It’s been a while since I have been here, and I think that I am anxious about writing this post, I have continued binge eating from time to time, I have great weeks, and not so great weeks, so continuing on with letting go, I’m going to share a story that is…not so much hard to share, but, I fear for some, hard to take.
Jeffery was born at 1:03am on November 4th, 1995. He was a healthy baby boy, and weighed in at 6lbs 12oz. We brought him home to Jack’s uncle’s house where we lived at that time and settled back in to our new normal, I was 21 with an almost 2 year old and a newborn. The first day we had Jeffery at home, I was changing him in the living room when he started crying, actually, wailing, and Jessica who was 21 months old, would not come near me, instead, she stood at the other end of the room yelling “what are you doing to him??” I tried to get her to come to me, and she kept saying, “stop hurting him, what are you doing to him?” until I had his clean diaper on and he finally stopped crying, she was so protective even at that age. I can just imagine what the neighbours thought as we had thin walls at that time!
Jeffery was a great sleeper, the only problem was that he had his nights and days mixed up, so he would sleep about 12 hours throughout the day, and be up all night long. The really funny part was Jessica’s schedule had been 11am – 11pm, and she would sleep 12 hours overnight, she started that on her own at 2 weeks old, and people said, you should get her into a better routine, and switch her to 9am – 9pm sleeping 12 hours at night from 9pm to 9am, and not knowing any better, I thought, I would do that, it took a few months, of gradually getting her to bed earlier and earlier, and getting her up a little earlier and earlier, but I did it, I had her sleeping at 9pm to 9am by the time Jeffery arrived. Unfortunately for me, he slept from 9am – 9pm and was up from 9pm to 9am. He decided to be completely opposite her schedule.
We tried getting him up more throughout the day, I would give him a bath, poor little guy, he would cry and cry, and once he was dry and changed he was right back to sleep, I would try to feed him, and if he did feed, he was asleep, and well…you guessed it, he would sleep longer, because now he was fed. It was starting to get cold, and the house we lived in was old and drafty, we had the two back bedrooms and ran an electric heater, to keep us warm, but it was to the point that I couldn’t take Jeffery out of the back unless he was in his snow suit because it was just too cold in the house, so from about early to mid-December we decided to live with Jack’s aunt, the one I lived with before, she welcomed us with open arms, and was happy to have Jeffery, she would even wake up early and snuggle him so I could get some rest before Jessica got up.
We were between Jack’s aunts place and Jack’s parents place during Christmas, it was a wonderful time, because we didn’t have much, Jeffery slept in a drawer – very well lined with blankets, he was a comfy little guy. He was showered with gifts at Christmas, and Santa was very good to him.
We found an apartment and were able to move in on Boxing Day – this is December 26th the day after Christmas for my US friends.
When we moved into the apartment, Jeffery started getting better with his days and nights, he was still sleeping in a cradle in our room, we were getting ready to move him into the crib. Jessica was still in the crib, but for her second birthday, my father bought her a big girl bed, so our plan was to move her to her bed, and then the crib would be free for Jeffery and they could share Jessica’s room, it was big enough for both beds.
Jeffery still cried a lot, a lot of the time, he was quite the miserable baby, I used to say the difference between Jessica and Jeffery was as follows:
Jessica: Would wake up chattering (goo-ing and ga-ing), I would have a peek at her, then go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen grab her bottle, warm it and then come back and feed her, everything was calm and serene, you could hear angels.
Jeffery: Would wake up screaming, I would take him with me to the kitchen, bouncing around hoping he would calm, warm his bottle while trying to soothe him, and make sure it was a good temperature, and then start feeding. While feeding I would walk to the bathroom, prop the bottle under my chin while he’s still feeding from it, drop my drawers and pee. Not serene, no angels…
But day by day he was getting better. He did start to have a bit of an upset stomach, and so I had him in to see my family doctor, he thought that Jeffery might be lactose intolerant, and suggested we switch his formula. So we did. He’d only had one can of the new formula, when we saw a change in him. On January 10th both the kids were in the living room, and I could hear a little giggle, so I came out to see what was happening. I had Jeffery on a blanket on his back, with one of those play things over top of him, so it had a Cookie Monster and Big Bird that would swing back and forth over him. So, I’m seeing Cookie Monster flying to and fro and Jeffery is giggling and Jessica is sitting with him laughing too. I sit down, and I ask Jessica, did you move that for him? And she says no, Jeffery did it. I waited, the Cookie Monster slows, and almost stops swinging when Jeffery, rolls over to his side and raises his little arm and wacks Cookie Monster, falls back on to his back and starts laughing, big belly laughs, we all laughed, I tried to get Jack up to see this, but he stayed sleeping and missed it. That is one happy moment that I have kept to myself for many, many years.
So that day, was like any normal day, I had started back at school, and was taking post secondary courses at a Business School, and things seemed to be going well. Jack and I were doing ok, learning to be in a committed relationship, learning to be parents of two kids in diapers and just taking each day one day at a time.
That night I gave Jessica and Jeffery their baths, put them both to bed, and then went to bed myself. Because Jeffery was just getting good at sleeping through the night, he would still get up relatively early anywhere between 4 and 6, so on January 11th, when I opened my eyes and it was 8:30, I was surprised.
I peeked into his crib, and never in a million years, did I expect to find what I had found.
Jeffery had passed away during the night, he was only 2 months and 1 week, just 69 days old.