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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Welcome to Holland

I fantasized about becoming a mother my whole life... and ended up waiting a really long time to get here. I never thought I'd be 34 before I had my first child.

Needless to say, this experience has been nothing like I ever imagined it - frustrating infertility, pre-term labor and emergency C-section, not being able to bring my baby home, and the daily rollercoaster of successes and setbacks that is life in the NICU. (I'm getting deja-vu that I've written this all before... sorry.)

I'm not throwing myself a pity party. If I think about it too much, it all just gets me a little down. I know it'll be much easier to look back at this experience in several months or several years, so grateful for how far we've come.

I started reading a new blog about a little guy named Crew. He was born this past November, and has had a very similar journey to Connor's in the NICU. I spent a good bulk of time this morning reading all about his successes and struggles. Crew's mom posted this essay on his blog back in December. This helps me keep it all in perspective...

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Pert Kinsley

"When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, 'Welcome to Holland.'

'Holland?!?' you say. 'What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.'

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills.... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... And for the rest of your life, you will say 'Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned.'

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things... about Holland."


Poage Perspective said...

That's a wonderful essay. I must remember that everytime I get disappointed when things don't turn out the way I planned. Thanks for sharing!

rae said...

Hi there.... You don't know me but I went to college with Brian (Hi Brian). I sent him a message on his FB page... anyway. My son Sam was born at 27 weeks... jump ahead 6 years I still have a bunch of preemie/micro preemie clothes that have been waiting for a good home. As I am sure you know... "real clothes" in the NICU is a BIG deal. I would love to send them to you guys or drop them off (not sure what hospital he is in)... if you don't want them that is fine too but if you do please email me with your address and they will be in the mail.
Hugs to you all

Darrin said...

That really was a beautiful essay. I have only been to "Italy", but I sympathize with you and your change of plans. This experience will, I'm sure, prove to be a significant learning time for you guys---hindsight will be wonderful! Our prayers are with you and, especially, Connor. Love you.

Christy said...

I love it! I love your perspective on things. I could never really understand what this is like for you but I think about you a lot and pray for you daily.

tiburon said...

Love that essay. I found it shortly after Ethan was diagnosed with diabetes.

it is very fitting :)

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