Post-Traumatic Babies, Birthday Books, and Pregnant Butterflies

Lilly’s birthday was harder on me than I thought it would be…..well actually, I hadn’t thought that it would be hard at all.

My head is sort of a mess these days because I’m editing my second book, which means reliving all of the experiences in it, and I JUST GOT my first paperback copy of Kidowed (my first book) in the mail–SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITING!

–But then of course I had to scan through it, and sort of speed-read the story of Kaylee’s death….and my subsequent demise…the mixed emotions sort of clashed with each other–I’m so proud of the book, and that I can finally Hold It In My Hands, which makes it very much more Real to me…..but Real isn’t always Good, I guess.

….my therapist would call these sorts of things “triggers.”  It’s like a

*ping!*

goes off in my brain and a horrible memory pops up in my head.  And there were a lot of triggers that day.  One of them was that a little boy named Anton died from EB this month, and I’d been following his story closely, and so noted that his funeral fell on Lilly’s birthday.

Then Lilly pointed out on the book cover that the picture is of me sitting between the gravestones of Ethan and Kaylee, which really threw me, bizarrely.  She’s seen the picture a million times, and so have I, but when her finger touched each gravestone on the cover and she said, “Ethan, Kaylee, Mommy,” a sort of shock went through me.  I didn’t like her touching it.  Like it was bad luck or something.

And of course then there was the drug testing–the constant reminder that I am NOT a good mother and I should NOT be allowed near my own children.  God.  I’m up to 8 negative tests now since all of this shit started in June, and they just keep piling them on…why??

 I’M CLEARLY NOT ON DRUGS!!!!!

I hated that Lilly had to come with me, not understanding at all what was going on.  It’s as if everyone in her life is trying to convince her in earnest that her Mother is Really Bad, which conflicts with the feelings that she actually has for me…it’s horrible.

Another thing that happened is that one of my good friends wanted to meet and do lunch and exchange Christmas gifts, and as an added bonus, his sister was in town, who I hadn’t seen in ages.  So, Lil, Mr. Anderson, and I went to a local diner and had a great lunch, but before this, we hung out at my place for a bit and Alex distributed gifts.  I had two from him–one was a beautifully hand-drawn portrait of ME (!!! HOW COOL IS THAT !!!), and the other–Alex is also a very talented Woodsmith, if you will–was a carving made out of wood of a red butterfly, surrounded by two pink and blue symbols to represent the lives of my Kaylee and Ethan.

Just…….Amazing.  I mean, the time and effort and thought that went into that…..just a really Awesome gift.  I mean–what could be more fitting?  I love butterflies!  He even made it red because the red ribbon is the symbol for Epidermolysis Bullosa Awareness.

WOW.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut  then of course my right brain kicked in with *ping*  *Ping* *PING* *PINGPINGPINGPINGPING* when I stepped out the door to leave for lunch and notice that my book, Kidowed, has arrived.

I could feel the haze trying to set in.  This is when therapists recommend “Grounding” techniques for sufferers of PTSD.  Something to put you back in the present, instead of lost in your head.  Bite into a lemon, they advise, or pinch yourself really hard.  Stomp your feet or ask yourself questions about where you are right now, what you are doing, what year is it, ect.

So that the fog doesn’t get you.

These are called flashbacks.

And they are horrific.

I survived the lunch, but felt foggy the entire time, and had to keep asking people, “What?” when they were talking to me, because I couldn’t focus.  It’s like being on a sedative that you didn’t ask for.

So after lunch, we have to hurry back to my place, because Mike is picking up Lilly.  I only get half of her birthday.  Even though he gets every other day of the fucking week, practically, with her.  When she leaves, I am surprised that I burst into tears, and literally have to lay down–I felt like the room was spinning.

I sobbed for a while, then picked myself up and decided to call in reinforcements.  It turns out that my sister’s ex-hubby and I have a pretty good relationship now, bizarrely, and we have been taking walks together regularly and chatting, so I asked him over, and of course Melvin was at my house lickety-split bearing gifts of cigarettes and good-natured jokes, as always.  And so, we made turkey soup and chatted and laughed, and it distracted me just enough to not cry even once…and then Mr. Anderson got off of work, and my Reinforcements went home, and we retired to Mr. Anderson’s house (because he has a [very comfortable] bed, and I do not).

My mind, of course, was a mess, and I couldn’t seem to express any of it.  When I tried twice, and Mr. Anderson’s eyes were fixed on the television screen instead of me, and then the electricity went out and he STILL wasn’t paying attention, I gave up and we went to bed.  I couldn’t sleep, and desperately wanted to be home, and so, when I was sure he was sleeping, I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and walked home with my laptop in an ice storm at 4am.

He must have noticed about 3 hours later, because he followed my tracks the two blocks to my house and curled up next to me at about 7am.

Then I was finally able to sleep.

I went to sleep and had an extremely REAL dream that I was PREGNANT (!!) with Mr. Anderson’s child.

Of course.

In the dream, I have to confirm with another person what I am seeing on the pregnancy test, because I know this is not possible, and my sister shows up.  Great.  Love that nasty twist.

Thanks, Right Brain.

My sister confirms that I am, in fact pregnant, I begin to have a panic attack, which was real and woke me up.

Awesome.

Time for a Therapy Appointment, Jess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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