And that is bipolar disorder.
These episodes are morbid. I'm sure that's what is happening. But I really want this part to end. These things are not happening and they are over with. Somehow I just didn't fully cope back then although I thought I did. Surprise!
But now she's pretty safe. A recurrence should be caught quickly and that's the key. Her surgeon is experienced with these things. And she's growing and developing on target. She's sitting and wants to crawl but hasn't quite figured that out yet. She can be made content with nearly anything for long periods of time as long as she is being held for most of it. When she was sleepy and I was singing to her softly she put her cheek right against mine and relaxed into me. When she smiles her entire face scrunches up. She's here, she's alive, and those two things are blessings that we might not have had. Somehow I'm finding it hard to not think about what we might have missed.
I feel haunted by my reaction to her the day after she was born: I thought she was too pale and did not look healthy. 7 days after that we got the ultrasound results and the news that she needed surgery ASAP. I had thought I was just seeing things, that because she was more fair complected than her sister I was reading things into it. Now I know my medical antennae were on.
But it isn't just that. It's that her illness was scary and I haven't really coped fully. Because it was so rare you don't find webpages of people who have been through this. You find statistics and medical studies. And while they offer hope they also make you realize that children per year are born in the US with the type and grade of tumor she had. Nothing is known for certain about these things. Most are found in pregnancy but the stage she had and one other stage are less commonly found on ultrasound because of the characteristics of the tumor make it easier to hide. There was no preparation.
I got a little surprise today. My BIL sent a video of 6 month old Geraldine in bouncy thing, bouncing and giggling whenever he told her to "hop". It was adorable even after I saw her do it myself a lot of times last week. Mostly it was sweet because that is who that child is: she is sweetness and light. Her sister is and always has been intense and the contrast in their personalities is huge. When Geraldine cries you know something is wrong. When Anne cried/cries you had to guess because a lot of things triggered sadness.But it made me realize that somehow I have not yet completely finished coping with her illness. Her surgery will be 6 months this week and she will have a follow-up sometime this month. Those are traumatic for her and her parents and I don't think they will get easier. Not only does each one represent another time they could hear that the tumor is back (and then they face testing to determine if it is malignant) but the exam and test are painful for the baby. It has now been long enough that they will be more serious about the monitoring; recurrence is not usually found until at least 6 months out.