So here I am again, past midnight, exhausted and can't sleep. I avoid sleep these days...I avoid the tossing and the turning...no matter how tired I am at 9pm, I can't get myself to just get in bed and go to sleep. Even on the nights that Richard has "baby duty", when I should get uninterrupted rest, I just can't. I've found that I'm not alone, the other bereaved mothers I correspond with say the same thing. They also have trouble focusing, which I certainly do as well. I am a tad bit better...I think the med changes have helped, I have more energy, I can get out of bed easier, take care of Avery and Lily, go to work twice a week...I even laugh and smile with Avery and Lily. But at the same time I feel like it's fake or forced, and I guess to some degree it is. I never understood, until now, that going about your life without having to will yourself to do something as simple as washing your face, was a gift. One of the moms I talk to said there was a line in a movie, I think it was Sleepless in Seattle where Tom Hanks is talking to the phone therapist about the loss of his wife and he says something to the effect of "I'm going to get up each day and tell myself to breathe and I'm going to do this each and every day until I no longer have to tell myself anymore." That is what this life is now. There is no living on automatic pilot...everything is deliberate, everything is an exercise in will-power, and God's grace.

I know that the times that I am truly happy and energized are the little rest periods God gives me to get through this. I only wish these rest periods would involve actually holding Zoe in the flesh. It's been said to me that we don't grieve for the deceased, we grieve for ourselves, our loss...and it's true, I grieve because I can't hold my daughter, because I can't play with her, because I can't see that gorgeous smile or those sparkling eyes. I know she's running around in Heaven, chasing butterflies, laughing, singing, surrounded by infinite love, warmth, and happiness. I know this...but she was happy here too. Look at those pictures of her...all those smiles and those that knew her, do you remember how her little shoulders would shake when she laughed? When she was truly tickled about something? Remember how she'd shriek with joy when you played peek-a-boo with her? I used to love to watch her watch her sisters...I could just see those wheels turning in her head..."If I could just get over there I could do that too"...and she could. She was just starting to have incredible control over her body, it was doing what she wanted it to do...she was playing with toys, grabbing her feet (even her last night on Earth, they put an IV in her foot and had to wrap it up because she kept trying to grab her toes), sitting up, clapping, shaking toys, everything her sisters could do, she could too. She was getting so strong...how could this happen? How can it be accepted that something as deadly as MRSA is still here? Is just living on our bodies and can get into the blood and run rampant? How can we in this day and age allow the flu to kill someone? How with all the science and medicine and research, how can it be that my baby would have to die? How are there not enough measures in place to save a life like hers? How, when she fought so hard through almost 10 months in the NICU, through two surgeries, 14 weeks of intubation, infections, and on and on...how could she survive all of that when she weighed a mere 1lb 10oz at birth...and she could not survive this? The doctor was impressed that she battled the flu so well, someone with her degree of lung disease most certainly should have been expected to spend a week or more in the hospital with flu and pneumonia, she spent just 5 days. And she never went up on her oxygen, was back on full feeds within two days of antibiotics...she was getting better...and then two days later, she's gone! My baby is gone!

I'm still asking for dreams about her so I can relive some tangible moment with her. I watch the videos we have of her...trying to remember the feeling of holding her, the weight of her body, the tone of her muscles, the heat she gave off when she slept...just trying to grasp at anything so that I can feel that physical bond. When she was so small and first born, I was almost afraid to bond with her, we were so terrified of losing her because of her fragile state, I was afraid to love her. But I fell in love with my baby, with all of my babies. And she pushed on through...our bond was always different because we couldn't hold her until she was two months old, so the physical mother-child bonding really happened in a different way, I was never able to breastfeed, in fact she didn't even have her first oral feed until she was nearly 6 months old! I also wasn't at the hospital every day once Avery and Lily came home from the NICU, for this I felt and still feel an enormous amount of guilt. I know I did the best I could at the time, but of course looking back I wish I could have and would have done more, spent more time alone with her, spent more time talking to her and singing to her, spent more skin-to-skin time with her...I will always wish I had done more in the past and I will always wish I had more in the future. I try so hard to hold on to the fact that she was so happy. That all these things that were done to her...really didn't seem to bother her much, unless of course you woke her up before she was good and ready to get up! I look now at the little scars on Avery and Lily's feet, legs, and hands...the IV sticks, the PICC lines, the CBG heel sticks...and I just feel like each and every one of those scars was a source of pain for them, a pain that I should have taken for them. Do they seem bothered by these scars? Do they even notice them or know what they're from? No, they don't...this is all just me...depression is so selfish, it really is and I hate it! I hate it and I don't want it anymore...but I am so tired how much more will power can I muster? Can God really give me all that I need to get through this? I know He can, but I wonder sometimes, I'm not going to pretend that I don't, I do wonder. But I have to believe. I believe in Him, that is the only way I know I will truly see Zoe again. And I know I will...Heaven knows no impatience, but I sure do!

I always start out writing with the intention of telling you about Avery and Lily and of course, in my ramblings about myself, they get lost and they shouldn't. They are doing amazingly well. Walking and talking, laughing...they're starting to really play together and they hold hands when they're in their highchairs and when they're in their carseats, it is the cutest thing on the planet!!! They're doing great with their swimming lessons, they can both float but haven't been able to learn how to swim yet. Our teacher says as they walk more they'll figure out the kicking part of swimming. The lessons are really interesting, now that Lily can float by herself for a minute, the teacher kind of simulates different ways that she could potentially fall into a pool to make sure that Lily knows how to get on her back and float. She sits her on the side of the pool with her back to the water, with her front to the water, she gently lowers her into the pool straight up and down...all these different scenarios and Lily just pops right up like a cork. Avery can pretty much do the same thing but likes to kick her feet when she's on her back which isn't really conducive to successful floating. So we'll keep working on that.

They love to play outside and we've even ventured out on a playdate with one of their former nurses from the NICU and her son. We all had a great time and I think they really liked all the new and different toys and Brice was a wonderful host, he let them play with just about anything they wanted. We've also been to Lekotek. Usually our Lekotek leader comes to us, to reduce their risk of exposure to the outside world. But since it's no longer RSV season and they've been so healthy we had a play session at Lekotek which was a lot of fun for both of them. We've also got some trips planned...Stone Mountain with a good friend of mine from college and her kids, and the aquarium with two other sets of triplets...I'm really looking forward to both of these outings. We are incredibly lucky to have very wonderful friends with a house in Hilton Head. They are letting us use it for our very first family vacation. So, you see, life actually is good...but at the same time it stinks because Zoe isn't here to do all these wonderful new things with us. I wil often replay an entire day in my head as if she were here...imagining what she'd do or say. One day I'm sure she'll tell me "Mom, I was always there, I never left you."


Diane said...

I wanted to let you know how moved I am by your writing. And I want you to know that I pray for you and your family. May God heal your broken and bruised heart.

I'm a friend of the McTriplets.

nancy said...


Keep putting one foot in front of the other. It was so nice to see the positive ending on today's entry.



Amanda L said...

You don't know me, but I have posted a few times before. I just wanted you to know that I continue to pray for you. It is hard to read your blog but I do because it is important to honor your sorrow. I think of your family often and I just wanted you to know that.

Misty said...

I agree with you about MRSA. It is a horrible thing. We too, but in a much different way, live with its effects. I'm so glad to see the positive ending on your post and i do hope your days do get easier for you. know that many are still praying for you and your family.

Dorinda said...

Swimming lessons?! Wow are our gils old enough for that? We're swimming here in Florida but I'm always so worried they're not old enough to really get out there. I might try some of your teacher's tips with my girls :)

You are still in my mind and prayers. I have no answers but I am grateful to know that you know you are in the palm of God's hands and so is Zoe and for some reason that none of us can comprehend this is the situation He has placed you in. I will continue to pray for His grace in your life. And that you have the strength you need for each and every day.

My friend who lost her daughter at 7 (with two surviving triplets) said she had once heard it took 6 years to fully "recover" and she agrees. Every day is still painful. You will never forget Zoe, you will always love her, you will always grieve her but that is okay. You are a brighter and lovlier person for having known her for even a short time. I'm sorry I never really got to know her...

With much love,
Mom to Kaitlyn 7, Caleb 4, Julianna, Rachel and Alyssa 18 months

Denise Wheeler said...

I just wanted you to know that I continue to pray for you each and every single day. I do hope your days get easier. It is wonderful to hear that Avery and Lily are doing so well.

loren said...

You are an amazingly strong person and mother!

All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31