I’m back to thinking about Zoe constantly. For awhile I was doing pretty well. Right before Florida I felt like I was in a groove. My whole life wasn’t revolving around the thought “What should I be doing right now?”. It was no longer my first thought when I woke up or my last thought before going to bed. My new normal was starting to become just normal.
But ever since I got back I feel myself going more and more backwards. The days are getting more difficult, not easier. I’m obsessing over the “What if?” again. I’m crying off and on all day. I’m having difficulties sleeping, especially falling asleep. And each day I’m feeling a little bit worse, thinking a little bit more.
I think there are a few reasons for my regression. First, Zoe would have been two months old last week, which also means the two month anniversary of her death is almost here. Two months…she would now be out of that infant/alien/zombie phase and starting to be more alert. She’d be turning into a baby now. We would be seeing her first intentional smile soon, if we hadn’t already. She’d be doing more than just sleeping, eating and crying (but not much more). She’d be learning how to hold up her head all on her own. She’d start making noises other than just cries. She’d start to get a little bit of a personality. Which (and I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here) we’ll never see.
Second, I’m starting to prepare for the PCS, which means getting rid of shit. Although I thankfully already went through J’s and C’s old stuff, weeding out everything I don’t want anymore, now I need to do something with the piles of clothes and toys. Zoe never would have worn the clothing in these piles because the intention was always to get rid of it, but that doesn’t stop each and every teeny tiny baby girl outfit from tugging at my heartstrings as I decide if it’s doomed to the garbage, off to Goodwill or still in nice enough condition to sell.
Third, I just finished rereading Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. I started it at the beach and finally got around to finishing it yesterday. I don’t know how, but I completely forgot that she has a baby who is born prematurely and spends the first few weeks in the NICU. I’ve read that book at least 10 times before, I know how it ends. And even though she’s pregnant for the majority of it, never once did the thought cross my mind that it was going to end with her having a baby. After I finished it all I could think was how unfair it is that she got to come home with a baby and I didn’t. Jealous of a fictional character now, terrific.
And then yesterday I plugged my camera into my computer to transfer the pictures from C’s birthday. I don’t know how, but two pictures of Zoe popped up. I’ve dumped my camera at least once since her death but for some reason those pictures stayed on there, not emerging until yesterday. The first one was one that Jeff took of Zoe and I the morning she was born. He took it when the nurse brought her over to me about ten minutes after her birth, the first time we got to even see her. Right before I gave her one quick kiss before they whisked her off to the NICU. Before we knew anything was seriously wrong. When we had no idea that was our only chance to see our precious baby girl without a bunch of tubes and wires. Our only chance to hold her–although we weren’t given that option. Never again will I let anyone take away my baby without at least getting a chance to hold him or her. Never.
But honestly I think the main reason why I’m going backwards (besides just the obvious “grief goes in waves” answer) is because I don’t know if I ever grieved “properly”. Yeah yeah yeah, I know that everyone deals with grief differently. But I’m afraid that I never fully allowed myself to mourn. To feel the pain completely. I think I’m avoiding it. Pushing it to the back burner, convincing myself that I’m just fine. That the situation isn’t right, it isn’t okay, but it is what it is and life goes on. I realized the other day that although I’ve experienced the denial, bargaining and depression phases of grief, I’ve never felt anger. Unfairness, sure. Jealously, absolutely. But nothing even remotely near anger. Not at Zoe for being unable to pull through. Not at the doctors, who I know without a doubt did absolutely everything they possibly could. Not the irrational anger at friends/family/strangers. Not even at God because she was born defective. Not at Jeff and I for deciding to give up hope and stop wishing for a miracle by removing all medical intervention. Not at myself because I know there isn’t anything I did wrong.
But maybe that’s what I’m waiting for. The autopsy results. The results that I’m sure are going to come back that she was born with some rare genetic disorder that caused her capillaries, veins and heart to work against one another. Maybe once I hear a medical professional tell me without a doubt that my baby was born broken and there wasn’t a single thing anyone in the world could have done to fix her, maybe then I’ll break once and for all. Or maybe those results will come back and say that she developed improperly in the womb and they don’t know why and I’ll start to blame myself and the anger will kick in once and for all. Or maybe they’ll say, well it turns out her condition was reversible and if we would’ve figured out what it was in time she could’ve healed. And then I can rage at the doctors who didn’t catch it in time, who didn’t fix her like they should have. At Jeff and myself for not giving it more time.
According to the medical examiners office, the results take 2-3 months for infants. Which means we should have the final answer anytime between right now and four more weeks. Just please, let there be a definitive answer. And let it be a freak occurrence, not something Jeff or I passed on to her. Something that we could pass on to another child.
Until then I’ll be in limbo. Not knowing how the next day, next hour, next minute will make me feel.