Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When I give Jonathan his nightly breathing treatments, I take a little time for myself to peruse Facebook, check email and whatever else I can do with one hand (while the other tries to keep his mask in front of his face).

Today was a particularly challenging day with Jonathan because he wasn't happy anywhere except in Mommy or Daddy's arms.  This makes it hard to get anything done, and it is very stressful to hear your baby cry all day while you wonder, "What does this baby need?!"  He's crying right now!

But I realized tonight that there are some families that would give anything to hear their baby cry.

While browsing the Facebook homepage I came across the name of I person who is from the same town as me, and who Jeff and I also unexpectedly met in the NICU in Orlando.

He and his wife just had a baby, born full-term, and unexpectedly rushed to Orlando from the small hospital where she was born.  Their baby was terminally injured during her birth and after 6 days of being on life support, they were told she was brain dead and they family made the heart-breaking decision to take her off life support, where she passed peacefully back to her Father.

I couldn't help but look at this man's profile, not sure of what I was looking for, but then I saw an album which had the title of his beautiful daughter's name.  I scrolled through the album, which began with pictures of a baby in the NICU and had people's comments like, "Oh, she looks just like you!" and "How cute!"   Those comments broke my heart because I knew what happened in the end.  But I kept scrolling through.  I came across a picture of the mother, holding her baby, with her other 2 kids gathered around her.  The mother's face was turned away from her baby in agony, eyes shut.  I covered my face and began to sob.  I couldn't help myself.  Here I was getting frustrated at my son's inconsolable crying, and this woman may feel as if she'd give anything to hear her baby girl's cries.

I am thankful that I saw these pictures, as tragic as they were, because they've made my babies cries music to my ears again.  In the hospital, in those 8 long weeks that Jonathan was on a ventilator, we always said it would be music to our ears to hear his voice.  And now we hear it every day.  Some times as playful babbling, other times as loud screeching and crying.  Either way I am thankful for it, and very sorry that I ever took it for granted.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


WOW!  I know it's been a while since I posted anything.  I could go on and on with why but to be concise - I am the mom of a preemie!  'Nuff said.

I wanted to write tonight though, because it is cathartic to write, and maybe a NICU mom, or friend of one, will stumble upon this and be able to relate, or be encouraged, or get a laugh at my expense (I've laughed at others' expense and it felt so good so I will gladly be that for you if you need it).

However, I don't think this post will be a funny one.

If you are not a preemie parent, you may have a hard time understanding this.  But if you've ever been through something life-changing or traumatizing, then you probably can relate.

There are some times when I can't help but cry.  I think about everything Jeff and I went through with the events surrounding the conception, pregnancy and birth of Jonathan.  To look at us today, you might think, "What's the big deal?  Everything turned out fine!"  Yea, we are all home as a family and doing very well and we are so thankful for that because it is what we have dreamed of since July 3rd.  But that day will always be marred in my mind because of the unplanned birth of our son.  I know, it was God's plan.  And I believe His way is perfect.  That still doesn't take away the deep scar that it left.  I can remember once my water broke, I couldn't bring myself to open my eyes.  I didn't want to see what was going on as they wheeled my bed out of the delivery room and into the operating room.  I didn't want to see my husband dressed in scrubs to watch Jonathan as he was born; I didn't want to see my baby afterwards because I knew the slim chances of his survival.  I am crying as I write this because although things have turned out remarkably well for us, there is still deep pain in the back of my mind.  I can't explain why it's still there, but it is.  I often replay that day in my head - maybe I'm a narcissist.  But more than that, I don't want to forget that day because that was the day God began to teach us what He was really capable of.  He continued to create life in front of our eyes; he healed blood infections, collapsed lungs, certain blindness, malformed heart valves, brain hemorrhages, and so much more.  He showed me He didn't need me to create life - He used me for 24 weeks and 3 days, then my role was over and the rest was all Him.   He changed our lives forever as we witnessed His power over the course of 116 days.

I went into preterm labor on June 26th - that was when I was admitted into the hospital to try to keep the baby in (he was born a week later).  I have a daily devotional book called "Jesus Calling" which is written as if Jesus is talking to you.  This was the devotional from that day:

Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what.  Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day.  Nothing takes Me by surprise.  I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me.  I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents.  Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all your troubles.  Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.
Psalm 23:1-4

And I do not believe in coincidences.