Losing that last shred of dignity

This has been a rough week, not for C but definitely for Mommy. I woke up at the beginning of the week with a sore throat. One is not allowed to enter NICU if you’re sick, babies in NICU are very delicate little beings, highly susceptible to illness, so every precaution is taken to prevent their environment from being contaminated. Micro preemies like C have underdeveloped or non-existent immune systems, so even a cold can become incredibly dangerous for them. All of this meant that I went a full four days without seeing my baby, four days that felt like a lifetime.

For four days I harassed nursing staff with calls to see how she was, begged for photographs. I keep saying I when I should really be saying WE as dad had his bout with the cold for close on 2 weeks, so has been unable to see his munchkin for 2 weeks. On Thursday evening I felt good and by Friday morning the cold was completely gone, I felt elated for all but one concern: my back. A few muscles on the left side of my back had gone on strike, on par with one of our national postal strikes, there was no way any of them were going to work, all that they were hell bent on doing was to sit on their asses and refuse to work until all their demands were met and then, when those demands were met, they’d protest some more, just for the hell of it, exactly as any self-respecting postal worker seems to do.

The nursing staff took pity on C’s mother who was hunched over like Quasimodo with a hot water bottle draped precariously on her back and they started calling every Chiro in PE to get me seen to ASAP. A kind lady took pity on the failed milking machine and offered to see me on short notice, I think she may be regretting this as I’m pretty sure my cries scared away a number of clients from her waiting area. I’m deeply ashamed of how much I howled and cried during that session, so deeply ashamed. I’m not one to cry openly in public so to cry like a baby in front of a total stranger, and then to cry all the way out to the car and all the way across town to my beloved Voltaren injection was horrifying. Imagine the scene though: A grown woman bawling like a baby, writhing in agony because every time she breathes in her muscles go into a full spasm, she’s undone her hair somehow and it’s gone back to full Amy Winehouse meets live wall socket, and she’s unable to tie it back up as she is unable to lift her left arm as that too causes her muscles to spasm, the worst affected muscle is located on her bra line, so she’s unable to wear her super sexy maternity bra, so she’s got this dangling from one hand, breasts now hanging so low she’s certain they can be seen falling out the bottom of her shirt (which she suspects might be semi see through), crazy Winehouse hairdo and is still a sobbing, wailing mess easing her way through the waiting area, with EVERYONES eyes on her. Whilst trying to maintain the last shred of dignity that she is able to muster she attempts to say ‘thank you for trying to help’ which is politely and mistakenly sobbed to a client instead of the chiro. Last shred of dignity lost. To put the pain into perspective, I’ve had kidney stones and I didn’t cry half as much as what I did when my back went into those spasms. To the Chiro: you know who you are, and if you never see me again, it’s because I’m just too embarrassed and ashamed and I sincerely apologise if I scared anyone away.

Today however was a new day, and a good day, because I was finally well enough to spend the day with C. She had a rough night but had thankfully settled nicely so mom spent the morning reading to her, dairy queening and chatting to the nursing staff, who are absolutely sensational. It felt like a lifetime had passed since I last saw her and I could swear that she’s doubled in size in the four days that I didn’t see her, but while she’s still restless we’ll be leaving her to calm some more before we weigh her. Two steps forward, one step back. I am constantly being reassured that she is doing exceptionally well in spite of her circumstances, but I’m guessing it’s a mothers curse to always be concerned about her child. Good news this week however was that it was finally confirmed that the PDA valve to her heart is finally closed and she passed her neurological exam with flying colours. The downer is that she’s developing chronic lung disease, which simply put, means she’ll be intubated for longer than we had anticipated. Two steps forward, one step back.

She was born 22 days ago and has fought tooth and nail on every single one of those days. She’s stronger than what I her or father will ever be. She blows us away with her fragile beauty, her alert eyes and her will to live. She’s also made it perfectly known that if Mommy sings to her that the only acceptable song is ‘Silent Night’ and that mommy is to hum it, not mouth the words, and that she much prefers stories and rhymes about boys or boys saving girls (her teen years are going to be interesting). She hates a dirty diaper, she hates lying still for longer than a minute (which causes all kinds of alarms to go off constantly and keeps the nurses on duty on their toes and she’s a massive fan of sleeping on her tummy. She loves listening to daddy reading her a story, but then again so does mommy!

One Reply to “Losing that last shred of dignity”

  1. Reading your experiences, leaves me in awe at how strong you have been, but one thing I am happy about is that you cried – to me that is one of the best remedies. One tries to be too strong and eventually it catches up on you – and if you don`t break down and let it all out all sorts of shit happens – to your body, soul and those around you. I firmly believe in “you can cry if you want to”. Cry when you are happy, sad, the “moer”in. .Nicolas actually made a comment to one of his friends and said “My Mother Cried” as if this was an unheard of experience for his mother.

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