Monday, July 19, 2010

The Pressures of Decisions

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to all of mine and Andy's family. I specifically said that we don't want any visitors at the hospital when Caleb is born. When you add Andy's siblings, spouses and their children to mine and then you add our parents, you come up with a number close to thirty people. That is a lot of potential visitors, especially when you are expected to make personal and very private medical decisions that could mean the life or death of your child.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy that we have so many people who care about us and Caleb and wish to put in their opinions to help us reach the best-possible outcome. That doesn't mean that we will welcome their suggestions and advice, especially considering that we don't really share the same views in popular medicine.

I have already come to a point where I feel a lot of pressure in making a few decisions relating to Caleb and I just wish that everyone could put themselves in my shoes. I am carrying a baby; a baby that I have known for 9 months; a baby that I have already established an emotional bond with. I am coming so close to the inevitable...delivering him. He could come tonight; he could come in two weeks. All I know is that he will be coming soon. That means that the time is rapidly approaching when the decisions will have to be made. Andy and I will soon face the reality that our son might not live a long life or he may live a long and painful one. Caleb may beat all odds and do better than any of us might expect. The only thing I can guarantee is that we will learn the answers to our questions when he is here with us.

I cannot describe the bitter-sweet feelings I have regarding this anticipation. I feel like I am reaching the light at the end of a tunnel, yet I don't know if there is a monster waiting out there on the other side of it. The only thing I can do now is to trust in God and wait. I am still not afraid, but it is still extremely difficult to sit and wait helplessly for something to happen, knowing that you have not an ounce of control over the outcome.

It is a shame that people can't empathize with me in that I don't need any added stress right now. You'd think that everyone would try their best to just let me be, but somehow, that just isn't happening. To say the least, I guess I'm a little disappointed.


  1. I, and please don't take this the wrong way, SO SO understand Heather. We didn't have anyone up at the hospital either (well, my mom and Mary came when we were told that I could die during delivery) but we also faced criticism when we told family that we wanted to be alone during such a difficult time so that our minds could be clear to focus on the baby. His and your family need to understand that this baby will be very sick. He will be in the NICU and only Mom and Dad can see him, there is no window to look in, it's not a typical birth.

    I know what you are feeling now Heather, and that doesn't make it any better - but just know that you aren't alone - I hope you know we pray for you a lot. Please try to stay calm and enjoy every moment with the baby right now. Much love to you. And please dont think I'm crazy! I just love you and wish you didnt have to endure this.

  2. I know this is hard all the way around and you have a right to push people away until you are ready to let them in. I can't say I understand completely even though my son spent the first 9 days of his life in a NICU because I didn't have to make the kinds of decisions you will soon be faced with. What I can say is that as much as I wanted people to shut up and let me be, they didn't. I wa angry back then but now, looking back, I am so grateful that through my bouts of anger, they stayed. It is so rarely in this world that we find people willing to give their support unconditionally. It's sad when you think about it because our world should be filled with more people willing to be selfless, but it isn't. So my dear when you are lucky enough to find those so willing to stand by you through anything you might encounter, don't push them away - embrace them. You can keep them at a safe distance until you are ready to let them in. You are in control of the boundaries you set and the people who love you will respect them even if they don't want to.

    I've been praying for you and for Caleb and no matter what happens I believe you will be a better and stronger person for having known your son. Keep strong and never lose faith.

  3. Although I am not family, just a friend of the family, I support you 100%. To have 30 opinions thrown at you while you are under that sort of stress could make you beyond an emotional wreck. Only you and your husband are the ones making the decisions and everyone else just needs to go the the Adoration Chapel and pray you through. They all need to be lifting you up to Jesus, through Mary, in union with St. Joseph and trust that He will guide you to make the right decisions. God Bless you.

  4. You have to do what's right for you and your family.
    Before my husband got over to the children's hospital the next morning, his mom had talked her way past hospital security, got into the NICU and started taking flash pictures. Then his brother showed up and started doing the same thing! The nurses quickly put a stop to it. My son was born with a congenital heart defect and didn't need to be startled with the flash. His mom pulled the same crap right after the baby's first heart surgery while we were in the CICU. I told her to stop it or leave and had the nurses post "no flash pictures" signs on his crib.
    You are momma. You have the final say.