With the Internet flooded with "Mommy Blogs", there is no shortage of women writing about what being a mom means to them. These women gush about motherhood and describe how it is the hardest yet most rewarding job on earth. And they are right.
Still there is room for more stories. Motherhood is a similar journey, but every story is unique. Last year, I became a mom for the second time. And that experience taught me what I am made of...
The day before we were scheduled to leave the hospital our aunt and I noticed that the baby had puss coming out of his eye. Even though he kept getting cleared by the nursing staff, I requested for him to get examined by the pediatrician. My concerns were right. They diagnosed him with an aggressive eye infection. They whisked him off to the NICU to undergo further examination and for testing. He was there for over an hour by himself. While he was gone I waited, terrified.
I was brought to my knees. I had known him for only two days and he had become my entire world. Indeed, he had me at the first time I heard his heartbeat on the Doppler. My heart had become fuller than I ever knew it could be. After I heard him cry, immediately upon being born, I exhaled. I believed that I had done my job and done it well. I believed that my greatest struggle in the coming days would be figuring out how to deal with sleepless nights. I imagined joking about those sleepless nights like new mothers do.
Who knew that I would have paid good money to never have a good night sleep again if only my son would be healthy.
It was a shock. I had experienced an ideal pregnancy. I had a natural childbirth. I delivered my son in two pushes. I say this, not to brag, but to give you an idea of how unlikely it was for me to have this type of complication. Everything had gone well. Most women would wish for the kind of prenatal and labor and delivery experience that I had. It was perfect…
And then, he was in the NICU hooked up to machines receiving IV antibiotics and there was nothing I could do, but pray. I wish that I had exhibited Christ like faith and said, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42. Instead, my prayers were more fervent and specific, “Father, please bless those caring for my son. Allow them to apply everything that they have learned and diagnose him properly and identify the appropriate treatment. Please save my son. I love him so much. He is the gift our family has been waiting for. We need him.”
|I loved him from the beginning|
I said a prayer like that several times over the course of his NICU stay knowing that there are no guarantees. I work in Health Care Risk Management. I understand better than anyone that many parents lift up those same prayers and still don’t take their babies home. Sometimes, you can know too much…
Fortunately, we were one of the lucky families. They identified the type of bacteria that caused the infection, it was E Coli. That meant the treatment was straightforward. They never identified how he got it. I believe something got in his eye at delivery. He was born immediately after they broke my water with his eyes wide open. Childbirth can be a dirty experience. They determined that the IV antibiotics he had been receiving had done their job. We were able to take him home so long as we administered gentamicin eye drops.
It was serious until it wasn’t. We experienced a miracle. We are blessed.
The entire ordeal lasted five days. And those five days changed me. It taught me clearly that there is nothing more important to me than my children. One night during his NICU stay the nurse called me and I heard my son crying in the background. She said, "R needs you. He's hungry." That's when I knew that my life and my happiness were inextricably connected to his.
It wasn't until he was discharged from the NICU that I was able to breathe again. It wasn't until then that my hope was renewed. After discharge, I was able to take my baby home, respond to his needs and endure those sleepless nights. This experience showed me how vulnerable I am and every mother is. We get the benefit of great love, which exposes us to the potential for great heartache. We do it gladly and with our whole heart. I will be forever grateful to my son for teaching me this lesson.