Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chance meeting

I went to order a glass top for our dining table last week. Brent waited in the car while I ran into the store. Jolie and Kyle were home with the babies. About 30 minutes later, I made my way back to Brent - in tears no less...

I run past this place with the babies in tow multiple times weekly. When I walked in, the woman at the counter made the connection quickly, asked how old the babies were now, said how big they were getting, and we laughed as she told me she'd watched them grow through the window over the past year or so. Then of course, "the" question came...twins???

I smiled and said they were surviving triplets born very early. She thought for a moment, and gave me an understanding smile. Her adult son was born early years ago - and spent 45 days in the NICU. I knew that look - the genuine ache she felt for me and for herself - 2 members of a most unfortunate club. Then, with tears in her eyes, she told me one of the "boys in the back" (the warehouse) had a baby boy born at 23 weeks 6 days - and at the time, he was 3 days old.

I burst into tears, apologized, she took no notice, smiled and said the baby was only 1 pound 6 ounces.

I finally blurted out that the babies she'd watched all this time were just less than a week older in gestation than this new baby; that the size was the same as Mary Louise's birth weight. Ecstatic, the woman begged me to talk to the new dad - to reassure him - to give him some hope.

My heart absolutely ached for this new family - I felt as if I'd been punched as I remembered so vividly the morning of David's emergency surgery...he was 10 days old and still weighed less than a pound. We had already cradled our sweet Kuylen as his heart stopped beating in our arms. I pleaded with a higher power that David would come through the surgery and that I would one day be able to hold him. I desperately begged that our babies one day breath on their own - poop on their own - I said that we would be so very proud to have that much. SO PROUD to have kids that could toilet and breathe!! I also made a totally unrealistic but absolutely heartfelt request that we be the last - the last ones to be thrown into the NICU abyss...obviously not...

What on earth was I going to say to this man - who mind you had tried for 10 years with his wife to have children? What wisdom could I bestow? The answer? none. NONE! I gave him the same gift a NICU nurse gave to me - just after David's surgery...she asked, "How are you doing?" As I rattled off the week's stats on the babies like some sort of zombie, she put her hand on my arm and asked again - a little more forcefully - while pulling up a stool and guiding me towards it, "no, I said how are YOU doing?" It was the first time I really cried after having the babies. It had been almost 2 weeks. I was alone with this nurse in the NICU and I sobbed and sobbed while she stood quiet and smiled.

Sometimes, all that is needed is a pause. I let the man talk for awhile, gave him my number, invited him or his wife to call or come by anytime, and left. Regardless, they will be in my thoughts and I wish them the very best NICU experience (if there is such a thing) life has to offer - and may they be able to hold their sweet boy soon...

And all of this started with the order of a glass table top...



  1. God definitely has a way of putting people exactly where they need to be when they need to be there. I'm sure you visit will stay with this man for a very long time. I prayed for your little ones while they were in the NICU, and I will pray for this man's son. I'm sure your story gave him a ray of light to hold onto.

  2. Hi Heather....this is Jackie, the mom of the baby boy. Thank you so much for the words of hope. I got your note and the precious hat today!! You are truly one of a kind. I feel like God sent you to us. This is by far the hardest thing we have ever been through. I am so sorry for the loss of your baby....I would take my sons place in a second if I could. He will be two weeks tomorrow and I too broke down today, praying God will give me the strength to carry on. Thanks again for all you have done!!!!!xoxo Jackie and Rob Dartez

  3. Love love love this story! God is great and knew that meeting needed to happen! I cried as I read this story to my daughters. That couple are very close friends of mine and it is really hard seeing them first hand go through this difficult time in their life. I know your story, your understanding, and your genuine sympathy has touched their hearts more than you know. Thank you!!