Texas Children's Hospital is an amazing place. While I am constantly reminded that a lot of pain and sorrow is experienced within the walls of the hospital, I choose to focus on all of the positive things that happen. Each day that I came to the hospital I watched as doctors, med students, nurses, PCAs , techs, custodians came to their place of work. I was constantly in awe of the amount of people it takes to keep this hospital running 24 hours a day 365 days a year. I was also incredibly grateful that so many people took up the calling to serve others in the hospital. It's not all the bright colors, the cool food court, and the floors with patient activities that make the hospital. It's all the people that say that TCH is their workplace that make the hospital. It took me over 26 days in the hospital for me to focus on this perspective because the first day I walked into the hospital that was definitely not how I felt.
It was the Saturday that I was discharged and I arrived with my parents at TCH around 2pm. I would never admit at the time, but I was in a lot of pain. Not just emotionally, but physically. I was completely afraid to tell anyone that I was hurting because I was afraid that Edgar or my parents would make me stay home and away from my baby. I tried going without my pain medication initially for the first day. I couldn't make it. My pain felt like my stomach was literally on fire and being ripped off my body. Eventually I started taking a half dose of my pain medication every 4 hours. As the days wore on, I took the full dose just to make it through.
Edgar's family had been with him while I was still in the hospital. To say that I was jealous doesn't even begin to describe my feelings. I know they had to support their son, but it absolutely killed me inside that anyone was spending more time with my son than me. When I arrived in the CVICU, I was terrified. Max wasn't in his own room. He had a station on a floor and he had a nurse taking care of him exclusively. Rebecca was Max's nurse and she was amazing. She was warm and welcoming. She explained everything they were monitoring on Max and then she asked me if I wanted to hold him. I got to hold Max for the second time in the 3 long days of his life.
It's weird because I think in your mind, before you have your second child, you have an idea of how everything will be. When that idea or plan didn't play out in real life, I found myself feeling very lost. I felt like I was being swept away by a river. And there were times when I would have to swim left or right to avoid hitting a rock, but all the while I'm reaching for the shore to grab onto something to get on solid ground. And then there were times when in my mind I felt like I should have completely surrendered to the river and just let it take me over, but something reached out and saved me. It was those moments that I felt the power prayer. It wasn't always my prayer because there were times when I didn't even know where to begin to pray. I could feel the power of other people's prayer reaching out and pulling me back to solid ground, and surrendering to that is the most amazing feeling in the world.
Holding Max in the CVICU was incredible. It was like I got to meet him for the first time and fall instantly in love all over again. I must have held him for at least 20 minutes when the doctors came by to talk to me. They tried explaining everything to me, but in my postpartum, I found it extremely difficult to focus and comprehend everything that was said. Edgar repeatedly had to translate what the doctors were saying. I call it postpartum ADD, but I would also throw in a huge amount of being lovesick. I truly felt helpless. The first couple of days after having a baby, the role of the mother is to nurse and cuddle her newborn. I didn't have that. I was completely disconnected and very much in my own hormonal lonely place.
As night time approached, it was time for me to leave and go home. My parents didn't want me staying by myself because I was supposed to be healing from my c-section, so I stayed at there house the entire time Max was in the hospital this first time. It was difficult personally, but I never would have survived without their help. I pumped every three hours around the clock. I was tired. I was sad. I was going home without my husband, without my newborn son, and I felt alone.