@cinditree I have been thinking about you since I was tagged by @colleenyoung yesterday and read your post. My heart just aches for you. The pain you are experiencing is so very real, and it is so difficult to explain it to others who have not been there. I understand what it is like to have to face friends and family who just can't comprehend the trauma and how long it stays with you. When others suggest that you should feel "grateful" or "happy" it complicates the pain in profound ways (even though they almost always mean well). I am so sorry for what you are going through.
I share my story with hope that perhaps you might feel less alone in your own path through trauma and healing. In February of 2018, I entered the hospital to have my baby. During labor, the baby's heart rate dropped and the doctors recommended a C section. The C section seemed to go smoothly and our baby boy entered the world. My husband went to the nursery to help give the baby his first bath and I was taken to a recovery room. Just a few minutes after arriving in recovery, my blood pressure began to plummet, sending off every hospital alarm. I slipped out of consciousness and the team rushed me to the Shock Trauma ICU. A team of 25 doctors and nurses had to work frantically to save my life; I have been told by many of the people who were there in Shock Trauma that night that I would have died within minutes without this major medical intervention and access to a massive amount of blood for the blood transfusions I needed. I was taken back into surgery where they did an emergency hysterectomy and tried to for several hours to stop the bleeding and save my life from what they later determined to be an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (a rare complication of childbirth that happens 1 in every 100,000 births and has a mortality rate as high as 80%). I narrowly survived and was intubated and in a coma for a week. The coma felt like a nightmare that I could not wake up from. After I "woke up", I began experiencing profound delirium. I very much relate to what you said about hallucinating relationships with the nurses and staff…the people that took care of me were very much wrapped up in my world of halucinations. After about 3 days, I started to realize that my reality was not lining up with everyone else's reality and I was terrified that I had lost my mind. I was so embarrassed (for all of the things I said!) and just completely fell apart one dark night in the hospital.
There is much more I can say about delirium, which I can share with you sometime if you are interested. I will tell you that you do not need to feel shame about anything that you imagined, said, or experienced. I found some peace by writing down (in first person) what it felt like to live in delirium…I described my halucinations in writing and somehow they seemed to have less power over me after I saw them on paper and shared them with a few people that I trusted.
I wanted to share some things that I learned near the time of my anniversary last year. Before this trauma happened to me, I mistakenly thought that survivor anniversaries would be a celebration of life. All year, I thought that I would do something really special to celebrate my baby's birthday and my one year survivorversary. However, as my one year mark got closer, I found that I was actually a mental and emotional wreck, and the LAST thing I wanted to do was have a party on the day that everything fell apart. I am in total disbelief that your trauma happened on YOUR birthday and that you now share that birthday with your baby. This is a complicated situation, and I am so sorry.
I don't know what the right solution will be for you, but I wanted to share briefly a few things that brought me peace as I faced my own anniversary.
I considered not having a birthday party at all for the baby (he wouldn't remember it, after all), but ultimately, I realized that the party meant a lot to my family (I have other children who were 9,7, and 5 at the time). I asked my 9 year old daughter to plan the party, and it brought me joy to see how much fun she had planning for her baby brother. I share this cautiously because every situation is different; perhaps you will find more peace by holding off on celebration until you feel better. There is nothing wrong with this at all! You must trust your own instincts about what will be right.
After the party was over, I decided to really focus on self care during the following week, as I remembered the days I was in a coma. I spent a lot of time writing and listening to music that brought me peace. I watched movies. I took bubble baths. I just let things go and tried to give myself a lot of grace.
Cindi, you are not alone. You are going through a very tough time and my heart is with you as you navigate the path ahead. The people on this support group were there for me when I was very deeply depressed last year. While I still have many tough days, I feel hope again now. I know that you will find hope in your own way and in your own time.
Take care of yourself and accept the help of others that is offered. Please let me know how you are doing over the next few days, and how you feel on the day of your anniversary and birthdays.