That's exactly what I'm up against.
And the sleep deprivation was horrible, but it was so danged necessary too. I mean, Mercy was born at 3:15 in the morning, up all that day. Up 3 times during the night to pump. At the hospital the whole next day, checked into the Ronald McDonald house, but stayed in NICU until literally 3 or 4 in the morning because Mercy needed me there with her so that she would sleep deeply enough and slow her breathing down. I spent hours singing "Simple Gifts" to her softly because the rhythm gives a good respiratory rate, and she was breathing in rhthm to my singing. I got 3 hours of sleep and was back at the hospital after that. I got somewhat more sleep the night before because they let me stay in the rooming in room that night, waking up to nurse every 3 hours.
Then we transfered to the Hospital from Hell with all the stupid mind games and manipulation, sitting in a room by myself with Mercy, with no TV, no internet, no hospital cafeteria on site open for more than lunch on weekdays for a full 7 days. It just doesn't feel like I did a good enough job because I couldn't bring her home, away from people who didn't love her and who were looking out for their liability concerns and to pad their admissions numbers on the NICU billing stuff.
I am absolutely not being able to sleep at night, and my husband told me that he's sad that I'm not happy ever. I mean, my attitude is good and I am consciouly focusing on the good things in my life. I just can't ever relax, and I don't have an emotional response of happiness to really anything. I'm constantly in a state of vigilance and it almost rises to the level of PTSD. It's just such a bizarre combination, because I'm simultaneously proud of how engaged and tenacious I was as Mercy's mom, but I'm embarrassed and feel like none of that matters because we were still subject to the doctors and what they wanted, not having any meaningful control over our lives. That level of powerlessness makes it difficult to relax enough to be happy. I feel mostly stunned still. I haven't even written out Mercy's birth story.
I will absolutely PM you when I'm in a place to say more. I'm just starting to get a feel for how dramatically this has impacted me. I just started figuring out yesterday that I was internalizing things on the order of I wasn't smart enough and therefore earned my daughter 10 days in a hospital because I couldn't talk our ways out of it. Surveying the damage is not something I'm really looking forward to. And thank you so much for offering to talk, Jen. It's horrible that you know what this is like too, but it's comforting to know that other people who have been through this kind of nightmare feel similar ways.