My first chance to touch my son, 3 hours after his birth
Sadly, this is a big part of what I remember about Zachary's first days of life
Finally geetting to hold my baby boy, 36 hours after he was born. They let me hold him for about 10 minutes. I couldn't move, as he was on the vent, and it is taped to my shoulder. They threatened that if I did it could seriuosly injure him. Not a very comforting moment, but so sweet all at the same time.
A few days old in daddy's arms. His tiny hand is gripping Skip's pinky finger.
Our March for Babies walk is in 10 days. We are trying to earn money for March of Dimes to help fund research that they do to help babies like Zachary. The March of Dimes helped stop polio with their research. March of Dimes discovered the imporatance of Surfactant, a medicine that helped save Zach's life. March of Dimes does so much for parents in helping them get through those rough days as a parent of a "shadow" baby--one that you had, that is no longer alive inside your body, but one that you cannot show off to the outside world. Your "shadow" baby is one that is on your mind every single minute of every day, but others look at you and wonder why you look like a zombie. Your "shadow" baby is a real, life baby, but one you cannot nurse, you cannot touch when you want, you cannot hold, you cannot dress in the clothes that line your closet, you cannot do anything you want with your own flesh and blood but pray and look at them through a piece of plexiglass. I remember walking into a restaurant, admiring a carseat cover that I still needed to purchase for my 3 week old baby, probably still bloated and looking questionably pregnant. I asked the mother where she got it, and she asked when I was due, an innocent question. I said I had a 3 week old and she looked around lost, and I had to explain to her he wasn't with me, and I began to cry. It felt wrong being out in the world without my baby. It felt so wrong waking to an alarm clock to feed my baby, not to his wimpers & cries.
You may wonder why in the world I still focus on this--after all he is 15 months old. Some may think, "she should just get over it!" I've even so much as heard those comments from others. I have to admit I may have been the one to think it before my experience. This is just something you never get over. You hear a beep, smell the soap, feel your rough hands, it all takes you back. Walking out the doors does not make it all go away. It is like being in a battle, you can't make the sad moments just go away. A mother should get to hold her baby, hear him cry, touch his face after he is born.
I'm going to write something that I haven't admitted before now. I was so stinkin' scared 15 months ago. We went through so much to get our 3 beautiful children. It obviously didn't come easy for us anywhere along our journey to parenthood. After Zachary was born I couldn't allow myself to fall in love with him immediately--I was too scared of him not being there to love me back. I was fearful of every moment I called to check on him, every step I took to visit him each day. I didn't want them to share the devastating news. I couldn't allow myself to relax (as so many people told me). I couldn't allow myself to enjoy the moments of parenthood with my newborn. It is sad as I look back now. If someone I had trusted could have sworn on a bible, been able to look into the future, and told me the true outcome, I could have relaxed. However, nobody knew how it would turn out. Nobody knew just what was to come for my little man. I was scared to death. My heart ached. I wanted to love him, but I now realize I put up a wall for those weeks after his birth. I became like a robot who went thru the motions, but didn't have feeling. I look at my little man now and feel awful that I couldn't love him completely and whole-heartedly. Don't get me wrong, I loved on him, I did fall in love with him.......but that feeling that moms talk about, that moment after birth when you instantly fall in love with your little one........it didn't happen for me.
I walk because it is what little I can do for those families who don't ever get to love on their babies. I walk because parenthood should be full of joys & wonderful happy beginnings. I walk because if the small amount of money I earn can prevent one person from going through the heartache that I saw, it's worth it. I walk for the mothers who have had miscarriages. I never felt the heartache of a miscarriage, but suffered through a "loss" of my own in the adoption world and can only imagine how it might hurt. I walk for my healthy son & daughter, for my healthy nephews, my healthy goddaughter, for all of the healthy children in my life. Some of their health might be credited to research done by March of Dimes. I walk so that my pregnant friends will deliver healthy full-term babies, and that they won't have to feel what we have felt!
I feel so lucky to have Zachary with us today. There are many that don't get that. There are others that we met in our little NICU that have life-long problems due to their prematurity. We feel blessed that Zachary's minor issues are minor! We are all very positive that he will overcome all of his delays. Not all those babies are lucky.
I need to earn $50 to meet my goal. Will you help me? These people already have helped, and I am extremely thankful for their generosity!!!
Aunt Laura & Uncle Shane Jordan
Calvin & Emerald Pankewich
Uncle Jeff & Aunt Heidi Pankewich
Walt & Cheryl Pankewich
Alan & Mattie Watkins