Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sophie's Homecoming

This week's post is from 4onfaith, who blogs at

It hit me this weekend that the 5th is Sophia's homecoming anniversary, 2 years! I look at her and can't believe that she is the same child that I brought home. She was so teeny, and although I have an older daughter, I felt like I was starting over with Sophie. Not only are she and Bella slightly more than 7 years apart, but there were a host of new lessons to be learned with Soph. As much as she has grown and changed in these two years, it seems like so much time has passed and yet I can remember the months surrounding her birth and homecoming with such clarity it can be overwhelming.

Shortly after I had Soph, we found out that we would be moving to another city, so just days before she was expected to come home we had to drive a couple hours and overnight to house hunt and look for schools. Not to mention, we were celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. I know that my husband and oldest daughter were excited about going away for a day or two. Bella especially, literally from the moment she stepped off the school bus on her last day of school in May a portion of every day had been spent in hospitals, between visiting me and her sister. As much as I was looking forward to planning our new life in another city I wasn't entirely ready to leave what I was experiencing at that moment. I had never spent a night in another city away from my new baby. I know how fortunate I was to be only about 4 miles from her NICU, but every night I said good night to her and kissed her. Every night, I had sung the same "good night" song to her in person. This would be the first night that I wasn't with her. I know that normally every Mom spends the occassional night away from their baby, but it felt like there was so much at stake to me.

From conception, Soph was obviously always "with me." She with me, and I with her. Pregnancy allows you to experience a closeness to your child that only mother can know. I knew when she had the hiccups, when she was playful or restful. It felt so good to "see" her grow, and know that our second daughter would be in my arms soon. We had waited for her for a long time. I took every precaution I could to ensure that my pregnancy went well. I continued to take stairs and walks to ensure I would stay fit. I ate well and got plenty of rest. I read as much as I could and kept open dialogue with my OBs. I tried. I really tried, but I had failed. I failed to carry her to term. I failed to stay healthy. I failed at having a body that was "friendly" for babies. This teeny baby that I was going to be miles and hours away from had come into the world in such raw circumstances. And now, I wasn't even going to be "down the road" from her.

In the eyes of a "normal" parent, I know that is nothing. I mean I can honestly "hear" the eyes rolling when I say that. To go through an experience like this, is something that brings you so close to life, so close to reality, so much awareness of the world around you. There are times when you can feel yourself outside of your body as if you are in the middle of some near death experience. And that feeling doesn't subside very easily. It's a real life movie. And the camera's are rolling and following your every moment. It's a clear reminder that you are not in control. Not to take one minute, one hour, one day for granted. Things may seem very normal one day and the next they can change without notice. In such a short time I had already experienced that. Twice Sophie encountered circumstances that nearly took her from me. I wasn't comfortable with the thought of not being able to run to her side. Again I knew that I wasn't in control, but to be able to hold her, touch her, sing to her, kiss her. To let her know that I was there and that I was sorry. So sorry that I had failed her. That was what my life was about at the time.

I know that there is nothing I could have done differently. I know that I'm just built in a way that predisposes me to preeclampsia. But I am the vessel in which she came into this world. As a mother you experience guilt daily, in large and little ways. To begin a relationship with my youngest child with the feeling that I already failed her and that I wanted to make it up to her was and is a driving force. That nagging "what if" was not something I was ready to contend with. I knew, though, that I had no choice. I knew I needed to hope, to have faith, to believe....I needed to go. I must have called the nurses station at least 12 times in the 36 hours we were gone. And I still sang our song to her that night....just not in person. And when we returned the following day I immediately went to see her and she was fine. She was still there. All ten fingers, ten toes, and that perfectly shaped head.

I couldn't wait to get her home. And a few days later I walked into that NICU with her carseat knowing that I wouldn't leave without her. The nurses all gathered around to say good-bye, to wish us well. I put my tiny child in her seat, bundled her up.....and turned around. After 37 days, 7 hours and 40 minutes, and with my husband's arms around me the three of us walked out of that NICU and into our life. When the large steel doors clicked behind us, the grasp on my heart loosened a bit. I looked down at this beautiful gift and walked down that hall without a second thought. I had my baby. I had failed her on delivery, but there was something at that moment that made me know everything was going to be alright.

It's not easy being the mother of children who came early. The concerns that arise, the "weight" and see game, the germs, the extra shots, the colds, the battles about eating. They are all there....all the time, to no avail. But then so am I, and I am NOT failing.

Today, I can say that I am thankful. Preeclampsia and prematurity have given me an awareness that I otherwise wouldn't have. A great appreciation for my purpose, for my children, for my husband. An opportunity to learn and to grow. To encourage change. So while I look forward to the day that preeclampsia will only exist in history books, today I live with the thought that maybe, just maybe I know it personally for a reason. Maybe because I am strong enough and good enough....and maybe, maybe I can do something about it!!!

~~~~~"Good night sweet Sophie, it's time to sleep. Good night sweet Sophie, time to dream. I'll see you soon, when the morning comes, good night Sweet Soph - Good night."~~~~~~~

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