I am constantly being swarmed with emotions. I don’t think anything can prepare a person, a mother, for the feelings and thoughts that occur when you have a baby in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit). Practically immediately after leaving my body, my baby boy was taken away from me. He was taken to another room next to mine and then transferred across the building to the NICU where he was without me for a couple of hours (dad did go with). At the time, I had prepared my mind for knowing he was going to go there and go there fairly quickly. It wasn’t until I was sitting on the hospital bed by myself an hour after delivery where it hit me. Where is the baby that just came out of me? It was rather strange not being with him for the first hours of his little life.
No time feels like enough time. Everytime I have to leave his little self, my heart just aches. I know it is what is best for him, trust me I know, but that doesn’t stop the emotions. That doesn’t make me any more comfortable with other people essentially being his mother while I am gone. I am his mother. I carried him inside of me. I went through the symphisis pubis dysfunction. I went through the month long bed rest trying to keep him in one day longer everyday. Most of that time it was just me and him. He is a part of me. Being without him just feels wrong.
Had he been my first and only, I imagine the feelings of guilt would not be as bad. Then again, I guess I can’t say for sure.
Having two older kids to take care of, my obligations as their mother too, makes the guilt overwhelming. I feel like I am being torn in half. They need me. The baby needs me. I cannot be at both places at once. I feel like I can’t give myself to everyone that needs it.
I feel like I can’t even enjoy things because part of my heart is always elsewhere. I feel awful for feeling like I can’t even enjoy the time with my kids fully because it just hurts too much to be away from the baby. I often wonder if the older kids can tell.
My nights are often spent crying myself to sleep because it is just too hard. The resource people at the hospital keep asking me how I am doing, if I am depressed and things like that. Of course I am emotional, perhaps borderline depressed, but who wouldn’t be when their baby is in the hospital?
I recently had the pleasure of meeting some of the other NICU parents. Boy let me tell you the amount of gratitude, but also guilt that that brings. I, in no way shape or form want to come off as inconsiderate or like my situation is the hardest. I know it could be harder. I know because I have seen it. I know because I have heard it. I am grateful that my baby is not having problems that will warrant him to stay even longer. I am grateful that he held on and was born when he was and not sooner. I am grateful for his health. Everyday is a day closer to him coming home. Some other people do not have that, every day is unpredictable for them. I cannot imagine the feelings that go with that.
Yet here I am, still feeling like crap. Guilty and emotional. I’m holding on to every little change that brings him closer to coming home.