Last night I experienced a dream
where I had just delivered a teeny, healthy baby girl. She nursed with ease and
I felt joy in nourishing her. This of course contrasts my last nursing reality,
where my baby daughter preferred a bottle to my warmth because the stress I was
under stole my milk away. In my bright dream my body was strong and
healthy. I was up moving; going places the first day after delivery which, while in the dream gave me happy satisfaction, upon waking left me utterly empty. Because I wake up to a body with three c-sections, all products of the tragedy of my
conceptions. Even if I had the miracle of carrying a baby girl healthily to
term, I would never again give birth naturally: certainly wouldn't be springing
about hours afterward.
All dreams string along some bit of the bizarre and this dream's oddity was that I nursed my sweet
baby for twelve perfect minutes, then laid her to sleep while I left the hospital
and visited my sister and brother in law. I shared my triumphant delivery news only
after chit-chatting for some length. How had I forgotten such a monumental life event? They looked from my flat stomach to my empty arms and their eyes
asked the question their decency did not allow voice; why had I abandoned my baby?
scene the dream’s warm, joyful feelings were drowned out by several sudden fits
of panic as I dashed from place to place, ecstatic for the physical ease of
vaginal delivery then suddenly seized with fear that I had forgotten to go back
and nurse my baby! I was a busy mother of four kids already and I couldn't
remember to feed my new girl baby every three hours. What kind of mother was
I? How could I take my miracle so lightly? Why didn't the joy I felt lead me to
hold and cherish my baby? Was she okay, left alone with nurses and sterile
rooms, possibly crying for food? What was wrong with me?!
with the wanting of a baby coursing through my body, and the shame of failure bubbling
up from my gut. I did love my first two children and their natural deliveries.
How could I have known how special those seasons were and what grief I would
later carry when I could no longer experience such birthing joys? Dreaming for a child is simple, pure, filled
with love. It is both noble to pursue and magical to experience. I have been
given so many gifts in my children, more than many, both in the children living
and the dead. As the door for healthy, natural delivery of a Haught child
closed, my heart began slowly, ever so quietly to grieve.
Now, almost two years
after my last girl was miraculously born via a reckless C-section – the stubborn fighter I was told was
miscarrying – this grief has spilled over. I wade daily through the loss. Last
night it poured over into my dreams, though babies were not on my mind the day
before. I feel gratitude for what I have been given and sadness that I can not
control my family and reproduction like many other Americans. My sadness
surprises me! It shocks me. Sometimes it shames me. So here is my confession - a voiced fear. Here's to living with peace, contentment, gratitude, even
while dreams are stripped away.
Reading about seratonin, that lovely "happy chemical" which I appear genetically low in, I came across this -
In humans, defective signaling of serotonin in the brain may be the root cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy genetically modified lab mice to produce low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The results showed the mice suffered drops in heart rate and other symptoms of SIDS, and many of the animals died at an early age. Researchers now believe low levels of serotonin in the animals' brainstems, which control heartbeat and breathing, may have caused sudden death. If neurons that make serotonin — serotonergic neurons — are abnormal in infants, there is a risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
(Wikipedia article explaining seratonin)
Happy to hear a possible, likely scientific link that can be measured and even altered. Irritated that I have never had a hormone panel done in pregnancy and neither have my little babies. Knowing people who have lost an infant to SIDS, who also have depression in their family, I wonder, could a lack of seratonin have been culprit? Could a life saving solution be so simple? Once again, the gross under-researched mental health part of humanity leaves a chasm of pain that will no doubt one day be filled in with hard-packed grains of awareness and simple cures.