This is a picture of me holding Little E for the first time. I think I have shared this picture before. It was the day after she was born. Take away the CPAP helping her breath and the IVs and you have the typical picture of a new mom the day after the birth of her baby, so so tired but so so very happy. I have told you the facts of her birth. Her very low birth weight, her respiratory distress, her problems keeping her heart rate and respiration rate up, her pda, her reflux, her blood transfusions. Oddly, through it all I have felt this need to protect my readers. While I was honest with you about what was happening with Little E in the last 16 months I never really told the real story.
So here is a piece of the real story.
This is the picture Shazam took before the smiling one. This is the real story of when I first held Little E. The real story is that I was terrified to hold her, I was afraid of her, of hurting her, of disconnecting her tubes and wires, I was afraid she would die in my arms. The real story is that it took two nurses to position Little E in my arms. The real story is that I cried the entire time I held her. The real story is that Shazam wiped my tears away and I smiled for a moment as the picture was taken. That smile told only part of the story, I was so so happy, but that is not the whole story because really I was more sad than anything else. After the shutter closed the tears began to flow again. It was weeks before I didn't shake before holding Little E and months before I didn't fear Little E dying in my arms.
Today I share this story because it is Prematurity Awareness Day. 1 in 8 babies are born too soon. Which means that my story it the story of 1 in 8 mothers. The real story is that even one mother experiencing motherhood in the NICU is one to many. Please join the fight and fight for Preemies but also the mothers who weep when they hold their babies for the first time.
I am not alone in this fight. This is my story but please hear the voices of mothers who have a story of their own to tell.