Thursday, July 28, 2011

Am I A Crazy Post-NICU Mother?

It's less than a month before my Teresa's first birthday.

I haven't planned a thing for her first birthday party.

That's really odd for me. I LOVE hosting parties. But every time I think about Tessy's upcoming day, I get a little sick to my stomach.

On August 30, 2010, my daughter had a beautiful, holy birth.

On September 5, 2010, she started dive bombing towards death. I watched my daughter's condition freak out otherwise calm and hopeful pros at Holy Cross NICU. I was suddenly marked as the "mom who was going to lose her kid in a matter of hours."

And then she was fine.

Baptism? Prayer? Her godmother having a special in as a Bride of Christ?

I don't really know what flipped my baby girl 360 degrees around, but I'm beginning to think the awesome "medicine" part of her treatment at Holy Cross and Children's National Medical Center was almost the smallest part of Tessy's recovery. That was the tangible part we could see at the time-- but there was some powerful invisible stuff happening behind the scenes.

And I'm grateful.
But I'm also scared.

Those were super intense moments that I spent with my baby girl during her first week of life.

I'm not eager to go back there and go relive them.

In fact, I sort of want to pretend that my little girl is totally normal kid and brush past the birthday party thing all together. I'm want to whistle in the dark and pretend those scary alternative outcomes never could have happened.

But then, this was a "public miracle" of God. And there are all of these wonderful people who were a part of Tessy's journey towards healing--that I want to acknowledge and remember and celebrate her remarkable NICU journey together.

So what does God want me to do? Private family day? Big public party? Am I just supposed to let go of my vanity? What is the big deal if I do start to cry at odd moments during Tessy's party in front of a lot of people?


  1. Wow! These are important questions to discern!

    Follow what gives you the most peace...2 years old is always a great reason for a BIG party (they get it better)

    But, can always just do NIKE as a praise sacrifice.

    Hard decision.

  2. I wouldn't say your crazy. You just remember. But I will say it gets easier.

    When I was three, I had severe health problems arise to the point that doctors were telling my parents to make funeral arrangements and that I would need surgery to physically examine my liver. Thankfully, the last drug they had before the surgery worked. My miracle drug saved my life, my liver recovered, and I've been relatively healthy since.

    At the same time, my infant brother had to have surgery due to a hydrocele.

    Needless to say my parents were basket cases, but you wouldn't have thought that years later. They always thought that they were the only ones until they realized that there are a lot of parents out there who've faced health crisis with their children.

    This is just a reminder of what you went through. And eventually it will fade and you'll remember all the great milestones and accomplishments Tess has done instead. That's what my parents talk about at least. They don't dwell on my "could have died" experience.

  3. I think some of my weirdness comes from that fact that I'm nervous "after the fact." When I was in the middle of it, I didn't fully realize how bad it was. It's only AFTER Tess got healed from the surgery that I realize how dangerous it was to walk around for six days and not have any idea that she had a hidden, fatal birth defect. So now all of my happy "you can into the world and were so pretty and cute" memories are interlaced with this unsettling coda "and you were dying and no body knew it yet."

    Hoping to have my emotions a little more stable before the big day in August.

  4. For James we are having a Mass of Thanksgiving and a potluck. There's no way we could afford to feed everyone but we'll provide drinks, cake, plates, and such. We are asking for no gifts but are encouraging people to bring a donation for Children's Hospital IL in James' honor. So that's what we're doing. I'm sure whatever you do will be GREAT!

  5. I can only imagine the mixed feelings you are having! I am a pretty emotional person, so cryign at big events is par for hte course and my friends and family are used to it. If you don't want to, though, maybe plan the party a few days after her 1st birthday? It doesn't have to be exact...

  6. A psychologist would say you were having post-traumatic stress. I think it is pretty common to feel the stress of such a major event not at the time of the event; but at the anniversaries. I don't want to sound all pop-psychology; but maybe there's a truth there. Maybe you should welcome the tears and the grief and the fears and the anxiety and allow yourself to really feel them, drink them to the depths so that you can really, truly give thanks from the depths of your heart for God's saving work. Denying the fullness of the anxiety also means denying the fullness of the glory.

  7. I love the idea of a Mass of Thanksgiving. That seems the perfect way to acknowledge both the positive and negative emotions. Isn't our Catholic faith so awesome in giving us the perfect ways to celebrate all of the events in life?