It’s often thought that after a traumatic pregnancy and delivery, if the baby is born healthy, it’s a happy ending and everything is fine. It’s assumed that we just go back to our normal life. Numerous times, I’ve heard the line, “As long as the you and the baby are alright.” I’ve said it myself 999,000 times. Ultimately it is true. That IS all that ever mattered to me. Fortunately, I got my wish. After a LONG 7 months, me and the baby are alright, mostly.
But, recovery isn’t happening overnight. NOTHING was normal once we walked out of the hospital doors.
It’s those nights when I’m standing next to the bed, and I pause for a moment and close my eyes, **I’m back to that night and all I see is the blood pouring out into a puddle on the ground, sure the baby was gone, and wondering if I would be too. How would I survive another miscarriage? How would my children would survive without me. How would Kari feel when I wasn’t there on her first day of school? How would John care for them and work? How would their lives be so disrupted at such a young age? How would John take it? My parents? What if I didn’t make it. What if I die now?** Then I’m back to reality, climbing in bed only to lay awake and wonder “What if I die now?” “What if I crash tomorrow and I don’t make it” “I should really make a plan.” “Maybe I should write a letter for future special dates that I might miss.” “They’re only kids, this can’t happen!” but the reality is, it does everyday…….no sleep tonight…
It’s those days when I’m walking past the kitchen door, and stop to look for a moment. and my thoughts carry me away, **standing there, acting as normal and as calm as could be, hugging the girls goodbye before school, telling them I loved them an extra time or 2. Feeling the gushes of blood. Watching them walk to the car and get in, knowing full well, it could be the last time I ever see them. What if I bleed to death? What if the baby doesn’t make it? She’s not moving! The contractions are awful! I need to hurry and get Haylie ready before something bad happens and no one even knows to come and get her…. to the hospital we go…** Back to reality…. Life is fragile, we never know when we say goodbye in the morning if we’ll ever see one another again. What if we never see each other again?…. day is ruined thinking of scenarios that might take us apart.
Its the times I look at my children and barely recognize them, I’ve missed nearly a year of their life with bedrest and hospital stays. I’ll never get that time back. Staring into their eyes takes me back **I’m sitting in the hospital bed, waiting for a picture of their Christmas concert. Waiting to hear how it went. It’s the first thing I’ve ever missed. How do they feel about me not being there? *tears* How do they feel about me not being home to greet them after school? Haylie’s growing so fast, she says words she didn’t say when I first came into the hospital. I’m missing everything.”** Snapping out of it, I think to myself, “What if I die, how will they feel, I’ll miss everything forever. Life is fragile. I better check to make sure the kids are still breathing”
It’s the days when John walks out the door and as I watch him leave I’m gone..**hugging him in the doorway of my hospital room, crying because we’ve never been apart longer than a few days. Being so desperate for him to just hold me because I’m scared and I’m alone, knowing he has to go. Telling him I can’t do this and I just want it to stop. I want it to be over. Clinging to his every word as he told me If anyone could do it I could, that I would get my baby, we where safe. Just x amount of weeks and x amount of days left.** Back to reality. “what if John leaves someday and something bad happens… what if he doesn’t come back. I can’t”
It’s those days when I’m sitting on the couch watching TV and I drift off, back to those days, **laying in a hospital bed, wondering how I would ever be able to hold my dead baby. imagining her cold blue body wrapped up in a blanket laying on my chest. How could I put her in the ground? She’s so tiny and perfect. Why do they even need to make a casket so small?! This is terrible! How would I explain this to her sisters? Who would I invite to the services? anyone? What would a baby wear? Why do I have to say goodbye so soon?”** I thought these literal thoughts every single day of my pregnancy. Then I’m back to reality, thinking back to the time when I held Elizabeth’s blue lifeless body after she drown… and helicopters, hospitals…. “I better check to make sure my kids are breathing”….
It’s those nights when I see a picture of an old couple in love and I go back **I’m standing in the elevator, walking across the cafeteria, an elderly man and women clearly madly in love. The elderly man is sick, terribly sick, all he wants to do is pay for his wife’s food. It’s such a chore for him You could feel the pain in her eyes. My heart is completely broken for her. I’m sick, I don’t want lunch anymore. I’m walking back to my hospital room, through the pediatric floor…..** back to now, thinking to myself, What if John and I spend the next 50 years together and then I loose him… what if we are the elderly couple…. I wont sleep tonight..
I’m rocking Meredith to sleep at night, and I go back…** She’s finally here, I can’t believe it, She’s alive! 24 hours later, I have a living breathing baby, I will never let her go. I’m scheduled for surgery in the morning, but I can’t put her down. It’s the last time I’ll ever feel the happiness of a brand new baby. I need this moment!** and then **I’m being woken by the nurse to prepare for surgery. I’m so tired, I’m in so much pain. I’ve been awake all night, I just want to sleep. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to leave my baby. I have too. I have to do this. I promised my mom I would. I have too. I’m just sooo tired. and then we’re walking back to surgery. I’m on a freezing cold table. wide awake, dead from the waste down, while they cut up my chances of ever having another baby.** back to reality. I’m sad, I’ll never snuggle a little baby again. Or smell their sweet hair. I’ll never see another toothless smile….. It’s all over… My kids are growing so fast. Soon they will all be gone and my life will be empty… I can’t……and I put Meredith down. Each milestone she reaches, I want to be happy, but its always overtaken with sadness. I’m missing everything…..
In a way I am thankful for this time. It allowed me to find myself and see so many things. It made me more compassionate and loving towards people in general, you never know what they are facing. It made me count my blessings over and over again. It made me thankful. It made me patient. It made me appreciate everything on a higher level. It made me realize how the small things just don’t matter (which is also a curse). However, it also showed me how delicate life truly is, and how quickly it can be taken away. It made me realize I could loose any person I love in an instant, and the thought of death is constantly looming over me, along with grief and regret. The flashbacks are so real, and now the feelings are able to be processed without the adrenaline I had when I was actually going through them. It made things that I used to find enjoyable seem silly and pointless. It disconnected many of my relationships because people just don’t understand. The anxiety drags me down, but I am confident, that I will get through this. I will have my life back. I will watch my kids grow up and be happily. I know we’ll get there, but it’s going to be a long hard road and for now, I’m just in survival mode.