This Dream Stands Before Me

Content Note: Child, parenting

When we moved to the city, we weren’t in much of a position to begin exploring.  Fortunately, as spring finally made an appearance, we began remedying that situation.  We started by taking E to the botanical gardens for her first birthday.  I hadn’t visited the gardens in years, and while the outdoor gardens weren’t appealing on the cool, gray day, the indoor gardens were beautiful and blooming.

It wasn’t E’s first outing – we’d made a few forays to restaurants during quiet hours when we could keep her in her carrier away from germs – but this one was the first we’d really done with the intention of getting out with her and showing her sights.  I’m not sure if she was impressed or unnerved by the brightly colored foliage, fish pond, and waterfall, but she kept looking around and staring at everything.

Later that evening, we took some cookies and other goodies up to the childbirth center where I spent my time on hospital bedrest and the NICU.  Seeing all the nurses who had cared for us for so many months was fun and everyone oohed and ahhed over how big E had gotten. When we stepped into the busy NICU, leaving the treats at the desk, I realized E didn’t belong there anymore as I watched people rushing around.

We threw E a party that weekend, just inviting family, but with Arthur being the oldest of five, it still meant a fair number of people.  I made simple food: meatballs, sandwich spirals, spiced oyster crackers, a fruit plate, a vegetable spread, as well as a from-scratch chocolate cake.  We helped her open her gifts, E far more enamored with the colored paper and boxes they came in.

Taking the baby out just for fun, throwing a party, going to NICU just to visit instead of staying, marked a moment that I’d dreamed about during her whole NICU stay and even beyond.  Every day, I’d go to NICU, take stock of the wires and tubes, and visualize E as a healthy toddler.  Hope that there was a life beyond the NEC scares, the brady episodes, the oxygen, worry about RSV, and the monitors where we would no longer wonder if this was the day it would all come crashing down.  It kept me going through the months where we couldn’t get E to eat, the nights the home apnea monitor would go off several times, often due to loose leads but jolting us nonetheless.

All of a sudden, that child ceased to be simply a hope and stood in front of me in the flesh.  I smiled, realizing that no matter what other dreams were gone, this one, this deeply cherished one had somehow come true.

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6 thoughts on “This Dream Stands Before Me

  1. Can absolutely relate. Recently we’ve begun showing the Beats their baby pictures. Initially it was limited to the ones we took when they first came home, but over time we’ve been showing them the ones from NICU. Watching them as they gaze at the photos, pointing out the baby, it’s hard not to remember all the fear and some-day wishes only to be hit with the fact that those wishes are now a reality. They are healthy and thriving. And I’m so grateful for that.

    Very glad you had your moments that you wished for. To hear E is thriving too.

  2. This, THIS is the post I have been waiting for. Not a perfect life, but a normal life. Finally past the fetal monitor that goes off at night, scaring the living daylights out of you. It was good of you to bring E back to NICU and let them see what their work made. It brings closure, like a graduation does. Mine is now 25 and making me proud (and annoyed), every day. May your future hold that, for you both. Enjoy the ride.

  3. Gorgeous post. I love everything about it — the outing to the gardens, the visit to the NICU as an “after” story, remembering everything you experienced there and realizing that your dream came true as you left. I am so happy for this moment for you and your family.

  4. Just beautiful. I find such hope in revisiting the NICU, seeing how far we’ve come. I always hope to see parents of preemies so I can show them – look! Hang in there! This is what is to come.

  5. Beautiful post. As i sit at home late at night, trying to feed and settle my two new babies, sleep deprived and confused about whats normal for my small girls, this post reminds me to enjoy them. It’s a hard time, but it’s the dream I struggled for, and i can’t wait to see them grow.

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