Katy and I were inspired to write about what we are thankful for in our lives. Like so many of you, we found that as cliche as it may sound-we have so much to be thankful for. One of the things I find myself being grateful for is the community of women I am a part of. We are honored to share some of their thankful moments here with you.
“I have so many things to be thankful for but this season I find myself thankful on a deeper, more primal level for the photos we have taken of our daughter. Olivia spent 92 days in the nicu. The first three months of her life were lived out in a small room at the hospital and we took over two thousand photos. The ups and downs and twists and turns our life took still reverberate through our family. But capturing the journey is something for which I will forever be thankful.
It wasn’t even my idea at the beginning. I had an emergency c section with which I was put under general anesthesia. When I woke up I was on magnesium for 24 hours and thus I was stuck in bed. Not being able to go up and see the baby drove me crazy and the only thing that made it better (and worse) was my husband texting pictures to me via cell phone.
Without realizing it we fell into a pattern of taking pictures each day and in this day of digital pictures and cell phones, you can’t take just one. On the one day that we realized neither of us had taken a photo I called our night nurse who graciously took a photo of Olivia during her cares that night.
Those daily pictures became a therapy for me. It was a way to keep friends and family in the loop because of course we couldn’t risk visits. It was a way to share a small part of our life, the complete joy and obsession your baby is and becomes and the devastating loss of having to leave every day and drive away from her.
The photos helped her older brother and sister to “see” her when they couldn’t visit-colds (ugh!), logistics (taking them down town and back on a school night was something I did only rarely), and trying to keep their lives as normal as possible limited their visits to weekends.
I would stare at her pictures, my favorites were the ones where her eyes were open and I would hope and cry while I pumped three times every night and I felt like the only person in the world that was awake and worrying. I’d look at the pictures while I sat in her room while the kids were in school and she was ensconced in her isolette cover and we couldn’t look under the cover because lifting the cover would let in too much light.
Those photos got me through the hardest experience of my life. And they are still getting me through. Silent powerful testimony of how broken we were. How far we have come.”
“As the year winds down, it is hard for me to think of just one thing I am thankful for. This year started out with excitement, I was pregnant and the baby was estimated to come any day now. When that day approached I was so thankful for my husband and my two wonderful doulas! I could not have had a better support team.
Soon after the birth of my baby boy my world was turned upside down, after 24 hours of my new baby not eating, he was taken away from me to the NICU. Even though I was so scared, I was incredibly thankful for the NICU nurses and my postpartum nurses. These ladies and gentlemen made me feel like I was at home, and they cared for my baby boy just as I did. Then came the dreaded diagnosis, my baby is going to be faced with a lifetime of challenges. He was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome.
Now in all this sadness, hurt, and anger, I have come to know so people through my online PWS support groups. I am thankful for all these wonderful people, they have been my crutch, another brain to bounce ideas off to help my little boy, they have been there to help make my life feel somewhat normal. I am thankful for all my friends and family who have been so supportive, who have brought us meals, came to visit me because getting out of the house is just too hard, and those who have helped clean my house. Along with this diagnosis, has come meeting new medical specialists. I am thankful for these medical specialist, they are definitely a part of our village helping to raise my wonderful baby boy. I am thankful our therapists who work with my baby and teach me new skills to work on throughout each week. I most thankful for my husband who can budget and figure out a way for me to stay home both our children. I am thankful for my older son for being the best big brother.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that I am a true believer in more now than ever. I want to thank our village. Our village has made this year be the very best!”
“Like so many people who are writing I’m sure I am not the only one who is saying that they have so much to be grateful for. It was hard for me to think of just one thing, but what I decided to focus on is health and the gift of healthy loved ones.
My grandmother played a huge role in my life and lived a very healthy lifestyle. She became sick very suddenly last year and after only 2 weeks she died of ovarian cancer. Her death changed my outlook about many things-but the main one was my view of how quickly things can change. I am so grateful that myself and my family are healthy and vibrant. I also so thankful that I no longer take anything for granted and truly believe each day is sweet (even when bad things happen). I have had a few other people who have walked into my life recently who have helped me to remember that tomorrow isn’t promised and to live in the moment.”