It's November, the month of Thanksgiving. Last year many of my friends on Facebook named something they were thankful for every day of the month. I thought that was a very good idea. However, last Thanksgiving Sadie was still screaming in the car, sleeping in our bed every night, and nursing. Times were different than they are now, it was hard to find things to be thankful for back then. This year I want to take that challenge, and I want to also try to add to it some blog posts as I see fit.
Today I wrote on my Facebook status that I'm thankful that my child sleeps through the night. I couldn't say that a year ago. And while that IS a big deal, I can't help but be even more thankful that I even have my child at all. I know that sounds trite, but it's a fact of my life and I don't think I will ever stop being thankful for it no matter how old she is. Today I was given an update on a little girl whose brain was cooled over the weekend. She had been born not breathing, and cooling seemed to have gone well. The last update I heard was that they were going to start pulling her off the ventilator and remove her umbilical line!
And then today I got the news that she had died.
And it brought it all back. I remember the umbilical line for Sadie was the last one they pulled...at our request, that we just wanted to hold our baby "unhooked" for a little while before she died.
Last weekend we attended an event at the children's hospital that was in a courtyard newly built between the old building (where the NICU is) and the new building. Therefore, the closest bathroom to change Sadie was the one right outside the NICU. Often as I wash my hands anywhere in the hospital, the smell of the soap reminds me of that horrible experience the week Sadie was born, but I was not prepared for the memories it created in that bathroom I used multiple times a day for the most horrible week of my life. As soon as I started washing my hands, it was like I was having an out-of-body experience. I could see myself in that same bathroom while the midwife checked my bleeding. I could imagine my mom and I washing out the breast pump equipment. It was all I could do to keep it together until I could leave.
But just as I was finishing my handwashing and all these memories were flooding my mind, I looked at my Sadie and I realized that this bathroom doesn't have to be sad for me anymore. It was a place I remember being during a very hard and sad time in my life, but coming back WITH my child they told me was going to die was somehow healing. It was akin to the man running a marathon after being in a serious car accident and told he'd be confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life.
It was liberating.
So, while my heart grieves for this family that I don't even know, who had to come home to an empty nursery, at the same time I am filled with Thankfulness that I have my little spesh to hug and kiss every day.
Life isn't always grand, but it's life, and that's more than we were ever promised.