Reintegration

After everything we have been through, I am unsure how one proceeds to ease back into ordinary life. A change of location has been helpful in our transition. And, so have the amazing people that I have met in our new locale.

I have been slowly getting my feet wet reentering society as time progresses. I thought I was doing quite well. Today, I realized that I’m no where near considering myself reintegrated.

This morning, I attended a great community program for moms. In short, the program consists of others watching our babies for a couple hours while the moms get together.

Because it was the first time Charlie had been away from her parents, I was a bit uneasy dropping her off. The odd thing was that I was not worried about Charlie. After seeing her critically ill, I don’t sweat the small every day things. I was more concerned with the comfort of the care taker. Would she be comfortable with the variety of Charlie issues?

I decided to give it a try since I would be close by if needed.

I snuck out while Charlie was distracted and joined the other mothers. As a group, we had breakfast and made a craft. I was pleased that my assistance with Charlie was not requested.

It is becoming less difficult to be around pregnant women and listen to other moms talk about being pregnant or their birth stories. However, it still stings a little.

The gathering was concluded with a group prayer. It is a rare occasion that I am surrounded by praying people. When I looked up, a memory was sparked. Suddenly, I remembered the last time I was surrounded by people deep in prayer… it was in the NICU.

It was during Charlie’s first month of life. I had retreated to the waiting room during shift change. Exhausted, I sank into a chair and was joined by other parents as they trickled out of the NICU.

A new family had arrived and, like many, unexpectedly found themselves a NICU family. I tried not to watch as they comforted one another and circulated the details between themselves. The crying fell silent as they prayed together.

I remember this moment very vividly. Because at the same time, there was a young child screaming loudly while climbing on furniture near them. I was enraged by the inconsideration of the oblivious parent that sat close by texting. Could she not corral her child and respectfully give these people a moment of silence?

As I was reminded of that moment this morning, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. The emotions that flooded back were strangely powerful. I fought off the tears (thankfully, this was not a moment of random crying) and realized not all of my anger was directed towards that thoughtless woman.

Yes, she was very inconsiderate and a nuisance. However, I was angry that my baby was in the NICU. I was furious that anybody else had to be there as well. I was frustrated that some people, like that woman, will never understand. Mostly, it stemmed from sadness and grief.

When this morning’s prayer concluded and the session wrapped up, I went to retrieve Charlie. I was not sure what I would find. To my surprise, she and the teacher did exceedingly well. I, on the other hand, have a ways to go.

Photo Credit: Monica DeMariano

Photo Credit: Monica DeMariano

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About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

2 responses to “Reintegration

  • Caroline

    As things are quite normal “looking” here, I still find myself telling others about Maura’s epilepsy…as if that’s who she is today, and I always seem to follow up with a “but she hasn’t had a seizure in over 18 months!” and perhaps I shouldn’t, but I do…it is us…

    Just a thought..I was that parent…you know..that parent with the screaming toddler…while my other little one waited in God’s arms in the NICU…I can tell you that having another one adds a whole new dimension to the experience..a balance that was so incredibly difficult..please be gentle on her…she was a tired mom..one who gave every last bit of her heart all day long, and then had to go home and squeeze some more out for her other little one…

    Like

    • woodra01

      It was a little complicated. I was given the choice as to which class to put Charlie in. I chose the 0-1 class because it was more appropriate for her than the other one. They give the kids a snack and I had to explain feeding.

      About the other person… I’m not sure that she was a parent but just a friend or family of a one. Anyhow, I don’t hold anyone accountable from the first hospital. My memories (that I do remember) are so overshadowed with strong emotions that they may be distorted or completely inaccurate.

      But thanks for providing another perspective. It’s good to know.

      Like

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