This is a very hard thing for me to write because I don't even like to admit this stuff to myself, let alone put it in writing. However, I doubt that I am alone in feeling this way. Also, my feelings now could not be more different and I feel the need to show the way I was blessed to make the changes that now bring me such happiness.
Right before my stroke was a really fun time with my kids. Aleq was my little pal and we loved just hanging out together. On the 28th we had decorated our Christmas tree together and he was my angel. Tommy was in my favorite stage. Every day he was learning more and talking or signing new and often funny words and I loved every minute of being with him. And I was thoroughly enjoying being a new mommy again. I loved the cute and tiny girl outfits and decorating my girl. I loved these kids fiercely. I was truly happy to be a mom and I knew this is what I was born to do.
On the morning of the 29th I was rushed to the hospital. I have stated previously that I have very few memories of that day but I remember someone telling Robert that it could be a couple of different things and that it may take up to two weeks before I could go home. I remember thinking, "I can't be away from my kids for that long!"
From there it's a little fuzzy. It could have been hours or days that I was sedated but upon waking up, I just couldn't think of my kids. I couldn't. People kept telling me they were fine and what arrangements were being made for them but I didn't even want to think about them. If I did, I was afraid it would be too painful for me to bear. I knew that Jain would need to be fed so I asked the nurses to pump milk from me. But even that was just logistical and not out of any motherly feelings. In fact, when it dawned on me that this was long term, aside from the physical pain of stopping, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to pump anymore.
At the time I was concentrating on breathing (literally) and small tasks such as moving my toes. Then there was the almost constant and real fear of another stroke. And of course all the emergencies that seemed to be a part of every new day. I don't even remember even noticing that no kids were allowed in the ICU.
When I was moved to Neuro Acute, the kids could come and see me. However, I didn't necessarily want to see them. The feelings, wants, and needs that mothers have, had to be turned off or the emotions would have just been unbearable. In order to survive, I had to resist even thinking about my children.
In Rehab it was even harder for me. Every day I had to work from sun up to sun down (sometimes not even quite sun up) and at lunch (not for me-tube feeds were at night) and at night I was so exhausted that I hated to even move to be catheterised. My whole room was plastered in pictures of my kids and I was proud to show them off to everybody but it was as if I were their aunt and not their mom. When they came for visits, they usually talked and played with my mom, the nurses or therapists, and I would talk to them briefly before exhaustion would get the best of me. I was always secretly relieved to see them go.
At my moms, I saw them nearly every day. Wendy lives really close to my mom so she would bring Jain over all the time. But again, it was as if she were not mine. She was cute and I liked playing with her but when she cried or needed to be changed, she went back to her mom, Wendy. The boys were no different. They would come in and say hello, and then run off to play. I remember once Tommy got hurt so Robert had to take him to get stitches and left Aleq with me for a bit. I thought, "what do I do with him? Maybe T.V.?"
Looking back, I think it was almost a survival instinct. I had to work really hard just to get through the day, and sometimes just staying alive was all I could manage. But I think the "mom" emotions were always there. I just had to put them in a box in my mind, and put them away for a bit in order to do what I needed to do to get back to my life.
And when I did get back to them, it was better than ever! I could finally open my heart fully after too long. We all seemed to cherish one another more. Admittedly the transition with Ana Jain was hard. We didn't even know each other. I had to sit back and let her warm up to me. But Heavenly Father was watching over us and taking the care of us that only He can give. In any other situation, my physical and emotional absence would have seriously damaged all involved. But with us the tender feelings came back quickly and naturally. It's nothing short of a miracle.
And now? Every bit of me loves my critters!! Sometimes during homework, or watching or hearing them play, I am nearly overwhelmed with the love and happiness I feel. When we are watching a movie and I have all 3 snuggled up with me, there is just nothing better.