Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bittersweet Inpatient Adventures

As I returned to my room tonight after walking the love of my life (I know, puke right?) to the elevator to say good night, a weird sensation came over me.

One more week. One more week til the boys are born. 12 more days of living in this hospital.
There was 6 feet of the snow on the ground the day I checked myself in.
It is going to be 81 degrees here on Monday.
Have I really been here that long? Wow.

Pure elation is what I should be feeling at the thought of going home.
  Back home, to my own bed, my own surroundings, my own comfort. Back to reality and having the freedom to go where ever I want and do what ever I care. When I want to see a friend, I can go see a friend instead of silently secretly hoping they show up here. Back to my cat, and my home. Back to not sleeping alone. To going to the store when I need something, to privacy and a washer and dryer! Food that tastes like food, air that is actually fresh, a floor I am not afraid to walk on barefoot!
  Not only the change in surroundings, but the change in my body! After recovery I will have my body back in the sense that I will be able to walk five feet with out becoming out of breath. I will be able to tie my own shoes again. And, I will eventually be able to wear regular clothes! Clothes! Real clothes, not the 5 items I have been rotating for almost 2 months with no mirror to even see what they look like.
  And the greatest part of all (and also the most scary) - two wonderful babies! I finally get to meet the little guys who I have been so closely tracking and monitoring and praying for for months now! All this time and energy and fear and anxiety and anticipation, will be changed when they actually arrive!

I am SO excited for all of these things!!!
(Yes, but...)
   It is hard to believe but.... I am actually sad to leave.

Perhaps I am a prime candidate for postpartum depression, as I can already feel it sinking in.
Perhaps it isn't postpartum at all.
Perhaps it is that this place, as scary and confining as it was when I arrived, has become some what like a home to me.

A lot of factors play into this.
  I have spent 24 hours a day with these people. They have seen me at my worst, when my heart is breaking because it hurts so badly to say good night and good bye to my "partner in crime". They have seen me first thing in the morning after a night of little or no sleep, that was instead spent tossing and turning. They have seen me at my fattest and in very limited or no clothing (and many of them have seen even more than that!) They have seen me terrified, in tears, every time we discuss a risk or a chance of (even earlier) delivery. They have seen my embarrassing extreme OCD rituals. They have met my family and had conversations with them that I don't even have to be a part of. They have seen me breakdown and cry when I don't think I can take one more day, one more test, one more needle, one more scare. We have discussed every gross body function, discussed what it is like to be a parent, talked house redecorating, fashion and just life in general. I have learned about their families, their love lives, their children and more. They have become friends.
  My career has been pretty solo on and off for the past 8 years. I have spent a LOT of time alone, having limited contact with others on a vast rotating schedule. I did not come into an office and share daily routines and activities with anyone. I have not had any consistency like that in YEARS. Since I have been inpatient, I have begun to feel like a part of something. Thanks to HIPAA I am not nearly involved as my nosy self would like to be, but I have learned the staff schedule and their routine. I know what days to look forward to based on who will be working (which is almost every day might I add!) I know who I can say what to and who to ask when I need something. I have met surgeons and doctors and nurses and assistants. I have met social workers, students, cafeteria workers, waitresses at the restaurant across the street (where I shouldn't be). I have met people from the information desk and the girl that brews the coffee at the little coffee stand. From the person who cleans the toilets to the NICU nurses that could save my children's lives... each and every one has played a part in my stay.

  These things have made this place home. I cried my eyes out the day I had to check myself into this hospital. I was relying on the outside world to help me through. My family, my boyfriend and his family and our friends have made it so much easier to be here. I wait every day for my regular visitors arrivals and I enjoy every minute of the few hours we get to spend together.
  But the rest of the hours, when my friends are at work, or just too plain busy with their own lives. The days my family truly has other things to do (which might I add, doesn't happen often - they tend to set it aside to make an appearance here. I can never express my gratitude for that). The days that the sun just doesn't quite reach through my window, I some how know I am not alone. There has become comfort in these halls, a place I have been terrified of my whole life. There has become a friend in faces that 7 weeks ago were strangers. There are hugs from people I once walked past and cowered from, because doctors and nurses were scary.

  Inpatient is on the list of the hardest things I have ever done. Being that I am on the brink of becoming a parent to two, I know this is only the beginning of hard things. But, not only did I find friends here who will have helped me through this 8 week experience, and continue to give me support as we lead up to the scariest part (the actual birth!), I know I have found friends who I can count on long after I am no longer a patient. Long after my babies leave the NICU for home and begin to grow into little boys. Long after I am hauling around this baby weight! And long after postpartum depression is only a memory.

  I am so thankful for my inpatient experience. To every mono/mono mom-to-be out there on the brink of entering the hospital for their stay, I can only say I wish you an experience as wonderful as mine has been. The sleepless nights, the terrible food, the noisiness, the terrifying screams from other rooms, the confinement, the loss of privacy, the stressful monitoring and tests and scans, the need for fresh air, the lonely nights (either alone or staring at your partner sleeping on the even more uncomfortable "dad bed"), all of it. May you experience it all, but may you also experience what I have - a new understanding for the medical profession and exactly what it means to be a part of it. May you find friends in the wonderful people who work 12 hours shifts and often more,  to be sure you and your babies are safe. Those who are paid to do a job, but choose to also be a friend.

  So as this chapter nears it's end (8 more days til delivery!) I remember that sometimes the toughest experiences bring about the biggest joys. In this case, the joy I have received doesn't begin and end with my beautiful babies to be - it involves so much more.
Every time I see those children's faces, I will be reminded of what it took to get them here, and all the people who were involved in supporting us to get them here! And I will (some how) find even more reasons to be thankful.

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