Sunday, April 06, 2008

Four Weeks

Michael was born four weeks ago today.

He is a blessing and been such a trooper. One day soon (very soon, oh please) he'll be home. And then we can start figuring out how our new family configuration will work. We can find a new rhythm for our family of four all under one roof. It will be difficult and scary, but it has to be better than the past four weeks.

I sometimes feel like I'm just scratching the surface of how I really feel about all of this. About the pregnancy complications and Michael's being born so early, about the back and forth from the hospital and the worry and the uncertainty.

We're supposed to have another month, four more weeks, before he's even born and yet he's four weeks old today.

Four weeks in which I have learned an entire language full of terms I never cared to know about.

Four weeks of late night phone calls to near-strangers to find out how my baby is.

Four weeks of learning to navigate a hospital that was once a maze to me. Now I believe I could lead tours there in my sleep. My feet walk on automatic pilot to the parking garage, the cafeteria, the rooms where the breast pumps are kept. I know what the paintings look like outside the elevators on each floor. I know where I have to wave my hand in front of a sensor to open a door, where I have to push a button, where I just keep walking and the doors open on their own. I know the patterns of the carpet and the tile in too many hallways.

After four weeks of this strangeness, this apartness, I wonder how I'll get to feeling normal again. Stable. Not be holding my breath, ready for some unforeseen disaster to come strolling around the corner. Not need so much help.

I am surprised, stunned, by the random things that upset me.

In the parking garage elevator, a woman complains about how difficult it is to get to the doctors' offices in the hospital. She's says, offhandedly, how she's glad she only has to come once a year. Tears spring to my eyes as I think of the number of times I've been there in a month.

American's Funniest Home Videos is on television tonight and we see a woman reading a card at Christmas, finding out she is going to have another grandchild. I cry thinking of how we'll never make that kind of announcement again.

As I'm rocking Michael this afternoon, careful not to bother his IV or the suction tube keeping his stomach empty, it suddenly occurs to me that we never took a picture when I was pregnant with him. Not one in which you could see that I was pregnant. I remember posing in the kitchen, big-bellied and full of nervous excitement, the morning we went to the hospital to have Harper. No one thinks to hurry up and take that picture when you are only 27 weeks. The nurse notices my tears and leaves me a box of tissues.

I feel like I should say something uplifting now, like how wonderful it is that we got to meet Michael and see his sweet face for all this extra time. . . but mostly I just feel cheated out of the way this should have been.


Swistle said...

Oh, I am sorry! Oh, it will get better! I am sure of it, because it just HAS to, doesn't it? It HAS to.

Erin said...

I cannot imagine. I would feel the exact same way. And you are probably right that these feelings will surface over time. Right now you are in a strict survival mode. Try not to worry about all those feelings, they will come out in time. And rightly so.

I love you so much and (somewhat obsessively) think about you all the time. ALL THE TIME. I wish wish WISH there was something we could do to ease the burden. It is so much for one mother, one family, to handle. You have come a LONG way in four weeks. All of you, especially Michael. You have the strength and fortitude to get through it. YOU DO. You just have to trust me on that. My heart breaks for you, Kels. But I believe in you one thousand percent. Things will get better. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Soon.

Mommy Daisy said...

I think it's natural to long for our ideal or what could've/should've been. Don't beat yourself up for feeling this way. It could take a while to get over. Just process those feelings. Eventually you will see the outcome and that it was meant to be this way. No matter how your pregnancy was, no matter that Michael spent time in the NICU, some day it won't matter. And then you'll be OK with it. It wasn't what you wanted, but that's OK.

(I've dealt with some of those feelings myself for different issues.)

samantha jo campen said...

I hear you. And I know everyone says "don't plan, because babies change everything" but it's hard! Not to have ideas in your head about how things WILL be and then have it the total opposite. So I understand. And I cry with you.

You're doing great and HE'S doing great because of YOU.


desperate housewife said...

**big hugs** I'm so sorry. Spring is coming, and with it, Michael's homecoming. Soon the hospital days will just be a strange, surreal memory compared to your two happy kids playing outside in the sunshine!

Pam said...

4-6 after my son was born I hit rock-bottom - baby blues right?. Your hormones are all over the place and you're dealing with all of this. OF COURSE you're crying a lot. I hope you are surrounded by loving people that let you cry and complain. Big hugs to you and yours XX

Emily said...

Oh, Kelsey, I'm just getting the updates, and I'm so sorry for the further struggles and delays. And I can't imagine anyone handling it any better than you are - even if it seems like you are just hanging on. I'm praying that things will start heading in the upward direction really really soon.

Kate said...

Kelsey-- nobody should ever have to be cheated out of their pregnancy, but the lining and uplifting part is that you are so lucky to never have been cheated out of that beautiful wonderful little boy who you are going to get to see grow up. He may be early, but he is a blessing. Keep your head up-- you're doing great, and one day (hopefully soon) you'll be able to relax with your family and start to remember what normal feels like. Take care.

Anne said...

I remember feeling really, really cheated by my pregnancy with Archie, after we knew about his diagnosis, and then by his infancy because it was so, so abnormal in the way it was filled by hospitals, and uncertainty, and fear, and illness, and everything bad you're able to imagine.

And I remember feeling cheated again when I found out I was pregnant with twins because it meant I wouldn't experience a "normal" pregnancy after all, whatever that is anyway. Both twins ended up in the NICU, but one did make it out in time to come home with me.

So, yes, I know exactly how you feel. But let me also say that you'll get through it. And while you'll never entirely get over it, the experience will become such a part of you that you won't notice it anymore after awhile. I promise.

Jen said...

I can relate to feeling cheated out of a good childbirth experience. With our youngest, I had my toughest pregnancy and was so relieved to go into labor so that I could have the baby and get life back to normal. Labor and delivery were great, but an hour after Emmaline was born, we were told that she had Down syndrome. What we took as devestating news has (13 months later), turned out to not be so bad. Things may be tough in the beginning, but they'll even out, and even get better as time goes on. We're praying that Michael will continue to grow stronger every day so that he can come home soon.