Even in our bleakest moments we were able to find gratitude. We were extremely well supported and loved while in the NICU. There were people who went above and beyond to assist us during that time. My family and friends back home cared for our children and were regularly in touch with kind words of support and love. We had strangers who sent money and gifts. My church started a food train to ensure meals were prepared for my family. We received amazing gifts to remind us we were in the thoughts and prayers of our church community. There were so many that did absolutely amazing things for us. A person who holds a special place in my heart is my friend, Erin, who came to the NICU, nearly daily, to bring me food. She sat with me. She drove me around on errands or to escape the heaviness of the hospital. There are no words to express what she did for me during that time and what a rock she was for me. I could spend an entire podcast thanking her.
I wanted to show a little of the light that was in the darkness of the NICU.
On November 26th David's eyes were wide open. He was looking around and seemed content. What a cutie-pie. I was sitting on one side of the incubator with a tiny slit of the cover lifted and Reuben was on the other side doing the same. We spent time staring at David. Then we heard a voice. It was our doctor "friend." Our eyes quickly left David and met through the glass. Then we both laughed. We may have talked big but she scared us.
Reuben had left for home and I stayed super later. At 1:45 am, Sylvia and I left for the Easter Seal house. She had her bag of snappies (those are the bottles we used) and I had an umbrella and we were nearly back to our housing when we heard a sound behind us. Sylvia whipped around, much faster than I did I must add, and got into this "bear" like stance. I swung my umbrella around, ready to stab any potential weirdo. I must also point out that Sylvia is 5'11,” full of Austrian Mountain blood (her words not mine) and was a former Canadian Judo Champion. And I was no slouch either. I'm a crazy, half-Portuguese, hot blooded woman with deep seeded anger issues. And who was our would-be attacker? A leaf! A leaf blowing across the cement. Oh my did we laugh.
Taking the bus was scary. I always felt like people were judging my inferior bus navigating skills. Sylvia and I grabbed a bus and found our way to McDonalds. Sometimes a girl just has to eat junk! Our transfers were good until 5:54 and wouldn't you know it - we missed our bus. Poop. So we were waiting in the freezing windy weather for the next bus, crossing our fingers we'd make the connecting bus. Low and behold the bus came early. Yes! So we whizzed up the street and had plenty of time to catch a bus....9 minutes until our transfers expired. The only problem was that the next bus wasn't scheduled for another 10 minutes.
So now we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Should we cross our fingers and hope the bus was early or run across the street to use the ATM and get change from the attendant? We scrounged our purses and pockets for change. Sylvia was even looking on the ground! We had used laundry money for our ride to the restaurant and the bus fare was $2.50 per person. We had enough for one fare including my entire 27 cents I could donate. So what did we do? We froze, as in panicked. We couldn't make a decision. We ended up missing the bus and getting no change and walked the rest of the way back. But (this was a good but, not the ones the doctors use) I laughed the hardest I had in over a month. I felt "normal" again. All because two girls had a hankering for Big Macs!
To the all the men and women who spent time with us in the NICU, thank you for being our support. Thank you for listening and understanding. Thank you for making me laugh when times were tough. Thank you for just being present and sharing the experience with us. Thank you for keeping in touch all this time later. Thank you for being there.
Thank you for bringing a light to my darkness.