Y'all, my heart is full.
These past few weeks have been busy for the Salmons, but they've been even busier for a few friends of ours. In the last month we've had TWO sets of friends give birth to twins prematurely.
Then a few nights ago, a friend and also parent of twins born early, posted this video on my facebook wall. This dad also serves on a board of one of the NICUs our girls stayed in, & I think this is a great resource for others to watch to get a quick glimpse into what it's like to have a baby prematurely. If you have any friends who have delivered prematurely, you need to watch this. It will help you understand and give just a brief glimpse into their world.
Grab your tissues and push play.
That first scene when the mama holds her baby first the first time... WOOF... the tears just spilled from my eyes, because I remember holding my girls and all of their cords for the first time and being overwhelmed with love & relief that I could FINALLY hold them. And OH GOSH... the scene of her crying on the drive home brought back so many memories of tears shed on the car ride home... Sigh.
And just like all mamas who have shared a common experience, we hold a special place in our hearts for others experiencing similar situations. So when I hear of other mamas giving birth early, my heart breaks for them because I remember those early weeks/months. And although there is SO much joy in those early weeks, there is also a lot of hard work & sometimes pain.
So yesterday, on my car ride from Rose Hill to Raleigh, I cried. Not for myself, but on behalf of all the mamas out there who have to leave their babies at hospitals for weeks/months at a time. I cried for the mamas who don't get to hold their baby/ies immediately after giving birth. I cried for the mamas who have to wait to touch their children for days. For the mamas who learn to how to change diapers while maneuvering cords and wires and feeding/breathing tubes and ignoring beeps and alarms. For the mamas who juggle life outside the hospital all the while wanting nothing but to spend ALL of their time by their little's side. For the mamas who are judged by family and friends when they freak out over germs when they bring their babies home, not because they're over protective, but because the same germ that causes a runny nose in the average baby could seriously damage or kill theirs. For the mamas who have to answer awkward questions from strangers about their child's size and mental development. For the mama who hesitates to share her birth story because it's not a sweet story, and is a difficult memory to rehash.
I cry for you.
I cry for you & I applaud you because YOU are doing a good job. You can do this & I am PROUD of you. Keep up the good work. I know you're exhausted... and you probably don't have time to cry. I get that, so I'm crying on your behalf today.
And let me tell you, 15 months later, it's still fresh.... but I can tell you, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. There is joy. There is normalcy. And there will be a time, (which may differ from our girls' timeline... but it will come), when you will look around and say, "We've come a long way, but we've finally made it."
Until then, keep up the good work preemie mama. And in the meantime, know that we see you, we hurt beside you, & we applaud you.