Our pediatrician said something to me the other day that has been on my mind since he said it. A bit of background on the story, we have a Snuza Hero monitor for Bee. It is a small clip that goes on her diaper and monitors her breathing, a handy aide in letting us know that she is indeed breathing. It's my neurotic calmer because it really does give me peace of mind to know she is breathing. Even before Ty died we had the angel care monitor for the crib and the one Bee has is a step up. I was always concerned about sids, it's something as a new parent you do worry about, little did I know I had a lot more to worry about before we even got to the risk of sids. Anyways, she wears the monitor 24/7 and it has gone off a few times but it's gone off while people have been holding her so I know she's fine and has not caused me any additional stress. If anything, it has helped me sleep, it has helped me nap, it has helped me drive places with her without fear because I know if she ever stops breathing I will be notified in a timely manner.
Now that I am totally off track, so we went to our first appointment and I had to undress Bee (which she HATES, girl does NOT like to be naked, good thing for us, let's hope it stays that way) and as I did our Ped saw the monitor and asked what it was so I told him and then he told me he didn't want us using a monitor at all. I was already an emotional mess that day so I just let it slide and was like fine whatever.
Fast forward to her 3rd visit and he asked if I had stopped using it and I honestly told him no, I told him it was non-negotiable she would be wearing it because it gave me peace of mind. He followed my response with, but you do understand why I don't want you to use it, I want to normalize her as much as possible.
That sentence has stuck with me since he said it. It has got me thinking what is normal? I mean to begin, everyones view of normal is different, it varies person to person but when you have faced the death of a child your normal is not what society's main view of "normal" is. Bee will never be "normal", her life will never be normal. She comes after burying our first two children, she has brothers already in Heaven, she will not have a normal life. Going to the cemetery every Sunday after church as a family to visit the boys, actively being involved with bereaved families, talking about the boys, having the boys pictures around, that is not a normal life but it is our life. It is the reality of infant loss. I do understand he wants to normalize her as much as he can due to my neurotic state of mind but the reality is, Bee will never live a normal life, you just don't live a normal life when you have two brothers who were born and died before you. The life she lives, the things we do will be normal to her, but for an outsider they don't seem normal. But to an outsider, they truly do not understand.
I feel a bit guilty that she will grow up living a much different life then those of her fellow future classmates and friends. The boys will always be apart of our life but is that fair to Bee? I mean we have the boys shadow boxes in our living room and always will, is it fair to Bee that when her friends come over they are subjected to death? How will those friends parents feel? Will it make her an outcast? Will she grow to regret us because she has a different life? Will she lose friends over it? Will we not be able to have birthday parties at our house because people feel uncomfortable? How will we balance giving Bee somewhat of a "normal" life but honoring and respecting the boys at the same time? I don't ever want to hide the boys but is it fair to Bee that she may grow up with somewhat of a label around her because of us? Will she be known as the girl who has two dead brothers?
The way we live our life now is normal to us, it's our new normal. We've had to adjust over and over again to a new normal over the last 3 years and we still are adjusting. But the things we do are normal for us, they are normal for grieving parents, I just don't know how that will affect Bee's life, I can only pray it has a positive impact on her.
I do understand he wants her to grow up like most children but what I think he doesn't understand is that our normal is not his definition of normal and it never will be. She will never fit into society's definition of normal because our lives are so vastly different from the mainstream "normal" standards. I do have guilt about it but I can't change reality. This is our normal, Bee wearing a monitor to help my nerves is our normal. Going to visit the boys is our normal. Having the boys pictures up and blowing them kisses at night is our normal. Sure, it may not be fair to Bee to raise her with death surrounding her but we would never hide the boys, we don't want her to fear death. We want her to know about her brothers as a way for them to live on. It's also our way of continuing to live on in memory of our boys. That is Bee's life and sure she may regret it but we will raise her as best we can surrounded by so much love that hopefully she feels it is just a part of her life as is anything.
So here's to our normal, many may not understand it but it is our way of life.
And because she is so cute...here is another picture of Bee