Friday, June 01, 2007

Thinking back

Having been off-line for a week, I've been doing a lot of catch-up reading of my favourite blogs and the SANDS site. I guess that, plus the fact that it's half term so everyone is away, has made the last day or two tough. While people have been lovely and said to ring whenever I need to, when I do it seems they're always too busy or have already made other plans, or whatever. (Sarah & Sue - this doesn't apply to you!! You have both been amazing at making time for me.)

So I've been quite lonely this week, with lots of time to think. And I've been thinking back over Zoe's last few days and her birth. I was just remembering how, that first night, I couldn't sleep. I was more exhausted than I've ever been in my life. I was so tired I was literally falling asleep while talking to people! Yet, once I'd handed Zoe over for the night I just couldn't sleep. (The warm temperatures in the delivery rooms meant that her body would degrade quickly if she'd spent the night in the room with us, and if we wanted an autopsy we needed to preserve her body as best we could.) I would fall asleep and then wake up with a massive start 30 minutes later, thinking that surely it was time for a feed, or that she'd fallen off the bed, or that I'd rolled onto her, or that she'd stopped breathing in her cot. Then I'd remember that she was dead. But I was too tired to cry anymore and I'd fall asleep again before I could grieve, only to be haunted by horrible nightmares. And then wake up to repeat the process again.

It was the worst night of my life. Without a doubt.

I'm sleeping much better these days. No more nightmares (for which I'm eternally grateful). Although I've always had weird dreams, since Zoe's death my dreams have taken on some other sort of quality. Now they always seem to involve a major crisis in which I'm helpless to effect any change. This morning's one was about one of my favourite trees from my childhood - a Jacaranda that we had growing in the back garden. It was one of those perfect climbing trees because it had a branch low enough to climb up, plus it's branches were wide enough and flat enough to sit on comfortably. I loved that tree.

Anyway, in my dream it was 600 years old (not true) and its branches had grown so long they stretched over the neighbours' walls and were threatening to break the walls. Plus my mother said it was now so big it destroyed the view she had from the upstairs bedroom window. It had to go. I was desperately trying to think of ways to save it, from just removing certain branches to not touching it at all, but no-one was listening. Even Graeme's parents got involved and said it had to go. (In my dream Peter had even written a book about it needing to go, with the chapters written alternately in English and Afrikaans!! When I told G about it, he laughed and said it definitely had to be a dream, given how poor his father's Afrikaans is.)

The conclusion of the dream is that I didn't save the tree. Just like I didn't save Zoe. That's always how my dreams seem to end at the moment. Whatever the crisis is, I fail to resolve it. The comfort I take is that at least these are just dreams. I'm not the failure my dreams make me out to be.

One woman posted on SANDS this morning to tell how her midwife failed to pick up on a very treatable condition she developed during pregnancy. Her liver stopped working properly, and so toxins built up in her system and poisoned her baby. How awful. How awful to know that her baby would be alive and healthy if her midwife had done her job properly. Even if I do have APS/ Hughes' syndrome and that caused Zoe's death, at least I can't blame the medics around me of negligence.
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