Over the years I have learned I am not a verbal processor. I don't share my feelings often or easily. It feels scary, and I don't like scary. It feels disorganized, and I find comfort in organization. It feels vulnerable and I have more scars than I wanted. So over the past few years I have found my voice in writing. In writing I process. In writing I feel. In writing I organize. It brings me comfort, understanding, and peace. So here, on National Prematurity Day, just over one year later, I write:
I write about the guilt. It is still heavy, and I still feel like I failed you.
I write about the grieving. I get stronger, but it doesn't go away.
I write about what I was so thankful for. Not everyone has friends, at least friends like we had.
I write about what I remember and what I wish I could forget.
I write to say I'm sorry. I don't know what I could have changed, but like any mother, if I knew what I could have done differently I would have.
I write because it still hurts. It hurt to see you struggle to breath, to choke over and over again learning how to eat before you were ready, to see you turn blue because you forgot to breath.
I write because I feel responsible. For every specialist, test, or even weight check that brought tears and fear ... I feel responsible.
I write because I'm jealous ... jealous of people with normal birth experiences.
I write to remember the precious moments I had with just you. The moments I closed my eyes, felt you skin to skin, and imagined you were safe inside my body.
I write so others will give me grace when I'm a little crazy and over protective: Welcome to our home, go wash your hands.
I write so other moms know they aren't alone. The NICU is the busiest, most lonely and isolated place I have been.
I write so others will be aware. Aware of the roller coaster that is the NICU.
But most of all, I write that I would do it all again. I would do it all again to fight for every extra day, or even hour inside of me. I write to say I love you.
(a video a friend so kindly made us with some of our pictures the first few months - thank you Rachel ... I watch it over and over again!)