I first shared this essay on the blog 2 years ago, while Connor was still in the NICU. At that point in time, we were almost to the halfway point of our stay… Connor had doubled his birthweight and was finally just over 4 pounds; he had also survived 1 emergency surgery (with 2 more to follow in the coming weeks).
The first couple of months during our NICU experience, I found myself grieving… not because I had lost a baby, but because I had missed out on the experience I had hoped for in having a baby. (Does that make sense?) My pregnancy, for the first 25 weeks, had been textbook. No complications whatsoever, mild morning sickness and discomfort, I was even under the expected weight gain to that point. So naturally, my head was in the clouds – imagining what his “birth”day would be like… in March, not December. I wasn’t planning on an emergency c-section at almost 27 weeks, and I certainly wasn’t planning on a roller coaster 120-day NICU stay, either.
Don’t get me wrong – I count my blessings every day that Connor is such a miracle… such a fighter… and that he is doing unbelievably and remarkably well, all things considered. I know that we are one of the lucky ones in regards to premature birth, and I don’t take that lightly, or without immense gratitude. We came away from our NICU experience with a wonderful new family – full of amazing doctors, nurses, therapists, support staff, and fellow NICU parents – that we would have never gotten the chance to know, had Connor’s “birth”day been normal.
I originally found this essay on a blog written by a fellow NICU mom (and now imaginary friend), Megan, about her miracle sons Crew and Dex. The author of “Welcome to Holland” is Emily Perl Kingsley – a writer for Sesame Street since 1970, who penned the essay after her son, Jason, was born with Down’s Syndrome in 1974.
Since our time in the NICU, I’ve forwarded this essay to many people, those struggling with unmet expectations for how their births went, how they’ve ended up in the NICU, or how they’ve found themselves a parent of a special needs child. I turned it into a printable, with the thought that it could be easily passed along to others in need.
To download the 8.5”x11” PDF for printing, simply click on the image above, and a new window will open to the download location in 4shared. Save to your computer, and it’s yours! (I recommend setting your printer to “borderless printing” if you print this yourself.)
UPDATE – I’ve also created this print in a smaller version, with 2 per page. Download can be found here. (Again, set your printer to “borderless printing” for best results.)
I’ll be posting this project to some of the link-up parties listed here: