Monday, November 26, 2012

I will always be a NICU mama

18 months after my daughter was born, I still grieve for the piece of our relationship that I feel like I forever lost...

But, before I get to that, I must first express how grateful I am that my daughter is now a healthy happy toddler.

This was not always the case... Born 7 weeks early, I remember meeting her for the first time. She was just laying there, her tiny body covered in tubes. Her face smothered with a mask pushing air into her lungs as she struggled to breathe on her own. I remember feeling so helpless, I had been a mother for no less than 2 hours and I had already failed my daughter. I failed to do the one thing that should have been easy. She should have been safe, growing in my belly for almost two more months. But instead, she was here, struggling, in pain.

Then the real darkness set in for me... I was discharged from the hospital. Kicked out, given the boot. Sent home to an empty nursery. This is a feeling that I really feel no one who hasn't experienced this could ever understand. I kept putting my hand on my belly as I had done quite a bit when I was pregnant, only to realize it was now empty, just fat and stretch marks remained as reminders that just two days earlier my sweet baby girl was still safe in there. I could swear that I could still feel her kick sometimes.

Being a NICU mommy is part of who I am. I did not get to bond with my daughter until she came home. And by then she didn't even feel like mine. The should be happy ending to the whole nightmare turned out to be as difficult as the beginning.

I love my baby girl so much but it really took a year to feel like she even belonged to us. Every day we grow and learn together. But, I will never forget the first 27 days of our journey!

People keep asking me if we are planning to have any more kids.

Whenever I even think about going through that again my heart breaks.
I answer "I'm not sure." And I inevitably get some sort of lecture about why I shouldn't wait, how my daughter will be lonely, or some other bs..

Maybe I'll just start answering "its none of your business." I am supposed to wait at least 2 years anyways given the problems I had during my pregnancy, never mind that I had a uterine tumor after my pregnancy. My body was clearly not build for pregnancy. I am so lucky that I was able to cheat biology just enough to have one child. It nearly killed me both physically and emotionally. I'm just not sure I'm ready to do it all again.