Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. "Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."
"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says 'mama' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.
God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."
The Preemie's Prayer
Dear God, as you look down upon us,
We know that you might have to squint.
We're located here in the NICU,
It's the nursery that we rent.
There are many alarms and sirens,
Connected to our & Condos' & Flats'.
The nurses tape our booties on,
And dress us in funny hats.
We have a lot in common,
All of us were in a hurry.
For many different reasons,
Our storks came a little early.
Some of us don't know why,
We busted out from our bubbles.
We entered into this world,
Never meaning to cause any troubles.
Mommy and Daddy are worried sick,
About the odds that we must beat.
Please God, help them to realize,
That seeing us grow is a treat.
Breath by breath, we'll learn to breathe,
Ounce by ounce we'll tip the scale.
We're like the boat in the ocean,
That knows not to sink-just sail.
For we are living miracles,
Mommy and Daddy must simply believe.
That you have angels watching over us,
From the time we arrive, till the time we leave.
"The smallest children are nearest to God, as the smallest planets are nearest the sun"
You know you're the parent of a preemie when...
1.You use strange initials (C-PAP, CCs, NICU, NG) when discussing your child.
2.You actually remember how many CCs make up an ounce.
3.You count his weight in grams.
4. The skin on your hands is peeling from washing so often!
5.You hesitate when someone asks his/her age, but you know exactly how much he/she weighs!
6. The answer to "How old is your baby?" is a story 30 minutes long!
7. When someone asks his birthday, you reply, "Which one?"
8. You start to understand some of the things they say on ER!
9. You turn into Kung-Fu Mom when someone tries to touch your baby.
10. You attempt to measure just how much spit-up he/she just had before you clean it up!
11. You know how much he weighs before putting him on the scale at the doctor's office
12. You cry at Maternity Ward and get mad at Baby Story.
13. You see a 7lb newborn and say "Wow! She's so BIG!"
14. Your baby is months old before he can even go to the mall.
15. You have never explained why your baby is on an apnea monitor.
16. When someone says how tiny your baby is, you argue that he is huge -- and to demonstrate, you whip out pictures of him in NICU.
17. You do a health check on people when they come to your house to visit .
18. You make people wash their hands before going near your child.
19. You want to scream when someone says that she just wants to have this baby now - at week 28, 32, or 34.
20. You are so amazed when someone actually tells you your baby is big for his age!
21. You tried to find a place to buy newborn size diapers in bulk.
22. You called half your relatives when the baby grew out of their first pair of pajamas!
23. You never take your child for granted.
24. You worry about RSV season and it is still weeks away . . .
25. You know what "RSV" stands for.
26. You donate his/her tiny clothes to the NICU and marvel that they seem so small - when they were too darn large!
27. Your son gets a simple cold and her doc sees her within the hour!
28. People say, "He CAN'T be __ old...he's too little!"
29. It has taken them 5 months to grow INTO newborn clothes!
30. You pick up 2 pounds of ground beef and think that your baby was born at the same weight
31. You buy "Purell" in bulk
32. You know about oxygen tanks and regulators more than the company supplying it to the airplanes
33. You can stare at your baby for hours when he sleeps
The Dirt Road
Cruising along an endless stretch of highway, pavement hard and smooth.
People staring straight ahead, not taking their eyes off the road.
The lines whisk past as dots that hypnotise, so boring and routine.
Without challenge, without change and such a waste of time.
Then suddenly, without warning, a detour sign ahead.
I turn the wheel, screech and skid, down a dirt road I know not where.
Stones fly from under my tires as I struggle to gain control.
I must slow down and keep my head, try to stay on course.
Lost, frightened and all alone on some lonesome backwoods road.
The bumps, ruts, twists and turns, will I ever make it through?
I take a deep breath, cautiously, progress, for what's ahead I do not know.
Yet as I go, I start to note the beauty along this road.
Then here and there I begin to see some others travelling here too.
They smile and nod with a knowing look, I no longer feel so alone.
There is a kinship here, an understanding too, that sets us apart from the rest.
Our road has the same destination, just a slightly different route.
We've learned some lessons, gained some skills that could only be learned here.
This road has taught us how rough life can be, but has made us much appreciative and stronger too.
Heavenly father full of grace
A ray of sunshine upon her face.
On this night there's one thing I pray
You gave her life so please don't take it Away.
You sent her an angel to stand by her side
Thur heal pricks for gases, not a tear did she cry.
All ten fingers and all ten toes,
Barely as big as a giant rose.
From one pound to three pounds
Your on your way home,
My precious little girl, oh how you've grown.
On this night there's one last thing to say
Thank You God for letting her stay.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for this preemie God gave me to keep.
So very little, So very small,
I pray you make it through it all.
Each day I hold you skin to skin,
I hope you feel my love within.
You are so brave, you are so strong,
You came early because you belong.
Angels watch over her all through the night,
God keep her safe and help her fight.....
She has learned so much about life,
To be the greatest mother, friend & wife.
She never complains about the little things,
She appreciates what tomorrow brings.
She's been through the gates of hell
And still stands tall,
She has laughed, cried, prayed & rejoiced,
She'd been through it all.
Her children mean the world to her,
She will walk any mile
Just to see their precious face,
Just to see them smile.
She's got invisible wings on her back
That God has put in place,
She wears a purple heart for the bravery
She has faced.
She is admired by many, blessed by God above.
There is nothing more powerful
Than a Preemie Mother's Love.