I'm not incredibly sure how I feel right now. I'm so exhausted, but when I do manage to fall asleep my mind lingers on the fact that we're here and not at home.
As my return to work approached, I was reassured over and over by the fact that I would be back for one full week, then just for two days and then have five days off with my girls and my family. I would have one of my favorite weekends of the year to look forward to full of a day off with my kids, Thanksgiving dinner at our house, cutting down our Christmas tree with my in laws, and decorating our house. Instead, Zoey was sick all day Wednesday, after a long night of little sleep the night before, and as she progressively got worse, our decision to take her into the hospital. That was followed by spending Thanksgiving in the hospital, and now most likely all of today, with just the hope of being able to go home tomorrow.
This is Zoey's first Thanksgiving. In my last post I explained why last year's Thanksgiving was rough for me and our family so needless to say, I had high hopes for this year. It's been a struggle since Wednesday for me to keep a healthy perspective on the way this weekend has been going. Missing Thanksgiving, at our own house, knowing we have dishes and a turkey ready to be cooked and eaten was bad enough. But then everyone that was supposed to come over and join us, had to find alternate plans as well. Today we're missing out on taking Tera to cut down our Christmas tree. And Zoey is missing out on her first time. Does she have any idea that she's missing it? Of course not. But I do. Will there be more Thanksgivings that in theory have to go better than the last two? I'm sure there are, but that only somewhat tempers my sadness.
Then of course there's the reason that we're missing all that. Our sweet Zoey, who just made it out of the hospital September 15th, is now back in. Hooked up to some of the same machines she was on following her dramatic entrance into this world. She has to be suctioned every couple hours just so she can get some relief, and she hasn't been able to eat more than three ounces since Wednesday. We have to wear masks, gloves, and gowns just to hold her. I know she’s comforted being near us, but I feel she’s not getting as much as she could since our faces and scents are masked.
And here’s where I feel truly conflicted. My baby daughter is in the hospital. My other daughter, while still having fun, is not with us. Our Thanksgiving was not what we had planned. But being here in the Children’s Hospital, you see things you wish didn’t have to exist. A Thanksgiving meal provided by the hospital at no cost to ALL the families that are here instead of at home. The kids that aren’t here for just a few days. The kids who very well may spend Christmas here too. The parents who know and understand more about the medical field than anyone who’s not in it should. It’s heartbreaking and at the same time reminds me how very lucky we are.
One of the things that I’ve really had to learn since having children is to let go of expectations. That things are not going to go as planned and that it’s not the end of the world, I just have to adapt. When we realized that we weren’t going to be home on Thursday, I wanted to cry. All our plans, our meal, our traditions, were changed. But if we get to go home tomorrow, we’ll try and have our meal on Saturday instead. We won’t be going to cut down Christmas trees with Tom’s parents and my brother in law and sister in law. This would have been Zoey’s first time, we were going to watch Tera ride the ponies (which she was previously afraid to do), pick out a beautiful tree and come home and start decorating. Instead they’re going to take Tera, pick out a tree for us, and I’ll have to try and decorate on Sunday or during the week. I absolutely LOVE decorating our house for Christmas so I kept thinking that maybe our decorations wouldn’t be out as long as they usually are if it takes me longer to get it done. But maybe I’ll just leave them out longer after Christmas if I still feel that way.
Letting go of expectations, plans, and ideas is truly a struggle for me. It causes real anxiety, not just stress. I have coping mechanisms, but when I’m running on very, very little sleep, I’m concerned about the health of my somewhat fragile child, and missing my other sweet girl, it can be a little more difficult to focus on those things that might contribute to my improved mental health.
I’ve been wanting to find the time to get all this out in hopes of it relieving some of the stress of thinking about it every time I try and sleep and now that I have, I’m already starting to feel a little better about it. The rest of my day consists of obsessively watching Zoey’s monitor, drinking obscene amounts of coffee (at 10:30 I’m on my second cup), watching some movies, hopefully showering once Tom brings back some clean clothes, and maybe doing a little more online Christmas shopping (I’ve already placed orders at Carters and Old Navy for the girls). Sounds delightful doesn’t it?
I’ll post any updates later on Facebook, but with any luck I won’t have time, or the need, to post again here the rest of the weekend. Happy holiday weekend my friends and loved ones.