Since Will was born I feel like I live in the hospital. My daily routine consists of waking up, getting ready going to the hospital until around 10:00pm at night, going back to the RMH doing homework or laundry or anything else I needed to do that day and then go to bed. Most of my time in the hospital I spend with Will, and since the bed spaces are so small in the NICU we sometimes have interactions with other parents. Some of it is from introducing ourselves and other times it is just seeing a sad, depressed look just a few feet away.
Just recently in by Will’s bedside a new baby was admitted to the NICU. Ben and I were changing Will’s diaper, taking his temperature, fixing chords and such as a nurse approached our bedside and said; “there is going to be a bedside surgery so you two will have to step out.” I knew it was for the baby across from Will’s bed and I couldn’t help but looked at the parents. Ben responded to the nurse; “a bed side surgery? They do that?” The nurse replied; “yes, when it is an emergency.” Ben and I then walked out of the NICU to wait for the end of the surgery and as I passed the parents were talking with the surgeon, their faces drained with fatigue I could tell they haven’t slept in a long time.
The sad part is, I see it all the time. It’s a constant battle, trying to find the balance between trying to make a good medical decision and trying not to cry and completely loose it. Your emotionally drained, physically drained, and completely exhausted. But you don’t care, because it’s your child. You’re okay not sleeping, crying your eyes out, or not eating because all you want is for them to be safe, happy, comfortable, and okay.
In Elder Rundlund’s talk, Through God’s Eyes, he says; “My associates and I worked for a long time to restore his circulation. Finally, it became clear that Chad could not be revived. We stopped our futile efforts, and I declared him dead. Although sad and disappointed, I maintained a professional attitude. I thought to myself, “Chad has had good care. He has had many more years of life than he otherwise would have had.” That emotional distance soon shattered as his parents came into the emergency room bay and saw their deceased son lying on a stretcher. In that moment, I saw Chad through his mother’s and father’s eyes. I saw the great hopes and expectations they had had for him, the desire they had had that he would live just a little bit longer and a little bit better. With this realization, I began to weep. In an ironic reversal of roles and in an act of kindness I will never forget, Chad’s parents comforted me.”
I have never felt more stressed, sad, frustrated, or upset in my entire life than I have the past six weeks. But I can’t help and imagine the feelings that Heavenly Father feels for every one of us as we struggle, and we hurt and have our own limitations. For most of the day when I am with Will, I pull his crib side down and I find a short chair where I can lay my head next to him in his crib. Since Ben and I are not able to hold him, or see his face most of the day I feel that is the closest I can be to Will. When I watch him, every time he has trouble I am immediately at his side ready to help in anyway I can. I know that Heavenly Father is the same way with us. That he watches us and is there at any time we need help or are in need. He helps us through his son, Jesus Christ who understands out pains perfectly.
So, to the exhausted and scared parent I want to say; you’re not alone. Whether your child is perfectly healthy at home, sick in a hospital bed, away from home with his/her own family or whatever the situation may be; I tell you that not only are there other parents going through hard times too, there are people to help you. I think the most beautiful love is the love of a parent for their child.
And to the parent whose child is not healthy and at home; you’re not alone. You’re devotion and efforts to help your child are not over-looked. Everything will be okay in the end because of the Atonement. Children are protected, loved, and cared for. It’s hard, and you can’t understand why you’re child has to go through this while others don’t. You would do anything for your child just to take that pain away. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father feels the exact same way about your child and you.