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Hope and dreams

I was getting ready for bed last night, and caught the quote on my t-shirt….I hadn’t really been paying attention when I put the shirt on, but as I washed my face and brushed my teeth, the pink letters on my shirt caught my eye. It’s a quote from Jonas Salk…..”Hope lies in dreams”……..It’s funny how at the oddest moments, it all catches up to me.

Ryley’s 5 1/2 now. We’re pretty much past the really scary days. I look at him now and wonder how he could possibly be that same baby. Did we really go through all that? Sometimes, it seems like it was just a nightmare. I have pictures to look at to remind me, his preemie clothes that I know he swam in when we were finally able to start dressing him, and other keepsake/reminders of his very early arrival and time in the NICU. But that’s what they are…..memories and reminders. Five and a half years later, I can almost let myself breathe a sigh of relief. He’s fine, he’s healthy, he’s “caught up”.

But prematurity never really lets you go. It will sneak up on you when you least expect it. It leaves scars that never ever go away, memories you have to grieve over, hurts that always lay in wait for those quiet, unsuspecting moments.

When Ryley was born, I was terrified. I had dreams of his future I was afraid to let myself see. I dreamed that one day, he would breathe on his own. I dreamed that one day he would know how to eat and breathe at the same time. I dreamed that one day he would come home and we would be a “normal” family. Then, I dreamed bigger dreams…..dreams of him running the bases, dreams of him starting kindergarten, dreams of him growing up to be the awesome man I see he may become (alphabet burping aside). Those dreams gave me hope. And that hope gave me courage and strength. That courage and strength enabled me to fight the battle through the NICU and then all the developmental stuff that came after it.

Even though the NICU is a distant memory for us, prematurity is still a part of our lives, as much as I’d love for it not to be. When we were leaving the NICU, we asked our neonatologist what things we should look for in the long term, signs that something wasn’t quite right. Beyond the normal developmental things we would see in the first few years of Ryley’s life, the answer was “we just don’t know”. So we watch, and we dream, and we hope………

Don’t give up dreaming. For there is hope in dreams……

6 thoughts on “Hope and dreams

  1. Donna~ I think about the same things. I think we all do. I can’t believe how far Nia has come in 2 years. I do know that her prematurity will never leave our lives especially now that she has her cp diagnosis. I do however, hope and dream for her future. I look forward to her walking and hopefully running someday. I am so happy that with Ryley you have finally been able to breathe that sigh of relief. Maybe someday I will too.
    Desiree

  2. Donna
    I am so happy Ryley is doing so well. It really gives all of us with younger preemies hope and big dreams for the future. Also, this time of the year with the Walk America probably triggers your memories of your days in the NICU.
    Karen

  3. Donna, So beautifully stated and I think we all feel the same way! The NICU is forever etched into our memory and our hearts as the place where it all began. It is forever a part of our lives. Ryley, just like our Emma, are miracles that needs no explaining. We look at each milestone in amazement and look toward the future. Now, can you see him on his wedding day????!!!!! Keep dreaming……….. and hoping…… Hugs,
    Donna

  4. Donna,
    What a beautiful entry! You said it all – the NICU/preemie experience never really lets us go…
    Thank you for putting that feeling into words.
    Donna

  5. Donna, What a beautiful blog that speaks to my innermost thoughts. How very true. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us through your words today. And a happy belated birthday to Ethan!!!! Beautiful boy …and darling cake face. HUGS!
    Melissa

  6. Donna –
    How true that is…..there *is* hope in dreams. Without dreams – where would we be? I *still* dream for Leighton and Emerson. I imagine I always will. I am certain they will find their own way – and my dreams for them probably wont’ all pan out – but just knowing that they are thriving is what counts. Ryley has such a wonderful mommy – such a great family. I’m guessing he’s living his dream! Denise

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