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Holding Another Baby

by Naomi Handsaker

Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 00:45:12 -0800

After my daughter died, even being around another baby terrified me... I just knew that somehow it was because of me, and that some how if I stood to close or touched another baby, that they would die too. I ended up having to watch my sister's little girls one night about two months after her death. My husband and I both spent the night up checking repeatedly on the girls to make sure they were still breathing. The next morning we called Grandma and had them spend the rest of the time with them. It was just too hard, too soon. Our son was born 1year, 6 months and 29 days after our daughter's death... Even though the thought of holding him absolutely terrified me... the thought of not being able to hold him ever again scared me even more... We spent the first six months of his life holding him, checking on him, and praying for just one more day, one more breath. When it was someone else's child... the pain was just too much to work through... but when it came to our own, I couldn't put him down. I know it is because, I miss our daughter so much and would give anything to hold her again.

Our son will never take that place in my heart that is for her, but I wouldn't give up one moment with him for anything in the world because I know sometime there are no more tomorrows to hold on to. We started using the Apnea monitor when we brought him home from the hospital but it kept going off all the time... we would watch him breath and the monitor would sound off saying that he wasn't breathing... Finally, in tears on the third night of no sleep we couldn't take it any more... and decided not to have him on it. The doctors had all said that he was healthy and that it was more for our peace of mind than for him. We moved him into a sleeping bed next to our bed that I could reach him throughout the night and I slept for the first six months of his life with my hand resting on him. Checking his breathing all night long... He slept in a laid out stroller during the day and went everywhere with me... I didn't leave a room without him for the first 6-7 months of his life. I'm now expecting our next son any day now, the same fears are still there but, I know that we can make it... one day at a time. Working through the fear of holding another baby is an individual process, but more than anything for me... it became a process of another fear that overpowered the fear of holding him... and that was the fear that I would never have another chance to hold him close.

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