This year I am serving as the family teams chairperson for the Connecticut March of Dimes. In addition to helping new and experienced family teams with their team development and fundraising, we have been also focusing on the heart of the mission. As a group we have found healing and gratification in giving back, mentoring and inspiring those that are the beginning of their journeys. Our latest project is a video that comprises dozens of parents sharing the advice that they would give themselves on the first day of their journey. Naturally I quickly thought of a few inspirational words, wrote them on paper and took a photo. Those words are exactly what I would tell myself on the first day of our NICU journey and are a great contribution to the video, but what I realized is that our journey started weeks before our NICU journey.
A pregnancy gone wrong journey. A journey that lead to our NICU journey. It started on September 21st 2011 at my 20 week OB appointment. The greatest amount of guilt that I still hold is within the 32 days between that appointment and the birth of my beautiful little Virginia. Pregnancy joy and dreams were replaced with complete fear in those days.
I can easily recall the details of those 32 days.
The braxton hicks contractions that I mistakenly thought was the baby rolling while at the gym doing my regular workout.
The nervous shakes and sweaty palms that I got when the ultrasound tech went to get the doctor after checking my cervix.
The utter devastation and panic that I felt while laying on the floor (naturally, rather than sitting in the chair) of the admitting office while waiting for my hospital room at 21.5 weeks pregnant. I feared the baby would would be delivered right there on that blue carpet .
The convulsions of fear that took over my body as I watched the flurry of activity surround me late in the night at the cusp of 24 weeks when they moved me down to labor and delivery for "immanent" delivery.
It is all so clear to me but blurry at the same time but 28 months later I am telling myself:
"trust your gut" because doctors and statistics are not always right.
"fight for what you believe in" because I still regret not pushing harder for someone to attempt a cerclage. The what-ifs are hard to get over.
"stop googling" because nothing that you find on the internet will bring you the peace and hope that you can only find in your heart.
"It's not your fault" because its not. Its your body's fault but not your fault. 28 months later and I am still coming to terms with the difference.