Posts Tagged 'Annika'

Fee Fi Fo Fum

Terrible blogger, I am. I’ve just been too exhausted to write anything meaningful. I’ll be back. I will. But in the meantime, I bring you this conversation:

I was reading “Jack and the Beanstalk” to Annika.
Me: Fee Fi Fo Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Annika: Fee Fi Fo Fum. (giggling) I don’t like that fum word.
Me: You don’t like Fum?
Annika: No. I only like Fee.
Me:
What about Fi and Fo?
Annika: I like Fi, but not those other ones.
Me: Fo and Fum?
Annika: Yeah. I don’t like them.

She wouldn’t tell me why. I love the three year old mind.

Islands in the stream

SUPERGIRL!It’s Annika’s new favorite song. This morning she had to watch our recorded episode of American Idol from last night, since she had to go to bed. I’ve always been a fan of both Dolly and Kenny, so to be honest, I didn’t mind watching the snippet over and over (and over) again. She quickly learned the lyrics, but I was a little confused by her version of one line:

“We lay down on top of each other”.

Wha?!?

After listening again, I got it. “We rely on each other, ah ah”. Get it? Rely? Lie? Lay down? Makes perfect sense.

Here’s a picture of her playing with daddy tonight:

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How many kids do you have?

Today when I picked Annika up from school it was storytime. She said she wanted to listen to the story before we went home, so I took a seat in the back row and waited. Midway through, the boy sitting next to her turned and asked

“Do you have a baby?” (baby-aby-aby-aby went the echo in my head)

Ouch. That’s a tough one. In the second or two it took me to respond, a million things went through my mind. Then, considering the fella is 3 and is probably looking for a simple answer, I responded

“No”.

He turned and looked quizzically at Annika.

“She died. And my brother too.”

And then it was over. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Since Cole died, I’ve given a fair amount of thought to how I would answer the question “How many kids do you have?” I guess the answer will depend on the circumstances. My mood, who’s asking, the context. Easy enough to say, but whether or not I hyperventilate or pass out when actually asked remains to be seen. Fortunately I have not been faced with that question. Well, until today, sort of, by a 3 year old. I didn’t pass out.

Today was my first day back to work. It was harder than I thought it was going to be. And I thought it was going to be hard. The first few times anyone talked to me, I cried (I didn’t think I would). I tried to hide in my cube the rest of the day. And then I did something that probably wasn’t so smart (if the goal was not crying). I called Mary. Our nurse. What can I say? I wanted to talk to her. I had tried calling yesterday, but she was off. I had time to kill at work because my ID/password are broken, so I called again. She was there. And she said all the right things. Including “you’ll always be the mom of three children”. Thank you. It was so good to talk to her. It really was. Maybe not so good for my image at work. Sniffle. (Actually, it was OK. Only a few very nice people were within earshot. And I’m not that easily embarrassed anyhow).

And a related question: am I still a mom of twins? My heart says yes, but I will never have those twin experiences. So can I relate to twin moms? Can they relate to me? While I was on bedrest, about a week before the babies were born, I joined the local Moms of Multiples (MOMs) club. I signed up for a playdate group for Annika, eager to meet other MOMs and get some pointers before the little ones arrived. I signed up for the Halloween party. After they were born, and especially after Cole died, I was afraid to reach out to them. A babysteps (online community I belong to) friend from TX actually contacted them for me and an amazing woman reached out to me. She wrote the most heartfelt, comforting e-mails. She brought me a huge stack of books. She brought me a gorgeous plant – cyclamen – which I killed (sorry, Leah). She put me in touch with another incredible MOM, who’d just lost one of her daughters a few months earlier. When Lina died, the MOMs really came out to support me. They sent me e-mail and cards, posted words of support on the bulletin board, and organized meals. At first I felt strange…accepting meals, help from “strangers”. But I can’t describe the way my heart felt when we came home on the night Lina died to find a box of hearty food on our doorstep.

Anyhow, what I’m trying to say, is that the MOMs are an amazing group. They are so generous, sympathetic and supportive. But when it comes time next September to pay my dues… do I do it? Do I still “belong”? When Lina was still alive, I felt…yes. My child is still a twin. And sure, I still have twins. But without the experiences…do I belong?

On the MOMs site, there is a “roster” with names and addresses, spouses names and a smiley face for each child with their ages, calculated automatically from their dates of birth. I have 3 smiley faces. One says “3 years” and two say “4 months”. But Lina and Cole are not 4 months old. They are 23 days old and 3 months 1 week old. They will always be those ages. Forever.

Stuck in a moment

 

One of the CDs I have in the car has U2’s “Stuck in a moment” on it. When it came on tonight on the way home, I turned it up and Annika and I sang it as loud as we could “YOU’VE GOT TO GET YOURSELF TOGETHER. YOU GOT STUCK IN A MOMENT AND YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF IT”.It amuses me that she knows that song. She surprised me when she started singing it while standing in line for one of the rides at Disney. After the song was over, our conversation went like this:

Annika: “Mommy, why he got stuck in a moment?”

Me: “I don’t know, he just got stuck” (insightful response, I know)

Annika: “Maybe when I get bigger I can get stuck in a moment.” Pause. “Just like Ice Age got stuck in a moment” (referring to the critter in the movie Ice Age who got stuck in a glacier or something when the world froze).

There was more, but I can’t remember it. I really enjoy her train of thought.

The guilt

Yes, I know I’m not supposed to do this. I know that the what-ifs can consume you and that they are not productive. But it’s so hard, if not impossible not to think about them. If love alone could have saved my babies they’d be in my arms today for sure. I loved them. I love them. And I just can’t stop thinking about every little thing I did or didn’t do that might have made a difference. Maybe it wouldn’t have saved them, but maybe it would have changed something? Made them a little bit comfier or… “happier”? I don’t know. I’m not one of those people who can say “I have no regrets”. I have tons of regrets, large and small, from all along the way. Things I wish I hadn’t (or had) done or said. Maybe writing some of them down will help me exercise them. Stop the endless movie playing in my head.

Let’s step back a sec. My mom. One of the things I heard my mom say to someone in the few weeks before she died was how she made a promise to herself when my grandfather died (more than 40 years ago) that she would never let my grandma spend Christmas alone, and she never had. Gulp. My mom spent last Christmas alone. She had been planning to come to CT to spend it with us, but at the very last minute she backed out. The radiation had given her an esophogeal ulcer and she couldn’t eat. She had a feeding tube, and had to give herself nutrition through that. She had shipped a case of the nutrition to us because it was too heavy to carry. But she was concerned about weather and getting stuck in Detroit on her layover (has happened more than once to us on winter trips to Duluth) and what she’d do if she couldn’t eat. Plus she had just gotten over pneumonia and was was worried about all the germ exposure travelling would entail. Made sense. She cancelled. I looked into booking a flight for us, but by that time, all the tickets I could find were like $1000 each. I decided that we’d come out later when tickets were more reasonable. Which we did. But now I feel terrible knowing how important that was to her. She never said anything to me though. And I console myself with the fact that I spent 2 months with her before she died. She didn’t die alone. But still… I carry this with me.

maviboncuk.jpgThe pregnancy. I have wondered if we should have even tempted fate. Everyone knows how dearly we love Annika. We have marvelled at how smart, pretty, well-adjusted (we think) she is. We have always felt blessed with her. I think I’ve thought about that every day since she was born, and probably expressed as much to many of you. I’d be lying if I said I’d never wondered if we were just asking for trouble to try for that again.

And then of course…did I do something during this pregnancy to cause this? I’d had such an easy, perfect pregnancy with Annika. Even though this one was much more uncomfortable and difficult right from the start, I pretty much went about life never really believing something could really go wrong. I was careful, yes. And when the doctors told me to stop going to work and rest, I did. But did I rest enough? I didn’t lay flat on my back 24/7 (for the record, nobody told me to). Was the activity I did too much? Somebody (my perinatologist, I think) told me that with pre-eclampsia, and particularly with HELLP Syndrome, that I had, they don’t actually have conclusive evidence that bedrest even helps. It’s just that they don’t know what else they can do. But maybe they just say that because what’s done is done, and it doesn’t help matters to feel guilty about what already happened. Especially when you have babes in the NICU to focus on. I don’t know. But how can you not ask yourself what you could have done to prevent something like this?

With Cole. In the early days I spent most of my time next to Lina. Partly it was logistics. Lina was in a corner, and there were chairs that sat over by her isolette. Plus she was so very tiny, and just seemed like she needed more attention. Cole’s bed was sort of in the middle of their “pod”. I wasn’t that strong, and usually needed to sit after a little while. I could have taken chairs over to Cole of course, and I did sometimes, but I just spent more time with Lina. Until he got sick. Really sick. I know that sitting next to him more wouldn’t have changed his outcome, but would he have felt more “loved”?

I regret each and every day I didn’t go to the NICU. There weren’t that many, but there were times I didn’t go because… I had other errands to run or I didn’t feel well. Especially with Lina, she was getting better and thought we had forever. I know they were getting the best care, and my being there wouldn’t have changed that. But would an extra touch have made them feel better? Would I have made one extra memory to carry with me? Those are all I have now.

The bad thing about vacations…

…is that they end. Actually, I always start feeling depressed about the end of a vacation by the 2nd day. It already starts to feel like we’re winding down. Crazy. In this particular case, I’m especially depressed about returning to the real world.

castle.jpg

Am I a snob?

A roller coaster snob that is? I don’t go on roller coasters often. In fact, I probably haven’t been on one for 10 years. But the Disney ones failed to impress me. I went on Space Mountain, Big Thunder and Barnstormer in the Magic Kingdom. Barnstormer is a kiddie one and truth be told, I might have liked that one best. I like a coaster with long, steep drops and these don’t have them. Space Mountain & Big Thunder just have lots of twists and turns. And they just hurt my back. Harumph. (I guess I’m getting old.) People all around me were yipping and yelling and all I was thinking was “ho hum”. The sort of thrilling thing about Space Mountain is that it’s all in the dark. Not sure what to say about Big Thunder. I had an extra fastpass ticket (to ride without waiting in line) and I didn’t even bother. The other day we went on one at Epcot. Or was it Animal Kingdom? A Mount Everest/Yeti theme – can’t remember the name of it. That was a little better – for a good portion you go backwards. Still, short on thrills if you ask me.
sleepingbeauty.jpg
Anyhoo. We’re having a nice time. Annika’s favorite thing is meeting the characters. We’ve met Pooh & Piglet, Peter Pan & Wendy, 3 princesses, a fairy godmother, Donald & Daisy, Minnie, Jo Jo, Leo from Little Einsteins…can’t remember who else. She gets so excited and that is fun to see. She keeps talking about it afterward, too. We watched the big parade today too, and she loved that.
She is beyond tired though. At home I try to stick to a schedule and get her a nap because she does better, but I don’t worry that much if she doesn’t sleep during the day. Here it’s so much stimulation she starts to melt down around noon. We don’t usually make it back to our room until mid-afternoon, and then she crashes. She’s doing pretty well though all things considered.She talks about her sister a lot (and sometimes her brother). We rent a stroller every day and at first she really wanted a double one. I told her they were for 2 kids, so we had to get a single one. She said “but we have 2 kids. Annika and Lina. 2 kids”. Every time she sees a double stroller she points out that they are for 2 kids, and says “Maybe when my sister comes home we can get one of those”. Clearly it will take her awhile to grasp what happened.

About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...