Happy 1st Birthday, Ryan! Reflecting on the past year…

I can’t believe that a year ago today, I was 33 weeks pregnant and in a few days would give birth to my son, Ryan Scott Grover. This March has been an emotional month for me. I keep thinking back to when I gave birth to this precious boy of mine and the NICU journey of ours. At times, I would even say that it haunts me. After reflecting this past month, I am coming to the conclusion that I don’t know if I fully processed my feelings while he was in the NICU. With all the changes in our family and lives this year, I have been, just running from one circumstance to the next just trying to keep up. While I know that Ryan is VERY fortunate that his complications were few and his NICU stay was relatively short (in comparison to others) a mere 29 days, it was still heart wrenching. I will never forget seeing IVs in his head, an Anderson tube down his throat, and hearing a doctor tell me when we learned he had an infection in his bowel “This could be very devastating.” I still can’t shake the feeling of helplessness I felt at seeing my baby boy suffer and knowing that I could do nothing for him. Boy, how I treasured the moments when I got to hold him and have kangaroo time with (skin to skin time with mommy)…  minutes after having him on my chest, I would start fall asleep. Those were the only times while he was in the NICU I felt true peace. Ryan would just snuggle down on me and he would always fall asleep too. Just feeling the warmth of his skin on mine and how at peace he was with his mommy, it felt like I was doing something for him. I couldn’t  take away all the poking and prodding and all the long nights when I couldn’t just hold him when he wanted me, but, knowing that I could comfort him and make it better for him for just a little while… even if just for a few minutes out of the entire day. I know for most these will be just words on a paper, but I know for all the other NICU mommies, you will know that pain that I am trying to express, but words will never suffice.

And as I look into the eyes of my baby boy who will very soon no longer be baby, I am incredibly blessed.  He can melt me with those big brown eyes of his. I think that Ryan may be a little small for his age and developmentally may be a little behind as well, he is right on target considering he was born seven weeks early. He’ll be one on March 30th, but was not supposed to born until May 15th. He eats table food now and refuses to eat baby food now. He can say mama and dada. He claps his hands. He loves to mimic as well and has been doing that for some time now. He gets into everything these days. I think he’s probably a couple of months away from walking, but that doesn’t stop him. He seems to be very stubborn and strong-willed. He lights up when he sees his big sister, Kaylen. It’s been fun seeing them interact more and more each month.

One question that I have been asked given his prematurity and the fact that Kaylen was premature as well is would we have any more? Would we put ourselves though another NICU stay?  I can’t see the future or what God has in store for us, but I don’t regret any of it. I have been blessed beyond words with these two very precious gifts. As I tell my kids each night: You’re perfect just the way God made you and He made you very special. I believe that He formed them perfectly and I trust in God’s timing in ALL things.

Happy Birthday, Ryan! I love that God chose me to be your mommy. May you always know just how deeply you are love and what a precious gift you are to us.

Psalm 139

13 For it was You who created my inward parts;
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You,
    because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
    Your works are wonderful,
    and I know [this] very well.

15 My bones were not hidden from You
    when I was made in secret,
    when I was formed in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
    all [my] days were written in Your book and planned
    before a single one of them began.