The day our sweet baby boy was placed into my arms was the day my heart was cracked wide open for the world to see.
As a first time mama, I had dreams of holding him all day long after his first breath, being surrounded by family and friends in our room, and spending all day falling more in love with our beautiful blessing. However, these dreams were replaced with ones I will forever hold dear to my heart. These dreams were the start of something new, something challenging, and something better than I could have imagined.
Noah was a preemie baby born at 36 weeks & 1 day and automatically admitted into the NICU. The first 48 hours were a blur. The nurses and doctors were monitoring our little man and watched as his weight dropped slightly ending at 3 pounds and 10 ounces. The memories I have over the next few days included holding hands in the elevator on our way up to feed Noah with excitement at 3:00 am, soaking up every inch of those precious fingers and toes, and learning the ins and outs of being new parents. The NICU gave us an experience we will never forget. After all, his first days of life are what inspired me to start this lovely space.
One of my sorority sisters had messaged me on Facebook two days after Noah was born. She had been in the NICU with her baby boy not too long ago, and instead of sending advice, she sent me the most beautiful story I had read. One that left tears strolling down my face. It was a story about being chosen. Being chosen to be a mother of a special baby whether that be a mother of a disabled, genetic disorder, or preemie child. Being chosen to have strength, grace, and a positive attitude. Being chosen to face challenges leading to a life far better than imagined. Being chosen to look past normal and see beauty with a new perspective.
the day we got to finally bring Noah home.
Mothers all around the world face challenges with how to care for their little blessing. But mothers of a baby who is disabled, born early, or smaller than the norm deal with a level of new obstacles they must overcome. I knew the road ahead was not going to be easy with Noah. After all, we were told he was going to have difficulties with developing on track, cognitive impairments, and learning disabilities. It aches a little more each time we are out and someone tells us he is so tiny or he gets mistaken for a four to six month baby. And, I have not been able to leave our pediatrician’s office without calling my mum and husband in tears because his growth was not as expected. Let me go ahead and say it, being a mama is hard. It comes with its good and bad days. But…
It took me eight and a half months to finally understand the true meaning of the words being chosen. I owe this to my husband who came across a video by a gal named Lacey Buchanan. Her heart is pure and filled with unconditional love. The best part, she is a mother of a boy (Christian) who not only has a rare cleft lip and palate but was born blind without his eyes. She dealt with a lot of negative people telling her horrifying comments about her sweet love. (Heartbreaking, right?) But, she never let any of that stop her from raising Christian and giving him the most normal life possible. Talk about the art of making lemonade. It was after watching this video, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for being blessed with all I have been given, the struggles and the moments we have celebrated as not only husband and wife, but papa and mama bear.
While I struggle with Noah’s weight gain, I also remind myself, he has surpassed all of our expectations by gaining over 11 pounds and 9 inches in eight and a half months! It has been amazing to witness him achieve every milestone with his daddy’s smile. (Just yesterday, we cheered as he held his own bottle and drank his milk before bed.) Our hearts flutter a little more each time we get confirmation from Noah’s OT about his progress since birth. And, although comments are passed about the size of our baby boy, I have grown stronger. When I look at him, I see our precious boy with his round head, rosy cheeks, and two-bottom toothed smile. I have learned this being chosen is serious business. It requires a heavy dose of faith. Love. Trust. Understanding. Patience. Most of all, gratitude.
To all the mamas out there with a new baby who are given the opportunity for this special job, here are some thoughts to share. Breathe. Deep breaths. Pray. Have faith. Let go of what is not in your control. Learn to be your baby’s biggest fan and advocate. Have an open heart. Do not let others’ comments bring you down. Keep in mind how far along your baby has come from where he/she started. Do not be afraid to lean on your better half. It is ok to cry tears of joy and sadness. Take “your baby’s future…” with a grain of salt; you have no idea how much they will surprise you. Because they will leave you speechless. This I can promise. And, do not forget to be grateful. Grateful to be given the rare but humbling opportunity of being chosen to become your baby’s protector, best friend, and biggest fan!
This mamahood thing kind of rocks. A lot.