Hope and Heartache
Posted by Mishi Methven on Oct 26, 2011
Thanks so much for all your caring and offers to help. I thought I'd post a quick update to let you all know what's been going on in the Bruner-Methven household.
It's hectic. It's loud. It's fun. It's overwhelming. It's full of love. It's full of tears.
First of all, Stella ended up to be a stellar big sister/big cousin. She is obsessed with holding Sam as well as Xavier and the four of us have spent many happy hours on the couch snuggling under blankets, just a pile of warm bodies and love, while wind and rain pelt the windows behind us.
Aimee is recovering pretty well. We've been lucky enough to have a steady stream of family and friends volunteering to come over 24/7 and help us out. We have one person designated to take Sam for the night, feed and snuggle him, and a second person designated to help me with Stella's night time medication and assist with transporting Aimee and getting her meeds as well. It's been a delicate balance trying to ensure we have enough help, but also enough quiet time as a family to create some nice memories. Any worries I might have had about Sam being born into a sad household have been obliterated by the huge outpouring of love and affection he has been surrounded with since the moment of his birth. I was terrified that having a newborn in the house would be triggering to me and that I wouldn't be able to hold him or bond with him. I think Sam and I have a long way to go before we get as close as Stella and I are, but that will come in time. The important thing is that I am able to appreciate him for being himself, and don't find myself comparing Sam to Stella as I feared, or looking to him to fill the hole that Stella's illness has created into my heart. Sam is different. He is a new beginning and comes free of the baggage I have with Stella, a tiny bundle of innocence and hope for our future.
It turns out my sister also injured her pelvis during delivery as well (I would say, what are the odds, but I am throwing my hands up regarding the universe at the moment), so she's also been bed-bound for the last five days. It's been hard on Stella because she's used to seeing Auntie Heather everyday, and has been missing her terribly. A few days ago Stella asked to go over to visit and it was so successful she has been splitting her time between Auntie's house with Xavier, and our house with Sam. With both babies she is extremely affectionate, giving them lots of hugs and kisses. It's pretty incredible to see her immediate connection with the boys and her want and need to smother them with love. She says, "I love you very much" to both of them---something we repeat to her often, but that she doesn't usually say back to anyone.
Emotionally, it has been a very difficult time for me. Having two births so close to an imminent death feels unnatural and has thrown me off balance. Aimee, as always, seems to be faring much better than me despite her physical difficulties. For me, it feels like a huge sigh just got let out of my body, and now I'm not sure which way to go anymore. We were hoping for so long and so strongly that Stella would get to meet Sam, that now it's happened there is a bit of a "down" feeling---like after the buildup of Christmas, there is this feeling of, "now what do we have to aim for or look forward to"?? As much as I've been working at living in the moment, more and more I find myself dreading the future and feeling "ripped off" that this moment, when we became a family of four, was supposed to be the culmination of our dreams to have two children and instead it is a reminder of all we have to lose. I have found myself feeling depressed much of the time. Depression for me is like carrying around a fifty pound weight on my chest all the time. It makes me feel tired and grumpy. I have moments of pure happiness, but they are tarnished by the tears that come all too easily nowadays.
The only time I really feel safe is when Stella is seated on my lap and her warm weight grounds me while Dora The Explorer drones on endlessly in the background. It often feels like I'm watching my life from someone else's body. When people remark how strong we are being, I want to laugh wildly and crazily at them. I don't feel strong. I barely feel human. I can't even predict the next hour for our family, let alone the next week. It's a terrifying feeling, like falling out of a plane with no parachute and just hurtling through the air with your eyes closed, no idea when you will hit the ground.
But today, against the odds, here we are. A family of four for the time being. Laughing, loving, crying, mourning, waiting, watching, LIVING.
Uncle Tristan takes Sam for his first walk
Sam and Xavier