You know, I just read a story on msnbc.com about a woman who lost her 7 month old son to bacterial meningitis. I don't know the woman, but her story made me very sad. *gasp!* I am human after all.
When my precious Golden Boy was born, there had been a complication. A major one. For days, we had no idea whether he was going to make it. Not that we'd admit doubt at the time. He was in the NICU, hooked up to many machines and tubes. We couldn't hold him, some days we couldn't even touch him because his blood pressure would shoot up. It was a horrible, terrible time. Needless to say, we didn't sleep in those weeks. Even when he pulled though it, we were told there may have been organ damage, and given a laundry list of potential developmental delays he may have to contend with.
Aside from asthma when he was very small, he's had absolutely no problems. Whew, right?
That scared the holy hell out of me. I'd never been so scared in all my life. Scared me so much that it took me five years before I was ready to try again.
That second time, everything was perfect. I got to hold my baby, keep him in my room, and take him home the next day. It was sheer bliss, I tell you. I wouldn't let him out of my sight.
Then when he was 7 weeks old, he woke up with a very high fever. Off to the ER I went, lugging my burning baby. Initial test came up negative. I helped curl him into a ball on his side so the doctor could do a spinal tap. That was bad. The news was worse - elevated white blood cells, indicative of meningitis. The moment they said that, I feared blindness, brain damage and ... oh my... it can be fatal. Then people came in with full body suits and masks to take more tests. They said the suits were for their protection. I had kept it all together until then. That's when I started to cry, when I had to call my husband and tell him what was happening. They started IV antibiotics, and called the CDC. It was a nightmare. Days went by. Again with the not sleeping. The woman from the CDC visited with him, and he smiled and gurgled at her. They pronounced it VIRAL meningitis, not bacterial. It cleared up and went away. He's as healthy as a ... ummm, well he's really healthy now.
Parenthood is not for the weak.
We had two close calls, and every day of my life I'm aware of that. Women who have lost children are a mystery to me. There's some kind of strength there that I'll never understand (and don't want to - that's one club I don't want to join) When I was just a kid, a distant cousin died when she was 14. I remember saying to my mom that it would be so hard to have a child for that long, then lose them. She said that it doesn't matter at what point you lose a child, it's still hard. *Here comes my oblivious kid nature* I said, If you lose a BABY though, you barely know him or her, so it wouldn't be as hard. (Did I mention my mother did, in fact, lose a baby?) See, the things you don't understand as a child! So, I know Mother's Day just passed, but maybe this is just a reminder that mothers who have lost children - at ANY point - are still mothers.