Observations of preemiehood
1. The NICU is a very intimidating place, but we've learned that as long as the nurses are calm, we can be calm. All the staff at UVA has been wonderful, patient, kind, and exceptional at their job and care for Judah.
2. It is surprisingly rare to exclusively breastfeed/pump for a preemie. It is also rare for both mother and father to be actively involved and engaged with our child in the NICU. Those are both heart-breaking thoughts.
3. 'Mommy brain' is already taking over. I have so much difficulty remembering words, losing my train of thought, forgetting things, or just doing ridiculous things like putting cereal in the freezer or toothpaste on my hairbrush.
4. The smallest victories must be celebrated. Gaining an ounce is a huge step. Making it a whole day without changes to the respirator are quite the milestone.
5. The smallest things make my heart melt: Opening his eyes, flexing his fingers and toes, little squeaks and gurgles. furrowing of the brow. Oh my son, how those little things keep me smiling!
6. Most everything is out of my control... and it sucks. I can not control my child's development or progress, my schedule is based around hospital visits, overnight stays at Ronald McDonald, and playing catch-up when home.
7. I find it very difficult to accept help. I hate feeling like a charity case. I am full of pride. I am resentful and resistant. I've always been self-sufficient. I've always been the one to help others. God is using this time to strip me of everything that makes me rely on myself and forces me to rely on Him.
8. Having a child makes my love for my husband grow... having a child in the NICU has strengthened our marriage, and my faith in God.
9. My husband, having very little experience with children, has a love for our son that can not be matched. It is precious and invaluable and continues to surprise me. To hear him hum hymns and worship songs quietly to our sleeping son, to see him praying over our little one. To see the wonderment and compassion in my husband's eyes. To see his face light up each time we visit the NICU. To see his contentment as our firstborn son lies sleeping peacefully on my husband's chest. To hear him say "my son", with pride and joy.
10. Our child has captured the hearts of hundreds--maybe thousands-- of people. This is one thing that has surprised me most. Perfect strangers are moved by his story, his very life. Churches and people I have never visited or met pray for him daily. We've received spontaneous gifts of charity and generosity simply at the mention or hearsay of our tiny son. I've been humbled by the overwhelming support of friends, families, and people across the US and World... and it is beautiful to see the body of Christ moving the way God intended it to.
11. Prayer works.
12. As emotional as this season is from time to time, I have never doubted God's plan and purpose for my son's life, and the perfect timing of his arrival.
13. Judah's nurses have commented on:
- His cuteness
- How well-mannered he is
- How priviledged we are to be his parents
- How well he is doing and meeting expectations for his age and size
- How everyone in the NICU loves Judah
- That he's a fighter
14. I could stare at him ALL DAY (and I do at every chance I get).
15. Newborn babies look ginormous!
16. I feel priviledged to see his development outside of the womb, unlike most parents. He is fearfully and wonderfully made, perfect in every way!
17. I'm in disbelief at the justification for abortion-especially late-term abortions... I've always been against it... but after seeing my son, born at 25 weeks, and knowing abortions can be performed on babies his size, angers me and breaks my heart.
18. There's a lot of things that just don't matter very much anymore, in comparison to my being a mother and wife.
19. Holding my son is addicting, calming, exhilerating, and the most peaceful feeling in the world.
20. I wasn't sure I'd say this... but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. And yes, I'd love to have more children--even at risk of having to go through all the sickness, ER visits, bedrest, drama, and NICU.