love on m.l.k. day

by christy on October 21, 2009

Dear Max,

Pretty much the cutest baby to ever grace the psych ward!

When I awoke that Monday morning, it was MLK day, so we still had weekend visiting hours of 3:00-7:00PM. I was frustrated that I had been told, when I checked in, that I would just be here two or three days so I could sleep and become myself again. It became evident this would not be the case, as I was on day three and the doctors were not even around to evaluate me, only the nurses. At the same time, I didn’t mind getting the extra sleep, and I was still very nervous about going home to be with you. Nervous isn’t the word: I was terrified and dreaded it. Not that I didn’t want to be with you, that was the highlight of my every day. I just wasn’t sure how I could ever be alone with you.

I decided it was time for a change in my attitude. I pumped, showered, and ate. There was an art class going on that my friends said I should come to. I walked in slightly late, so everyone was already sitting around the table in the tiny room at work. I was told by the activity coordinator (I believe she was an intern; she was very nice and looked just like Ricky Lake) that I could make a coaster (by gluing small square tiles onto a cork coaster) or use stencils on that special kind of paper that you scratch the black film off and there’s a silvery pattern underneath. I stood there for a minute trying not to burst into tears, yet again. I’ve worked with children and people with disabilities quite a bit, and volunteered with homeless ladies helping them do arts and crafts, aside from the fact I love to create complex arts and crafts projects myself. Here I was, reduced to the lowest common denominator, or so I felt in the heat of the moment.

But I sucked it up and shook off the feeling. I decided I would make myself a coaster and it would be “that cheesy coaster Christy made when she was in the psychiatric ward” (it’s actually sitting next to me, with a glass oil warmer on it to give our home fragrance). I ended up enjoying myself, making small talk with everyone, laughing at the little things. When Sarah McLaughlin’s “I Will Remember You” came on the radio, I had to laugh and said “yeah, this is a great song for a bunch of depressed people.” I had realized that most of the people in the ward weren’t “crazy”, just very depressed and needed help, a lot more help than the average person, to get out of their funks. Some were suicidal, some just didn’t want to be depressed anymore. I didn’t want to commit infanticide, or to have any ill feelings toward you at all; I’d waited years to be a stay-at-home mom and this wasn’t exactly how I’d planned to spend the first days of my baby’s life.

When I got back to my room, my best friend from Seattle, your Auntie Kelsye, had sent me an email. The most important part of which was:

…I’m coming to see you, so just get that in your head. I do want to come when it’s best for you. But, best doesn’t mean to create the best mini vacation. I’m coming FOR you. You just had a baby and I want to help. You’re hurting and I want to be your family…

In addition, I got word that your Grandma Snider, my mommy, would be visiting, as well (see previous letter). So I hoped to get out of the hospital later this week, Kelsye would come for a few days, followed by your grandma for eight days . Your daddy would also be taking all of that time off. So two days after your grandma left, daddy would be at work and I would be left alone with you, though he would work from home twice a week. I had hope that I would be much better by then, but I didn’t know for sure how I would feel. Still, for now I took comfort in the fact that both your daddy and I would have support for a couple days.

I’m not sure if it was then, I think it was perhaps the previous day, but Dr. Wirth, the doctor that delivered you, visited me twice in that week. He was so wonderful and I felt so blessed to have him as part of my support system, as well.

Things were finally starting to look up.

Love,

Mommy

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