When a woman is pregnant, her body changes. It changes to conform to the little human that is growing inside of her. It’s a beautiful thing…. pregnancy. It’s a time when you start taking those weekly photos, and downloading every pregnancy app possible and start clicking on due date clubs, breastfeeding clubs, meds or no meds clubs, first time mom’s or more than ones…. you join any and all the clubs you can because you want to be a part of it all. You want to be there.. and chat and get excited with all these other mommies. You even have this fantasy of meeting or knowing another pregnamt mom and becoming best friends with her because then your babies will be best friends for the rest of their lives… at least that’s what I wished.
I had two cousins and three good friends who were pregnant the same time as me. We all planned baby showers and maternity shoots. We all went shopping as soon as we found out we were pregnant because we all wanted to be the first one to buy something for our little nugget. A keepsake to save forever.
But my pregnancy became something else when we received the fetal diagnosis. My pregnancy was no longer this happy occasion. It was no longer this exciting thing. It’s was now a tragedy. It suddenly became this scary and awful thing to happen to us. This pregnancy became sad. And I became numb. For many many weeks I was just numb.
I saw Miracles
I remember each doctors appointment we went to became such a chore for me. I hated going to the doctors. We had to go every week, sometimes twice a week for check ups. I was so afraid I wouldn’t hear a heartbeat on the monitor. I feared that the ultrasound would show that my babies were dead. I literally hated going. From the moment we left the doctors office to the 3 to 7 days we went back and I saw and heard heartbeats, I held my breath. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I could barely function. All that kept me going was God’s mercy, His love and His strength.
I’d smile at everyone else’s pregnancy quirks. I’d even LIKE and comment ‘oh how cute’ at all their ultrasound pics and maternity photos. I oohed and awwwed along with everyone else at their lavish dream come true baby showers. And about 75% of me was really happy for then. Honestly! Pregnancy is an amazing experience…. but at that time, I hated everything about it. That 25% of me just wished I could run and hide forever.
And although they were ALL due months before me, my babies came into this world fighting to stay in it. And this is where my life took a drastic turn. Suddenly I wasn’t pregnant with these sad little sick babies anymore. Suddenly I was the mother of these two incredibly amazing and strong and resilient preemie baby’s! Suddenly I was thrust into this unknown world called The NICU. Suddenly I became a NICU mother.
I… had… no… idea…….
I had no idea the Lord chose me… He chose ME to witness miracles. During my pregnancy I had no idea. I didn’t seee what the Lord was preparing me for. I didn’t see what my purpose was. And still to this day I don’t really know exactly what my purpose is. But I see now. I see that everything that happened during my pregnancy wasn’t something sad that was happening to us. It wasn’t this great tragedy. It was a blessing… it was a MIRACLE. My mind was so clouded by sadness and the dream I had had about having a son. I had hoped and wished and prayed for so many years for a boy that I had planned everything. I planned what my pregnancy with a son was going to be like. From the baby announcement to the baby royalty-prince themed baby shower. I had it all planned out.
I should have known the Lord had other plans. I should have realized early on that the Lord was going use me and use US in a way that we may never fully understand. He is using us now to show the world what prayer can do. He is using us to show the world that miracles do happen. That no matter how bad something is, no matter how bad a disease the doctors will diagnose, He is a Healer.
I was so incredibly blessed to be a witness, everyday, to my babies growing outside of my womb. God’s creation. While everyone was still pregnant and complaining about how big they are, their feet swelling, their increased appetite, their babies kicking them in their ribs… I got to see mine in real life. I saw them in person instead of a 4D video. I saw what they looked like. I saw them smile for the first time. I saw them open their eyes to an amazing world for the first time. I saw them fight through breathing tubes to be taken off within weeks of their premature birth. I saw their fingers moving and curling and searching for mine. And then I felt their little fingers, fingers as small as a q-tip, wrapped around mine. I couldn’t hold my daughter for 2 weeks and my son for 4 weeks… but I did. Instead of feeling their kicks inside of me, I played with their toes while I held them.
As hard and difficult as the nicu journey was for me…. it was the most amazing and life changing experience I will never forget. I look at life completely differently. And I am forever grateful to the nurses and doctors who helped us during my pregnancy, time in the nicu and for all the support after we left.
So I end NICU Awareness Month with To God Be The Glory ♡ We witnessed miracles.
Angelina Castleberry writes on her blog All the Days the Lord has Made 4 Me. You can find an issue close to her heart at Made for a Miracle, a website for a group dedicated to helping families through the NICU journey with prayers and support.