I wrote this 4 years ago. My second kid, Kellen, turns 4 today and every year, as happy as I am celebrating him, I am struck by an insane surge of emotion. Kellen spent a small period of time in the NICU and it was by far the most difficult experience of my life. I always say I want to write something new, but I never can get through it. Plus, at this point, reliving something so exhausting, sounds to exhausting to relive for my exhausted ass. I don’t really consider myself a writer, but writing is my release and again, 4 years ago, as I sat down and waited for the scariest phone call of my life, I wrote this…..
I had Kellen 8 days ago. After a 14 hour all natural childbirth, I finally met the cutest boy ever. Even though we were both exhausted, I was filled with joy and energy to finally hold him and I could sense that he felt the same way about meeting me. All we did was snuggle and love for the first few hours of his life. Then Matt and I noticed his breathing seemed a bit off. Once we informed the nurses and they gave him some test, Kellen was checked into the NICU and has been there ever since. As I write this, my phone is sitting next to me. I am anxiously awaiting the phone call to find out if we pick him up today or if he still needs time there. It has been the most difficult week of my life.
Kellen was a surprise. Matt and I had just began talking about going off birth control and trying for our second child. We had it all planned out. Go on vacation, over indulge, come home, go off the pill and see what happens. Well, before any of that could even happen, I was knocked up. Apparently we just needed to talk about having a baby and the seed was planted (pun totally intended.) I wasn’t upset, but certainly wasn’t ready. I thought I would have a few months of trying. And my daughter was only 6 months! But we ran with it and my pregnancy began. This pregnancy was much different than my first. By the end I was so uncomfortable, all I did was complain (which now that he is sick, I feel awful for.) But even though I hate being pregnant, I love being a mom. And meeting this little guy was the most incredible feeling in the world.
When they took him from our hospital room, they took all of the air out of our bodies. I don’t think we have breathed since. Seeing him in the NICU with a feeding tube, plugs, jaundice lights and machines was beyond explainable. But what was even worse was seeing this tiny little baby that we love more than words can describe so uncomfortable and in pain. We felt helpless and when you are a parent that is the worse feeling. It is my job to keep him safe and protected and when I saw him in there I felt as though I failed him. I had a huge meltdown and Matt stood there and held me and Kellen’s tiny little hand and promised us both everything would be fine. We were told he just needed 48 hours of antibiotics and he would be good to go. We would leave the hospital the next day and a quick 24 hours later Kellen could come home.
Matt and I had to leave the hospital baby less and we had to leave Kellen alone with nurses. We were excited to come home and see our daughter, but after a couple hours, I was back up at the hospital looking at my baby. The next day brought some relief. It had been 48 hours and we were very excited to get him home. We went back up to the hospital and they broke the news that his stay there would be longer. It was Wednesday and the earliest he would be released now was Monday. This time we both melted down. The sadness of having this person inside of me for 9 months, that was now abruptly taken away from me was now going to have to be out of my sight for a week. It was too much. I was exhausted from giving birth days prior, I was so emotional from the hormones, we had waited so long to meet him and now we couldn’t hold him, breastfeed him, let him meet his sister? It was too much for me to wrap my brain around. Of course, we just want him to be healthy. Of course we know it could be so much worse. And of course 8 days in the grand scheme of life is nothing. But that was my baby. That was my life. My family. The one thing I should be able to nurture as a mom. And it was to be put on hold.
The week has crept by. The tears stream every day and every night when I lay down without him. We have gone back and forth to the hospital to visit and come home to see Viv hoping every time it will get easier, but instead for me it has gotten harder. I have never in my life missed someone so badly. I have never in my life felt so much guilt. And I know this isn’t my fault, but I feel like I must have done something wrong to make him sick. I feel so bad for Matt. He has been a rock and an angel for me. He is going through the same thing yet has remained positive and comforting to me while he goes through it. He reassures me everyday that I did nothing wrong. That Kellen will be fine and home soon. But I see the sadness and worry on his face and it breaks my heart all over again. I could not imagine going through this with another soul. As tense and stressed and tired as we are, we have only gotten closer and I have only fallen more deeply in love with him. All of our families and friends have been amazing. So even through all this, I am still seeing so much beauty and love.
I have never been so nervous in my life right now. I have never waited for a phone call so important. And I truly hope that by the time the night is over, Kellen will be home with us, Viviane and the dogs and we can finally start our new life. Whoever said having two kids under two was going to be so hard for us was very wrong. Having two healthy kids screaming their lungs out under one roof sounds like a piece of cake compared to this week.
Life, full of so many ups and downs always find a way to change up plans. I know my little man will be ok. Kellen means warrior and that is exactly what he is. Plus he is as strong as his dad and willful as his mom. So he is fighting this out for sure. I am deeply touched and affected about NICU babies and families and do plan on getting involved to support others who have lived through it. It is tough and lonely. But hopefully it ends today.