I remember it like it was yesterday – sitting next to my son’s bassinet in the neonatal intensive care unit and feeling so alone. Here in the middle of a busy, loud room filled with nurses, doctors, families and friends, I was by myself. And I was scared.
Two days earlier, I delivered my second son by emergency cesarean section. He was beautiful and he was perfect, but he was also very, very sick. He had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and was now fighting a life-threatening blood disorder.
Denial. How could this happen to me? I couldn’t believe this was my reality. It wasn’t how I had planned it.
I don’t remember the first few weeks. I was lost. I was numb. Then, I was angry. I was angry that God had done this to my son and to me. I was angry that the doctor had waited too long to deliver him. I was angry at myself. Did I do something wrong? Was this my punishment? There were so many painful and irrational thoughts.
Even the most basic tasks were challenging. It was difficult to get up in the mornings, though for many days, getting up was all I could do. Weeks and months slowly went by and my boy made it home. We were given the “you just have to wait and see” speech. The waiting was unbearable.
I entered into the next stage of grief: bargaining. I was making deals with God at every turn. I offered it all, including my own existence, in trade for my son’s health and recovery. I was desperate and depressed. I have always been an optimistic and outgoing person, but I wasn’t at this point. I entered into a dark, miserable place: crying spells, panic attacks and massive weight loss. I became reclusive and sad. I feared I wouldn’t be able to conquer these emotions.
Seeking counsel, being honest and accepting help were some of the first steps in the right direction – the direction of healing and inner peace. My journey has led me back to a place where I can smile, laugh, love and have peace. There are still hard times but there is always hope. This is acceptance.
Our wish is for you to know that you are not alone and to know that there are others who have felt your overwhelming fear. Take it one step at a time, have faith and always have hope.
Melissa Da Silva BScN, RN