You Gave Me Strength

We received many emails and cards when Maddie was in the NICU. A lot of the notes made comment on the strength we showed during Maddie's roughest days. I never felt strong. I was numb, on purpose. I tried to separate myself from the horror of the NICU, and I tried to not love my baby because I was so afraid of the pain I would feel when she died. I didn't understand how anyone could praise me when I felt so, so weak. Who tries to not love their own child?

I was desperate to find others that were going through the same experience Mike and I were going through. I wanted to find someone who was employing the same defense mechanism. I stumbled across the blog dedicated to the story of another little girl in a NICU who as born only 18 days before Maddie. This baby girl was very, very sick, much sicker than Madeline. Her parents somehow managed to write about their daughter every day, and what struck me was their deep love for their baby. They were told their daughter wouldn't make it, but they still loved her so much. I was blown away by how fearlessly and ferociously they loved their baby, and after that I finally let myself feel the same love for Maddie that had been bubbling up inside me.

I am not ashamed to admit that I blatantly stalked that blog! I really became invested in the family's life and we commented on each other's blogs. When she had surgery on her heart, I would reload the page 25 times an hour, looking for an update. Things were really touch and go for a while, but she pulled through, and after being in the NICU for 22 weeks, she finally went home on March 26th. I was so happy for them! I remembered the joy Mike and I felt when we brought Maddie home and I was so relieved that they were finally feeling it, too. They still updated their blog and it was great to see how they were all adjusting to life at home with each other.

Today I loaded their website and found that their beautiful daughter had died suddenly on the way to an appointment. There was no warning, one moment she was breathing, the next moment she wasn't. Her mom gave her CPR on the side of the road until the paramedics came, but despite their desperate attempts she didn't make it. There aren't words to describe the pain they must be feeling. I know how it feels to be told your baby is going to die, and that is unbearable. To actually have it happen is beyond me.

I am so grateful to this family for everything they taught me. Even now, they are showing so much grace at a time when, were the roles reversed, I would be so bitter and unresponsive. I wish they didn't have to go through this, and I wish I could somehow comfort them the way they so deserve. The loss of a life so young is a hard thing to wrap your head around. I've said it before...babies aren't supposed to die. I'll never forget this darling one, she and her family will forever be in my thoughts.


Gemini Girl said...

Crying at my desk.

It kills me that there are parents out there that dont want their kids and then there are parents who love their children beyond words, and lose them.
Sometimes I wonder why some babies are ok, while others arent. Why some women get pg while others dont. It's not something that I can wrap my head around.
Im sorry for your friends.

Kristin.... said...

I can't even imagine what they are going through. What a horrible tragedy.

I feel a bit like you did~I stalk your blog because I just want to know that Maddie is well. And I don't even know you. We were so fortunate that our twins didn't have NICU time, but it's always in the back of my mind that we could be you, and how very lucky we are to have such healthy children. I even update my husband on Maddie's progress.

Anonymous said...

Heather I just want to say you are an amazing woman, and Madeline is so lucky to have a mommy that is so passionate, and full of love and life to help her fight. Lucas and I pray for you all often and pray Maddie continues to recover and grow.

Dana said...

Stories like that choke me up. I cut myself off from the news for a reason. I can't handle the suffering out there. My prayers are with your friends (and with you!).

Slice of Paradise said...

I've stalked your site since Moosh talked about you ~ as I read this post my MP3 player popped out "Can you hear me" from Mark Schultz. And now I'm sobbing in my office.

I cannot imagine the pain, or the fear ... I cannot imagine the grace some parents are able to show in the aftermath. Praying for their family & for your punkin's recovery.

Now I'm going home to kiss my sweet, blessedly healthy, girl.