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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hugh's Birth Story - some final thoughts

Back in July of 2008, I remember so vividly the walk from my hospital room out to our car. The long corridors, hugging the Memory Box the hospital had given me to hold keepsakes from our twins' birth. I remembering feeling embarrassed and ashamed, wanting to hide any evidence that I had just lost my babies. I kept my head down to avoid all eye contact with any passersby. Clearly straddling the stages of denial and shock. I left there fully expecting to never walk those same hallways ever again.

When I arrived at the hospital last May to be with Hugh, and returned to that same building, the same hallways and elevators, I was too anxious to find my son to be distracted with any other thoughts. But it was clear they were there waiting patiently for me to acknowledge them. I recognized as soon as I entered the revolving doors at the entrance, that I had a choice - to either face those remaining painful memories and finally find some closure or continue to avoid them and pretend they weren't there.

Upon arrival, I just beelined it up to find my baby Hugh. I walked through one room of the NICU, seeing bassinets with babies in them and an army of nurses carefully monitoring every breath and movement. I was guided through a narrow hallway to an adjoining room and immediately upon entering I saw my boy. He was in the arms of one of the nurses I had talked to on the phone a few times.

Olivia was her name. She immediately apologized that I arrived to find Hugh being held by some stranger, to which I replied that nothing would have made me happier than to have found him being loved and cuddled like that. As soon as I was scrubbed down and dressed in their hospital attire, I finally got to hold my baby. Those three days apart were awful, but I was so relieved to find that he was no longer hooked up to oxygen or any other monitors that would prevent me from holding him. He had been in good hands and had made such great progress. He was healing and his body was stronger and healthier.

I ended up staying there for five days. Hugh was transferred to three different rooms, each move signifying he was progressing. I spent my days by his side. I slept down the hall in a closet-like room, but got up for his middle-of-the-night feeding. We bonded quickly, as if we hadn't been apart.

Every once in a while I would wander just down the hallway to get a glimpse of the room where I delivered Elliana and Emmaline. I walked through the details of that experience in my mind. Any of the remaining bitter feelings were set aside and all of the beautiful ones found their permanent spot in my heart. I imagined them being there with me, walking down that Memory Lane, helping me get past those last lingering scars. And, I felt sure of them fulfilling some angelic duty by watching over our little Hugh, their little brother.

Returning there, I didn't find the same dark hopeless place I had left behind. Instead I found a new and greater peace where I had so many unanswered questions. I found a calm reassurance that all was just as it should be. I found light and love and healing. Going back there, I couldn't have expected the healing Hugh and I would both find before coming home together.

There is a book I started reading when I was about a third of the way through my pregnancy with Hugh, called The Shack. I got nearly half way through and then got busy with my newborn Benjamin and suddenly free time was almost non-existent.

Even though I had put it down for a few months, I remained engrossed in the story, often finding myself reflecting on the author's perspective and philosophies about his own relationship with God and forgiveness and finding healing, not realizing at the time how much it would end up helping me make sense of some of my own unresolved emotions. That hospital, I would later realize was my own personal shack. If you've read the book, you know exactly what I mean by that. And, if you haven't, I would highly recommend it.

After my brief five day stay with Hugh, we were all released and sent on our way. Walking out hugging my baby to my chest this time around... there are no words. One cannot know the gratitude that filled my heart.

And, now that it is one year later and I'm still hugging my little Hugh, that feeling of gratitude is even more present. You would never know by looking at him that he had such a rough start. For that and so many other things, I am so grateful.


Mandi said...

"We have nothing to help each other... except our stories."

I so admire your candor and the way in which you invite others into your life to hear and learn your story... it's from that sincere, honest place that understanding and compassion and learning originates. It's inspiring.

I'm so glad I have you as my big sister - you make me want to be a better person!

And I'm so, so glad that Hugh made it safely here so that we can all enjoy his awesome personality!

Clark, Jolie and Avery said...

I admire your talent for writing but even more I admire your strong spirit and faith!

Becky Rose said...

I feeling of relief came over me as I read your last post about Hugh! What a life you've walked! I suppose you know what Emma felt as she lost so many of her babies. I'm so thankful you have 2 girls and 2 boys forever!

JessicaP said...

I have always loved your purity Megan and it is so evident in the way you felt and described this experience. Giving birth is one of those "purifying by fire" acts of life - in your case purifying by inferno - but what precious metal we are left with when the heat disperses.

Inkling said...

I'm just catching up after being with my family for the past couple of weeks.

Thank you for writing this post and sharing your heart the way you did. After two years of working hard to let things go related to my own birth injury, something finally broke the bitterness out of me on Easter weekend. On Friday, I'll take my little boy to the pediatrician who shares an office sweet with the medical group that includes the midwife who injured me. Every time I've gone before, the bitterness has just piled up. But this time, I'm hoping it will be different. Somehow I'll work to remember your words and take them in my heart as I walk through my own hallway of memories.

The Shack was a big thing in my heart too. Talking to God had always been kind of an academic thing for me until I read that book, and then it became more real and personal somehow. So much about the book impacted my spiritual journey for good. I liked it so much that when I heard the author was coming to my town a few years ago, we invited him for dinner. It was really special to hear his heart and hear how his story came to be written. It's like he was given that gift of a story and an outlet to share it with the rest of us that it seems like no ordinary book, almost like our Heavenly Father had a hand in it.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your heart. I always love coming here and reading about your own journey.