Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mama Trauma Drama - Part 2

I have a tendency to apologize for things which are not my fault.

Adding up the number of hospital trips, doctor visits, online posts, calls to a friend when in distress, contractions, bills, medications, etc it felt like looking at the sum of my failures. I was scared, none of this was in my control....I contracted whether I moved or didn't, before medication and with medication. I contracted and dilated on the one medicine considered the big gun for stopping preterm labor. I wasn't in control, nor were my doctors, but I kept apologizing to everyone.

I apologized to my husband about the money, the time, the work I wasn't getting done for our business. To my friends for being what I felt was self-involved, to my daughter for being stressed and unable to play as rigorously as usual. To my mother for not being able to make the one hour drive to see her because it would put me outside the radius around my hospital my doctor had suggested. (Though I can honestly say SHE should have been offering to make the trip, not making me feel guilty about this)

Life essentially screeched to a halt in many ways as I tried, begged and pleaded not to give birth to my son too early. I even apologized for not having it as bad as some of the women who were offended because I was complaining about a situation that still looked like it would result in a healthy baby. In every conversation I had where I talked about something going on with my pregnancy, I had an overwhelming need to stress how lucky I was, how grateful I was because I didn't want anyone to think for an instant that I was taking any of this for granted.

I was so worried about the emotions of others, that I didn't really acknowledge a lot of my own. So worried I would trigger in others thoughts of "well you wanted to be pregnant" or "at least..." and it was hard. Really, really hard. It wasn't the worst pregnancy it could have been by a huge stretch, but it was still very hard and took a huge toll on me, my husband, our daughter, and our family as a unit. I rarely felt it was ok to talk about how hard it was, how scared and frustrated I was without justifying, explaining, apologizing, worrying about my phrasing or making a point to say "but I'm so lucky." yes, I was. But damn it, sometimes I didn't feel lucky, I felt scared. My husband and a dear friend were my sanity during this time, but even they couldn't quiet the fears of my heart.

I suppose it might be appropriate that I'm still healing physically, just as I am trying to heal emotionally.

A piece of me died each time I walked into the hospital as "two" and worried that I would leave it alone. Some have said that one day I will be able to use these stories as a means to guilt my son into good behavior. The fact is, if it weren't for the notion that completely hiding all of this from him would likely be unhealthy, it would be easy to insist he never know about any of it.

As the time approached when his birth was no longer scary, when it was clear he could make his appearance and likely be just fine, there were still a few fears. Including the fact that if my water broke, there would be no way we'd make it to the hospital on time. He was so low, I was dilated quite a bit already and I had contracted for so long that it was clear things would move fast when the time came. At one point it was suggested I call the fire department's non-emergency line to double check their response time. They assured me they could get to me on time, 3 minutes or less unless there was something else major going on.

For weeks I contracted at 5-10 minute intervals...sometimes even closer together. So many nights we thought "this is it"and so many nights I stayed awake wondering and waiting. Prodromal labor they called it at this point, as there was little change in my cervix during this time. We'd long since thrown out the protocols for when to call the OB's office or head to the hospital. If I'd gone or called every time my contractions were incredibly close, I'd basically have been there for months. We worried we wouldn't know when to go for the real deal, worried we'd blow it off and be too late.

We made plans, backup plans and backup backup plans regarding where our daughter would go when the time came. We laughed that at least all of the back and forth trips to the hospital had made it clear whether our bags were missing anything and even joked that we should just reserve a locker at the hospital.

In the back of my mind I was worried still about complications, nervous that I'd been asked so many times whether I'd been given steroids to mature my son's lungs, and feared that my list of things that happened this time but didn't last time would end with a c-section.

There were many things I worried about that never happened. Many that I worried about that did.

The scariest, however, were the things I didn't worry about. The things I never saw coming that hit me like a ton of bricks.

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