Oh the joys of being a crazy person. So at my last OB appointment my nurse and I talked about the emotional arch most women in my position go through: From the initial shock and fear to a period of almost disbelief where everything seems so far away and not possible to the realization that this is really happening and it could happen any day. Not only that (it is such a simplification) but the dichotomous feelings too. I am so overjoyed and excited for the baby to get here, but I am also terrified of what he has to go through and I wish I could keep him safe forever (but you never can keep your kids safe forever). Anyway, I don’t know the “average” span of each phase or when the last one kicks in for most women, but for me it started about a week ago.
I think I know what my trigger was for my “emotional turmoil”. My new niece Elizabeth was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord shortly after her birth and she may have to have surgery to correct it (well she will have to have surgery, but the “details” are seriously lacking). I was upset when I heard. Here was this new precious little child and now she faces spinal cord surgery. When I went to see her last weekend, it really struck home how fragile and helpless she was. I just wanted to protect her from her future and have the surgery for her (which I am sure is magnified greatly in my brother and sister). Seeing her here, and knowing what she has to face, really brought home my baby’s future to me.
In general, I am an anxious person. I am a worrier. I am the person who works out every possible scenario and then assumes the worst is what will come. Now this does have some pros: I am generally more prepared than others, I can cope better with almost every scenario, and I work well in a crisis. The major con, for me, is serious levels of anxiety which turn into bad thoughts and nightmares.
For instance, last Saturday, I dreamed I had the baby and he was taken to the NICU, but Matt was not there. No one knew where he was or could get a hold of him. So I went to find him. As I was looking for him, I was bleeding and I realized at one point that I was dying so I had to find Matt to take care of our baby. I found him at a basketball game with some friends and I did not react rationally (obviously my id was an active participant in this dream since I was mad at Matt for leaving me for the weekend). I woke up crying and was beyond relief to see that baby was still where he belonged (for now). (after I told Matt about this dream we decided it probably wasn’t good for me to spend the night alone until the baby comes, Dyzio is a great hot brick but a terrible confidant and adviser)
It was a hard weekend without Matt. Our situation is somewhat less stressful since we moved from Chicago and we definitely made the correct choice for our baby, but Matt still doesn’t have a job and I am working part-time at Subway. (I am supremely grateful for the work, it is just not a lot to live on) Anyway, it was a rough weekend made okay by a wonderful visit with Lindsey Jawish and meeting my new niece Elizabeth (who is so cute and tiny!!!).
But even in all the worry and frustration, there is so much hope. I learned about the hybrid-Norwood which is an option I will talk with the surgeons about on the 5th. Last night, my cousin Alex posted this picture of a baby, 21 weeks in utero, reaching out of the womb after life-saving surgery and taking a hold of the doctors finger. It was amazing to see this life growing and it was amazing to see the tools that exist to help life grow and thrive. These new advances really buoy me and help me keep my eye on the prize: Emerson happy, growing, and alive.