Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Being a Mom in the Hospital

A mom finds herself in many situations. Most of which are expected with the title. Grocery store speed shopping is a favorite of mine. Googling answers for my son’s homework is becoming a more frequent activity at my house. Coming up with creative ways to bribe my daughter to comply with a simple request-that’s fun too. But, these are generally all expected as a mom.

To some extent, a mom can anticipate having some interactions with their child in the medical world. Well check-ups with a doctor and vaccines aren’t always fun, but they are a necessary part of life that most choose to do. Illnesses happen too. Dosing out medications and caring for a sick child is a hard part of being a mother, but it is temporary thankfully.  

But then there are women like me... We have mothered our children in the hospital for chronic conditions or severe illnesses. It is a situation that no one is prepared for -nor is it something one imagines when dreaming of their baby’s future early on. Yet, you learn to navigate the life you are given, even if it involves your child in the hospital.

Me and Jaycee-Yes, I am super tired from the hospital!

We have just finished up hospital stay 30 something for Jaycee. For those 30+ admissions, my plans- my appointments, work, and sometimes vacations- were canceled. I go where I am most needed, with my daughter to the hospital. Sometimes, I ride in the ambulance with her. Other times, I transport her myself with my van full of equipment like a monitor and oxygen. A couple of times, she went to the hospital in a helicopter as my husband and I sped there in our vehicle trying not to think about what was happening while we were separated.

I have spent as little as a few days in the hospital with Jaycee and as long as 4 weeks. There have been times when Jaycee craves my affection and love. I am happy to be there to kiss booboos and calm a scared and sick child. There have also been times when I have been pushed away. I am sure she wonders why I allow her to be poked and suctioned. Though she is 12, her mental age is more like a child under age 5 in some areas. She doesn’t understand everything that happens to her. Even though I have made visuals specifically for the hospital, supplement my words with sign language, and use simple words, a child who is terrified is hard to reason with. So if she pushes me away, I go across her hospital room in a chair as she wishes. I try not to take it personally and wait for her to receive my love again, which can take minutes or hours.

Being a mom in the hospital is tough. Before I get any farther, I want to clarify that my daughter has it the toughest. She has to endure it all, but this is my perspective as a helpless loved one who is at the mercy of the illness and condition beating my kid up. As Jaycee’s mom, I want her time in the hospital to be short and easy as possible with no setbacks. It is hard to stand by, watch numbers on a monitor, and wait. There is nothing I can do to stop things from getting worse. There is also nothing I can do to help her get better any faster. I must depend on the staff to make good decisions and figure out the right course of treatment. And, yes, I give my opinion when I think it will help.

As Jaycee has gotten older, my jobs in the hospital are pretty simple. Order her meals and help her once they arrive. Help with bathroom breaks and baths. Guide her through movie choices or put on music. Help with dressing and positioning of stuffed animals. I offer hugs and kisses and words of encouragement. I cheer her on when she is reluctant to take her medication. I help her FaceTime her friends and family when she is missing all her buddies. We call her brother every day and check on him. Unfortunately, that is about all I can do for him during our time of separation.  

The hospital is a hard place for a mother. It makes you see things you never wanted to see and be in situations you never knew existed. Some of the hardest things for me have been watching her be bagged, intubated, suctioned, and medically drugged. Looking at her body with PICC lines, central lines, arterial lines, catheters, etc. at different times hasn’t been easy. Some have left scars on her body. Though the time of the illness may be long gone, these remind me of her fight.

I have been called strong, a good mom, amazing, and a few other positive words. I am strong-sometimes good, but not on my own strength. It comes out of me when the situation arises. Sometimes, I think these admissions will break me emotionally. There are times I have wanted to give up, drive home, sleep in my bed for a night, and pretend my little girl didn’t struggle to breathe so often. It is a thought I have for a second. It’s not an option really though. I keep going until she is on her way to recovery and back home again. That’s where we all belong. Still, sometimes I break down frustrated with things I cannot change, fears for my daughter’s future, and from exhaustion that comes from an admission. Even strong moms get worn out.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I want to recognize the many roles of a mother. You never know what motherhood will bring to you and your children, but all life and time is precious. God is gracious to us and equips us with everything we need to help us through the good and the hard times as parents, even if we aren’t always able to see it at the time.

Motherhood doesn't stop in the hospital because there is a little life I helped create sitting in a bed needing me. I'll be there for her. That's what moms are for.

Happy Mother’s Day!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, I feel like you are the friend I need today who understands my weariness. It has been a long week. Our 7yr old has been to the er at 3am, his psychiatrist, and 2 therapy sessions. Our 9 yr old had his psychiatry appointments and therapy sessions. We got both boys therapy reports. Just tears. Trying to be happy both children had a good day at school Friday. I have a few hours to myself shopping and relaxing at lunch.


submit to reddit