Thursday, May 15, 2014

Letters to our Daughters - May 15, 2014

Dear E,

(This post is going to be rather long, as this was a very eventful week we just had.  And since this is part of a blog circle I participated in, I wanted to make sure you have a chance to visit Nicole's blog and read her letter to her daughter here.)  

I am not even sure where to start this letter.  This seems to be a common theme, I know.  I am still processing the events of the past week in our lives, and as they are very important to the story of your life, I want to share them with you in a way that might help you remember when you are grown.  And maybe even tell your own children someday.

You see, you are one very special little girl.  You always have been.  And you would still be even if you hadn't been born 11 weeks premature.  And a 4 hour plane ride away.  (To see more of this my dear, see this blog entry.)  However, this part of your history is pivotal to your story.

We have JUST returned home from a visit to your NICU.  That place we spent 47 long days, after 19 long days on bed rest.  The place that haunts my memories, and yet holds a very special place in my heart.  That place saved you.  But I hate that you had to be there.  That's quite a contradiction to wrap my head around.

I did ok, until we walked through those doors.  Even now, I steal myself against the tears of remembering that moment.  I can hardly explain the intensity of the feelings that washed over me as the sight of that hallway, and that very distinct smell of that NICU crashed into me like a tidal wave.  While it didn't stop me in my tracks, oh did it hurt in a strange way.  4 years ago we walked out those doors and I swore I would never go back.  Too much pain came with that place.  But the people we left behind were too important to truly leave it all behind.

We even went to your very room as it did not hold any tiny, sick babies at the moment (thankfully!) Your nurse even went so far as to make sure there was an isolette in the room so you could see it.  So you could know just how much went into your care.  Room 226.  Straight down the hall from the entrance and off to the right.  Probably one of the only rooms in the entire NICU without any windows.

As fascinated as you were, you seemed a little withdrawn.  A little unsure of this machine in front of you.  Almost afraid to touch it.

But your curiosity won out and you did.  Even though you wouldn't put your hand inside to feel how warm it was in there.


Even now, just from looking back in my mind at the memory of walking in those doors and down that hall, I feel completely drained.  The emotions sucked dry.  That empty feeling that comes from being emotionally wasted.  I did not expect that reaction.  I was apprehensive to go, but I did not truly expect to be that overwhelmed by emotions.  I don't know still that I have processed it all.  Or that I ever will.
There are moments that just define you.  That just change the course of your life.  Some of them, you chose to make happen.  Some of them are thrown in your face when the rug is pulled out from under you and all you can do is stand back up and keep moving forward.

I think this moment defined me.  Not you.  As you will never be defined by your prematurity.  You have proven time and again that prematurity will not hold you back.  That it's just a word.  That it's just a part of your story.  But I will always, and forever, be a preemie mom.

You changed my life.  Not in the "simple" way of "making" me a mother.  But in showing me what I could do.  That, as the Kutless song says, impossible is not a's just a reason for someone not to try.  

What an amazing person you are.  You changed more lives than you will ever know.  The hearts you touched while in the hospital, and the healing you gave. 

And it doesn't really stop there.  You seem to give hope . The more your story is shared.  The more people who see you in all your 4 year old glory.  Healthy, happy, spunky.

So for that very reason alone, I will keep sharing you, your life and your story.  And I hope someday you will want to share it yourself.  Stand up proud and say that prematurity did not hold you down.  Did not keep you from achieving your dreams.  It didn't define you, but you took the challenge by the head.  You squared your shoulders and stuck your tongue out at the world. 

I am so very thankful you got to meet some of the people so pivotal to those first days.  Not only did they care for you, but they cared for me.  They gave me the strength to go on.  To keep putting that foot in front of the other.

There is much more detail to our trip than just our visit to the NICU, but that is another post, for another day.  And, I think, what I want you to know the most as you grow up.  The itty bitty details of getting on a plane, seeing some butterflies, cactus walks, meeting lots of new people, will always be there and you will probably remember it.  But knowing that you changed lives, that you had an impact just by being born, that you won't know unless you are told.

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