Have you ever sat through a moment when you look around yourself and you feel lost. You feel like this isn’t your life. This isn’t your experience. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. That’s how I feel now. I sit and I stare off into the distance. Somewhere out there is my life how I had imagined it. In a parallel universe I had an easy birth story, we healed, we came home, we bonded.
I didn’t end up in surgery. I didn’t end up in ICU. I didn’t almost die. In another world none of that is part of my story. Except I’m here. In this world. And in this world that is my story. I just went in to have a baby. Those words play over and over in my head. Except instead of just a baby my entire world changed.
The time around the surgeries is a blur. I was so drugged I don’t remember a thing but here’s what happened within days of having my baby.
- On the 4th of September I had a C-section
- On the 8th my second surgery – a laparotomy – to deal with my burst appendix
- On the 10th my third surgery. Which was supposed to be a general rinse but ended up being a serious operation. More serious than the Doctors anticipated. They called me “critically ill.”
- I spent 10 days in ICU
- I spent one of those days on a ventilator in an induced coma
- I spent a total of three weeks in hospital
- Healing. Hurting. While my baby lay in maternity ward. Waiting for his mamma.
- But I just came in to have a baby!!!!
- While I lay healing in ICU, my grandfather died. As if there wasn’t enough going on already. Oh cruel world. Fuck you very much.
Instead, I nearly died.
One day at a time. That’s how I’ll get through this. How did it happen like this? I’m not sure. Why did it happen to me? I don’t know the answers to those questions now. I cry. I cry a lot. Most nights I can’t sleep. I have the events of the last month playing over on repeat. I’ve thrown grief into things just to keep it spicy.
I guess this is PTSD. I guess I’m even more broken now than I was before. I don’t know why but I do know this; It made me thankful and I know I’ll be okay eventually. Time heals all wounds… isn’t that how the saying goes? I think it’s normal to be sad. To grieve for the time I lost and the experience I had but I won’t miss what this means. I won’t forget that things could have gone very differently. I could have never come home. But I did! I’m so thankful.
What I’m thankful for
I nearly died! BUT I DIDN’T! I could have. I nearly did. But. I DID NOT.
I am thankful that I had amazing surgeons who did not give up and instead found the problem. Besides a burst appendix, I had endometriosis that had punctured my bowel behind my Uterus and wasn’t immediately obvious.
I am thankful that I had incredible nurses who cared for me and nursed me back from the dead. Washing me, making sure I have no pain, Rubbing the wounds on my feet from laying in bed for so long. Turning me, helping me…. all day, all night. I am so grateful to the nurses who watched over me. Adjusted my pain killers, changed my medicine, made sure I didn’t get infections. I am grateful without words to say thank you.
I am thankful for a husband, a mother and a step-father who sat by my side while I spoke through the haze of drugs about rubbish. Blurs of speech about things I imagined. Worrying, waiting, crying. Day in and day out at my bedside. Love like no other. Crying tears in fear – even when I had no idea how serious my own situation was. I don’t know much of anything because I was so out of it for most of it.
I am thankful for a husband who takes care of our son. Most nights on his own so that I can sleep and heal. So that we can be whole. I am thankful that he wakes up when he hears me crying. To make me feel like it’s not the end. I am thankful that he wakes up and makes us breakfast, changes our son and makes his bottle before handing him to me for my first turn after the night shift is over in this merry-go-round of new parenting.
I am thankful for friends who made food and delivered it to my home so that we wouldn’t have to worry about dinner. For a sister-in-law who had a food delivery service arranged too. It’s in these times you learn about the people you have in your life. I am thankful for the ones I have in mine.
I am thankful for family who rushed to be by my side. Who called, who texted, who worried and checked in on me and my progress.
I am thankful for hundreds of messages and calls from friends all over the world. All worried about me.
I am thankful for my son.
Most of all. I am thankful that through all this drama – my baby is perfect. I am thankful that I can get to know him. That I could bring him home. That his cries wake me in the night.
I am thankful that I can watch him grow. I am thankful that I will hear his first words and won’t miss his first day at school or the first steps he will take. I am ever so thankful that I lived to hear him one day call me mamma.
I am thankful that I can watch him become his own person, every day. Fatter, cuter, more aware of the world he’s in. In awe of everything he sees. Crying because he doesn’t yet have the words.
I missed out on the first three weeks of his life. I am thankful that there is so much more for me to experience. I am so grateful that I lived to experience it.
So many people see me and ask me how after everything, I can be smiling. People tell me; I’m strong. The truth is that even in moments like these… there are always things to be thankful for.
Above it all
I am thankful I survived.