I was recently reading back over my posts from when Lauren was in the hospital. I certainly wasn't intentionally lying, but I was definitely not feelings so upbeat.
The way I personally deal with stress is overwhelming positivity. I think it's more trying to convince myself that everything is fine than trying to convince anyone else. It's my coping mechanism.
But really, I was extremely depressed. I remember being afraid to hold her because I was afraid to get "too attached". Yeah, like it was possible not to fall more and more in love with Lauren every day. I remember thinking I would kill myself if she died. When I was pregnant and I bought her coming home outfit I remember thinking, "I wonder if I'll have to bury her in this."
I wish I had blogged about that raw emotion. I think it would've helped even more than fooling myself into thinking I was fine.
I was not fine. I was not okay.
I was terrified, I was overwhelmed. I was devestated. At one point I wondered if it would be possible to just walk away from it all. What would happen if I left and just never came back?
Watching Lauren was like a ping pong match ever day, trying to find the right combination of heart medications and diuretics to keep her stable. Then the infection set in and I wondered if she'd ever really be okay. Some days she just seemed so sick. How could a baby ever come back from that? But she did.
The day of her surgery I handed over my not quite 7lb six week old daughter. I cried my heart out. Then, do you know what I felt? Nothing. I was absolutely numb. It was horrible. When they finally came and told us that she made it through surgery and would be on her way to the PCTU (pediatric cardiothoracic unit - a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit) I physically felt the stress leave my body. It was like my entire being sighed with relief. Maybe, just maybe, I would get to keep her. I felt myself finally coming back.
Then after surgery when her lung collapsed I felt those feelings resurface. When I went to visit her that day I checked in at the desk and the receptionist told me to wait, that Lauren's nurse would come see me first. When the nurse walked out and asked, "Are you Lauren's mom?", I felt the numbness start to come back, it was like my soul was leaving my body. She quickly explained what had happened and that she would be off the ventilator probably later that day or the next day. Thank God she was right. I don't think I was even human until April 9th, the day after Easter, when I finally got to take Lauren home.
Do you realize how guilty I felt? It was awful. I couldn't talk to anyone about it, I felt like nobody understood. In hindsight, I probably should've been seeing a therapist or a counselor. I felt like anyone I told would judge me for being depressed or not trusting that things would be okay.
I don't feel quite so guilty anymore. I don't think there are words to describe what it's like to go through something like that. It was part of my journey. I know now that it was okay to feel that way. I don't think my family would've judged me.
I don't know why I'm even writing all of this. I just want it here for the record. I was not fine. I wish I would've known that was okay.