“Sorrow deepens the channels whereby happiness may enter and hollows out new channels for joy to abide in when grief is gone.”
You know that feeling you get the first night you’ve been able to breathe easily after congestion has robbed you of good sleep for so many nights before? It’s such a simple thing…breathing through your nose and sleeping through the night…but you never really appreciate it until a cold comes along and you can’t do it anymore. That’s how I have felt these past few days, only on a much bigger scale. Spending five days in the NICU wasn’t fun, but it opened my eyes all over again to the simple blessings of home that I often overlook or take for granted…soft sheets (or sheets period for that matter), a kitchen full of options, my own bathroom and shower. Home is so good! Lying in bed with Derrick on one side and Eliza snoozing in her bassinet on the other, knowing Amelia is down the hall…feeling so hugged by their love…it’s almost too much. My heart could burst at the simple joy of it all!
My weekend was filled in moments like that – big and small. Moments of gratitude and awareness. That’s the funny thing about hard things…they break your heart at times, but they break it open wider, and then the love that spills into it can travel deeper. I know that despite all the worry and frustrations that will inevitably be part of my journey in motherhood, my life will be richer and more vibrant than it ever would have been before Eliza’s surprising diagnosis became a part of it. And I’m so thankful for that! But here’s what I’m realizing…something I wish I knew before…the blessings were already there. The sheets were just as soft, the peaceful breathing of my family just as soothing. I just didn’t know it. I didn’t open my eyes to just how beautiful it was until I was jolted away from it all and plopped into a NICU again and again.
They never did figure out exactly what caused the troubled breathing that put Eliza in the NICU last week, but her time there was still productive on so many other fronts. We were able to try supervised feeding with a Level 2 nipple, something she had been prohibited from previously because of aspiration risks, and have since graduated to using one full-time. The larger flow allows her to take entire feeds at a time without the tube, which is a huge answer to prayer! And we welcomed the incredible news while there that Derrick passed his last medical board exam. So many good things!
Such a simple thing, gratitude. But it changes us if we let it…if we wrap ourselves in it like a warm blanket. The comfort and peace it brings is almost that tangible, even in a NICU…but especially at home!