I had a baby on Sunday, but yet, it feels like I didn't have a baby at all.
After a long day of cleaning and grocery shopping, my water broke. Except I thought I just peed my pants, something that is common in late pregnancy. I didn't realize what happened until about 3 in the morning. I packed a bag in panic and then went back to sleep. I didn't feel like I was in labor so I thought everything was fine.
Sunday morning I called the advice nurse. The doctor on call, called me back and told me to come to the hospital because my water had broken. She even said I should have come in the day before, when I thought I peed my pants. She said with certainty that I was having the baby.
During my c-section I was told that my baby would need to be transferred to a different hospital. I was wheeled out to the recovery room, where I waited. I didn't get to hold my baby. I only got to see him briefly before the EMTs took him away.
It wasn't until after I was transferred and several hours later that I finally was able to see my little boy. I saw him in his little bed. His face was mostly covered and he had cords all over. I hadn't held him and I felt so disconnected. He was mine but it didn't feel like.
I eventually was able to hold him. It was scary. I was so afraid I was going to hurt him.
Each day I was in the hospital, I grew stronger. For my boy, some days were good and others had setbacks.
I was released from the hospital on Wednesday, but my little boy couldn't come home with me.
Visiting him is hard. I don't live close to the hospital. Getting down the stairs and in the car is painful as I recover from my c-section. But visiting the NICU is hard for reasons beyond the physical.
I am lucky that my boy is strong and he should be able to come home soon. Hopefully, within the next few days. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all the babies in the unit.
Walking through the NICU, there are not a lot of smiles. The air is heavy. Machines beep and mothers cry. Some babies have a lot of visitors. Some never have any.
Leaving NICU at night brings relief but it also brings guilt. I no longer have to avoid eye contact with grieving mothers. I no longer have to hear a social worker talk about signs of postpartum depression. I do have to deal with the heart wrenching guilt of leaving my child so I can get some sleep. I have to deal with the fear my baby won't feel I am his mom.