Somewhere in the last 11 days, I failed in the one job I have right now: keeping my little guys safe and healthy.
Maybe it was one hand washing too few on my part, or maybe I wasn't aggressive enough in micro-managing the hand washing or perfect health of visitors, or maybe it was the family gathering on a public patio where I felt simultaneously too obligated to attend and too clingy to leave the little man behind. Maybe I should have kept him hidden safely under my nursing cover longer, guarded him more closely or left sooner. Maybe I should have been less passive-aggressive and more aggressive-aggressive in chasing off that lady who stuck her nosey face in his pumpkin seat.
Maybe it was all just dumb, dumb, dumb luck.
The doctors tell us that it has nothing to do with anything we did or didn't do.
Regardless, I am certain I will spend the rest of my living days convinced that it all could've been prevented.
Because mom guilt is a very real thing. It is palpable and it is terminal. See, it will almost certainly cause the premature and tragic death of your previous rational self. What remains is a sputtering, skittish, guilt-rattled version of your pre-child persona.
Maternal mental health issues aside, here are the facts:
Over the past few days, somewhere, somehow, (I will not agonize over when and where...ok, yes I will) a nasty little virus ('enterovirus') invaded the tiny and defenseless body of my five-pound preemie. Now the membranes housing his precious little nervous system are inflamed, angry, and reeking havoc on the rest of his pint-sized moving parts.
He's been admitted to the pediatric ICU, intubated, poked, prodded, probed, and sedated.
He now looks less like my darling baby and more like a doll used to demonstrate medical gadgets and procedures.
There's an IV in each foot, around 4,000 leads plastered to his chest, a g-tube in his nose, and ventilator emerging from his mouth.
Apologies to my father, who believes I already curse too much on my blog. But there are just no other sufficient words: