Getting to the Green Side...
I put down my pen over a year ago and couldn’t pick it up again until recently. Writing would mean thinking about and processing my emotions and for a while it was just too tough. In my last post in March 2015, I expressed my fear of the things to come; determining the health of my unborn baby and my son’s second open heart surgery. It has been a difficult year and I have found my resilience is not what it used to be. But somehow here I am, getting to the green side of the grass, healing and making it through the throes of motherhood.
In April of last year we were thrilled to learn that our baby girl was perfectly healthy. This was a weight off my shoulders like no other and I thank God for the amazing blessing of my cute and cuddly baby girl. However, it was not all smooth sailing from there. We still had our son’s surgery before us and the threat of pre-eclampsia loomed over me. I tried hard to control my emotions for the sake of both babies, but had a very hard time doing so.
On the morning of our son’s surgery, I just could not hold it together. Soon after we arrived at the hospital I began throwing up from the anxiety. This disturbed my ability to be truly present with my son before he went in, making me even more upset, guilty and anxious. Within an hour of the surgery I was having contractions. At 23 weeks, this was extremely dangerous and I had to be rushed to another hospital to be monitored. This broke my heart, but we had to ensure the health of baby number two. After a few hours of rest, monitoring and some medication to stop the contractions, I was released and able to rejoin my husband and family. At that point my son was already out of surgery, it was hard to see him there, lying so still and weak. But he was definitely in much better shape this time than the last. He emerged from surgery already extubated, needing very little breathing support and without as many cables and wires as the previous time. He looked like a little angel.
We struggled through that week with the help of family and my little boy showed remarkable strength and resilience. The nurses fell in love with his charm and sweet character in spite of the pain and discomfort he was going through. Like the true champion he is, he recovered very quickly and after day 5 he was released from the hospital. While he was doing great, it was not easy to be entering my third trimester and caring for a toddler recovering from open heart surgery. I struggled with my emotions and by 34 weeks the dreaded blood pressure started to rise. As much as I had tried to avoid it, pre-eclampsia had returned. I saw the tell-tale signs in the swelling in my face and body and felt generally unwell. I was admitted to the hospital to be monitored. While on bedrest the medical staff was able to keep my blood pressure down, but something else seemed to be not right. In spite of everything looking good on several ultrasounds, the baby was not moving as much as they would have liked. The doctors went back and forth between deciding to keep me or send me home. On the afternoon before my precious girl was born, they told me to get dressed as they were drawing up the discharge papers. I was happy to be going home and to let the baby cook for a little while longer. But when the specialist reviewed my case she was not comfortable with the baby’s level of movement, in spite of the ultrasounds (thank God for experience and good instinct). She wanted to deliver the baby right away. At that point I was exactly 36 weeks and she felt it was too risky to send me home and keep the baby in. My husband and I prepared ourselves for another NICU journey. At 36 weeks, it could go either way.
The C-Section was not as terrifying as the first time as I somewhat knew what to expect, but still scary nonetheless. As my OB “opened me up” she exclaimed that this was “a good call.” It turned out that the chord was wrapped around my baby’s neck and could have resulted in her loss. I was relieved to hear this but anxious to know that she was okay. The NICU team that attended the delivery gave us the good news that our little one was very healthy and needed no special intervention in spite of her early birth. This one would be going home with us! I wish this was the end of the story and start of our happily ever after, but in recovery pre-eclampsia decided to rear its ugly head again. My blood pressure started rising to dangerous levels and would not go down. The doctors and nurses all urged me to relax but nothing helped. By midnight my blood pressure was close to 200/110 and in spite of my begging, they had to start me on the magnesium treatment to prevent me from having seizures or a stroke.
This made me extremely sad and agitated as I only had terrible memories of this from my first birth. It was not much easier this time and the pressures of trying to breast-feed for the first time with cords and wires attached to me and worrying about my baby boy at home, did not help! I was an emotional wreck and everything was causing my pressure to sky-rocket. I was asked to forego having visitors with the hopes that staying quiet and keeping my emotions at bay would help to bring my blood pressure down. Finally, 48 hours later I was taken off the magnesium drip and I began to feel better! I was able to really enjoy my baby for the first time, moments that will always remain precious to me. A few days later I left the hospital with my baby in my arms, an experience I had dreamed about and longed for! It was a happy day, but somehow I still had a hard time managing all of my emotions. We had been through a lot and an underlying anxiety and sadness seemed to continue lurking.
Over the last nine months I have slowly adjusted to being a mom of two and finally feel like I am starting to find some balance again. I am on a journey to find my way back to myself and I hope that you will join me as I share the trials, tribulations and joys of my motherhood experience. I hope that moms reading this will find comfort in my sharing and know that they are not the only ones having ups and downs. I’ll let you know what I learn along the way and I hope readers will share their experiences with me too. If you’re interested to follow along please sign up for ispeakmom.com, so you can get updates and messages directly!
I’m looking forward to sharing with all of you beautiful mommies!
© Nicola Rios Nogales and ispeakmom.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Rios Nogales and ispeakmom.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.