Here we are in August and all I can think about is where we were at this time last year. I start to remember the contractions and cramping on my 21st birthday, a Monday, where I stayed overnight in the hospital to be monitored. I remember being sent home and thinking that everything was fine. I remember waking up Wednesday morning with the gush of water as I rolled out of bed. I remember being so confused and being in complete denial that something was wrong. I talked casually to my mother in law while I packed my purse and my oldest son's backpack up as she waited in my living room to take me to the hospital. I remember the calm before the storm. I didn't panic, I didn't rush, I didn't fear the worst. In my mind, it was something that could be taken care of by making a little trip to see my doctor.
Then they confirmed that my water was ruptured. I remember it like yesterday. The calm was no longer present and full on panic rushed in as doctors, nurses, and whoever else barged in hooking me up to this, checking me out for that. I couldn't take it. The room got blurry as I cried and cried. I ended up just closing my eyes trying to collect myself but it was pointless to try. It was all too real and I wasn't prepared for it.
I go through these moments over and over again. And as I remember these moments I am bombarded with every emotion I felt. I know that we had a happy ending to our NICU story but it doesn't take away the desperation that we felt at the time. So many tears. So many fears. So many sleepless nights.
One of the things that sticks with me the most is the fact that the worst day of my life is now Blake's birthday. The day you give birth to your children is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. His birthday was the opposite. I wasn't sure if my baby was going to even survive. The neonatal specialist made sure that we knew that the odds were against him so that we didn't build false hope. We hung in the moment. Never knowing whether to grieve, or to think positive and give us ourselves some sort of hope. I remember people asking me how he was doing and for the first two weeks or so I didn't even know what to say.
This is when I reintroduced myself with God. All I did was pray. And I wholeheartedly believe he listened. My little one pound, eight ounce baby is the definition of a miracle. He defied all the odds and is thriving. All I would think about when he was in the NICU was what his future would look like. After seeing your baby hooked up to so many machines, on a ventilator, on oxygen, wires, IV's and whatever else its hard to picture them without it all. I was a nervous wreck about bringing him home and not having a nurse around 24/7 to keep an eye on him. But we managed. And I think we did a pretty good job if I must say so myself!
Even though the beginning of Blake's life was rocky, we all grew from it. Anyone who knows Blake's story is touched by it. He changed our lives and made us better people. We were so tangled up in today's world with all its materialistic objects and technology that we didn't focus on what was really important in life. He made us thankful for all of our blessings, big and small. He gave me hope and showed me that I had more strength than I knew I was capable of. He is small but he is mighty and he changed the world around him.
Happiness is an understatement when describing our family home life. Our house is filled with laughs, messes, and love. There is no greater joy than seeing your children grow, learn and live a life full of imagination. Both my boys light up the house with their silly little smiles and I am constantly reminded about how lucky we are as a family.
Blake is doing absolutely amazing. Looking at him now, you'd never guess he has spent the first 126 days of his life in a NICU. He is the happiest baby I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The only time he really fusses is if he is hungry or sleepy. Blake is always smiling. And he is extremely curious of the world around him. He is very mobile now. Not quite crawling yet, but he loves scooting around on his back, rolling all over the place and is working on army crawling. He has physical therapy once a week and a weekly visit with his developmental specialist. But that is the extent of our medical necessities. He is right on time for his adjusted age of 8 months. Oh and can this boy eat! He loves food! He isn't eating solid table foods yet but if its pureed, he'll eat it! Typical happy, growing, healthy little boy.
Ashton loves his little brother. They crack me up when they play together. Blake is always trying to scoot over to where Ash is and hang on him. He'll tug and pull at his big brother and Ash totally lets him. Ashton will get on the floor with him and just play with Blake. Again, I can't express how blessed I feel as a mother who gets to watch her two boys build their bond. They are best friends!
As Blake's birthday approaches I have such a mix of emotions. It's so bittersweet for me since I can't grasp the fact that he will already be one when he should only be eight months. But I am so thrilled that we made it here. I think back to where we were and I can't imagine going through it again and I think about all the families who are currently where we were last year. Our NICU story has ended but for some it has just begun. So to celebrate all of Blake's accomplishments we are putting together care packages for the NICU families. We received a few little care packages during his stay and they really mean all the world to you when your life seems upside down. We just thought it would be a great way to give back since we have been so incredibly blessed. We are taking donations and if you are interested in donating some items we would definitely appreciate it! I'll post an address and list of suggested items bellow.
This last year has definitely been a trying. We've shared heartache, fears, hope and the wonderful sense of relief. We've learned more about ourselves through this life lesson. Our family has never been closer and we are so elated that we had such a happy ending to our NICU ordeal. The different emotions that surround this month to me can be hard to sort out but above all, I am thankful. I'm not sure that the month of August will get easier to deal with as the years go by but that's okay. It reminds me to be humble. It reminds me to take a look at my life and our life as a family and just plain ol' be thankful.
**Follow the progress and get updates of the NICU Care Packages on Facebook at:
**Donations can be sent to:
PO Box 11146
Glendale, AZ 85318
**Cash donations can be sent to my Paypal account via firstname.lastname@example.org
Items needed for NICU Family Care Packages
* hand sanitizers
* non scented lotions
* children's books (for parents to read to babies while bedside)
* crossword or puzzle books
* baby blankets
* small stuffed animals
* Preemie outfits
* Starbucks gift cards (5-20 dollars)
* Kleenex packages
* Antibacterial wipes
* tea bags/single serve coffee or hot chocolate
* granola bars
* Gas cards
* vitamin waters
* disposable cameras
* restaurant gift cards
|The Birthday Prince|
|Can't believe he will be ONE!|
|My beautiful baby|
|Brothers and Best Friends|
|The cutest super heros you ever did see!|