Emily is 10 days old. In some ways it has gone very fast and in others it has gone slow. It feels like months ago that I was first admitted to Addenbrookes but it was less than 2 weeks. Time passes by very strangely when you live in a hospital.
Emily is doing pretty well, considering she is still minus 14 weeks. But emotions are running in all different directions and swing from one second to the next. Here are some of the things I am feeling.
I’ve lost a few things by having Emily so early. I lost a third trimester, the excitement of feeling her move around and kick and knowing that she can hear me 24/7 and being comforted by the warmth of my womb and the sound of my heart beating. A bond only other mums would understand. But Fane has lost that excitement too. He was starting to talk to her and feel her kick too. But now she in a perspex box, in pain with canulas and lines and a feeding tube…I can put my hands in and touch her and help her by feeding and cleaning her and comforting her in any way I can. She needs to know I’m still here, she needs to still feel my warmth and hear my voice, even it isn’t 24/7.
I’ve lost 15 valuable weeks of maternity leave…they will be spent in hospital rather than at home bonding like a normal mother and child. So I will take advantage of all the bonding that I can whilst I am here even if that is just singing lullabies through the perspex.
I’ve lost the excitement of nesting…buying everything, building furniture, getting all her clothes ready, making sure the car seat fits…it all feels rushed now we have had to buy what is needed and don’t know when we can sort out everything else as we can only take every day as it comes.
I have lost time with Alex…the only thing I imagine being more difficult than being a mum in nicu is being a mum in nicu with another child at home that you feel you have abandoned. Which brings me to my next point…
I am feeling constantly torn between my two babies. Alex can’t be with us 24/7 and even when she is here she gets bored quite easily. She loves her sister and just wants her to come home as much as we do and trying her best to understand. In the mean time I have to split my time in some way that Alex doesn’t feel abandoned and that I don’t feel like I’m leaving Emily too much. And what makes it that little bit harder is that Fane isn’t going through the same thing so I feel even more guilty that I make him leave Emily at times even though he wants to only be by her side…and I completely understand that! It just makes my emotions go absolutely mental and I don’t know what the right thing to do is.
I don’t want Alex to feel that I don’t love her and I don’t want her to resent Emily for me having to be at the hospital so much. All I can do is make sure Alex is involved; let her bond with Emily, let her help where she can, let her speak and sing to her…I can’t just tell her to sit in the corner and be quiet…she would hate hate me. I refuse to let that happen.
Every parent just wants to make their sick child better. I know Emily isn’t sick as such, but she isn’t ready to be out! She’s so small and has to work so hard just to breath and there is nothing I can do to make her feel better.
Everyone is telling me that I still have an important job and that is to ensure I’m producing milk for her and I know how important that is, but I need to see a tangible difference before I feel that is any use.
Sad…but not really
It’s an odd feeling…I’m distraught that my baby is in an incubator and is having to have so much help to kept alive and that I cant feel her inside me anymore. And it makes me so sad, for the reasons above in particular. But at the same time I’m not sad because I know she did the right thing coming when she did. My womb was not a happy place and she was surrounded by infected fluid. She was clever and used her initiative and escaped! I guess the only way to describe it is relieved. The bleeding was an indication that something was wrong and now we can see her and know that all is well…within reason.
I’m sure over the next 14 weeks I will feel many more different things and my moods and emotions will be crazy. I’m sure I will have good days and bad days. I’m sure I will laugh and I’m sure I will cry. I’m sure Emily will carry on being brave and I will carry on feeling proud.
But I don’t know what each day holds.
That is the scariest thing.