Thursday, August 12, 2010

Those darn emotions.

I used to wonder why some people couldn't seem to get over some event in their lives. You know that person that seems bitter about their divorce even though it happened 5 years ago. Or the friend that still seems to hold on to some of the trauma of their childhood, even though they are adults. I also never fully understood people that had a lot of anger in them. I am a very peaceful, and very non-violent. I hate yelling, so to be angry at everybody and everything never really made sense to me.

That was until I had the 'preemie' experience. And even though I have had other really difficult situations in my life, and I dare to even traumatic experiences. For some reason this one finally stuck the anger cord in me. Thus after years of never really being angry about much, I finally understand why somebody could be angry, bitter and struggle to let something go.

Here it has been over a year since our daughters birth. She is doing great, thriving even. Our lives have settled down and really I am blessed. I know how different our story could be. I know that tomorrow I could even be faced with something much worse than I have seen or lived. That all said, I still have a bit of anger in me. A little bit of something I just haven't worked out.

Anger is an emotion, I had so rarely really felt that I wasn't even understanding what I was feeling. It would just creep out when I least expected it. A quick answer to a co-worker, a eye roll to the annoying person that cut me off, a tiff with Ed but mostly it has been draining me of energy and interest in others. It traps me in a my mind, and then boils out of me mostly on runs. Its a nervous energy, with an edge.

We've been out of the hospital for so long. But today in the middle of the day, something set my mind racing. I think it was an alarm on the blood pressure machine on one of my patients. And there in the middle of a busy day, I was back in the dark corner of the NICU. I was standing there by myself as three nurses stood over my little baby. My little baby that I had never held who had so many wires connected to her. They are 'bagging' her, the alarms are so loud. More nurses are coming in asking if everything is okay. I am standing there alone, watching her heart rate drop lower, and her oxygen saturation drop even lower. I just stand there. I can feel the fear and absolute loneliness that I felt in that moment and so many of the days burn in my throat.

And then I am back in the clinic with a co-worker asking me a question.

And that same coworker is now talking about how her crib is being delivered this weekend. I smile the best I can, as she talks about her excitement. And now I feel that new emotion I've learned in the last year, I feel anger. I don't feel sadness, I don't feel sorry for myself. No I feel anger. And I am not angry at my coworker. But, I feel a bitter anger that makes me want to punch something. I walk away instead, then later I go for a run, and of course I throw in a few tears.

Now I understand why some people have so much anger in them. I understand it isn't something that you can just snap your fingers and be done with. And even though maybe the whole world has moved on, there are thoughts, moments and feeling in each on of us that sometimes need to bubble to the surface. Because I've also realized the more I let these emotions bubble to the surface the easier it becomes for me to live with them.


  1. Yup. I know what you mean. It's always there. I'm the same, not an angry person and I also thought the same as you as to why don't they just let these things go. It's not that easy. It comes back at the strangest moments. I became irrationally angry at a friend who freaked out because their baby came 12 days early and was all worried about what problems she would have. I wanted to scream at her you don't KNOW the meaning of EARLY.

    I'm only 9 months down this road and I don't know when I'll move on. But I have a feeling this is normal for what we've been through. No body gets pregnant and imagines having their baby early and in the hospital for weeks. It was a very traumatic experience we've been through. I just hope and pray that someday we can look at them and not feel inexpressible guilt, even though we did nothing wrong and they are perfectly healthy. Despite their early birth.

  2. Hugs all I can say is that I have been there! Jayda is 14 months and I still get those same emotions out of no where.

  3. And sometimes sorrow or depression is expressed through angry outbursts. Even though you're through the preemie distress, you're still going through babyhood, which I found incredibly stressful. You're not well-rested. A baby can often be a petty tyrant and it totally renegotiates your marriage. I'm not trying to minimize your experience in NICU because it sounds horrowing and I feel you are such a strong person to have gotten through it, but you're still going through tough stuff and it doesn't always make for the most balanced of emotions.

  4. I hear you Page, I have a good friend (my mommy twin) who had a full termie around Kate's due date time. She always helps me to realize what is just mom emotions too. Its a tough learning curve, life and motherhood, but well worth it.

  5. By age 4ish, it got a lot easier. But when I'd look back at the previous years, I would shake my head at the level of stress and anxiety I had been carrying. And then again, I couldn't sleep last wednesday because ruby was starting a new NEW school that was opening for the very first time. I have come to believe that Motherhood means a lot of guilt and anxiety! but, as you said, well worth it.