How Preemie Mom's Are Chosen by Irma Bombeck
Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. “Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint … give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.” Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘mama’ for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.
As some of you may know, I took a hiatus early this year. In February, I was hospitalized for 5 weeks, and then had Baby M 11 weeks early in March. That picture at the top of the page? That's the first time I got to touch him. He was two days old. He spent almost 5 months in the NICU, and came home at the end of July. We had a lot of struggles while in the hospital, a lot of tears, and a lot of days that I wondered how on earth we would make it out of there, or even IF we would make it out of there.
Out of every 8 babies, 1 is born premature. Most causes aren't even know. I was one of the "lucky" ones who knew why I had my baby early. My water broke at 23weeks, but they were able to hold labor off, and keep my baby boy cooking!
The March Of Dimes provides value research to help babies survive. They also provide support for the families. It was so nice while I spent every day in the NICU to have someone else to talk to, someone who had been there, who was a mom, who had a baby go through the things that my baby was going through.
Today is Prematurity Awareness Day, and I want to invite you, if you feel inclined, to say a small prayer for those babies who are fighting the battle still, and for those who lost their fight. You can also make a monetary donation at March Of Dimes.
We need to fight for preemies, because they shouldn't have to.