Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I hate this picture

Remembering May 31st, 2010

This picture has been haunting me since I saw it yesterday. I hate this picture...

This makes makes me sad. Upset. Angry. It makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel bad for the Daddy in the picture, the Mommy holding the camera and the sweet, innocent baby. This is their sign. This is their clue that something is seriously wrong. And they have no idea. They are worried for their sick baby, but not as worried as they should be. They should be terrified. They should be hysterical with fear. This is their sign.

But it's not a big, flashing neon sign. It doesn't say, "Hey Dumbass, in a few months you are going to look back at this moment and feel like a complete failure." But it should. Because that's what I see now.

When I took this picture, I knew we had a sick baby. We knew she had a stomach thing going on- damn Rotavirus vaccine! Gave both kids gastroenteritis... When her fever didn't break, her fontanel started getting a little low and the poop kept coming, we took her to the ER. One dose of antibiotics and bag of IV fluids later, we were back in business. They sent us home with "managing dehydration" papers. I remembering thinking, "wow, she got really sick, really fast. That's not normal... Or is it?..." They essentially reassured me that I was a typical over-reacting mother and so did our pediatrician when we went to see him two days later.
So, when I took this picture, I saw a little girl with a typical, run-of-the-mill childhood illness. A baby that needed extra loving, extra cuddles and a cool rag on her head.

Now when I look at this picture, I feel like my heart is going to bust out of my chest. I feel like I failed my Peanut in the worst way possible. It makes me want to scream, cry and throw up all at the same time. It makes me miss her so, so much. For a while, she went through a phase where she liked to hold our hands like this while she fell asleep. Our sweet girl. Classic Ellie. I would give anything to have those chubby fingers wrapped around mine...

Now when I look at this picture, I see more than just her pale skin. I see our warning. I see what I saw at about 4 am, the morning before she died. We got her help when she needed it this time, why not the last time? I see the purple around her eyes. Do you know what that is? It's death. If you've never seen a person that is dying, you don't know what I'm talking about. But if you have, you do. Looking at this picture, most people won't see it. But to me, it's like a bright flashing light. It's a sign.

Her yellow nuk... It's likely the same one she used at the hospital before she died. After she turned six months, I tried to get her to use the bigger nuks- she wouldn't take it, she liked the little ones. I know she had the yellow one last. I know because it's still sitting in the dish on our desk along with the doll I tucked up next to her at the hospital. What are the fucking odds?
I have been told hundreds of times that we couldn't have done anything. We didn't know. But for me, that's not enough. I'm her mom. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. In my mind, I think it's just something the doctors said to make me feel better. What if they think I could have called 911 earlier? Would she still be here? How do they know there was nothing we could have done? Is that their way of feeling better too? I don't blame them for anything, but I'm sure they feel guilt too.
We had signs. They were there. This picture is one of them. Why couldn't I see them?

I'm so sorry Ellie. Mama should have seen them. I wish I would have seen them.

I hate this picture.


Our Journey said...

Tiffany, my heart is hurting right now. I hate the memory this picture brings...not because you weren't a good enough mommma to Ellie, but because it brings so much pain to you.
You loved her the best you could. You cared for her when she was sick. Tiffany, she knows how much you love her. She knows that you would give anything to have her back.
I pray right now, for peace tonight. ((HUGS))

Kelly said...

Oh honey, I feel your pain so very much. I have a picture of Adam...his last "healthy" picture...in his swing. He was all congested with his cold, and I can totally see it in his face. He's looking up at the light, just mesmerized. I hate that he's looking up, "at the light." I blogged about this picture also. It give me chills to know it was his last picture, that he was sick, and the whole looking at the lights thing. I always wonder if I should have done more too, taken him to the doctor for this cold. In my mind, I kept saying, it's just a cold, no point in going. Now I feel like a complete failure (and idiot), maybe if I had done more we could have prevented him from dying.

I want to tell you that you did nothing wrong and that Ellie very much knows you love her and you did all you could, but from one BLM to another, I know my words don't take away the questions, the guilt, and the should-have-done's. Grieving is just so horrible and so is just all this losing a child nonsense. I just send many hugs, and just know you are not alone. (((hugs)))

crystal said...

I am so sorry. Ellie knows that you love her and that you did everything that you could to take care of her. God just needed Ellie more. He chooses the very best so thats why he took our Angels!!! Praying for you!!!

Krystle said...

I'm sorry. I know nothing I can say will impact your feelings, but you are NOT a failure, you were and still are a great mother. Doctor's just don't seem to see anything past over-reacting mother, most of the time. I've learned that with 2 sick children. They told me Morgan had a diaper rash on Saturday, I forced them to culture since she has some immune disorder we are trying to figure out & they called me Sunday night frantically asking if she was OK. Yes, she's fine, glad I had to MAKE you do your job & give me bactroban, then call the pedi twice to get them to take her in & give her an oral drug since it was spreading.
Nothing is easy about having a child that gets sick easy & a lot of the time, all too often it gets over looked.
It could just as easily be Morgan (Or Peyton) who goes down hill as fast as Ellie did & because of that my heart goes out to you.

Natasha said...

I am so very sorry Tiffany......man have I been there......am still there some days.

I look at pictures from right before we lost Aiden and I'm like "WTF was I so happy for?" I should have been paying more attention to my baby boy's movements and not just trusting that he wasn't moving as much because he was getting bigger. What a horrible mother I was.

You didn't fail her....you were such a good mommy to Ellie. She knew it and so do all of us. She knows how much you love her.

Uggghhh the fact that we are even in this situation.....that we even feel the need to question ourselves....it freaking sucks. I hate it for you and for me and for all of us.

I'm praying for you my friend.....I hope you have a little peace today.


Deanna said...

the word guilt is a word worse than any 4 letter one out there...
I am sorry that you feel so much pain when looking at this picture.
I also know that the doctors telling you "there is nothing you could have done" does not make anyone feel better, at least not me.
I hear that over and over, just trying to really believe I could not have prevented my baby from dying.
I think we all ask ourselves that constantly, and I hope that you believe that you do all that Ellie needs, you love her.
I agree with Natasha that this sucks, but at least I have found wonderful mommies that say exactly what I feel!
Thoughts and prayers for you, you are the best Mommy that Ellie could ever ask for.

ccc said...

I wish I had the words that would make you feel better.
Every mother feels guilt/doubt about decisions they make. It's easier to look back and think that we should have done something else. But, you made the right decisions at that time. There is NO WAY you could have known otherwise.
I know this is no consolation, because people have said it to me, and I still feel guilty. But, I hope/pray that you find peace.

Tiffany said...

((hugs)) my heart hurts so much for you right now. for us. i understand the guilt well. i understand the feeling that you could have done something, anything to save your child. i actively have to drown those thoughts out in my head. it's so hard. we are their parents. we are supposed to protect them from everything and everyone. how could this happen? i don't know the answer to that. but i can assure you that you did not fail her. you did the best you could with the knowledge you were given. had you known that she was going to pass away would you have left her? i know the answer to that - hell no. you had no clue that this was going to happen. just like i had no idea that the moment i handed Juju over that day was going to be the last time. i would never never have left him. i'm sure that this doesn't help because she is still gone unfortunately. but just know that you *are* the best mommy to that precious little girl.

LauraJane said...

I started reading this post while I was at work today and I had to wait to come back to it.

I'm so sorry you're in so much pain when you see your sick little baby in this photo. That purple you see around her eyes? I see that in my photos of Jack, and I remember thinking to myself he looked really tired... But I couldn't have know what was happening within his body when even my family doctor couldn't. Not any more than you could have known. Babies hide these things well, too well, unfortunately.

But you know what I see when I look at that photo? I see a daddy very, VERY much in love with his princess. I see a cute, girly wet cloth draped over her head keeping her cool. I see hands that gave her comfort. I see love, pure love. I know that comes off as really cheesy, but I mean it. We will always wonder what we might have done differently which may have resulted in a different outcome... I know I will. But Ellie of course knows she has the best momma.

New Year Mum said...

Dearest Tiffany... my heart always goes out to you whenever I read your posts... I can only imagine a fraction of what you're going through. Please don't blame yourself... you could never have known. Kids get sick all the time and you did everything you could. Your darling angel is so beautiful. Be gentle on yourself. Love to you always xoxo

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