Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Being an advocate for your preemie: Part 2

This post about being an advocate for your preemie is devoted to trusting your gut.

I’m sure you have heard time and again that you should “trust your gut.” While my husband and I like to ask questions, think things through and then make a decision, I have often noticed that my initial gut reaction or decision is usually the one that we go with. Sometimes you gut reaction can be a loud “absolutely not” voice in your head or sometimes it can be a quiet, nagging feeling that just doesn’t go away. So how do you know when to trust your gut or whether your gut is choosing to speak to you? Here are some things to pay attention to:

Preemie parents are faced with many medical decisions that can be life or death. When this happens to you, listen to what the doctor/nurse/surgeon is telling you. What are the options? What does each option entail/mean for your preemie? Why does this need to be done? What if we do or don’t do something? As those questions are answered, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Do you find yourself leaning one way or another? Concentrating on one option over another? Seriously against one of the options? Those are some key indicators as to what your may be thinking.

When and how should you pay attention to your gut? Just because you have an initial reaction to something doesn’t always mean it is the right decision. But it also doesn’t mean that it is automatically wrong either. The thought of surgery or a medically invasive procedure is never pleasant but is often the option that is chosen because it is ultimately best for your preemie. That’s why it’s important to listen to that gut reaction that happens once you have information. As you think things through and discuss and weigh the options, what is your gut telling you then? Just because you initially said “no way” or “absolutely” to something doesn’t mean that you should go that direction because it may have been an initial thought without the necessary information.

Here is an example:

I was admitted to the hospital with my daughter when she was 23 weeks and 6 days. They told us all of the potential issues, obstacles and problems that our daughter might face by being born so early. After getting all of that information, the doctor told us that we needed to decide what to do. If she was born that night, did we want them to do everything they could to save her or should they do nothing and let “nature” takes its course? What a question. That was a decision and a series of conversations that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. My initial reaction was that of course we had to do everything, this was our baby! And then my husband and I really sat down and hashed it out. What would a baby that could have many, many problems face in this world? Could we do it? What would it mean for our family? For our son? I really sat and wondered if maybe we should let her go. Maybe she wasn’t meant to be in this world. Thankfully my gut was very loud and kept telling me that no, this was our baby and she deserves to be given a chance. And so we did and despite some obstacles she is absolutely the blessing that my gut knew she would be. I’m thankful everyday that I listened.

It can also be helpful to know your gut reaction to something as you start to talk to other people. As I’m sure you know, once you tell people or discuss the options with people EVERYONE will have an opinion. It can be easy to be swayed one way or another by a passionate argument or new idea. I do think that opinions are very valuable however sometimes they can lead you away from what YOU truly think or want. So as you listen to the opinions, remember what your initial reaction was and let that guide you towards the ultimate answer or decision you make.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I appreciate this post. I'm currently pregnant and it really made me stop and think about what decisions my husband and I would make in such a situation.