As a child, I did not like hospitals. At all. I was not a fan of needles, blood or anything medical. Thankfully, I was never in the hospital as a child, but visiting others was always an uncomfortable experience. Even as an adult, I prefer to stay away from hospitals unless absolutely necessary. When I was in the hospital to give birth to my children, the only way I made it through was to remember that I was there for my children. I’m sure I would have handled it differently if I was in the hospital for another reason. My fears were subsided, but not completely gone.
Obviously my experience in the hospital when Kyleigh was born was much different than when I had been in the hospital before, both emotionally and medically. I had emergency surgery, a variety of tests/procedures done and many vials of blood drawn. Not my idea of fun, even if my daughter had lived. Somehow, I made it through. I think my emotions had overtaken my body so much that they could have poked and prodded me all day and I wouldn’t have noticed. I became as comfortable in my surroundings as I could. I’m sure having a very supportive doctor and wonderful nurses helped immensely.
A family member has been in the hospital for the last few days. I have been to see her three times, once, staying as long as four hours. In the past, I would have been a ball of nerves and probably would have only gone once or twice for a very short amount of time. This time, I felt comfortable going. It wasn’t a big deal to walk into a hospital that I had never been in on a Sunday afternoon. Since it was the weekend, there was nobody at the information desk to tell me where to go. I navigated my own way to her room without any anxiety. I was comfortable talking to the nurses and making requests on the patient’s behalf.
So why then did I burst into tears last week when I read Curious George Goes to the Hospital to my boys? Did I really cry over a monkey? It wasn’t because Curious George was sick. It was because of the detail it gave about being prepped for surgery. And we’re talking about a children’s book, so the detail was really not that detailed. About a month ago, I was among a group of about ten people. Someone started talking in detail about a surgery that they had. I had to get up and leave the room. I have discovered that any talking and I guess now reading, about surgery is a trigger for me. I can’t handle it.
On Saturday I went to Kohl’s to do a little shopping for everyone. I needed to pick up a few things here and there for both boys, as well as Rodger, and I was hoping to find some new clothes for myself. As soon as I walked in the door I knew I was in trouble. Christmas decorations were everywhere. All I wanted to do was turn around and walk back out, but I knew this was the only time when I could get this shopping done by myself. I was doing okay until I went to look for pants for Oliver. Of course the Boys section is right across from the Baby Girl section. I tried not to pay attention. Then a “Mommy’s Little Turkey” outfit practically jumped off the rack at me. It hit me like a ball to my gut. I might as well have just left at that point. I struggled the rest of the time that I was shopping and while I found what I needed for all the boys, nothing fit or looked right on me.
I’ve figured out why I am seeing so many “I’m expecting!!” posts on Facebook these days. And why everyone is now due in April. This is the three month mark. Twelve weeks. End of their first trimester. The point when most, except for those who find it acceptable to snap a photo of their pee stick as soon as it turns positive, announce they are expecting. Another trigger. Another thing that brings my emotions to the forefront. Another thing that hits me out of nowhere and upsets me, usually for the remainder of the day. It’s not that I’m not happy for these people. I just don’t want to share in their happiness right now. It’s just another reminder that at this point last year, I was almost four months pregnant with Kyleigh. All was well. We made it to the end of our first trimester. After that, there was nothing to be worried about, right?
Some of these things that trigger my emotions are expected. I know that hearing or reading about someone else being pregnant/having a baby upsets me, except for a few dear souls in my life. The problem is you never know when someone is going to post that fact on Facebook, or how they are going to do it. It’s almost become an unwanted contest of who can do it the best.
Other triggers come out of nowhere. I don’t know what others are going to talk about around me or even how it is going to affect me. I don’t know what is lurking around the corner at the store or what song is going to come on the radio next. I heard a song on the radio just a few days ago that I had never heard before. It was a beautiful song and the lyrics were written for me, I am sure of it. As I listened, the tears started. I haven’t heard the song since. At some point, I know I will hear it again. Will it trigger me to cry the next time? I no longer cry at the songs that we played at Kyleigh’s service, but I’m always quick to turn the radio up extra loud and tell the boys to listen when they come on the radio.
There are some triggers that are diminishing. Thursday’s used to be horrible days for me. Those around me could pretty much count on Thursday’s being the roughest day of the week. That has stopped. I have admittedly lost count of how many weeks it has been since Kyleigh left us. I’m sure that has something to do with Thursday’s not being a trigger for me anymore. I am still very aware of the 5th of each month and expect that that day will be a struggle for some time now. I wonder when I will stop counting the months (it will be seven months on November 5) and only count the years. Does that progression happen just like it does for the aging of a living child? I know for me, I told my boys’ age in months until they turned two. Will it be the same for Kyleigh?
I know all of this is normal. I have been told by some that even after five or more years, something still comes out of nowhere and makes them stop still in their tracks. A smell, a sight, a sound or a taste takes them back to a place they never want to go to again. But, at the same time, it makes them remember their child and brings a smile to their face, even after all the tears.