The Power of Touch

Last night, on Avery and Sienna’s 8th week birthday, I received the gift of holding Avery against my skin for the very first time.   In the very moment that her bare skin touched mine, I felt overcome by the feeling that God himself was swearing me into a very sacred and revered union.  The oldest and most elite club of all time….motherhood.

FINALLY, after 8 long torturous weeks, I felt permission to truly be her mom through her squirms and her touch.   No longer feeling pangs of envy, guilt, and being robbed of my pregnancy, my children, my hopes, and of the crushing weight of wanting to touch my baby (and ashamed all at once for feeling those things at all when she’s the one fighting), I literally felt like my broken heart was being stitched back together again in the timeless moments that followed.   I felt connected to all that is, all that was, and all that can be.   Perhaps that seems dramatic.   Perhaps it’s just how powerful love can be.

I felt Sienna’s heart and soul wrapped around my heart and around our family.  I felt love more deeply than I knew possible as I sat with my husband by my side, and my daughter now breathing miraculously on her own in my arms.  I felt connected to the mothers of all time who have lost a “twin,” lost a child, had a child, and desired a child.   I felt the part of me dissipate that had long questioned my capability or worthiness of being a mom.   No longer will I ever ask myself those questions.

The edges of my heart’s stitching are, no doubt, still frayed, and the threads will probably come loose a few times.  But frankly, I know with ever fiber of my being that I’ll never be the same.

The timeless moment I will never forget...

The smell of my child lingered on my skin and soul as I awoke this morning at 4am with an inner peace and compelling need to write down the words that were pouring out of me.  The words were coming so fast that I couldn’t make sense of them or put them into a coherent sentences, for fear that they would lose their meaning.  I literally jumped out of bed, came down the stairs, asked God to give me the words in my heart, and then began to type without conscious thought.  I allowed myself to breathe deeply and surrendered to my fingers moving freely across the keyboard.  I’m not sure how they will be interpreted as I cut and paste them below, yet I sense that I may have saved myself from dozens of potential therapy sessions just by having allowed them to surface and escape.   Maybe there will be some magic in some of the outpouring for those who are kindly sharing our journey.  Here’s the words that flowed:

Divine union.

Sacred.

Awe.

Admiration.

Our Nurse, Michelle, was an angelic messenger – She was beaming as proud as if she were truly what she feels like she is… our family.

Family doesn’t have to share our blood type, skin color, or even DNA.  Sometimes the bonds are stronger when they do not.

I am so grateful for my family.

I want to call my mom.

I want to hug my sister.

I am grateful for my grandmothers, their mothers, and the mothers before them.

I have a beautiful husband who loves me, Maddie, and Avery very deeply.

Snuggling.

Warmth

In the moments, I could actually feel the threads of my heart being re-sewn into feelings of forgiveness, surrender, rebuilding, strength, perseverance, advocacy, and passion.

Balancing out the pain with the knowing.

But for the darkness, you cannot see the stars.

Glory, glory, hallelujah.  Welcome to the future.

Meaning of life revealed.

Motherhood.

I’m a mom.

By the grace of God

Passed down from all generations and all mothers from all time

Unexplained and understood.

Listen only to your inner wisdom.  Your instinct.   Your doctors and nurses may be an expert at medicine, but YOU are the expert of your child.

Divine femininity.

Peaceful and powerful.

Squawks and yawns.  My daughter is trying to cry but can’t make the sound yet.

Celebration of the generations.

Connection to all that is.

Struggling with the words and the overwhelmingly humbling feeling that I’m connected to all women of all time who have ever held their child for the first time, lost a child, loved a child, and known in their soul that they are a mom.

Almost too sacred to articulate, yet compelled to try as a way to connect to those very same women who “know what I now know.”

The smell of my child lingers on my skin.   Inhale.  Exhale.   Thank you God.

Healing.

I’ll never be the same, nor would I ever want to.

Reverence.

Beautiful.

Trusting mother earth and all that is.

Women know something that men do not know.

Men know something that women do not know.

I am so grateful to be a woman.

I am so grateful to have a step-daughter and a daughter.

I am so grateful to have two precious nieces.

Some men are destined to spend their life surrounded by good women.  My dad, Rance, Quin…they are all dad’s to girls.

Don’t blink.

Zen.

The power of touch.

Baby skin and hair so soft that you almost can’t feel it under your fingers.

Simplicity.

Gratitude.

Authenticity!!!!!!!

Spent my lifetime seeking my most authentic self….found it…. THIS is what my heart desired most to be.

Something else for my future (hmmmm?) was set in motion.  It will reveal itself in time.

Something transpired.

Turning it all over to God in a way I had never fully done before.

The meaning of life.

My energy transfers to all other living beings.

Interconnectedness.

I receive energy from all other living things.

Positive energy and positive thoughts make a difference.

Prayer works.

God is good.

God…the Universe…Mother Earth.  All one.

We don’t have to understand.

The cycle of life.

Sienna will always be with my family in a very real, meaningful, and beautiful way.   I will smile when I think of her.

Avery will feel protected and strengthened by her twin throughout all time.

I will heal.

Maddie is going to be an amazing big sister.

2 hours felt like 2 minutes.  Time had no meaning.

Something more genuine than space and time.

Transference of power from generations of my great-grandparents and grandparents.

Instinct.

Something is “in the works” from God.

I don’t have to know the answers.  I just have to be open to receiving them.

God speaks through me and all his creations.

Listen.

Notice.

I will find the words.

The message will come when the time is right.

Life is all about perspective.

Breathe deeply.

Get it out.

Don’t worry about the interpretation.  The right people will know who they are and “receive” it.

Telling your story is a gift.

Letting others tell their story is a gift.

Listen more than you talk.

Listen to your body.

What is your body saying right now?

Get a massage.

Release the tension and let it go.

Embrace the unknown.

Have hope.

Be a vessel.

Be a beacon.

Be a human being AND a human doing.

Don’t spend so much time as a “human doing” that you forget you are a “human being.”

Let it flow.

Be kind to yourself.

Sleep.

Read it later and you will know if you’re supposed to share it.

Stop worrying about the unknown.

I am a blip on the radar of the universe’s plan and this is only temporary.

Sienna may not physically be here, but she is here.  She is powerfully here.

Our souls are all connected.

We create our own reality by the “spin” we put on things.  Perspective.

Share.

Ask for what you need.

The journey has only begun.

We have at least 8 more weeks to go in this place before she comes home.

I’m so tired.

I can do it.

She can do it.

I actually breathed for 2 hours.  I breathed every ounce of her in.

Looking and feeling "high" on love.

The smell of my child still lingers on my skin and I continue to be on a natural high.   Thus, I have refused to shower today.   (At least this gives me a temporary illusion of controlling something…)

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19 Responses to The Power of Touch

  1. Bernie & Heidi Dolobach says:

    Robin, there is nothing greater than the touch of your child, nothing sadder than the loss of a child. I never got to hold my baby girl “Jesse” but i’ll never forget her. I’ll never forget the sadness I felt on the day she was gone. You never will either. The death of a child is devastating only to be replaced by the overwhelming joy of being a mother, feeling the softness of their skin, smelling their special smell and hearing their voice for the very first time! Then as they grow older being involved in their lives somehow takes over yours. The memories you have of Sienna will never fade, that’s God’s most precious gift to us, when your babies were born, brought back a world of emotions for me that had been covered for many years, you’ll never forget her, but it is ok to move on and enjoy your precious angel that survived. Enjoy her every breath she takes because you will see time goes fast and so will the next eight weeks, soon you will be holding her daily in your own special place that you have created for her. I’m happy you are able to experience such love, both from your husband and your new precious pink blanket!! I have prayed that God would allow your heart to heal enough after the loss of Sienna that you could enjoy Avery to life’s fullest! I’m proud of the mother you’ve become and knew from day one you would have found your perfect job!! You have mastered everything in life you set out to accomplish and I hope to someday also say my greatest accomplishment is my children and know the same will be true for you. Avery will be a spokesperson for God for the remainder of her life, one of God’s truly precious miracles!!

  2. Sarah and Joaquin says:

    Lookin’ great guys! She’s the HEAT!
    Joaquin & Sarah

  3. Jen Klima says:

    Wow, Robin… such powerful words. I also believe in the ‘power of touch’… just amazing. You look so incredibly peaceful holding your little girl. I am so happy you had that experience and through you, I am learning to not take these “little” moments for granted. Sending all our love.

  4. Diane Sheridan says:

    I have been praying for this day for you for quite a while, and I am thrilled to tears that you got to feel her skin and she felt yours. Avery also felt the beat of your heart a sound she hasn’t heard up close for the last 8 weeks. I am sure you will see her make progress by leaps and bounds in the coming days. The pictures of you holding Baby Avie are priceless and so precious. I can just hear you in a couple of years telling her what that experience was like for you and Quin, many of the words you wrote at 4:00am will come flooding back as you recount that and many other milestone events to Avery. God and Sienna Grace will continue to bless you all and keep their arms around all of you in the coming days and weeks. I can only dare to imgine what it is like to lose a child, but I understand almost everything you are experiencing in the NICU, Brooke had the strongest set of lungs in the hospital but she had other scary experiences in her time in the hospital. I am always here for you and we will continue to pray!!! Love to you all!!

  5. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

    (what a wonderful keepsake from an amazing milestone!)

  6. Lucy Gray says:

    I understand, I’ve been there. Our twin James Michael is with Jesus and his twin sister Allie Grace is in our arms. Your words articulate what my heart feels but I have never put into words. Thank you for this gift and for opening your heart and soul to us through this blog. It is the truest of blessings, especially for those of us who have also lost a twin and struggled with the other twin’s survival in the NICU. It is a road noone wants to walk, and you are walking it with grace and beauty and are a testimony of perseverance and God’s love through your posts. Prayers going up for you constantly, I hope you feel them.

  7. Erin and Steven Shillingburg says:

    your words are so beautiful and powerful! i am so glad that you had that wonderful time with her the other day, it must have felt amazing! your words make me want to go get my sleeping almost one year old (he will be one in 2 weeks and 4 days, time just flashes before your eyes!) out of his bed and hold him! your testimony is just so amazing, try to stay strong momma and enjoy every min… next thing you know she will be blowing out that big number one candle on a birthday cake and you will be asking your self where the last year went…

    as always ((hugs)) and prayers!

  8. Sharon Boisvert says:

    how beautifully said

  9. Never a truer word spoken. Amazing how many definitions “Mother” has. You are so articulate in describing your feelings. I know this memory will remain ever present in your minds as 20 months later, I can still “feel and smell” Bradon in my arms for the first time. God Bless you all.

  10. Susan Mcmurray says:

    I see pure joy and happiness in your smile. So nice to finally see that. Little Avery looks blissful all snuggled in as well. There will be many many more moments like this. I am so happy for you.

    Hugs and blessings from CA.

  11. Elisabeth says:

    You have given words to the emotions of motherhood and parenthood….thank you for sharing! I read your words over and over, and have been nodding and saying “Yes!” out loud! The pictures are beautiful.

  12. Lisa Graves says:

    Such JOY and LOVE Thank you for sharing yourself Robin

  13. Angel Roggenkamp says:

    Robin those words were so moving. My eyes teared up because I know that feeling. Even though my own child was born healthy, that smell that feeling of this never ending love was surrounding me. Holding my son for the first time after an emergency c-section and the possibilty of losing my uterus a very long recovery. It was amazing. It was joyful that I carried him within me and he was mine. He was all mine. I didnt put Andrew down once I got him in my arms for a very long time. Being a mommy then a momma and now mom is something that I hold dear to my heart and I will never forget his hearbeat against my own.

  14. Janna Kelleher says:

    Robin — So happy for you. You and Avery look wonderful in these recent pictures. I was so blessed to meet you and work with you at the FCMOM sale. Reading your words takes me back three years to our NICU days… and I’m regarding my little guys as the miracles they are. Thank you for the reminder.

    Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. Nicole Malachowski says:

    Beautiful words. You’ve actually helped me move another step forward in my healing. I printed your words for me to keep and read and re-read. Avery is one lucky girl. Isn’t Kangaroo care divine? There isn’t a better feeling in the world. It’s as if time stands still. Congratulations on holding your baby girl. 🙂

  16. Shasta Brown says:

    I told you that this is the best part of the whole NICU, besides taking her home, of course. This works wonders for all of you. I totally know what you mean about 2 hours only being 2 minutes. I would hold my boy and and fall asleep and the nurse would come by and ask if I was staying the night. I would look over at the clock and it would be almost 1am!!! It was always amazing. I am so happy you can finally hold her. Way to go Avie for getting to this point!!!! I love it!

  17. Susan Lennon says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful words with all of us♥as I sit here weeping at the JOY you experienced today with your family!

    Hugs from Maine

  18. Andrea and David says:

    Congratulations on finally being able to enjoy this special moment together as a family! Tears well as we remember exactly how we felt the first time we could finally hold our little ones and feel their breath, fingernails, eyelashes on our skin. Your words, as always, describe the palpable emotions in a way I have not found words of my own to express. But I recognize the expression on your face, and that says even more!

    This precious time for your family is long overdue, with many more hours, days, weeks, months, and years of bliss to come! Enjoy every moment! God’s blessings in your hands!

    PS – Christopher and Katharine say hello. Christopher sends a special wink! 🙂

    With Love,

    Andrea and David

  19. nancy says:

    Being a mom is the most wonderful gift! What an amazing mom you are! All my love to you guys!

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