Thursday, March 6, 2008

Time away changes things

I’ve been hospitalized only 3 times in my life (besides at birth). I’m fortunate that each hospitalization only lasted about 3 days, and two of them were for the births of my children.

The first time I landed in the hospital it was for mono. I was a new senior in high school. The Homecoming festivities were looming, and the first deadline for the school newspaper (of which I was co-editor) was imminent. I wore myself out with worry about inconsequential things that seemed big at the time. My throat had swollen to the point that it was almost closed. I talked like I had a hot potato in my mouth. My spleen was enlarged.

I missed Homecoming. I don’t recall if I’d planned to go anyway though. It was probably not in my plans since my boyfriend at the time was no longer in high school and wouldn’t deem to lower himself to attend a high school dance. He did, however, sneak into my hospital room late one night to see me. The nurse who caught him was not amused.

I remember emerging from the hospital after those 2 or 3 days feeling like I’d been on another planet. The world had continued around me, without me. My friends and family chatted about the mundane things they had been doing while I was laid up and even though I still wasn’t cleared to do much of anything but rest I felt like I’d missed things. At the same time I felt like I hadn’t really been missed much.

It’s true that life goes on. Those times that I’ve been hospitalized, out of commission for the day-to-day tasks for even a few days, have shown that if I weren’t here, everyone would be fine.

I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be missed if I were not around. I would be missed. I know that. But I’d be missed only momentarily. Time heals all wounds. The ache that would be there in the beginning would fade until I became a fond memory, someone to smile about who had strange habits and mannerisms.

That’s a good thing in actuality. I wouldn’t want my family’s lives to fall apart without me. It makes me feel better to know that they would be fine.

Come May, I’ll be hospitalized again when my third, and last, child is born. My other children’s lives will continue mostly as usual with the occasional side stop at the hospital to meet their baby sister and say hello to their mommy. I want their lives to continue as usual as much as possible. They will experience much upheaval with the addition of a family member, both good and not-so-good changes.

They’ll need consistency of routine to get them through those days, as much routine as there can be with a missing mommy, then a mommy returning with a squalling newborn.

While they are continuing as usual, I will be changing.

I’ll become a mommy of a new person. I’ll begin to learn who she is within moments of her birth. We’ll practice nursing together and doze together at will.

I’ll focus on drinking water so that I can have the catheter removed. I’ll work toward standing, then walking the halls without passing out. I’ll feel the pulling at my stitches and suck in my breath from the pain as the drugs wear off before it’s time for another dose.

I’ll fall in love again with the promise of what my child will bring to my life and to others’ lives.

When my husband comes to the hospital to drive me home on that third day I will still be Heather, but I will be different and that’s okay too.

I have a new post at Midwest Parents too! Go see if you feel the same way when you're talking to your kids.

4 people like me!:

Jeff said...

Life... keeps on going and going and going and...

chelle said...

That my dear was an awesome post. My eyes are stinging! At first I was going to argue with you. Time does not heal all wounds. Losing a mother changes a person. That never goes away. Then you just went around a corner and I so so enjoyed reading it all.

Minnesota Matron said...

Very sweet. Yes, you'll be different and once you walk through that door with a new sibling, your family changes forever.

We were unexpectedly in NICU with Merrick for five days (he got Strep B from me) so coming home was indeed like stepping from one planet to another. With gratitude.

May is fast approaching. It will be amazing.

angi said...

This is an awesome post!

Unfortunetly (for me), what was stuck in my head for the entire post was the fact that when my kids came to visit me in the hospital when having Ava...they had the same clothes on both days.

I am thinking my husband was CLUELESS without me *sigh*

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