Monday, December 21, 2009

Too Much Navel Gazing

I've been thinking lately that my retrospectives must be pretty boring. I mean, they're even getting boring to me. This whole month everything has reminded me of being in the hospital last year. Even the Today Show's holiday programming reminds me of being in the hospital (and watching the show every day for four long hours). The memories permeate everything, to the extent that I don't even feel much like writing about them. So I've had radio silence here for more than a month.

The New York Times recently published an article about NICU parents with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When I read it, I thought it probably applied more to people whose children were at death's door repeatedly. I hate thinking about Lexie's time in the NICU, but after the first two weeks she was pretty much a feeder-grower (although not the best feeder), and there wasn't too much drama. But a while back I visited the beautifully written blog "A Fifth Season," by a mom who lost her baby daughter after 11 weeks in the NICU. On her daughter's second birthday, the mom posted a video tribute with clips and pictures from the NICU. I was watching the video and feeling sad for this mom, when suddenly the unmistakeable sound of a NICU desat alarm blasted loudly over the soundtrack. I felt a sudden wave of panic, just as I had so many times when Lexie desatted as I fed her in the NICU. And I surprised myself with a series of sudden, gasping sobs.

I have no idea where my reaction came from. I suppose any PTSD will pass, with time. I have no business being traumatized when so many people don't get the happy ending.

5 comments:

dcpeg said...

Ah, but you DO have a right to feel traumatized -- you had a very close call after holding on so bravely for so long to give Lexie a fighting chance.

NICUs are scarey places. After my nephew Alex was born, he spent 6 months in one. I spent the same amount of time there with him and his mother. The sights and sounds are unforgettable.

Though I have no children, I can understand your "survivor's guilt." However, I'm sure that mom who lost your cherished baby would not want you to go on feeling that way.

I hope you will enjoy this first Christmas with charming, little Lexie and will look forward to many happy years ahead with her.

MzMannerz said...

I don't think you get to choose what traumatizes you and when. Don't initiate double suffering by feeling guilty because you suffer... won't make PSTD pass any sooner! Hearts.

Bluebird said...

You have every right honey. I'm terrified of the thought of NICU, regardless of the outcome. I can't imagine your experience, nor the triggers that bring it back to the forefront of your mind.

caramama said...

Getting the happy ending does negate the trauma of the experience.

I hope that each year the memories and feeling associated with your time in the hospital lessen and get easier. I'm thinking of you!

areyoukiddingme said...

Actually, I don't think PTSD goes away at all. I think it just hides in your subconscious ready to pop out when a trigger occurs. You have every right to be traumatized...you experienced trauma.

Just don't let it take over your life, and you'll be fine.