Friday, March 6, 2009

Mundane memories

So many of the parents in the baby lost world never had a chance to meet their children before they died. I am so grateful to have had Samantha for the year that we did. There were a lot of great memories. There were plenty of bad memories when I add up the grand total of 8 weeks she spent in the PICU. But the good times were so good.

I'm distraught at the idea of forgetting things about her. Already, I know her memory is fading in my mind. I can still imagine the perfect smell of her head, the way she felt in my arms when I rocked her. For a while I saved one of the last outfits she wore at the hospital and would breath in its smell, her smell, every day. But sadly, that smell has faded from the outfit, which is just killing me. I feel desperate to hang on to everything that reminds me of her short life.

There are so many other things I want to remember, too. Like the fact that she frequently would “dive” for her crib at bed time. I would always sing the “Rubber Duckie” song to her right before bed, replacing the words “Rubber Duckie” with “Sweet Samantha”. Usually before I got to the end, she was bending away from me and leaning toward her crib. Of course, sometimes she would cry to be gotten back out 2 minutes later, but I always felt like she really did like her crib.

Samantha was never what you would call a great sleeper. She did have a brief period from the age of 4 months up to 5 months when she discovered tummy sleeping, and she did manage to sleep through the night from time to time. But then she had her first heart surgery at 5 months and spent the next 1 month solid on her back recovering. She would never again go for sleeping on her tummy. And she never really slept through the night after that either.

She was the only baby of my four children who would ever agree to taking a bottle. And I think that was only because we really forced it on her. She had a lot of trouble gaining weight before her VSD was fixed at 5 months, so we spend a lot of time trying to get extra calories into the poor kid. In addition to regular breastfeeding, I pumped several times a day, then supplemented the breastmilk with formula for a super-rich concoction.

She was never a ravenous baby. Her three older siblings seemed hungry all the time as babies and basically would nurse any time the breast was offered. Not Samantha. She was always picky about eating and really never seemed all that hungry. In retrospect, I'm sure that had a lot to do with all her heart troubles.

She ended up weaning by 8 months old. I think she preferred the ease of the bottle compared to nursing. It broke my heart to have her stop nursing so early, but I admit to enjoying some of the freedom that gave me as well. It was a lot easier for me to get out of the house knowing I could leave her with a bottle. And my husband shared night-time feedings with me once she went totally to the bottle. It was nice to get a good night's sleep every other night. And my hubby didn't mind the feedings much since she was the only baby he was able to feed. It was good bonding time for them. I also mostly enjoyed the night-time feedings (mostly). Because she was my fourth, I was fully aware of just how fleeting those baby moments would be. I definitely remember trying to appreciate and absorb her sounds, her feel, her smell. I'm so glad I did. Both of us are grateful for that time we had with her because the nighttime feedings were some of the only times we had one-on-one time with her. Now that we know how the story ends, I'm so glad we never did the whole cry-it-out thing with her.

These are just some of the memories I have of her. I know it's not exactly riveting to read mundane memories from her babyhood, but I really need to get these memories written down before I forget them. They mean the world to me. Thanks for understanding.

1 comment:

  1. this is one thing i will never figure out (I HOPE). would i wish for more time with paige? i read this and it breaks my heart. i read this and it makes me thankful that i didn't have a year, that i didn't have the time to get to know her, that i was spared even greater pain and grief. on the other hand (and there's always one), i don't know what color her eyes were. i don't know what she really looked like, her face being changed by death. would i wish for a day, then? an hour? i have no idea. i really don't.