Sunday, October 27, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 243

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 243: The Rollercoaster

This is useless and futile and stupid.

They’re driving toward Breena’s house. Kelly’s in the backseat, asleep. Tim’s not saying anything, and Abby’s drowning in failure.

Feed the baby.

Everyone else in the whole damn world manages to do this just fine without going bonkers, but she can’t. Breena didn’t need to run away from Molly to cope with this. She did just fine.

But Abby can’t. Her mind won’t shut down. So instead of lying, tense, in her own bed, watching the gray night get darker and then lighter, and the red glow from the numbers on the clock, and the green glow from the baby monitor flickering away, she’s going to Breena’s so she can spend the night staring at an entirely different set of glowing lights, not sleeping, aching, drowning in overwhelming failure.

And tomorrow they’ll go to the doctor and she’ll get poked and prodded and it’ll just be more futile. There’s nothing wrong with her besides epic failure.

Beside the fact that she can’t do the one thing every woman on earth was designed to do.

Tim drops her off, leaves the engine running, Kelly in her seat, and walks her into Jimmy and Breena’s, kissing her gently, whispering, “Sleep well,” and heading off.

Like I’m not sleeping by choice. Like all I have to do is just change my mind, and then I’ll be able to sleep.

Breena takes her upstairs, and yes, the bed is soft, and comfy. And there’s some chamomile tea, which smelled pretty good, and was actually fairly tasty, and…

“She asleep?” Jimmy asked when Breena came back in from checking on Molly and Abby. It’s their pre-bedtime routine, while he’s brushing his teeth she goes and just looks in on Molly. This time she added Abby to the list.

“I think so. What’d you put in the tea?”

“Very mild sedative. Low dose, too. She’s already on pain meds, so I didn’t want anything to mess with that. Just enough to take the edge off and help her brain shut down.”

“Looks like it did. She was saying that she’s not been sleeping, and that everyone thought she was because she’s been so quiet, but right now she’s snoring…”

Jimmy nods, rinses out the toothpaste in his mouth, and says, “Let’s hope that’s a good sign. Breast pump already in there?”

“Yeah, and extra bottles. Hopefully she’s tired enough she’ll sleep right through and just be really happy to see Kelly come morning feed time.”

“Let’s hope.”

Trying to sleep and still be awake enough to get up for each feed is fucking impossible.

Tim is getting very, very clearly why Abby was having such a hard time shutting down. With him being the one who’s got to wake up enough to grab her (because before, when she started to ask for food, Abby would poke him, he’d go get her, get her cleaned up, and then bring her to Abby.) means that every time he hears a little chirp or squeak through the baby monitor he jerks back to full on awake trying to figure out if it’s food time.

He did that straight through the 11:00 to 1:00 AM sleep time.

Finally, at close to 2:00, having just laid down again after the 1:00 AM feed, as he was staring at the flickering green light of the baby monitor, seeing it light up brighter every time Kelly breathes or sighs or makes some sort of little noise, he turned the damn thing off.

She’s less than thirty feet away. Her door is open. His door is open. He will hear her when she cries. He does not need to hear every baby sigh.

And with that he was able to sleep from 2:30ish to 4:00, when, shockingly enough, he was indeed able to wake up at the sound of Kelly requesting breakfast.

Granted, he was feeling just about numb with tired by the time he had the bottle made up and in her mouth, and he might not have done the most thorough clean up job on the diaper change, but he did get out of bed, get food into her, get her burped, and then got her back into her crib and him back to sleep a bit after five.

And apparently at some point Abby got home, and must have fed Kelly, but he slept through that, waking up at close to nine with a panicked jerk, found Abby in bed next to him, dozing from the looks of it, but she opened one eye when he jerked awake.

“Hi,” he said when his heart stopped pounding.


“Feeling any better?”

She shrugged. “Little bit.”

“Did you sleep?”

“Yeah. Think Jimmy slipped me a mickey. I was awake. There was tea. Next thing I knew it was 6:30, my boobs were going to explode, and Jimmy was gently poking me to get up.”

Tim smiled at that. “You got home, fed her, and…”

“And we hung out for a little bit after, I had some breakfast, and she went back to sleep about eight thirty.”

Tim’s nodding, that sounds about right.

“You want to go back to sleep? I’m up and on duty now.”

“Gonna try.”

“I turned off the baby monitor. That helped. Maybe we could get you some ear plugs, too,? See if that makes it easier for when you don’t need to be on?”


She didn’t look enthusiastic about that, but it’s also the longest conversation he’s had with her in… maybe two days, so he’ll chalk that up to things moving in the right direction, and headed downstairs to see about getting himself some food.

If you haven’t slept for a while, and then you do sleep, you tend to feel really awful after you wake up. Abby had read something about that’s your body’s way of screaming: ‘Please, give me more sleep. I want the sleep. Sleep is good! More sleep!’

Her body is screaming for more sleep, and maybe it’s because she was able to finally shut down, maybe it’s just left over whatever the hell it was Jimmy stuck in that tea, but, hearing Tim bustling around downstairs, she was able to fall back to sleep again.

And then woke up at noon, feeling still out of it, still mired in hard sleep and sick and aching and God, her boobs really were going to explode, and when she saw the clock there was a stab of utter, blind panic; she’d slept through a feed. Which meant Kelly had to have been crying, fussing, and she slept through it.

Her baby needed her and she slept.

There was a drowning wave of guilt that went with that. A paralyzing sensation of even more failure, and once again, sobbing.

Which got Tim’s attention. She doesn’t know what he’d been up to, but suddenly he was there, holding onto her, petting her back, saying something, she doesn’t know what, doesn’t care. It doesn’t help, can’t break this pain.

Her baby needed her, and she didn’t wake up.

Okay, Tim’s good on the idea that getting Abby more sleep is an excellent plan. He’s right on that one.

He’s not sure if her sobbing uncontrollably on their bed, saying something about Kelly needing her and failing, is good.

She’s making noise, and communicating with him, so that’s… better? Ish? Maybe?

Or that little, quiet voice Gibbs had mentioned to him finally died and she’s full out gone.

Either way, they’re going to the doctor’s in an hour, so hopefully they can put a plan beyond get more sleep into action, and please, please, God, please, find something to make this better.

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