A Poem: How Preemie Moms Are Chosen

The past few days have been long. We are so fortunate to have the help of my mom who has gone above and beyond to continue to be the primary caregiver for Grace, allowing me the time to pump (about 7 hours a day right now, every 2 hours around the clock) and be with our little one at the NICU. While it has only been less than 96 hours, it has felt like a month figuring out schedules and quieting the internal battle of being with Grace whom I have missed so much these past few weeks and being in the NICU as decisions about our little girl's care are made.

The NICU is scary, but not as scary as I imagined it would be. I am so confident in the phenomenal care our little girl is receiving, and so appreciative of the compassionate and knowledgeable nurses and neonatologists who are providing us with all of the information we need to forge ahead each day, hour by hour. Grant's been so strong, asking all of the questions we need answers to while I can't think straight.

The toughest part of each visit is leaving her. We say goodbye, but we don't know if her hearing is developed so doubt she hears us. She can't see us wave or look back. She just lies there peacefully in her pile of wires and tubes, sleeping under the glow of the blue lights warding off jaundice. I have to exit the hospital the same place new mother's leave - and my heart breaks every single time watching the new father's pull up the curb ever so slowly and cautiously before fumbling with the carseat and their new precious cargo. Mom's face aglow with both pride and terror - it is now time for the next chapter of bringing baby home. It's haunting. Why did we get robbed of that?

Physically I must have been running on adrenaline those first 36 hours because I felt great (got discharged about 20 hours after delivering) but now everything hurts. I hadn't worn shoes in 6 weeks, and every step I take I feel like little bones in my feet are cracking and my muscles ache all over. I'm weak. From bedrest to child birth to pumping and taking care of a 15 month old, my body has been forced to go from 0-60 and I am just praying it can keep up with the demands. Pathology came back with a report and shockingly the early delivery was not inpart to the Incompetent Cervix which had been the foreboding theme of our pregnancy journey these past few months but instead some sort of bacterial infection that caused the placental abruption leading to bleeding and pre-term delivery. I haven't quite wrapped my head around all of this yet. 

I can't help but wonder why God thinks I am strong enough for this journey. I don't feel brave enough- my fear is suffocating. I've navigated my own health struggles with MENs/kidney stones/pregnancy throughout the years, and last year with 6 week old Grace in the hospital with her kidneys, but neither of those could have possibly prepared me for the complete helplessness that overwhelmes each minute of every hour. I tried so hard to keep her cooking, but I feel like I failed her only making it to 29 weeks... 79 days early.  

This poem was sent to me and I have to read it a few times each day for reassurance that somehow I will be able to dig deep inside of me and physically, mentally, and emotionally be able to continue this journey per God's assignment.

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen
by Erma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

”Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.
Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.
Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.”

The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

”Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”

”But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.

”I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”

”But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect She has just the right amount of selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see— ignorance, cruelty, prejudice— and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

”And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

God bless you all, thank you for your continued prayers- they are our sustenance.