Monday, May 23, 2011

::now days::

At least a few times a day I can here the clock ticking off in the back on my head reminding me that my not going to happen due date is coming up.  I walk around feeling 95% and then something happens that kills it.  I just really want to get past June.  I am like a caged lion most of the time.  I run all day every day at full force so that I can keep my mind distracted.  I plant huge gardens, and do photo shoots, and make 600 lists so that I can fall in to bed and sleep like a log. 

Story one:
There is a mom in the unit right now that is particularly broken.  I see it in her face.  It's like a reflection of me in January.  Dead behind the eyes.  I couldn't take it.  I was literally having a physical reaction to her.  I felt like I was going to throw up every time I had to be near her.  After a few shifts of this, in which I asked not to have that baby anymore, but by a twist of fate kept getting her back, I sat down and looked at that Momma and told her she needed help.  Every time she walked through the door she would just cry and cry and cry, tears literally rolling down the isolette.  I told her that she was broken and that her baby needed her.  And even though the trauma she went through in the OR was unbearable (meaning the trauma of the delivery) she had to get better.  I told her she had a long road in front of her and that her baby needed her, and that she needed professional help.  I explained to her how frustrating the NICU is.  I told her she had PTSD and that she needed help.  That this wasn't just post parduem blues.  I explained to her that she had no peers in this, so to use us nurses as much as she needed us.  She talked to me about her unfairly empty belly and her fear to leave the unit.  I saw her yesterday and she looked so much better.  Started down the road to getting better.  So, why can I feel a disproportionate amount of sadness for this Mom but if you asked me if I was sad about Zack I would say no?  When I was TL yesterday the power went out on the unit for 2 seconds.  I jumped out of my chair and ran directly to this Momma's baby to make sure its vent was working correctly still.  I try to be too cool for school, but in that moment of possible emergency this baby was the first thought I had. And also - I have this strong gut feeling that her baby is going to make it.  She's tough (the baby), but my radar is so off that I can't trust it.  

Story two:
One of my bestest friends had her precious baby girl.  This friend has been through so much.  She lost her first husband suddenly to cancer and has since married the second most amazing man alive (Josh gets front runner).  They had their first baby last week.  I am in love with her.  Why does that baby not sting?  Not at all.  I feel so normal and happy about her.  I feel so REJOICEFUL for my friend.  Nothing but rejoiceful.  No hidden jealousy or sadness.  Why?  Why?  Because I want to bottle that and feel it for all.  

Story Three:
My good friend, who has had some scary complications, had her baby last night while I was at work.  I stood at the OR door and just listened for his cry.  I didn't want to intrude on this personal family event, but I had to hear him cry.  I told the delivery team I was there as a second nurse if things got hairy.  But I prayed like crazy they would not.  And when I heard him cry I felt such amazing relief for my friend.  And then I went in the stair well and cried my eyes out.  Because we had very similar due dates (her man came just a tick early) and we were both having boys and I've walked by the room I delivered Zack in every time I would go to see her.  Sometimes I even touch the door, just to tell that room its not the boss of me.  I gave myself 15 seconds of crying.  Just 15, because I am not going to mourn life.  I am going to celebrate my friends new baby.  Then I watched my Max videos on my phone to recover my mood and went up stairs to finish the day.  Which I did.
(Laura - don't feel bad.  I am SO happy for you, but this is just a step in my grief process.  I love you.)

Last point~
But, at what point is it ok for me to turn and run from NICU?  I think that point is now.  I have been back since February, but I still feel wrong there.  I don't have enough emotional stockpile to have any to share.  I am lots better.  95% most of the time.  But my shifts in NICU take it out of me.        


  1. I understand why you would feel that way. I really do.

    But that NICU will lose one of it's most valuable nurses if you walk away. you not only care for the babies, you care for the family. I have experienced your care and compassion and there is no telling where I would be today if you hadn't stepped in just at the right moment (both the day Joshua died, and again with the amazing email you sent to me about that morning.)

    Do what your heart tells you. I know you will make the right decision.

  2. As red head says, you have to do what is right for you, but hearing her story and the stories you tell, you are an important part of NICU. They need someone like you who have the compassion for both the babies and the families. You are a truth teller and we need truth tellers.
    It is hard to relive what has happened, I know even though my loss came at a much earlier point in the pregnancy (I have had three losses, very early). The last one came on 4th of July and I still after three years get somewhat moody and sad around that time.
    Do what is best for you, what makes you feel better. You can always come back at a later time.

  3. It sounds like you need to get out of there for awhile. You never really got to have much time away from that environment, and that environment holds a different meaning for you now.

    Before I was a nurse, I had Jake, and he was a very sick NICU baby, close to death. He was a sickly toddler, too. I think I had PTS for a few years after that. I wish I could have gotten counselling, but I was young and I didn't know where to get it and could not afford it anyway. I would always say, "The further behind me it gets, the better I am."

    I went back to school and became a nurse, and worked for years in Pediatrics. I'm glad I stayed out of the NICU for that time period. I didn't return to NICU until I stopped seeing it as a terrifying and painful place to be.

    If you do leave, don't look at it as "walking away" (which sounds like abandonment, and promotes guilty feelings), look at it as "walking toward" something that is healthier for you at this time in your life. If you take a break, just know that the NICU will always be there for you to return to.

    Hugs to you. I only want what's best for you.
    If you are fried, do whatever it takes to heal.



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