Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

"Throughout history, people have sought meaning in dreams or divination through dreams. Dreams have also been described physiologically as a response to neural processes during sleep; psychologically as reflections of the subconscious; and spiritually as messages from god, the deceased, predictions of the future, or from the Soul." Wikipedia

Not that Wikipedia is my favorite source of information because the articles are not always backed up by a credible source. But I liked, "The cultural meaning of dreams" section of the DREAM article because I've been thinking a lot lately about dreams and what they mean to me and to other people. I have had recurrent dreams since I was young. It was a white werewolf trying to get me then, but now it is an alligator blocking me from getting to something or someone. And we are talking WEIRD alligators. Like the Lake Placid alligator or Ammit, the crocodile, lion, hippo creature that would sit by Anubis as he determined the fate of ancient Egyptians as depicted in the Book of the Dead.) I have also had horrific dreams of my three year old son dying...almost always drowning. There are people around, but they are seemingly inanimate, just staring as I scream for help.

I know some people are really in to dream interpretations and I have no real issues with it. But I'm a black and white thinker, so I tend to take things at face value. I've been disturbed by dreams for a day or so. I've had some pretty, eh hem, great dreams too! I almost always dream to where I remember them the next morning, even if only for a few minutes. But I'm posting this morning not to talk about the dreams I have had.

I have only confessed this to my husband, and only recently...I have never dreamt of Eleanor. It has been almost 18 months since she left us. As if there is anything else I could feel guilty or sad about when I think of her, but now my subconscious or soul or whatever, won't let me dream of her. I haven't even had a nightmare of those traumatic last hours of watching doctors trying to save her twice and then holding her as she died followed by washing her beautiful, battered body. I see, smell and hear it when I am awake, but never while sleeping. I have fallen asleep countless times crying and thinking of her, but still, no dreams.

I read somewhere once that dreams and catastrophizing (daydreams of bad things happening) are the brains way of preparing us in case something does happen, like a car wreck, bank robbery or abduction. We create that path in our brain and can subconsciously tap back into it should we ever need to. If that's true, maybe my brain is telling me that I don't need to prepare for the tragedy of losing a child. I have already experienced it. It is already burnt into my brain. But I still hold out hope...because hope is all I have left now...that one day I will be able to dream of my sweet Eleanor. 

Monday, June 13, 2011


We found out two weeks ago, at 19wks pregnant, that the baby has a healthy heart and no signs of hydrops! That was confirmed by a Pediatric Cardiologist the following week. I cried tears of joy and my husband and I both gave a HUGE sigh of relief. Another milestone has come and gone and we are still progressing along. During those appointments, we also learned that we will be expecting our second daughter. Her name will be Adelaide.  

I had mixed emotions to this as I knew it would be difficult no matter what the gender was…although that was the least important thing to me during those appointments. But once it sunk in that we had a healthy baby, the realization that I would finally have my living daughter both excited and terrified me. All the fears I had with Ellie came rushing back, which made me miss her even more. And I am terrified people will forget her with the new baby coming, especially since that baby is a girl. But we ARE so very excited.

My husband and I went straight to Target and bought a few toys and an outfit as soon as our appointment was over. We hadn’t allowed ourselves to get too attached until this point out of fear. But these appointments allowed us to imagine bringing Adelaide home in October.  As we excitedly talked about what was to come, it hit me that we already HAD this conversation a year and a half ago: What would it be like to have a girl? Would Sebastian be a good big brother? How would life change with two children? Remember what it was like with an infant? We had the furniture. We had all the toys and clothes. We were almost ready for Ellie at 30 weeks, just missing a few minor things. But now, now we would be going through the exact same motions as before. How strange to talk about bringing a new baby home, totalling two kids, when you have had three (and two butterfly babies lost by miscarriage)?

And I can't help but think about how Ellie’s 20 week scan was good too. The specialists have both said they would’ve caught her condition by then and it really depends on who is looking and what type of equipment is used. They said at this point they can see 70-90% of all major defects, with the disclaimer that something could be missed. I can’t help but fear the outcome will be the same for this daughter although I desperately hope it isn’t.

People keep asking me if I feel “better” now that we know the heart is okay. Will I “enjoy” this pregnancy more. The answer is complicated. I will never, ever be “better”. My daughter died, in my arms, and nothing will erase that. I have met amazing women who have suffered the loss of a child and now know there are many other complications that can occur. I am a little more at peace about Ellie after talking with the Cardiologist about her defect. I am allowing myself to talk more to Adelaide and do feel more connected. My husband has confessed he deseperately hoped for a girl and has every intention of spoiling her rotten in lots of pink, girlie things! If anything, these appointments and discussions with specialists have allowed me to begin forgiving myself for things I feel guilty about. I am beyond hopeful. But I still have so much fear. The unimaginable has happened and my eyes are wide open now. Although October will hopefully bring a healthy baby girl, my grieving journey will continue for a long time. Eleanor will never be replaced.