Natalie Romero: Putting it Out There


You Will Never Forget Your Baby's Stay in a NICU

Lingering memories of the NICU journey

It hits me when I least expect it. When I feel safely tucked into my family bubble far away from the hospital walls that bore witness to my most intimate moments of pain. When I’m marvelling at how strong or smart he is. When life seems perfectly normal. That’s when the memories give me a gentle nudge reminding me of our struggle.

Why You Don't Need To Photograph Every Moment Of Your Child's Life

Today, as I sit watching him jump and flip his way through his gymnastics class, amazed at how he’s grown, wondering where the years have gone, I’m nudged. It was when he attempted a back bridge and I saw him struggle, his back unwilling to move the way he wanted it to. It was when I saw the pain momentarily flash across his face and I witnessed him push through it and keep trying that I was reminded; though we have come so far, our uphill walk continues. He gets up and walks it off and I’m filled with both pride and sadness.

He doesn’t remember.

I will never forget.

These moments reminding me of our journey are thrown into our everyday life. They aren’t huge life changing experiences. They are simple quiet moments that may go unnoticed by those around us. They are moments when Mr. T screams at the top of his lungs. His voice drawing stares while I smile remembering the day his surgeon told us his voice was probably going to be very quiet and raspy. Its moments when he coughs so loudly and so intensely that heads turn with a little bit of apprehension. The bark caused by his weak trachea make sure that I don’t forget.

Six years ago, when we finally walked out of those hospital doors as a family I didn’t look back. I refused to turn around. I wanted to look forward and forget about how my journey into motherhood began.

Trouble is, you can’t forget.

It gets easier. As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into years the feelings become less intense, and though the memories fade, they linger, hiding in the shadows of our life. Those memories are etched into my soul. They are a part of who we are. They have made us stronger and brought us closer. They are a part of our story. They are a part of his story.

He doesn’t remember.

I will never forget.

This Is A Lesson That Is Hard To Forget

My son was born with TEF, a congenital birth defect where the esophagus is improperly attached to the trachea, causing issues with breathing and an inability to swallow amongst other complications.  Six years later you would never know how much he struggled, suffered and fought. His lingering barky cough, his struggle with reflux and the repercussions of scoliosis are all just normal to him.

He has no recollection of his time in the NICU. He doesn’t remember me hunched over his isolate day in and day out. He doesn’t remember how we struggled with the tubes and wires that seemed to hang everywhere and tangled so easily. He doesn’t remember the tears, whether they be soft quiet tears or loud uncontrollable sobs. He doesn’t know that his Dad had to pick me up off the floor the day they wheeled him into that operating room.

He doesn’t remember.

I will never forget.

*January is EA/TEF Awareness month and I have spent the month honouring my TEF kid who has taught me about courage.