Monday, September 9, 2013

Does It Get Easier?

Does being a preemie/NICU/special needs parent ever get easier?

I had to ask myself this today after reading a comment on a FB support group for past/present NICU parents. There was a very heart wrenching question posted by a family member concerning a very ill preemie with a lot of similarities to my sweet lady Addison. I held off on saying anything initially because even giving all the similarities the situation was different and I wasn't sure how to go about this delicate situation. I did follow the thread while I thought of how I could explain Addison's story and offer some resources for this person. It was the response before mine that shook me to the core. 

Another twin mom lost one of her sons at 10.5 months old. TEN AND A HALF MONTHS OLD! He never left the NICU, it was the only home he ever knew. My heartaches for the mom and her family. And in an instant I was taken right back to our time in the NICU making tough choices for Addison. 

I had to ask myself, if it ever gets easier. Does it get better? Will I ever "get over it"? And by "it" I mean the experience itself, the having babies 14 weeks early, watching them fight for their life and all that a came after; that "IT". I don't know that I will ever "get over it" in the sense that I'll forget what happened or certain things won't remind me of some of/any of those moments. But I do know, time has helped me heal - a little.

Day to day is easier. The worry lessens just a little. But the fact is, I cannot erase history. It's our story. I cannot imagine forgetting where Addison and Blake started or how far they have come. As days go on though my focus has changed from focusing on how close we've come to loosing them both to focusing on just how amazing of a miracle we've witnessed. The thought of another pregnancy or NICU experience still scares me - my scars run deep there - likely as deep as my physical scars from my c-section. And sure there are things that can take me back and unleash those raw emotions, and sometimes I need to cry it out. Other times, I may just need a deep breath and cover A & B in hugs and kisses to know "it's all ok".

I can say that even though their birth was one of the scariest moments in my life, it was also the greatest. And perhaps the happiest (though that might have been all the pain meds talking).

Sometimes I wish I knew why we were one of the "lucky" ones and why so many others had to endure such pain. (Sometimes I often wonder if we'd get so lucky again.) I pray one day that "why" can be replaced with life and hope. The hope that one day we can end prematurity and save more of these amazing little heroes - that those survivors live a full life after the NICU. For me, part of healing has been found in advocating, raising awareness and supporting others.

So to those families still in the thick of the NICU, the days are long (and hard). It's worth it no doubt. And it does get just a little easier as time goes on. Reach out to those around you, those that have went before you and when you're ready - support those who will no doubt come after you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment