Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Retrospection is for Pussies

The usual thing you do after you have a baby, is look back, and marvel at the milestones but also at how tiny the baby was. The tricky thing about that for me is ..... the time when Rocco was born was so terrible, I don't like to look back. When I do look back, I always always inwardly shudder. Makes me want to gag.

Something Nancy wrote in a comment to me last week has stuck with me:
"... the fact you had a baby by yourself and then took yourself to see your cancer-ridden husband - that's a fucking war wound."

A fucking war wound. Now there's a turn of phrase.

I've been kind of keeping my feelings around Rocco's babyhood to myself, but the terrible truth is .... I can't wait for him to not be a baby anymore. The oddest feeling, especially since I pined for him for years, and did IVF to have him.

The day I left hospital with Rocco, all I wanted to do was visit Dave. He was down in his big hospital. I had an argument with the hospital staff about Roccos jaundice, they kept wanting to heel prick him but I knew he was fine. They also wanted to do a deafness test on him, but I knew he wasn't deaf. This one lady got a bee in her bonnet about my refusal to re-try the test (they tried in hospital but after 40 minutes the machine still wouldn't work so I ordered them out of my room). She kept calling me for weeks afterwards, trying to get me to come in so Rocco could do his hearing test. Finally I cracked the shits. "Look, you know what? No, I'm not bringing him in for a test. He's not deaf."

She couldn't believe it. "But how do you KNOW he's not deaf?"

"Because his dad is in hospital with cancer. He can't have a sick dad AND be deaf."

Funnily enough, she had no comeback for my warped reasoning.

My sister came to pick Rocco and I up from hospital, to take us straight down to daddys cancer ward. Wooot! What a fucking day that was! On the way we had to stop at a chemist to get some painkillers for me, for my c-section scar. (There is nothing more blissful than legitimate painkillers). I had Rocco in the sling, walked into the chemist, and his teeny foot kicked the photo frame display. It went crashing to the ground, after every single mirrored glass panel fell on top of each other, folding into itself like one of the twin towers collapsing. It cause the biggest ruckus, and these ladies all came running over. I stood there, honestly not giving a shit. "Oh, sorry. My husband has cancer." (Because that made SO much sense!)

I took Rocco to his dad. It was such a relief to see Dave. He still looked ok, but had been in immense pain from his surgery.

I was starving, in that manic/breastfeeding way. Linda took our photo outside in the cafeteria - it's a wonder you can see us through all the cigarette smoke.

Driving off and leaving Dave in hospital while I took our new baby home was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Things sucked bad..... but I was still managing. Then, Rocco started having these crying jags in the night - that grew longer and longer. So many times I would cast my eyes up and just shout-think to God ..... "Seriously, I can handle this, but please make him stop crying. Don't give me a screaming baby."

But I had a screaming baby. I had a screaming baby for a loooong time. He screamed so much I had to walk away, so many times. His cry made me want to hurt myself. Or hurt him. Sometimes I didn't even want to pick him up, or look at him. Looking back on it, I was too stubborn to ask for help from any professionals, but I'm pretty sure I had some kind of PND.

"Argh, me hearties ... there be some cryin' in this house tonight!"

I have posts brewing about IVF, getting the baby I wanted to much, about Dave's subsequent remission and how I swear to God I will never, ever be taken by surprise in life again. Every day is indeed a blessing, because it's another day that I didn't think we would all have together. Even today - today I feel angry, fucked up, listless and sad, BUT .... Dave is alive and we are planning shit together. The kids are healthy. It's even the middle of winter, but nothing was as bitter and as cold as the winter of last year.

This does not mean I'm all Pollyanna - why, just then, Dave pissed me off so badly that I yelled him out of the house. He's possibly too scared to come back today. (He really needs to stop making fun of me and laughing. What part of "over-sensitive due to a fucked-up childhood does he NOT understand?")

Rocco is my wonderboy. He has slept through every night this week. This makes me want to run naked on the back deck. He loves his family - even me, the Angry One. The One who almost wished him away. I love him with a ferocity now ... I'll never forgive myself for not loving him like this since Day 1, but it's better late than never.

"Anyway, my MUM crys more than me. She is a big fat crybaby. Now pass me that cake."


  1. You have come so far mate. You all have.

  2. I wouldn't want to look back at all that either babe. I had a screaming baby and a sick husband too and it sucked. You've definitely got war wounds but, hey, you're healing nicely it seems.

  3. Man, too much to deal with. truly.

  4. Rocco was SO new to you. You loved him, yes, but you didn't "know" him yet. Of course you didn't want to leave Dave, that's your HUSBAND! You knew him and you were grieving over the loss of the happy homecoming you had in your head. You've come SO far, Eden. I know being The Angry One is part of grief, but I wish you wouldn't beat yourself up over the past. I wish I could take it all away and so all you would remember are all the rainbows and the sunshine. I know I can't, but I'm here for you! You're doing a great job, love! You truly are! I am proud and honored to call you a friend.

  5. Love, you are so lucky to love your man the way you do. You have Max, who is my birthday soul mate so of course is dead easy to love. And your baby boy, he is yours in so many ways it's indescribable. That yawning photo, he looks JUST LIKE YOU.

    Love is not simple or easy. But you love hard. That is a gift. You do rock (and I love you).

  6. You are amazing and doing fabulously considering all you have been dealt with !

    Looking at Rocco in those pics is gorgeous, they grow so quickly.

  7. Oh my Eden -- how I get you.

    I've been thinking lately -- because of the impending event (supposed impending event -- I may still be in denial) that I would love to just ball up the past and throw it away. Gone. Done. So long -- not even thinking on it -- I can't of course, never could, but how I want to shake free of it.

    You are and have done tremendous good with this blog lovely -- and there's someone out there who can't imagine moving forward and they read what you've written -- and then they've had the most powerful connection of all -- communion with another person. I am not alone.

    I was just thinking this morning as I set out to read a few blogs and write that it was so funny -- some days I wake up and all I see is the shit -- the dog hair collecting on the radiator covers , the dirty dishes, the undone laundry -- and the lurking of everything that's come before -- and some days are brilliant -- and I have to believe we feel the brilliance all the more for the pain.

    I love you woman -- and I love Max's Crash on the bed with you guys -- and I love how Rocco's grown. I'll never forget your kindnesses even in the deepest parts of your dark journey...ever ever ever.



  8. Post traumatic on top of post traumatic and you still made it through. It really is a testimony to your resilience. Sure, you feel overly sensitive but so be it. Your war wounds make you a great mother, wife, sister and friend. Like Pam, you gave support in your darkest hours to me and I love you for it.

  9. I hate myself right now for complaining about Steve going back to work after 3 days. I'm fucking lucky I didn't have to do it by myself - like you did. You are a warrior, Eden. You truly are.

    And uh... a little off topic - Dave is a bit of a hottie.

  10. Took me ages to really love my first. Not because I had any good reason to--aside from his screaming and sensory issues--and I didn't even have a husband, let alone one sick with cancer.

    I won't try and tell you not to feel guilty, because OF COURSE you'll feel guilty. Ben is almost 8 and I STILL feel awful.

    Hang in there, yo.

  11. I remember almost nothing of middle sons first year. My mother died right when he was born. The guilt I feel for not remembering any milestones has to go away someday right? He is 19 now,,,I thought it would be gone by now.

    It sucks when certain crappy pieces of your life are forever stuck in your memory and happy and sad times collide.

    You dear, have done amazingly well:)

  12. I have so many things to say to this and none of them are really connected, so here goes:

    It's no wonder you don't want to look back. It may be the usual thing to do, but the time when Rocco was a little baby was not the usual little baby time, so I hereby offer you a "get out of looking back free card" that never expires and can be used any fucking time you need it. Although obviously you are brave enough to keep looking back and in your looking back you are healing, whether it feels that way or not.

    Yes, a war wound. That's it exactly.

    That pirate caption on the photo is still making me laugh.

    As is the mini 9-11 Rocco caused when he was just days (hours?) old. Living up to his name and to his mother's awesome inheritance of letting out his feelings in the rawest and most elegantly chaotic ways possible. I can just imagine a monologue running through his tiny brain: "I just fucking arrived here, you fuckers, and I can't even talk yet, but my dad has fucking cancer and my mum is completely fucking traumatized, and you expect me to quietly pass by a display of photo frames meant to display happy moments such as the ones my family and I are meant to be enjoying right the fuck now? Fuck you, fuckers. **CRASH!!**"

    PND. Yes, of course you did. (I mean that as a "it would take a bloody robot to go through that and not get PND" not as a big old "Duh, Eden!") And you survived, all of you. And you're planning shit and you sometimes want to run naked on the back deck and you are ferociously loving your ferociously powerful little guy.

    Maybe Rocco was screaming and crying for all of you. And now you are bonded to him with a strange and ultra-powerful glue that is just as strong as what bonds you to Max, but yet is completely different. Cause you lived through it all together. No sunshine and roses and butterflies and rainbows, but the truth, anyway.

    I love you, Eden. You are a complete fucking triumph of humanity. Now pass me that cake.

  13. War wounds. You, my dear, have had more than your fair share of war wounds. Hell, you've had more than a country's fair share of war wounds. And yet, you continue to push forward and be all wonderful and inspire-y. You've taken those wounds (that would break any ordinary person) and have used them to become an even more empathetic and compassionate person toward not only your family but to the blogosphere.

    You are truly amazing!

    I am glad that I have found you and your blog, too. I have learned so much from you. Hugs!

    P.S. I love Anna's version of Rocco's thoughts! Ha!

  14. I keep reading how you feel guilty that you didn't immediately fiercely love your little one. My sweet, you are too hard on yourself.

    I did not immediately fiercely love my little one. Nope. It took me about 4 months before I really fell in love. And I did IVF so I REALLY WANTED the kid. And I had a perfectly healthy husband.

    If I had told you that then, would you have been like "DUDE YOU SUCK, HORRIBLE MOTHER, EVIL WOMAN!"
    Of course not. You would have told me that motherhood is hard, and it takes awhile to get in the groove, and sleep deprivation makes you nutso, and you have to get to know your little one, etc.

    You have to give yourself the same consideration. Not only is it normal to take awhile to fall in love with a newborn, its even MORE normal when the whole rest of your life has suddenly plonked in the crapper. You had so much to deal with - more than anyone should. Give yourself a break.

    Will you do me a solid and try to let go of that guilt? You are a good Mommma. Period.

  15. It's absolutely natural that you wouldn't want to look back at Rocco's babyhood...hell, I really don't like to look back at my twins' babyhood because being the clueless mom of twins was SO very painful for a good 4-6 months. I can honestly say that I didn't truly enjoy being a mom until about 6 months. Up until then, I was just surviving, not thriving at all. And that's just with twins. You had a new infant and a husband battling cancer...of course, you don't want to look back! Your little guys are so adorable. Dave's shirt with "Chicago" on it is a sign that you must come visit!

  16. Eden, you are a rockstar! When things get sticky around here I have often thought, "This is nothing you wimp, think about E." As for war wounds and looking back, you have come so far in a very short time. I have some deep wounds that are ten years old and I still can't look back.

    You are doing a wonderful job.
    Much love!

  17. I can't even imagine how rough those first months were. I don't know if I would have ever managed it. As far as forgiving yourself, Rocco already has forgiven you. Hugs to you.

  18. Hey there, love. Long time, no comment. What the fuck is up, yo? I can't hear U2 on the radio and not think of you.

    Sucks that it's winter there. It seems like just yesterday I was reading your posts in my freezing apartment, cursing your ass for frolicking about the beach on "holiday" and here I am sweating my ass off as you freeze.

    I so get this post. You and I, we had different post-partum traumas, but I just SO get it. After finding out about Owen's heart defect, I couldn't look at him without imagining what he'd look like when I found him dead or how I'd hold up at his funeral. Morbid shit, but it was my reality. I've been working on a post about this. There wasn't a moment during his first 81 days that I didn't look at him and think about his death. It fucking blew. And now as he grows and grows, people ask me if I miss those first few months and I honestly can't answer them. It's sort of like I've blocked them out. I don't remember Owen before he had a scar running down his chest.

    Even though our circumstances were different, we were both trying to exprience the bliss that comes with a newborn baby while we dealt with tragedy and trying to come to terms with possible unspeakable conclusions.

    Fucking ick, is what I say. Thank god we're where we are now.



Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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