as she is talking about something or other and I'm mostly humoring her because I used to be a medical Social Worker and I know how hard it is to impose yourself into someone elses crisis. Until she says, "You know, sometimes the blessing in these things happening is that we learn to not take things for granted as much any more." This is the part where I am this close to tearing her head off. I said to her, "I had to go through a lot of fertility treatments to get my daughter, and I was diagnosed with a chronic illness three months ago, so I have not really been in a position to take my baby for granted," which I thought was very diplomatic, all things considered. Then I turned my chair so my back was to her and made it clear that I was too busy watching (with quiet intensity) Hazel's little chest rise and fall to continue to humor her.

I am in love with Hazel beyond all reason. I am lucky enough that I have felt that since the moment I met her gaze. I have watched every perfect cell division in her beautiful little body with awe and wonder. I can't tear myself away from watching her sleep. She and I were made for one another, we fit perfectly. Every love song written is about her. For the rest of my days I will unfortunately carry the image of her turning blue, foaming at the mouth and reaching for me in terror. Of her reaching over the surgeon's shoulder screaming for me as he carried her off to the OR. Of her intubated. Of her hands tied to the bed. Of her coughing up bright, terrifying blood in my arms alone at home. I will never forget the hollow sound of my screaming, or what my husband looked like when he was broken, wracked, curled in a ball in the PICU hallway. I will never forget the feeling of desperately wanting to leave, to walk out of the hospital so that I would never feel what I was feeling because it was simply intolerable. Wandering with dizzy eyes because everyone said, "go get a cup of coffee," but feeling the physical pull back into her room like a rope around my waist. The nausea. Her thighs losing their delicious baby fat, wasting away, her limp arms and neck, her swollen ankles. The constant beeping. The nurses quiet head shaking, clucking, shushing. The doctors hugging me. Every moment makes my throat start to tighten up like hers did.

I am not having nightmares, but certainly flashbacks. Certainly this weekend there was a measure of denial, as we get back into our routine as quickly as we can. But Hazel is different. She continued to grow the almost-month that she was sick. Her hair is longer and curlier, her voice is different, and she laughs at everything all of a sudden. Our time stopped, we lost a month of our lives, but she grew on.

Thank the heavens for our friends, who have been kind beyond measure, for strangers who have been generous beyond my wildest expectations. For pranayama which has let in all the goodness and light and rid me of poison. For acupuncture and the amazing sister-mama who has started healing me with it. For massage because human touch is divine in it's ability to repair any damage to the soul. For those asanas which open the hips and shoulders and keep me standing. Thank the heavens for my husband who is truly my partner and the moment that I felt we were too drawn to support one another was the moment that I thought I might die. We have our girl. Our bright, shining, funny, sharp, silly, beautiful, warm, perfect, spectacular, brilliant, stunning girl who is our moon, sun, star. From here to the sky and everything in between I have never taken her for granted, and plan to spend the rest of my days bathing in her perfect breath.

18 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

Amanda, Jamie, precious Hazel,

NAMASTE

AlePancha said...

Oh my.... you make me look at the window, and watch the perfect winter-blue-grey ocean and thank.

Little Miss Maia said...

Do you realize what a gifted writer you are, Amanda?

heather said...

I want you to know that your awful journey has made many a person remember to not take anything for granted.
Hugs to all.

COsurromommy said...

That was beautifully written. What you went through is my worst nightmare. I am so thankful that the outcome was as good as it has been. You have amazing strength and I wish your family nothing but the best for the future.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Your post was breath-taking. I am so thankful and elated for you that you have your precious girl home with you, where she belongs.

anna said...

Thanks for remaining us to thank every day!

Kisses!!

Brenna said...

Truly babies belong to all mothers. Your baby is mine, too. My Anna is yours. I anticipate these updates and share them with my friends and family as I post my own blog to share my baby girl. Thank you for sharing Hazel, she is lucky in so many ways.

Magoon Family said...

You are a great writer. That was a powerful post. God bless.

Corleigh said...

You are amazing. What a beautiful family. We are all blessed to have you in our lives!

Kerry Lynn said...

Oh the tears.
Those memories are just horrible but thank heaven those weren't the last pictures of Hazel (that really got me).

tallgirl said...

HURRAY! I can't even imagine.

trish (nj) said...

i cannot stop crying. your family has touched the deepest part of my mama-soul. just imagining feeling what you have felt makes my heart ache. but...hazel is a brave, strong, powerful woman. i suspect she is much like her own mom in that respect. i am so happy that you are all together again - living, loving, laughing. through my own journey of mama-hood, i take your story with me. i vow to hug a little tighter, snuggle a little closer and live and love more intensely because of the stories you have shared. i don't know you, but my thoughts will always be with you. (((HUGS))) trish in nj

cloth.paper.string said...

oh my. how beautifully said.

Samm said...

I happened upon your blog a couple weeks ago by clicking around random baby blogs. I got really caught up in your sweet Hazel's recovery. I am so so glad she is home and recovered. Your post titled "Residue" brought me to tears. I have a 3 month old girl and Hazel reminds me of her. I felt like I was experiencing it for myself. I hope the trauma you and your husband felt fades a bit over time. Good luck.

www.ciunibaby.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

My husband and I got a tiny taste of what you've been through recently when our daughter was born last year. By the grace of God, she only had to stay in the NICU for a week. Since seeing your story a few weeks ago, I have thought of Hazel often and prayed for her speedy recovery. It is wonderful to see her beautiful face without all of the tubes. It makes me smile and get a lump in my throat at the same time.
Merry Christmas!
Hugs and Kisses from Texas!

emily said...

i just found my way here via cloth.paper.string. i am covered with goosebumps and filled with joy for you that your daughter came through this ordeal. and i am wishing you - all three of you - peace.

Heather said...

I love you so much Amanda. You are amazing and thoughtful and beautiful and your daughter and husband are blessed to have you in their lives. I pray that we can come together in the future, that our babies can come together and that we are continued to be blessed by their wonder, joy and love.

-Heather(theslp)