Saturday, October 27, 2012

beginning the road to recovery

 Yes- I love my girls, yes- I'm thankful, yes- it has been the most dread-filled and dark year of my life. Recovery from the trauma of one's story is the most important/ significant part of the whole thing. It is important to me to post my complete and true story so that my other ttts/nicu mom readers can feel less alone/ crazy in their journeys to recovery.

 I have been treading water/drowned for the past 6 months, and feel like I can just now, maybe, come up for air and begin to do some much needed self-care. I have been functioning out of trauma for too long, and am so thankful to finally have some of the mental/emotional/physical space to begin to face it. It was an UGLY summer, I mean you're lucky I never left the house ;). I have been angry, QUITE angry about it all; hypervigiliant, hyper controlling, hyper anxious, crazy, mean, hopeless, helpless, lonely, terrified, confused, and never so stripped of coping skills- depressed & traumatized. I have never seen myself pushed so far, so hard- it scared me. The sadness is is always under the anger. It is much easier to function with anger than sadness though, and man have I had to be high-functioning, no time to collapse in tears!  It is time now to grieve, engage, reflect, and accept my pregnancy story. It will impact me the rest of my life, most tangibly in my and Ryan's decision about a future pregnancy.

As a trained counselor, I believe that grief/feeling is my road to freedom, primarily feeling the loss and sadness in order to move toward acceptance. Aside from counseling, and journaling, I think returning to the hospital is an important piece of my healing. It puts a knot in my stomach to think about entering those sliding doors. I spent every day for 3 months at Baylor All Saints (ante-partum and nicu), so it is the most tangible symbol of my pain/trauma. When I think about the room, the window I stared out of, the chair I sat in, the smells, the sweet nurses, the halls I paced, the popcorn machine downstairs, the garden I walked in, my daily tv shows, going to bed alone, the sounds of the monitors, I tremble in fear and feel literally sick. If I can go back "in the light of day", I think it will become less scary for me.

Looking at pictures is another point of avoidance for me. There are pictures of Evangeline especially that I cannot look at for more than 2 seconds. I think spending some time with the pictures and allowing myself to feel what comes up when I see them will be an important piece of moving toward acceptance as well.

This is right after my c section, I hate that I had such minimal contact. Their skin was underdeveloped and so it is actually painful for them to be touched.

Growth restricted babies have that freaky alien look because all the blood goes to grow the brain before the rest of the body, it really scared me. 

I remember thinking her head was the size of a small apple, I was worried I would break her if i sneezed.

I think she had 5 needles in her when she was sick with NEC, I wasn't sure she would survive.

I thought she looked dead sometimes and had nightmares about it often

God comforts the broken-hearted. In order to survive, I have not been broken-hearted but angry and demanding toward Him. An angry and demanding person doesn't leave much room for dependence on God, and so we have been quite distant. In my humanity, it has been very difficult for me to believe that God is present and loving, and see his grace toward me. He always gives us a choice to chose Him or not, and I have chosen, not. Thankfully, His commitment to me is not based on anything I do or don't do (but is based on Jesus), and so He has not left me, and has still been merciful and patient. As I am thawing and moving closer to a place of broken-heartedness/ sadness, I hope to move closer to Him and desire Him more.

I would love to be able to use my experience "give back" and care for other nicu moms in some capacity- maybe lead a support group.

I hope this post encourages other nicu/ttts mom to engage in their stories and move toward healing. It does take take time & energy, but it is worth the freedom from depression & trauma. I also hope it helps other mom to feel less alone in their struggles.

Thank you for letting me share with you!


  1. Dear Laura, thank you so much for sharing this! You are not alone.

    Let me share a poem with you (not sure who the author is or where it is from).

    You can waste your own pain
    When I am not honest about the reality of how hard life is,
     I waste God’s offer of peace.
    When I try to do things in my own strength,
    I waste God’s offer of power.
    When I keep pain to myself, and pretend everything is perfect,
    I waste opportunities to minister to others walking in a similar path.
    But when I confess my feelings of inadequacies, when I admit I’m helpless to heal the wounded ones in my care,
    For in this place of helplessness, God takes center stage.
    And when I let God lead, miracles start to happen.
    Things begin to change, and so do I.

  2. Beautiful. Thank you for opening your heart up.

  3. I would absolutely love to talk with you more about this. Being a TTTS/NICU mom, everything you're saying rings so very true to me too. Especially I think with finding out you're having twins (rare) that are identical (very rare) and then having to go through TTTS (incredibly rare), you feel so confused and cast aside. Don't even get me started on the feeding issues!!! So often when I'd pray, I'd feel more fear than anything else, like God had allowed me to go through this, so what was next? (if that makes any sense...) Healing is a process, and I'm not there yet either, but I can say it is getting so much better. Now I'm better able to sense how He has been at work through answering so many prayers and getting so much glory from the situation... AHHH so much I could say. And I know you would get it!

  4. You have been so brave through all of this. I am thankful you are sharing your story.
    When the girls are 16 and giving y'all hell, you can make them read this every day to remind them how hard you fought for them.
    I wouldn't have made it as long as you did, smelling a popcorn machine. That is in my top 5 worst smells. I'm gagging just thinking about it mixed with hospital smell.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this extremely personal and intimate part of your story...your life story, the continuation of His story and how It lives on in each of us and through us. God is amazing and has gifted you with much. Give the girlies a squeeze. Bless you all.

  7. Reading your posts have been very hard for me but they bring me a sense of comfort. I found your blog when I was 15 weeks pregnant and the doctors were discussing surgery for my identical twins. At the time I didn't know the sex and I was a risk for losing both of my babies. I know you can relate to this feeling as you experienced it too. I eventually lost one of babies in utero but one made it safely. I welcomed a beautiful baby girl on August 15th. I have kept up with your blog from the moment I found it. You're girls are beautiful and so it their strong mommy. I miss my little girl everyday and it is so hard seeing her sister alone. When she cries out in her sleep I often wonder if she misses her too. Or if she can sense the fear, anger, or heartache that I have... anyway what I was wondering was if I could send your angels a couple of hats from my angels? I crochet beautiful hats and would love to make two for your girls. My email is liz m Kiel at gmail. Com. Just remove the spaces. Please let me know if this is ok and where to send them. Stay strong, you aren't in this alone. Lean on your husband and family.

    1. I am so so sorry to hear that you lost one of your babies- breaks my heart, I can't imagine your pain. At the same time congrats on delivering a sweet baby girl. Thank you for checking in! Stay in touch

  8. Laura, I'm overwhelmed as I read your have an amazing way of articulating your experience and I know your story has and will continue to serve as such an encouragement and relief for others going through similar circumstances. I adore you and will remain faithful to pray for you through this time- especially as the sadness surfaces. Love you and think of you so very often!

  9. Laura,

    Thanks for sharing this part of your story. I know that God is with you and will use this story to encourage others. God Bless you for your honesty and courage.