By Megan Cherry
Today I would have been 7 months pregnant.
Instead, my son is 5 weeks and 3 days old.
Today I would have been exhausted, and waddling, and rubbing my belly.
Instead, I am exhausted, caring for a scar, and holding my son.
Today I would have been wondering how big he was and what he would look like.
Instead, I celebrate partial ounce gains every morning, stare at his adorable face, and hold his tiny hand.
Today I would have been picking out a maternity dress to wear to my baby shower.
Instead, I pick out nursing shirts so I can pump every few hours.
Today I would have been planning a maternity photoshoot– I was so excited to wear my princess dress!
Instead, the dress hangs in my closet unworn.
I Am Grieving
I'm grieving all the things I missed. I will forever be grateful that the doctors saved my son's life, and mine. Each day I celebrate getting to spend time with him, but it is also very hard. I never enjoyed being pregnant, but I would have given anything to stay pregnant longer so my son did not have to struggle in the NICU. He is an amazing fighter, but I hate that he has to fight to learn how to breathe, digest, gain weight, regulate his temperature, and so much more.
I am grieving the loss of a joyful birth with snuggles right away. Instead, I woke up several hours later and had to wait to be wheeled in to see my son locked away in his isolette, then wait four more days before I could hold him.
I am grieving not having him home for the first several months of his life.
I am grieving the milestones that will be shifted for him.
I am grieving the family trips we had to postpone so we could be at the hospital every day to see him.
I am grieving having to choose which child to spend time with since the older kids cannot come to the NICU.
I am grieving the days my husband does not get to see our son at all because of work.
I am grieving having to leave my son at the hospital and walking away from him every single day because nothing in life prepares you to walk away from your newborn.
He Makes It Possible
The only thing that makes it possible to leave my son’s side is reminding myself that Jesus is holding my son in His hands. Isaiah 41:23 says that "For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." I cling to this verse each day, reminding myself that we are not walking through this alone, and that Jesus is comforting my little boy as he waits for me to come back to the NICU.
Not only is Jesus holding my son, but He also offers daily reminders of His presence in so many unexpected and beautiful ways. Our little boy loves to squiggle and has escaped from his pillow nest several times. His feistiness reminds me that he is a fighter and he will never give up. The nurses continually support and encourage me. The person at the front desk knows us by name and asks how we are every single day. Our son loves to snuggle and it melts my heart every time. I joined the Praying Through Facebook group and have been encouraged and supported by strangers who intimately know just how hard this journey is to each of us. Friends and family have brought meals, washed dishes, and done our laundry. These daily reflections of kindness and love remind me that He is with me every step of the way.
He Is Holding My Hand
Any time I felt like I was falling apart, there has been someone who made space for my tears and helped me feel like I could make it through another day– and we will. We will make it through today, and the next day, and the day after that. Then hopefully some day, our son will come home. Until that day, and every day after that, I will cling to God’s promise that He is holding my hand, and the hand of my son.
Megan is a mom of three, including a former 26-weeker who spent 81 long days in the NICU. She enjoys using writing to share the ways God shows up in the everyday moments of life.