"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

February 20, 2012

Heavy Hearted

I've been throwing myself a pity party for the past couple days, questioning why my baby girl has to go through so much, why does she have to suffer, why does she have to be sick and back in the hospital again.  How selfish of me.  Today, my eyes were opened in more ways than one....and I'm forced to appreciate more what I have been blessed with, and it's a lot!

There is a IMC NICU parent support group on facebook that I was invited to recently.  It's been really neat to be able to meet and get to know other NICU moms....to hear their stories, their struggles, their heartaches.....and to get strength from their positive outlooks, overcoming their obstacles, and sharing their hope.  Many of them I've only met through facebook, never in person....but I still feel connected through our similar experiences.  Today I found out some devistating news from one of my mom friends that I met through that group.  Strangely enough, she's been on my mind all day long.....this is a mom that I've never met in person, only through the computer.....We emailed each other last week and she told me that her precious baby girl had a really rough week.  Today I thought a lot about her, she was kindof on my mind all day long.  In random conversations with my husband, her name would come up and I would wonder how her baby girl was doing.  I tried getting a hold of her through facebook, but no luck....then tonight I got an email from another NICU mom, her best friend, with the news that her baby girl grew her wings and went back to heaven today.  My heart dropped so fast and so hard and I cried uncontrollable alligator tears.  My heart hurts so bad for her.  Our stories are extremely similar, and in fact it almost has the same beginning....she had complications and due to bleeding her baby girl had to be taken emergency c-section at 24 weeks.  Her precious little angel lived for only 19 days.  I know there is nothing I could ever say or do to ease the pain that she's feeling right now, but I have been there.  Losing a child is one of the hardest things to go through.  I hope and pray that her little angel will run into my baby Cindy up in heaven and they can run around and play together.  Sitting here thinking of her, I can't help but to look at my baby Katea....she's sick and in the hospital, but she's alive.  No matter how much she's gone through, or how much she still has to go through, I will always count my blessings that through it all, she's still here with me, and I am blessed!

Today is Sunday and a young couple came to my room this morning to let me know that they hold a sacrament meeting at 1030am and that I was more than welcome to come if I wanted to.  They told me that if I couldn't make it, then they could bring the sacrament to baby's room for me.  I told them I would be there, but after they left...I seriously contemplated not going....no real reason why, just lazy and probably a little bit had to do with the pity party I was throwing for myself this morning.  After I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to go, another young couple came in to invite me.  I don't know if they meant to have two couples come tell me about it, or if it was a sign that I needed to go....but I took it as the second and I went.  The sacrament service was only 30 minutes from 1030-11am.  They held it in a little auditorum that had about 150-200 seats in it.  I felt a little akward going to a sacrament meeting in my sweats, but once I walked in, I was overwhelmed with the spirit.  What I was wearing didn't seem to matter anymore....everyone was in sweats or pajamas.  The whole entire auditorium was full to the top....with people even standing along the wall.  The prelude music was playing and I couldn't help but cry.  There were a lot of people crying....probably all the moms in there!  I just sat in my seat and watched as the auditorium filled up....I watched as parents rolled their sick kids in their wheelchairs, with all their IV's and equipment hooked up to them.  Other parents would bring their kids in wagons, the kids to fragile and frail to even sit up.  A lot of parents, like me, came alone because their kids were too sick to leave their hospital room, and there were even doctors and nurses who came in too.  It was an overwhelming sight to see.  They started with an opening song and a prayer and then then blessed and passed the sacrament.  Even though the room was full of kids, that moment was silent...so reverent.  The sacrament was passed to everyone and then they had a member of the Primary Children's Branch Presidency give a talk....he talked directly to the kids that were there.  In that moment I was humbled.  I looked around the room and saw so many sick kids.  So many kids that have been in the hospital for so long, way longer than we have....some who will never get to go home.  I saw families there with their kids, who knows how many Sunday's they've been coming to this branch at the hospital.  I felt a room full of unconditional love.  There was a little boy in a wheelchair sitting in the front row.  That whole row was saved for his family.  There were 4 other healthy kids, the parents and him.  They come to church here at the hospital every Sunday so they can be together as a family.  The little boy couldn't hold himself up....he kept on falling forward in his chair.  His mom was sitting patiently by him and she'd gently pick him up every time he'd fall.  She did it over and over and over again in that short 30 minutes.  He was being a little fussy and his mom didn't know what he wanted.  He put his had out and his mom held his hand....he immediatley calmed down.  Unconditional love.  In my own little world, I've been given too much.....my plate is too full, I can't handle it.  But comparing it to the greater scale of things, I am so blessed and grateful that with all the complications that could have happened and all the things that could have gone wrong....my baby girl is a fighter and she's going to be ok.  I needed these experiences today to keep me humble, grateful and strong.  I guess it's true that no matter how bad you have it, you can be sure that someone has it worse.  God doesn't give us what we can't handle....even if we don't think we can handle it!

What an emotionally draining, sad  and eye-opening day.  I think part of losing baby Cindy and having baby Katea be born too early was a lesson just for me.....to learn to appreciate more what I have, and to recognize, realize and relate to other people around me.  Another one of my NICU mom friends posted this poem on her facebook account earlier today, and I think it's perfect:

A Preemie Mom's Oath.

I have sat in the NICU and waited.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured.
...

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.
I will marvel at my surviving miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to a nurse taking another temperature, an alarm going off, another round of meds or because I am crying tears for fear of the unknown.
I will be happy because my baby is alive and crying out for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a preemie with physical challenges or medical issues, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body.
I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

5 comments:

Kalani said...

I love you Monica. Over and over and over I have been amazed at your strength, wisdom, and positive perspective. I'll be praying for you guys...just got on the blog after not reading for a week or so, and was so sad to see that Katea was back in the hospital.

Meredith said...

Monica your amazing. You are always looking for the positive, and allowing growth into your life and heart from your life experiences. Your children are lucky to have you as a mother! Stay strong and look forward to the horizon of happiness, because yourself and your family belong there, and will get back there soon!

ANNA BANANA said...

I could not stop crying throughout this whole post Monica. I'm so sorry for all the struggles you've been dealing with, I'm sorry for your friends loss, and that story of sacrament meeting just touched n humbled my heart :'( I absolutely love that poem, it made me think how blessed n lucky I am to have healthy children, it also made me appreciate mothers like u and her to look up to because u have endured a pain I can only imagine, and it breaks my heart. I love u Mon, and am here whenever u need a listening ear or a shoulder. Xoxo to Katea, and don't worry bout throwing ur self a pity party, sometimes it's needed, crying is good for us moms sometimes :) love ya I'll come visit u soon...

MARCIA said...

Oh Monica this post is so touching. I read it through my tears. That poem at the end helped me to understand just a little of what you are going through. I have learned through you Monica to love my kids more and appreciate them all the time. You are a wonderful mother. Baby Katea is just like her mommy...a fighter. Love you Monica. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

Dasl*it Photography said...

Monica, you are one of the strongest people I know.. May God bless Katea with a speedy recovery.. Ofa lahi atu sis..