Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Letter to a NICU mom

I started thinking last night about how this time last year, we were getting the news that something didn't seem quite right with Baby B.  Baby B was our sweet Harper girl.  Little did we know, something was also terribly wrong with Baby B, our sweet Henry.  A year ago this week, Mark and I began to realize that my pregnancy might not be an easy one.  We had no clue what God had in store for us.  I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I don't think I would change a thing about this past year.  Well, I might change the isolation part, but honestly, I'm not even 100% sure I would want to change that.  I started thinking last night about how God has placed so many wonderful people in my life, just this year alone, who have encouraged me and made me a better person.  God used this long and very scary journey to draw my husband and me closer to Him and to each other. 

It was brought to my attention yesterday, that a couple from my hometown, who are currently pregnant with twins, might be facing a very scary journey themselves.  From what I've been told, her little girl is not gaining weight.  I don't know her personally, but my heart just aches for her because I know how scared she must be.  It made me start thinking about what I would like to say to someone who is facing the same thing Mark and I faced with our twins, so I wrote this letter.  If you are reading this post, and know someone whose child is facing or is in the NICU, I would be honored if you shared this letter with them.  I pray that it might give a little comfort to another mom like me.     

Dear NICU Mom,
Right now you have just welcomed your child into the world under extremely  stressful conditions. It was not the way you envisioned having a baby.  Right now you are mourning the dreams you had of this day and the plans YOU had made for your family.  Right now, you are living out your worst nightmare. Doctors and nurses are throwing around words and terms that you have never heard before; words you will wish you had never heard.  Right now you are tired, you are angry, you are probably really sore, but most of all, you are scared to death. Right now, you are realizing that it is actually possible to love something so much that it makes your heart ache. Right now, you are realizing that this teeny tiny person holds the power to completely change your life forever. Right now, you would give up every material possession you have if it would heal your baby.  Right now, you are about as broken as a person can be.  You are realizing that nothing YOU can do will change your situation.  You are realizing that you are completely powerless. Right now, as far as you are concerned, your world just stopped spinning.

I am writing this letter because I want you to know that no matter the outcome, God loves you!  What's crazy and seems impossible, is that God loves that little baby more than you do.  I want you to know that it's okay to be angry. It's okay to ask why!  It's okay to just break down. Those sweet nurses are used to it. Right now, you're probably asking God why He would even allow you to get pregnant if He's just going to take your baby away from you so soon.  Feeling this way is normal. But please know, that no matter how long or little you have the privilege of being that child's mommy, you are, in fact, a mommy. Even if for a short moment in time, you are getting to experience a love like no other. Well, a love only second to God's love for us.  You will one day look back on this and be grateful for the time God gave you with your child, and you will know that all the pain you are experiencing now was worth it!  I know it's impossible to believe that right now.  I want you to know that out of all the people in this world, God chose YOU to be this special little child's mommy. Please know that no matter what, that child will always be a part of you.

I want you to know that you and your baby are in for the fight of your lives. This journey will make you look at life so differently.   Things you used to spend time worrying about will soon seem so trivial. You are going to realize just how precious life is.  You are quickly realizing that you just received front row seats to a miracle.

Soon, you will get used to the wires coming out of your child. You will soon grow unaware of the bells and dings that first seemed so loud. I want you to know that even months after you leave the NICU, any time you hear such a noise, your heart may beat a little faster.

Once you leave the NICU, please know that your journey is far from over. Once you are home, it is very normal to experience anxiety. It is normal to have nightmares, and wake up in a panic. For however long your child was hospitalized, it seemed that the only news you received was bad.   So, it's perfectly normal to experience that feeling of, "What's next?" I would like to tell you that it will go away, but for some it never does. Having to watch your child fight to live is something that you will never forget.  A low grade fever when they start teething might just send you into panic mode. This is normal.  Studies show that NICU parents are second only to war veterans to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'm telling you, it will take time for your heart to heal from such a traumatic experience.  I promise you though, with God's love and mercy, your heart will heal.

I want you to know all of this because I have been where you are right now.  I know every situation and case is different, but as a former NICU mom, I might not know exactly what you are going through, but I have an idea. Thinking about the pain you are experiencing breaks my heart!  When I was in your place, I quickly reached my breaking point, and thats when I got to experience what it feels like to be held by God.  He carried me when I could not carry myself.  It's an experience I cherish.  To experience a such an intimate relationship with God is something a lot of people live their whole lives and never get to experience.   I want you to know that you are not alone.  I want you to know that God is REAL and he is ALIVE!  God loves you and He has a plan for you and your child.  I know it is hard to see that now, but God wants the very best for us.   I pray that you will trust in Him, and take refuge in His love and mercy.
Also, know that no matter the diagnosis or the outcome of your situation, NOTHING is impossible for God. He can heal the sick, and He can heal and comfort the brokenhearted.  He can give hope to the hopeless.  He can turn your mourning into gladness, and give you comfort and joy in place of your sorrow. Trust in Him.

May God bless you and keep you always.

With much love,

B.J. Mazurkiewicz


Brittany said...

Beautiful letter BJ. I know this will be a blessing to anyone experiencing the same thing. Proud of you. said...

Thank you so much for writing this. My baby girl is 2.5 weeks now, born at 30.5 weeks- still less than 2 lbs. I was so encouraged by your letter.