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My Reason

The first week was the hardest week of my life. When the nurses took you from my arms and rushed you to the NICU, I was in shock. I figured after the hours of labor and 45 minutes of pushing (thank you, epidural), I’d be skin to skin with you for as long as I wanted. The next time I saw you was two hours later. I wasn’t allowed out of my hospital bed until the feeling in my legs came back, understandably. You had a mask over your nose, with a huge tube running up and over your head. An orogastric tube was taped to your chin. There was a tiny intravenous catheter in your itty-bitty hand. You were wearing a diaper and had cardiac leads coming from the belly you were laying on. Your eyes were closed, and you looked uncomfortable; your back moving up and down with each breath you were fighting to take. The noises from the monitor, IV pumps, and hushed parents nearby were surprisingly calming. Maybe it’s because I worked in the adult ICU for years, and was comforted by the chaos. Maybe it’s because all I could focus on was you. Tiny little six pound you.

I loved being pregnant with you. The nausea and exhaustion during the first 13 weeks were worth every moment thereafter. Feeling you moving around, kicking your momma’s hand off my belly when she tried to snuggle me, and experiencing your hiccups multiple times a day was so much fun. You had a personality even before you made your appearance into the outside world. You were so impatient, you wanted to meet me sooner than you were supposed to. So, you did. You got your wish. You came early and we all suffered the consequences of that. I lost my relationship with whatever God is out there awhile ago. But I knew that if anyone was going to save you, it was going to be the incredible nursing staff in that hospital, and a god. So, I prayed. I prayed for your little body to continue to fight; I prayed for the staff that was caring for you; I prayed for the other tiny babies that were fighting on that floor too.

The day we took you home was surreal. I didn’t feel ready, but I couldn’t have waited one more minute. I cried every single night before that because going home without my baby felt so wrong. That week went on and on without an end in sight- we would take one step forward and two steps back. The doctors were infuriating, and the nurses were incredible (no surprise there). The Friday after you decided to make your entrance, you were deemed strong enough to come home. I didn’t know what to do with you, so I stared. I stared at you until we both fell asleep more times than I can count. I took every little bit of you in. My baby boy, my whole world.

Now here we are, one year later. You’re babbling, trying so hard to walk on your own, getting into everything you shouldn’t, swimming like a fish, eating like it’ll be your last meal, making us laugh, making us cry. You are such a joy and the brightest light in my life, Jackson Reed. Being your mommy for the past year has given me a whole new purpose. You are the reason I wake up every morning, the reason I try a little harder to take care of myself, the reason I ask for help, and the reason for my newfound optimism. Seeing you grow each day is bitter sweet. You never cease to amaze me with the new things you learn, and the ways you make me laugh and cry.

I didn’t believe everybody when they said “time is a thief” or “it goes so fast”. Lately though, I get it. Yesterday you were struggling in the NICU; today you turn ONE and you are such a different little baby (or toddler, as your other mom likes to call you). I can’t wait to see the little boy you become, and I will continue to cherish every single moment that I get to spend with you. Happy first birthday, my love. Know that you are loved beyond measure, by both of your moms.

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