We all have times in our life when it seems as if we're faced with one disappointment after the other. NICU moms are definitely not a stranger to this. One day our little one may be the picture of health and the next day we may receive a NICU phone call that may change everything. We must find the silver lining during challenging times in order to maintain our sanity. If we assess the situation enough, we can typically find a positive nestled somewhere within the disappointment.
My personal story is a testament to the importance of staying optimistic. When I was on hospital bed rest, one of the doctors came to speak to me about Laila's prognosis if she was born before 24 weeks. She somberly told me that there was a chance of cerebral palsy and mental challenges. She asked if I wanted to provide life support to keep Laila alive after birth. I remember feeling very confident that I would be fine even if my baby was born with birth defects. I told her that I wanted to keep her alive and that we would enjoy our little blessing for whatever amount of time God decided to give her to us. In my heart, I believed that she would be just fine. I chose to focus on the gift of life that we were being given instead of the possibilities of sickness or death.
While in the NICU, we had a few setbacks, including an E-coli infection that kept Laila in isolation for the majority of her hospitalization. During that time Laila's vitals were stable and I chose to focus on the fact that she had done so well during her entire stay. She had an amazing team of doctors and nurses who were dedicated to taking great care of her. It may have seemed discouraging, but God was continually keeping her healthy despite what the labs showed. I was so incredibly grateful for my faith during that time. There was so much to be thankful for in the midst of what seemed to be a challenging situation.
After bringing Laila home, there were more challenges to contend with. We had an apnea monitor and frequent doctor's appointments. There was the temptation for unhealthy comparisons with full-term babies. Of course, there was the ever-present responsibility of taking care of an infant that can sometimes be stressful in itself. All of these situations also brought an opportunity to direct my energy toward the wonderful blessings that I enjoyed. We had fought the NICU fight and won. Our baby was a NICU graduate and was thriving. I can't think of a more special silver lining than that.
As Laila grows, I continue to adopt an attitude of gratitude for her health and well-being. There are so many things that could have changed our story, but we are blessed to have a healthy child who is shaping up to be a compassionate, kind person. I'm so glad that I chose to focus on the silver linings instead of harping on the possibilities of doom and gloom. There's always a bright light shining if we center ourselves, look to God, and seek His direction