It hit me out of nowhere. But looking back, it’s no wonder a wave of intense emotion and fear came over me. I was dealing with the physical pain of my healing body, exhaustion, and worry over my tiny babies—not to mention post-pregnancy hormone swings.
I gave birth to my twins via emergency C-section on a Monday morning. They were beautiful and tiny. Both of them had health concerns that needed to be monitored in the NICU. Celeste was very small, and her umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her neck when she was delivered. Drew, my firstborn, was extremely pale upon delivery and needed to be screened for a cranial issue that had been detected via ultrasound two weeks earlier.
The days that followed were a blur. In addition to being immersed in the NICU world,whenever I was not with my twinsI was trying to heal and rest in my hospital room three floors above where they were being cared for. The stress and separation began to take a toll on me.
I Started Reeling
On Thursday afternoon, my wonderful husband, Andy, was wheeling me down to the NICU for a feeding with the babies. We were waiting by the elevators. It was a gray day outside—dreary, as I recall. Andy and I were chitchatting about the twins, and I was saying how excited I was to be going back down to see them, when Andy mentioned that I might be going home tomorrow.
In that moment, I looked outside and it dawned on me: I would be going home without my babies. They would have to stay, and I would have to go.
I started reeling. My mind literally started spinning. I began to cry hysterically.
We couldn’t get in the elevator because I was frozen in fear and pain and would not continue.
I looked around and at my husband, and I looked outside. Then, for a brief moment, I looked down the four stories to ground level and thought to myself I should jump—that if I could, this pain and fear would stop.
My Day 4
But then in the middle of this agony—the darkest moment I have ever felt in my life—my mind cleared.
I remembered what my best friend since childhood had told me just a few weeks before. She was a new mom in California. Her son had been born a few months earlier, and we had talked on the phone all the time while we were pregnant and after she gave birth.
One day while I was on bed rest, she had told me to be very mindful of my hormone fluctuations after giving birth because it is a highly emotional time. She talked a bit about herself but also about other friends that had experienced shifts and almost irrational emotions. For her, it happened on day 4 as well.
In the midst of my own hysteria, recalling this information reminded me that I was in a moment—it was my day 4—and that it would pass. I believed it would pass and that it was in my control.
I verbalized this to Andy, who was leaning at my eye level. I told him that I realized I was intensely emotional and that I thought it was due to hormones. I said I knew I needed to ride it out. I was aware of it.
I know he must have been relieved to hear me speak of my dismay and be able to realize and have faith that it would pass.
And it did. The high intensity passed with every second and eventually became a dull ache that was gone a few days after my babies came home.
I was fortunate that my experience was fleeting. But I will never forget how my emotions were able to take over my entire being. It was truly intense, and I don’t know if I would have been able to ride it out if it had not been for my friend’s advice and her sharing her story.
This is why I am sharing this with you.
Love yourself through it.
And communicate your feelings to everyone you care about.
You will be able to ride it out and land safely on shore.
Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.