“A Deafening Silence”

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I have been wanting/needing to write about one of the most difficult times in my life for the past 5 years.  The time during which my daughter was seriously ill.  It feels like what I’ve heard described as post traumatic stress disorder.  For anyone that may read this and doesn’t know me, I’m so happy and grateful to report that my daughter is now a normal healthy 5-year-old, but the scars left behind for me are deep and in some ways not fully healed.  I’m hoping that purging these memories from my head and heart onto this blog will help to clear them away.  By giving them a place of their own, out of my head, I can then let them go and move on.  Needless to say, it’s been difficult to figure out where to begin.  So I’m just going to start.  These post will come in parts and pieces.  And maybe, just maybe my words will be a comfort to someone who may be going through something similar.

It’s 3 am, and my alarm is blaring.  I was already awake, not much sleeping going on these days.  I lay propped up on my couch and feel the burn of my c-section incision as I try to turn and get up.  The house is quiet, as my husband and 2-year-old son sleep soundly on the second floor.   The alarm was set you see, because my baby girl is not here to wake me for a feeding, and I need to pump.  She is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and I’m alone.  The silence is deafening.

I had her home with me for one short week before she became so ill and we had to take her to the hospital.  That is a post for another day.  But for one week I had her with me in my family room at 3 am, making those tiny sounds that an infant makes.  All of her things are around me.  Pink gingham blankets, diapers, nightgowns, binkies.  But she’s not here and the silence is deafening.

I gather up all of the gear for my pump.  I’m determined to keep up my production for when she’s well enough to nurse again.  The hospital is so supportive, and they feed her with my milk that I bring daily.  I believe so strongly in the health benefit of breast milk, and her doctors encourage me and help to make that belief even stronger.  I have never felt more helpless in my entire life, and this one thing gives me my only sense of contributing to her wellbeing.  I’ve been able to get through these pumping sessions most of the time without crying, but tonight it seems impossible.  I sit there with only the sound of the  rhythmic, moaning pump, and the tears begin to flow, and it seems that with the flow of tears comes the flow of milk.  I would gladly give my own life to make her better, and it seems there’s a strange symbiotic relationship between my sorrow and my abundant milk production.  It’s as if the more I give, the better her chances may be.  It’s what I hang on to anyway.   The sound of the pump is deafening.

I finish up and carefully prepare and label the bottles to take to the hospital.  And as I do after every pumping, I call the hospital just to check on her.  The nurses are so kind, and will speak to me as long as I need.  There are no changes.  I’m so grateful that she is in such good hands.  But they are not my hands.  I hang up the phone.  The silence is deafening.

I make it back to the couch and try to get comfortable to sleep.  It most likely will not happen, but I try.  The alarm is set again for the next session.  I lay there and remind myself that I am fortunate to be surrounded by my extremely supportive family and friends, and my ever-loving husband, and my darling son.  They would all do anything for me.  But they can’t give me what I need.

I need to hold my baby girl.  I need someone to tell me that she’s going to be o.k.  I need to know that I will have her home, in my arms again waking me at 3 am.  I need the doctors to tell me that they know what is wrong with her, and that they can help her.  But they can’t, they don’t know that yet.  They won’t say it.  And when I ask, the silence is deafening.

So I’m alone with the heavy thoughts in my head.  And tomorrow, I’ll spend the day at the hospital.  And I’ll pray that it will be the day that she is well enough for me to hold her.  And I’ll wake again to pump, alone, in silence.  It’s the only thing I can do.

  1. I’m so happy that your baby is healthy now! 🙂

  2. Wow, Meg…I had no idea and can’t even begin to imagine how traumatic that time in your life must have been for you. I’m so happy and thankful that your little girl is now a happy and healthy 5 year old who my little girl adores!!! Hopefully you are able to free yourself from some of the difficult memories that have followed you by sharing your experiences with others and helping them get through similar situations along the way!

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