to have and to hold

My husband came home tonight and sat down with me and asked if I had heard about the premature baby who died after it was born. I said “No” and he said “It was on the news.” I asked him why that would have made headlines when that happens so often to so many families. He then continued to tell me how this baby was born premature and the parents went down to the morgue to say one last good bye and take one more photo of their child. When they got there and opened the small box of a casket, the child was ALIVE. Four doctors had pronounced this little soul dead and when they opened the box, this babe was crying. And then my eyes filled with tears. Tears of happiness for this family and tears of sadness for this baby who came into this world too early and just moments after leaving its Mother’s womb, was placed in a cold hard box, where he stayed for 12 hours. Crying. Alone.   My heart broke for the parents, who for 12 hours thought they just lost a child, and for the baby, that was without its Mother’s warm embrace, without the sound of her beating heart, where he could not hear her voice or feel her touch for his first 12 hours on this earth. And then I thought of how happy the parents were when they opened up the box and heard that cry- the sound of an angel….a sound that will forever change their lives.  And then the tears were once again happy tears, as I thought of how this child was just given a second chance to live.They named him and his name means “miracle” and a miracle he certainly was.
This really hit home with me for a few reasons. One being that my nephew was born premature at 1 pound 14 ounces. I never prayed so hard in all of my life as I did to beg God to let him stay with us. I pleaded and pleaded to just let him stay. And God answered my prayers and the prayers of my sister and our family and friends. Our lives would have been forever changed to have lost him or to never have known him. He has changed our lives by being here with us today, eight years later a blessing to each of us in his own special way. It also hit home because I thought back to the birth of my three children, one of which was just 11 weeks ago. I remember each time going over with the Doctors and Nurses that I absolutely needed the baby placed directly on my chest after birth, asking them to let me nurse the baby before they cleaned him/ her and did any routine tasks. I remember looking at my children with tears in my eyes, feeling so bad for them in a way- that they were just inside my womb and now on the outside, not knowing at all what just happened to them. It made me hold my babies tighter and longer than most thought I should. I had people tell me I was going to “spoil” the baby. I just strongly felt like I was doing what a Mother should do to meet their needs. I am pretty sure I haven’t put my daughter down since she was born and held my two sons just the same. You can just tell when they need you. When they cry and you pick them up- and then they suddenly stop- is that them being spoiled or is that them wanting you and needing your touch and your warmth- maybe they just need to hear the sound of your heartbeat. So maybe my arms physically get a little tired or there are days I get absolutely nothing done, and that is okay with me. I truly believe there are neurological benefits (and it has been scientifically proven) of keeping your babies close to you- whether during the day or during the night.

I pray for the children who are neglected and have parents who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and are not capable of meeting their needs. I pray for the baby- the sweet miracle child who was placed in a box and thank God that they wanted just one last look. I hope that baby felt God’s arms around him while he lay ‘alone’ until he could once again be in his Mother’s arms. I pray she holds him and never puts him down and realizes what a gift it is to have a child to hold. I will hold my babies as long as they need me, as much as they want me….one day too soon, they will be holding me.

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