The morning of our discharge from the hospital I was visited by several doctors. They all agreed I would begin the regimen of sleep aids and antidepressants. I had never taken either in my life. I nodded. I nodded a lot those days.
I lied to your father the first night, told him I had taken the sleeping pill when I hadn't. I lay in bed from nine to three am, the empty thoughts in my head finally giving way to the exhaustion, albeit briefly. I opened my eyes at five am, didn't close them again for twenty seven hours.
I wasn't afraid of the nightmares, still babies and stoic faces. The humming of the machines next to me. Warming lights turned off, cold and jaded and robbed of their purpose.
I was scared that my dreams wouldn't change, that I would close my eyes and enter a world of birth announcement color schemes and nursery curtains. I would wake up to the panic, the finality. Doomed by the twilight to live my shock repeatedly.
I didn't want to need the pills. I wanted to be present for all of it. Despite the insomnia, I didn't welcome the cellular distractions, wanted to feel the loss in my bones. I owed you that much.
But how I needed the help. The distractions. I'm not sure I understood the fragility of this pain then, how vulnerable I had become, held captive by my own mind. I didn't want to need the pills, but I needed them. I needed them very much.
I took the sleeping medication for two weeks, the other for nearly five months. I remember the day I began to lower the dosage. One pill every two days, then half. Then none. I was afraid again, but this time, it was the nightmares that scared me.
Had I been fooling myself? Walking around on this earth without you as if I were normal, someone who had never experienced the trauma. Who did she think she was? This mother who had held you, dead and cold in her arms, shopping for shift dresses as if the world weren't cruel. Night swims in lakes as if her life weren't devalued. As if she were allowed.
Surely, the pain would come full force now. Surely, the pills had done the hard part for her.
Last week on the way to work a song came on the radio. Geddy Lee at six forty three am.
I watched her turn the knob, nodding her head. For seven exits it grew louder with her voice, wrists lifting from plastic bracelets and paper gowns. And it was her, one million years ago before you and but a minute after.
For a second I was worried, but I think she just might make it.