This is a post about me. I honestly have spent most of the past two years trying not to think about me, or trying to process the fact that many people close to me wish I would just let the past go and move forward.
In some ways, I am 100 trillion times closer to the me I was in 2011. In some ways, I will never be that woman again. I have been working really hard on myself over the past couple months now that my son is in a “more” stable place.
Mental health, identity, my true feelings on things. These are not topics that I easily discuss in person.
1. I have a short fuse. If I get annoyed, the source of my annoyance is usually going to come out in a form of word vomit that despite my southern upbringing is not very ladylike.
2. Someone close to me got into the habit of telling me that I never have anything nice, positive, or loving to say. That wounded me in a way I doubt I will ever be able to express.
3. In addition to worrying over D’s weight, development, and birth, I worry that I am way too attached to him. And way too overprotective for his own good. I’m trying to work on it, but it’s very hard.
4. I am lucky. My son is strong. We have a great therapy and medical team. I have a decent support system. Why can’t I just get over it?
A FB friend recently posted about the night before her son’s birth. She and her husband didn’t sleep, excited over their new son whose birth had just been induced. Will I ever read that kind of update and just feel happy for the people? No NICU parents will ever have that memory.
Last October, I called my mom sobbing because there is so much I feel like I can’t remember of the night/morning Drake was born. She’s an RN and reminded me that some of that is probably shock or denial, but some is that the meds you areon are amnesiacs and it’s not my fault I can’t remember.
My husband is taking a developmental psychology class this semester. The second chapter was all about genes, birth defects, and preterm deliveries. He aced the quiz, but said it was awful studying it.
I am going to a conference next month that is working with former NICU parents on family centered care practices. I hope feeling like I am giving back deals with some of this residual stuff.
5. We have NICU clinic follow-up and IFSP meetings coming up soon. We are at the cliff’s edge of “catch up by 2”. His Developmental Interventionist has taken to warning me that they will abruptly stop adjusting his age at the state level in February. I honestly just don’t know how I feel about that stuff.
6. I haven’t felt much like posting. I feel too thankful to write ranting posts. I feel this need to feel happy so I don’t really want to write like I did today about what I worry about.
7. This is our first Halloween. Last year, it was the day after surgery. This year we are flying monkey, lion, and tin man. Let the treating begin!
8. I joined a gym. I completely wrecked my health last year. My blood pressure when I finally had a dizzy episode and went to the urgent care last December was 175/117. I was having panic attacks over hand washing. I’ve lost about 15 pounds with many still to go. As my health gets better, my husband starts talking about his desire for another child. I’m scared to get healthy because of it. As long as I medically “can’t” it’s a tabled discussion, but I want to be healthy and here for my family. I think I should consider adding a counselor to my team.
I don’t want to be disappointed in 10 years that I could’ve gotten healthy and talked to specialists and completed our family as we’d always planned. I don’t want to send another child to the NICU just to fulfill our desire for more children. I don’t know anything about adoption or my feelings or anyone else’s about it.
9. My best advice to NICU parents is get counseling. I wish I had. I wish someone close to me had told me to. Despite this post, I am in a very good place emotionally compared to last year, but I wish I hadn’t had to claw my way to the surface alone to get here.
World Prematurity Day is next month. Wouldn’t it be nice if all babies could have a healthy start?