This time

Everyone I talk to assures me that what happened to Maxie will not happen to Mo.  I haven't figured out what makes them so sure.  Mo doesn't seem any more healthy than Maxie did...even though people keep saying "Mo is healthy!" was Maxie.  But, everyone says, this time I have an awareness of what could go wrong.  I am not sure how that awareness changes anything.  It has been implied that "last time" I was a first time mom so maybe I made mistakes.  What mistakes did I make?  I was very careful.  VERY careful.  My Maxie was very well cared for by me and I was cautious.  But, this time I can do things differently.  Like what?  I could vaccinate differently or not at all...but I don't really believe that it was a vaccination that killed Max (neither do any of the doctors), so how will that help Mo?  (Was my mistake trusting doctors?  Who else am I supposed to trust?  All I know about babies is what I have found in the many books and websites that I have read through since Max was born).  I am staying home with Mo and didn't stay home with Max.  Most every mom I know has had to put their child in daycare or use a nanny.  Obviously I will never know what happened at Maxie's daycare that day.  The idea that there may have been an accident makes me want to die but is the implication that Max died because we made the very hard decision to send him to daycare?  You use a nanny, babysitters, and daycare and your kid is still alive so what gives?  I have logged on to Ted's Facebook page and I have seen photos of friends co-sleeping, with loose blankets, and tummy sleeping babies.  I never did any of that and my child died.    Two days before Max stopped breathing, we went to a birthday party where a mom left her newborn baby sleeping, face down on a blanket in the yard unsupervised and went inside to get a drink and socialize a bit with the other parents.  Ted and I were in the yard watching the baby (not that we were asked to, but it seemed like someone had to take responsibility for this child) and a guest nearly stepped on her.  That baby just celebrated her first birthday....but I am the bad mother.  And, no, nobody has actually come out and said that it was my fault, but that is what I hear when you tell me that "this time" will be different because I will do things differently.  The implication is that "last time" I did something wrong.  And, don't you think I beat myself up every single day?  I can't believe that Maxie isn't here.  I am dying without him.  My only respite from the pain is my love for Morris....and I am not really doing anything differently with Morris so far.

On Wednesday, we went to see the geneticists, so that they could take a tissue sample from Morris's forearm, to test for the disorder of which Ted and Maxie are carriers.  The geneticists don't even think that this is what killed Maxie.  We are being extra cautious and protecting him as best we can but how do you protect a baby from something that can't even be identified?  I am completely frustrated, stressed and worried.  What can I possibly do "this time" that I didn't do last time?  It is a mystery to me and totally crazy-making.  Will this time will be different because I have learned something since last time?  I haven't learned a thing and even if I had - the implication is that Maxie my "starter baby" to figure out what works and what doesn't work and "this time" I can apply those lessons to ensure that Mo lives.  Maxie was loved (IS loved), well cared for, and the center of our universe - the very most important thing that ever entered our lives.  I miss him more every single day.  If I could have prevented his death and didn't, then I wish I wasn't here anymore.  The burden is just too great for me to bear.


Bianca said...

Abs, I see so many parents--through work, through socializing, through my own family. And when I saw you in action with sweet Maxie, I was really moved by your amazing bond and all the care you put into parenting him. From the bottom of my heart I know that you did everything to keep your boy safe and healthy because I saw it and felt it everytime I was with you and your beautiful, beautiful son. I'm so sorry for all the pain and crazy making and although it must feel near impossible sometimes, I hope that you can trust your mama instincts with baby Mo.

Mom said...

Abs, You are the best MOM that there ever was. I don't think that when people say this time the are insinuating that you did ANYTHING wrong, just that what are the odds that it could happen again. I know odds don't speak well to you. You and Teddy are the best parents I have ever seen. I never saw more cautious, loving parents. I am so sorry we all lost Maxie. All of our hearts are damaged.

jessica said...

I second Bianca's comments. You and Ted did an amazing job with Maxie. You were careful, loving, attentive, fun, thoughtful and thorough. You guys did nothing wrong, nothing. Anyone who might think otherwise does not know you nearly as well as they might think. Just being around you guys, for even one minute, it was obvious how much you adored Maxie and what incredible care you guys took of him. I wish you had some peace of mind about what happened with Maxie. It must make it so very scary and frustrating when thinking about Baby Mo. It is incredibly unfair that Maxie is not here with you guys, it is unfair that you have to question how you did things the "first time", it is unfair that any implications are made about anything. Crazy making is right. I have no answers for you. I wish I did. But I do know that you guys did everything and more in your care for Maxie. And you will do the same for Morris. You are an incredible Mama and Teddy in an incredible Daddy to both of your boys. They are, indeed, the center of your universe - one only has to look at the pictures of Maxie's smiling face, your and Ted's smiling faces while holding your boys and, in a more concrete way, this blog to see how very much you love your precious Maxie and Baby Mo. I am so sorry that you have to carry this burden and all of this heartache. I send all of my love and strength to the four of you. xo

Fiona said...

Abby, we both know that you would've done anything it took to save Maxie. You did nothing wrong and although I think all of us bereaved parents feel guilty it's not really our fault.
I think people want to just say anything to give you reassurance. I've had people tell me that they "know" my unborn baby will be okay because we've already had our bad luck. People are stupid and clumsy but they want to make us feel better.
I reassure myself by the fact that most children live to adulthood. Even careless parents who aren't nearly as protective and loving as we are have children who live long lives.
love to you all,

Susan said...

Oh Abby. I'm sorry you're so stressed. I do know how you feel. When Miss M was born first off I felt so relieved that she was alive and here. Go read my blog entry from when she was 11 days old.

I don't think people think you were a crap mother or did anything wrong. Dead children scare the crap out of people, so believe you me, if they really thought you were to blame, they would be telling you in no uncertain terms. It would make them feel a whole lot better and safer to think you deserved what you got. Nobody thinks you contributed towards Maxie dying.

I think the more likely problem is that people don't want to admit that Mo could die too. Nobody wants to feed your fear. And it is easy for them - because most people reason that babies die infrequently and Mo will probably live to be 103. And in all probability they are right. But it is easy for them, becasue their children haven't died.

I think the task for you and me, (and our husbands) is to accept that we may lose another child, but to learn to live with that. We need to be happy in this moment, without letting the dark thoughts take away any pleasure from our present.

I know it feels almost impossible now, but I promise you that this too will pass. You've just given birth and become a mother again. As the weeks pass, and Mo doesn't die, you will learn to believe that things will probably be ok, and that you are allowed to be happy. What you're feeling is really normal - and familiar to so many of us bereaved mums who have had another child.

My advice would be to give into your feelings at the moment. If it scares you to think too far into the future - then don't. If you need to sleep in the same room, or need to have Mo within sight, or need to sit and watch his chest go up and down... then just give yourself that reassurance. Gradually your fears will subside. And be gentle with yourself - a little pampering wouldn't go amiss.

We were the best mothers we knew how to be. I tried as hard as I could. I did my best. That is all we can ever be. xx said...

Ohh Abby all of what you feel its so normal and its shared by all the moms that have lost a baby. I do agree with Fiona people are clumsy and ignorant and don't realize what their words imply and how the wound left after loosing a child it doesn't truly heal: Its true the dead of a child scares the crap out of people. And I too have felt so much anger to see parents that do not take care of their kids at all yet their kids are fine. Its so upsetting. You and Ted are the best parents that both your boys could ever have. Your dedication and love is inspiring. Love, Kira

Tallie Fishburne said...

Abby, I am so sorry that on top of the pain of losing your sweet little Maxie, you have to deal with other people's hurtful implications. I do hope that they are clumsy reassurances as others have said. You are an amazing, present, loving, protective parent to Max and Morris. Give Mo a gentle hug from me. xox -- t.