Monday, June 13

What a Week...

My sincere apologies for my lack of posting. As I was telling a dear friend at Bryce's party on Saturday, I sometimes feel like my blog has to follow the Thumper's Mom know, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

I took Bambi seriously as a child and I guess it just stuck. I don't want to be negative and I don't want to be a downer, so when you see a lack of posts here at the blog it's likely a good sign that I'm trying to find a way to deal with something.

When Bryce was first born everything about our life was up side down, in side out and complete turmoil. These days are quite the opposite. We've settled into a routine, we rarely find that we have a medical emergency or new health issue to understand.

For the vast majority of the time, life is down right good.

But I do have my down moments.

I just prefer to bottle them up. And now that we're not in the midst of survival mode I'm able to do so much more effectively.

But my friend suggested that I be more honest - more like I was before. And since I respect and value her opinion I'm going to do my best to do just that.

Bryce's second birthday was just a week ago tomorrow but I've felt it coming on like a flu. You get a little sleepy, a little achy, a little less motivated and a little grumpy. No matter how hard you try to ignore the symptoms it always boils over into a mess of a day where you get nothing done but rest and try to let your body recover.

I HATE to equate Bryce's birthday with the flu. But let's face it, that was the best and worst day of my life. And I know that for most of our friends and family it's hard to understand how something that happened two years ago could possibly still be an open wound. But I'm here to say, honestly, that it absolutely is.

The saving grace is my precious baby Bryce - who soon I won't be able to call that anymore so I'm getting it all in while I can.

I had an email conversation with another mom last week who has two preemies. Her first is turning 11 this year and she said that she only now is able to fully embrace the celebration of his birthday without the bittersweet emotions.

It was so nice to hear from someone who got it. It's hard to find another human being who really understands these feelings. So what do you do with them? Well, I bottle 'em up, shove 'em down and keep on moving. I even went to the NICU last Monday night to do my weekly parent to parent volunteering. Wow, probably not a good idea.

I stood at the scrub sink almost exactly two years to the day from the first time I stood there and scrubbed in. The memory of the terrifying thought of walking in to see Bryce in the NICU for the first time is un-repressable. I remember so well that feeling of not knowing where I was, how I got there, what would become of my son, my life, my future. We were so sure he couldn't survive that I was in a constant state of trying to figure out how I would deal with losing my baby.

How would I go on? How would I ever find a way to be happy? How would Caleb and I get through such a trauma?

Well, he did survive - oh boy, did he! But our body remembers, the mind remembers. If you spend weeks and months preparing for a loss it doesn't just go away. It lurks in your subconscious, ever-ready to surface if necessary. It haunts your thoughts and tugs at your soul.

So there it is, there is the awful truth. As I celebrate the birth of my son I'm still working through the trauma of that birth. As we surround ourselves with friends, family, sweets and smiles - inside I'm fighting tears, I'm wondering when the next bad thing might happen, I'm fighting to stay above water until it's all a memory.

That's my coping method and while it might not be doctor recommended it's getting me through. I've been off the Zoloft for the better part of a year - the emotions may be raw and they may make me feel vulnerable but I'm feeling them, I'm dealing with them and I know eventually I'll be whole again. At least mostly.

So, I'm sorry there was no big happy 2nd birthday post. I just couldn't muster it. But I promise to post the video of Bryce eating his first brownie sundae on his birthday later today or maybe tomorrow.

And I thank my friend for suggesting openly that I get over my need to please and just be be honest. I hope it's okay with the rest of my readers as well.

Thank you all for your love, support and fellowship.


  1. Better to let it out and share it!

    Seriously, though, there have been so many articles about preemies and PTSD in parents that I don't think anyone can blame you for having a not super upbeat mindset on B.'s birthday.

  2. Katrina-

    I agree... no one can possibly comprehend the emotions associated with such an event. It's just not in any of us unless we have actually lived it. But, I do want you to know that no one who reads this blog, or has followed Bryce's development, judges you in anyway.

    Because I cannot even imagine the impact this has had on you, I certainly cannot imagine how it must feel now, and how it must feel to feel that way. Layers upon layers of conflicting emotions.

    It takes strength to show your pain; it's much easier to just stuff it and move on. (And that's what life calls for a lot of the time). But I am glad to see you listened to your friend and gave yourself permission to openly grieve.

    Stay strong, Momma. And just know that there are a lot of people sending you love and fortitude... myself included.

  3. Happy Belated Birthday to Bryce! I can't imagine the feelings that come up on his birthday but can understand that when he was born there was fear and confusion and the unknown (and probably a million other random feelings). You are so strong to have shared his journey and also to share YOUR journey!

  4. I just have to say - keep being honest. 1) It was good to know we're not alone. 2) I think writing about it is not only cathartic but hugely beneficial for all of us who read and get it. 3) You are like this amazing, honest, funny woman/mom/friend and I'm grateful to know you. Crying (and smiling) right along with ya, sister. Happy birthday to sweet Bryce and a "keep doing what you're doing" to his awesome parents.

  5. Love this post. Not because you've had a bad week...but because I understand what this feels like and it's so nice to realize that there is someone else out there who feels the same way. Thanks for being honest. I know that many people value frankness over 'sugar coating' any day of the week!

  6. Happy Birthday Bryce - I can't believe it has already been 2 years! Although my boys' premature birth was far less traumatic I still struggle with the memories every time their birthday rolls around. Not to discourage you, but being pregnant again is very scary and I have been apprehensive the entire time. The boys' pediatrician and my OB are in the same hospital group as the NICU the boys were in. I hate to wash my hands or use the foam sanitizer because they haven't changed brands in 4 1/2 years and the smell makes my throat tighten and my eyes well up. The body does remember! Hopefully you will be able to replace those memories with more and more happy ones as time goes by, I promise that it does start to fade a little! I think you are doing an amazing job with Bryce and with all that you continue to do with the NICU and March of Dimes!

  7. You are not alone. A few days before my babies' first birthday, I just broke down in tears and had a huge meltdown when I realized that the next day was the day I went into pre-term labor. Always remember that it's your blog and you can cry if you want to!

  8. I understand as well. My preemie is 11yrs old. Born at 27 wks. I remember everything from 24wks when I went in to the hospital. I went into the hospital carrying 2 boys, came home with 1. Every milestone that is made by my son, brings tears of joy to me. They certainly have a special place in our hearts.


  9. Katrina, I can only imagine having to relive that traumatic and most scary time in your life every year on Bryce's bday. It's amazing how you are able to share your experience with other moms who also experience this post-NICU grief. I'm thinking of you and your family... and no apologies are needed for not posting. I also really liked the "Thumper's Mom Philosophy."


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