EXCEPT he wasn't breathing very well. They observed him in the nursery and several hours later they came to tell me that he was going to the NICU.
Now, I don't need to tell you how scary that was. I will tell you that this was only the beginning. Although our son towered in size over all the babies in the NICU, there is still nothing like seeing YOUR CHILD attached to machines and tubes. At times, I felt torn between thanks and anger; peace and fear.
Today, our son is a typical four year old. He woke up this morning dancing, singing and making noise. He also fell half way down the stairs. It's a good reminder that every day is risky.
I write all of this today because some dear friends of ours just had their second child. He, too, had a traumatic birth and is in the NICU. Today, the mom will go home from the hospital. It got me thinking about that day four and half years ago when we left our son in the hospital.
Here's what I sent them:
I suppose there are many days in our lives that are like no other: the day we finish school, the first time we fall in love, the day we're married...There is, though, no day like today.
This is the day...when you are deemed well enough to leave the hospital. Of course, this is reason for thanksgiving: good care from nurses and doctors means she successfully came through a traumatic and invasive surgery.
This is the day...when your baby stays in the hospital. And for this too we may give thanks: good care from doctors and nurses means he is recovering and healing.
And, this is not how you imagined this day would be.
This is the day...when there will be an empty spot in the car.
This is the day...when the house will be too quiet.
This is the day...when you will want to be in two places at once: holding your baby at home and holding your baby in the hospital.
This is the day...when you will be angry at every family who has brought their baby home from the hospital.
This is the day...when you'll wonder: was it me?
This is the day...when everyone will try to help you and none of it will be enough.
This is the day...when your emotions will swirl around you so fast it may be hard to hold on.
This is the day...when you give yourself permission to feel all those feelings.
This is the day...when you discover you have the ability to love more than you ever thought you could imagine.
This is the day...when all those who love you will surround you with a great bubble of love and prayers.
This is the day...when you have a really hard conversation with God.
The good news is it's only a day. When you finally allow yourself to fall asleep, you'll wake up and discover that you made it through the night. You'll wish you could fly to the hospital. You'll walk into the NICU, see your son and breathe a great sigh.
This is a day like no other. May you find strength and courage all around you as you face the day
May God grant each of us calm strength and courage, patience and wisdom as face whatever the day may bring.