Mother’s Day Do-over

My favorite flower, in case you were wondering ūüėČ

I’ve been looking forward to this Mother’s Day, kinda for the first time ever. Even though I’ve technically been a mother for 6 years, this one is very different. Pre-River, we never made too big of a deal out of Mom’s day, Ewan was too young to get it, and Pete already has a weird amnesia when it comes to all holidays. But last year, Mother’s Day was my due date for River. And I knew by January that we were never going to see her born that day, that she was destined to come earlier.

For Mother’s Day 2010, I learned something about motherhood, that my love for my child had enabled me to grow out of my previously experienced limits of being a mommy. I was a mom to a baby girl, a baby girl in a predicament that I never would have wished upon anyone, a condition I never thought I would have been able to understand or tolerate or walk through. An experience that scarred me, a deep wound, one of those wounds that once you heal from you are stronger than you were before. I didn’t go into motherhood a very strong and confident person, especially with children. I have emerged in a different skin. A skin I’m proud of.

I decided last year that we would start a tradition of going out to breakfast, only so I could start the day immediately with booze. Mimosas! We managed breakfast and mimosas, then the car’s key fob battery died and Pete had to walk to and from Radio Shack. Then they dropped me off at the hospital so I could spend the afternoon with River, who had just reached “term” age. Any day now she was to be discharged, but it didn’t help my mood that day. I was sitting in the ICN and it was super quiet. Nowhere did anyone acknowledge what day it was. I cried the whole time. I held her and cried.

So this year I could merely cry about the fact that she’s home with us and not in the hospital. I can hold her, kiss her, bounce her, play with her, talk to her and love on her all I want. We will start the day out in the same¬†restaurant, bring me a drink please! Even Ewan has reached the age of Mother’s Day participation! He has his school project all wrapped up and waiting and is very excited. Even my husband shopped 24 hours in advance…wait that’s normal. Love you honey!

Our exciting River moment of the day was she rolled over. Yes, this may seem like a small feat for a baby, a much younger baby usually. But for River, this has been a landmark event in her physical development. She just recently learned how to get off her tummy up into a sitting position. She has always hated tummy time. G-tube being such a nuisance!  She has for a while been able to roll off her tummy to her back. But today she willingly rolled to her tummy, and then quickly got up and into a sit. She knows now if she ends up there that she can just sit up! I found her sitting in her crib today, fighting her nap time, also! She is getting stronger, literally every day !

That little moment is why this day is so important to me now.

My greatest accomplishments

Back to the NICU

As my baby girl desperately reaches towards my keyboard, trying so hard to assault my computer and drool all over it, I never do forget how tiny and fragile she once was, and how long and it took to finally get her home with us. I have always wanted to give back to the hospital somehow, the NICU or the ICN.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I will never forget how last year at this time, we were visiting her in there everyday. How Mother’s Day was her true due date, and how she came way too early. I still struggle to forgive and forget how it was somebody else’s decision to take her out. I still hang onto some of those feelings, which I need to learn to let go. I didn’t get to choose when she came (do we ever?). But did she really have to come out so early? Did my doctor truly believe she was in danger? Did she really have to suffer such an early birth? AHHHHH I need to get over it, but it’s really hard!!! We attended a lecture recently on PTSD, it was given at our Mended Little Hearts meeting. PTSD is now recognized as a valid medical condition for parents whose child suffers a “life threatening event”. Our guest speaker said it is possible to suffer from symptoms of PTSD and not actually have PTSD. We most¬†definitely¬†have suffered from the symptoms, but gratefully it never was a full blown condition. My heart still quickens sometimes when I encounter triggers. Last week at the MRI I felt a touch of panic, memories. It’s my own journey to learn to overcome these things. I will be very hopeful that this year, my Mother’s Day, will be full of great memories instead of what happened last year.

But all of this has also been brought on by the fact that I made this picture up finally to give to the NICU/ICN. There were such pictures, all around both the NICU and ICN hallways that were given by parents, drawings, or photos of their children. Some letters, and short stories also. Sometimes they expressed gratitude, even though their child didn’t survive. Most of the time they expressed gratitude and photos of the child getting big and healthy and leaving the hospital! The pictures in the ICN, the stories of success, I did look at while I was there, and they did give me a sense of hope. Pete and I have always wanted to give one of these, and hope that it hangs somewhere where is might give a stressed out parent a little hope. Also to thank the many staff member, nurses and doctors, that helped to ensure River’s success.

It’s all done and ready to go! Next week I will call up our old case manager and arrange a time to bring it by and, of course, show off River! And hopefully, get a sense of closure, maybe I can learn to move on from those memories of fear and panic and trauma, and learn to feel the peace and gratitude in it’s place!