Those who follow My Preemie Baby or our story will know we had a 26 weeker in 2013. She is now a happy, healthy 2 year old. Our NICU journey was an emotional journey and despite the trauma of it, we count our blessings as it was better than some, and we got to take our princess home in the end....
I recently stopped my full time work (I am a veterinarian by profession) to focus on my family and take time out from the hectic rat race. Like most working mothers, I pushed though the guilt, of letting my business down, letting my kids down and multitasked my way to a life that I struggled to wake up to everyday.
For those who have been though NICU or the heartbreak of almost losing a child, you will understand that nothing is more important than family and being happy and healthy. Nothing is considered a failure when your child has won the biggest battle in life... To live, to survive. My proudest moment, is my children and I am proud to give all my time, energy to them.
In my "time off" my body and my heart is finally starting to heal. I have found myself having to face the emotions and memories I hid deep down in my heart, in order to be strong, to cope, to fight. The memories that I labelled "not worth re-living" because she is home now.... I have cried tears I have bottled up for so very long, to keep my husband and son strong. To set an example that if I'm ok, they will be ok...
One memory still burns through my heart... Our first bad news. All preemies go through what they call a "honeymoon" period after they are born, where they do better than expected for a week or so, and then it all comes crashing down, fast and hard. As parents, you go from proud your miracle is superseding expectations to a shocking realisation that you could loose your baby.
That evening, I had returned from NICU to do the daily swap with hubby, picked up our son from school and tried to establish some normality for our son. I had just warmed up dinner when hubby called to say Sophia wasn't well. She needed blood transfusions and antibiotics. Coming from a medical background I bombarded him with questions, statistics and asked for blood results. He felt helpless and I felt angry.
The next hour was a blur, I called my sister hysterical and collapsed on the sofa in a ball, sobbing, unable to coheres and whispering "but she can't die now, I love her so much".... Those who have read my previous blog, will have read about my struggle in the first few days, to defy mother instinct, to not love my baby. The mixture of my medical background and protective instinct, told me this was my best bet of surviving any bad outcome.... How I was wrong...
On that day, I realised, you cannot stop the love and bond a mother automatically forms with their baby, from the moment they are conceived. I was absolutely helpless in that moment and hated myself for loving her so much.
It is because of this moment, this extremely painful memory, that I live and advocate this fact.... LOVE heals everything. From the moment I let myself love my preemie baby, she fought every battle, she made me a better mother and she helped me and my husband stand united, together, to get though those long months.
So for all those struggling in NICU, for those mums pumping in the milk room every 3 hours, for those brave siblings of preemies and for fathers feeling helpless... It's ok to love something so much it hurts. It's the key to healing all wounds.