Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11th, 2008...

...was the day that, at about 10am, the kindly man from the funeral home came to take Josie gently away from me.

I remember how he was shaking a little bit and on the edge of tears as he cradled her gently like any other newborn baby, and I told him "take care of her for me" in some cliche way (isn't that what you expect someone on TV to do? Only it actually came out of my mouth rather naturally) and he replied "we will..."

He was in a black suit, looking very appropriate I remember. I suppose people from funeral homes have to dress appropriately in black an awful lot, because of their professions. One can't work at a place like that looking like Rainbow Brite, after all. He was very, very nice though, that man. I felt sad for him because he was almost crying.

I was alone when Josie left and for a moment, as she was taken out of the door, I felt like panicking - I felt like I was losing my grip. But then, the morphine kicked in again and I turned to the somewhat pacifying television set and looked for something "normal" to watch. I think some kind of morning show was on: lots of people cheering, looking like the most spectacular thing that had happened to them that day was being part of the studio audience. Good for them, I thought. Life is obviously normal somewhere.

The hospital allowed me to eat something for breakfast that day, as well. I think it might have been something savory. My doctor came in and told me that according to blood taken earlier that day, my count was something dreadful and they were going to put more blood in. They then did that, along with saline. I do believe that at some point around midday my blood oxygen level started to improve to the point where they felt it was okay to unhook some of the machines.

I cannot for the life of me remember much about how I spent the entire rest of the day. I know they got me up and walking later that afternoon, finally, after my bloody, messy, frightening (more for the nurses - I just felt bad about the amount of blood they had to clean up) attempt the previous evening. I walked all the way down to the nurses station and all the nurses were rather impressed. My favorite nurse, Ann (who, much to my chagrin, has now retired) came and visited me. I think many people came and visited, and I had no idea what to say to any of them.

H came back with A, who wanted to leave, it seemed, much too soon. I begged him to take her home to grandma and then to come back and spend the night. I didn't know how I was going to get through the quiet hours without my morphine drip. It took some convincing, but he agreed. He then left to take A back home...

I remember that evening, being so grateful for the fact that H was there. Babies crying startled me...and they were everywhere. My ears seemed to have become more acutely aware of absolutely every noise, and I became frightened by the drug-induced and hormone-induced dreams I'd have when I drifted off to sleep. Coughing hurt, and I felt congestion building in my lungs as I lay there in bed; my incision was totally numb and the little butterfly stitches felt so strange and dry to touch. My belly was bruised completely black from the attempts to get Josie out in time.

It was a strange time: I was kind of in purgatory between being fairly calm and simultaneously wanting to scream and totally lose my mind - perhaps that's how it feels, just before one goes completely mad. I think they call it "on the brink" and then you have to make a choice: go crazy, or start climbing through the most insane territory possible, to get back to a new normality somewhere far ahead; somewhere legendary.

So my first night without Josie, I can't say I was "in denial" because I knew perfectly well what had happened. But, at the same time, my body was certainly pumping me full of all the happy hormones it could, because I'm sure some part of my brain knew that if it didn't, the shock might totally overwhelm me and stop my heart.

Now we're a year later and I do think about this day in 2008. I think for the next week or so, I will be following a time line - re-stepping in the days of last year. I'm so grateful that Isobella is here to keep me company though - she's such a blessing and a total miracle because looking at the state of my body this time last year, I'm surprised my ovaries didn't just shrivel up and die... Thank goodness for life's unwillingness to just "quit."


margaret said...

What a terrible experience for you Jay. I know for me, I managed to hold my physical self together until after my son had passed away. After leaving the ICU, I developed the worst migraine I'd ever had in my life and by the time I had reached my room I was shaking and sobbing uncontrollably. I then threw up which was unbearable painful with my incision and then my bladder shut down. It's so hard to be in that emotional spot when your body is shutting down from all the trauma it's endured. Josie is beautiful and I am so sorry she's not here with you. It's such a terrible, painful thing to lose your child. I ache for every mother who has gone through the pain of having to say goodbye. When the funeral home came to pick up our son, I was still admitted to hospital and it was wrenching to let him go...Sending you hugs.

A day in the Life... said...

Thank you for sharing and continuing to share about Josie.

Emerging Butterfly said...

Dearest Jay Jay...Thank you for sharing your story.

I've been thinking about my own it over and over in my mind. All of the WHY's get louder each day. So many sweet mothers with the tears of loss in their hearts....I admire your courage and sweet way to go on with your head head high after such a nightmare. You are an inspiration to me. I am so excited for you to have sweet Isobella. I can feel her light all the way in Montana.

Love to you, Isobella....and dear Josie.