Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Gratitude - Part 1

When I've paused to think about what I am thankful for this year, beyond the amazing strides Jack is making (I could post about that for, literally, the rest of my life), my thoughts immediately go to this amazing little preemie community we have here. I've especially been grateful for the support, encouragement, and camaraderie you've given us. You have cheered us on, been a virtual shoulder to cry on, and have helped create a space for us to honestly share our hopes and dreams.

I feel like I have a wonderful platform to brag about Jack each and every day, but I wanted to open up this blog to hear from you. To hear about what YOU are thankful for this year. In doing so, I've received some of the most touching and poignant emails and photographs.

In Gratitude:

"I am thankful that after 213 days in the NICU my son Landon a 24 weeker will (should be) with us at home on thanksgiving. We get to be a family outside of the NICU!" -Rebecca

"Veronica was born at 24 weeks and 4 days and each and every day, I am thankful that she is alive, healthy and thriving.  I am thankful that she stayed inside of me for 6 days after my water broke at 23 weeks and that I received steroid shots to help mature her lungs.  I am grateful for my breast milk which I know played a crucial part in Veronica doing so well.  I am of course thankful for the wonders of modern medicine which allowed Veronica to live and for all of the amazing doctors and nurses who cared for her during her 119 days in the NICU.  I am grateful for our family and friends who prayed for and supported us....and above all, I am thankful to God every day for bringing Veronica into our lives." -Marcie

"There are SO many thoughts that flood my mind when I think of all that I am thankful for regarding my two preemies. First and foremost, I am so thankful that they are both here with me today, and every day. It is against ALL odds that I have two beautiful, healthy babies.  I believe that every mother loves her children and as much as I would like to say that I love my babies MORE because of what they have been through, I know that most mothers probably think they love their babies more than any other mom could love hers. But what I do believe is that I appreciate them more than I probably would have had they been born full term. I am thankful for this. I take nothing for granted.  I am not a perfect mom and I certainly have times where I am pushed to my limits, exhausted, frustrated and worn down, but at the end of the day, I can’t help but look at my energetic 3 year old, bouncing off the walls, and thank God for that, or my sweet, chubby cheeked daughter with her pretty bows, and thank Him for that as well.  For my family, Thanksgiving does not come once a year, it is every day.  Every night before I drift off to sleep, I thank God for my babies.  I could write a book about all the things I am thankful for, but to sum it up, here are a few; I am thankful for: medical technology, patience, nurses, doctors, RT’s, hearing my son beg me for food when I once thought he would never eat, hearing my baby cry after having no voice for so long, appreciation, antibiotics, my breast pump (even though I HATE pumping, I am thankful that I could provide milk for my baby before she could eat), sleepless nights (because so many nights were spent away from my babies when they were in the hospital), glasses so that my son can see, family and friends who have supported me along the way, hand sanitizer, drive thru pharmacies, and most of all, LIFE"  -Chelsea

"I am thankful for every single dirty diaper I change. I am thankful every time my little man wakes me up in the middle of the night. I am thankful for his fingers and toes that look just like mine. I am thankful for every bath he needs. I am thankful every time he wants to be rocked to sleep. I am thankful for quiet mornings we spend together alone. I am thankful for his crazy, old man eyebrows. I am thankful for every little smirk he makes that explodes into a full face smile. I am thankful for every time I get to change his clothes. I am thankful for every minute he spends nursing. I am thankful for his big, chubby cheeks and long, beautiful eye lashes. I am thankful every time he stares into my eyes. I am thankful for every load of laundry. I am thankful every time he falls fast asleep on my chest. I am thankful every time I can pick him up whenever I want to. I am thankful for his big, wet, slobbery kisses. I am thankful when his big sister asks to holds him. I am thankful for every breath my son takes. I am thankful I was given the chance to be Landon's mamma."  -Brandi

"We are thankful for the Doctors and Nurses that helped through our very tough time in the NICU. Without them and the way that they carried themselves I am not sure we would have made it through. Tristan was born on 12/25/09 so we are also thankful that we get to spend holidays with him and our families since we were in the NICU during Christmas."  -John

 "I am thankful for little everyday miracles.  Every day that my son wakes up and does something the doctor's said he couldn't makes me smile.  My son William was a twin born at 22 weeks and 5 days.  His brother was born 39 hours later and passed away when he was 5 days old.  William was given no chance of survival and no chance at a normal life.  Last week at 19 months old William took his first steps."  -Breanna

"This Thanksgiving my mentality towards the holiday has changed substantially. This year thanks are given to the world surrounding my son. I am thankful for his life in general. When the obsticals were laid out in front of us I would never have thought he would come through them with flying colors. I am thankful for his resilience as he grew from that 1 pound miracle to the now 9 pound little man. I am also thankful for all entire staff at the Riley Children's Hospital. There is such a love to those people that saved your child's life. I can't forget the family and friends that supported us, visited us, and prayed for our family throughout the past 5 months. Mostly I am thankful for my son. He has opened my eyes to a whole other world and what I want to do with my life. I can't ever tell him thank you enough. Happy Thanksgiving!"  -Jordan

"In April of this year my daughter Harper Elise was born 4 months early.  Born at 1 lb 6 oz and 12 1/2 inches, we knew her battle would be a significant one.  After two months on a ventilator, PDA ligation, renal failure, Stage 3 ROP, IVH 3 and 4, numerous transfusions and a myriad of other complications we welcomed her home on August 7, a week before her due date. Her follow-up care has been demanding but we have received great news regarding her brain bleeds which are stable, and her ROP is gone with the help of Avastin, a new procedure used instead of the customary laser treatment.  This road is not what we envisioned when we decided to have a child, but it was the road God chose for us to walk.  She is truly a miracle.  Each day brings new joy as she is discovering her world.  My husband and I could enjoy her cooing and smiling for days on end.  We don't know what we did with all of our time before Harper!  We feel so so blessed to have her home with us this Thanksgiving. "  -Kristal

More of our "In Gratitude" series tomorrow...

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Jord said...

This is amazing Jessi and such a great idea. You were right about the tears. Hope everything has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kristi DeLeurere said...

What a great post! This brought tears to my eyes as I remembered our 4 month NICU stay. Can't wait to read tomorrow's post!

marcie said...

Wow! What an amazing post. The tears are flowing! Thank you, Jessi!

Michelle Beebe said...

I read all the posts as Tenth Avenue North's "Over and Underneath" was playing in the background and it provided the best music to go along with all the beautiful stories. What an awesome God we have! All those beautiful babies that have blessed their wonderful families. Awesome!

Sarah Pope said...

Great post Jessi! I also love our preemie's amazing to hear my own thoughts echoed in these parent's writing! We, as micro preemie parents, have so much to be thankful for.
Now I'm any of these parents have their own blogs? I have Veronica's already, but I would love to be able to follow these preemies that you have introduced me to! (I'm especially interested in William's AMAZING!)

Shannon said...

Just beautiful, Jessi!

Brandi said...

What amazing, beautiful miracles. I wish I could meet and hug each one. Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am so happy for your wonderful stories. Thank you Jessi for connecting us and sharing these stories. I am excited for part 2 & 3.

Angie said...

This is amazing!! Can't wait to read more. Happy Thanksgiving.