Not too long ago I had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ April from Lily’s Amazing Grace through this blog world. I loved her story and could relate to so much of it. I am so excited to share her amazing work she is doing in her daughter’s memory. And the career change she made because of her.
Miracle: n. -an extraordinary or divine intervention considered as a work of God.
-a wonder, marvel.
I’m not sure that everyone believes in miracles, maybe you have to witness one to believe. I witnessed my first miracle eleven years ago when I ruptured at only 24 weeks, my daughter was ultimately born at 26 weeks. She weighed a mere 1 pound & 12 ounces and she was perfect in every way. We were totally blindsided, we had a healthy son at home…how and why did this happen? My husband and I prayed that our daughter Isabella would survive. We didn’t bargain, we didn’t beg, we just prayed-not harder or better than anyone else and this time our prayers were answered. Our Isabella came home with us after four trying months in the NICU. She escaped the shadow of death on more than one occasion and she is our miracle.
Isabella’s journey taught me that I took life for granted before she was born. I vowed I would never be so selfish again. I wasn’t a nurse at the time of Isabella’s birth and I quickly realized that I had a greater purpose in life so I went back to school-of course to be a NICU nurse. There is something humbling about being one of the first set of hands to touch a new life. I don’t know many people who can say they have unless they work where I do. We see and touch your baby before you do. We weigh them in grams not pounds. The NICU is a sacred place where miracles happen and it’s a place where dreams are shattered.
I can appreciate every emotion our families feel. Some of you reading must be questioning by now, “But you took you daughter home?” Yes, I did, but she was not my only premature baby. Last year I ruptured early again, this time I knew instantly we would lose our sweet Lily, it was too early. Anyone who has ruptured prematurely gets the feeling…it’s indescribable. It’s a feeling of total loss of control; total helplessness…those moments will haunt me forever. Our world fell apart around us the day that Lily was born. This time I prayed that God would give me the strength to face each new day without Lily and the strength to find the courage to tell my children that their baby sister had passed away. Just saying those words took courage, it was the hardest thing I had ever done.
We faced our darkest days after we lost Lily. I woke up every day with a feeling of heaviness. Everything was so wrong, I was angry and I felt so empty. I replayed those days over and over in my head. As I read stories written by other women like Fran I realized that we were supported by a community that I didn’t even know existed. I also came to realize that we left the hospital empty handed; not only without our Lily but with nothing to remember her. We were never given a blanket to take home with us. That’s right-after the shock of that settled with me I vowed that this can’t happen to anyone else. That is why I created LilyWraps. LilyWraps were inspired by our daughter for families like you and me. They are custom wraps made for parents to hold and love their baby after they have passed away or as they journey to heaven. My original intention was to donate our LilyWraps to the labor & delivery unit where our Lily was born. I had no idea how much they would be loved by the families and the nurses. LilyWraps can be purchased and donated by visiting my blog Lily’s Amazing Grace. http://www.lilysamazinggrace.com/ Please know all profit from the LilyWraps is donated for families who do not have the means to have a service for their baby. It is our way of quietly serving others during their weakest moments.
This past year has been the most difficult and challenging year of my life. I have realized that although we can’t change the past it’s okay to look forward to the future. I found the courage to walk back through the doors of the hospital where we lost Lily and go back to work in the NICU. I have so much to offer our families. I am more than a bereaved Mommy-I am a NICU Mom and a NICU nurse. This is what now defines me as a woman and it helps me to face each new day. One day together we will sort our way through this all in our own time, at our own pace, in our own way.
-Love to you all today, April ♥