Friday, March 12, 2010

Someone told me long ago...

I had a horrible time sleeping last night. I am finding that the healing process from Hendrix's birth has been a lot harder emotionally than it was physically. I go days even a week or so and don't think of his birth unless someone brings it up and then BAM I'm flooded with memories and I am paralyzed by them. I spend a large amount of time worrying about how he felt during those moments.
Was he scared? Did he try to cry out? Did it hurt?

I've touched upon the blame game I played with myself
after his birth a bit on her before. But there really are no words for how angry I am with my body. It was my body that suffocated my own baby. Slowly draining him of oxygen. While he was slowly being strangled by his umbilical cord, turning blue, then gray, i pushed harder and harder but i didn't have it in me.

Sure, they should have gotten him out faster.
But it was still my fault.
Sure, I didn't do it on purpose.
But what does it matter.

Murder or manslaughter...dead is dead, no?

It was me. My body. That held so tightly and wouldn't let go. So tight it left two small indents on his little head.

Sure, downy hair covers it up.
But its still there.
sure, they get smaller everyday.
But ill always see them.

I believe my nightmares have resurfaced because of an incident last week.

I was sitting on the couch tying to catch up on some work for Dujour Magazine and my lil baby bunny was snuggled in his swing sleeping peacefully.
Sucking at the air.
Eyelashes resting on chubby cheeks.
Little fingers rubbing a soft blankie.
*Poof* outta nowhere the babe starts screaming in his sleep.
and I mean really letting it out.

It was not his mad cry.
The bored cry.
The hungry cry,

It was the pain cry. The blood curdling. Heart breaking. so sad whimper into a scream cry.
Pout and tears and sad sad sad baby.

This when on for about 30 seconds.
felt like
30 minutes.
30 days.
30 years.

I picked him up. I walked him. I sang to him.

I wanna know, Have you ever seen the rain?

Still he whimpered in his sleep. Never waking. The only explanation?
A bad dream.
Well, what the hell would a little baby have a nightmare about?

uh. well.
I know what my son might be dreaming about.

and it's my body's fault.
I am the cause of my baby's bad dreams.

Babies are supposed to dream of
snuggly lambs
soft clouds
fluffy kittens
warm baths
smooth milk
Mama's whispers
Daddy's scruffies
Brother's kisses

not suffocation
and darkness
and loneliness
and helplessness

How do I move on knowing my son was brought into this world through sheer terror.
Pure fear, for me? I can get over that.
Pure fear,For him? Never.
I can not tolerate the thought of Hendrix being afraid and not having me there to hold his hand, stroke his head, and kiss and cuddle him full of promises that everything will be okay.

So tell me, How do I move on? How do I forget? When its next to me crying out in it's sleep?


  1. Nothing will heal you (in my very humble opinion) but time and acceptance that it's not your fault. Some births are natural and smooth and mother earthly, and some are battle zones. I felt feelings of maternal inadequacy due to the fact that I couldn't bear Jack naturally. That all my efforts only resulted in him losing oxygen, being squeezed, and eventually pulled into the world through surgery. Sometimes I still wish for that birth "they" all told me about, sometimes I'm just thankful we're both alive.

    Also, Jack used to have fits like the one you mention here. He'd be perfectly fine and peaceful sleeping and then put of nowhere he'd burst into blood curdling screams that nobody or anything could distinguish for at least 45 minutes. He wouldn't even look us in the eyes or acknowledge our presence. I thought they were night terrors. When I brought it up to my pediatrician he said children that young (I believe he was about 10 months, maybe a year) can't get night terrors or nightmares yet. That it was likely just really bad indigestion. But man, what I witnessed that night shock me in the way only a mother can be shaken.

    I hope things look up.

  2. I know exactly how you feel... I felt the same way after having a c-section. That even though I tried my hardest I still felt like a failure, that I couldn't push his teeny tiny body out safely, the way he should have entered this world. Not being able to be in his Mothers arms for 45 minutes. Then not being able to breastfeed because he was born with low muscle tone and couldn't latch on... My fear was Sebastian would grow up not feeling a connection to me because of the way he arrived. Obviously I was wrong. I guess my point is no matter what happens at birth, it's not our fault and we did all we could have done. Beating ourselves up over it will just make it worse for them as they will sense our fear, stress and concern. Whether he is dreaming about it or not, he will not remember it and will never a day in his life feel you did something wrong on the day he came. Keep on truckin' mama... I love you!

  3. I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling this way. I know it is difficult to come to terms with.
    Tre has been having nightmares since he was 3 or 4 days old. His birth was not as traumatic as yours but he did get stuck and had to be pulled out so we thought that's the only bad experience he could be dreaming about. Now that he's a few months old, he's still having nightmares at least once a day/night. He scrunches his eyes, pouts his lips, whimpers and cries out. Fortunately it doesn't last long and he's over them quickly. He could be having thoughts that he's working out in his dreams but I know he couldn't be reliving his birth everyday.
    I hope you know you did your best and what happened happened, you can only move on. Good luck.

  4. i have a lil' hendrix as well. he came out vaginally without any force or suffocation. but he has nightmares, too! i've read articles about it (i tried to find one for you). they said babies have nightmares about being wet, being hungry or being alone. just think of all the times he smiles and coos in his sleep. i'm sure those outweigh the screams anyday. and you know what he's thinking in those moments?:

    snuggly lambs
    soft clouds
    fluffy kittens
    warm baths
    smooth milk
    Mama's whispers
    Daddy's scruffies
    Brother's kisses

    most likely, he's dreaming of his tough, beautiful mom who will has never and will never let him dream alone.

  5. I read your post this morning and I have been thinking about it ever since. Why is it that as women we doubt ourselves and blame our bodies for things not within our control? Adriana, you are a wonderful mother, and you have given Hendrix a beautiful home and family to grow up in. There is a reason we do not remember childbirth, it would an awful memory for all of us. Hendrix's dreams could be based on just a startle reflex. As women, we take on life's burdens as our own and as our fault. This is not the legacy to pass on to our daughters or our sons. Please vow to love your self and the wonder of your body and your love making this extraordinary boy.
    Unchain your self from guilt and move forward into the joy-filled times of raising your son. You have found each other to love for life.

  6. wow. your kind words have brought me to tears. thank you everyone! i should be paying you all cause its like i have a whole hand full of therapists on here!

  7. I had a planned C/S and my baby does that and he was gently lifted I think babies just cry out in their sleep. I don't think you did anything wrong...he doesn't remember that Mama, don't worry.