Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 4th: Room #4

If I had to describe the moments and days following Marco's birth in one word, it would be "Idyllic". I fondly remember the first moments holding him, knowing he was 'OK' (during his pregnancy I was particularly worried about birth defects, or anything being wrong), feeling the pride of having given birth, and the elation of having done so 'successfully', and the gratefulness of the beautiful little guy we were given. I spent the first 31 hours of Marco's life in room #4 (my lucky number), where friends and family visited us to admire Marco for the first time. I am sure all of you who had a 'typical' birth experience felt exactly the same way.
So when I had Annelies, it was a little different. That first 24 hours, I would not want to re-live, yet I would not want to erase it from my memory and experiences because it is such an important part of what and who we have become. I was kept in the hospital for 48 hours, because Annelies was in the NICU. Maybe it is standard to keep a Mom who gives birth to a 'non-typical' child, especially when it is a 'surprise', a little longer if possible (I have fantastic insurance) because they might have wanted to keep an eye on me. I am not sure, I do know that given the easy birth (I described it before so won't go into detail) I could have walked out of the hospital that day, and probably would have if Annelies was OK. Once I was discharged from the hospital and Annelies was still in the NICU, I went there about 4 times a day to spend time with her. To get to her room, I had to walk past room number 4. The first time I realized where I was, and I saw that room, I went inside. It was empty. I cried and cried for the grief and sense of loss and scaredness I felt. I don't think I ever cried that hard. The floor was pretty empty, so on one saw me thank god. I think I felt I lost my innocence in a way. It was so hard to believe that the woman I was that day was the same one who had recovered in that room after having had Marco just shy of 2 years ago. It is hard to describe. That first 2 days, I had to choke back tears every time I passed that room. (Of course I was also extra emotional because of a lack of sleep.) I kept thinking, feeling, that I had lost something. But then, this dawned on me: My memories of room #4 with Marco are still mine. They are happy memories that I am grateful to have, and be able to have forever. No one, and no event can take them away from me as long as I am mentally fit and able to remember them. I have all the right to feel them, and to enjoy them, and will do so for the rest of my life. I began to get back that happy feeling walking past room #4, and by the end of Annelies' first week of life, I was even more grateful for the Marco memory because I had that wonderful experience.
Now, 4 months later, I am grateful for the experience with Annelies also. Her existence in our lives is nothing short of a miracle, I would never change that. Yes, I still have some difficulties sometimes. Any big life event like that takes away your innocence/naivete in a way. I sometimes go back to moments or events that happened before I had Annelies, and think "Wow, that happened Before I Knew. Especially at work, now that I am back, there are some things I have to work on that I was working on Before. But it does not have to take away from memories that came before it. I am so glad I realized that.