Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Strength.

Strength [strengkth, strength]
- noun 1. the quality or state of being strong 2. intensity 3. force in numbers 4. strong or valuable quality


I am not strong because I lost a baby, nor am I strong because I grieved. I am not strong because I put one foot in front of the other to survive each day. It was pure choice to either live or die. Strength in my mind had no play in that. It was simply what I had to do- live. Go through the motions, grieve and find that "new normal"


Over the past 2.5 years I have heard over and over again how strong I am. I'm convinced it's what people say when they see your survival. I don't feel that strength that others seem to see when they look at me. I'm just an ordinary girl who had some pretty shitty things happen to. I burrowed into my new normal, picked up the broken pieces and nestled into my new home of my so called life.


Until last night, I'd fight you to say your wrong if you called me strong. I survived.


But last night I did something. Something that I was unsure if I'd ever be able to do since the day those dreams were broken.


Dreams that got put on the side burner since the night we watched Nolan code in front of our very eyes. The images of compressions being done on Nolan in his issolette, the entire NICU staff surrounding his bed, the ocillator being brought into the room in attempts at a last chance effort. But I'll never forget that moment. The moment it was all over and the crowd slowly left the side of the issolette while Chris and I held our lifeless baby in our arms in pure shock.
The smell, the atmosphere, the moment has been etched in my head to this day. His spot in a room full of babies, right next to a door in the back corner.


But last night I took the first step in following my broken dream of becoming a NICU therapist.


Last night I was strong.
Last night I shadowed a dear friend on her shift in the NICU. I wanted to feel it out, see if I was ready: my heart was saying yes.
It wasn't my first visit back to the NICU but it was my first back into the corner Nolan was. But I surprised myself, instead of anxiety- I felt strength. Yes strength. Actually I walked past that spot many of times through the night.


And at one point, I found myself sitting and looking at his corner, right through that very door they brought us in when we were rushed up to the NICU. I didn't find myself mad or upset, instead I felt pure strength.
I may have been on the journey to be a NICU therapist long before Nolan was ever an inkling on our mind, but at that very moment I knew that my dream and goal were once again possible.




Not only that, I had hands on care with some of the babies. I saw equipment, heard the same noises and oddly enough felt like I belonged. As I did 2.5 years ago when my plan to become a NICU therapist was put on hold.


I had an amazing night. I proved to myself that I am strong. I did things last night that at one time in my grief journey I thought would be near impossible.


I can do this.


Walking out of the hospital this morning I felt on top of the world. It was what I needed.


So I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry when I got in my car. Ok the water works poured out.
But funny thing was it wasn't sad tears, it was thankful tears that I was able to do it. I'm going to follow my heart. I know I my heart is ready and I am going to be a NICU therapist, finally.

30 comments:

Heather @ A Little Hope in My Pocket said...

You are strong. And you will be such a blessing to those families and babies who are fighting for their lives in the NICU. You will be able to rejoice with them and cry with them. Because you get it. You have been there. And you had the strength to go back. Blessings to you.

Emily said...

I was an NICU nurse before my son Aidan was born at 23 weeks + 3 days. After he died, I didn't know if I could ever go back. Now, almost 2 years later...I think I might some day. Good for you for getting up the courage. I hope I get there one day too.

Jules said...

Simply Awesome.

Jaime said...

I am so happy for you, Ashley! What a gift you will be to the NICU families and most especially those babies. To have the understanding you do, along with the passion/compassion and empathy, I have no doubt you will succeed!! Nolan gave you that strength... what a wonderful little boy.

x <3 o

Angie said...

Good for you, Ashley.

Lauren said...

You go girl! That is awesome and your STRENGTH is so inspiring! Love YOU!

Darleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abigail said...

You are strong in my eyes and I have seen that strength in you for awhile. No I don't know you personally nor have I had the privilege of having met you....but through this blog and reading all that you have been through and how positive you are that to me is someone with strength. That is amazing that you will be able to reach yet another goal of yours. I think you will be a fantastic NICU therapist. Congrats and good luck!!

Abigail said...

You are strong in my eyes and I have seen that strength in you for awhile. No I don't know you personally nor have I had the privilege of having met you....but through this blog and reading all that you have been through and how positive you are that to me is someone with strength. That is amazing that you will be able to reach yet another goal of yours. I think you will be a fantastic NICU therapist. Congrats and good luck!!

krousehouse said...

This is a very, very good post.

Brie said...

wow..thanks for making me cry (: great post. I hope you are also proud of yourself for taking this step towards helping other families who may find themselves in the NICU. yay you!

Diana @Hormonal Imbalances said...

I'm bawling over here. SO proud of you and choosing to do this. You are such an inspiration (even if you didn't mean to be :) ) to so many.

Jill said...

This post made me wheld up with tears. I am so proud of you Ashley. You truely have amazing strength! You go girl. Nolan and CC and everyone are so proud of you, and so is Naomi. They are cheering you on. You are so very strong. Love you girl.

Tara Francis said...

Wow. I can't begin to try to come up with the words to say how admirable or courageous. I have always believed there are Angels in our lives and you are truly an Angel. The selflessness within you is beautiful. God be with you always.

Katie said...

Way to go Ashley!! That is so awesome! You are very, very strong! The NICU is a scary place and you will make such a difference to so many in there! We have talked briefly before, but my daughter was in that same NICU at Health Park. I know that corner. My sister in law is now a nurse in there but we have only visited a few times. I still have so many emotions about that place. I will be praying for you as you make this transition. I hope everything continues to go well!

Pam McBride said...

Way to go!!

ourlittlehippie.com said...

This post captures so much. I think that the strength is anything but....it's just life propping us up with no other options. But then comes a time when you can turn the tables and you get to prop up life, you get to make decisions instead of life deciding them for you. I don't know that we are quite there yet, but we find times that we feel that way. Reading your post is inspirational. It make me feel like someday we will turn the tables on the shitty hand that was dealt. I applaud you for following your dreams and overcoming - through tremendous strength - the fears. Thank you for sharing.

Holly said...

I'm so glad you will be fulfilling your dream.

Victoria said...

I'm so so proud of you! Any patient would be so lucky to have you as their RT!

Miche said...

Awwww! So proud of you. You can do it!

Sometimes it seems like we had to go through these things to figure out our place in the world.

It doesn't make it better but maybe it makes it make more sense. Who knows but either way I'm proud of you and I am sure Nolan is too!

cutey-patootie said...

this is so wonderful. i think you will make a better nurse for what you went thru. you will truly know what these parents are going thru. i wish no one would ever end up here but i am glad there are wonderful people like you that will help these families.

on a side note. can i ask about taking a baby on a cruise? did you leave him with the daycare on the cruise? or is there any advice? we are going next year but B will be 3 but i was wondering how easy/difficult it is.

Jay said...

I've seen a lot of people get through things I was sure would have defeated me. Hell, I got through two things I thought would have flattened me, early pregnancy losses late in the first trimester.

So yeah, people do what is necessary to survive, because there they follow inbuilt instincts, and the majority of us manage to claw our way out of an emotional abyss, I'm awed by the tenacity of the human spirit.

But what you did, which is removed from instinct, to go back to the scene of what has to be most unimaginable trauma and try to up your dream again, THAT is amazing. That really takes profound courage in addition to strength... Nolan would be so proud of you.

I read your backstory as to how you had pre-eclampsia. If you TTC again, I would strongly urge that you get your vitamin D levels tested and make sure you are replete- more information here.

http://aboutplanb.blogspot.com/p/science-of-in-fertility.html

Connel said...

Hey ash, so I havent ever spent much time on your blog since this day last year but i did today and i read your feb 8th post on going back to the NICU and i wanted you to know that I got your back! If there were more people like you there wouldnt be so much hurt in the world, if every trisha out there had an ashley of there own to lean on it would be that much better for them. We had Erica W. as our primary nurse for Brice and you as her main therapist. If there were just more people as strong as the NICU staff that I have met... Screw being a Marine this shit is easy i signed up to do this. What you would endure every day is beyond anything i could have ever thought possible going through what I have been through... much love, the most awesome brother-in-law ever!

Connel said...

Hey ash, so I havent ever spent much time on your blog since this day last year but i did today and i read your feb 8th post on going back to the NICU and i wanted you to know that I got your back! If there were more people like you there wouldnt be so much hurt in the world, if every trisha out there had an ashley of there own to lean on it would be that much better for them. We had Erica W. as our primary nurse for Brice and you as her main therapist. If there were just more people as strong as the NICU staff that I have met... Screw being a Marine this shit is easy i signed up to do this. What you would endure every day is beyond anything i could have ever thought possible going through what I have been through... much love, the most awesome brother-in-law ever!

Beth said...

This is wonderful.

Angie said...

How are you doing? I miss you! Write soon!

Brandi said...

where oh where are you??????? i check every couple of days, and nothing! Hoping all is well! Please update soon :)

littlebrownie said...

Hope things are going well for you! Miss your posts and pics of CC!

April Fontaine said...

Ashley, this is the first time I've read your blog and I scrolled across this entry. I am balling now, because it was so beautifully written. I often think of you and Trisha (as well as your husbands), and what you two as mothers have had to go through. I can not begin to imagine. I have been in the hospital with Roisin twice already, the first time was in NICU for a week when she was 3 1/2 months old for meningitis. It was the scariest, most solemn time I've ever experienced in my life and I know that what I went through could not even begin to scratch the surface of what you had to go through. I admire you for having the strength to carry on, for Nolan, for Nolan's daddy, for Nolan's brother, and for Nolan's mommy. This was written a while back but I'm sure you are wonderful in the NICU because you are able to relate to these children and their families on a personal level, which makes you a blessing and comfort to each and every one of them. God bless and please say hello to the family for me!

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