Not Knowing

Sometimes I blame myself for Seraphim’s death.

And by sometimes, I mean at least every other day.

As far as we know, and as far as the doctors ever told us, they don’t know why sometimes the kidneys don’t develop.  The kidney doctor at the Children’s Hospital told us not to blame ourselves since it’s not anything we did.

How can I not?  It was my responsibility to grow him well and take care of him.  I failed at the most sacred job a woman can ever be given.  I avoided everything I was supposed to avoid, followed all the “rules” I could.  Every day I think about the week around when his kidneys failed to develop.  Very early on.  I try to remember what I was doing–what terrible thing I must’ve accidentally done to make him sick.  So that next time–if I get a next time–I won’t do that terrible thing again.

I was so careful with him, like the priceless treasure he was, that I can’t remember anything I might have done, aside from the stress I was under at the time.  We were in a bad living situation and it was hard on me.

I see women around me doing all the things I was told were big “no-no’s”.  Their babies don’t die.  Some of them have problems, but mine did, too, so who am I to judge any more?  I know for a fact that some women look down their noses at me: “Oooh, I wonder what she did wrong!”

I’ve asked my husband what he thinks it would be like if every one of the babies we have throughout our marriage dies.  He says it is more important to make the life and spend that treasured time with them and say goodbye early than to not ever get to experience the brief joy a baby brings.  For the most part, I agree with him.  If it were my lot to lose every baby, I would keep going, and I would keep being thankful for those babies.  But I also know that more people would look at me like I am diseased.  I know that at some point I would never tell anyone I was pregnant.  As it is, I dread the next time because I know every person will ask me, “Oh, so is this one going to live?”

I don’t want to hear that question because I don’t want to answer it.  “I don’t know” is the true statement.  Babies die every single day.  So do children.  So do adults.  We don’t know when we’ll die, we don’t know when our loved ones will die.  It’s the delicate balance of life.

Maybe I made my baby sick because I am a pessimist.  I like to call it “realist.”  I know that life has dangers and I recognise those dangers.

My mother always told me growing up that it was really most proper for a woman to wait about three months to announce to the world that she was pregnant.  I quickly came to agree with her.  Is it OK to tell a couple of close friends or family members the day you find out?  Sure.  I told two friends.  One was an RN who wrote me a prescription for Zofran so that I could go to work (I was sick, sick, sick), and she was my matron of honour (and sponsor).  The other was another of my bridesmaids, who I spend a considerable amount of time with.  I needed a confidante.  I didn’t tell my parents till the first trimester had passed.  I was unsure week to week if my baby was going to make it any further because of the haemorrhage.  I didn’t want to be faced with the need to tell EVERYONE if he didn’t make it.  I wanted to be in control of who I wanted to know.

Every day, I see women putting out on Facebook the second they take that pregnancy test at home.  Tonight I came across a baby registry of a girl who has been married since April.  This seemed odd to me, since I doubted she was pregnant when they were married (knowing her!), and sure enough, she is at the end of her first trimester.

I wish I could even imagine such innocence.  Such hope.  I will never again feel even the glimmer of hope for a good outcome like we did in October when the haemorrhage was finally gone.  We were planning then for the things we’d need.

I think my hands will always shake with the uncertainty and frailty of the whole thing.  How are people so naive to think that bad things only happen to other people?  How was I ever naive enough to think the same thing–even briefly?

So it will haunt me.  The not-knowing.  Not knowing if I hurt my son, if that is why he died.  Not knowing if my next child will have the same fate.  And all the while knowing that I will spend the rest of my life dealing with everyone else’s naivete and envying them for not knowing the not-knowing.

Advertisements

Birthdays

I really dislike birthdays.  I have for a long time.

I hated my birthday because it was always a stupid time of year for a party.  It was cold and snowy growing up and way-too-close-to-Christmas.  I rarely had much of a party.  My friends with summer birthdays had every kid from school over, and we’d go swimming and have a BBQ on the porch.  For my birthday, a couple of girls would come and we’d watch movies inside because it was usually blizzarding outside.

In college, my birthday was the week before finals week–which for a music major at my college, that meant it was finals week, because our finals week always came early to allow for juries during real finals week.

It irritated me when people would ask me what I was doing for my birthday.  As if it were a special day.

It irritated me that I cared enough about my birthday that I was sad when I wouldn’t get a card, or no one would remember.

I hate that Facebook is all about saying “happy birthday” to someone.  On principle, I will rarely say “happy birthday” in any form to anyone on Facebook any more.  I have to actually care to do it.  Or have something to say.  I hate even more that Facebook texts me every day to tell me whose birthday it is today.  And it’s a feature I can’t shut off without shutting off all texting functions from Facebook.

People take birthdays for granted.  They were born, and therefore they are entitled to stuff.  They are entitled to being first in line, first to eat cake, the centre of attention.  Just because they were born.

Since November, birthdays have seemed like a personal slight to me.  You celebrate birthdays as a way of saying, “Congratulations!  You survived the day you were born and have survived to see it come once again!  You are better than everyone who didn’t survive that day, and who hasn’t survived to see it come again!”

I sound like a jerk and a real party pooper.  I get it.  Sometimes I feel like both.  But birthdays have usually been sad times for me (either disappointing, or downright bad times of my life), so I am always half-hearted about others’ celebrations.

I do, however, love giving gifts, which is the one thing that doesn’t line up with my resentment over birthdays.  Birthdays give me an excuse to give someone something I’ve found or made just for them.  I still hate them though, and they still make me sad.

I’m going over to my parents’ today to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  I’m glad she was born so that I’m here, but it still makes me sad that my son won’t get a birthday celebration ever.  That his birthday was also the only day he spent with us outside of my womb.

Tuesday

Another Tuesday since Seraphim died.

Sometimes I feel like things are getting better, sometimes I feel like things are getting worse.

I always know it’s Tuesday though, even when I forget.  I can just feel it hanging there, like all the extra pounds my body insists on holding onto along with grief.

I want to be free of it all, but it still clings on.

The Breaking Point

My schedule, the heat, and lack of Internet makes doing anything on the Internet difficult.  I have a whole list of things to do, but I don’t get home until 6, then I have to walk to the library in the town we live to use the Internet until it closes at 7.  Most days this doesn’t work because I get home, make dinner, and then it’s 9.

So I am absent from blogging not because I have nothing to say but because I have no way to say anything.

About three weeks ago, I was at my wit’s end at work.  I came home from work every day angry and crying.  I took out most of my frustration on my husband, who could not help me, no matter how hard he tried.

I applied for a lot of jobs, interviewed for one.  The job was located just down the street, at a company I had once worked for and loved.  I desperately wanted to work there again.  The job involved driving a truck around about half of the day–only really on the property, they reassured me.  They must have seen how my face fell when they mentioned driving.  I didn’t say I wasn’t capable of driving, but they also didn’t call me back.  I have a driver’s license.  I have a pretty good driving record (just an infraction 4 1/2 years ago).  I just can’t drive right now, and I don’t know when I will be able to again.  If I could’ve gotten this job straight out of college, it would’ve been a dream come true.  Right now?  I couldn’t do it.

The problem with not having Internet and working all day (and the extended bus commute home because the route changed) is that I don’t have time to look for and apply for jobs.  I want something in the town we live in, but there’s little to choose from.  The school district is always hiring, and I want to work there (it’s across the street), but they won’t even give me an interview.  I am sick of applying and sick of searching.  I want someone to just give me a new job.

My husband helped me a little and said we’d get up early and he’d take me to a coffee shop on my way to work to get Internet to job search.  We did that once, but not much came from that except me being a little calmer.  Which I suppose was what we both needed.

So three weeks ago, I was at my breaking point.  I thought I’d been there before, but this really was the last straw.  Nothing particularly new had happened, I just couldn’t handle the new status quo one more day.  My husband told me I needed to just quit and we’d figure out how to make ends meet in the meantime.  And then I could spend my afternoons searching for jobs and interviewing.

So I was going to get through the next day, and then prepare a resignation letter over the weekend, prefacing it with an offer to stay on if they could find somewhere to transfer me instead.

I never needed to do it.

When I went into work, the managing librarian called me into his office right away because he needed to talk to me.  My heart sunk into my stomach.  Anyone can tell I’m unhappy there right now, but I was afraid I was going to be disciplined for it now.  

When I sat down, he could probably see I looked ill at ease, so he said, “Don’t worry; it’s good!”

He proceeded to tell me that the accounting department was swamped this summer and the small department was losing people to vacations almost continuously.  They needed help but didn’t know what to do.  Then the lady from HR remembered from our conversations when I was filing my complaint that I have a background in finance.

He said I could start immediately, or I could start the following Monday if I preferred.  Or I could say no altogether.

I opted to start immediately.

The pay is just $1.60 more per hour, but I’m working a little extra, so it amounts to $50 more each week.  It isn’t much, but it’s a change.  It’s what I needed.  My temporary position is supposed to last through August, then they said they would re-evaluate things and either keep me on or send me back to being a page.  My supervisor will still be on leave by then, so I’ll have a little time to figure things out before she returns.

My plan is, if they don’t keep me in accounting come September, I will just quit the day before my old supervisor returns and work on finding a job elsewhere.

So far, it’s a good change.  It’s a lot to learn and a little bit stressful because I don’t get a lot of training because they can’t afford to (I’m filling in for missing folks after all).  But it will give me experience I need for future endeavours.  I’m not naive enough to think this department will be without problems or drama, but it’s different.  I desperately miss my co-workers at the front desk (and I’m starting to miss seeing our book collection all the time), but at least I still see them a lot more than I would if I left altogether.

When I got the offer for the temporary promotion, I was immediately reminded that God will not give me more than I can bear.  There have been hundreds of times this year that I thought I was at my breaking point but made it through, with God’s strength I’m sure.  I thought I was dying from the suffering and hurt, but I didn’t die.  Every time I thought I’d reached the end, I learned I could take more.  This time, God gave me a way out right when I needed it.

Glory to God for all things.