Last night was my first night volunteering in the Kuddle Korps program in the NICU at the hospital. Although the sight or sound of another baby has brought me to tears in the past since losing Liam I had felt I could handle this. I felt that this is something that I could do for other babies, babies that needed to be held when their families couldn't be there, they needed to feel the closeness, to be held, to be rocked, to feel loved, and that is something I could offer. It is something that I could not do for Liam, but I could do for other babies that were born too early or that are too sick to be able to go home to be with their families.
Maybe I did okay since it was my first night and everything went smoothly. Maybe I would have had a hard time if something went horribly wrong with the baby I was holding or one near by, but I don't know, and hope it doesn't happen when I am there. I often thought about seeing even a baby with Spina Bifida or with Hyrdocephalus, since that would really make me think of Liam, and be sad because my baby had that and he didn't survive.
I held a premie that was a few week old for about an hour. He cried a lot at first but after a little bit of rocking he fell asleep. It felt good to hold him close and in my arms and that he fell asleep, it made feel good and at peace that he felt relaxed enough to sleep even though I was not his mother. I thought of Liam the whole time I was there. I thought about what it would have been like holding him in the NICU after he was born and how he would have needed me to be there holding him.
This was the only baby I held last night. My trainer said there will be times that I might end up holding 5 babies in one night, while other times it could be the same baby for the entire 2 hour shift. The baby I held was around 5 pounds and the baby she held was around 12 pounds and 2 months old. So I know I will definitely be holding babies of all sizes with all different of reasons why they are in the NICU and maybe I will be more emotional with certain babies than others, but for now I feel good for what I accomplished last night and was able to go bed feeling like I did something Liam would be proud of.
When were leaving last night my trainer asked me if I had any kids, I wanted to say yes but all I could get out was an "ah, ah, ah" and she said I understand and continued to tell me a story about when she first got pregnant it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy and along with losing the baby she lost one of her fallopian tubes. She told me her doctor told her it would be very hard to conceive with only one tube and recommended that she do IVF. She said they did IVF for years with no pregnancy and started getting really depressed. She said she then and spoke to her Pastor about all of this and finally came to the decision that it was okay to not have her own kids and adoption was still an option. Her and her husband became at peace with this idea and started filing the adoption paperwork when within a month of doing so got pregnant with out even trying. I was happy that she opened up and told me that story. I proceeded then to tell her about Liam and why it was so important for me to want to help out in the NICU.
A little off subject but I have been thinking about Liam and his Spina Bifida a lot lately. I told Dereck and my grief counselor the other day that I just want my Spina Bifida baby. I know this isn't true, that things don't work this way, but sometimes I still feel like Liam died because someone up there thought I wasn't a strong enough person to handle a baby with Spina Bifida. I often still feel selfish in getting the fetal surgery because I wanted so badly for my life to be easier and the fetal surgery was a way to make that happen, and maybe for thinking that made me undeserving of having him. I know it isn't true but that thought still haunts me at times.
You only wanted the best for your son. We all do. But sadly, so many things are not in our hands. Please don't beat yourself up.ReplyDelete
It is good to hear about your nicu volunteering experience. You described it so well and makes me think I should do something like this too (considering all of my baby's short life was spent in a nicu). I will have lot of emotions in that place.
I agree...you only wanted the best for Liam. It has nothing to do with being selfish. we, as parents, always want to do what is best for our children...it just doesn't always turn out the way we hope.ReplyDelete
I'm glad to hear your night in the NICU went well. Such a wonderful program. I wish they had that here because I wuld totally volunteer for it. Well, I think I would. I still haven't held a young baby since I held Addie. And my first attempt was a complete failure. But good for you momma! You're a lot stronger that I think I would be.
I'm so glad it went well for you, and hope it continues to bring you a sense of peace and well being! I can understand how bittersweet it is!ReplyDelete
You are a wonderful Mother, and you tried to give your son the best start in life possible! I wish so badly things had turned out differently for you.....
Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog.ReplyDelete
Your story breaks my heart, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's such an inspiring and amazing thing that you're doing for your Liam. You are a very strong lady!
I truly hope that you get pregnant with your rainbow soon. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! *hugs*
Dang. Blogger just ate my comment. I'll try again.ReplyDelete
You did what you thought was best for your son. I know the crazy guilt isn't always rational, trust me, and I hope it lessens for you as time goes on. So glad to hear your time in the NICU was positive and that you got to connect with your trainer.
I admire you for being able to go to the NICU and volunteering. I just don't think I could do that at this point.
I feel what you said in your last paragraph. In some way I feel that my Leia was taken because someone thought I/we couldn't handle a baby with downs. It is heartbreaking and so hard to deal with losing our babies, just remember that Liam knew how much you loved and wanted him.
Hugs to you. Shelly
Hi, I'm an SB mom who also did fetal surgery. I just wanted to assure you that it's not true that God would not give you your SB baby because you're not strong enough. In fact, you have to be so much stronger to go what you are going through now than having a baby with any special needs.ReplyDelete
I have thought many times over the years and especially since reading your story that that could have just as easily happened to us. I knew the risk going in, and like you, I just really wanted to give my son the best chance possible and was willing to go through whatever I had to to make that possible. I don't know why I woke up with a baby and you didn't, but no matter how short Liam's life was, it had a purpose. Besides how he changed you forever, he also contributed to science and the future of Spina Bifida. That is a huge legacy.
I am really impressed with you that you would volunteer in the NICU. Very big character.
You're amazing to volunteer in NICU and will make such a difference for those little bubs... such a compassionate thing to do. You certainly aren't selfish for doing the surgery - you only wanted what would be best for Liam and he certainly knows how much you love him xoxoReplyDelete
It's easy to get caught up with the little things that we can't change, but haunt us anyways. It's healthy to voice our fears and hear that we are not alone. I am amazed at the strength you have shown in going to the NICU. I can't imagine how hard that must be for you, but it is a wonderful thing to do. Love to you~ReplyDelete
Thank you for the nice comments everyone. I hope I have the strength to keep it together and continue volunteering in the NICU for as long as I can.ReplyDelete
Good for you for being able to go through with the volunteering. I'm sure it felt strange to be cuddling a baby in the NICU, I know I would. But you're doing a great thing for those babies and their parents. :)ReplyDelete