Open Arms

I remember actually feeling pretty comforted by the doctor who told me:

“We’re not too overly concerned about your son’s survival.”

She then went on to explain how I would be kept pregnant for the next 24 hours, in order to give a boost to my son’s lung development.  He would be delivered two months early.

“Your incubator isn’t working anymore for him, or for you,” the doctor explained.

My blood pressure was skyrocketing, my urine packed with proteins, and my medical team predicted that staying pregnant any longer would likely result in a stroke for me, and a stillborn birth for Briggs.

The good news was that a plan was in place and no one was, “too overly concerned,” about his survival, or mine.  They were confident that this would be a relatively uneventful stay at the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

And, they were right.

While the stay was long (61 days), and was followed by an emergency surgery just four days after his release, all in all, Briggs progressed the way his loving, caring, and massively intelligent team predicted.  Nearly five years later he is a smart, compassionate, and active kid.

He keeps pace with his peers just fine.

The thing about trauma though – even when you work through it, or god-willing, get passed it – it leaves a mark.  Mind you it’s a mark I’m okay with baring and sharing – but it’s still a mark.

Briggs’s tough start left a lot of marks.  One of the more physical ones is my cesarian scar.  The surgery went according to plan.  I recovered and healed just fine, but still, all these years later, when I feel deeply sad or afraid, it pulses.

I don’t know how else to explain it.  It’s this uncomfortable beat – an aching throb.  An emotional response to physical loss.

I could not carry my son to term.  And I couldn’t carry the baby that came before him for more than a couple of months.

Accepting that these things happened, and that they do not say anything about my worth, or my devotion as a mother has been monumental.

For the past few days, since learning about the tragedy in Orlando, my scar has been pulsing.

One of the many things the NICU taught me is that every baby is a miracle baby – and that every family has mountains to scale, climb, and move.

We must be able to do better. For our babies (aren’t they forever our babies?) and for each other.

Hate.  Fear.  Disaster.  This is too much for any baby, any family, any village to bear.

Our arms are made for opening up and holding on to what is truly dear…each other.

Open Arms










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