Yesterday, I wrote that I would share a moving story today that would likely move you to tears. Today, I changed my mind and decided that instead, I will share one that will make you smile. Our first parent friends in the NICU, Kristin and John, took their baby boy, Andrew, home today! Andrew was born 4 weeks before Avery and Sienna at 23 weeks and 5 days. Last week, another wonderful couple friend who we’ve seen every night of our journey, Arlo and Yasmin, took their warrior Donovan home. (A few weeks prior, our friends Lily and Ezra left with their princess Kalela. Before that it was Andrea and Morgan with Starr. And Amber and Scott with Ryan, etc. etc…) We could not be happier for them all.
To Kristin, John, and all our NICU graduate families: We celebrate with you, continue to pray for you, and look forward to days when our children will play together with this as a distant memory. We are grateful that you all came into our lives (although we know all of us will always say, “we wish it was for different reasons!”) I found the below ‘oath’ today and since it was anonymous, I made slight modifications to change it from “mother” to “parents” and added a few lines. I will pass it on in honor of this exciting day. It seems to “fit” these extraordinary dedicated, loving, and faithful parents and this community we have become a part of.
Preemie Parent’s Oath:
There are parents that become parents without effort, without thought, without patience or loss. And though they are good parents and love their children, I know that we will love differently.
We will love differently not because of genetics, or money, or that we have read more books, but because we have struggled and toiled for this child in a unique way.
We have sat in the NICU and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited…
We have cried and prayed for days.
We have shouldered the burden of constant anxiety for months.
We have endured.
Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
We will notice everything about our child.
We will take time to watch our child sleep, explore, grow, and discover.
We will marvel at our surviving miracle every day for the rest of our lives.
We will be happy when we wake in the middle of the night to the sound of our child, knowing that we can comfort, hold and feed them, and that we are not waking to a nurse taking another temperature, an alarm going off, another round of meds, or because we are crying tears for fear of the unknown.
We will be happy because our baby is alive and crying out for us.
We count ourselves lucky in this sense; that God has given us this insight, this special vision with which we will look upon our child that others may not see.
Whether we parent a preemie with physical challenges or medical issues, we will not be careless with our love.
We will be better parents for all that we have endured. We are better spouses, better aunt and uncles, better daughters and sons, better neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters because we have known this pain.
We Mom’s know disillusionment as we have been betrayed by our own body.
We Dad’s have been tried by fire, inability to “protect,” and hell many never face, yet given time, we stood tall.
We have prevailed.
We have succeeded.
We have warriors for children.
So now, when others hurt around us, we do not run from their pain in order to save ourselves discomfort. We see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
And even though we cannot make it better, we can make it less lonely. We have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to ours, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth when life is beyond hard. We have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.
We have learned to appreciate life in a new way.
Yes, we will be wonderful parents.
We already are.
We are overjoyed with love and happiness for our fellow micro-preemie parents and their long-awaited homecomings. We know it will only be a matter of time until we are bringing our precious Avery home too. Until then, enjoy seeing these ridiculously cute pictures of Andrew on his last day in the NICU… http://www.joyofalifeunexpected.blogspot.com.