After Andie was born nearly four months early, I longed for a woman who had walked in my shoes. I needed someone to hold my hand and nod her head in understanding as I voiced my fears and uncertainty. But that woman never arrived, and my loneliness, grief and fear took up residence just below the surface of my skin.
As the years passed and our beautiful daughter grew and thrived, surpassing our wildest expectations, I poured all those suppressed emotions onto the pages of a memoir. It took years to thoroughly excavate the buried memories and feelings, but once my book was complete, I believed I was healed.
And then I received an email from a preemie mom named Babs. She worked for the organization Hand to Hold, whose mission is to provide support to parents of preemies, parents of babies born with special health care needs and parents who have experienced loss. When she and Kelli, Hand to Hold’s founder and president, told me their premature birth stories, something deep inside me cracked open, and I thought my tears might never stop. I realized my long ago need for connection had never really gone away.
Since that time, Babs and Kelli have become dear friends and asked me to write for Hand to Hold’s June newsletter!
The topic, Summer with your Preemie triggered memories from Andie’s third summer, when fear had become such a part of my daily life, I often found everyday events simply terrifying.
I hope you’ll visit their webpage and read the story in its entirety!
The sun shone in through the kitchen window spreading across the breakfast table, bathing the kids in a warm glow. I let out a long, slow breath. Summer had finally arrived.
My husband walked into the kitchen. “The pool’s open. Let’s take the kids over today.”
I looked at the sweet little swimsuit I’d bought for Andie hanging on a hook by the back door. Size 3 tags still dangled from one of the straps. I marveled at the fact that she was three. She’d come so far. We’d all come so far. I watched her take a piece of waffle off her big brother’s plate. I sat back in my chair and smiled. Another cold and flu season was behind us and with summer’s arrival we could finally let down our guards…