I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a lovely woman who is a new friend to me, a fellow writer and mother named Jessica, from Four Plus an Angel.
She attached a link to a post that she believed reflected a series of small moments from her life.
Your site and all it stands for is beautiful. I lost my daughter a little over three years ago and since then, have learned that life is truly about the smallest of moments because they may be all you have.
I wanted to share a post with you I wrote on the most recent anniversary of her passing. I think it truly illustrates how our family has learned to live through the big and small moments.
I clicked on the link to her post, Today, and was so incredibly grateful that she reached out to me … that she wanted to share her story with me. Her words are painful and beautiful and brave.
The more I read of her story, the more I knew that Jessica was a perfect fit for Small Moments Mondays. I asked her if she would consider sharing her story here and she generously agreed.
After you read this post, please go read Today, Thoughts on Thanksgiving, and The Autism Story.
Jessica inspires me to be even more grateful for all that I have … and all that I’ve lost. She is strong and beautiful and appreciative in the face of tragedy and loss.
She is remarkable … so simply remarkable.
Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your story here. It is so incredibly generous of you. I’m so honored that you wanted to share your story here on in these small moments.
Much love to you, lovely one….
A Touch of Life — by Jessica
The triplets were born at 28 weeks. 28 weeks and 5 days to be exact. I was counting.
I lived in the hospital, staring at my feet and a calendar on the wall, x’s marking each day that the mix of medication and bedrest had given my babies. After the threat of delivery at 19 weeks, 21 weeks, 24 weeks and every few days from then on, making it to my last trimester seemed a miracle.
I knew that my babies would be in the NICU and I was as prepared as any soon-to-be mom of triplets could be. I had toured the unit, watched the babies born too soon struggling with life, given the nurses the eighth degree, researched feeding and bonding and every possible medical complication under the sun and I was ready. We could do this.
But when the time came, and my babies and my body could not wait any longer all my readiness fell to my surgical slippered feet.
Nothing could have prepared me for the delivery of three babies at once, the sea of hospital masks, the hum of machines, the buzz of anticipation encircled by the quiet of hope.
As the first baby came there was no calm before the next.
There was urgency and monitors and calls for oxygen.
There were NICU teams and respiratory therapists and relays to incubators.
Baby A, my little girl, was brought past me first, all of her 2 pounds 10 ounces shocking me into the delicate world of mothering a preemie, though not as alarming as the 1 pound 14 ounces of her brother, the next to wriggle his long pink limbs near my face. As the nurses brought them to me, one tiny baby at a time, I wanted to take in their every feature and hold them and love them but it was not yet my turn. They needed intensive care and I felt that need and urged the nurses along, fighting my yearning to take trace every ounce of their fragile babyness. I would see them soon enough. Forever was ahead of us.
There were moments between the delivery of Baby B and C, my son and my next daughter… enough for me to take in the what was happening, settle into my excitement and wait for her. As she came by I adjusted my focus, trying to see her 2 pounds 5 ounces of features through the mask of oxygen, already mingling with her labored breaths, and as I tried to move my hand to her face she held me first. Her tiny pink fingers, white at the tips as they wrapped around mine. And I did not feel that urgency I did with her siblings. The nurse pressed forward with her before I was ready for her to let go. I wanted to keep her there, suspended at my cheek, squirming with new life, explaining to me that she already knew who I was. My first touch from one of my babies, who, entwined with her brother and sister, had endured the push and pull of life all those weeks that labor threatened. She was here, and so was he, and so was she. All alive and fighting, a testament to faith and hope and unending love.
And this small moment, this first touch, was the clearest, tiniest, most profound moment of my life, of my pregnancies, of our 77 days in the NICU, of my marriage, of my days as the mother of four living children, and the mother of one who is not.
One who stopped to tell me that she was okay, and I am her mother and always will be.
One who squeezed a moment of her short life into my waiting hand before she left this place for another.
Please, please go visit Jessica at Four Plus an Angel. You won’t regret the time that you spend there with her.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading Jessica’s story.
You can also find Jessica on Facebook and Twitter.