Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reflections: Part 2

There was a time when Amelia was between a month and a half and four months old when she spent more time crying than sleeping, eating, smiling or cooing---combined. It was a difficult time that has left noticeable scars. The wounds are not necessarily still raw and bleeding, but the scars are painful, visible, and numbing all at the same time. . . much like the scar that stretches across my abdomen from Amelia's entrance. During that time, our little baby had the ability to smile--she was old enough and had developed on time. It just didn't surface because she was so very miserable. (On a side note, one of my most damaging memories is when I realized one day that our baby girl surely hated her life. That her life had thus far been so very terrible that she must have hated living. I know I did at that time and I had positive experiences in my history showing a different aspect of life. Amelia had no such positive experiences and must have, at some point, just regretted her own birth.)

During this time, when all other options had failed and the poor baby had screamed miserably for hours, I'd take her into the bath with me. The warm water quieted her instantly. It was in these moments that we got to see her smile. Justin would crowd into the bathroom and in there we'd laugh and sing and play with our baby. The ringing in our ears ceased for a little while and we felt . . . normal. Like normal parents with a normal baby. Even though we knew that tomorrow would bring more of the same, we cherished these minutes in luke warm water, watching her relax, fell no pain, and smile. It encouraged us to believe that she was a happy spirit below the misery and that someday, this happy spirit might overshadow the pain and heartbreak. We were exhausted and wrought with concern, frustration, anger, and helplessness, but had a break in the clouds for this tiny part of the day. We'd even drain and refill the tub to keep the water warm and not have to take her out of her happy place. Indeed, she'd resume screaming as soon as we took her out of the water. We'd even throw her towel in the dryer and make quick, smooth hand-offs, from the warm water to the warm fuzziness, but she was smarter than that.

We'd go right back to scrambling to find a way to comfort her since we couldn't keep her submerged all day. Even still, those moments in the bath provided us with a tiny glimmer of hope and a very important smile that we longed to see. A smile that we
needed to see. Even if just to know that it was there, hiding beneath the surface and waiting for a brighter day.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I always knew you were a strong person, but this entry only solidifies my belief.