Apr 13, 2011


Tonight I broke down on the telephone with my husband. Liam squeaked though the baby monitor and I placed him on hold so I could put the monitor up to my ear and listen. I teased him for calling me a paranoid mom when he was driving us home from the hospital and at a red light I unbuckled and climbed over the seat to make sure my tiny little boy was not swallowed up by his giant car seat and that he was doing okay since he suddenly stopped crying. I remember him jokingly telling me I was acting like he was my first and not my fifth, and I remember explaining that I knew it wasn't rational, but this perfect little soul *scared* me.

I think as parents we all have irrational fears about our children. With my first baby I remember him sleeping past his normal 3am feeding time and waking up at 4am with engorged breasts and sobbing that my baby must have passed in his sleep. Rationally I knew he would eventually sleep through the night, irrationally I just knew SIDS must have claimed him. My husband was in boot camp and when he called the Sunday after that instant I burst into tears when I told him our boy was sleeping through the night. He also probably got an emotional letter in the mail as well.

Then my oldest son came into our life and I was always scared his birth mom was going to come steal him away. I knew her better than that, and I trusted her, but I was always so scared that I would pick him up from school and they would explain to me that he had already been picked up by the non-custodial parent.

Then my third baby came along, and I found something else to be irrational about. I wish I could remember, but he made it out of infancy unscathed. Our fourth baby, our first and only girl was born, and she scared me so bad that I would not allow my husband to get a vasectomy until she made it safely to her second birthday, ergo the reason we got our fifth and final child.

Today I was researching pediatric pulmonologists, allergists, and pediatric neurologists. EEGs, seizures, and breath holding spells (BHS). Logically, I know this was likely an isolated incident. Irrationally I have myself convinced I need to have him looked over by a room full od specialists. I think of unnecessary poking and prodding, tests, and procedures and I just cannot make myself put my little boy through this for something that happened one time.

When I heard my husband's voice tonight, I realized I was still wearing my brave mask. I was falling apart and not allowing anyone to see it. I have not taken time to allow myself to process the fear; to deal with the feelings, and to let myself admit how scared I was. I can still close my eyes and see the events of Friday night so clearly in my mind. The moment where I realized something was wrong. I wonder if I was as calm when I called the emergency dispatcher as I remember myself sounding. When I remember back to that night, I am on the outside, looking in. I cannot remember a single moment where I was ever that scared before.

I remember moments when my husband was in Iraq, and I heard about a casualty from his unit on the news. The fear I felt when he explained to me a building he was next to exploded and shrapnel was hitting his vehicle and it sounded like hail. I remember when helicopters I thought he was on went down, and then I did not hear from him for 20 days. I still cry at movies where they talk about the war, military casualties, or when bagpipes play "Taps". But if I have to put this in perspective, the fear I felt that night is 100x worse. I didn't let myself feel it though. Now that he is over the hurdle, and all he has is a lingering cough as he continues to work the crud out of my lungs, I find myself going back to that moment, and I find myself wanting to fall apart.

So tonight when Bobby called and asked how the kids were and then asked how I was, I started crying. I am a mess. And I feel SO guilty for feeling this way while so many people have dealt with so much worse. My heart goes out to all the parents who have had to face the loss of a child, or a spouse. For those who have children with chronic illnesses or disabilities. For anyone who has had to hear that they, or a loved one has a terminal illness. So tonight, when I allow myself to cry, and to allow myself to process the events of this last week, I will be thinking of everyone else who has also had to put on a brave face while they were falling apart inside.

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