Editor's note: This article was originally published on Mama in the Now. It has been republished here with permission.
Some stories happen and instantly beg to be written, others need to mature and then one day they are ready to be presented to the world. I have held this story in my heart for six years, it has pulled me through the most terrifying times of my life. This account was my "snuggle buddy," "security blanket" and my anchor when I felt that I was capsized in the deepest and darkest oceans of motherhood.
A mother's biggest fear is losing her child. Six years ago I faced that fear! I stood at the ledge, looked down into the abyss and felt the sinking feeling in my heart and the emptiness in my arms, wondering if I would ever see light or happiness again. Just as I started to feel a force drag me down, I was suddenly surrounded by warmth and comfort. This reassuring feeling never once left me since that day, even during the worst days of our lives.
Our son was 12 days old and SICK! I mean REALLY sick. The doctors didn't know exactly what was wrong with him. They only knew that he had to be airlifted to a university hospital for further treatment – it was his only chance of survival. To say we were scared, sad, defeated and feeling hopeless is a grave understatement. Our baby had already spent 10 of his 12 days alive in a PICU, so I was no stranger to hospitals, beeping alarms and urgent footsteps. Someone walked by our room and mentioned "making arrangements." They meant arranging for a helicopter to bring us down south to the bigger hospital, but when you are standing over your intubated infant in a baby warmer, those are NOT the "arrangements" that come to mind.
I immediately started to cry. What "arrangements" would we make for him? He was only 12 days old and he never had a chance to have a favorite song, color or be partial to much of anything. I knew he was comforted by nursing and listening to my voice, but other than that his preferences were still unknown. So how would we "make arrangements" fit for him? He barely had a chance to wear any of his cute baby clothes, so which outfit would I pick? What about a song? I thought of "Amazing Grace," everyone loves that song – it was my dad's favorite and he had just passed a short six months earlier. My stream of consciousness was physically painful. My thoughts were dark and suffocating.
I stood over our sweet little baby and I started to hum "Amazing Grace." I couldn't sing because I was choking back tears, thick defeated and heartbroken tears. I watched our baby, hummed the tune that brought me such comfort, hoping it was easing his stress as well, when all of a sudden, warmth, comfort and peace came over me.
As I watched my son in the warmer, a "vision" filled my mind, my heart, my soul. It felt as if God pasted an image on an overhead projector in front of me. He was sending me a signal, loud and clear – he did not want me to miss this message! It was like the bat signal lighting up the nighttime sky. Right there before me was the image of a little boy with blonde bouncing curly hair. He was running on a grassy field, like the ones we have all over our neighborhood. He was happy (and healthy). He looked back over his shoulder at me, laughing and playfully keeping a distance between us. The vision stayed with me for what seemed like an eternity. It may only have been a flash, or perhaps it was minutes or hours. I really don't know how long I watched the happy little boy, but it was the exactly the right amount of time to mend my broken heart, calm my frazzled nerves and bring peace to my soul.
From that point forward, I knew that our little baby would be OK. He would be a medical miracle, he would "show them" and forever be my hero. The only "arrangements" this boy needed were plans for a beautiful life - celebrating each and every minute, hour, day – every moment!
The next seven weeks were not without drama, scary moments and close calls. They were every bit as frightening as his first 12 days had been, often even more. But … when doubt and fear entered my mind, I would retrieve the vision of the running boy and cling onto it with all my might. Some days it would magically appear on its own, other days I had to dig deep and retrieve it from my memory bank … but it pulled me through our scariest of times, and talk about "pulling through," our little spirited fighter did turn out to be blonde with curly hair – something I would have never known looking at him when he was 12 days old. But my heart knew it and my soul had seen it. I thank God for giving me the comfort and reassurance I needed as I sat bedside cheering on our little fighter.
Tove Maren is a Danish-American mother of four boys, ages 8 and younger. She is a freelance writer and translator. Tove reports live from the trenches of motherhood where she writes about all things related to life love, laughter and LEGOs. You will find her encouraging, as she empowers you to parent by intuition and with confidence.