From the other side
I’m assuming this is open to us men as well. When I was hospitalized I had 7 year-old twins and my wife was 7 months pregnant. I had a pretty good/bad case of GBS. Went on a ventilator after 3 days and was in ICU for about 6 weeks, heavily sedated so I had no real memories. My wife said one of the hardest things was the nurses & doctors telling her “we’ll have to get him ready so he can be there for the birth.” It was soon obvious to her that there was no way, but some of them persisted in saying it, how my wife didn’t tell them off was beyond me. She went ahead with her delivery in the hospital of her choosing with her ob doc and had a healthy boy. Again she had to go thru a lot of questions as to why she didn’t have it at the hospital where I was .
I was just coming around about 10 days before she gave birth and if I said anything during that time that made sense it was purely an accident, because I had been so heavily sedated. Afterward, I had thoughts that I would never be able to bond with my new son. I did get to see him a week after his birth and it was tough when I got home six weeks later as I could not care for myself much less him, but within a few months we both figured it out.
My other two were a different story. The hospital staff worked with my wife as to what to tell them and when or if to bring them in. My wife and the therapist had asked me as soon as I was able to respond if I wanted to see them and I repeatedly said no. After about 10 days they said I told them I was finally ready and my wife brought them in and then came in alone and asked if I was ready that day, and I turned around and said no. (I have no memory of this, just that it put her through a tremendous amount of grief as if she needed more.) Luckily (I guess) they had been used to me travelling on business for a week at a time about once a month so between that and their age (and a very caring aunt and uncle) they dealt okay with it. Early on I mentioned that I had no real memories, but I did have several detailed hallucinatory memories involving getting myself ready to see them. The clearest one had to do with me being in almost a prison type setting and having to prove myself worthy of a visit, and buying mock presents. The visit somehow had also connected with a train trip as if I was on the train and only had limited opportunities to visit.
Sorry for going on so, the topic just brought back a rush of memories.
All in all it went as well as could be expected the kids proved very resilient.
GBS March 2005