As a preemie mom, there is a tiny part of me that feels like the joy of Jossie's birth was stolen from me. When she took her first breath and made her first cry, I felt hopeless. I felt like I had failed her.
But in that moment of my life, I was never aware of the unexpected, new joys I would feel because of her early birth.
I saw daily the love and gentle care of the NICU nurses and doctors. I was overwhelmed with the support from my family and friends, whom I knew were always there for me but, man, they were REALLY there for me. I experienced Jeremy's and my marriage grow because of this new challenge.
And, practically speaking, spending three weeks in the NICU forced me to stop, sit and enjoy my newborn. If we had been at home, I know me, and I would have been still moving a mile a minute, taking care of Jack, the baby and the home. But the NICU time forced me to sit with my girl and kangaroo care the bejeebers out of her, and I'm grateful for that quiet bonding time.
I'll never forget the tears of joy at Jossie's 5-month check-up at the pediatrician when we learned she was on the growth chart for her actual age. Or watching her as a toddler, "reading" books and crossing her arms over her chubby belly when she gets fed up at Jack.
Today, my family experienced a lot of joy. We participated in our first-ever charity walk - the March for Babies walk. A few of our dearest Chicago friends walked with us, and we were overjoyed with our friends' and family's generosity, helping us to raise more than $1,000 for the March of Dimes. I'm a professional fundraiser, and this is the best money I've ever raised.
I'm thankful for my healthy babies as I saw families walking in memory of the little ones who didn't survive. And I was really impressed with the family who was walking in honor of their little one, born at 25 weeks this past February and thriving. They had their act together!
It was a privilege and honor to participate in today's walk, walking alongside thousands of other March of Dimes supporters. Thank you again for your love and support.