Tonight I was looking through old pictures and had this strange feeling come over me. It’s so strange what a photo can make you feel. I look back at this photo of me and my two boys, and I can feel so many emotions I can’t even process them. This was the first time L1 came to see his little brother after we were moved to the NICU. L2 was 5 days old, and on day 2 in the NICU. Everything had happened so fast. He was my perfectly healthy little boy, but spiraled so quickly into a life threatening situation. We were rushed out of one hospital and into another when he was just 3 days old. I slept in the NICU in a chair by his side every moment. I had a c section days earlier, but I was not concerned with my recovery, only L2’s.
L1 looked at him with such awe. He was destined to be a big brother. He always did and still does love babies. He wanted to talk about his every feature, which was perfect because I already had each one memorized. He wanted to ask questions, which was hard because I had the same ones. He wanted to take him home, which was the worst, because so did I!
On this day, the nurse finally convinced me to go home, shower spend time with L1 and take a break. I couldn’t stand the thought of being away from L2, but I agreed to. So I left, but agreed to only one hour. As soon as I stepped out of the hospital, it hit me like a ton of bricks, the reality of what a sick baby was. I was tearful the entire ride. But when I got in the shower, I cried harder than I had in, well maybe my entire life.
The year leading up to this was the worst of my life. I had found out I had MS, my husband was having an affair, I moved my son and I across the country, found out I was pregnant, went into some insane depression that nobody could help with. It was just a spiral. And now I sat at my moms house 5 days post delivery and trying to breathe for what felt like the first time in days, wondering what would happen next.
My entire pregnancy I felt God set this timeline up so that I wouldn’t dive headfirst off the deep end. If I would have gone through the affair and divorce in different time, I likely would have handled it all with much less grace and probably a lot of alcohol. It likely would have been very bad for my newly diagnosed MS. So I believe that when God knew I couldn’t take one more bad thing, he gave me this little baby to grow and take care of, and remind me that life is beautiful. Even in the storms.
So now I had to wonder, now that I have this baby in my arms, why is he trying to take him away. I literally asked my mom, sitting on her bed on my little break “what will I do if he dies? Why is this happening to us?” And she said we would just get through it. It would be the worst thing ever, but we would have to keep moving on. I couldn’t even think about that anymore, but I knew that was right. What do you do when terrible things happen? You keep on, and try to dilute those awful things with good things. No doubt they all change you, but you have to move on.
Fast forward a few days, and we were released from the hospital with a much stronger and healthier baby. His heart rate was stable and breathing was easy. I lived in fear for about a week, before I realized I couldn’t do that. We were out, he was growing and we had to live! Now he is 3.5 and the funniest little boy I have ever known. When I look back at these pictures I feel so much. It ranges fear, worry, sadness, hopelessness to pride, happiness, completeness, and optimism. I think about everything we have done over the last 3.5 years. All the memories, laughter, tears, snuggles and so much more. I literally can’t imagine life without both of my children. From not knowing if your child would ever come home, to raising a healthy (mostly happy) little monster, I can’t tell you the roller coaster it took. But this is my ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hold your babies tight tonight. Some parents are not as lucky as we are to have that chance.
❤ MS Andrea Jackson