The past 3 1/2 weeks in the hospital has given me lots of time to reflect. I’ve thought about many different things, but keep coming back to a few that really stick with me. Some of them are very close to being labeled “regrets,” but I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, so I choose to call them lessons instead. These are things I’ve always known, but an experience like this makes me realize just how important they are.
Trust Your Instincts We have them for a reason and they are rarely wrong. When your gutt is telling you one thing, and your mind, and maybe lots of others, are saying something else, go with your gutt. I wish I had listened to my gutt a couple of months ago when I felt like James wasn’t ready for daycare. He was sick almost from the moment he started, and never fully recovered. I know he will get sick whenever he goes back to daycare, or to school, it is inevitable. And, I know he needs to build his immune system, but not while he’s still fragile. Months or years from now he will be stronger and better able to handle it. Had I stood my ground the worst that would’ve happened was I would be labeled over-protective. Well, I’ve been down that road already and I’m ok with it. This is perhaps the toughest one, because maybe I would’ve prevented some of the pain and discomfort James has gone through these last few weeks if I had just trusted my instincts.
Be Your Child’s Advocate Nobody knows your child and what they need better than you do, and nobody will fight for them harder than you will. When James was denied synagis (the shot that helps prevent RSV) we should have questioned his doctor more, and questioned the insurance company more. We should have exhausted all avenues trying to find a way to get him approved. I tend to not want to be “that parent.” That pain in the butt, thinking they know best, demanding, my way or I’ll find a new doctor, kind of parent. I’ve learned through all of this that there may be times I have to find a kind (if possible) way to be that parent for James’ sake.
Ask Questions You should understand what is happening to your child and why. If you don’t know what is right, you won’t recognize when something is wrong. You’re at the bedside more than doctors and nurses are, and you know your child better than they do. You’re likely to notice something that isn’t right before they do. When James was in the NICU we learned to ask lots of questions, and sometimes the same question to multiple people until we had a satisfactory response. This hospital stay has been no different. It has helped James when we’ve noticed equipment that wasn’t functioning properly, and treatment schedules that were incorrect. And, it’s given us peace of mind when we’ve been worried. When in doubt, always ask.
Hopefully this hospital stay is winding down and we’ll be going home soon. And although there are many more things I’ve learned and ways I’ve grown as a mom and as a person, these are the lessons that have been seared into me. These are the things that would’ve made a difference before our hospital stay (maybe kept us out of the hospital), and have definitely made a difference while we’ve been here. Going forward these will be foremost in my mind. I know I will come back to them time and again as I strive to keep James healthy, get him what he needs, and recognize when something isn’t right. I don’t regret the path that has led us to this point. We’ve always done what we feel is best for James. Going forward these lessons will make us more wise to his needs, and better able to meet them.