The days are passing in a sort of lazy, nonproductive fashion. I am enjoying the opportunity to catch up on sleep and television. Today is the sort of day that comes along every so often where I cannot stop wondering why my son did not survive. Why my family? Why my son? Matthew was born at 27 weeks, a gestational age that is extremely premature but often has a survival rate of greater than 90%. And here is my family, lodged in that 10% window. Can't win the lottery, but with odds like that maybe I should be investing my paltry savings into lotto tickets. He had made it through so much already, it is so baffling that he just slipped away one day. A rural hospital that was completely unprepared for him and I. A bumpy flight to a larger hospital. Patent ductus arteriosus. No brain bleeds at two weeks old. Tolerating small feedings well. No necrotizing entercolitis. When I place myself back in that time, the most prominent emotion I feel is bewilderment. Complete bewilderment. I cannot describe how disorienting it is to feel as though you are still supposed to be pregnant. No wait, you aren't pregnant, but your baby son is in the NICU and he is doing ok. No wait, your son has suddenly died and you are sitting in your empty living room, the last place you are supposed to be, writing his obituary. I didn't even know what low birth weight meant before I was staring at my firstborn child through the incubator port holes. I didn't know that "low birth weight" comes with IVs and ventilators and hushed tones and breast pumps.
The Man and I are about to embark on a huge change in our lives. He has accepted a new job and I must stay put through next June to finish my nursing degree. That means a 650 mile difference between us, with the kiddo and I staying put and the Man working long hours far away. We are terrified. It's a pretty drastic step to take for work and I don't want my last year of nursing school to get screwed up because I am all alone with a four year old and with no one to back me up. My mother is a tenuous kind of support at best and I really don't have anyone else. One week from today we will be headed east to get him settled. I can stay for four days and then I have to be back to work some shifts at the assisted living facility. It appears that I will have to quit my job by August. I want to be back and forth as much as is possible for the rest of the summer so that we can be together, and once school starts back up I really won't be able to arrange the extra child care outside of school and daycare hours and I will need some weekends to be free so that I can meet up with the Man.
I am hopeful that all these big changes will result in positive changes for us in the long haul. If the finances are in good order by next summer, we should be ready to buy a piece of land and a house by the time the kiddo and I join him in North Dakota. Real estate prices are still pretty reasonable over there. We should also be able to start trying to get pregnant sometime after December or perhaps March; a new baby will arrive not a moment too soon as far as I'm concerned. As long as my nursing degree is complete we will be good to go. Send your thoughts and prayers our way--we can use them right now!