Helplessly watching your sick children, at home or in the hospital, is the most emotionally draining experience ever!
BY NICOLE NOWITZKI
All you want for your children is health and happiness, and when those are compromised, it’s hard for any parent to standby and be an observer. When your children are born too early, they are tube fed, IV medicated, and monitored 24 hours per day. You are only allowed to visit during scheduled times, and you feel like a part of you is missing each time you leave without them. The future is unpredictable, but you know that you will always be there to dry their tears. When the day arrives to finally take them home, you can’t contain your emotions!
Common sense will tell you that two newborns will be more difficult than one. It’s double everything. Basically, you’re feeding babies the entire time. It is wonderful if you have family that is available to help! The extra set of hands allows you to develop a schedule and keep a household running smoothly. However, taking these miracle workers back to the airport is actually a traumatic dose of reality that things are about to get real.
When you have other children that also need your time and attention, you are spread unreasonably thin, and it leaves you feeling guilty. Did I spend enough quality time with them? Did I encourage them enough? Are they going to hate these new siblings because I’m spending so much time with them? You always wonder if they will remember this difficult transition, but honestly, I don’t think they remember a time before their siblings.
As you start to get into a sleep deprived rhythm, everything changes; these tiny humans, which depend on you for everything, start crying. Not the I-have-a-wet-diaper cry. This is more like someone-is-murdering-me crying, but no matter what you do… and you try everything… they don’t stop. As you walk circles in your house with a screaming baby in each arm, you are reminded that you are in this new place, all alone, all over again. They are relying on you to help them feel better and give them love. It’s so hard when you are beyond tired and outrageously stressed.
When most people think of their mother-in-law, they may cringe a bit. Wait until you meet my M.I.L.; I can guarantee you won’t forget her! She is a workhorse, she is funny, she tells the most memorable stories, and she is willing to help anyone no matter what the task. She was packing her bags to head north, and the day she was planning to leave, her amazing husband, who is a cattle rancher, falls and breaks both feet. There is no way she can leave. She felt awful, but how will they accomplish daily chores without her help? What do you do when you have visions of help and sanity, and then it is ripped away? That is the shining moment that you remember that you live here, and you are surrounded by the most amazing people you’ve ever met. You don’t know friendship and support until someone comes over to your house on their lunchbreak to help you hold screaming babies because your only goal each day is don’t end up on the news. This is a bit dramatic, but that’s how it feels when you are in survival mode.
You’re so thankful for these friends, and it is amazing how much you appreciate the adult interaction! At this point in the game, you would consider paying a transient homeless person $100 to visit. What’s that? You haven’t showered in weeks? Here, hold a baby. As they leave your money on the counter and run screaming for the hills, you realize that it is your job to make this work. Again, this is a dramatization, but you are desperate for normalcy, and your life is far from normal.