...Well, talk to the puking (and quite embarassed about it) aunt!
Hubby and I finally had the chance to go up to the hospital on Friday evening to meet Angelina. I had planned on going on Thursday evening with my MIL, but Suzi's Godfather (meaning my FIL) wanted to go too and, well, you have to be second banana to the Godfather.
Anyways, for some set-up, my MIL had some sort of intestinal bug on Easter Sunday, which Chris picked up a little after that. Of course, it finally decided to show in me around Wednesday. Wasn't too bad (rumbly guts and cramps, but nothing else really), so I figured I was safe to go see the baby by Friday night. But, as the hours seemed to get closer on Friday, I can't quite describe how I felt: Physically uncomfortable? Extremely tired? Dragging myself? Guess that works for now. Friday morning, I felt like a complete dog and considered staying home from work - but, I laid down for a half hour and felt better, so I finished putting myself together and went in to work. Can you say I NEVER LAY DOWN like that! But, I pushed on, worked the full day, came home and played with Chris a bit, rushed to eat dinner and Hubby and I were off to meet the new baby at the hospital around 7 pm.
As each mile passed on the way up to the hospital though, my stomach became more and more tight-feeling - not quite what I am used to with how it feels when I have an anxiety issue, so I never figured it was anxiety. I thought maybe I should take a Xanex as a preventative measure, but I really haven't needed it so why take it when I don't really need it? I didn't take it. I just thought that maybe the little bit of dinner I did eat had been too much. When we parked, I felt quite nauseaus. The cooler air outside the car helped a little bit. I kept telling myself to knock it off - I was fine. We went in, got our passes, and Hubby bought me a water while I browsed for a little giftie to bring up. I started feeling a little crappy again, but I told myself to just buck-up. I thought again of taking my Xanex at that point, but then poo-poo'ed the idea because, well, what was I to really be anxious about? My system was a little off, but I was fine.
Joke was on me!
We got up to the third floor and Suzi's room was the second door into the maternity wing. We went in, but she had the curtain closed at that point because she was trying to breastfeed. Angelina was being a little fussy (you could hear her little cry!), so she told us to open the curtain and come in. When we opened the curtain, there was the tiny peanut (okay, not so tiny compared to what Chris weighed when he was born, but certainly a peanut!) up on Suzi's shoulder, kicking her little feet as she fussed. Suzi and Mike gave Angelina her pacifier and wrapped her up in a blanket and let me hold her...
Oh, it was just incredible holding her!
She was so beautiful, alert, content. Beautiful blue eyes, blonde-mop of hair, those tiny fingers and toes. Chins galore (she was almost nine pounds after all!)! She had no issue with me holding her - no fussing, no crying. She just calmed down in my arms from the fussiness she was giving her mommy and nuzzled into my arms. It was the best feeling in the world - as close as I could possibly come to holding Chris for the first time all over again. So, I just held her...rocked her...sung to her...
...And started to cry. Not just a tear here and there...a good cry, like when I found out I was losing my second angel baby.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Suzi, Mike, Hubby and CooKoo (who came back with dinner for Suzi since the hospital food was terrible for a new mom trying to breastfeed!) all watching me. They knew why I was crying - not just because of how beautiful Angelina was and how much of a miracle she was for being here, but also because they all knew my last angel baby was a girl. Angelina was the first newborn baby girl I have held since my miscarriage...
As I cried, Angelina opened her eyes and gave me this incredible, just breathtaking look: A look of knowing what grief and sorrow that has consumed me for so long, of knowing how much of a miracle her birth was, of knowing my angels were right there with us, watching over us and trying to comfort me as I looked into this little girl's eyes. Those eyes acknowledged that my angel babies were happy, content and safe. Those ocean-blue eyes twinkled and danced with the spirit of my angels. Those eyes comforted me as I stood there holding her, beginning to realize how much I wanted to hold my angel babies - and most of all, my baby girl, whom I could see on the u/s pic perfectly formed for 6-7 weeks with no heartbeat.
This look was just for me - a perfect moment in time, just like when I saw Chris jumping around on the ultrasound machine for the first time. Like when I gazed into Chris' eyes for the first time as I held him in the delivery room. Like when I stood their pledging my life and heart to Hubby almost nine years ago. Time stood still and it was just me and Angelina - sharing a moment that no one will ever know or understand. A moment that was just meant for me and makes me cry even as I write this.
Then, suddenly, the room began to feel so incredibly hot. I was sweating, my knees wobbly, room shifting. I just didn't feel good at all. So, I asked Hubby if he wanted to hold her (which, of course, he did) and as he took her into his arms, I could feel my stomach churning and myself starting to get sick.
Ugh! I high-tailed it to the bathroom and made it just in time... Didn't really puke, but more gagged a bit until I could get some air (for some God foraken reason, the bathroom was cooler than the room!) and sit down and breathe. I took a few minutes to calm myself down, took a sip of water and the Xanex I was so grateful to have had in my purse (and SHOULD HAVE taken before I was even near the hospital). Once I stopped shaking and everything stopped spinning, I stook up and looked at myself in the mirror.
As I started at myself, checking my make-up, making a half-assed attempt at being normal... All I could think of was what a horse's ass I made of myself in front of my family. I took such a special, precious moment and ruined it with what was probably the worst anxiety/panic attack I have had thus far. What an ass.
I just want to know: What happened to the peace I have felt for weeks now? What happened to my acceptance of what I could not change? How could such an innocent look from Angelina - one that was supposed to bring peace - just tear me apart?
Once I was composed enough and came out of the bathroom, everyone asked if I was okay - I said yes, and just brushed it off as still not feeling 100% percent and that I probably should have waited to visit. Hubby tried to cover for me up a bit, saying I hadn't felt right all week and that MIL and Chris had a minor intestinal thing. But, as much as I lied about it, I am sure they all knew what really had happened. Hubby and I decided to leave and said goodbye to everyone (it was getting hot again in the room - then again, I think it was just HOT in the room anyway!).
Hubby and I talked about it for a while on the way home - he thought I did very well, and that it was okay how I reacted. I told him I felt like a real jerk, taking such a happy time and squashing it with upset and grief. I told him how she looked at me, and how peace turned into panic. But, he reminded me that everyone knows still how raw those feelings are - even if I am accepting of the losses - and that even I can't predict when these feelings might come up. Sure, in my logical mind, I know that. But, at that moment, I was just flat-out mad at myself for not being able to control my anxiety. Why did it have to happen right there, in front of everyone?
I spoke to my MIL later on over the phone, as well as CooKoo, and they both told me it was okay - everyone understood that, even though I was very happy for Suzi and Mike, that it still hurt to hold this baby...especially after knowing how Suzi had chosen not to terminate the pregnancy after she considered what I went through just trying to have one more child, and how much of a miracle Angelina's life was after discovering the knot in the cord. MIL also mentioned that one of Suzi's friends waited to announce she was expecting #2 until after a birthday party for Suzi's dad because she didn't want to upset me.
I know they are right - That my feelings will still be raw from time to time. But, I just hate still feeling "broken." I know how I feel is normal...but, is this reaction THAT normal when I am (or thought I was) at peace with what life has given me? I feel like I am reinventing the wheel of grief.
But, I did figure out what was partly to blame for my puking/anxiety incident: I got my period - again - 18 days after my last 77-day cycle. Can you say WTF???? I thought I felt a little bloaty around the waist and boobs, acne-ridden face and restless at night... Who would have thought I would have had such a short cycle? But I started spotting on Thursday night into Friday, which is not all that uncommon for me with long cycles - and then, I started lightly bleeding Saturday into Sunday requiring a pad, alternating between red and brown and red (it is a flow, but light since I just had my period 18 days ago!). And, did I mention cramps?? How on earth did this happen??? Maybe the Levoxyl? That is the only thing different I have used... Maybe, after all this time, the Levoxyl might regulate my cycles a bit?? Well, gotta add that to my loooooong list of questions I am faxing over to Dr. S this afternoon (I have been reading up on preparation for pregnancy with Hashi's - I am sure she is going to just love me as a patient today!).
For an update on Angelina - she has not come home from the hospital yet, although Suzi was released on Saturday morning. Her bilirubin was up and is jaundiced. So, Suzi was advised to pump and dump for a little while since the doctors were not sure if the jaundice was stemming from the breastfeeding (which apparently can happen!), while Angelina is under the phototherapy lights and being fed formula for a little while. Her bilirubin count is coming down finally, which is great - but she can't come home and Suzi can't resume breastfeeding until the bilirubin is down to normal range. Please pray she comes home soon. Suzi and Mike just want her home...and so do I!
I just hope that, when she comes home, I can hold her without having an anxiety attack again...