Dear Preemie (On the Day You Are Born)

November 27, 2015

preemie in NICUWell, my dear, here you are.

I don’t know why fate brought us together so soon, for neither of us are finished growing. You are still so small and fragile; I am still preparing myself to be your mom. I planned to read a few more books and learn how to crochet before you were born. Daddy planned to take me on a babymoon. I wanted to get your room ready; Grandma was supposed to show me how to fold crib fitted sheets. Oh, and then the business of the baby shower. I was going to wear yellow and show off my baby bump to all of our family and friends. All of that seems so unimportant now, so petty, and possibly even unnecessary.

I am not quite sure you are going to live.

Mommy is scared to death about it. I went into labor way too early. Everything happened so fast, I could barely process it all. First there were contractions, then bedrest, and then “never mind Mom, we can’t wait any longer”. The doctors asked if I wanted them to try and save your life. Definitely. Is there another option? Yes!

From the delivery room they took you away so quickly. I barely got to see your face. They placed you on my chest just long enough for me to see how amazing you are. Oh, how I love you so. Losing you would feel impossible. I really want to be your mother.

You are no longer in the comfort and sanctity of my womb; you are nestled sweetly in an incubator in the NICU. There are tubes and machines everywhere. Your organs and processes did not get a chance to develop all of the way. The doctors tell me that you are very sick. How completely heartbroken I am about that. I have been praying and hoping for you since I learned that you were coming into the world. Trying not to blame myself now. But God knows, I wish I had done so many different things differently. I am afraid I may have failed as your mother.

I believe it was that latte. Or, the yoga class I took last week. Maybe it was that sip of soda I just could not resist. Either way, my body betrayed me. It had one job: to carry you for 36 to 40 weeks. We didn’t make it. Our family says that women miscarry all of the time. I should be glad it happened late enough into my pregnancy to save you. I know it’s true, but try telling my momma heart that.

 preemie in NICU

Maybe in time I will no longer feel the weight of this guilt. The guilt weighs ten times more than you do. My father, your grandpa, said I have forever to question my parenting. Everyone has been trying to make me laugh.

I don’t feel like laughing. I cry the moment they leave my room. I cry a river of tears.

It took me quite a while to come and sit by your side. The nurses insisted that I rest first, and they told me to prepare to wait a few hours before you and I were to be reunited. I was in so much physical pain from the trauma of your delivery and scared to fall completely in love with you, so the time was needed.

I got myself together, and now I am here with you. Immediately it all disappears. You wave a tiny hand as if you are calling for me to take it. Your spirit talks to me, and makes me feel like everything will be OK. My faith is being tested beyond measure, and I am trying everything to believe. For months, this will be our home. It is hard to accept that you are going to be here for a while. They say that it will be touch and go, ups and downs. A rollercoaster. Certainly not the life for you I planned. I wonder if you will feel any sorrow. Are the tubes keeping you alive uncomfortable? Just suppose it doesn’t turn out right? What would my momma heart do?

The nurses immediately start taking care of me, telling me how many one pound and two pound babies they’ve sent home over the years. They let me know that even though it’s new to me, premature birth happens every day. And whether you live five hours or five million years, it is most important that you know love.

I hope you know how much we love you. I hope you can feel how much I need you through the glass.

Well my dear, our journey has begun. Let’s vow to take it day by day, hour by hour. I will rarely leave your side. Daddy will play with you through the hand spaces of the glass and tell you how proud he is of you. I will try and make this NICU comfortable. I will hold you like a kangaroo and tape my voice singing lullabies so that you’ll know you’re mine even when we are away. I will pray and I will pump and I will believe. I will believe in miracles.

We will thank God for every single breathe you take, assisted and on your own. And there is nothing you will do that we will take for granted. For you, my dear, have awoken something fierce in me. You have taught all of us who love you, it’s the little things that matter. You taught us the true meaning of life on the day you were born. You are already our hero. Now all you have to do is hold on.

My little fighter you are already stronger than we thought. Mommy and Daddy will be right here.

Please keep fighting.

Please hold on.