Have you ever watched your baby stop breathing and seen him turn purple? I have. But, oddly, it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t anything. At first I wanted to run from the room and never come back but after a few minutes I calmed down. And then I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t mad or glad or plaid. I was just numb.
Ever since Josh stopped breathing – twice – and they had to work to bring him back – twice – I have felt nothing. Seriously. Nothing. I have gone through the motions of some stuff – being excited when something goes well; looking concerned when they tell us he might have a new issue. But I really just don’t feel anything.
At first I thought it was a defense mechanism. I thought Cowboy Debbie was riding strong. But I don’t think that’s it. Honestly, my first reaction yesterday was to cry. But my eyes are tired of crying. I think I heard one of my tear ducts sigh when I started to well up. So I stopped. And went to feeling numb. It was just easier.
A family member messaged me on FB and told me of his experience in the NICU when his daughter was born and had to stay in the NICU for a few months. He said a lot of really helpful things, but one thing really struck a chord with me: He was afraid to get attached to his little girl because it felt like at any moment she could be taken away.
As I read that, I realized that is the only thing I do feel these days: Fear. I am afraid to get attached to Joshua. I love him with all of my heart. But I am afraid to lose him and so I am numb. It seems like all it would take is one alarm, one infection, one bad x-ray and he’d be gone forever. I hate that. I hate it so much but I don’t know what to do about it. Yesterday I noticed that his little upper lip has a very unique shape to it. It was so cute. But I hate that I noticed it because if the worst does happen, it would be just one more thing I would miss.
We have no reason to believe that Josh won’t make it through all of this and come home with us at the end of May. He’s had a lot of setbacks this week but he is still doing pretty well overall. He’s just so fragile. And I am fragile. And it’s too hard to be attached to him.
I don’t know what that says about me. I’m sure the local PTA is on its way to my house to present my Mother of the Year award. I don’t feel gloomy or down or sad or stressed. I can’t. It’s kind of a relief, even though I know that isn’t the best thing for me or for Josh. But that’s where I am. That’s life in the NICU.
Sorry, Mom. This one was a bummer. Have a picture of Josh to make up for it.