the emotional toll of the past week has been more extensive than i would have ever imagined. the physical aspect seems to be the minor issue we are facing right now. emery's pain tolerance is either really high, or the oxycodone is working a miracle :) the inside of her mouth looks like a sewing machine went haywire with the zig zag stitch. it's pretty horrible to see. but after day 3, her pain level seems to be controlled really well by the oxy. the emotional regression is much more painful. at times, it's confusing to know how to handle it.
maybe the past 2 months have been like a mirage. other than a few really challenging weeks in the beginning, our time with emery has been so smooth and she found such a groove of peace and trust within her family. but this week of pain and being poked and prodded and held down and arms pinned straight with no-no's, it shook my baby girl back in time.
most of our day, she plays and laughs and snuggles. she ate a LOT today and seems to be unfazed by her mouth. she even finds ways to play with and climb and crawl with her no-no's.
but when it's time for meds (every 4 hours for oxy and tylenol, every 6 for antibiotics, and every 12 for ear drops) she panics. she screams and flails and fights and as if we are torturing her. i'm sure it makes no sense why the people she trusts most are forcing things in her mouth and ears. she looks at me with horror no matter how sweet and calm i sound. she knows whats coming, and she hates it.
at bedtime tonight, i realized just how deep she is hurting. i gave her all of the her meds and drops before we went up for bed. by the time i was trying to put her pjs on, she was so frantic and irate, i knew it was a pivotal night. she wears double no-no's at night (because she can get her hands in her mouth with just one pair) so her arms are like casts. thankfully, the no-no's keep her from clawing her face and head (which she started doing again this week).
her screams reminded me so much of china. but this time, as she flailed and scratched and cried with all her might, her eyes stayed with me. they were begging me not to leave her. her fragile emotional state wanted to push me away. she kicked and screamed and punched me over and over with her crazy arm no-no's. i knew she didn't want to be held, but she also didn't want me to leave. it's such a strange duo that i've never experienced before. but now i recognize it...the pattern of her wanting me to let her feel and deal with pain in her own way, but wanting the security of knowing i'm there for her.
so i held her loosely, and i let her scream and flail. i didn't hold her down, but i held her enough for her to know she was safe. i could put her in her crib and see if she calmed by herself, or go with my gut and stick it out with her. i felt so deeply that she needed me to stay. i tried a few things, but no matter what i did, it made things worse, so we sat. she screamed. i waited.
and all of the sudden she stopped. she looked up at me like it never happened. she signed bottle and drank for a few moments. she fell asleep instantly on my shoulder. i layed her down in her crib and she snuggled up and went back to sleep.
what was all that about??
regression. she went back to the only thing she knows from her deep past of pain. she knows how to panic. she's slowly learning that i'll be there with her as she heals through it.
it's not easy for either of us.
this adoption thing isn't for the faint at heart. we are parenting broken and fragile warriors. children who have deep rooted pain and fear of abandonment at every stressful turn.
emery and i have so much in common. we want and need help, but we hate asking for it. i would have never survived this week without friends and family jumping in and caring for my kids, bringing meals, visiting us in the hospital, and sending so many messages of love and kindness. so many people i don't even know encouraged me beyond measure this week.
i am truly dreading her next surgery...for fear that we have to step back to where we are right now. what she must endure in the next few months can only be conquered because God has invested more strength in her than i even realize. she was created in a powerful way and all i can do is trust that God will bring us through each of these difficult times in our growth as a family.