Why

I haven’t posted on here…in well…months. Emory is 8 months old and thriving! She is such a blessing.

So why can I not shake this heartache. I feel I haven’t been able to let go of everything that happened, from the initial day my water broke, to the days in the hospital, to the delivery, to the NICU journey. Why can I not heal…let go…move forward. It’s not something I talk about to hardly anyone. It’s in the past so, and I received my miracle so why am I am still “whining” about it. Ugh πŸ˜‘ These are things I say to myself, imagining people are thinking them of me, even when they may not. Why do I do this…why am I the way I am. I’m angry today. I want to be happy, I want to move past this, but the second I’m trying to take a bath and I hear my child crying after I just laid her down…I run out there to pick her up. My husband thinks I think he’s incapable of taking care of her as I steal her from his hands, but truly it’s me… I’m incapable. I’m incapable of letting anyone care for her if I’m in the room. There were too many missed feedings, holdings, consoling. I wasn’t always there every time she cried. I wasn’t t always there to change her diaper. Sometimes she would still be crying and I would have to leave anyway. Why I couldn’t I just be there 24/7. Why did I leave her… why did I go into labor so soon. It wasn’t supposed to be that way!!!! I feel so much guilt and anger and sadness. Why can’t I let it go!!!!!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 I remember people seeing me as strong through the process…but I never actually felt strength. I was weak…God was strong!!!! I know I can over come these feelings I’m having right now, but I almost feel like I’ve forgotten how. I want mental rest, spiritual peace…I don’t want distractions anymore πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

Smiling through the pain

Though my heart aches I need only to remember God. God can do the impossible, God can move mountains, God can take my sorrow and trade it for Joy! Sometimes when you’re going through it you can only see the struggle but we have to be able to look past that. We have to know there is a beautiful reward once you reach the top of that mountain. Sometimes the climb is difficult and you want to give up… but we can’t! Don’t let the devil get you down, don’t let words, actions, circumstances, steal your joy!

I recently have felt so defeated that I’ve considered lots of different scenarios in my head. Some are terrifying. I constantly struggle with anxiety and depression…but today I’m choosing to let it go. I’m going to say good bye to feeling sorry for myself, feeling angry over my circumstances, & feeling sad all the damn time! I have so many reasons to be happy. My daughter is healthy, happy, and beautiful. She has overcome the devil so many times because God is with her. She is a miracle for even being alive! I cannot imagine life without her. She will be home before I know it, I’ll get 3 weeks off to snuggle her every day. She is my hero!!!!

Learning to deal

Lately I’ve been so overwhelmed with sadness when instead I should be celebrating in victory. Victory that my child is alive. Victory that she is so healthy. Victory over every small obstacle that Emory has over come! But instead all I do is cry. I cry when I wake up and my daughter isn’t at home with me, I cry when we pray for her at dinner, I cry when I’m at work and my mom or sisters send me photos of them with her, I cry every night that we leave her yet again in the NICU. Walk past the nurses station fast enough to avoid eye contact, I’m lucky if I make it to the car before the tears flow. Most days I barely make it out the doors of the NICU. My stomach hits my throat, my eyes well up, I feel completely broken. Why do I allow myself to harbor these feelings. Why can I not move on and accept my circumstances. We’ve been in the NICU for 92 days… yes I’m counting. The frustration is that I have a perfectly healthy, happy baby who’s only hurdle is learning to eat from a bottle… simple right? She should be home in no time…right? The question that grips my heart every time it’s asked. The hard truth is, we don’t know when we’re going home. We know what her due date was but that doesn’t mean we’re going home then. Emory has horrible reflux and they cannot give medicine for it as it will cause her to be more susceptible to infection, and we don’t want that! But watching your child cry from pain while trying to eat, and choke on her milk because she has no rhythm for “suck-swallow-breathe” is so upsetting. It’s hard… it’s hard watching every battle she’s gone through. But this… its the final stretch, we’re almost home, and yet each day drags on. Each day my heart aches more and more for her to be with me. Somehow I feeL I’m not allowed to feel this way. I should be praising and thanking God for all of our blessings…but it’s hard to do that through the pain. It’s hard to not be angry, it’s hard to not cry out, it’s hard… to function for just 5 seconds.

I relive the hardest day of my life over and over again leaving my daughter at the NICU. I’m trying to be okay…learning to deal. πŸ’”

Father’s Day in the NICU

I haven’t blogged in awhile and I’m regretting it. As much as I feel like I don’t have the time I need this time for my mental health. Our sermon today wasn’t a “feel good Father’s Day sermon” in fact our pastor preached on depression. Which hits home to me with my own father. Something I’ve been running from for almost 5 years. Depression and anxiety are terrible and they can cause a landslide from just one pebble. My heart aches for my own father today but I feel renewed from the love of my spiritual father. God is the only one who can continuously fill up my empty cup. My life would be in shambles if it wasn’t for my faith. On even my weakest days, I’m reminded I am strong. So I will celebrate this joyous day and my husband celebrates his 1st Father’s Day with our beautiful daughter. She is such a gift.

Heartache

I’ve been reflecting a lot after reading an article the other day. The short explanation of it was that we cannot compare our grief to someone else’s. I’m one those people who will be quick to think “oh someone out there has it much worse, I shouldn’t feel this way.” Well through this whole Nicu experience, I’ve had moments or breaking down followed by instant regret for not being satisfied with what I’ve been given. It’s always so easy for us as humans to look at what we don’t have. My mind instantly attacks to the negative, like a leech and the positive is an after thought. How do I become that ray of sunshine during the storm. How do I become full of hope when I feel hopeless. Well there’s only one simple answer, and that’s God. God is there to fill that gap in our lives. To be there in a moment of sadness but also in a moment of joy. So while I’m allowed to be sad for my current situation I also have to realize it’s not my final destination.

A β€œreal” parent

One of the hardest things about having a baby in the NICU is trying to feel like a “real” parent. You don’t get to bond with your baby in the natural way a mother wants to after they’re born. They are whisked out of your body and taken to a different room without even so much as being able to give them a kiss.

I was lucky enough that Emory was stabilized quickly and I got to “see” her for a minute. I say “see” because I didn’t have my glasses on and I couldn’t really see anything except for a nurse holding up a blanket that supposedly had my daughter inside, it’s laughable now, but I truly couldn’t see her, and I felt this guilt come over me. You watch tv and you have this image in your head, that you give birth and you see/hold your baby tightly in your arms and you cry. You cry because you feel that initial bond with your baby, that motherly instinct. Well I didn’t have that, at least not right away.

About two hours post c-section they wheeled me down in my bed to again, “see” my daughter (still no glasses). I was able to reach out and those little fingers curled around my hand, and while I felt happy, still no tears of joy, no bond. Instead I was overcome with guilt. I’d failed my daughter by having her early, and there was no way she could love me. I felt low, like I was the worst mom. I’m sure you’re thinking, wow…how could you feel this way. Well that deep connection I felt when she was in the womb with me was gone. It was ripped away from me so fast that I felt emotionally numb. My daughter was fighting a battle that she shouldn’t have to be fighting and it was my fault. Looking back now, I know that’s not true, and there’s nothing I did to cause her to come early, but those were real feelings. I had a hard time visiting her in the NICU while I was still in the hospital. I experienced those feelings of guilt for quite some time, and still do every now and then.

But finally, 5 days after being born, I got to hold my daughter. I was overwhelmed with emotions… that was MY baby girl and I finally felt that deep connection again that I had with her inside me. I felt her heart beat, her lungs breathing and I was suddenly feeling like a real parent. Thank goodness my husband filled the gap for me when I was feeling down. He was visiting Emory in the NICU every chance he got, he was there to comfort her while my heart was healing from separation anxiety and uncertainty of my feelings.

Now we get to do things in the NICU like, change her diaper, check her temperature, and even give her a bath! Our first time doing that was yesterday and once again those mom instincts of feeling connected to my daughter, like I was able to take care of her even if for just a brief minute hit my heart.

It’s hard y’all, being away from your child. But it’s even harder when they’re fighting a daily battle and you can’t always be there to just hold their hand. I’m thankful for the company I work for as they are allowing me to take time off as needed and if I have to drop everything and go they don’t even bat an eye. I couldn’t imagine going through this and losing my job, or being in a position where I wasn’t allowed as much freedom to be there for my daughter. “Praise god from whom all blessings flow!”πŸ™

At a loss for words

Through this journey I’ve learned something about myself. Sadness and worry truly shut me down… I don’t want to talk to anyone and my mind can’t function. It’s hard to even talk to my husband. I read up on everything I can, but literally nothing can prepare me for the next day because anything can change at any minute. Why is this so hard?

Mother’s Day in the NICU

So I already knew Mother’s Day was going to be hard on me. I mentally prepared myself to try to think more positively and remember that some Mother’s are grieving a loss and that I should be thankful. Even with my mental preparation,I still woke up wanting to crawl back into bed and cry. After silencing multiple alarms and looking over at my sleeping husband, I dragged myself out of bed and got in the shower…can I get a round of applause please. What nobody tells you when you have a preemie is that time can get away from you so quickly, that yes, you can even forget to shower. But I’m telling you, I think forcing myself to shower was the main thing that helped me get over my depressing mood.

Now rewind to last night, when my husband promised to cook me breakfast and fast forward to the part where he was still in the bed, and we only had an hour and a half before church. So I’m in my bed thinking of how my husband is still sleeping so all the thoughts start running through my head…there’s no way I’m going to get breakfast cooked for me, I don’t want to face the public in my “I’m a cool mom” shirt and have people stare at me as I’m walking around with no child, how I didn’t want to go sit at the beach with my family, because I’ve not had the time to shave my legs in over a week and I can’t even get in the water, how the last thing I want to do is spend the day watching all the moms and their kids do things together while the only place my heart desires to be was at the NICU with my daughter.

Well let’s go back to me in the shower, after a few minutes of washing my hair, I start to smell coffee, and then hear my husband clanking around pans…he’s up! My heart was overcome with joy, and I thought to myself okay, I can do this. Something as small as that, started a string of positive emotions the rest of the day. There was a sermon preached that touched my heart as I knew it was God stepping in to talk to my husbands heart in a way I couldn’t, I spent time with my momma and family and got to watch my favorite movie (Beauty & the Beast), we went to target after that where I got to munch on my favorite popcorn, Alex wrote me the most beautiful note in my card, went the Chipotle for dinner, and then FINALLY got to see Emory. I was not only surprised with a picture made out of her handprints by the NICU, but for the first time since becoming a mom… my daughter cried for me. Now some of you may interpret this as a sad or stressful thing, but when you’re a mom to a preemie who is trapped in a case for most of her days, this is a beautiful gift from God. Emory has cried before, but never directly for me. We walked in the room and she started to hear us talk and she got so fussy, the nurse changed her diaper and she was just not having it tonight. But the second I picked her up for kangaroo care, she was calm, the crying stopped and she laid her head down in the deepest peace 😭. If I could hold on to a moment y’all, that would be one of them. For that split second, I felt more like a real mom than I had all day. And then… I went to put her back to bed, 2 hours later, and she started crying again! Oh my heart cried..My daughter knows I’m her mom, and she wants me! Thank you God for choosing me to be Emory’s mom. She is truly a blessing in every way.

So there were a lot of things that didn’t go as planned, but when we choose to focus on the positive, it’s so much easier to defeat the devil! I didn’t let him get me down, and I had the best 1st Mother’s Day. I’m so glad I chose to see the beauty in everything.

An emotional wreck

Having your child switch from healthy to sick in the blink of an eye is hard. As a mother your natural instinct is to want to make them better. As everyone who’s ever been in the NICU can you tell you, it’s an emotional roller coaster. One day you’re at the highest point and after a fast descent you’re low again. I’m very blessed that on our journey so far Emory has been a fighter and she hasn’t encountered what you would call a major sickness, but for a preemie every minor thing is scary.

Nurses, doctors, family and friends can all tell you “this is normal for a preemie”, “she will be fine”, all the cliches in the book, I’ve heard them. In that moment though, how do you not worry or feel sorrow. There’s uncertainty as multiple tests are run. There’s guilt that overwhelms your heart as the words “she shouldn’t even be born yet, she’s just learning how to survive ” sting you like a bee.

I feel my faith being tested, every day. I’m faced with moments of weakness, but I come out stronger. Writing has definitely helped me. As I look around the NICU floor, there’s babies who get to go home much sooner than my daughter, and I look at them with envy but there’s also those who will be here longer. We’re all on the same journey, strangers passing in the halls with the occasional awkward small talk that comes with not wanting to say the wrong thing, for you know there’s plenty who have said the wrong thing to you. I couldn’t imagine doing this without God. He gives me peace’s despite my emotions overcoming sometimes, I’m still able to sleep at night knowing he has Emory in the palm of his hand. She is a special girl and I know he has a plan for her life.

*these photos are from the 1st time Emory was sick, right after she was born. She had a blood transfusion and he throat suctioned out and the next few days she was back to her spunky spirit

The irrational voice

You know the voice inside your head that you shouldn’t listen to. The one that tells you you’re not good enough, tells you you’ve failed, tells you you’re not worthy or deserving or even tells you you’re unloved. None of these are truths, but why are they so hard to silence. Many times when I’m talking with God I can’t help but say things like “I feel like I’ve failed my child”, or ” I feel defeated”, or my personal favorite “how could I not keep her protected in the womb, until she was ready”. Watching your child fight to breathe, when you could be breathing for her is so hard. It’s a dull ache that stays with you despite your efforts to make it go away.

It’s so easy to beat yourself up when you’re human, but it’s even easier to do it when you’re a mom to a micro-preemie. I was that person, who had this misconception that your baby was only born early if you did something harmful to yourself, like drinking alcohol, smoking, doing drugs. I never knew something like this could just happen! After having a healthy pregnancy the entire time, and then having your world change in a split second, its hard to swallow. So we’re basically beating ourselves up over something we can’t control. Most days it isn’t easy to silence the lies, but then God shows up.

God shows up in the small moments like, a weight gain instead of a decrease, an hour without apnea’s, hearing sneezes, and hiccups and small kitten like cries…He reminds us that he is in control. Despite how we feel sometimes, God is the ultimate healer. When we give Him control, miracles happen…like having your daughter at 25 weeks old survive outside the womb πŸ™