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As if there wasn’t enough guilt already

WARNING!!!!!!!! I’m going to vent……..

Ryley is playing T-Ball. I’ve blogged it before. That’s not the point of today’s entry. Every team has a team mom. Ours is not my favorite person in the world. At yesterday’s game, she reinforced that even more. I really try to remain a positive person, and try to see the good parts of everyone. I don’t like to bash or complain about other people, but this one just completely threw me, and I need to get it out or else it’s going to eat me up inside.

She and I were talking. Ryley wasn’t in the game because his knee was hurting. She asked if he was growing, etc. We frequently deal with knee pain whenever he goes through a growth spurt. I was saying how far he has come, and explained that he was a preemie, 2 lbs at birth, born at 26 weeks, etc, etc, etc. At first, she was really supportive and agreeing that yes, he had come really far. Then she asked how long he was in the hospital. When I told her “93 days”, she asked me if I stayed at the hospital the entire time. Hmph. No, I did not STAY at the hospital for 93 days with him. I went, everyday, for hours on end, but I didn’t stay there. I explained that they only had one rooming in room and that was for parents with very, very sick babies, or those getting ready to go home. Her youngest son spent a month in the NICU for a metabolic disorder. She went on to say that she never left the hospital and neither did her husband. They slept in chairs in the NICU, her husband slept in the window seat, and she even climbed into the hospital crib with her son (I got a mental picture of me trying to climb into the isolette with Ryley). She made me feel like I was a bad mom for leaving my child to go home each night. As if I didn’t have enough guilt over this already. She made it sound like she was a better mother because she never left the hospital for an entire month. Should I have stayed? Could I have stayed?

I HATED leaving Ryley every night. I would cry nearly all the way home, cry when I got home, cry during the night thinking about him being there “all alone” in his isolette and then his crib. I still hate leaving him in his room each night, and he’s 5 1/2 years old!!!!! Her conversation just left me in pieces, and brought all those feelings to the surface once again. I left a part of myself in that NICU everyday when I walked out the doors. I would practically hold me breath until I was back there again, watching and seeing what he was doing, how he was doing. Was I wrong to go home every night? Was I wrong to not be there 24/7 for 93 days? I honestly didn’t even know what to say to her after that. With one sentence, she brought back everything, every fear, every amount of guilt I thought I had dealt with, healed from, and left behind. And suddenly, I was once again doubting myself and my skills as Ryley’s mother.

Sorry to go on….It really, really hurt me. I thought and dreamed about it all night.

15 thoughts on “As if there wasn’t enough guilt already

  1. Oh, Donna, how horrible! I’m sorry this mom implied that you were less than an amazing mom while Ryley was in the NICU. Geez, wonder what she’d think about us who sometimes only came for an hour or say on days when we had other appointments. The NICU nurses would always ask when we left, “Will you be back tonight?” and EVERY TIME it made me feel TERRIBLE to say, “No, we’ll see you tomorrow though.” HUGS!!! Kara

  2. Donna,
    That is just horrible for someone to do. I don’t think that you were wrong in what you did. I too did not spend as much time at the hospital with William because I had 3 other children to take care of. Sometimes there are just things that need to be done away from the hospital that you have to do, and sleeping is one of them. You are a wonderful mother, don’t let this one mother change that, keep up the good work. God Bless,
    Susan

  3. Oh Donna!! I’m so sorry she said that to you..and made you feel that way. You would think another NICU mom would know better!! Honey, you’re only human…..93 days is a LONG time to spend in a hospital. Ryley had his own bed….and nurses that loved him and took good care of him…he was NEVER alone….trust in that!! When George Daniel was 2 months old, he was in the PICU for a week…I tried to stay up there as much as I could, so he wouldn’t be lonely, but I had Taylor & had to work as much as I could too to make ends meet. I would always feel horrible about leaving…but everytime I came back to the hospital…there were crowds of nurses surrounding my son….so I knew he wasn’t alone!!! They loved him to pieces…and that was only a week….Ryley was in for 93 days!!! Honey, I know it hurts when others take that healing stick away & hit you on the head with it…making you feel it all all over again!! You are a great mother, to all three of your kids!!! Never doubt that!! Hugs & Lotsa love to a Super Mom!!!
    Sharlene

  4. Donna, Oooh, I’m so sorry you were hurt like this. Of course you weren’t wrong to go home! If that was the case, I think MOST of us that have had babies in the NICU were wrong! I mean, yes, ALL of us would have liked to stay at the hospital 24/7…but really, I’m not even sure that’s healthy. We needed the comfort of home…even though we had discomfort for leaving our children… I know if I would have never left the hospital…I would have gone insane. Maybe that makes me a bad mom, but the hours I spent at the hospital were exhausting…and if I get too exhausted, I don’t do anyone any good. I would have just sat around and cried even more than I already did. To sum it up…NO! You weren’t in the wrong. HUGS,
    Page

  5. Donna, People really don’t get it do they? Emma was in the NICU almost as long as Ryley and if I could’ve climbed into the isolette with her I would’ve too. I know exactly how you feel and you are not alone. This woman knows nothing of 93 days of your angel being in an isolette and you cannot be there 24 hours a day as much as you would like to. I’m sorry this woman was a rude person who took it upon herself to express her ignorance onto you! Don’t look back with regret. You did everything you could and you are the best mommie in the world for it! Hugs,
    Donna

  6. That just sucks. I wonder what she’d think of me with Emerson….I couldn’t drive….and had Leighton. So I could only go once a day – gasp! I swear – if staying all day and night every day and night is what equates a good parent – then none of us are!
    You are truly an amazing mom – and I certainly wouldn’t let some nitwit person make you think otherwise! Love you ya-
    Denise

  7. I think we could all agree that if we really stayed the WHOLE time our baby (ies) were in the NICU we would of gave a earful to the staff more than once. Nobody should have to leave the hospital without there baby, but for us to actually never leave the NICU is not realistic. We were in a little longer than Ryley- 108 days, and yes I would of loved to stay with my son, no doubt but a break was always helpful on those stressful days. The NICU is not home. We stayed at a Ronald McDonald house because our home was an hr. drive, but after a few wks in there I had enough, we decided to make the hr drive, even if it was twice a day. There’s no place like home. Ryley is home now, and you are not a bad mom for leaving him, i’m sure he would understand that if you could of fit in the isolette, he would of had a roomie! Sincerely Charlene

  8. Thanks, so much to all of you, for reminding me what reality is, and that I’m not really an awful mother. Amazing how one person can do such damage with a few misplaced words. But, I know I can come here and be “repaired”! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!
    Donna

  9. What is about some moms that in order to make themselves feel good, they must put others down? It really isn’t about who stayed in the NICU the most… it was about her wanting to feeling good about herself. The fact that she made you feel badly about yourself just shows how inadequate *she* feels. This is HER problem not yours. And it has nothing to do with staying the NICU. It’s a competition about who’s a better mom, and know what? You won. You’re a great mom. You love those kids so very much. You have made many sacrifices for them, and make decisions for them with care. You question yourself, not because you’re a bad mom, but because you want to make sure you’re making the best decision possible. Truth be told my first reaction to your story was pity for this mom. It must get awfully old having to bowl over your “friends” and acquaintances for that quick pick-me-up. Hope she feels powerful and adequate because she stapled herself to the NICU. Sheesh, since when is *that* now a competition?? I know you feel bad about her comments, but look at it as her problem… not yours. I love ya, girlfriend. And I think you are a GREAT mom. Darcy

  10. Thanks, Darcy. You’re right……I think she does want to lift herself up, just doesn’t really know how to do it. And I do feel bad for her….she could find support just like we have. She faces a lifelong battle for her son as well. Thanks for your supportive words. As always, they have lifted me right back up where I need to be! HUGS!
    Donna

  11. Oh Donna!!! I’m so very sorry!!!! HUGS to you!! I’m wrapping my arms around you now!! Some people just have no idea what they are saying when they open their mouth… really!! Of course you couldn’t stay there for 93 days… straight. You would have never survived that.. you need to take care of you .. in order to take care of Riley. You are an incredible Mommy.. who would walk to the ends of the earth for any one of your children. You love them.. and they know that!! I’m so sorry that she made you feel this way…. Please know you did the best you could.. for you and for Riley… and for that you have nothing to feel guilty for!!! HUGS!
    Karri

  12. OMG… I would have so punched this lady out… as much as she wants you to believe she and her husband both stayed the entire month… I bet she’s fibbing her rear off. How can she make you feel bad for leaving your child when 93 days is so much different than 30. It was hard to leave Madalynn and there were like 2 days out of the 49 that NO ONE went to see Madalynn because we were all sick and didn’t want to get her sick. We felt like the worst family ever but knowing that she was in great hands and with people that truely loved her like family… made it ok… not alright…. just ok. Don’t let her words hurt you or lead you to believe you are a bad Mom…. other than her being team Mom she has no impact in your life one way or another. She seems like the type of person that just has to “one up” everyone around her to feel important… Hugs to you

  13. Oh Donna your post just stings my heart. First of all there is a big difference between a month in a nicu and 3 months. We had babies that couldn’t be nurtured every minute of the day. Some days they couldn’t be held at all. They were still growing and developing. There is such a huge unknown as to the outcome of a 26 wker’s nicu stay and that is very different than what the other women went through. You should never feel guilty. I know that I went to see Nia for hours and hours everyday but only spent the night when she was really sick. It would not have been healthy for you to never leave that sad setting. You had to take care of yourself too.

  14. Donna
    I agree with everyone, my daughter was only in for 3wk, not nearly as long a riley and we only went up a coupla times a day. It doesn’t make you a better mom just because you stay with your kid 24/7 (especially a newborn who really doesn’t know the difference.) I’ll bet the nurses just loved that woman(LOL) You are a great mom and people are just rude!

  15. Donna I know I’m a bit late with this response – but as I was reading it, I remembered how TONS have people insulted me the same way. GRRRRRR…… Any stay in the hospital/NICU is traumatic. I actually had a good friend ask me how I left them there. I didn’t *leave* them there. She didn’t know how I did it cause her child was int he hospital for 4 days and they set up camp right next to him. I couldn’t do that.
    Kaia was in the NICU for 49 days, Jayson for 57. Those were the longest days of my life. And thats all I have to say about it. I am done explaining how hard it was, how heartbroken I was every single time I walked out of the doubledoors however if I could not hold them for more than 29 weeks – they were in the second best place to be. People are completely rude, some people need to think a bit more before they let words come out of their mouth. Ignore the woman. You are a wonderful Mommy – and don’t let anyone ANYONE make you feel any different. take care
    stacey

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