Where I was two years ago


Two years ago I was lying in a hospital bed.  I had iv bags and blood pressure cuffs and I had to lay on my left side. I was 32 weeks pregnant with my second child and had developed pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.  It happened so fast, I didn’t even feel sick. I was just really swollen.  I was induced in order to have my baby early so I could be helped.  My husband was lying peacefully beside me sleeping so soundly.  Every 1/2 hour a nurse would come in and check on me and my stats.  I couldn’t sleep. I hadn’t slept in days, since I was transported to this hospital in the city with a NICU. 

I had heard the term NICU.  I knew we were at a hospital with a good one, but I didn’t really grasp what that meant.  I thought I would never need to know.  So I laid in bed.  The nurses kept saying get some sleep it will help you with your strength and you’ll do better if you are rested. But I just lay there.  I laid there and wished I could be at home with my son.  I wondered how my brother was handling all my pets.  I wondered what all my friends were doing (sleeping I know, but when you feel like the only one awake in the world you feel like you are missing out on everything).  I slowly watched the sky color change outside from darkness to light.  I thought a lot that night.  I never thought of myself or what could happen. I never really thought I was sick.  I was never scared for me.  I was worried about my baby.  How would she be?  What would she look like?  When could I hold her? Could I do skin to skin?  Can this just be over and maybe we’ll all go home on Monday, like normal?

Things happened fast the next morning.  She was here and whisked away in no time flat to the NICU.  I would not meet my child for several days.  I got worse.  I still didn’t feel the urgency or the scariness of it all.  I would become really down in a few days.  Sad because I was on a maternity ward, in my bed, not allowed to get up without assistance and I could hear babies and yet mine was in another part of the hospital, sad because I wanted to hold her, to care for her, sad because my friends and family were 50 miles away.  Scared because life was changing and I was not expecting it, scared because as a control freak this was the hardest thing to handle.  So I would cry and cry and cry.  Eventually I had a great nurse who took me to meet my baby and then I cried some more.  She was so tiny, so beautiful.  I couldn’t hold her, ut I could look at her.  Then I wanted to be with her more.  Several weeks would pass until we brought her home.  Several weeks of travel and heartache, of me fighting this condition and trying to relax to keep my pressure down when my whole being was tense knowing my baby was not here with me.  It was the first time in over a decade of being together that my husband and I were stressed out and really just biting each others heads off.  We just didn’t know what to do.  Does anyone handle a preemie well?  Does anyone handle a NICU well?  Does anyone handle pre-eclampsia well?  Not at the time.  Not even for a long time after.  I still can’t read or watch something about a NICU without tearing up.  I go back to my hospital room and the smells and sounds and emotions.  This has been one of those things in my life that has defined me.  It has defined how I look at the world and how I feel about things.  But in two years time, my child has gained 23 pounds and grown like a weed.  I’m so blessed she is in my life.  She was an amazing gift. So not all birth experiences bring amazing happy memories, sometimes they are mixed with emotions you don’t expect, but with time things heal, people change and life comes to bloom.  You never experience something you can’t get through, and I am a proud preemie parent.

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