Imagine discovering you are pregnant after months of trying. Picture all of the dreams and hopes that are formed in that moment.
Imagine watching your baby grow in your belly each week. Visualize the excitement and anticipation as the baby registry is completed and maternity clothes are purchased.
Imagine being told suddenly that something is wrong and you must spend the rest of the pregnancy in the hospital. Envision the shock, horror, and denial.
Imagine waking each morning in the hospital thankful to be pregnant because each day improves the baby’s chances of survival by three percent.
Imagine constantly eating everything healthy that the hospital can provide because you had read that babies weighing over 1000 grams fare better.
Imagine not knowing one minute to the next what is happening and having to deliver at a moment’s notice.
Imagine missing your baby’s birth and seeing your baby for the first time in a photo. Those dreams and hopes formed when the pregnancy was discovered are now a distant memory as survival becomes the focus.
Imagine meeting your baby two days later and holding the baby for the first time two weeks thereafter.
Imagine waking every morning and saying, “Please don’t let anything bad happen today.” as you face your greatest fear each day for three months.
Imagine holding your breath for three months and remaining braced for the unthinkable.
Imagine celebrating grams gained and a tenth of a milliliter feed increase. Picture having to revise the registry (and your life) because the baby’s needs are vastly different.
Imagine the day the baby finally comes home. Envision the joy and hope that it is over.
Imagine realizing that leaving the NICU was only the end of the beginning. Visualize the sadness upon learning the baby will not be one of those that catch up by two, if ever.
Imagine being grateful for the horrific journey because it is your baby’s story and how she came to be.
Imagine creating your own “happily ever after” that very few others will understand.