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Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't stop kicking, okay?

I've been meaning to write about you.

Really I have.

Because when you're older you'll probably think I didn't care at all about what was happening to you, that you had now grown to the whopping size of a red bell pepper, that you were now doing somersaults inside me. I had written so passionately about other things, other people I loved, people I barely knew even, but not you. I was even able to write about the lack of you. But not you.

But see, I write when I'm conflicted, troubled, mixed and jumbled up inside and in need of pulling everything into focus somehow, to probe and dissect innards by way of word hunting. With you, I hadn't felt any of these things. Everything had felt just the way it ought to. There had been scaly monsters inside me locking horns like there usually are for other things. I hadn't felt fear or uncertainty or guilt or absolute weakness.

But this week that changed.

This week I remembered how my cousin lost his baby boy five years ago and my stomach sank like a stone inside, you must have felt it too. Tiny Jordan wasn't as tiny as you, but as humans go, he was pretty small at only 18 months. This perfectly healthy boy suddenly lost control over his left eyelid, causing it to droop down and not blink properly. Then it was discovered that he was developing cataracts. To add more worry to his devastated parents, whose baby was going blind, he refused to eat and anything that made its way inside was promptly spat up. The doctors decided to perform an endoscopy. It was an outpatient procedure, but one that required general anesthesia. Little Jordan went to sleep so the doctors could find out what was wrong and help him get better, but he never woke up again. He was killed by diagnostic medicine.

Those two people managed to pick up the shattered pieces of their family life. I don't know how they did it. Your kicks and somersaults and racing heartbeat confirm to me that I Would. Not. Make. It. I can only assume this process took them years to recover from, if indeed they ever really did. I know that Jordan's older brother Stevie must have suffered too. Stevie was developmentally disabled but he understood things. Stevie is sweet and smart and even then at only 5 years old knew that his parents were hurting. At some point he knew not to ask about Baby Jordan anymore.

Today 10-year-old Stevie is hanging on to his little frail life by a string. His parents, terrified I'm sure by all things medical, took him in to the hospital when he began to lose his balance and his head began to bop from side to side. The doctors wanted to sedate him and perform an MRI. During the MRI, they discovered he had a spot on his brain, which would require further testing, a spinal tap, another MRI, all of which have had unexpected complications and problems breathing, which then required an induced coma and a ventilator. Little Stevie went to sleep so the doctors could find out what was wrong and help him get better. They are now trying to release him from the coma, by injecting him with medications that are causing him to go into seizures. The doctors do not believe he is not going to make it. They want a complete blood transfusion now and a heart biopsy.

His parents are, were, will twice-forever be, eternally, redundantly broken. They were finally limping around trying to hold each other up, sometimes being too much weight for the other to bear with his or her own limp to manage. They were finally making a life again. I don't think they really ever imagined such a shattering blow would fly out of the god-clouds so unfairly soon, while they were still so fucking injured. I don't think they ever imagined that another one of their boys might lose his life in another rare medical diagnostic tragedy.

In the meantime, you kick. Through my tears over breakfast, you kick. Through the floods of memories that hurricane over me of the childhood I shared with my cousin, the one where he got the shit life of shoes that were too small and a drunk stepfather passed out on the couch and 7-11 hamburgers for dinner, and I got the good life, you kick, kick, kick.

And your kicks remind me that you are living and healthy and safe inside me. And you also remind me of how weak and fragile you are: now, when you are born, when you are 18 months, when you are 10 years old, and probably for the rest of the time we share the world together. Your weakness and fragility translates into my own weakness and fragility. And your little kicks remind me that if all the humans on earth stood in a line and shit-lives and medical fuck ups on tiny loved ones were rationed out based on who deserved them, there's a small chance that I might end up with one, and my cousin definitely, definitely wouldn't.

I love you my little red bell pepper. Please don't stop kicking.

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Pueblo girl March 11, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

Pink Martini: "hang on, hang on to the vine, Stay on, soon you'll be divine..."
Pink Martinis, cavas, and whatever else to you. Happy for you...

Martin March 12, 2011 at 3:57 AM  

All the best.

Ellie March 12, 2011 at 11:27 AM  

Beautiful. And congratulations!

kate March 12, 2011 at 12:49 PM  

Heartbreaking story, and uplifting post. Great to see you pop up in my feed reader like this!

jen March 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

such intense love makes us so vulnerable. but you wouldn't trade it for anything.


formerly fun March 13, 2011 at 3:41 PM  

I am sad for your family Blues, no one deserves to lose a child and to go through that kind of trauma twice is a cruel twist of fate that simply has no explanation.

That feeling, that knot of nervousness, that fear of somehow losing that most precious thing, it never goes away. Most days I just hope and pray that that kind of darkness and pain will never touch me, that me, my husband and especially my children will be untouched by the random awfulness that gets cast about.

As sad as I am for your family, I am still happy and hopeful for you and your man and child. I am glad you are not conflicted and I had suspected that was why you had not written about it. I wish you a lifetime of good fortune and healthy children.

flutter March 13, 2011 at 4:38 PM  

Oh, my heart!

Kono March 15, 2011 at 7:23 PM  

This post reminds me of a post i wrote on Jan. 4 of this year, i cannot imagine what the parents must be going through, i can't fucking imagine it...

and now congrats and here's to a happy healthy baby for you and that man of yours.

Florida Girl In Sydney March 15, 2011 at 7:37 PM  

That is a heart-breaking story, now I'm here with big red puffy eyes having to go pick my kids up from school. So sad, so horrible.

Work through this sadness as best you can, you need your positive vibes on. I'm so happy to hear about your bell pepper. Deep breaths... breathe in the good, breathe out the bad.

Rassles March 17, 2011 at 10:27 AM  

Oh Blues! Where have you been all my life? Obviously, I hope your pepper is safe and it odd to call a fetus "crisp?" Whatever.

I cannot imagine that kind of loss and horror. I was enough of a mess when my dog died. I have no advice to give other than stay strong, and love.

Here In Franklin March 19, 2011 at 7:03 PM  

I miss you sooooo much!

Tumbit March 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM  

Life can be so unjust and unfair.

Fned March 27, 2011 at 2:48 AM  

Blues, I am so, so, so, so, so happy for Luisito and you and little bell pepper! Congratulations! And don't worry, that baby has spanish genes in him... to go on kicking throughout life will come naturally for him. :)

My dad's life was also screwed up by a medical misdiagnosis which left him in a wheel chair for almost 20 years. I know the pain and the hurt and the confusion and the anger that leaves you with so I can't even imagine how those parents copped with this happening to their baby boys. My heart goes out to them.


Mother Theresa March 27, 2011 at 3:10 AM  

That's such a sad story. I can't imagine what your cousin must be going through. I know that when you hear about things like that, it's hard not to worry about your own kids, but you have to try not to think about it too much. Life is uncertain, no one knows what might happen, but we have to live it and enjoy it to the fullest, without worrying about what might happen. Easier said than done, I know. Enjoy your little pepper, every single second.

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