When I was born I was 9 pounds 12 ounces. I was also born with a giant set of lungs to go with it. I was always slightly afraid of the possibility of delivering a 9 pound baby naturally...
I had no idea how much different my daughters birth would be from mine. She was born a micro preemie, meaning she was born 14 weeks early and weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces.
Because of this I am not only the mother of a micro preemie, I am also a "NICU mom." A term coined for those moms who camp out in the NICU for months because their baby is not ready to come home.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid, I realize she isn't ready to come home with me. She needs the level of medical care that can only be given by a high level NICU.
That doesn't change how I feel. Most days I am so positive and hopeful... But today was a bad day. Olive, my precious daughter, is having trouble learning to breathe, and therefore had multiple significant drops in her heart rate. One was so bad the doctor and respiratory therapist had to step in and it took what seemed like a lifetime to get her back to normal.
They see this everyday and were seriously more than super heroes, as are the nurses! After that Olive had a pretty good evening, just one dip when she pooped, but everyone strains when the poop, right?
I have only been able to get rides earlier in the day, so I spend a large chunk of my day in the NICU because I afraid I won't make it in to see Olive otherwise. Today one of the nurses talked to me about being exhausted and that she was worried about me. That she thought I should maybe take some time away to sleep more. While a small part of me wanted to yell at her, I know she is right. I am exhausted. For a greater part of 6 months I have been way more dependent on others than I ever want to be again, lost a lot of sleep and have had way more on my plate than I knew I could handle.
While the thought of not being with Olive 12 hours a day seems like I'm a horrible mother, I need to take care of myself.
Now, as I try to get a grip on things I have others telling me what I should do. Others who haven't been through this. That I need to be with Olive. That getting my house in order isn't important. I know everyone means well and really love me. It's just that it isn't true.
One thing I can tell you is I now understand what people mean when they say "you don understand unless you've been through it." Because really, you don't.
It is really challenging some days not to be angry with women complaining about having a normal pregnancy. About stretch marks. About weight gain. Pleading "I can't wait to get this baby out!" But you know what? I don't understand what you're going through either. I didn't make it to that point in pregnancy.
So I just thank God for my sweet Olive, my loving husband and the nurses who look out for our whole family. I thank God for the grace to make it though the day.
I am also so thankful for everyone who prays for our family. We need it. Matt has been such an amazing Jesus to me through everything. He sacrifices for us and is really here for me.
I have to remember who Olive is. Who God says she is, so I close with this: I hope when you see Olive- you are filled with peace and hope. She is a sign of life.
"He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh Olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone." (Genesis 8:8-11 NLT)