It's always amazing what can trigger memories. A moment, a pause or even an unsuspecting object. Anything can bring it all back. But there are other things that are more obvious. Stories from others that can immediately take you back to the event in question.
Today Grey sent me a text alerting me to an email he was forwarding. Back in March, he learned a former coworker and his wife were expecting twins. We learned today that they arrived at 27 weeks. Though both need only minimal respiratory support (no ventilators, thank goodness) and these kiddos are doing amazingly well, the family has a long road ahead of them in NICU.
I learned about this as I was feeding the Beats dinner. After reading the announcement , I looked up from my phone to see these two NICU graduates happily eating together, chatting with one another about everything and anything. It was then that the flashbacks started. A surreal experience of what had been and where we are today.
The NICU experience is one many remember vividly. From the wires, the tubes, the counting and weighing wet/poppy diapers and feeding tubes. Fear is always on the horizon: fear of hurting your child(ren), fear of doing something wrong, fear of the worst case scenario. Fear of losing this being you love with your whole being. Like infertility/loss, it tests you, often bringing one to the brink.
Yet you're not allowed to talk about it. Or at least not bring up the fear and uncertainty.
Since looking at those first photos of Grey's former coworker's new babies, a need to reach out has been brewing. Grey has already reached out to this family, congratulating them and letting them know we're thinking of them. But I hesitate to say more as I don't want to taint their experience with my own, as their road ahead will certainly be different given the circumstances.
And yet, what I want to say to them is more than I'm thinking of you. I'm willing a good outcome for you. I want you to know that the fear and anxiety you face from having your child in this place is very real and founded. That I wish I could take it from you and tell you all will be okay. That all I can give you instead is assurance that you are doing everything right to bring your child home, even when it doesn't feel like it. That even though they spend so much time inside that plastic bed, they know when you are there. That it's okay to be sad and frustrated.
But most of all, that you've done nothing to cause this. That having your child in this place isn't because you are a bad person or somehow unfit as a parent.
Tonight, as I look through our own photos, I have a simple wish. My wish for all who are currently in this place is that in a couple of years from now it all is a distant memory. That you are sitting and eating dinner with your child, the same way I did with mine tonight. And that you bring them home very soon.
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