The room was dark and I was finally alone. My shaking was still strong and I felt like I was becoming an icicle. I ran my hand over my tummy. It was mushy and soft. There wasn't a baby in there. I could finally breathe...well, somewhat. I remembered back to a few minutes before when my nurses told me we had to monitor my blood pressure and if it weren't to come down they would have to move me to a special room and hook me up to a drip.. honestly the only word that stuck out to me was the word seizure. There was a slight knock on the door and an older man walked in and introduced himself. He was a pediatrician for the hospital.
"Ms. Carruth, your baby boy was admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit. He's having some troubles breathing and we need to narrow down...."
I stopped hearing him. He was still talking and I was still paying attention, but I couldn't hear him. I zoned out.
"We are going to get him on some antibiotics just incase of an infection. We want to rule that out. We'd like to do some xrays and scans to make sure his lungs developed properly. He could also have some fluid in there. At this point, he just needs some help with this breathing."
I sat there. Staring at this man. I wanted to say "wait, what?" But instead I said okay. Thank you so much for letting me know. As soon as he walked out I started crying. My family had left to eat lunch and M and his family had left as well to eat. So it was just me. In this room. Where my baby had just been in my belly an hour earlier. But now it was just me. I awkwardly reached and grabbed my phone. Sent a few texts and then asked for some Chipotle. My nurse walked in and checked my blood pressure and liked how it was looking. Minutes later they were loading up my bags and belongings and sent in a nurse with a wheelchair.
She was familiar looking and had a sweet smile. My things were loaded up and I remember nurse S telling me that nurse A was going to take me to my postpartum room and by the NICU to see my baby. I was so hesitant to leave that room. It had been my home. My baby had been in there with me. And I had the best nurses. I thanked nurse S for how amazing she was and how thankful I was for her. She responded with "You made it easy..."
As nurse A wheeled me down the hall we chatted. Turned out, she is the sister of one of my friends. Small world. As she was wheeling me I just took those halls in. We get to the NICU and we are let in. My heart was racing. I couldn't breathe. What was his condition? Was he scared? Was he cold? Was he confused? I was wheeled up to the last box on the left. There he was. I didn't get to check his tiny toes and little fingers after I had him.
So many wires. An IV. Is he breathing? yes he's breathing...I think he is. Or wait is that machine breathing for him? WHATS GOING ON.
Tears flowed. I couldn't catch my breath. I just wanted to touch and hold him. The most exhausting minutes of my life.
I was wheeled to my PP room and literally everyone was in there. I held my tears in. Got through the visiting and thank goodness my pain killer kicked in and I was ready to sleep.
M and I didn't exchange many words. He needed to get out, so he left and went to a movie that night and showered. My best friend showed up and I took her to see baby A.
M's birthday was the next day and he stayed at home that night. I was hoping I'd finally get some sleep. But it didn't come. I found myself walking to the NICU. Babies would be wheeled past me being taken to their mothers PP rooms and I'd choke on tears. I remember at one point I just sat down in the hallway. I couldn't walk anymore and I just cried. I just didn't understand.
I was discharged on Wednesday and the next 4 days were a roller coaster.
Especially that Saturday when it snowed. But that's a different story.
I spent my days just sitting by his box in the NICU. I’d read a book, and watch him sleep. Take my pump breaks and then back to watching him sleep. I’d go home at the end of the night broken. Alone. And just cry and cry and cry. I just didn’t understand anything that was going on in life. I just wanted my baby. I needed my baby...probably more than he needed me. M was a rock for me during those days. He’d listen to me cry. He’d reassure me that things would be okay. And he was right. The following Tuesday I got the call that we'd be rooming in and if all went well, baby A would come home Wednesday. He was FINALLY taking bottles and nursing like a champ.
I was so damn nervous.
M worked that day and my mom took me to the hospital and helped me get settled in. And here comes one of our favorite NICU nurses wheeling in my little baby. No machines hooked up, no feeding tube. No IV. Just him. He was laying on his tummy and had on red and white striped pants with Santa's face on his booty. A little white shirt. The nurse said some things and then left.
What am I suppose to do now? h o l y.
|Hello Baby Photography|
|Hello Baby Photography|
M showed up around 9 after work.
We got discharged the next day. I wanted so badly for it all to be normal. For us to be going home together. But we took our "going home from NICU" picture, loaded up and he brought us to our home and left for his. And now the fun started.
My days as a single mom started. And I was clueless as to how I was going to do this.
Night after night after night I was waking up. By myself. No significant other to help. Or take a turn with. It was me and baby A. He'd come over and say how tired he was and I'd want to scream.
Tired? You're tired? Please, tell me how tired you are... you slept 10 hours last night. I slept 30 minutes... you should be HELPING ME.
I begged and begged for him to stay the night but, work was important.
The resentment began to grow. I honestly didn't even want to look at him. "Your mom can help you. Her room is right next door.."...yeah but this baby isn't my mom's responsibility. And I'm not asking her to wake up all throughout the night to help me. I can do this.
I was angry you guys. I was so angry. I was hurt. I was confused. I was straight pissed. How can you just sleep under a different roof than your newborn baby? My poor baby.
But, that pushed me even more to be strong. I was overtaken by post partum anxiety. I didn't want anyone to hold him because I didn't want "pass the baby" to be played. People just didn't understand. Almost like they forgot I was HIS MOTHER. I couldn't breathe. I just wanted to grab my baby and take him home. Where it was safe and comfortable and I was in control. I didn't like when he cried and instead of being given to me, he was given to him. Don't they know? That I am his mother? That I am the one that stays up with him all night? Didn't they understand that?
Anxiety was a living hell.
The days went by and communication was awful. Defensiveness on both ends. I was exhausted and my lack of enthusiasm was taken as attitude. I really just wanted to say "screw you"...
I needed to recover. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I needed to just recover. But I couldn't recover because I was doing this all alone. Night after night after night.
And yes, I did this with thankfulness and enthusiasm and a full heart. Never once did I complain. (Yeah I shot him down when he complained about being tired, but never once did I complain about getting up with my sweet baby.)
I took these long nights and soaked every cuddle in. Every cry, every little noise, his smell, the nursing sessions where I didn't think he could possibly take in anymore milk..I soaked it all in.
Doing it alone just meant more cuddles for me.
Christmas came and went and I was over the moon. I had been so blessed with this baby and this role of motherhood. In awe everyday that God chose ME to be this baby’s mother. It was the most important role I’ve ever been given. So blessed.
There was still a whole different situation I was trying to make better. But The texts were straight hurt and irritation. Reminding him that he left me. And trying to just understand what he was doing. I'm not sure if I can remember the point in time where I realized that nothing was going to change. I was doing this alone. Yes, there were a few days a week after work where he came over for a few hours and visited with baby A. But that wasn't good enough and honestly, never will be good enough..because my baby deserves a lot more than that. But yet, he was still the one I called or texted when I needed someone to cry to or talk to. He didn’t say much but he listened and he took a good bit of my wrath’s weekly. I didn’t want to be ugly but I just couldn’t figure out how to make
Him understand what a mistake he was making.
But, at the end of the day, as much as I wanted to hate him, I couldn't. I prayed for him. Day in and day out.
And so, I've felt a pressure. A pressure to be even more of a parent. Since baby A's dad lives elsewhere, there's only one parent he sees 24/7 and that's me. And it literally broke and still breaks my heart. As soon as we were up, we were right back down and it was hard to find that middle ground. I wanted so badly to have my partner during these times. It was so hard for me to be nice. I just wanted help. The feelings of rejection and resentment and hurt just kept building and building and I kept praying and praying.
Neither of us came from broken families. So why are we starting a broken family?
It just didn't make sense to me.
Little did I know that the next 5 months would be the toughest, hardest months, but each day it would get easier. And I would get stronger. I would find my voice. I would learn how to be an even better voice for my baby.
And So the story still continues on...