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In ryley’s journal

I’ve kept a pregnancy/baby/toddler journal for Ryley since the first time we saw him on ultrasound……I used to write in a lot, but that was before we had Grace a year after Ryley was born, and before we had our third 2 1/2 years later. Now the entries are kind of few and far between……The NICU days are documented pretty frequently, almost everyday in fact. It’s not fun, but it’s definitely interesting and healing to go back and read the story of his birth and NICU stay, especially knowing the outcome of all those worries and fears. The other day, I wrote to him for the first time since September…..

I hear you giggle from the backyard as you play with your brother and a bottle of bubbles. It strikes me at the oddest times – that realization that we very likely could have lost you – that at any point from the minute I started bleeding until the day we brought you home, and even after, God could have decided to take you Home to Him. You are a miracle, corny as that may sound. You survived. Not only did you survive, you have thrived. No one would ever know to look at you that you were so premature. I think of all my friends with preemies – some of their children suffer so many different challenges from their prematurity – visual impairments to cerebral palsy to hearing loss and oxygen supplementation. Many of them have been, and continue to be, hospitalized multiple times. And I wonder why we have been so lucky. What happened for us differently that resulted in this miraculous outcome?Or is it just luck of the draw? Twenty six weeks is so early…..not as early as some, earlier than others. In my heart I believe you have some amazing purpose – maybe that’s as big as being a star athlete, movie star, President, or writer; maybe it’s just being a great kid and eventually a great husband and father. That doesn’t mean that I think you have more “purpose” than those who have fought and lost the battle…..their lives have more meaning than I could ever hope mine would have……

I still worry that something will pop up down the road – some result of your early beginning that we aren’t aware of yet. I’m always still watchful, still waiting for that proverbial shoe to drop and knock me on the head. I don’t know if that fear will ever go away. So I continue watching and waiting.

I look back at your pictures from the beginning and those early days in the NICU, and I read this book just to remind myself of where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. I have a hard time believing you are the same little boy. But then I see that feisty fighter side of you come out, I see those fuzzy blond hairs on your neck like the hair that covered your tiny baby head, I see your hands curl into fists like they did in sleep from day one, I see some of the now-miniscule scars from the many iv lines you had, and I know you are he – you are that tiny, tiny baby who is on such a mission that you had to get a fourteen-week head start. And I am once again amazed.

8 thoughts on “In ryley’s journal

  1. Oh Donna..what a beautiful blog. It truly is…And spoken from the very heart of a loving mother….Ryley is special…his life does have tremendous purpose…..I think that our babies each have something important to teach us…Sometimes the lessons seem short and sweet…Sometimes the lessons seem long and complicated…But the truth is….if some babies did not do incredibly well like Ryley….or if they all died like Alex…then there would not be much to learn because it would all be the same…nothing to compare and contrast too….Nothing to distinguish one from the other….All very happy or very sad…But we know life is simply not that way. Hugs! Melissa

  2. Oh man, you made me cry. That’s two days in a row on Share. People are going to start to wonder about me. Seriously, that was beautiful. Ryley is so lucky to have a momma who loves him so much to write letters to his future self. I am picturing a tall, lanky young man… with eyes like his mother, but the build of his father. And while he lays in bed with his sleeping, very pregnant wife… he reads the words his mother wrote to him long ago, once upon time when he was a lucky child. I can only imagine what those words mean to that young man, now all grown up… to hear that his mother loved him so much and worried about him and watched and protected him…
    I bet he will cry like I did. Darcy

  3. And now you’ve made me cry…..I have hardly ever let myself picture him as a grown man. I do hope that one day, these simple words of his mother’s will indeed mean as much to him as they have to me….. HUGS! You guys are awesome! And I love you!
    D

  4. I love your post… what a beautiful tribute to Ryley. I always tell people that Madalynn was meant for greatness…. she will make her mark on this world beyond what she has already done (making a mark on all of her family’s hearts). It will be amazing to see these children as adults and wonder where their lives will take them. I know that Ryley will treasure the words you have written all about him. He will know how truely special he is and what an impact his life has made on so many others. The simplest things like his first smile, his first steps and his first kisses were all miracles and major milestones for someone that was so tiny and came into this world way too soon. His life gives others hope. Your story does the same Hugs

  5. Donna, What a great tribute to your little miracle. You have been so blessed with Ryley’s good health but it sure was hard fought in the beginning. It is amazing that our babies are such little special gifts from God and we are lucky enough to be able to have them.
    Desiree

  6. Donna, Beautiful…simply beautifully written!! I am so amazed at all the words…I am amazed!! Looking forward to seeing where Ryley goes in life…as he has a great purpose…as you said..he had to get a 14week headstart..his purpose is great…and I am so looking forward to being on that journey with you!! Thanks for sharing this beautiful entry with us!! You are a great mom!!! HUGS!!
    Sharlene

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