Years ago, when I joined an online community for NICU parents, the Holland Poem was shared as a description of our lives..How we had planned for the perfect pregnancy, perfect delivery, perfectly healthy baby, much like you would plan for the perfect vacation to Italy. Only instead of ending up with all that perfection, in Italy, we had ended up with dreams dashed, in a NICU…in other words, in Holland instead of Italy…definitely not where or how we planned.
The Holland poem analogy has become part of the fiber and fabric of our journey with prematurity. I hadn’t realized quite how much so until I met someone last week who really is from Holland. I almost told him I’d been there. And then I checked myself. I’ve never literally been to Holland. I’ve only seen it in pictures. I laughed at myself. I almost told this person about the poem, but realized it probably wouldn’t make any sense, and was completely out of context.
We are not where we thought we would be, nor where we planned to be. Life throws some pretty wicked curves sometimes. For a long time, I hated being in “Holland”. I was angry, fearful, and so sad. I would, most definitely, undo it in a heartbeat. But here we are. I can’t undo it. I can’t change the past. I can’t change what is. But I have learned to appreciate it in some weird way. I have some amazing people in my life I never would have known but for this journey. I have a true cause to spend my time and energy on. It gives meaning to all we’ve endured. It’s given me compassion, knowledge, and resources. Do I still wish we’d ended up with that perfect pregnancy, perfect and full-term delivery, perfectly healthy bouncing big baby? Certainly. But I didn’t get that trip to Italy. We ended up in Holland. It’s not so horrific now.