Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Toby

July 5, 2011

Today Toby would have been one year old. We would have been past all of the baby things like formula feeding, not getting any sleep, constant crying, colic, fussiness, and frequent diaper changes. He would have been settled into a routine, Sam would have been well-adjusted, and we would have started feeling as though we were getting our life back. Instead, we’re starting over.

Toby’s entrance into the world was about as dramatic as they come. Although some people think they like to understand and know what it was like because we’ve talked about it and they’ve heard snippets here and there, it isn’t possible to relay the emotions that we were going through at the time.

I had a horrendous pregnancy with him (not as bad as this one) and his birth almost killed us both. But he was born happy and healthy and didn’t even cry. In fact, he just kind of looked up at me like, “Wuz up?” I was so happy that he was okay that I didn’t even mind that much that they had to cut my favorite dress off of me because it was so soaked with blood. Even though the Hyatt had to throw away our mattress and towels because no amount of cleaning could get that blood out, a manager still called the hospital and checked on us. It ended u p being a good night because he was born and he was okay.

The next 6 weeks went by in a blur. Although a few people met him and spent time with him (especially the folks at the writer’s retreat who spend an entire weekend with him) we didn’t really have that many visitors and basically kept him to ourselves. Nobody got to really “know” him but us and while I go back and forth on how that makes me feel, in the long run I think it’s okay because it meant that we got to spend special time with him.

I have come to despite religious talk about death  unless it’s in a educated setting where sharing of ideas is acceptable, but one woman in my support group said that she thought that some preemies were born early because they knew that they were going to die and they wanted to spend a little time with their parents, first. I like that idea.

I recently watched the movie “Rabbit Hole” which wasn’t quite as bad as I had imagined that it would be and there’s a scene in a support group meeting where a woman is talking about losing her child and says that “God just needed another angel.” (Aside from the fact that people don’t become angels and that angels are actually another species altogether) Nicole Kidman’s character retorts, “Then why doesn’t he just make another angel? I mean, after all, he IS God.”  It’s a very good movie about dealing with the death of a child and it’s not as depressing as it might sound.

I don’t believe that Toby is in any kind of version of Heaven. He had an old soul and seemed very knowing. I like to think that he had other things to do and might be back on this earth, bound for greater things, or perhaps acting as a spirit guide to someone. That makes me happy. Occasionally I feel his energy around me (but it’s not often) and  I think that he probably stops to check in on us now and then and see  how we’re doing. But I don’t feel his presence like I do Jim’s or Nana’s. I think he has moved on. I’m glad. He had things to do.

Except for the last two weeks of life when the PTSD was starting to get bad and I was drugged up a lot, I can remember almost every single day of being with him. With Mom and Pete at work and Sam at daycare he was like my little sidekick. Because the pregnancy had been so hard I never really felt connected to him in-utero, and once he was born it was hard to connect him to the child that had been growing inside of me, but I still loved him. As soon as they let me have him I kind of looked at him like, “Where did YOU come from” and he kind of looked at me like, “You don’t like anything like the inside of your stomach,” So I think we were both a little surprised.

I feel bad for the family members and close friends (the one who were close before he died, not the ones who became close afterwards) who never met him because they truly lost out on something special. And I feel sorry for the ones (family this time) that just completely ignore the fact that he lived and died. At the end of the day with all of their anger and hatred and finger pointing at me, it’s really their loss that they missed out on meeting someone who was truly wonderful.

We should have been planning a great birthday party for today or yesterday or at least been on a fabulous trip, maybe back to Boston, where we could have celebrated there.

Our plans are to go to the cemetery tomorrow and put some flowers on the grace, along with some American flags and pinwheels. I hope to be able to plant some grass seed and top soil while we’re there.

I have hopes of meeting him again someday. Not in an afterlife or anything, although I think at least he and I will be together in Summerland at some point. (Maybe or maybe not with Pete since he doesn’t believe in soulmates or necessarily an afterlife.) But my astrologer said that I would see him again in this one. Maybe he will be some drifter that we pick up on the side of the road when we’re old age and we give him a ride for a few miles, a la the movie “Made in Heaven.” Or maybe he’ll be someone that I stand with and chat on an elevator with one afternoon. Or maybe he’ll come back as my grandchild. Maybe he will just be someone that I meet in passing and have a good vibe from and never really understand why. Thoughts like this make me happy.

We tried to focus on Iris a little bit today, too. We had a portable bassinett from Sam but it’s decorated in Noah’s Ark and I never really liked that. So we took an old tablecloth with a ruffle and sewed it onto the existing ruffle. Then, I took a flowered pillowcase and sewed it up and made a sheet for the mattress out of it. Pete took the matching pillowcase and made a pillow. Sam used another piece and made…something. With the third pillowcase and a soft blanket, I made a quilt. So it all matches and it was a nice stress-relieving activity for everyone .

Some people at the Board of Education’s office sent me a bunch of presents and that was really nice. I also got a gift from someone from my support group whom I have never even met and Rita from Hazel Green supplied us with bottles. The rest of the stuff we’ve received has come from Mom, Angelina, Tasha (Giovanni’s wife) and things that I have ordered myself from Amazon. The travel reviews I do give me Amazon gift certificates and so far I have managed to but most of the stuff from my registry.

We canceled the baby shower and Toby’s memorial service because it just felt like too much work. I didn’t know if I could do all that cooking and cleaning and even though I’m not on bedrest I still feel miserable and walking even for a few minutes takes a lot out of me. We decided to just keep it in the family. Sam was bummed, though. I was going to have two stations set up: a design your own onesie station for Iris and a quilt making station for Toby. But I like making things so I’ll probably still make a quilt for him. I’m in the process of making one for Sam out of his old baby clothes.

Anyway, happy birthday Toby. I wish we could have had a part for you and had lots of cake, ice cream, and balloons for you to play with. You are still thought of every minute of every day and I will always answer, when asked, that I have three children.

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