Why me? Part 3
I placed Kaila gently in her bassinet and the nurse rolled her away into a room that resembles nothing like heaven only its bright white lights and linens. Again, Kaila wasn’t with me. Again she wasn’t being held by me.
The hours dragged, Keone made the best of things with his game boy and an occasional field trip across campus to McDonalds via Papa and Mama. I remember he came up to me and hugged me deeply, even at 4 1/2 he could sense my worry. 4 hours turned like agony, then the surgeon appeared.
“Mrs Madrid?”…..I rushed quickly to the hallway “Kaila is doing well, we located inactive bowel confirming she has Hirschprung’s which affected about 1/2 of her colon according to pathology. She looks good and will have an ostomy for several months until she grows more healthy bowel and we can reverse it back…. and for now she also has a gastrostomy to relieve any gas pressure while she heals.”
My mind wasn’t thinking, Kaila’s grandparents took over asking questions. I froze in my thoughts. I think exhaustion, dehydration, lack of sleep, weaning of pain meds and poor diet was getting to me physically. I thanked the doctor and he paused to see if I had my usual questions. I was still. I let go. What had to be was done and now came the task of letting Kaila heal and finally taking her home. “My will be done”
I was anxious to get to recovery to see her. The nurse walked me back to a lonely bassinet. There she was. Pale, dried lips from being unable to eat by mouth, and exposed. I rushed to hold her, I took a deep breath of her. Wires, heart rate monitor, tube, gastrostomy drainage, tube up her nose, ostomy bag, her loose diaper, dried blood… I examined everything attached to her like solving a puzzle.
Holding her in the rocker I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of her tiny body embrace me. My neck began to ache because I tilted my head to keep her face next to mine, but I didn’t care. In that moment I was content for the first time since this nightmare started. “A child shall bring its mother closer to Me” As I rocked back and forth the nurse came in and said they would be moving her back to the PICU instead of the NICU for observation. It would still be a few days before she could come home. I just wanted everyone to leave us alone. Just leave!
That night at home was harder than the rest. I guess because everyone felt lighter, except me. I still felt there was something unfinished. I couldn’t explain then. Now I understand. “Take these trials and be thankful”
We waited until she was transferred to the PICU. “Do you want to go get some lunch?” Kaila’s dad asked. “No it’s ok, I am fine, you go ahead.” The further he reached, the further I pushed away. I felt no feelings towards him, no guilt, no love, no friendship, just like ships passing. I resented him, I couldn’t picture my future with him in it. This gave me more confidence which gave him less power over me. It was just 3 months ago I left Texas and his games. His phone numbers hidden in his pockets. His lies. His verbal stabs. Being left alone all day, just Keone and I, while he used my car to go to work. Not allowed to go and spend money. Not allowed to take Keone anywhere. Not allowed to run the air conditioning. He was glad we left because he was free, and so was I.
When I first arrived at the NICU, I remember being next to a baby born without 1 leg and 1 hand. If I continued to let him control me, that could have been Kaila.
The next morning was hard to wake up. I barely slept. Thoughts consumed me of the near but distant future of having a special needs child….forever.
After Kaila recovered, they wanted to assure my compitance of taking care of a child with an ostomy. I felt it was because I was only 21, but they assured me it was procedure. Basically stuck in a hospital room. No food, no water, just me Kaila and her supplies. I had family bring food for me and some visits. I tried not to be miserable but we both needed vitamin D at that point.
A close friend at the time, finally got a glimpse of Kaila’s new ostomy and her reaction upset me, I knew it would be a reaction of many. “Oh my God!!!! What is that?” My sister and my other girlfriend looked at her in awe. I handled it calmly but it felt like a knife in my back. The quiet voice returned stronger than ever before, clearer…..”She does not know Me, show her the way”
Bringing her home felt freeing, no tubes attached, no wires, and no meddling nurses (bless their heart) I slept next to her all night for the first time. “Thank you Jesus” I felt my heart smiling and dreamed happy dreams. I slept 12 hours that day, went out in the sun, stuck our feet in the pool, ate real food, and took care of Keone and Kaila all day. Didn’t leave the house, didn’t have to be at the hospital for another 2 days. I wanted to enjoy every minute of togetherness. “You are chosen for a great purpose, be still”
The next night I realized she wasn’t waking to feed. My breast milk was long gone now with the stress. A special formula was all she could have. Trying to feed her, I woke up at 2am and held her in the quiet of the night. Her father went out with friends and still had not returned. Why did I think that would change? He returned an hour after I had fed and changed Kaila. Exhausted, he had awoken me, I refused. I should’ve known better, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. For 2 more hours, it was me or him that was going to win. My spirit was stronger now and still resisted, he tried to drive me to the point of exhaustion, almost giving in I screamed inside, “Jesus give me the strength to leave.”
Next thing I knew the sun came up. My eyes were exhausted and I slowly stood up to reach for Kaila. He tried to stop me. “Because of Me you are safe” I knew his addiction was growing deeper to the point of no return. “I need to feed Kaila” and he reluctantly receeded. He tried to pretend he went back to sleep. But I knew the drugs weren’t allowing it. “Your heart must be filled with Me”
I took Kaila and emptied her ostomy, changed her diaper, and headed downstairs to make her bottle. I placed her in her bouncy seat while I prepared her formula. She looked so tiny in that seat. But she was warming my heart at the same time. I was thankful at that moment. For if not for her, I could have been subject to more agressive behavior from her father. She was my way out. My way out of the darkness I was in.
I never went back to sleep that morning. I was prepping bottles, her ostomy supplies, diapers, change of clothes, baby blankets, all for the next day as it was her first appointment back at the hospital. With military hospitals you never know how long you will be there. I also was afraid to go back to bed with Kaila’s father, so I kept myself at a distance and kept myself busy.