So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I waited seven long months of pregnancy for your arrival but still wasn’t ready for the moment you came early. Suddenly, everything seemed scary and uncertain but one thing was for sureyou surprised me from the start. There was no slowing you down.

I longed to finally meet you face-to-face but nothing could prepare me for when they whisked you away before I got the chance. The hours waiting were the longest of my life. Nothing about our new home in the NICU felt normal. There were so many limitations on my time with you, so many unfamiliar medical terms and devices, and so many eyes on me as I learned how to handle your fragile body.

I dreamt of the day I could rock you, but I dared not move the first time you were placed onto my bare chest. You were attached to more wires than I cared to count, but you looked straight into my eyes and that was all that mattered.

You appeared to have found your own piece of heaven, and I, my saving grace.

I planned to bring you home from the hospital but there I was, returning without you. If you could have seen my heart, you would know it was shattered into a million little pieces. I had to keep moving with no time for thinking, or I could never leave you. Even now, I pray you don’t remember the days I couldn’t be there. It’s more than I can bear to imagineyou on your own.

RELATED: Dear NICU Parents, I Pray For You

I set up a comfy crib just for you, but instead, you slept in an incubator in a room full of strangers. Yet from the moment I held your hand through the tiny opening, I knew you were mine and I was yours. Together we would stay, through whatever broken expectations or difficult obstacles lay on the road ahead.

I knew I would face an array of emotions as a mother but never realized I would feel so inadequate and helpless.

I felt weighed down by the guilt that you came too soon with such a rough start to life. If only I had kept you in a little longer, maybe just one more day would have made a difference.

I wanted so badly to feed you but found myself replaced by a small tube, giving my milk to you via someone else. When the time came, I could hardly even give you a bottle without your choking spells sounding the monitors. At first, their beeping frightened me, but eventually, I was nervous to take you home without them. I found comfort in this new reality of bradys and desats, CPAPs and nasal cannulas, care times and kangaroo chairs, daily temps and weigh-ins.

RELATED: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became A NICU Mom

I expected a hospital stay and recovery but didn’t realize I would be so physically and mentally weak from my own medical complications. I couldn’t care for myself let alone my family, including big brother and sister waiting at home. I was torn apart, just wanting to be everything to every one of you.

I looked forward to welcoming you into our family with happy tears, but instead, I saw your daddy cry for the first time as your condition worsened. I felt myself drowning into a hole I couldn’t climb out of. As I held on by a thread, everything seemed to collapse around me. The memory still lingersI fear it will never fade. It dwells in your first photographsthe ones of your little body living off machines.

I prepared to give you life but never imagined to see you look so lifeless.

I was overcome with the thought of losing you or receiving a diagnosis that would change all the dreams I had for you. As we waited for test results and the weeks dragged on, I took care of you just like I had turned into your personal NICU nurse. Every gram gained and milliliter drank was a cause for celebration. Eventually, you breathed on your own and maintained your temperature out of the box that had become your home.

I hoped to teach you everything in the world, but it was from you, my itty-bitty preemie, that I learned to survive. Not only did you fight to stay alive but you have also thrived. PICC line battle scars and all, you met every milestone in front of you. In fact, you often surpassed them in typical warrior style, and I found myself lucky just to keep up.

RELATED: Dear NICU Mom, I See You

I anticipated going on an adventure with you but little did I know it would start so soon. Our NICU journey was a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs, but we found strength in the love and support of our family and friends, in the capable hands of caring nurses and doctors, in the arms of those who held you when we weren’t able, and in the prayers of so many.

I prayed for you to be born healthy but God had a plan I could not foresee.

As He drew closer, I learned that sometimes the best gifts come earlier than expected, during the most difficult times, and in the smallest packages. You may have been tiny, but you were so mighty, just like my love for you. I hope you never forget that and never let anyone slow you down.

Amber Backus

I am a journalist turned stay-at-home mommy to four children, three sons and one daughter. These days, naptime is the perfect time to return to my first love of writing.

Trying To Conceive Almost Ruined Our Marriage

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman back to back on bed

“I know it’s not true, but I feel like you don’t love me anymore.” My husband’s words caused me to freeze in my tracks. I had been on my way out the door, but as soon as those words were uttered, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. The words hung in the air, and I held my breath, mind racing. What could I possibly say to that? I slowly turned around, silently waiting for my husband to continue. Which he did. “I feel like you don’t want to have sex with me anymore.” I cringed internally. Clearly, I wasn’t the...

Keep Reading

Donating Breastmilk Helped My Heart Heal

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with packaged breastmilk, color photo

Dear grieving mama, You know when you lose a baby everything changes, but your body moves forward like nothing happened. It carried that tiny baby long enough to trigger a complicated hormonal cocktail that causes your milk to come in so that little life can continue to grow outside you. But your baby is separated from you in a way nature never intended. There will be no baby snuggles. There won’t be a sleepy, smiley, milk-drunk face looking up at you. But your body doesn’t know that, so your breasts swell and keep swelling with milk that has nowhere to...

Keep Reading

Colic Can Make a Good Mom Feel Like a Failure

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding crying baby

“Let me try.” A stranger. A complete stranger. I allowed a stranger to hold you. It has been weeks, and you’re still crying every evening around the same time for the same amount of time. The doctor told me it’s just colic and that it’ll pass, but his nonchalant reaction is in utter opposition to how I feel, to how you obviously feel. Colic is devastating. And no matter how many times people tell you the baby is OK . . . when you watch your baby cry that much, you know they can’t be. I tried to take you...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Will Challenge Every Inch of You—but You Are Strong

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding new baby

Dear momma, Although it may not feel like it now, you will become stronger each and every day. Your feelings of hopelessness and sadness will be a distant memory. I promise you will get better, and you will be happy again. It is OK that you don’t know anything, your baby will forgive you. Your feelings of guilt have no merit. You will question everything. Keep asking those questions but trust your gut too. It will lead you in the right direction.  You are doing enough. You are enough.  RELATED: Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough Do not wish the...

Keep Reading

Going from One to Two Kids Was So Much Harder than I Expected

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And boy, DID. I. NOT. KNOW.  But, I really thought I did!  I really thought that waiting until our daughter was three before adding another child would make the transition easy. She will be more independent then, I reasoned. Also, fully potty-trained (HA!), enrolled in school, and interested in some things besides just Mommy. Plus, I’ve done this newborn thing before! How hard could it be? Bless that naive spirit. Because those optimistic expectations sure didn’t match my reality. I was firmly set on breastfeeding. So after our second baby came home, the nightly wakings...

Keep Reading

Just Wait Until You Realize Every Hard Moment Is Worth It

In: Baby, Motherhood
Woman kissing baby

Every new parent has heard it before—all those “just wait until . . .” comments. Just wait until you have to wake up every two hours, then you’ll really know what it means to be tired.  Just wait until your baby cries like mad, then you’ll really know what patience is.  You just wait until you find out what it truly means to be busy, then you’ll laugh at what you used to think of as busy days.  But you know what I say? Yes, the newborn stage can be difficult, but oh, how those precious moments wipe the difficultness away.  See,...

Keep Reading

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

When a Rainbow Baby Meets Mama

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
newborn baby on mother's chest

This week, one year ago, was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Fast forward to exactly one year later, and here I am cuddling you, my sweet boy. I never truly understood what “rainbow baby” was all about, but I get it now. Sure, I knew what it meant and what it represented. I had read the articles and heard the stories. I had seen the meaningful images and understood the definition. But I never truly and deeply knew what happens when a rainbow baby meets their mama . . . until you. When a rainbow baby...

Keep Reading

How Do You Know it’s Really the Last Baby?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Selfie of pregnant woman standing next to child, color photo

I love being pregnant. I love everything about it. I am, however, one of the lucky ones who has been blessed with stress-free pregnancies. I get the typical morning sickness in the first trimester and the utter exhaustion in the third trimester, but other than that, it’s just pure enjoyment. I know not everyone has that experience, some have horrific pregnancies, but for me they have all been relatively easy. Trust me, I do know how fortunate I am. I’m currently pregnant with my fourth child. The little man is due this summer. From the very beginning when I first...

Keep Reading

It’s Hard on a Mother’s Heart To Watch Her Last Baby Grow Up

In: Baby, Motherhood
Child walking away in grass

My youngest son turned two a few months ago and still has a binky. He actually calls it his “mimi,” and he loves it so much. This morning I  looked at him with a mimi in his mouth and a mimi in his hand before I walked him into daycare and realized something. I am not ready to let go of the baby stage.  Getting rid of the binky would be the last step of the baby stage. He is already in a big boy bed. He doesn’t want to sit in a high chair for meals. He tries to...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.

Mother Holding Baby

5 Secrets

for New Moms

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Encouragement for the newborn stage