Monday, November 23, 2015

All Tied Together

A trigger warning: this post mentions the birth of my second child after the loss of my daughter at 22 weeks gestation, and this new baby's early hospitalization for viral meningitis (from which he very thankfully recovered).


I am at home on maternity leave. My son was born in early October. He came earlier than expected because he wasn't moving enough during a biophysical profile, so they bumped up my c-section and we had him that day. I was grateful that my doctors took a conservative approach given my crappy obstetric history. He came out kicking and screaming and peeing and with great Apgar scores. He was feeding immediately, with a great latch. I felt blessed. We came home after the initial hospital stay and had a one night of familial bliss: dinner with our other two kids at our dining room table and stories before bed, all five of us together. I'm not sure that we'll ever feel like a "complete" family, having lost Chiara, but this togetherness felt pretty good. We made it, I thought, we're home. Relief.

My relief did not last for long. I woke for feeding during the night, and he was doing great. When my husband went to change him for a feeding around 5am, he noticed that he was very warm. It turned out he had a temperature. We called the doctor and were advised to go the emergency room. We called my mom to watch the older boys, and when she arrived, we left for the hospital. There we learned that he would need to be admitted for at least 48 hours, and would need a spinal tap. We watched while they did the spinal tap to collect fluid for the tests. I won't go into all the details, but will just sum it up to say that it was a very hard four days. He would not eat, was barely conscious at all, and we were pretty convinced we would lose him. About the time that the cultures came back with a positive result for viral meningitis (the least troubling possibility), he started to improve. And then all of a sudden he was back to himself and we were going home again.

And now we are home. We are all getting to know this new babe, watching his every move. His older brothers love to touch his feet, and want to watch him nurse, watch him sleep. They are proud big brothers. I am finding my postpartum emotions better than the last time around. I am still emotional, but less teary, and for less time. I am grateful. For that, for him, for his older brothers. We still mourn his sister. Having a baby in the house again makes my emotional scar tissue throb. What could have been, what we missed, who we are missing, these things occupy my thoughts. I rock him, I marvel at him, I marvel at his brothers. I cry for our good fortune, I cry for my missing daughter. All the joy, all the grief, all tied together.