Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Why I’m Thankful for Modern Day Heroes

It was three days before I went into labor. I was lying in my hospital bed before the sun was up, hubby was snoring on the lumpy cot in the corner; we were both exhausted from all the unanswered questions and tests, and I was praying hard! The kind of prayers that only a desperate, heavy-hearted mother pray. Lord, please let me go into natural labor. Please let our baby be okay, show me what to do in labor, give me grace. I feel like this is all my fault. Change this, make it better, I can’t go through this. Lord…. please.

As I poured over scriptures and tried to gain some insight, the still small voice of comfort came – be thankful and know that I am with you till the end. Thankful? How could I be thankful? Stuck on bed rest. My baby is going to the NICU.  I can’t sleep in this hospital. And then there was the big one – despite being extremely healthy during my pregnancy… I was still there!! All those spinach smoothies, all those walks, yoga sessions, the hours of studying on how to have a healthy pregnancy! Lord, how can I be thankful? What is there to be thankful for? I pondered this question the whole day, switching from anger to sadness, to believing that God just didn’t understand.

The next morning, a similar conversation occurred. Find thankfulness today. So, I began making a list:

1. Hubby’s wisdom and patience
2. My amazing nurse Vanessa (she stayed up with me all night that first night, told me stories of her kids, and watched Parenthood re-runs with me!)
3. This precious life growing inside of me…

And then my list became much easier to write! Throughout the day I made note of these things I was thankful for:
4. Low blood pressure
5. Baby’s movement was excellent
6. Hearing a strong, beautiful heartbeat from our baby girl
7. My family’s arrival at the hospital, despite living 7 hours away
Photo by: Jessie Threlkeld -- Our day and night shift nurses

Photo by: Jessie Threlkeld — Our day and night shift nurses

This continued throughout my labor. I was thankful for the awareness, the pain, the sense of life coursing through me, our baby, my husband’s coaching. Then came the NICU. Could I be thankful in the NICU? I just didn’t know if I had it in me. And then there was God’s grace… I met our modern day heroes!

Our roller coaster left us feeling elated one day and defeated the next, but through it all these women stood by us. They fought for us to get testing done on Bree with her severe apnea, for breastfeeding, for staying overnight in the NICU. They were there! These women are modern days heroes, and I will always be grateful for them. They are dear friends now, and I would have missed out on that if we hadn’t been in the NICU.
NICU Nurses 2If we had a healthy, full-term baby, I would have missed meeting them, getting to know them, and having such special people in my life. There are many days at home, when it’s quiet and Bree is sleeping in her bassinet, that I reminisce on the days when I would step into the buzzing hall of nurses and have a good laugh or a hug from one of these women. I know it sounds so silly to say that I miss the NICU, but I do. I miss the interactions with these special women every day; I miss seeing their faces and hearing about their kids and grand kids. While I hope that every mom gets to experience a plump, full-term baby, I am so thankful that these women will be there for those that don’t. I will always be grateful for the strength that they gave me to keep being thankful for three long months in the hospital.
Jessie Threlkeld About Jessie Threlkeld

Jessie Threlkeld is mother to Breanna, a former 32 weeker. Jessie's uneventful pregnancy came to a screeching halt due to unexplained PPROM. Due to breathing and eating complications Bree had a much longer NICU stay than anticipated with a total of three discharges from the NICU. The two struggled through the ups and downs of breastfeeding, performing CPR and learning the ropes of bringing a preemie home. Jess and her husband Nate have made it their passion to encourage and support preemie parents, and find ways to help those that want to breastfeed. Jessie is passionate about encouraging NICU moms through their journey, as well as, finding natural solutions for common preemie issues. Check out her blog for tips on surviving in the NICU and beyond.

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