Monday, January 15, 2007

My lens

People sometimes ask (or wonder): "Why can't you just get over that preeclampsia thing and move on?" I've wondered about this myself. What is it about those experiences that stays with you, makes it nearly impossible to move on even if you want to?

I think the answer is that preeclampsia is now my lens--the lens through which I see the world. Nearly all aspects of my life continue to be influenced by the fact that I had preeclampsia in my two pregnancies. Or like what happens when a pebble is dropped into a makes a quick splash, but ripples instantly begin to move outward from that point. The ripples grow, expand, and move to encompass an ever-bigger portion of the water.

So, the initial pebble was the diagnosis of PE itself--although it was more like a 5-ton boulder than a pebble. From there, the ripple effect sons were born extremely premature due to PE. They experienced long hospital stays and lingering health issues due to the prematurity. I completely altered my career path in order to be a "mom of preemies". I experienced severe stress and nearly-crushing depression years AFTER the fact due to the strain of caring for the developmental and health issues of my boys. I learned the meanings of so many new words, phrases, and acronyms.........can you say BPD, CPAP, PDA, As and Bs, ASD, RSV? Most recently, I became a online forum founder and a blog contributor! It's now a part of my daily life to work at helping and supporting other PE moms around the world, and it's my own form of therapy as well.

So, in early 2001 if you had told me I would have 2 extremely premature sons, would have survived a life-threatening disease twice, would no longer be a full time teacher but would be Mom's taxi service to weekly speech therapy appointments and the endless doctor's visits, and would be a part of a worldwide sisterhood of PE survivors..........I would have thought you'd truly lost touch with reality. Instead, this IS my reality, and it colors my view of my life, my world, because I've gone in an entirely different direction than I would ever have predicted.

Did I ask to have PE? No. Would I choose to have it, or wish it on anyone else? Not a chance. But now that I've had it, I can't just walk away unchanged. I can't move on as if it never happened. My life isn't the same as it was before August 6, 2001. All that I can do, all that any of us can try to do, is move on as if it DID happen--and know that we're not alone.