Everyone has a story. Mine began in November of 2000 when I thought I’d given birth to the smallest baby ever born. She arrived four months prematurely, weighing one pound, eleven ounces and measuring eleven inches long. Imagine a potato with tiny arms and legs. Several days after my daughter’s birth, I mustered up the courage to ask a nurse if she’d ever seen a baby that little. When she replied, “Oh honey, this hospital floor is full of babies this small,” I no longer felt quite so alone.
After my daughter was born, I longed for a compassionate woman who had been in my shoes to sit on the end of my hospital bed and share her story with me. It wouldn’t matter how different or similar our stories were, just to have someone who understood what it was like to have a pregnancy end halfway through, resulting in a baby that didn’t resemble any baby I’d ever seen. I wanted to see her nod in understanding as we discussed the daunting task of raising, loving, and believing in a child born at 25 weeks.
That woman never arrived. Due to hospital privacy rights, we were discouraged from even glancing at other babies or parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (or NICU). I was lost, incredibly lonely, and terribly wrought with guilt and fear.
So I’d like to sit on the end of your bed and share my story with you. Your story and mine are sure to be different, but if hearing my story allows you a moment away from yours, if it leaves you with a sense of hope, then this story was worth writing down.