Only The Good Die Young

Today was Mo's first pediatrician appointment.  Considering that Max's pediatrician never suspected that anything was wrong with him and that Max's "incident" was only 5 days after his nine month visit, I just don't know how important this visit could possibly be to us.  Obviously, it IS important.  We want to make sure there is nothing glaringly wrong with our baby.  But, I am not worried about the obvious stuff.  I am worried about the insidious, hidden, "something" that no pediatrician would ever find.  And, since we have an appointment with our geneticist and one with a SIDS specialist already set up and another one with a pediatric hepatologist pending, this one seemed like small beans.  Still, it was good to know that this pediatrician, who was standing in for our future "regular" pediatrician as she was on vacation, felt that Morris is a very healthy little baby.  

I nearly had a little panic attack in the examining room.  I am not sure what happened.  The doctor was talking to us about "stork bites" (birthmarks) and acid reflux and other stuff that seems so unimportant to me and I started thinking, "Oh my god, my baby Max is dead" and I suddenly felt totally light headed.  I probably should have had some lunch before we went.  Plus, I have been nursing this kid like crazy for days.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  The room was burning up and then a kid in the room next to us started screaming bloody murder and I am surprised that I didn't just fall out of my seat.  My mother-in-law, who was with us, saved my day and went and got me some water and crackers that totally helped me get back to myself.  I am sure that the doctor thought I WAS completely crackers.  But, it's all too much at times.  And, how can anyone look at Mo and tell me so definitively that Mo is healthy, knowing that his brother was too?  

For the last year, I have had Billy Joel's song, "Only the good die young" playing over and over in my head.  I love the song.  We danced to it at our wedding.  I've always preferred "laughing with the sinners" to "crying with the saints".  But - not now.  Now that I've spent a full year crying over the death of a true little saint.  A little boy who did nothing but make people smile.  It was playing in the car on the way to the appointment, while I sat in the back seat looking at my sweet little lovebug.  I didn't stand a chance.


Susan Ireland said...

I have given the issue about how others can be so "unworried" lots of thought, and I have a theory - not sure if it will help your thinking, but here goes. It is simple. Other people interpret Catherine's death as a "freak event" that will not happen again. Indeed, when I express alarm that Miss M might catch chicken pox, they quickly become agitated with me. After all, they accepted Catherine's death a long while ago - it was a freak event, and it won't happen again. Most people's experience is of children suffering with chicken pox is that they get better, and human beings are notoriously poor at assessing very high and very low probabilities. That is why people are happy to play the lottery, even though there is practically no chance you will win. Effectively, most people reduce the possibility of a traumatic low risk event, like dying on a plane, or being in a fatal car crash, or whatever to zero - I suppose it is a tactic for dealing with life. It makes our fears seem impossible, which is jolly comforting for everyone else.

Our perspectives are very different. Our realiity is that healthy children just die. Rationally I know that Miss M has a jolly good chance of making to 101 years old, but your perspective on risk changes an awful lot when your child has died. And we are obviously sensitised around the "risks" that killed our children, and sometimes our friend's children. I am nervous of bunk beds, for example, as one of my friend's children died falling out of one in a freak accident.

Miss M is my big worry. In the days after Catherine died, I was initially concerned about my husband. I literally expected him to drop dead, and would feel more content if he was in my line of sight so I could literally see he was still alive. Now, nearly all my fears are concentrated on Miss M., and disproportionally on preventable diseases for which there is a vacinne. I get on a plane, for example, and my fears would be around catching something from the air circulating, rather than the plane crashing. I tend not to worry about my husband at all, even though logically, he (at 50) is at far greater risk of strokes, heart disease and cancer - and is therefore much more likely to keel over than Miss M - esp now she is 1.

So I suppose others' lack of concern for our precious new babies simply reflects the way we feel about things which we haven't been sensitised to.

By the by, I also find it easier to do for other people's children. When my friend's kids got chicken pox after Catherine died, I absolutely felt that there was no possibility that they would die. I truly expected them to recover, which they did. I know I wouldnt' feel like that if Miss M got it.

The "OMG Max died" moment is something I recognise too. They are something I didn't get at all in the beginning, but get maybe once or twice a week now. I think in the beginning, Catheirne's death was always at the top of my mind. As my life has become more normal, and as more pleasure has crept into it - I think you can get these sudden... I suppose it feels like the world crashing in - and you can't beleive that life is going on normally. Sometimes they come with a helping of guilt - sometimes not. It is shit - but I do think they indicate that you are recovering.

Much love to you Abby - I am so glad that Morris has had a clean bill of health. That is good to know. xx

Fiona said...

I agree with Susan. After Jude died I was consumed with fear that Isla would too. It almost seemed impossible to me that she wouldn't.
I have recovered from that fear and in fact I've eased up on my worrying about her compared to how I felt before Jude died. I think the fact that I tried to protect them from cars, strangers and preventable accidents and he was taken by something I'd never heard of made me realise that I can't control everything. I still risk-assess every move but I'm not paralysed by fear anymore.
I'm sure that I'll feel the same as you once this baby arrives and I'll have to try to surrender again or I'll drive myself crazy. We are living a different kind of life now aren't we?
One step at a time. X

Zo said...

Here Abby, I just came across this article that is not totally related to your most recent post but I thought you would be interested:

Love XX said...

Abby, I'm always concerned about my girls, I have become better at not waking them up during the night just because they are sleeping deeply. Like Susan said to people what happen in ou case with Jayden is so rare ( a freak accident) that doesn't have a chance to be repeated. I in other hand feel we will be the lucky ones it will happen to. So we are still in the terrify phase, slightly better sleeping. I'm sure every emotion and feeling you have is completely normal. We are so happy the baby Mo Is so good. And I'm sure the next few appointments will help. Love, Kira