Mama’s Boy

It is hard for me not to post on Emerson’s blog about how I am doing. But the whole purpose of that blog is to keep people updated with the facts as we find them out. And in a lot of ways it is very cathartic for me to just update about the facts. I am good at facts, especially in a stressful situation. And, usually, I am good about updating people and keeping everyone informed in stressful situations. Not as much this time, but since the situation revolves around my son I feel there is a certain amount of leniency in updates and communication (hence I haven’t answered texts for the last week).

Anyway, point is, Emerson’s blog is for Emerson. This blog is for me. It has been a crazy 6 days. I think I understand what “emotional roller coaster” means. It is amazing how the body reacts to situations. I spent the first three days riding on adrenaline, then day four (surgery day) I was tired and exhausted, I slept most of day five, and on day six I feel pretty normal. It is weird to feel normal. In five days I forgot what normal felt like.

I am amazed by what I find joy in. Tonight I got to put socks on Emerson’s feet for the first time. I kissed him for the first time after he was born but did not get to kiss him again until the day of surgery (now I can’t kiss him enough, but try to restrain myself a little). I changed his first diaper on day 3 and took his temperature on day 2 (have not changed a diaper since, he has a catheter in). I read him his first story tonight (he slept through it). And I held his hand on day one and every day since. He is my little miracle and every second I have with him is such a gift from God. I cannot get enough of him (his nurse scolded me today for disturbing his nap). And with every breath I thank God for bringing him to me and giving me the chance to love him.
Our journey has just begun and every day Matt and I find something more the be grateful for. I am so glad we chose to move back to MN for Emerson. I cannot imagine going through this alone. I feel terrible that I could not host a proper baptism for my son, but I am so humbled that my sisters would pull together and make it happen. Emerson had a cake and party (even if he couldn’t attend). Our parents have been an amazing support. I cannot even articulate how much more difficult everything would be without them. The sheer number of people praying for my son is overwhelming and, again, humbling.

Through everything God’s grace and love has been prominent and present. Today I met some fellow heart moms and I am so grateful for the people who have gone before us. Not only the mother’s I met today but the women I have met along the way. I do not think I would be nearly prepared or confident if it wasn’t for Cynthia Hogenson, a friend of my cousin who has been helping me and supporting me throughout this journey. I have wonderful friends who have dropped everything for me when I need them (and, Lindsey Jawish, driven hours just to see me).

And there is so much people are doing for me that I cannot explain or point to; things I do not know about and may never find out about. I went home today for some clean clothes and saw my dog for the first time in 6 days. I feel like a terrible pet owner for leaving him alone that long, but it would not even be possible without my family. My younger siblings take him outside when he lets them, the feed him, and play with him. It is one less thing to worry about while we are here.

Again, feel like I am living an emotional roller coaster right now. There are so many ups and downs, and I constantly find myself holding my breath, afraid to relax. We are taking every day, every minute really, one at a time. Every second I have with my son is so beautiful and amazing. I love him so much….words are really not enough

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I am always tired lately. Turns out it is hard work growing a child. If you follow my other blog about my son, you will know that, in recent weeks, we’ve had a lot of new news on his development. Each time I get a new piece of information, the staff is always surprised at how I react. Generally, I just nod my head and ask a few questions. I think they expect a hysterical break down. First that is just not my personality. Second, when we were diagnosed with HLHS in Chicago and I did cry as I found out, the doctor did not react well to the situation. Third, and probably most important, I am just too tired to react the way people expect me to react. It is a lot of work to show emotions. I am generally a stoic person. I handle crisis well. I do not share a lot of my personal feelings with the world (writing about how I react is different then reacting in front of people).  So usually Matt ends up with a hysterical wife later in the week or I break down driving when the wrong (or right) song comes on the radio.

When we found out about the cerebellar vermis, I had to leave the doctor and go to work. One of my co-workers was unfortunate enough to ask about the appointment, asking if it went well. I teared up and told her that it had not gone well. Aside from that one incident of emotion, I generally tell people about his heart, brain, and now growth in a very factual matter, because, realistically, it is just facts. Every new piece of information does not change the person Emerson already is; God formed him this way and he is made in God’s image and likeness. How can I be upset or heartbroken or disappointed or anything negative knowing that my son is God’s image and that God formed him with a plan that I could never understand?

Additionally, when I tell people, I often have to administer more care to them then they are capable of giving to me. People are so upset and concerned and worried that there really is not room for me to work through all my emotions again. And I love my son. He is perfect and he is mine, no matter what. No diagnosis will change how I feel about him. I do worry for him though. Any parent would worry about their child, especially when the situation is out of their control.

There is nothing I can do for Emerson except love him and pray for him. I cannot eat differently to increase his growth, I cannot mend his heart or have his surgery for him, and I cannot grow a new cerebellar vermis for him. In fact, it would be more harmful for me to fall into despair at every new piece of information: stress, hysteria, prolonged emotional outbreaks, etc. are not good for the fetus and can cause stress on the pregnancy. So if the only thing in my control is my emotions and stress level, obviously I am going to do what is healthy for my son and keep that all on a low-level.

I think my stress is manifesting in inappropriate ways. Example: road rage. Today I picked up my sister from school and I honked at two people (both dumb ass high school drivers who were not looking where they were going, one flicked me off  causing me to rant about how, if I didn’t want to get home so bad, I would go fight her… ridiculous). My mom would be appalled to hear this. I also ranted and raved the rest of the way home about the idiocy of high school drivers. I could punch them all in the face. Matt is afraid to let me drive now (I think he wants me to walk to work again).

Also, the worst possible thing happened at our last appointment: I was vindicated. I have compared my pregnancy with my sister’s since she is due a week after me. I decided that she was getting larger than I and kept saying that my baby stopped growing. Everyone reassured me, but HA joke’s on them: turns out his rate of growth has stopped. You never want to vindicate a Novak. Ever. but it’s done.

In other news, Matt got a seasonal position at Target, so that’s something. Matt and I went to college graduated with degrees and managed to both land minimum wage jobs working less than 40 hours a week: living the dream. I just want to tell my high school co-workers not to believe the lies they tell you. Just don’t do it. They tell you what is expected of you and it turns out it is unattainable: from college loans, to poor economy, to the “wrong” degree the world is setting us up for failure. And somehow it is “your fault” when things don’t go “according to plan”. THERE IS NO PLAN! Don’t listen to the lies and don’t buy the dream.

…oh God I’m such a hipster…