Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hold My Hand

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When you experience a traumatic birth it never goes away.  It's the yucky gift that keeps on giving.  The one you wish you could either return or say you never wanted, yet it's just there.  Lingering, like this permeating scent that infiltrates your soul.  There are things that just bring you back to that moment.  It can be a hospital setting, it can be a familiar smell, it can be a memory of a stuffed animal, a picture, an old blog.  It can be thousands of things or just one single thing all at the same time.   While I'm waiting for Noah to wind down which takes hours - and by hours I mean I can sometimes be up all night, I often fill my moments with reading and television programming to keep me alert while I tend to his needs at night.  I latch on to a variety of shows, Netflix documentaries, and movies to keep my mind engaged so I don't fall asleep until he's done needing me.  

It's Tuesday.  Tuesdays are This is Us.  I kind of had this gut feeling, or inclination when Kate, one of the main characters got pregnant that it wouldn't be a smooth sailing birth or even one that leaves her child with disabilities.  The show is really about continuous life hardships without that glossy happy ending that so many people crave.  I know what it's like not to have a happy ending, so I often gravitate towards things that feel real, authentic and far from sugar coated.   Tonight was the night I anticipated - the birth of Kate's baby and one that wasn't going to be the great happy ending.
Chris came into the bedroom to help me fold towels that I left in a basket half way through the episode.  He sensed that I was tired and worn and took it upon himself to fold while I laid curled in a heap of pillows hiding tears welling up in my eyes.  He glanced at me and utter those words "what's wrong" before he looked up and realized that I was watching something difficult to absorb and digest.  He walked around the other side of the bed to me, bent down to hug me, wiped mascara that had smeared through a handful of tears that had escaped, and stood back up and just stayed by my side holding my hand for the entire last half hour of the show.
And I could feel the emotion through his hand.  It bothered him too.  We were both there.  And it's unique to both of us having fought through a very scary birth, emergency c-section, and one that literally left Noah and I in critical condition, and ultimately severely disabled for the rest of his life.  So when you see a story line that eerily mimics what we experienced it takes us both back to that moment that we so desperately wish we could change.

And sometimes a show can get it super close to what it's all really like; the family dynamic, the waiting room agitation, the lack of information about what is happening to your loved ones, waiting for news that isn't timely, right down to having your own memory association with familiar places and things that take you back to your own personal tragedies.  The stunned husband trying to deliver the news, both a mixture of relief that both survived, but conveying the news that things are problematic.

Chris is always so stoic, he's just this beautiful rock and has been our entire marriage.  The greatest man I've ever known.  He's strong, and comforting, and understanding that we're going to live with these feeling for a lifetime, and he offers such grace about that fact.  We will to some degree always be 'walking wounded parents'.  And we're okay with that.  We don't ever try to hide or disguise that these feelings will creep up on you from time to time.  And I'm comforted in knowing we're both feeling the same things.  It's ours alone, and something we carry together.  And through the underlying sadness of what happened to Noah has solidified us in the most indescribable of ways.

I'm grateful that he holds my hands through the sad parts, whenever they may hit.  Sometimes, these feelings can happen to you out of the blue, sometimes you can kind of anticipate them.  But we're together in it - whenever it does.  Story lines that you could have written yourself sometimes prove to be a bit hard to swallow sometimes.  I think perhaps in an odd sort of way it's cathartic or therapeutic.  It feels a touch like purging a bit of stored up feelings each time.  A sense of relating, empathizing, and knowing the journey.  It's not an easy one for anyone that has been through it.  We're in this permanent club that no one ever wants to be in.

Our love is so strong because we've been through the worst of the worst and have faced so many challenges throughout the years with Noah, and we both are in it together.  Holding each other's hand as each of us remembers from time to time.

"What cannot be said will be wept"


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.