I’ve never really talked about our time in the NICU. With Ivy and Noah or with William. There was a new post on Austprem about delayed reaction to having sick and premmie babies. Someone was wondering if it was normal. I agreed that it was.
When Ivy and Noah were first in the NICU, they were in the same bay that WIlliam was in. I was never going to be ready to go back into the NICU but to find them in the same place was terrible. Physically I was struggling with the overpowering feeling that I couldn’t breathe alot of the time. Especially on Noah’s 3rd or 4th day when he was particularly unwell. It was really hard looking at him and not thinking of him as William. For almost a week I didn’t visit either of them, I was so scared they were going to die. I would take the kids in. I would go with David to the door but I couldn’t go in, just when they needed me the most. I’ve admitted that to a couple of people now but this is the first time I have written it down. I really did want to walk away.
It took a good kick in the pants from Carolyn (midwife and friend) to get me back in there and see Noah as a new and precious being and to look to the positive that maybe just maybe I might take these little ones home. Other than that episode, the whole experience at the time was… numbing.
My head couldn’t get around everything that had happened and was happening and so it didn’t, it shut down. It went into some kind of weird autopilot, not unlike after Will had died. Ivy and Noah’s good days and bad days all felt the same.
When I think of our NICU time now, I physically shake and sweat, the same as when I talk about it, so I usually don’t. I don’t bring it up and I am quite good at changing the subject when it comes to NICU talk.
I started to have a conversation with a friend about it the other day and felt like I was going to cry. It felt wrong to be upset almost two years after the experience but, like William’s grief, Ivy and Noah’s birth and 9 weeks in the NICU and SCU have largely been swept under the rug (because they are alive and I got what I wanted and I should be happy with a good outcome) and a kind of delayed reaction has set in.
It’s really hard to look at the photos we have because I don’t remember alot of the time in NICU and when I do look at them I feel sad and sad feels wrong. I know I should feel happy that they are here and well. I do feel blessed every single day that I get to spend with them but there are lots of negative feelings surrounding Ivy and Noah’s birth too. To say the emotions are mixed is an understatement. I know I’m not making alot of sense here, people but bare with me.
What I am trying to say in a nutshell is that I believe in delayed reactions to a traumatic event but that in having these emotions two years down the track (three in William’s case) it is difficult for many to understand. What’s the big deal? They are almost two. That part of your life is done with, get on with it already. I struggle with that exact same internal argument all the time and I don’t allow myself to feel that sadness for fear of being misunderstood but is that ok? Will there come a time because I haven’t dealt with Ivy and Noah’s birth and NICU period when I just lose the plot entirely?