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Who’s to Say?

We brought our son home. Not every parent of every preemie gets to say that.  Our son is healthy and “normal”.  Even fewer preemie parents get to say that. I don’t know if we’ll ever know why Ryley is still here, why he is healthy, why his story has been so much less dramatic. I struggle to call it luck, a gift, a miracle when too many friends have been forced down a much more difficult path, and yet Ryley is all of those things.

I have a heavy heart today. A friend is hurting. Her child is in pain, struggling, fighting. It doesn’t seem fair or right. I have no words. Who’s to say which parents get which child? The questions swarm in my brain.

When Ryley was in the NICU, he always had at least one pod-mate.  His last pod-mate before his release was a drug baby.  That baby was his mother’s fourth (yep, four) drug baby.  I struggled not to be angry. Michael and I had done everything right. We’d had to fight to even get pregnant. We followed ALL the rules. And yet here we were, three months into a NICU stay with no idea what the future held for our child.  And here was this woman, who had no trouble getting pregnant, had no clue what a gift that child was, and yet had been so selfish.  I wanted to scream at the unfairness. I had a hard time looking that woman in the eye. There were days I felt bad for her – she obviously had an illness, and she did seem to care for her child in her own way. But we’d already seen two babies pass in the NICU – babies of parents who were like us.  It just didn’t seem right.

In my years of involvement with the March of Dimes, I have met too many parents who’ve held their child as that child breathed his or her last breath. I’ve cried rivers of tears over their stories. Who chooses which babies and children live? Why does it happen? I remember sitting at this very computer five years ago, on a Sunday night, bawling my eyes out. Michael asked me what was wrong. “We lost a Share baby today.”  We lost…..we lost…..Every time there is another angel baby in this community, we lose. I want to fight, but today I have no energy for it. I want to stop it. I want to take it all away.  I want to make it all better. I want to know why.

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