Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Year Ago

I spend a lot of time thinking about the circumstances under which Caleb was brought into this world so tiny and weak and the 100 days that we spent with him living in the NICU. I can't honestly say that the gravity of the situation has caught up with me at this point. That's why I think about it so much. I still feel like I have an emotional block up, keeping me from fully experiencing what my son went through and how much it changed/s my life. I feel like a zombie. I want to come to terms with it. I think I'll have a major break-down when I do, and that's ok. No baby should have to fight for his or her life, and no parent should have to watch it.

I think a lot about the day he was born; how fast things went, the first time I saw him, how calm I was, and how much my love for my husband grew. The whole world looked different. The weather was beautiful when I walked into labor and delivery--I had my winter coat with me, and I was embarrassed. It was too nice out to need a coat. Two and a half days later, when I was discharged from the hospital and left my baby there, the whole world was covered in ice. The wind was biting. I almost slipped on the way to our front door. Our house was cold and drafty. We hadn't turned the heat on yet. My life was a little more complete, a lot more difficult, and
much more beautiful, but the world was cold and ugly.

Other things didn't matter. How could they, when my baby was on life support? It was surreal. Was I really that strong? I didn't even fall apart, really. The first time I saw Caleb, the nurse was putting an IV in his tiny hand, and had me hold his fingers so she could put the needle in. He pulled away from me, and I let go. I didn't want to break him. The nurse said that I wouldn't hurt him. I was involved from the very beginning, and it didn't bother me that I helped her poke him with a needle. He needed antibiotics so he wouldn't die. Emotions didn't matter when his life was on the line.

Three months later, I was putting a tube down his nose. He would scream, and I would cry. I hated hurting him. I didn't know that motherhood was like that. You should never have to hurt your helpless baby. But I would have done anything to make sure that he grew and developed and didn't get put in the hospital again for failure to thrive.

He sleeps all night, but sometimes I can't fall asleep. I have to think about how he only ate 10 ounces yesterday, and no solids. How Thursday and Friday he vomited until I cried. How his urine output has greatly decreased. How he is always playful, but how yesterday he was cradled in my arms (he never cuddles) and he tried to lift his head, but decided that it was too much work, so he gave up.

Now I have the virus that he's been fighting since Thursday, and I've spent all day in bed. I can't
believe that my little baby has handled it so well. He amazes me. He is so strong. He is always so happy.

Even when I was pregnant with him, he gave me strength. I was a very emotional pregnant person, but thinking about Caleb always made me happy. I realized then that it wasn't fair to depend on my unborn child for my happiness. That was a lot of weight on his shoulders. Some day he might buckle under that weight. He needs to be able to depend on me for his happiness (for now, anyway). But this child must have superhuman strength. He carries me, inspires me, strengthens me in ways that I didn't even know I was weak.

I can't imagine life without him. I'm so glad that things happened how they did (yes, even that he
was born 13 weeks early). I didn't know that I could love this way, and life wouldn't be complete without this kind of love.


Manda said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, I enjoy reading your blog because it helps me to put things into perspective. Just so you know, I think YOU have a lot of strength too!

Katie B said...

He truly is a miracle child. It really is hard to fathom how well he's doing. Believe me, you've been very very strong for him. He wouldn't be doing anywhere near as well as he is without such a loving mother and father.

*X and AA* said...

Awww, Anna. You're gonna make me cry! I was always amazed at your strength during all that time. I think of you as some kind of 'mama warrior' actually. You did what you had to do to help him survive, even when you didn't know what the outcome would be. That's some inhuman strength right there! He gets it from you! It's awesome that you can be each other's support and source of happiness like that. I would've had many a breakdown in this past year if I had been in your situation, so if you haven't had one yet YOU'RE DUE FOR ONE! Let it out! I'm so sorry you guys got sick this week. Yall get better soon!

Megan said...

It's amazing to me that I felt similar emotions to you when I was dealing with my preemie in the hospital because Dayt was so much further along than Caleb was. I think being a mom is always hard but circumstances can make it harder. You have been through a lot, and I agree it takes time to process all the emotions of it. I think I am still to some extent doing this myself but we need to let it out and let it go. Caleb really is a miracle and doing so well. Sickness happens and can be terrifying as well as other things. You are an amazing woman though. You give him so much that you don't even realize!