Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Healing Place

This is going to be a rambling may not even make any sense, but it is important to me to attempt to write it down.

Having a second child has caused me to really look back at when Emma was a baby. I knew at the time that it was a difficult time in my life. I knew that every single time that Emma threw up I wanted to scream and hide...hide from the reality that was my life. I knew that each time she was hospitalized it scared me to my very core...that fear that I was going to lose my baby was a fear that I experience over and over and over again. But, in those moments I also knew that I was extremely fortunate to still have my child with me. I knew that the future was before us....even though I was petrified to think about what it could be.

At times I try to embrace all of the thoughts and feelings that I had during that time. My mind can remember, my heart can feel the joys and the pains that were all wrapped into one, but I have a very difficult time writing my feelings down...or telling someone about them. Maybe it is because they are in the past, and I feel as if I should move on and bury them....after all our lives have evolved into health and happiness that we never would have dreamed possible at this time 5 years ago. But, when I sit down and really think about that first year with will bring me to tears within moments.

Tim and I often say that we are glad that Emma was our first. We feel this way for many reasons, but mostly because we were able to focus 100% of our energy on her care at the time that she needed us most. We feel that if we'd had another child at the time it would have been very difficult to divide our time and strength between the two. We are also glad that she was our first because we knew nothing else. Granted, we knew that throwing up 4-5 times per day was not "normal", but it was all that we knew, so we were able to tell ourselves that it must be "close to normal" right? She would just "grow out of it", right?

Since the birth of Owen, I have been able to look back at the first year of Emma's life and realize how incredible it is that we all survived that 1st year. I am so very proud of Tim and myself for getting through it and continually encouraging Emma to be her very best. Every milestone that Owen achieves (incredible that they actually can meet those milestones WITHOUT the help of 7 different therapists) allows me to think back to the time that Emma met that milestone. Yes, she met all of the milestones much later than he is meeting them, but she MET them, and I am SO proud of her for that.

Don't get me wrong. I am not comparing my children to each other. They are both very unique individuals that are forging their own paths, and I love that about each of them. I am just learning so much about myself by watching Owen grow. I never realized just how difficult life was back then. I never realized how much out of the realm of normal our lives were. When Emma was almost 1 year old she was on 15 medications a day, oxygen 24 hours a day, throwing up 4-5 times a day, and seeing 7 different therapists. That was just the way it was.....and the amount of stress that went along with it I can now see was enormous.

I watch Owen and I see that he is learning to do things himself, he is not taking any medications, and he eats everything in sight. By watching this I realize how healing it has been for me to have a healthy child. I do not take ANYTHING for granted. I value every second of every day. I realize that I am finally in The Healing Place...the place that I have needed to be. I can now sit back and enjoy watching BOTH of my healthy kids playing together. It really is a GREAT place to be:).


Terri H-E said...

Welcome home, Angie!

Nice post - I can see how it would take a "typical" first year to show the contrast of Emma's first year. Your gratitude that she was your first child, I can understand that, too. We feel that way about not knowing about RTS until Addie was nearly 3. Difficult to explain to people, but you hit it here. Addie wasn't as medically involved as Emma, but we appreciate being able to get to know her for her those early years, without filtering any of it through a diagnosis.

Happy you've arrived at the healing place - home.

Michelle said...

I don't think this was a rambly post at all....very good. Very well said.

Mandy said...

I totally understand your post, although in a different way. Our first was a very healthy, normal baby. Sure she had some colic and was a major spitter upper but overall no problems. Then came our second and his extremely rough first year (actually, 7 weeks to 4 months) and the ups and downs we still deal with showed us that we took our first for granted. We took her good health for granted. Even now, though, when my second is dealing with an illness, being in the hospital so much with him and reading about so many other kids makes me realize that even his situation is "good" compared to many and I strive to not take that for granted either.
Ok, rambling! :)

Cindy said...

I wrote a very similar post about 6 months ago! It is VERY healing to have a typical child after having a special needs child. I, too, don't take myself back to that first year much, because it was too close to hell. And I also marvel at how easy it is for a typical child to learn everything...even though I already had a typical child, I still forget how easy it is compared to the special needs list of necessities.

Marissa said...

What a wonderful place to be ~ The Healing Place.



Brandi said...

Your post really hit home for me. We are one night away from going back for another surgery and I am soooo scared. Like you did, I wonder if he is going to make it this time. It seems so big right now, but in a few years I'm sure we will be where you are now.

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

You know, even though I had two healty kids before Alex, I think having a healthy child after him will still be healing for me.
Good post!

Jacqui said...

Thank you so much for putting your healing into words...into such beautiful words. It touches my heart too and makes me look forward to the thought of a 2nd child one day, and not to fear it.