By: Wesley Hurlock
I was excited to write my blog posts “Oh Boy...I Mean Girl…I’m going To Be a Dad!” and “The Stork Approaches” as a way to share my story and provide advice about what I—an expectant father of a little girl—was thinking about (and worrying about) with regards to my family’s future. I felt it was important to share the lessons I learned while my wife and prepared for our baby’s arrival, the effects that a child can have on your financial situation, and the impact that children have on your lifestyle. These are all great things to take into consideration when preparing to become a parent. The problem is that life doesn’t always deal you what you expect. When the unexpected occurs, it’s important to be calm, maintain your composure and put your faith in those who are trained to handle the situation.
These words rang true for me when, one weekend in late March, my wife complained of tremendous pain down the right-hand side of her back. As the pain progressively continued to get worse, both my wife and I decided it was best to go to the hospital to make sure she was okay. Eight hours, an ambulance ride and several late-night tests later, the doctors approached my wife to let her know she had appendicitis. This infection can be particularly devastating if left unchecked and untreated, even for non-pregnant women or men. With a pregnant woman, the situation becomes even more complicated as the stress on the body and the infection of appendicitis can have horrible effects on the newborn baby as well as the pregnant mother. The discussion then turns to whether the infection can be staved off or if the child needs to be prematurely born before the mother’s appendix is removed. If you’ve read my previous articles, then you’ll know that if my wife were to have this surgery, it would mean my daughter would have to be born more than two months premature.
It’s tough to see the ones you love go through a difficult situation—especially when they are in pain. If you find yourself in a similar difficult position that you did not anticipate, remember that the first component of any tough situation is to remain calm. All of the preplanning and research you did ahead of time to make sure everything was in order will now come to the forefront of your life. The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), preplanning for the baby’s room, the research you did to prepare for the medical costs—all of this now becomes the immediate priority. Trust in the planning you did to get to this point, and make sure to inform others to do the same.
Not prepared? That’s okay; now is the time to start taking action. Have discussions with your family, friends, boss and anyone else you deem necessary to make sure they are aware of the situation. They can help provide you with advice and support for what needs to be done next. If you are the partner of the mommy-to-be, seek assistance from hospital staff to know what resources are available to you. Stay in regular contact with all parties involved and advise them of the situation regarding your loved one, and work with your family and friends to visit and lend support to your partner while you get other affairs in order should you need to leave your significant other’s hospital room. Be sure to also take a moment for yourself to grab a water or coffee, along with some food, to keep your energy up and stay engaged with what you’re trying to accomplish.
You may be wondering, “How do I maintain my composure during such a difficult time?” Nothing will make an already rough situation worse than letting emotions run high. If your partner is the one caught in a tough spot, remember that this situation is just as much about you as it is about your loved one. Ask yourself: Are you going to be the rock? The one on whom your significant can rely to stay calm, cool and collected by being strong despite the trying circumstances? This is the time to be a stable resource for your significant other by adding strength and stability to the situation. Doing so will make your significant other’s recovery easier and the doctors’/nurses’ jobs easier. It lets all entities put their focus on where it’s needed most. Utilize resources both within the hospital as well as around you. Speak to those who can and will lend an ear and, if you need a moment because of the emotions, take it.
Finally, trust in the process. The facility that you and your significant other chose for treatment is where you trusted that you will be well taken care of. Ask the questions you want to ask and get answers that you need to get, but make sure to let the staff do their job. For me, I was incredibly impressed that the hospital staff said things like, “I’m sorry this happened to you. We’re going to make sure you’re comfortable and taken care of. Please make sure to ask if you have any questions.” These professionals have been trained to handle situations like these. Utilize this time to center yourself and ask those important questions you want answered. If you need more than just the word of the doctors or nurses, the hospital typically has other resources for you to take advantage of that will allow you seek additional guidance or understanding.
How did my situation turn out? My wife got released the following week from the hospital with her appendix still intact and with the baby still on schedule for a full-term birth. The antibiotics my wife was given worked to stave off the infection, so our daughter didn’t need to be prematurely born. My wife and I often talk about that incident and how thankful we were for all the people involved. We are both proud of how strong we both were for one another during this trying time. A moment like this is one that defines you and how you’ll handle similar situations in the future. As people, we strive to find where we can grow. In this instance, growth was achieved not by intention, but by resolve.
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.