I have officially completely my circle. In so many ways.
The first in our series of NICU showers was yesterday and I'm actually a little overwhelmed and having trouble finding words. Me, without words. I know.
First of all, the room was beautiful! I can't believe I didn't take pictures of the big room! I have only closeups! What is wrong with me! But this is the prize table if that counts. Look at all those goodies!
We had all the showery things like music, games, food and prizes and decorations. The message for everything on this day was: It's ok.
The mommies, daddies, even grandmas and grandpas started to wander in and I say wander because I recognize that wandering look. When you have a child in the NICU, wandering is all you seem to do. You wander from this place to that, in a foggy haze, just going through the motions because your heart is really in that isolette sitting in the NICU and anywhere you wander beyond that is a place you really don't feel like being, even that means taking a short break.
There were only a couple moms from our group there, just a few are attending each shower so as to not be overwhelming. We all took turns speaking, sharing our stories and trying to send the message to the mommies sitting there that the pain, the guilt, the sadness, the grief, the lonliness, it's all very very ok and that there are mommies here for them, when - or if - they're ever ready.
We ate food, played games, and raffled off our zillions of prizes. I got to talking to some of the mommies there and we laughed a little.
And it was a packed house.
I just cannot believe what a great job everyone did in getting the word out, every.chair was full. The media came for a little bit to do a story on Prematurity Awareness Month and they did a great job not being too invasive while being sensitive to the occasion. For that I'm greatful.
HAVE I SAID YET THAT WE HAD SO MANY PRIZES!?
We had to KEEP RAFFLING! And then anyone who didn't get a trip to the prize table got to go up anyway! I kept thinking about how wonderful it was that the item they chose will probably stay with them forever. They'll remember that that's the outfit they got at the shower, or that's the doll or blanket they got at the shower, and keep that one, even if the rest go to Goodwill some day. I feel that way about every little thing I got in the NICU, my son's tiny hat, a quilt someone anonymously made him, those are the things I so cherish.Here's where I want to say a huge resounding top of someplace very high "Thank You!" to all of you who have donated and sent me items for the shower. Honestly, from the outfits to the photo albums, and with the donated money I got diapers, outfits and toys, you all make my heart melt and sing. Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! You helped so many people. Thank you.
At one point during the shower, I looked across the room and saw myself sitting on one of the chairs.
Hair pulled back, red eyes that haven't dried yet, drained.
And I remembered that's she's why we were there. She came by and thanked us at the end, even hugged us and said she'll be stopping by our website. I really hope she does. Every family got a gift bag that included a journal, some clothes and some keepsakes, even the families who didn't get to come.
In the end, it was a beautiful day. I hope it will be remembered by families as a nice, comforting, break.
I do have to say, the end of the day was hardest for me. I mentioned here that I have avoided the NICU in my child's three and a half years but yesterday I went.
It was so very very much harder than I thought it was going to be. So very very hard and overwhelming. That is a post for another day. My eyes haven't dried yet.
But I will say that I've completed my circle. In so, so many ways.
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Don't think I forgot to weigh in today! I am over here today for that!