I remember the day Charlie was born like it was yesterday. I spent the ten days prior in the hospital hoping and waiting. However, nothing could prepare me for her birth at 26 weeks or for what was to follow.
The day of her birth, no one explained what was happening. My questions were answered with vague statements. I realized later that no one really knew what was going to happen. Things quickly escalated from a quiet morning to a sudden delivery. Most things were decided minute by minute.
That moment was the beginning of some very complex emotions for me. Through the course of my baby’s early arrival and NICU stay, I felt many things that I was not proud of, embarrassed about, and even a little ashamed of for feeling.
- I was angry that I wasn’t provided much information the day she was born.
- I was furious with the anesthesiologist for not meeting for a consultation during the ten days I was hospitalized as planned.
- I was upset that I missed my baby’s birth due to general anesthesia.
- I was frustrated that I did not get to see my baby for two days after she was born.
- I believed I failed her because she only weighed 790 grams when she should have been bigger and I didn’t make it to the perinatologist’s goal of 32 weeks.
- I was saddened that my baby arrived in the world clinging to life and battling for survival.
- I felt guilty that I put my baby and husband through the whole ordeal.
- I was overwhelmed by the new world we were tossed into.
- I was desperate for my baby’s survival.
- I longed for some sort of comfort from those around me.
- I was jealous of full term moms.
- I was envious of the other NICU moms that had shorter stays, healthier babies, or who were able to pump copious amounts of milk.
- I was heartbroken.
- The unfairness of it all enraged me.
- I was irritable and thin skinned.
- I had never before been so scared.
- I mourned the losses that came with having a preemie.
- I was confused by the contradiction of overwhelming sorrow despite my baby’s survival.
- I was in shock.
At the beginning, all I could do was cry. I was hardly brave or stoic. I felt like I had shattered into a million pieces and didn’t know how to piece myself back together.
No one told me it was going to be that way because it was not supposed to be that way. Unfortunately, sometimes it works out like that.
The loneliness, the isolation, and the being that one out of however many felt like too much at times. I wanted to argue with whomever would listen: “Why me? Why my baby?”
Preemie parent, I’m sorry that this happened to you, your baby, and your family. I wish that you didn’t have to join the ranks of us whom have been there.
You may feel all of, some of, or none of the things that I did. Whatever you are feeling, it is okay. You are not alone.