I am a first time mom who went into premature labor at 22 weeks and gave birth to a tiny 1lb 3oz baby boy via an emergency c-section. Life has a way of hitting you so hard to the point of almost knocking the wind completely out of you. Being a mother to a micro-preemie meant I would have to endure what some call, “The NICU roller coaster.” Everyday my mind tried to tell me that, “my body failed me,” “it’s my fault my baby is going through this,” “I wish it was me instead of my baby.”
These are just a few of the thoughts that would attack me on a daily basis.
Many people don’t talk about the mental struggle while also trying to stay present for your baby, in between the pumping sessions, beeping monitors, lack of sleep, back and forth trips to the NICU, seeing other women pregnant, worry and fear if your phone dares to vibrate in the middle of the night while you are not at the NICU! This is no exaggeration by far!
In the midst of it all, a tiny glimpse of strength shines through. I would think to myself, ya know, its really not as bad as it COULD be! He’s here, he’s fighting he is showing us all that he is a miracle.
We were the fortunate ones. Our son had a pretty uneventful NICU stay. In total he had two major procedures (one on his heart, his eye and four blood transfusions). When it was time for him to start oral feeds, he breastfed and bottle-fed like a champ without any set backs. All of this was a miracle! We saw babies that were older than Jaxson who struggled with the ability to suck, swallow and breathe or even maintain their body temperature. I had no choice but to grateful in the midst of a tumultuous time.
For 119 days my husband and I spent time with our son, advocating for him and watching him grow right before our eyes. Through this journey we learned so much about ourselves and life in general. Once you step foot behind the NICU doors, after you’ve scrubbed the germs, anxiety and tiredness away for 3 long minutes, you’re greeted with an instant reminder of how fragile and precious life really is. It wasn’t until our situation occurred that I truly grasped how quickly your life can change. The music of the NICU, the bells and alarms that are constantly ringing serve as a constant reminder that we can only control so much. As a parent you are forced to stand by, praying and hoping for a miracle while your baby fights and clings to life.
We documented our journey via social media and people would often speak on how resilient and strong we were. The support is what helped us push through daily. Some days were sad and long and others were smooth and joyful. Yes, we found joy in the little things. Being a NICU parent is tough but seeing your little one progress daily and make small strides towards being able to come home brings insurmountable joy. When Jaxson took his first oral feed, I cried tears of joy. The doctors had only given him a 20% chance of survival, they said he may have oral aversions and struggle to do normal things. Thankfully, Jaxson defied all of the odds! He is a happy and healthy 9-month-old!
Through the early arrival of my son, my hope and my faith was restored. I was tested, but I tried to smile and keep a positive mindset as I watched my son develop and grow outside of my womb. To see this little baby who fought to be here, go from 1lb 3oz to now over 14lbs is truly amazing.
Even in my darkest moments, uneasiness, worry and fear I held onto my hope. I have made it my personal mission to lend my hope to other parents. I want someone who may feel hopeless to find courage through our story and see that miracles do exist. I want people to not only know that miracles exist, but that they can also happen in your life too!