In My Glory

There are few times in life when you are fortunate enough to recognize what a wonderful place you are in one certain moment, where you can stop, breathe in deeply, take notice of this moment, relish it, and think, "I am meant to be right here, right now."

I had that moment this weekend. Followed by a moment of overwhelming blessing and thankfulness.

Remember that March of Dimes baby shower I've been talking about so much? This weekend we got together to start organizing. It's being headed by a NICU nurse who also had a preemie, who is getting a program off the ground to help NICU families far beyond this shower, something which is necessary and needed, but a call that has gone unanswered for so long.
This weekend we stuffed some of the gift bags that we're giving to the mommies.

I have been wanting to do something like this for mommies since I got home from the hospital with my 2 year old, who was six weeks early. The giftbags contain a onesie that says "NICU Graduate", a little March of Dimes bear, a journal, a book, some keepsakes, booties, washclothes, preemie hats, and the donations that were sent by you that either went in the bags or will be raffled off as door prizes for some of the games. And thank you, Pubsgal, so much for your sweet gift! Some mommy and baby is going to enjoy this so much!!

When I took my childbirth class at my hospital, I remember our tour of the NICU had to be canceled for some reason or other. I didn't know why then, but in hindsight I am sure it was because they were getting in a new baby and they closed the whole unit down as they so often do when a new baby came in. But I remember thinking, oh I won't have to know this place anyway, that place is for other babies. Not mine.

I mean, intensive care unit. That's a scary name, right? Only people under some sort of scary unknown weird circumstances go there. Right?

Until one time when I had a pregnancy that wasn't going quite right and then one night, it was me. My baby. My little purpley-colored baby who was whisked away in a scary flutter of activity that left me exhausted, terrified, and staring at four blank walls with two equally as shocked people standing on both sides of me, my mother and my husband, in an empty room, with no baby. And all of a sudden, silence.

For six hours, I had no idea whatsoever what was happening with my baby. I wasn't allowed to go see him or move. There were no updates because they were working on him, wires, breathing tube, and there was nothing to tell me yet. These were some of the lonliest, scariest, darkest hours of my life.

When a room was finally ready for me, they wheeled me through the NICU so I could see my baby finally and he was tiny and covered with wires and he held my pinky. But my visit was brief and I was wheeled off to my room.

No one knew how to treat me. My friends and co-workers didn't know whether to send me congratulations or condolences. People stopped calling. I was caught blindsided, like a deer in headlights, I didn't pay attention to anything NICU during my pregnancy and I went through the next few weeks in a fog. Feeling like a failure because my body didn't do its job quite right and feeling devastated that I had to go home without my baby.

When I got home and things finally settled in and I was home with my baby, I realized how many people are just like me. There were 50 babies in my NICU alone, and there are NICUs everywhere and new babies are coming in every day. Every hour. And it breaks my heart that each hour, there is at least one new mommy entering the scariest, loneliest hour of her life, probably right as I write this. And I cry for her.

I feel like I write about this all the time but honestly, I can't write about it enough, it is always in my heart and my mind and it consumes me. My pain is gone, but I feel the pain of others. I can't explain it. I want to stop this. I don't want another mother or baby to experience this ever. I know, that's a tall order. For now, I can set small goals.

When I was in the NICU, a group of women made quilts for all the babies including mine, and that quilt will always remain one of the most special items I own. I can't explain to you the overwhelming gratefulness I had in my heart when I found out someone was thinking of me during the loneliest time in my life.
When I got home, I started making calls to sponsors to help me make a NICU bag. For things that I thought were important in hindsight but would never have known at the time. Things like a journal, a frame to keep a picture of your baby in while you're away, a disposable camera that a nurse can use to take pictures of your baby while you're away, after all, they're getting some of the first moments that you can't see... A place to list phone numbers of doctors, specialists, hotels and restaurants in the vicinity since you spend your whole waking minutes there. The list goes on. I hit some roadblocks. The project was on hold.

This weekend I met some wonderful people whose goals are the same as mine. We stuffed our goody bags and no, they weren't exactly what I had envisioned, but it was close and it was a step. And I couldn't have felt more at peace and had more happiness that there was a mommy who would know that other mommies were thinking about them. Obviously this is something that will always be close to my heart and a cause that I will likely champion for the rest of my life.

(And by the way, there is still over a week left if you feel so compelled to donate anything (you can donate to paypal on my sidebar). You can e-mail me at christieo_7 at msn dot com if you want to send any babyshower items. We are also looking for more receiving blankets and sleepers, there are 4 hospitals that are having these showers so you can imagine, with 50-100 babies at each hospital, a room full of items can get pretty small pretty quickly. )

I am excited to be a part of all of this and I'm excited to have met such a wonderful group of women who want to continue doing things like this far past these baby showers. I do believe that I am meant to have met them and that my little project now has a hope of surviving. And thank you to anyone who has donated so far. I just can't tell you enough how much it means.


  1. ditto. i couldn't have said this better myself. you are such a gift to other moms and babies!

  2. This is such a wonderful thing that you are doing! When Marks friends had their baby 3-4 months early I had no idea what to do or say. Thanks to you I think we did ok. But not everyone has a Christie to ask for advice and not everyone has a lot of support.

  3. You've brought tears to my eyes - great work. You are blessing so many moms with your efforts :)

  4. Gosh... I so wanted to go through my things and see if I had anything I didn't use that I could send you.... I will try to do that in the next week before it's too late but I can't promise... My heart goes out to those mommies and babies too.

  5. You are doing such a great thing. I will try to make a donation to your paypal account later tonight!

    And I left a present for you on my blog! ;o)


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