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Monday, May 09, 2011

"Welcome to Holland"

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.

Welcome to Holland IMAGE
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:


Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [09 May 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Megan B ♥ said...

What a creative use for such a beautiful message. I am so glad that it was helpful to you. I get chills every time that I read it because there is such truth in it.

Coley said...

As the Momma of a beautiful boy who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, & autism, this has been one of my favorite readings for a very long time now. It has also been very helpful to me in explaining what parenting a child with special needs is like to others. Thank you for sharing this pretty version. :)

Krista said...

thank you for sharing this essay. I had an intern share it with me this year, I am a counselor for early intervention. I can relate to it as a professional and as a parent of a special needs kid with low vision. thanks!


Jenn said...

I have always loved this essay. There is also a follow up to this called Celebrating Holland, I'm Home.
Thanks for sharing! :)

Carolyn said...

Wow...what a story. Thanks for sharing. Very true.

Carolyn said...

Wow...what a story. Thanks for sharing. Very true.

Christen Price said...

Hi Aimee,

I just happened upon your blog and was instantly connected. My twin girls, Adeline & Maralee, were born at 27 weeks too. They were in the NICU for 83 days. I truly have a heart for this community of parents! We have told our story on our blog, www.theuncontainabletruth.com if you want to check it out. Can't wait to read more from you!

Diane Davies said...

Found this while blog surfing. Just pinned on Pintrest. : ) Our plane "landed" in Holland almost 12 years ago. Definitely different but still a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing the printable with us.

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