This week’s Saturday Smiles is a little different than my normal happy go lucky Saturday Smiles posts.
This week, my family and I are walking in the local March of Dimes walk to support research benefiting families who experience stillbirth, premature birth, and maternal health issues.
We’ve experienced all of the above. With our daughter, I had preeclampsia and delivered early. Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. Some women have serious headaches, swelling, and pain in their upper right abdomen as well. For more information, check out this site.
With my twins, not only did I have maternal health issues (gestational diabetes and trending towards preeclampsia) but our one son was stillborn and I went into labor very early at 32 weeks. Our surviving son spent 30 days in the nicu.
So why am I writing about these horrors for something I call Saturday Smiles?
Because while it was mostly horrific, there have been some silver linings. Mainly, I am just blown away by the outpouring of support my family received. We had people, some of whom I’ve never met or haven’t seen or spoken to in years, send us messages of love. My mailbox overflowed with cards. People made us so many meals, helped us with our daughter, drove me to the nicu.
And the kindness of our friends was mindblowing. My childhood best friend flew in from cross country to be by my side, booking a plane ticket within minutes of finding out our news. Close friends left work and came to sit in the hospital with me. My hospital room was full of so many people it was constantly crowded and boisterous. Friends arranged our son’s funeral so we wouldn’t have to go through that nightmare alone. Another friend showed up on my doorstep nearly daily with food because I couldn’t wrap my mind around grocery shopping.
I realized that my little family may have been through a hurricane but we are surrounded by a community of love. Nothing that we went through did we go through alone. This realization that people would hold us up when the unimaginable happens was life changing. I get so much peace from that.
I started this series as a way to regain my normal sunny outlook on life after the grief of losing a child. And as I prepare to walk to this weekend in memory of our son and in honor of our little nicu warrior, I can’t help but think of our community and be so grateful.
I may be unlucky to have had to endure child loss, but I consider us fortunate to have the love in our life that we have. So today, I choose to smile because I know that I have found my people. The people who lifted us up when we couldn’t do it ourselves and continue to be a source of comfort and joy for me and my family.
If you are one of those people, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you.
If you know someone going through a child loss or premature birth and nicu stay, don’t be afraid to reach out. Believe me, your kindness will be appreciated.
If you’d like to donate to March of Dimes in honor of my sons, click here.