Hospital stay divides a twin momma's heart
Every family has its particular set of challenges. Being blessed with multiples is so much fun (it's hard, but nice work if you can get it). Having a child with special medical needs is, oddly enough, also a blessing. But for us this week, the two blessings have collided.
What was a minor stomach bug for the Little Monkey and for me has landed our little Koala Bear in the hospital.
We knew this could happen, but she's been so healthy for the last 10 months, we sort of forgot. We were actually walking around acting like a normal family, and boy did it feel great! Then -- a sudden dip back into reality.
Because of her condition -- a severe, complex heart defect -- she is more prone to illness and takes a little longer to recover. Or so we were told. In fact, this is the first time she has ever been sick. And here we are, back in the Cardio-Vascular Intensive Care Unit at All Children's Hospital. She is, at last, snuggled and asleep in her big-girl bed, and I am perched in the recliner beside her.
I feel good knowing I'll be here all night. If she wakes, she won't be in a strange place with only strangers -- her momma's here.
Which means I'm not with the Little Monkey.
It's the curse of being a twin momma -- wherever I am, I feel I should be with the other one.
We're actually lucky. The girls' grandparents live nearby. The Little Monkey is having a sleep-over at grandma and grandpa's house, probably being spoiled rotten. I don't have to worry one whit about her.
I just miss her.
I spent all day with the Koala, at the doctor's office and then here at the hospital. I held her and rocked her and comforted her as the medical team did all their poking and prodding. It was where I needed to be and wild horses couldn't have pulled me anywhere else.
By evening she was calm enough that I could leave for awhile to go visit the Monkey. We played, then I got her a drink of milk and put her to bed. It was where I needed to be -- but oh! The Koala! I knew she was fine.
But I missed her.
I am having flashbacks to the twins' first six months of life. Koala was in the CVICU for two months before she came home for the first time. Every day I had to split my time between the newborn at home and the newborn in the hospital. Every time I left one it tore me apart -- and every time I saw one I was filled with joy. Every day, back and forth, up and down: Ping-pong of the soul. Koala had three more hospital stays in her next four months of life, including a month over Christmas. It broke my heart to not be together with my girls on the holiday. No matter what I did, I felt I would be deserting one of my daughters. I visited the hospital twice that day to wish my Koala a merry Christmas and bring her presents -- and each time I left the Monkey, I died a little. When I left All Children's the second time, I cried all the way home.
A kind nurse told me that wherever I was at the time was where I needed to be. And she was right. Both girls have strong teams taking care of them, and as long as each one gets some momma cuddles every day, I know she'll be fine. Soon enough, I'll have all four little arms wrapped around me again.
I've done all I can. Plans have been made, contingencies are in place. My job now is to trust, and to love.
Wherever I am.
-- Kate Brassfield
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