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I think about you often.

I noticed you on our second day in the NICU. I was in the hallway in front of your daughters’ room speaking with our nurse. You looked up from your chair and tried to smile. As I walked away, I looked at the nameplate on the door. Sophia.

From where the rocking chair was in our room, I could see out our door to Sophia’s room. Over the next few days, I noticed your daughter’s door proudly displayed several milestones. “Off ventilator” and “first-time mommy held you” made me realize you were seasoned here. Your daughter had been through a lot in her little life. And so had you, Sophia’s mama.

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A week later, you came in scrubs to see Sophia. I wondered if you had gone back to work. I thought about how hard and long your days must be. Working when all you wanted to do was be there with Sophia. And coming after a long day to sit by her isolette late into the night.

My heart hurt wishing you could just be there with her, Sophia’s mama.

A few days later, my husband and I were there when Sophia coded. We sat in silence as doctors and specialists and nurses ran to her room while you stood in the corner with a look of terror that I will forever remember. I rocked my daughter and stormed Heaven with prayers for your girl and for you, Sophia’s mama.

It is a humbling experience being able to peer through a window into the hardest, most vulnerable, and most intimate moments in a family’s life. I watched you sit right next to Sophia’s isolette and just stare at your sweet girl with worry on your face and in your heart. I saw you, exhausted, late at night and early in the morning with coffee in hand. I watched your husband hold you while you shook with sobs as a doctor delivered news. We never spoke. Only exchanged forced smiles as I walked by to the bathroom or you went to refill your water.

But I felt like I had forever bonded with you, Sophia’s mama.

The day for us to be discharged arrived. I was beaming walking with my daughter in her car seat to go home. I passed your room and watched you quickly look down. And I instantly felt sorry for being so happy. Guilty that we were bringing our baby home while Sophia had to stay. Ashamed by my joy because I know that watching us leave must have hurt your heart, Sophia’s mama.

RELATED: Dear NICU Parents, I Pray For You

Now, I watch my daughter crawl and sit up and eat solids, and I hope you are getting to do the same with your daughter. I pray that you got to leave, beaming while they wheeled your Sophia out to the car to go home. I wonder if our girls may one day be classmates or on the same team. I hope you are living a happy and beautiful life with your strong, miracle girl.

I think about you often, Sophia’s mama.

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Sarah Parsons

Sarah and her husband live in Tennessee with their two children. They are homebodies who occasionally venture out to the mountains and love spending time with their family and friends they do life with.

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