Sunday, March 13, 2011
Broken walls, Broken doors and Broken dreams
I was infertile. My dreams of my baby to be is the only thing that got me through the pain of infertility. She was going to look and act like my husband. She would have wavy hair and brown eyes. She would be stubborn and intelligent. A natural CEO in the making. She was going to be gorgeous and athletic. She was going to love princesses because she was going to be our princess. She was going to come out perfect and wear beautiful pink shoes that my cousin had bought for her. I knew her name. I knew her personality. I knew her before I met her.
When I got pregnant with the quintuplets, there were signs that at least one was not going to make it. And I felt early on that another one of them was very ill and that if they did survive the pregnancy, it would be a very rough life. We have triplet daughters and a son that arrived on the scene 13 months later. At the moment of conception, I felt that Baby B was the baby that I had imagined. I don't know what it was-call it instinct, mother's intuition, I knew that Baby B was to have the name that we had held dear for 8 years before I became pregnant.
The babies arrived and just as I had predicted, Baby B was her! She was my dream, she looked like him, acted like him. So it goes without saying that when there were signs that things were not as they should be, we ignored it. Baby B loved the swing, loved to rock back and forth. Loved to rock in her high chair. We used to say to each other that she must be dancing to a song in her head.
One day I was standing a flight down, directly under Baby B's high chair. She was being feed by my husband and I heard massive knocking sounds. "What the hell is that?" My mother looked at me with sympathy and said, "That's just Baby B." I was taken aback. She rocked that hard that it could be heard two flights down. "Why didn't you tell me it sounded that bad?" "What are you going to do? It's just who she is." I went upstairs took her out of the high chair, and threw it out. Never again. The rocking was over.
Baby B did not find that acceptable. She went to my favorite rocking chair and started rocking so hard that the wall behind the chair dented. We moved it in front of a door. The door broke, finally, the chair gave out and cracked under the force of her rocking. How could my little girl be a CEO if she couldn't even sit in a chair without rocking? Suddenly the reality versus my expectations collided and I felt my dreams break apart. Is she going to have a normal life? Will she speak? In my dreams, she had already married a millionaire and now I wasn't sure if she was going to be able to be potty trained.
As a child, I was an emotional little thing. Look at me without a smile and I would cry. I grew older and I was pretty much the same. Someone was unhappy with me and I was heartbroken. And then Autism hit our family and my tears dried up. I don't know if it was a defense mechanism or just survival. I can clearly remember Baby B's first regression and one day when she started punching me in the face when I was looking at her. My glasses flew off my face and I couldn't see her clearly but I felt her rage and all the tears that I wanted to cry at that moment didn't exist. This 2 year old that I had dreamed about for a decade just punched me in the face, not because she hated me but because she couldn't control herself. I felt some an indescribable part of my soul shift, not break but bend. I grabbed her face and stared into her eyes. Her eyes rolled in order to avoid eye contact but I could not allow that. "I have dreams for you and nothing will stop you from having a good life, a full life, a happy life. You will look at me and understand. You will know Mommy's eyes if no one else's eyes. You will be everything that I know you are, you will be great. I love you. Trust me." We struggled for 34 minutes. She finally made eye contact. I smiled at her. "You are wonderful. You are my princess." "Mama!" She gave me a big hug and she was back as were my dreams. We call her the CEO.