Friday, October 5, 2012

Empathy

In late August, our brains were still a bit scrambled from the combined (good) chaos of Norah's birthday party followed by the quick search and purchase of our house. On top of that we were having a ton of clinic appointments and transports for Norah, while also preparing for cleft surgery. All of these these things are my attempt at an excuse for missing an amazing blog post from my brother-in-law's wife, Des.

I read it last night, and sobbed like a baby. Jeff did too. It seriously cut right through us so I had to share. You can read it in it's entirety here. It's worth the read, especially with the super adorable photos of Norah being held by her cousins. Below is an excerpt, referencing Norah's birthday party:

It was a joyous occasion and there were so many people there to celebrate. For some of my kids it was only the second time they've seen Norah. They were very excited to get to see her and hold her. I, on the other hand was having a hard time feeling excited and happy and didn't know why. I figured it was cause I was still feeling a little tired and sore from just having a baby and driving in the car for an hour didn't really help. I needed to feed Dreyden so I went to Norah's little hospital room. I was looking around at Norah's home and thinking about her life. As I held my healthy newborn baby, I felt extreme guilt and sadness that Shauna missed out on very basic small things that I was in the middle of enjoying. Simple little things that we probably don't give much thought to. Being able to take my baby and going anywhere I feel like going, snuggling my baby without ventilators, wires and tubes, letting him be passed around the room without the fear of illness, listening to his sweet newborn sound, nursing him, never having to leave him, being able to have him sleep with me in my bed so I can kiss him all night long. All these thoughts brought me to tears.

Here's the thing. I've had some really touching and fantastic conversations with Des about motherhood. Before Norah was born, we discussed the wonders of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and special quiet time. To read Des' acknowledgement and description of my hardships have really affected me. She is completely right - it is the simple things that hurt the most. I often think about how I was once that mom. When Harper was born, I was completely oblivious to the existence of the crazy world that we are now a part of. I was the mom snuggling her new baby that never left her side. My biggest heartache was Harper's jaundice then minor outpatient urology surgery when he was 18 months old. Even when we found out about Norah's diagnosis during my 20-week ultrasound, we had no idea what we were in for. Of course, even looking back, we wouldn't have changed a single decision. But experience sure does wonders for perspective, doesn't it?

The other piece of this is that I truly admire Des as a mother. She is incredible. She and Scott (Jeff's brother) have taught their kids manners, compassion, love, respect, and tolerance. They've been foster parents too, helping set children on the right path to turn around their lives in such a profound way. They didn't just care for those children. They guided them, comforted them, and showed them how good life can be. Scott and Des think that they are simply caring for these children, but it is much, much more than that.

Des, thank you so much for your love, support, and empathy. I'm looking forward to spending time with you and Dreyden on Monday!

Norah and Dreyden

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