Friday, August 24, 2012

Fear of the Unknown

Most days I try not to focus on why my daughter is not here with us, why she left us so early.  She was healthy for 9 months of pregnancy and released from the hospital after the normal 2 day stay.  6 days after birth she was gone.  No obvious warnings, nothing or was there?

Did I miss a fever?  She never felt too warm, too cold.  She never got sweaty or seemed cold.

Was her slight bit of fussiness that night a warning sign?  I had trouble burping her during a big feeding that night so I wrote it off as gas.  She seemed to feel better once she burped a few times and went to the bathroom. 

Did she sleep too much?   I thought I was lucky that she slept well and was told by Dr. Google and my parent friends that babies like to sleep.  It wasn’t like she slept 24/7.  She was up at least every 4 hours to feed and would get active when we changed her.

Was she having problems feeding?  I wrote off occasional latching issues as us getting adjusted to breastfeeding.  I also consulted the lactation consultant, Dr. Google, the What to Expect 1st year book and other moms who told me that if she fed every few hours and had at least 6-8 diaper changes a day, she was doing fine and she was, I kept record of every feeding-the length, the start time, which breast, etc., and record of how many diapers I changed and whether they were just wet or dirty too.  Once she was latched, she was good to go.

My mind likes to play tricks on me and tell me I missed something.  My mind likes to place the blame on me.  Obviously a healthy baby just doesn’t stop breathing for no reason.  I had to have missed something, my mind tells me over and over until I am full of guilt and anxiety.  This paralyzes me; I sob uncontrollably, my chest tightens, my breaths become short and I am at a point of no return.  I let it overpower me until I am physically and mentally exhausted and slowly I just become numb.
After she passed, I of course took to the internet to look for possible causes.  Heart defects, infections, etc., all came up with symptoms that I may have written off.  I must be the worst mom in the world.  I had to have missed something.  It’s all my fault she’s gone.  I am plagued with guilt that I missed symptoms that should have been warning signs of something terrible happening within her tiny, defenseless body.  I was supposed to protect her and I failed. 

The guilt is extremely overwhelming but until we find out what really happened (and I am told they won’t know for at least 3 more weeks), I am having a hard time fighting off the guilty feelings and I fear for when we do finally get answers that it will get worse.  What if it really was something- that these behaviors I experienced with her should have been clues/symptoms?  Will I be able to let the guilt go?  To know that it really isn’t my fault?
I talk sob to my husband about this a lot.  Like the amazing husband he is, he is always extremely supportive and tries to talk me out of my downward spiral.  He reminds me, almost daily, that we were the best parents we could be.  That these behaviors I obsess over could be symptoms, yes, but they are also very characteristic of a normal healthy baby.  Babies sleep, babies fuss and sometimes it is hard to breastfeed, but we did everything we could to be the best parents we could be-I did everything I could.  I researched, I tracked everything, I prepared in advance, I asked questions, I loved her and cared for her more than I ever thought was possible.

Logically, I know that if I ever really thought something was wrong while she was here, I would have been at the pediatrician or ER immediately.  I know logically, I never really thought she had anything wrong when she was with us, I logically know that but the emotional side of me always goes back to the guilt.   I pray that getting answers will help me let go of some of this guilt yet I am so afraid it will make it worse.  Until then, I wait and fight my thoughts so that I can get through another day without her.

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