rough starts

February 22, 2011

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If you've had children before or seen a movie where a baby is born you know what it's like.... There is this intense, incredible buildup... crazy amount of anticipation and then after all you've been through.... You hear it, the most beautiful scream in the world......then a huge sigh of relief.

Well, I never heard that.

This is not a pity party for me. It is simply my NICU story and how it molded me.

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I will start out by saying that my NICU experience was entirely different with Ainsleigh. Although we went through the exact same thing I had already learned my lessons, I was emotionally prepared for it & had a whole new perspective. I won't bore you the details of everything leading up to their arrivals...but I will say they both came a month early and although I fully dilate my hip bones are small and in a position where I have trouble carrying babies to term and it makes it impossible for me to have babies other than c-sections. (TMI?)

Okay so back to Aiden...my first experience, not prepared for the hormones, the emotions. I am on the table... I feel the final pull (although you are behind a curtain) and all these nurses & doctors are scurrying around and proudly announce that he is in fact here!

Silence.

Why isnt he crying? Same exact thing with Ainsleigh....silence. They both were born with undeveloped lungs and were blue when they came out. Not sweet newborn baby purple, 
BLUE...Like no oxygen blue
Silence.

Both times I got to see their faces for a split moment and they took them away
gone.

No laying your baby on your chest for that initial bond. No three days in the hospital snuggling, connecting, showing them to family. I remember someone saying to me during this time,

"God is just making the joys of parenthood sweeter for you by introducing you to the heartache early. Each anxiety we experience produces a greater appreciation for the wonderment that precious children bring into our lives."

With Aiden I had this overwhelming amount of frustration. I loved him so much & yet I could do nothing to help him. I couldnt even touch him. I would lay in my hospital bed and just cry. I just imagined him in there alone with a million tubes surrounding him...far from me. When I was able to go in there it was nurses fixing him. I would ask permission to hold his hand. I remember once I was dismissed from the hospital just wanting to go back...even if I was just sitting in the waiting room.
 I wanted to be near him.

Now I know that there are many people who have had NICU stays for months and months and I kept reminding myself to be thankful that he was okay and that he was safe. There are also women that leave with no baby, so in retrospect it is good to have perspective.

But this rough start sent me in a tailspin. I was overprotective. I didnt want to share him. I wanted all those moments back. I wanted him to sleep in our bed and wanted him attached to me every moment. 
It was fear.

"And then when you hold your dreams with open hands, you get to watch God resurrect what seemed dead and multiply what seemed small."

Somewhere along the way I realized that I wasnt promised anything with these sweet babies. The Lord didn't promise me a tomorrow with Aiden or Ainsleigh. 
Thus, the gift of the now
I have to let others enjoy them. I have to have open hands. 
I have to give that all to HIM & trust that 
He knows better than me.

When the nurses came in to explain that Ainsleigh was placed in NICU, I told them I already knew. And that is was okay. Just fix her. I trust you. I spent the time apart from her in prayer and thanks rather than in sadness & frustration. It gave us some time back at home with Aiden after her birth to give him a little extra love before we brought her back.

I remember when Aiden was in the NICU and I would have given ANYTHING to have him home thinking....some moms complain that their babies wake them up at night...and I would give anything to have him home waking me up...as long as he was with me, in my arms. I hope I never forget that.

I hope I never forget that in other areas of my life too. 
We never know what people are going through. 
There are things about our family that I will never share on this blog...not because I want to be fake or not transparent but because it is best. But there are things that no one knows. It helps you realize that everyone has struggles, everyone is battling something. And the best thing for them is sometimes to deal with it privately. 
Being sensitive to all we encounter is always a good road to take.

Love well. This life is short & ultimately we have no control over what happens. 
All we can control is our own REACTIONS.

React in love. React with open hands. React with forgiveness. Make the choice.

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21 comments:

  1. Hi Casey--- I came over from Jessa Adler's page-- I have been following you for a little while- I love your art and your precious posts about your sweet babies. Thought I would share a blog with you that you might add to your prayer list (i notice that you are quite a woman of God and I think this family needs as many prayers as they can get)--- http://kandjstaats.blogspot.com/
    they just lost their baby girl.
    Love this post wrote about your littles. Feel free to follow me back!
    loveisallyouneedbowers.blogspot.com
    -Ashleigh

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  2. I have so much I want to say about this. a) i'm resisting the urge to link to a super similar post, of course to my c-section nicu baby rough start post:) - but is there any point any more? :) b) seriously, looking that good in the hospital? you're amazing. c) encouraged by this today because I want to pout about missing my husband who I've spent the last few days with. No point. Open hands:)

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  3. Hi love! :-) Have you read One thousand gifts. . . not that you NEED to because you live as if you have read this book a million times! :-) You are an inspiration to so many people. . . mommies or people who want to be mommies one day! :-) love you!

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  4. Good post! I'm hoping that's why God gave me a rough start - so that when I finally have a baby in my actual uterus I will be beyond thankful and appreciative. I know He has a plan for me, and I am excited to find out what it is!

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  5. My little brother was a preemie at 26 weeks and despite his rough start, is a happy, healthy 11 year old now! I am now on the the path to studying to be a NICU nurse because of our wonderful experience (as good as it could be, the nurses were such a source of grace and peace during a tough time) there. Love this story, it is so sweet and so are you!

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  6. oh now you have me crying while noah is sleeping. i think i need to go find some chocolate now. i love your story and your babies and you. and i understand the part about things we deal with that no one knows about. we all have them. and you are right, we all should be sensitive to that when we write and state our perspective. i love this post.

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  7. Casey!! Thank you for sharing this! I first heard about your blog from my sister-in-law Annie (Housholder...she is married to my twin brother). At the time, Annie was going through this same thing with her first born, Will. I can't imagine what you both went through, but your perspective is amazing. And I love how you said somethings will not be put out there...I don't think you're fake, I think you are protecting your family...not everything needs to be put out there. You are an inspiration! BIG HUGS!!

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  8. Hi Casey, Im home sick waiting for the husband to get back from a ski trip and was looking over all the sections of your blog....it really is great! And, it has grown so much over the last couple months! I knew Aiden and Ainsleigh were born early but hadn't ever heard the story behind their early births and this was very touching! I'll probably have questions for you when its my turn because I too have no hips and worry how my body will handle pregnancy! I'm glad your little ones are happy and healthy!

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  9. Casey!! Thank you for sharing this! I first heard about your blog from my sister-in-law Annie (Housholder...she is married to my twin brother). At the time, Annie was going through this same thing with her first born, Will. I can't imagine what you both went through, but your perspective is amazing. And I love how you said somethings will not be put out there...I don't think you're fake, I think you are protecting your family...not everything needs to be put out there. You are an inspiration! BIG HUGS!!

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  10. oh now you have me crying while noah is sleeping. i think i need to go find some chocolate now. i love your story and your babies and you. and i understand the part about things we deal with that no one knows about. we all have them. and you are right, we all should be sensitive to that when we write and state our perspective. i love this post.

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  11. Oh Casey!! I came to this post via your more recent 'what's on your heart' link up. I knew for some reason I had missed Sunday School and went to faith blogs to look for a blog that someone had maybe posted a Sunday morning devotion I could read.... a few clicks and here I was.... reading this. and it brought back all my emotions from the birth of our baby boy. We had a very similar experience and I identify with your feelings and reactions. Every. single. thing... and more currently I am just realizing how over protective I was...and how afraid I am to have another baby.... And we too have things that have happened that must be handled privately. I think everyone does. I am sure everyone does. THank you so much for sharing this post. I hope you and I will get to know one another better. I am your newest follower AND I posted about you a while back when I did my radical post...right after your husband quit his job. thanks again!!

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  12. thank you for sharing your story, sweet reminder to embrace each day in the moment.

    loved this: "And then when you hold your dreams with open hands, you get to watch God resurrect what seemed dead and multiply what seemed small."

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  13. My baby boy was born a month early, as well. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  14. Hi Casey-Over from the post you did today about Addison. I just wanted to let you know that your endless faith is inspiring. It makes me want to better my relationship with Him. All because of you, your innocent honesty, and your joy in life itself. It makes me feel like something in my life is missing because your faith reaches through the computer and hugs me. I hope that makes sense! So glad to have found your story. Prayers for your fam!

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  15. I found your blog through a friends blog. My heart aches for you and your family in this difficult time. I'm glad you have the perspective that not all moms get to bring their babies home. Many moms are nieve, and don't realize the viscous world of the NICU. My first son was born blue. Spent 2 days in the NICU and 53 hours into his life passed away. I have quite a few links on my page for pregancy loss and infant loss support sites. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  16. oh my word, this is SOOO true. i remember thinking the same thing- i'd do anything to have a baby waking me up in the middle of the night. thank you for the challenging post, to be be mindful that we don't know what others are going through.

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  17. I just wanted to say thank you. This post was beyond words exactly what I needed to hear. To spare details, I went through a similar NICU stint with my baby boy, just 8 months ago. And the whole thing was completely unexpected. To this day I still feel sad/frustrated about everything. I see people, friends and family, having babies and getting to instantly hold them and connect to them. and not go threw that silence of no crying. I couldn't put it better how I feel, then exactly as you described it. He is infact sleeping next to me in my bed as I type. I still hate sharing him. I feel selfish, but I want that time back. But you have given me a sense of reality to the situation. Open hands. I need to let go, enjoy and embrace the moment, right now. Thank you so much! you are such an inspiration.

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  18. Wow. Thank you for sharing this, I know that it was posted awhile ago, and I have looked at your blog from time to time, however, I had never clicked on the "loss and heartache" tag on the sidebar. I am sorry for your loss of your sweet little one at 12 weeks...I have had several miscarriages (one very recent) and know the pain it can bring, you have great faith and I hope that you have found peace.

    I also had my daughter, Hannah, 5 weeks early, she had "distressed breathing" and was in the NICU for 8 days. That NICU experience is very different from the things that I dreamed would happen when I had a baby, I didn't give her her first bath, I don't even have her little tiny footprint...but I love your perspective and that quote you shared,

    "God is just making the joys of parenthood sweeter for you by introducing you to the heartache early. Each anxiety we experience produces a greater appreciation for the wonderment that precious children bring into our lives."

    ...for some reason that and what you said about controlling our own reactions, gave me a little more peace about my experience with her in the NICU...even two years later!

    So... thank you so much for sharing your experiences here and being a little blessing to my life at this time!

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  19. You have the most beautiful family, and I cannot believe how great you look right after you've had a baby! Crazy.

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  20. hi there!
    i loved this post so much, I can absolutely relate to your emotions of this NICU experience. I too, delivered my twins at 29 weeks and didn't get the joyous experience of seeing them or hearing them. Although this was a fast-paced- albeit the most AMAZING moment in my life thus far, I was ripped of a desire experience the wonderful cry of new born babies who get to go home with you and wake u up with u every 2 hours to nurse.

    My twin boys were in the NICU for 53 days before they could come home...(growers they were called). We were there 53 days too. Just sitting and being present parents. (I -Breast pumping every 2 hrs& us-kangaroo care) For some special reason this is their glorious birth STORY. I'll always carry this NICU experience with pride and JOY. They are now lil STUDS and beef cakes with no health issues! I am blessed and I thank God every day. We are very lucky moms Casey! Great post!
    Love your blog and your adorable family!
    jessica

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