I'm not sure what all I am going to say here, but I want to say it. This mostly comes up because I had the smart/stupid idea of making a slideshow from Ellie's whole TGA thing.
I came across this quote:
"You'll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
That goes for having my VBAC at home AND going through what we went through with Ellie. Through Ellie's whole ordeal everyone would ask me, "how are you doing it" or "I can't even imagine". Nope, you can't. And I didn't know how I was doing it either. It definitely wasn't on the top of my "things to go through" list. In fact, it definitely wasn't on there at all. I never wanted to go through that. I never wanted to even imagine what it felt like.
Now I know. I wish I didn't. But I do. When I started writing this I had no clue that a friend (who had a very sick child recently) was going to write something similar to this. Maybe all moms feel the way I do. We can't really explain it actually. We went through a lot. And everything is better now. I just feel so... different.
I guess when you go through something like this, you will never be the same again. Like, I feel connected to other moms with sick kids, other hospital moms and especially heart moms. Because I know what it is like. I know exactly how scary it is. How miserable it can be. Ellie's first 3 weeks of life were pretty much a living nightmare. Something in you changes when something like that happens.
I care and sympathize in a different way now when I hear of someone with a sick child. Not that I never cared before, but it is different now. I guess because I can relate. Not that anyone can't make you feel better, but when you are going through something like that... other people's words of comfort don't feel the same. Now, we totally appreciated everyone for praying and fasting and thinking about us. And we felt it all. I've never felt that before. THAT was a huge comfort too. But, when you have something in common with someone else, you are just kind of drawn to them. Just like all the random women I talked to about VBACs. They understood like nobody else could.
And now when I hear about people with sick children, I'll better know how to help them. I won't bother telling them to let me know if they need anything. They never will. They won't know what they want. Or if they do, they won't ask. I'll just remember the things that I wanted.
Tony and I were talking the other night after I showed him the slideshow and we were discussing how we felt about it all. And we agree, we are glad it's over, but we don't want to forget how we felt. Not many people get to experience those feelings. I'm not even sure what the feelings are, those emotions are strong and hard to explain. They are life changing. They are unforgettable.
We talked about how we felt when we first found out. I sobbed, probably harder than I ever have in my life. Tony said he was just trying not to crash the van. I can't even describe any of the feeling we had... well, I can try. There were a lot of feelings we had to deal with. It is something you want to run away from. You are stuck in a never-ending nightmare. And it was only 15 days for us.
Sure she has to go to her cardiologist for the rest of her life, but that is nothing. Nothing compared to living at the hospital. Nothing compared to what we felt during those 15 days (and even the first week home from the hospital).
The fear. The pain. The anxiety. The stress. The heartbreak. The sorrow. The worry. The happy. The sad. The anger. The self pity. The ungratefulness. The gratitude. The guilt. The hope. The faith...
And those are just the emotions that are describable.
"Once you have walked your child to surgery... you no longer have a sense of fear for anything, as there is no greater fear."
It is true. That is one of the worst feelings in the entire world. You can literally feel your heart ache and sink inside of you. All you can do is hope and pray and have faith that everything will be ok. It is hard to feel so out of control and helpless. And it is SO very hard to hand your newborn baby over to be operated on.
I'm still not sure of what I am trying to say here, but I feel like I'm no stronger than anyone else. I didn't have a choice. I wasn't proud of how I was dealing with it. I was just dealing. Nobody saw the daily/hourly meltdowns I had. Nobody knew I was barely eating. Or sleeping. Nobody knew how guilty I felt about leaving Abby. Nobody knew how miserable I was. But I had to keep on going. It was my life now. What I wanted to rewind and do over again and change, was my new reality. A nightmare I wasn't prepared for. A trial that would test my faith and relationships. And somehow I made it. And that is why I love that first quote...
Because we really don't know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.