I’m not ready…and probably will never be ready to say, “it happened for a reason”. To see your child in pain, fighting for their life. I can’t think of many outcomes that makes me think my child…any child…should have to go through that existence as atonement (as some suggest) or as part of the process to get a good result. I can’t say I’m a religious person, but I do believe in a higher power and in my personal belief, that higher power isn’t master planning terrible events to teach people a lesson.
My theory is we are an imperfect species and sometimes things, for a lack of a better term, malfunction. In my pregnancies, my body malfunctioned. Especially for Owen, the results of that malfunction was pretty horrific. The physical pain and suffering that he had to go through – it was intense. I can’t identify any “reason” that makes it okay.
But I do believe that I have a choice on how I respond.
Let’s be honest, a response is a moment in time. Some days I respond really quite well. Other days aren’t quite so exemplary. In truth, there are days that getting out of bed seems like a super human feat. On those days, my focus is what we all lost. What we’ve been through, how our life has changed forever and that Owen never got a choice in any of this.
On my best days, I sit and wonder about the same events that can get me struggling to get out of bed, but instead of being overwhelmed with how hard it was, I am awed by how lucky we have been.
- My symptoms of preterm labor were really mild. In truth I called the on-call OB-GYN on a Saturday night at 10:00 because I had a gut feeling and the tiniest sliver of pink in my discharge. The fact that we and the OB took my symptoms seriously meant that I received the steroid shots to help Owen’s lung development and when he came very quickly with no warning, we were in a hospital equipped to give him his best chances. Lucky.
- I went into the hospital at 24 weeks exactly. Our hospital assumed Owen was viable. Thankful.
- The statistics we were given were grim. For a white male at 24 weeks who was typical sized and received the steroid shots via mom, he was given a 40% chance of survival and a 20% chance of having no long term issues. Owen is a survivor. Blessed. Owen has global delays, but he’s only 2.5 and he’s surpassed so many expectations. Hopeful.
- Complication on top of set back on top of “never seen that before”. Owen pulled through it all. Miracle.
- Bilateral PVL with Cysts diagnosis. The doctors didn’t give statistics but I scoured medical research papers and found them. They weren’t pretty. Nearly all had CP diagnoses and about half weren’t able to walk at three. Owen’s tone continues to look good (CP not an expected label) and he’s taking a few steps here and there. Odds-Defied.
- Minimal vocal sounds at 1-year old. Turning into a little jabber jaws at 2.5. Amazing.
- 230 days in the hospital in his first 53 weeks of life. Days in the hospital ever since? Zero. Mind-blowing. (knock on wood)
- Tears of fear and frustration for months. Tears I’m wiping away as I write this post. Joy.
This smile while dressed in scrubs in homage to NICU nurses on Neonatal Nurses Day on Sunday. Serendipity.
I don’t expect my response to be perfect to all of this. I accept bad days. Not bad days that Owen and Kellen need to see…but bad days that I need to give myself. After all, I am human – an imperfect species – and I do malfunction sometimes. I am also lucky and blessed and thankful and incredibly grateful for all the “what ifs” that have turned out in our favor.
I won’t accept that it happened for a reason. I’d rather it not have happened at all, but it did and in many, many ways we were so very lucky.