Yesterday was one week since our PICU admittance with Vallie. I haven’t posted since we were discharged, because if I’m being completely honest, I’ve needed some emotional recovery. Recognizing how close we’d been to losing her, to losing another child, is deafening.
When she was her sickest, they had rushed us through the ER, and were hooking her up to oxygen as quickly as possible. Her coloring had turned a deep ashy purple, her breathing was crackly, her eyes were barely opening, and she could hardly cry. I thought of Sloan and how I couldn’t do this again. I couldn’t lose another baby, I knew wouldn’t survive it.
The experience of having your baby in the PICU, swallowed up in a giant metal crib. Holding your baby while she’s tethered to machines by wires, making sure not to tangle, pull, or bump them. Trying to catch a few brief moments of sleep on a hard pull out cot or the stiff vinyl rocking chair beside her bed, nodding off and waking up frantically looking over at her sick little body to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Pumping milk and seeing your supply dwindle with each session because you can’t nurse her. Holding her head still while a nurse suctions her, and hearing your sick infant cry so hard that her tiny voice disappears to only tiny raspy, choking wails making their way out of her mouth. It’s traumatic. It just is, all of it.
Maybe to some this is all silly, maybe I seem dramatic about it. But this isn’t for you. It wasn’t your experience. It was ours. It isn’t your story, it is ours. We have such a deep layer of existing grief and trauma from having lost Sloan, last weeks experiences really tested our coping skills and the strength of our healing.
It was only a week of sickness, only four days in PICU, and it felt like eternity. It’s not just that so much happened in such a short time. It’s that it all happened, and the magnitude of effect it had on our psyche.
She got to come home. She is okay. She is getting better. She is still here. I can see her, touch her, feel and smell her. Hear her, hold her. This is what I relay silently to myself. Because these are all the things stolen from us when Sloan died. It’s how I remind myself of Vallies miracle and keep my feet on the ground of reality. We will heal from this too.
She is still here.