Then Aiden entered the world a month early, and while a long NICU stay was certainly expected for him, entering this world for a second time was even harder than the first. I recognized all the beeps, stress, and fear, and had to endure flash backs to Lydia's own battle while simultaneously living Aiden's struggles.
I've laid in a hospital bed, still feeling delirious from the anesthesia and so weak from my C-section that I was unable to move, as they wheeled my baby into my room on an ambulance stretcher so that I may say goodbye. I desperately bawled as the Life Flight Team wheeled my tiny baby away from me. The image of her gray, lifeless body as they took her away forever haunts my thoughts.
I had to experience this a second time, only in a helicopter, and cried as I watched my husband and son walk down the hospital hallway as I helplessly sat in a wheelchair.
|Taking Lydia to IMC Hospital via ambulance|
|Taking Aiden to Primary Children's Hospital via helicopter|
I've seen my babies so completely covered in medical equipment that you could barely see their tiny bodies. The little skin you could see was swollen, bruised, and scabbed over.
I have held my son's hand in a desperate attempt to console him as he silently screamed while the IV team poked him over and over and over again - once a total of 18 times.
I sat in the hallway and listened to my daughter scream as nurses attempted to put in PICC lines through her belly button, arm, and legs. My intuition surged through my body, telling me to run and protect her. But I couldn't - it was a sterile environment and I wasn't allowed in the room.
I've held back tears of frustration as I've attempted to get my sedated babies to look at and focus on me.
I've sat in a room full of doctors and ugly cried as they told me my son was very near death, and we needed to prepare ourselves and family for that.
I have witnessed more pain, sorrow, and helplessness after the birth of my precious babies then anyone ever should.
Being a NICU mother to premature babies is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It forces you to become a different type of mother and look at the world with a different pair of glasses. Not better by any means, but different. You experience every little detail of your child in a different light. Every breath they take, every smile they give you, every diaper you change, even the way they smell, becomes especially precious.
But in spite of the heartache and PTSD I'm sure both David and I have, I wouldn't change the way they entered the world. Yes they both have and continue to endure things no child should. But they have taught me how to love deeper, appreciate more, and showed me a strength I never thought I had.
They, including Melodie for being the big sister to two NICU siblings, are incredible children. I consider myself lucky to get to be their mother. NICU babies are a special breed of children, and their parents have the privilege of witnessing their fights. It's a terrible, emotional, often heartbreaking but just as joyful rollercoaster that makes you love them just that much more.