Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day Four, Moving Day

On Day Four, afternoon, Maddy was transferred to Children's. Into our rather large but in retrospect low-key NICU, embodied by our favorite Dr. Frumpy, strutted a gaggle of young, extremely attractive medical personnel decked out in matching, embroidered polar fleece pushing what appeared to be a tin foil covered microwave on wheels (the portable isolette). We stood rather amused by the whole bizarro Gray's Anatomy meets Grim Reaper scene, while I'm sure every other parent in the room swallowed their throats. Mr. ABF held Maddy, I filled out and signed a ream of legalese which I think simply gave permission to buckle Maddy in, and give her a blood transfusion should the need arise during the ambulance ride. Dr. R gave them the low-down on his most-peculiar patient. They loaded Maddy like a turkey into the oven, and wheeled her out, with us half-joking with the driver to please drive safely. (Like I'm sure he's never heard that one before.) They warned us, please, do not follow the ambulance too closely (there are probably some funny -- not ha-ha -- stories there), and we laughed and said we were going to stop at home in the interim. We peeled the pictures off her isolette, packed our books, and said our goodbyes.

That evening, Mr. ABF announced during Bella's bath that he was going to Children's to see Maddy and "get the lay of the land." I was still unable to drive (what the fuck is with that not driving for a week thing, anyway? Most inconvenient when your child is in the NICU people), and if I wanted to go, would have to get my dad or mother-in-law to drive me there after I put Bella to sleep. I was so fucking frustrated by this point at the back and forth of home and hospital that I snapped and began to cry. Mr. ABF asked if I was angry at him, and I waved my arms around the bathroom and said, "No. I'm angry at THIS."

He went. Spent most of his evening talking with suited specialists about the particulars of the pregnancy (just how long was that bleed? And she had amnio? And hello! She had a miscarriage??) and came home very late.

I had no idea how I was going to do this, live at two places, be a mom to two daughters in two places, split my time, split my emotions, remain sane, not erupt into anger at the schizophrenia of it all.


sweetsalty kate said...

That last paragraph? Yeah. Exactly.

You may know this already from archives, or maybe not, but someone gave us tiny 'My Mama is a Birth Warrior' t-shirts for the boys, and for a while I was almost taunted by them.

What I came to realize is even if we suffered absolute catastrophe at the birth of our babies, our warriorship came afterwards, in the NICU, and then in the aftermath of the NICU... all the way to right this second, in trying to cobble together some semblance of a life.

This is one of the most brutally intense experiences I can possibly imagine living through... and to then rebuild from. It's worth claiming, that word.

I like what you're doing here, in remembering a year later. What happened to us is so different, but so familiar. Thanks so much for writing about it so gracefully. It is heartbreaking but healing for you and for everyone who reads and relates.

Amy said...

Again, crying. I cannot grasp all that you went through with Maddy and yet in your writing you are helping me to understand. I again am so incredibly sorry she is not here. I am thinking of you every day Tash every day, I am thinking of your pain and the journey you are now on to find some peace.

Julia said...

Living through those days and not getting PTSD? That seems impossible.
The only thing I know, I knew before, but now only seeing more and more evidence for every day, is that Maddy had the best parents she could've possibly, ever, had. Not the kind of blessing we want for our children, but a blessing nonetheless.
I hope you are finding some peace among these days. Even if it is of the pizza and beer variety. Thinking of you, all the time.

kalakly said...

Agian...the fact that you were able to do all of the things that you did for her, just effing amazing. I completely agree with sweetsalty, you earned your Birth Warrior title. What an unbelievable journey of courage and motherhood.
Thank you for sharing her life with us.

meg said...

I'm glad too that you are writing this out and sharing her story with us.

As everyone has said...I see so much strength and love in the things you did for Maddy and how you handled it all. It's some kind of super-human strength. I know we all do it, when we have to. But I am still in awe, when I read about how someone else has handled it all.

LAS said...

I can't say that I understand everything you went through because I haven't been through it. But I am so so sorry and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Coggy said...

Meg is right there is so much strength in this story. I hate saying that because I know you had no choice but to deal with it, like all of us here and I hate it when people say I'm strong. The difference for me is that strength is demonstrated not in the fact that you dealt with it, but in the way that you dealt and continue to deal with this. With amazing love and compassion for Maddy, but also for Bella and Mr ABF.
Thank you for sharing Maddy's story in this way.

Aurelia said...

Amazing what we can do when we have to, and how hard it is to do anything when we are in the middle of it.

But yeah, strangely enough, we survive. So odd that.

Ahuva Batya said...

Every day leaves me more heartbroken for you, but more convinvced that Maddy was supposed to be born to you, you who loved her more than anyone else would have had the strength to. You are in my thoughts during these days. I am so sorry for what you have lost.

ms. G said...

I haven't had a chance to comment until tonight, but I have been reading. Thank you for sharing Maddy's story. Every story is horrible in its own way, but as I read yours, I literally can't imagine the pain of giving birth in its usual happy glory, only to have to have it go horribly wrong so quickly. I'm sorry, Tash. Sorry you had to experience this, and sorry Maddy isn't here with you.

The Town Criers said...

Sweetie, as hard as it was to catch up and read through here this morning, I can't even begin to imagine how hard it was to live through this a year ago or how hard it is to remember it this year.

Katie said...

I don't even know what to say, but it just seems wrong to read this tribute without saying something. "I'm sorry" seems cheap and trite, but I know at my saddest times, I would rather hear the cheap and trite than the nothing at all that I usually hear.