Gratitude… something that’s been a bit hard to come by these days. As we approach Day 170 now of hospital living, looming ever closer to having spent more time in the NICU than I spent pregnant, it’s not always easy to stop and smell the roses. With concerns about an impending surgery, and with the wear and tear of nearly six months weighing on me, stopping for a song and dance about all that is awesome in my life hardly seems like anything near entertaining. And yet, right about now, a ray of sunshine, a reminder of what’s important, is more than needed. So.

Ten things I’m incredibly grateful for:

  1. Spring is nearly here. I love spring. I love the way the air smells, and the way a blue sky can make a whole city smile after a long wet winter. I love the vibrancy of spring, the feeling that life is returning to a bleak, dismal world. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Nyana was born at the brink of autumn and won’t be coming home until the flowers are in full bloom. She was smart enough to skip winter completely.
  2. Australia’s grape growers. Seriously. Australian Shiraz is half the reason Don and I have stayed sane and mostly positive for the past six months. I had the realization about a month ago that I used to be a beeraholic, now I’m a wino. I don’t know if I need to blame that on pregnancy, or NICU-living.
  3. It’s just her lungs. I figured it out early and it’s made it so much easier for me: in the grand scheme of things, it’s just her lungs. It’s not an issue with her heart or her brain, it’s not a disability or a birth defect. The lungs are one of only two organs that can repair themselves and regenerate tissue—the liver being the other—and we quite literally just need to wait for her to outgrow her BPD. She’ll likely be 3 or 4 years old by the time her lungs have fully healed all of her cystic scar tissue, but her lung disease is temporary, and 100% recoverable.
  4. Clean sheets. Someone else admitted in their blog today that they’re an obsessive sheet washer, ensuring she had freshly laundered sheets on her bed once a week. I generally try to keep to this schedule as well, doing mine on Friday afternoon because every Saturday morning sleep-in deserves to be done in clean sheets. I’m amused that my appreciation of clean sheets once a week would be deemed borderline obsessive to some.
  5. My amazing baby-daddy. This one’s a bit of a cheat because it’s a no-brainer that I’m incredibly grateful for Don. But he deserves his own little shout-out here because every day he goes off to work and deals with work, and then comes home barely long enough for a shower and a meal before we’re out the door again. He’s exhausted by the time he finally gets to see her, and more often than not needs to fight the nurse or the RT for face-time with his daughter. His two hours are up before we know it and we’re headed home to do it all again the next day. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m so proud of him for doing it every day. I have the best baby-daddy ever.
  6. Canada. More specifically, Tommy Douglas. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but, man, am I ever glad to be Canadian. Not only would I hate to think what this would do to my insurance premiums if I were American, but I’ve heard that if Nyana were born an American, she’d find it nearly impossible to find anyone who would give her health insurance that she could afford, based simply on her shaky start. Our system may not be perfect, but it’s working well enough to get me and my family home in one (slightly frazzled) piece.
  7. Cheese, bacon, and beer. Not necessarily in that order and not necessarily all together, but I couldn’t choose one over the others. All three are delicious and worthy of my gratitude. This reminds me to find a good recipe for beer soup in the morning.
  8. Winter Babies 2010. The birth club I joined almost a year ago when I first found out I was pregnant. Through pregnancy, delivery and the newborn phase, nearly 100 of us have morphed into this amazing sisterhood of support, even though most of us have never actually met each other. I’ve said things to these ladies that I can’t say to Don, can’t say to my mum, can’t say here on this blog. They’re some pretty special gals, and I’m pretty grateful to have them.
  9. Building childhood memories. I don’t remember where it came from, but somewhere along the course of our relationship, Don and I started building childhood memories. Any time we found ourselves facing the unknown—a new job, maybe, or a new neighbourhood—we would clink our glasses and make a toast to buidling childhood memories. Nyana’s time with us has prompted the creation of many new childhood memories for Don and me.
  10. Nyana’s Army. I remember sitting in my hospital bed days after Nyana was born; Don had already left for the night and I just knew I needed to write. Our decision to blog our adventure has been one of the best decisions we’ve made through this journey. It’s been therapeutic for us, informational for you, and I like to think it serves as a pretty honest documentary for a sixteen year-old Nyana. Knowing that we have all of you—hundreds of you now, every day (crazy!)—cheering us on from afar, it’s so much easier to get up and do it every day. As I’ve said before, we keep the blog so that you can keep cheering us on. I’m amazed on a daily basis that we have so many people on our side, so many people along for the ride with us.

I met a new mum in the parent’s lounge today—a young thing who was still counting her stay in days—and I tried to convey to her what an awesome place the NICU can be if you let it. I told her about how awesome some of the firsts are, like the first bath or even the first outfit. She seemed to relax a little, almost as if she realized that she’s allowed to have a bit of fun with her babe, despite her current situation. It reminded me that it’s OK—no, it’s necessary— for me to relax a little bit too, and enjoy the simple things. Sometimes it’s important to stop to do a song and dance to appreciate the awesome in your life. And I have a whole lot of awesome to celebrate.


About Mrs. B

Wife, mother, marketer--not always in that order. Lover of fine food, good company, and exceptional grammar. Mother of one former micro-preemie and one full-term monster baby. Building childhood memories in Vancouver's suburbs.
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24 Responses to Gratituesday

  1. berlynn23 says:

    Love this!
    Definitely grateful for all the Winter Babies 2010 momma’s, don’t know what I’d do without you all!

  2. Kaili says:

    Love to see you keeping such positive perspective, particularly #3 (although clean sheets are pretty fantastic…). As for the insurance- Yup, you guys are very, very lucky.

    Also, best of luck when it comes time for Nyana’s surgery. I’m sure it will be a stressful day.

  3. Stacey Feehan says:

    You do have a lot to be grateful for! I have always found if you focus on the positive that’s what you will see–the positive side of things. Take care today and everyday. Give Nyana a little hug from me.

  4. Holly says:

    As I read your blog each day, Karen, I always think how fortunate you are to have #6.
    And reading #3 today, just made my heart smile. I didn’t know this until now.

  5. Sarah says:

    I am so grateful to have gotten to know all the wonderful Winter Babies Mommas. I am particularily thankful that I have been able to be in Nyana’s Army and read a new little bit of her amazing story every morning. Here’s to her continued awesomeness! There is so much to celebrate.

  6. Tom says:

    Oh, so Trajan’s out the door for not even a month and suddenly ‘future son-in-law from a good family’ doesn’t even make the list? Harumph. 😉

    And, you’re right, Tommy Douglas was da bomb.

  7. Tasha says:

    This is such a great post. Something we should all do regularly…take a deep breath, sit back and remember all we have to be thankful for!

    Ahhhh…clean sheets. Some people think I’m crazy but it’s seriously worth the little bit of effort to wash them that often to crawl into them when they’re crisp and yummy smelling. I really dig that weekends deserve fresh sheets. I think I did that pre-kids and now the weeks are sometimes so hard that I changed it to Sundays so that I can start the week off fresh. Hmmm…that’s a toss up…almost considering twice a week! 😉

  8. Shannon says:

    Clean sheets day is the best thing ever. Also cracking my top 10 from your list: awesome husbands, the Winter Babies mommas, cheese, bacon, beer and wine. Great post Karen!

  9. Lynn Duncan says:

    Karen, what a great post and list. I suspect you have many of us thinking of our own lists! And you, Don and Nyana definitely make MY list.

    Without Nyana, you’d still have a list, and it would be wonderful, I’m sure…. but not as rich as a list that includes Nyana.

  10. Chantal says:

    I can honestly say that you sharing your experience and me reading about Ny every day cracks my Top 10… because it reminds me so much of everything else I have to be grateful for.

  11. Janice Taylor says:

    Definitely agree with the cheese, wine, bacon, insurance, Don, spring, and sheets parts (try flannel ones too), although not necessarily in that order, but especially the insurance part – I have an old American book on pre-emies that was given to me and there is actually a chapter in the back entitled “How to Pay for your Pre-emie” 😦
    oh and Trajan might have to take turns with Ben taking Ny to the movies someday 🙂

  12. Pingback: Gratituesday | ♡ & Baby Makes Three – Prairie Baby Dreams ♡

  13. Sue says:

    Great list, Karen! I too, am sitting here thinking, “I should do that!” We often get so hung up on the hard, hurtful, unpleasant things in life and I think it would do us all wee, to make a list of our “good things.” It just may make our days a bit brighter.

    Thanks so much for sharing with us – the good, the bad, the ugly and keeping us involved with what you all are going through. xoxoxox

  14. Sue says:

    OK, not only might it do us all “wee” I think it might do us all WELL, too! LOL

  15. Tamara says:

    this wine you speak of.. how much is it? I can’t seem to find a wine I like.. granted I’ve only had ubber cheapie wine but am worried I’ll buy a better bottle and hate it. 😛

  16. Stacey and Lucy says:

    Lucy sends lots of love and kisses!!

  17. Heather Mullen says:

    Great list, I really enjoyed reading it!

  18. alicia says:

    Nice post Karen. I am very happy to read #3 too. I have really loved following and cheering you all on. Don was probably the most awesome person I worked with because his light was just always shining. I would sometimes get a glimpse here and there of a man who is tired or run down but he just kept on and made others smile while doing it. I know I haven’t met you or Nyana but nonetheless your posts have brought tears to my eyes more than once. It is a reminder of how we are all connected. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Margie King/mak1 says:

    Karen, thank you and Don so much for sharing your blog with us. Some days it makes me smile, or cry, or pray, or feel grateful, or worry. Some days it makes me do all of these things. Every day it enriches my life in some way. Today, #3 educated me in a wonderful way and made me smile.

  20. Diana says:

    It’s a great list and something I really need to start doing with my life. Probably a really good habit of getting my son started on when he’s old enough to understand the concept! That last part, about you talking to the new mom, reminded me of an article I read the other day.–douglas-how-parents-can-navigate-neonatal-intensive-care

  21. twiggy says:

    That is wonderful. I got bit choked up reading it. I’m proud to be in Nyana’s Army!

  22. Diana says:

    Fabulous idea. Gratitude is not just for turkey day. I think I’ll borrow this concept for my Mom who is going through a rough patch and can only see the negative. Thanks for this.

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