John David Pate-3years old

James Daniel Pate-3years old

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day!

I didn't even know there was such a thing...preemie awareness day...heck yea! I am all about raising awareness of something that is so dear to my heart. Those of you who have followed our story for a while know all the miraculous details of how our boys "survived" to be born. I have spoken honestly and freely about my feelings of being chosen to carry out another one of our great God's miracles.

When we first realized that the only chance of having these boys would be through early delivery (and when I mean early I am not talking a couple of weeks). Doctors were certain that "if" the boys survived long enough in my womb, they would be taken no later than 32 weeks. It was almost like a "death of a dream" when I realized that the best case scenario for us would be PREMATURE BABIES...No mother ever dreams of having a preemie baby. I mean seriously, have you ever heard of a mom say, "I am so excited I have the opportunity to deliver 10 weeks early"...But you know what, I am thankful that I was chosen to be a preemie mom, not by my design but GOD's alone. He truly had more involved in the delivery of our boys than Dana's wishes. I have to remember how many people were touched by our story and how many people grew closer to God simply because of the prayer we begged to have from all we knew.

My heart crumbled at the thought of having teeny tiny preemie babies with a multitude of problems and worries. I had already had three healthy, full term babies and now I was going to be faced with the overwhelming fear of either death or extreme prematurity. God was my ROCK and my strength through it all, but the Internet was my resource of knowledge. So I became "knowledgeable" about prematurity and prayed ALL THE TIME!


I will never forget:
WAKING UP THE NEXT MORNING ALONE WITHOUT MY BABIES NEXT TO ME OR MOVING AROUND INSIDE OF ME...
THE QUIETNESS OF MY ROOM WHILE LISTENING TO THE BABY NEXT DOOR SCREAM A BIG HEALTHY CRY...
LEAVING THE HOSPITAL WITH MY HUSBAND (WHO WAS COMPLETELY AMAZING BY THE WAY)AND LEAVING OUR BOYS BEHIND...felt like my heart was shattered into bits as I walked out the door.
PUMPING AROUND THE CLOCK AND CRYING EACH TIME BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE A BABY TO NURSE, JUST A FREEZER TO FILL UP...
FEELING THE PAINS OF MY C-SECTION AND WONDER IF MY 2LB BABIES WERE FEELING PAIN AS WELL...
THE LONGING HEART ACHE TO WANT TO HOLD THEM AND SMELL THEM BUT COULDN'T...
HOW UNIMPORTANT THE "SMALL STUFF" IN LIFE IS WHEN YOU ARE PRAYING FOR YOUR PREMATURE BABIES FIGHTING TO SURVIVE...
THE LOOK OF MY FRIEND,KATY WILLOUGBY, THE DAY AFTER ONE OF HER TWIN GIRLS DIED...(THEY WERE ACROSS FROM OUR BOYS ONE WEEK APART)...
WONDERING IF THE BOYS HAD A GOOD NIGHT...
HOPING THEY INCREASED THEIR FEEDS...
PRAYING FOR NO INFECTION...
BEGGING GOD TO PROTECT THEIR BRAINS FROM BRAIN BLEEDS...
RACING TO THE PHONE EVERYTIME IT RANG, HOPING FOR GOOD NEWS NOT BAD...
THE LOOK OF THE DOOR AS I APPROACHED THE NICU EACH VISIT...
THE SMELL OF THE HAND SANITIZER....
THE BEEPING SOUNDS OF THE MACHINES SOUNDING OFF AT DIFFERENT INTERVALS...
THE LOOK OF THE NURSE, SMILING BUT EYES FILLED OF SORROW AFTER "LOSING ONE TODAY"..

There is just a wealth of emotions that a mommy endures through an experience of the NICU with a preemie baby. I still think often of those moms out there who are currently living that "NICU LIFE" and pray for their strength daily.



God definitely chooses his preemie moms and if you are one reading this blog today, I want to tell you to be proud and thankful for being the chosen one. God intends for you to be a support and lift the burden and heartache of another mom who is walking in your same shoes.

I will never forget Amy Crawford Shaver (her little boy was born at 28 wks), she emailed me when I was in the hospital weeks before having James and John David and she told me her story and my heart felt peace. God sent her to me.
I will never forget Missy Gurley (the Gurley Girl Mono Twins), who had the same mono twins as we did. Her story brought peace to my heart. God sent her to me.
I will never forget Misty Basinger (her twin boys born at 30 wks) randomly found her through a multiples group in B'ham. Her story brought peace to my heart. God sent her to me.
I will never forget Mika Cornwell Shelfer (her first son born at 27 wks, her daughter born at 26 weeks) we actually grew up together and her story is so amazing. Her faith in God challenged mine and I thank her so much for it. God sent her to me.

There were others along the way that encouraged me and supported me through it all and I have a feeling, that is how God intends for it to happen. He doesn't give you the storm without seeing you through to the rainbow.

I remember thinking I had to be the only person in the world with a heart that ached as so..But then I started reaching out to others who had walked in my shoes (somewhat) and met other mommies of preemie babies present and past and it was such a comfort! I was grateful for the moms I met in the NICU while our boys were there as well as moms I had met prior to our NICU stay.


Our NICU experience was designed by God and I am grateful for it. I appreciate the nurses and doctors that took care of our boys more than any string of words I put together could ever express.


I am thrilled to say today, that my precious preemie boys are thriving well and healthy as can be. A pure miracle is what I call it! And yes, for those of you who question the power of a miracle...IT ACTUALLY DOES HAPPEN...


3 comments:

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

I have read oh, I don't know, 10 preemie posts this morning and yours brought tears to my eyes! What a touching & true post! I am so glad we found each other & you healed my heart too (it went both ways for sure!) God has blessed you with a beautiful family! God does perform miracles, doesn't he?
Thanks for posting your story - I really enjoyed reading it!

Catie said...

Dana! I just read through your post with tears in my eyes. All of it is so familiar and present in my mind, yet what struck me the most today was the comment about the phone ringing each day. I had forgotten how my heart used to STOP each time I saw the number of the hospital pop up, and how I used to pray out lout that it would be good news. It is amazing how "quickly" I seem to have "forgotten" that fear of such a daily normal thing as the phone ringing. You are so right though- being a preemie mom is not something any mom would ever wish upon herself, but it is a role God has chosen for each of us and one I am honored to fill now. I am so thankful for His constant hand upon me! And I am so thankful for you and James and John David! You were my friend and encouragement throughout the process for me and words can never express my gratitude for that. Seriously, the experience would not have been the same without you as a part of it. And I found you (Ha! God so led me to you!) just in the nick of time. I will never forget being in my drug induced shock and stupor the night my boys were born yelling to Matt, "Call Dana Pate, Call Dana Pate, her number is in my phone!" I knew you would pray! Thanks for everything! And thanks for your post today and for always reminding me that God chose us for this and it is Him that carries us through!

Avery Tales said...

Thank you so much for sharing the story of your sweet boys. I found your blog through Missy's. We are a chosen group. Being a Mom whose preemie is now an angel I can say with confidence that I would never change the path that God has given. Would I love to have Olivia here with me? Of course I would! However, I know that His plan is perfect and the lives He's touched through our story are countless.

I look forward to reading more.