Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Working Through the Flashbacks

After Joshua died, I struggled horribly with flashbacks from the day that he died

Every time I closed my eyes, or let my mind rest, I relived that morning. I pictured him blue and lifeless. I felt his body twitching after he had taken his last breath. I heard the sounds of him struggling to breathe, gasping for air. I remembered his eyes, looking up at me for the very last time.

As time has worn on, I have struggled less and less with those flashbacks. They aren't nearly as intense as they used to be, and I've managed to control them when I feel them coming on.

However, there are triggers that set me on edge. Sounds or sights that bring me to the edge of a full blown flashback that I have to work through.

Having Luke has been such a blessing to me. He has brought so much healing to my broken heart. He has not replaced Joshua, but has brought healing to some of the most damaged parts of my heart and soul. His new life has brought life and joy to our family in ways that we never expected.

But, I'm not going to lie, it's been a struggle.

The questions of why life wasn't like this for Joshua always seem to be at the back of my mind. I wonder what life would have been like if Joshua had lived. The struggle of "unfairness" is something that I have to continuously give to God.

One of the biggest obstacles that I face with Luke is constant fear and worry.

I think all new parents are always slightly on edge about their babies. They wake up out of a dead sleep to check to see if the baby is still breathing- especially if the baby has slept longer than usual (I remember doing this with both Caleb and Hannah when they were tiny babies). I think all new parents have some small amount of worry about their baby's health.

My fear with Luke is heightened, to say the least. It is something that I battle every day- determined not to let my fear from past experiences rule my life.

I wake in the middle of the night and have to check on Luke (even though he is in the crib that is literally right next to our bed.) I have to listen to his breathing, check his color, and touch his face to make sure he is warm. I have to feel his heart beating inside him before I can finally relax and go back to sleep.

I am on heightened alert when he is fussing in his swing- always checking to make sure his color is pink and that his breathing isn't labored.

When he chokes after a feeding, or works on spitting up, his noises just about send me into a full blown flashback. The sounds that he makes are identical to the sounds that Joshua made the first time that he coded and I found him blue in his crib.

We have had Luke checked over multiple times by his pediatrician and cardiologist. He is, by their standards, 100% healthy. We have absolutely no reason to worry that he will die. But I can't help but worry. I find myself wondering if I should call his doctor about this symptom or that symptom, when my logic tells me that there is nothing wrong. That's when I have to take a moment and remind myself that Luke is ok.

The triggers are there, and they are real. It is a constant battle within myself to not let that fear control me. It's something that I am working on every single day- just resting in the fact that he does not have the health issues that his brother had. I refuse to let my fear and worry rule my life. I will not let it snuff out the joy that I have found in Luke's precious little life.


Jennifer Hood said...

God bless you Jill. Your honesty is so beautiful and a wonderful example for all your readers. I will continue to pray for you, Shane, and your sweet children.

With love,

Queen Bee said...

Sending love to you, Jill.

We lost our Lincoln to HLHS in September and have talked about what it would be like if we have more children in the future. I have long thought about how I would feel that heightened anxiety you described, specifically the coughing/choking that Lincoln's heart failure caused him.

Your blog has been comforting to read and be able to relate to.

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