I’m a little late in posting this, but November 17th was World Prematurity Day! It was also our 8th wedding anniversary. I did post a picture of baby Boston (and another of my husband) on Instagram that day, but I really love this picture I took today:
Today someone asked me what I learned through our NICU experience with Boston. Mostly it has just made me more grateful, obviously. I have always been so grateful to have had such healthy babies, but I always complained about being glued to the couch breastfeeding them all day and about waking up with them at night. And of course there have been many challenging days with a new baby at home, but are we so happy to have this guy home and doing so well! We really were so nervous to have a third child, but his close brush(es) with death really made us feel so grateful and feel so blessed that he gets to stay with us. With every scare we had in the NICU — with his heart, going back and forth on the breathing machines, and getting a horrible infection just days before he was supposed to come home — we would again feel a surge of gratitude when prayers were answered and Boston made progress. We felt so much joy from the little miracles that happened and we were so amazed at the compassion people showed for us. I also came to appreciate nurses and doctors in a way I never had before and I will always be grateful for the love those good people showed us.
We can’t really feel “up” in life if we’ve never felt down. I find, for example, that the more toys my kids have, the more they want! I wish I had been so much more simple and only let them have a few toys to begin with, because I know they would appreciate new things so much more when they do get them. I’m glad that Nick and I went through some really difficult things early on in our marriage, because now that we aren’t going through those things, the mundane days are so welcomed and appreciated because they aren’t full of heartache like they used to be. Challenges (rather than having more nice things or excitement) help you learn to be happier.
Also — IT FEELS AWESOME TO NOT BE USING A BREAST PUMP ANYMORE! Constantly pumping is probably on the top 10 — if not 5 — most miserable things I have ever endured in my entire life (nausea will always be #1 on that list) but of course I’m so glad that I did that for my baby and now nothing feels better than nursing my little babe because it is loads more convenient. So I’m maybe a little bit grateful that I pumped for four months before being able to nurse Boston. Challenges are part of life, and I’m really grateful for that.
If you’re going through something really awful right now, try to remember that it will probably enlarge your capacity to feel joy in the future.