Happy 6th Birthday!-Born too soon.

Born too soon

My last child was born too soon. Things never could go easy it seems.

When your new baby is delivered, you anticipate it being the best day of your life. For me, that event on a cold, December day and was one of the worst days of my life.

My youngest son was born after I went into early labor. I had already been in hospital since week 24 with a placenta previa and inexplicable early contractions. To say I was scared is an understatement. He was going to be born way too soon.


Recently an acquaintance and now friend of mine had her baby delivered six weeks early and was terrified of what she was going through. I told her my story and she found such comfort in hearing the emotional similarities. Though everyone’s singular situation is different, I believe we all take solace in knowing the commonality of the emotional pain, trauma, and uncertainty that we’ve endured.

Way to soon

I was filled with emotions finding that my son was about to be delivered almost three months early.
When I first arrived at the hospital at 24 weeks with heaving bleeding I was being prepared for the birth right there, right then. I’d never heard of such a thing. I couldn’t imagine a newborn baby could survive outside the womb four months before he was scheduled to be born, but I soon learned today’s neonatal medicine is amazing. An army of specially skilled doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons, saved my son’s life. But not on that day yet.

I did not give birth at the 24th week when first arriving. No, I was kept in hospital, on bed rest for 7 weeks, given a dose of magnesium and a steroid shot to help the baby’s brain and lungs develop. Eventually, the contractions stopped as did the bleeding and I was sent home for further bed rest…
However, 6 days later I was sitting in the front seat of my in-law’s car with the window down in mid-December because my mother-in-law was chain-smoking. I couldn’t blame her.
I left the hospital almost a week before with the warning to come back in ASAP if I began bleeding, or we both could die. And yes, I started to bleed again.
My worried (ex)husband was still at work across the border in the Netherlands, wondering if he should come to the hospital. The hospital was eerily quiet as I waited nervously for the diagnosis. I was told I would get another a dose of magnesium and a steroid shot to help the baby’s brain and lungs develop and that they needed to do an emergency c-section.
Overwhelmed, I was terrified of what was about to happen.

My husband arrived, worried something was wrong with so much commotion. I was brought to the operation room and my husband needed to wait in the waiting room while they would prep me as they promised to get him once I was ready.

The birth

Born too soon

I remember sitting at the edge of the operating table, waiting for the doctor to give me an epidural. The whole time I was praying and feeling incredibly guilty that my body was not able to care for my baby anymore.

That it could not keep the baby safe and that my baby now had to be brought into this world…way too early. I could not protect him anymore. I had failed.


The first epidural did not work for some reason, at least not as quickly as was needed. They gave me a second one, trying to convince me that the pain I was feeling was not real. When the first incision went into my belly, the pain was indescribable. I screamed and my heart and blood pressure went off the chart and so they had to put me fully under. The anesthesiologist grabbed my throat, told me that they needed to do this and that everything will be ok, she put the oxygen mask on and out I went.

The next thing I remember was waking up from a dark fog, just realizing what had happened and I started asking, no yelling, begging for my baby.
Again, I feel this dark fog coming back upon me.

I hear the nurse or was it a doctor, calling for help because there was blood everywhere, I pass out again.
I come by once more, again calling for my child and I hear them asking for my husband.

That he might be able to calm me down.

He came. I don’t remember what he said first, but when I asked if our son was alright, he answered that he didn’t know. That he was still waiting for the nurse to come and get him when they wheeled out a baby in an incubator and that he knew that it was our son.

They rushed our son off to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), he wasn’t breathing.

I faintly recall a conversation with one of many doctors during the weeks leading up to my son’s birth, about the survival rates and complications likely with a baby being born this early.

To prepare us they even showed us books on how babies looked like at each week. They even gave us a tour of the NICU. We were well prepared, but you never truly can be.

As I lay in a hospital bed in the recovery unit, praying for my son. I negotiated with God. Don’t we all do that in dire circumstances?

“God, if you do this for me, I PROMISE I won’t let you down, I will dedicate my life and his to You Lord”

I just wanted this baby to be OK.

Our baby


They told us that he weighed 2140kg and that he was 47 cm long, he was big for a 31-week-old baby.

I had no idea what this meant. Would he survive then? Could he even breathe? Could I see him? Hold him?

That evening they brought us to the NICU to meet our little man. My Lord was he ever so gorgeous. He didn’t look like the pictures we had seen of preemies. Yes, his tiny, fragile body was poked and prodded with tubes, he could not breathe and was wearing a c-pap so we could not fully see his face.

But gosh, he was beautiful. His body had a rosy red color to it, plump and he still had fuzz all over. We couldn’t see his hair color yet, as he was wearing a bonnet to keep all the cords in place.

Life in the hospital

I stayed in the hospital for 8 days, and even though I was not supposed to walk around yet, I was walking up to the NICU a few times per day, staying for hours.

Starring at this wonderful child. But he was struggling. He still could not breathe on his own, could not eat of course and he had a condition that we didn’t know about until after he left the hospital. Baby apnea, making him suddenly for no reason stop breathing. Something common amongst preemies.

Even though he looked stable, the first 48 hours were crucial and it’s horrible, that feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen. His alarms went off, a lot. They had to nudge him and poke him, a lot.

I spent hours, days crying. I thought I’d run out of tears, but I didn’t.
After my youngest son’s birth, we spent 65 days living in the hospital fighting for life.

I say WE because I (we) was with my son every step of the way as were our family and friends, caring for our other children at home, bringing diners, praying for us and for loving us even though I did not feel lovable at that point.

born too soon
Baby Wearing really helped us to bond once he was able to leave the hospital. As I could not hold him as much as was needed from the start, we made up by carriers/wraps, skin on skin and breastfeeding.


And today — as he’s on the verge of turning 6 years old when I am writing this.


Even today when I talk about how life started for my 6-year-old son, many times I cry. It’s real trauma that I didn’t recognize as post-traumatic stress. I discovered this recently after having started therapy this past year…
The trauma didn’t end when our son left the hospital.

We still had spent many days in and out of the hospital due to his being a preemie. Hospitals almost felt like a second home for the first few years. I was terrified each time that I would lose him. Even if we were there for a simple check-up.

It must have been a week after he arrived home that my eldest son noticed that his baby brother wasn’t breathing in his cot.

We rushed him to the ER and he stayed again with an infection, but we also had to do a sleep test and we found out that he had baby apnea (meaning that he would just stop breathing) and we got to take home a monitor that our son needed to wear all of the time.

It gave a false sense of security and every time that it went off my heart raced and I would rub his little tummy asking him to breathe.

And now?

born too soon

But today he is 6 years old and the last time we spent a night in the hospital has been 3 years ago.

When you see him now, you would never even think that he had such a hard time starting life. He was born big, and he still is a very tall boy, towering over other children his age.

He does very well in school even though he needed to redo this past year of kindergarten due to some delays in his developmental milestones.

But now he is eager to read and write, and his favorite things are the arts (crafting and performing) and building towers and houses for his action figures and stuffed animals. His lego building skills continue to impress me.

He loves playing with our two Dachshunds and cat and just loves all animals. It’s a love that he and his big sister share and he even recently got to sit on her horse for the first time.

When picking him up from school he runs into my arms and covers me with kisses, wherever we are he will cuddle up to me and give me kisses and I hope that he agrees with me that when he is older that you can still be cool and love your parents. 😁

Sometimes he sleeps in his bed, but he still mostly snuggles up to me in mine. Then I think of the first days of his life when we couldn’t snuggle. So, I will take all the snuggling that I can get.

He is kind, creative, loving and mischievous as all children are.

I look forward to this coming year, the year of six, and I can’t wait to see the things that he will learn to do.

And I am looking forward to watching him grow up and one day seeing the man that he will become. My heart is so full.

My son, my miracle. Our blessing. Happy 6th Birthday dear Baba.

Life by Mim

BTW, I highly recommend this book, “Hold your prem” written by Jill Bergman that was given to me by a friend.

It helped me to prepare for the early birth and gave me tools on how to bond with my child despite the traumatic first moments of an early birth.

I always recommend it and gift it to parents who could benefit from it.

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Goodbye and taking a distance

Goodbye and taking a distance

I have been trying to write a coherent text about the last past year for a while now and for a specific purpose. To leave this all behind me from now on and to move forward.

I have been able to hurt, cry and heal this past year and now in a month I will be leaving our home behind to start a new life.

Goodbye and taking a distance

Relationships are freaking difficult. Just as difficult as blogging about divorces, it now appears. But divorces are really much worse. Practically and financially they are hopeless, but that is just the beginning. I had to grieve and say goodbye to my entire life as I had imagined. I once saw the love of my life in that other person, my ex. The other person once made my heart beat so hard that it made me so bloody nervous everytime we were near to each other. I remember the flow of hormones that screamed through my body the first time we kissed.

We had so much between us and our relationship felt sometimes as if it was overflowing with love. We had made huge lifelong commitments. We moved in together, raised our children from separate relationships together, got married, adopted a dog and then we became incredibly blessed by welcoming a child of us both.

Well, that has been a long time ago and can now be classified as adorable, cute and fun.

Because suddenly there were reasons to break that commitment. Not just the case of someone cheating on the other person, no. Serious reasons. Abuse, drugging, spousal rape, and child rape.

And now I have chosen to say goodbye and distance myself from him. Even though he does not want the divorce. Even though overzealous people tell me that it is not God’s will for us to divorce.

I try to distance myself from my emotions, from the hurtful things that people have said. From him so I can try to divide my life as I would have built it up by two. The math will never be right, I will always be left with less anyway.

In this there are only victims.

But I choose not to be one. I want to heal from this. And slowly, I am.

Goodbye and taking a distance

When your trust has been broken

When your trust has been broken

The breakdown of my marriage had caused so much confusion and sadness.

It even evoked a sense of mourning.

It felt like my husband had died.

It felt like this person I had trusted and sincerely believed in, no longer existed.

Have you ever experienced a loss like that?

If your trust has been broken, it can even be traumatic. Some dare not to trust anyone anymore. They struggle with depression and with loneliness.

I know of a few “sisters” for whom this is a reality.

How your trust can be destroyed if you are abandoned by your family, by friends or by the brothers and sisters of your church.

How great is the disappointment if your spouse cheats on you, if you are bullied or ignored by other people…If you trust a person, you will be embarrassed

Psalm 146 is clear about that.

You trust someone who is just as sinful, weak and mortal as you are. His plans go into the grave with him. His power, wealth and intelligence, his talks and his pretenses. They do not make him any more than he is … A man!

Can we trust?

Does this mean that you cannot have a role model, a mentor or that you cannot admire someone? That you cannot take an example from someone, and that you cannot maintain a strong relationship of trust with another person?

Of course, you can!

As long as we continue to see the other as a person “with whom there is no salvation.”

We can have salvation and we can experience happiness, but we should not depend on another human for that.

There is only One in whom we can fully trust. Our God, immortal, unchangeable, the Truth itself. Our Father, who always does what He says.

When your trust has been broken

He is the only one in whom a sinful and weak person can count on. The only one.

Because He is the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, King for eternity! 

When your trust has been broken

What’s wrong with me?

spousal abuse healing

What’s wrong with me? That sentence was one of the first things that popped into my head while finding out what my husband had done. What’s wrong with me?

To make a really, unbelievable, long story short; my husband drugged me he could have intercourse with me while I was unconscious.

I found out one morning after waking up and having a black-out. I did my research, confronted him with our pastor and a friend and after he tried denying it at first, he did finally admit to doing it. He said that he did it for me, because “I was having chronic pain and would not take medication to relieve the pain and that it made me more willing and loving…”

What’s wrong with me?

This was the first of the many things he would admit too. After surrendering himself to the police after I gave him the ultimatum to do so, he admitted to having been doing this for ten years, and that he had done the same to my daughter once. This daughter is from a previous relationship. He co-raised her from the age of 13 years-old and when we heard the details of what he had done to her from our lawyer, she turned to me and saidbut he was my dad“.

What’s wrong with us?

Why was I still asking this question?

Because some people did ask me if it was because of something I had done, or rather the lack of.

“Why would he do this, he was such a good man. Did you not give him enough sex or attention? “

I don’t believe their intention was to cause me(us) harm, but their comments placed shame on me. Those are the types of words that take root and cause us to blame ourselves.

Traumatic events can leave us feeling like something is horribly wrong with us. We question our worth, lovability, belonging, and—for some of us—even our very right to exist. Recovery takes bravery.

After my mother had shared my story through the “Go Fund Me” website, it hit social media and people have been reaching out to me. Sharing their stories. Women, men who got out of the deepest pits by never giving up, until the truth of what happened to them and who they are setting their hearts free. 

It’s not our fault!

And freedom is possible. I have hope and faith and love and with all that, all is possible.

Shalom,

What's wrong with me?

Helping me to understand was a Bible plan on You VersionHealing The Wounds of Sexual Betrayal” by D. Sheri Keffer. I found this Bible plan so helpful that I went on to buy the book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I am so thankful for Dr. Sheri’s candor, wisdom, and practical advice. She writes not only as an accomplished clinician with the training, experience, and research to back her claims but also with the knowledge of someone who’s been there and comes through stronger on the other side. This book combines helpful graphics, powerful anecdotes, spiritual guidance, and “tell it like it really is” authenticity. Whether you’ve been wounded or walk alongside those that have, this book should immediately catapult to the top of your “must-read” list.

It is well

it is well with my soul

It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
The waves and wind still know His name

And it is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well 

Deciding to surrender to God, to trust in Him and allowing Christ to “take our place. Realizing that today “It is well” with my soul, it is well with ME!

It is well

My Armor of God

Armor of God

I have been wearing my armor of God.

It has been beaten.

It has been trampled.

It has been stomped on.

It has been crushed.

It has now been pierced.

It still encases my soul, but barely.

I feel that if it receives one more blow, it will be forever broken.

Lord, will you please replace my armor with a new one, before I am fully broken?

Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long. Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul”(Psalm 86:1-4).

5 things you can do besides saying that “you’ll pray” ​

5 things you can do besides saying that "you'll pray" ​

Sharing today with you 5 things you can do besides saying that “you’ll pray”

I’ve done it and I’ve also been at the receiving end of it ( a lot lately). When someone is telling you about how they are suffering or hurting and all you can come up with at that moment is “I will pray for you”. If you are part of a Christian community you’ve probably said this a hundred times. That doesn’t seem quite good enough, but it was all you could think of.

As believers in Jesus, we are charged to walk alongside each other in our pain. We are called to mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:14). We are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). We are to be compassionate, gentle, and patient with each other (Eph. 4:21 Pet. 3:8). So what else can we do?

Let us actually pray

Let us actually pray. I tried to write down the names of people who needed prayer. I tried to sum them all up in my daily prayers, but I am very guilty of often forgetting. I try to normalize praying as good as I can for my children. We live on a busy road and we often hear the ambulance speeding by, or a fire truck or the police. When we hear the sirens in the distance my 5-year-old and I say a quick prayer. “Lord help them”. So immediate prayer works best for us and I try implement that now in other situations. When talking to someone I offer to pray there and then. It’s funny how many Christians this actually throws off guard. “You mean, right now?” “Yes — absolutely. Let’s pray.” I also pray immediately when I read that someone is asking for prayer or is obviously suffering or going through something rough on social media. It doesn’t have to fancy, God knows that I’m a pretty casual prayer. He just loves us talking to Him.

Actually help

“Can I do something?” …People, in general, don’t want to bother others with their burdens. I’m pretty guilty of that. I don’t want people thinking that I am having a pitty party. But I have learned from a few very good friends of mine who have helped me through a crisis that sometimes, as a friend you just need to take over for a bit. People that are overwhelmed by grief have a hard time asking for help and sometimes don’t even know what they need. Like the “Nike” slogan says it, “just do it”. “Just” drop off that meal.” Just” drop by with flowers, “just” pick up the phone and call them. “Just” drop of some sushi or groceries (my favorite). What you sense they need, just do it.

Express sorrow, shock, and regret.

You must enter into the other person’s experience. Try to imagine how they are feeling. What are they thinking? What choices do they face? What might they be feeling physically? What would it be like to see the world through their eyes? What are their greatest fears?

Let them hurt

It’s hard, we don’t want others to be in pain. It makes us sad, it makes us uncomfortable, we don’t know what to do. But sometimes it is what it is and all they can do in the moment is hurt. You just can’t stop it. Acknowledge the inability of words to truly ease the pain.

Follow up

In dramatic life events, people are usually swamped by people’s offers of help and comforting words. But as time goes on people assume that the person has moved on, but moving on implies that the person is able to. Sometimes they are not. Pure and simple. That’s why it’s important to continue to let them know that you are still there for them. They need time and nobody can tell them how much is enough.

This is my personal opinion as how you can help others besides pray. These are things that I have found helpful and try to do for others as well. I would really appreciate knowing about how people have helped you in the past and what you have taken from it towards helping others yourself.

Be blessed, my friends and try these tips as to the 5 things you can do besides saying that “you’ll pray” ​.

5 things you can do besides saying that "you'll pray" ​

On the way to healing

healing

On the way to healing? Here are 5 Biblical promises to heal a broken heart.

1 John 4:18  (NIV)

 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

What the devil doesn’t want you to know / Desiring God

Psalm 147:3  (NIV)

 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Weak moms, strong God / Desiring God

John 14:27  (NIV)

 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Where to Bring Your Broken Heart/ Desiring God

Psalm 51:17  (NIV)

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

The meaning of brokenness in the sight of God / Ethnos 360

2 Corinthians 12:9  (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Our weakness reveals His worth.

Here, I began to find answers, and it is these answers that will lead me to deepen my relationship with God, to grow, and to heal. God wants you to heal and to grow, too. Don’t be afraid to ask Him “how?” instead of “why?

I’m now on the way to healing. I hope that you are too.

On the way to healing

Counting my 25 blessings in life!

Instagram Life by Mim

Disclosure: I am not getting paid for the links that I am sharing in this blog post.

The way that I try to keep positive during hard times is to make a list (usually a mental list) of things that make me happy and that are blessings in my life. I could go on forever trying to count all my blessings because everything that happens is literally a blessing, good or bad. This list serves as a reminder that I have so much. Some of them are things I take for granted on the daily or just things I forget that make me happy. Hopefully, when I am down, I can reread this list and remember that life is full of beauty, even in the pain. Maybe this list of 25 things can help spark a few of your blessings in your life and that can, in turn, bring you joy. So, without further ado, here’s mine.

  1. Taking a warm bath with some Lush products and then hopping into a freshly washed flannel bedsheets bed.
  2. Spending time with friends and children. I enjoy it the most when it is kept simple, like yesterday sitting in the grass while at a free Festival watching the children play barefoot.
  3. Making a perfect boiled egg.
  4. Finding a unique me dress in the thrift store.
  5. Browsing thrift stores.
  6. Watching my little mister sleeping in the cargo bike while biking.
  7. Scents, I just get happy from tantalizing scents. I will smell every candle in the Rituals store, I will spend a crazy amount of time trying to figure out which bath bomb to choose in Lush and will even open each bottle of fabric softener to sniff from at the grocery store before choosing the right one.
  8. Flowers. It can change any room.
  9. Watching my Dachshunds playing with other dogs or jumping into a creek.
  10. Walking barefoot outside.
  11. A breakfast buffet at a hotel. (haven’t had that in a while)
  12. Crafting with my littlest one.
  13. When one of my favorite worship songs comes up in church.
  14. Seeing my grown-up daughter in her medieval attire at a medieval fair.
  15. Getting a new friend request on Facebook.
  16. Reading the newspaper and having coffee in bed.
  17. Seeing new pictures on my grown-up son’s Instagram, enjoying life.
  18. When the transit arrives on time. (this has been a grave annoyance in recent days, so I am happy to see a bus arriving on time)
  19. Plane trips to visit my family overseas.
  20. Watching my youngest jumping through a puddle. (only if he is wearing rain boots)
  21. A good Buddha bowl from my favorite place in Antwerp, Poketiki!
  22. The Fall.
  23. Accomplishing tasks that my (ex) husband used to do.
  24. Helping someone.
  25. Teaching my Sunday school class in church. I have the cutest group. 

Whew, I did it! I thought it would be hard but honestly, once I started, I actually had a harder time narrowing down the list of just 25. 

What makes you happy? I challenge you to make your own happy list and would love to hear some of it in the comments!

Counting my 25 blessings in life!