Monday, September 8, 2008

Finally, a little productivity

Yes, this weekend we finally managed a bit of productivity. In fact, one might say we're starting - JUST - to get the hang of this family/working/kid/daycare/dog-walking/keeping-our-life-together thing.

We're certainly not pros, but this weekend we found time to exercise the dog, run errands, relax AND waterproof the deck. Two nights in a row we've made lunches. I nearly got to work on time this morning after having myself a little run/walk with A and the dog on top of the usual morning duties. Tomorrow will prove to be a bit more challenging as I have an off-site and need to be early, requiring hands off the snooze button in the morning.

It finally feels like we've got our heads above the water.

This is what we bargained for. This is what we wanted. One thing I've not had time yet to blog about is just how our start to family life has left me feeling wounded and a bit bitter. I still cry every day. Not always a lot, but every day I get choked up at least for a minute.

Several folks have offered their admiration when they find out how I pumped so that our son could eventually be exclusively breastfed. They don't know that I have to. I need him to only drink 100% mother's milk because we missed out on so much for the first three months. I NEED something to be like I planned. I also don't want him out of our bed yet, even though we agreed. Even though E is ready to have her bed back. I want to snuggle him all day (which I can't do b/c I have to contribute to our mortgage) and all night. I never want to be away from him, and I want that time back. I want a do-over. I'm still pissed that it had to happen to us. I still feel like I was given more than I could handle. I still feel desperate sometimes, and I feel cheated.

I don't know if I'll ever get over it. I've had my struggles in life. My parents had a nasty divorce. I struggled with depression. My dad passed away when I was 21. Infertility and the complete lack of control it brought. None of those things compares to the pain I experienced with A's intestinal issues. One flash of a memory of those first days, and I am on the verge of losing it. I'm not healed from what we went through, even though he is a strong boy who came through it with flying colors. He seems no worse for wear because he is an amazing and resilient boy. But me? I'm scarred. I don't know if I'll ever be the same.

Well, that's not what I sat down to write... and really, in some ways that's only the tip of the iceberg. I know our story has a happy ending. I know we are far more fortunate than many. I know my A is OK. He laughs, rolls over, gives kisses, and coos all the time. He's a wonderfully amazing little boy who has blessed me beyond all of my expectations. I hope I never, ever, have to live through that kind of fear again. So, I guess feeling like we're getting some control over life is a pretty big accomplishment. It really was a good weekend.


Casey said...

I think any of us who have had a sick baby can understand what you are saying. Though my experiences (both kids - different reasons for NICU stays and years of a daughter who stops breathing at the drop of a hat) are far and away different from yours, I would have to say that it scarred me as well.

Births, not as "planned". Start to life(s), not as "planned". Missed moments never to be regained. You have every right to grieve for what was taken from you.

When, after 37 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, I ended up with an emergency c-section for my first child one of the sweetest things my labor nurse said, as I was being rushed to the ER in tears and fear, was "It's ok to grieve for what you lost. This isn't what you want and it's ok to grieve for that."

I've clung to those lines through every twist and turn I've been given during the past 6 years of parenthood.

And no - you will never, ever be the same. You are not the person you were before A entered the world. You're someone new now with battle scars and memories that the old you never dreamed possible.

You will forever and ever have fears that you never knew before. And you will forever and ever have joy and love that you never could have imagined.

It's a dance, this parenthood thing. It shifts and changes but I honestly don't beleive it ever gets easier.

You're going great - absolutely amazingly great!!

bleu said...

Absolutely you were cheated Sara. And you are going through PTSD for sure. It WAS traumatic and awful and scary as hell. It was also compounded with the most intense hormone fluctuations anyone ever goes through which is right after giving birth.

I totally get the tears and frustration and feeling cheated. I think it will hurt a while but I also think time will make it a little less intense. I also think at his birthday you need to acknowledge it and honor what you went through. On a very different scale what I went through with Bliss' birth devastated me (3 days labor no dilation hospital transfer another day with back labor and ended up a c-section with a monster anesthesiologist) and it wasn't until I could really honor the feelings and allow the sadness about it that the healing began. I also got great advice to tell him the entire story, good and bad, on his birthday every year. WOW that was so powerful but it helped so much. I even apologize for things I hated that happened but it really helps and now that he is older, well it is interesting, he loves hearing it, all of it.

Much love through the hard times and the good times hun.

jay said...

I send you MASSIVE GINORMOUS hugs.

Lizzie said...

My nephew was born preamaturely and spent 10 weeks in the hospital hooked up to machines. He is TOTALLY fine now and my sister still struggles. It has scared her, scarred her, changed her parenting decisions, made her feel cheated, it is a huge source of grief. She also pumped like hell but was never able to do 100% breast milk, he just came too early. Anyway, I say all this just to say that you are not alone, your feelings are to be expected, and I'm sending you love. The great news is that my nephew is totally fine, my sister's pain is getting less as the months go by (he's 2 and a half and she DEFINITELY doesn't cry everyday anymore, and those first ten weeks have been balanced somewhat by all the additional weeks of 'normal' that have followed.) I'm just trying to say that right now the intestinal issues are THE STORY of his life. But soon they will be only part of his story. And only part of your story as a mom. Hugs.

tbean said...

Of course you are still grieving and unsure of whether or not you will ever "recover" fully from this. What you went through was enormous and there is no timeline of healing or rules for how you should be feeling. You are doing great--one day at time.

As someone who has lived her share of trauma and tragedy, I don't think we ever "get over" them. We are always changed by them. We always carry those experiences with us and they shape who we are as people today. But...after years of therapy, I've come to see that the hurt and the grief can take up a different space. And while you carry it with you, it isn't always a burden. It's just a piece of your varied, rich, full life.

MaMaMia said...

Wow, these women sure have written some powerful comments.

I don't really share a personal experience with your story, but I can say this. I'm certain because of what you and your family have already been through, your perspective is different now. And as I think of my life now, maybe you will be different in the future too. Maybe the fact that the kids eat like slobs and jump down from the table during mealtime and all the other little things that get to me and I "chat" with them about. . .maybe you'll be different. And by different I mean better.
It's no doubt to anyone that A is a blessing to you and your family. But what may be revealed in the future--maybe lots of years from now--is why your family was meant to endure the struggles that now seem to be behind you.
It's also interesting for me to read your post as I am preparing to deliver a baby soon, and have pictured and imagined what I want for this birth. Really puts things in perspective. Thanks for sharing.

NotesFrom2Moms said...

I just want to say thank you for sharing.

Merr said...

Good thing about having your own baby is you can do whatever you want, and in your own time. I can't even imagine what you guys had to go through at first and I hope I never have to experience anything like that. It just breaks my heart. So snuggle little A as long as you want/need!

E, M, and the Little Man said...

I'm sorry, Sara. Although you will probably always have scars, I hope the pain will pass eventually. I can't imagine how traumatic that was (especially post-partum, as someone else said)...

Sarah said...

I think your feelings on this make absolute and total sense. Something that was supposed to be such a wonderful thing (the first days with your baby) became so scary, so fast. It is awful and unfair. I would be bitter too. I am glad A is doing so well now and I wish you the best for healing and comfort.

Old Crone said...

Oh Sweetie,

I know how you feel. When you say you will never get over it, that is true, it sucks, but it's true. When my Little Miss spent those 2 months in the NICU, and my little man spent the 1 month in the NICU, it changed who I am forever.

All I can say, is trust your gut. I still snuggle my kids at night. They are 5 and 3. It's OK...really it is. You have earned this time with A, enjoy it.

I still get teary eyed at the drop of a hat when I start thinking about my birth experience. With Little Miss, I was life flighted and had a crash c section, spent 3 days in the NICU and had emergency surgery for bleeding out. I didn't get to see my little baby for nearly a week. It's time you never get back. I'm not sure people that haven't gone though this, really get it, really get what it is like to leave your baby in the hospital.

When things go wrong, and you don't get the picture perfect "birth", it's hard not to be bitter, but you will heal. You will come to realize that you got your son, and he and you and E made it. It will be enough, someday.

So here I go again, jumping off my soap box, but you just need to enjoy your boy. You do what you need to do to be with him. You love him and snuggle him to your hearts content. This is the good part of the story.

Hang in there will never be the same, but you will be a mom for the rest of your life and this is your story.

For the Long Haul said...

I can completely understand what you're saying. You WERE robbed and it is totally normal to feel scarred. My son was perfectly healthy until about 9 months old and then things went downhill from there. It changes you. It's like it takes your biology and twists it all around.

And what you're feeling and going through is perfectly normal. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be pissed and to grieve and to cry to perfect strangers. :)

I am not pregnant with my second child and I wish I could get that bliss back that I had with my first. But, like you, I am scarred and I am already worried about this second kid and it is barely even a fetus at this point. No doubt how much this changes us as moms. But yay to you for having the courage to post this and hopefully hearing from others will make you feel at least a little better. We all understand, and we all are sending you the best healing thoughts possible.

And please, by all means, squeeze him whenever you damn well please. :)

Anonymous said...

What wise, reassuring, and encouraging words your Blog friends have written. Print them, read them often, and take them to heart....and know that my support and love echo their wisdom. Wishing all three of you comfort and strength. Take a moment each and every time you hug A to take a deep breath, exhale completely, be still, and listen to the love he pours into your souls and hearts. Love you. Dad