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.
How on earth did I miss this post??? As I read it…. my gosh… we have no idea what you REALLY went through. Here I was grumbling about a bad day cause I minor things didn’t go my way. This sure put everything in perspective for me.
I am thankful for this reminder. I am thankful for your life!!! Get better. Xxx
<3 Thank you Jolene!! I must be honest, it has put things into perspective for me too... gone are the grumbles about the silly things that don't matter because in the end - all that matters is that you live well, you're happy and you appreciate the gift of life!
<3 <3 <3
Lee-Anne Nxumalo says
I’m so thankful for your beautiful words, for a beautiful reminder of all the things we take for granted…Thank you Jonelle. ..Thank you xxx
Thank you Lee-Anne! I’m glad that my words have had an impact on you! We all need to be more appreciative of this amazing world we are a part of and all the people and things that make it great! xoxo
Alet Swart says
Congratulations on the little man!
Thank you so much <3
Alet Swart says
I believe in destiny and purpose! With close calls and scary moments like yours I get really excited to see what the future holds! Hang in there and mend, exciting times are lying ahead!
I love this way of looking at things! I also believe in purpose… so I’m gonna look at it from this view point and believe that something exciting is heading our way <3 <3 Thanks for this awesome comment!
Jonelle, my deepest condolences about the loss of your grandfather.
I am thankful for all the things that you have in your life for which to express so much gratitude. Life is unexpected, often there are no answers, and we just move along, sometimes swiftly, other times we linger in the past until we ready to move along ata graceful pace.
I am grateful that you are still here, sharing your journey with us.
Thank you Chev! It wasn’t easy watching him decline and in the end, him being alive was almost sad but when it came to it, it still arrived at the worst time and in some ways I couldn’t properly grieve for him because I was so busy fighting for me! Thank you for your generous thankfulness. Life is indeed unexpected and comes sweeping in like an unexpected gust of wind. Sometimes we welcome it, sometimes not. After everything, at least I know that I live a life I value. When the time came, I wasn’t ready to give up on it! <3 <3
Thank you for sharing with us. Good luck! May your wounds heal, body and soul, and may every day be blessed for you and your family.
Thank you so much Rolene. Slowly but surely I’m healing and every breath I take is a blessing <3
Mandy Lee Miller says
So very much love and awe at the strength you drew on to be here with us all today. Your baby boy has the most amazing examples of parents that any little human could have. All the hugs my friend <3
Every time I thought of Oden, I thought; just fight a little harder. I couldn’t imagine a life where I don’t get to know my son. I don’t know that I could have done it without him in the world! Thank you Mandy, you’re always so lovely and kind <3 <3 so much love. x
Shame girl so sorry all this has happened to u, just glad ur on ur way to getting better and can be there for ur baby in the end. All the best and i wish u well and a speedy recovery, may god bless u and be with u in this time. Congrats on ur baby boy though
Thank you Shantelle! Ja it was a lot hey… but just glad it’s over and now I can just be home with my baby boy! xox
I too am so thankful. Thankful for the inner strength in you that made you fight to make it through all of this and still come out with the ability to smile and find the positive in life. I can’t say it enough. You are a superwoman and I’m so proud to be your mother. I love you. I am thankful for you. Xxxx