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The Story of Yusuf:

Every 3 seconds, one of my children push my buttons. I try hard to smile and be calm during these moments. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and at times, momzilla rears her ugly head.

Through these episodes, Yusuf’s birth is the one pivotal time in my life that I always revisit. A memory that stops momzilla dead in her yucky tracks. It was a terrifying ordeal that rushes gratitude to my heart whenever I stop to remember.

Yusuf is my fourth son. When I was 33 weeks pregnant, I started having terrible pains. My husband rushed me to the hospital where the OB confirmed that I was having contractions. I also had tachycardia, with a heartrate more than double what is should be. I was at risk of uterine rupture and would be having my fourth C-section immediately.

About half an hour later, Yusuf was born. But something was wrong. He was nowhere in sight. Instead of wheeling me to my room, the doctors brought me to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. My precious baby was hooked up to a ventilator with what seemed like a hundred wires taped to him. I was able to stare at him for a few minutes before the anesthetic took over.

When I awoke the doctors informed me that Yusuf was having severe problems breathing. I will never forget the horrible feeling of seeing my baby so sick and not even being able to touch him. It was too risky they said.

The next day I forced myself to hobble to the NICU, to a sight that scarred my heart for life. Yusuf had stopped breathing. The nurses were practically tossing him in the air in a desperate attempt to revive him.

I learned that this wasn’t the first time this had happened. There was a good chance he would not make it. I had never felt so helpless in my entire life.

Being a Better Mother - sick baby Yusuf in hospital

Every single day I came to visit him but only for a few moments. (Bringing 3 boys under 6 to the hospital was total chaos.) My heart would break each time I left Yusuf, not knowing if this was the last time I would get to see him.

Being a Better Mother - sick baby Yusuf in hospital

The day I was finally able to hold him was indescribable. I had never felt so grateful to be able to hold my own child. But each time I held him, I had no idea if this would be my last. Each time I would walk into the NICU and see Yusuf still in his incubator I would breathe a sigh of relief. I never thought I would feel so lucky to see that my child was still alive.

The weeks passed and each day I would keep asking the nurses when he could come home. They would repeat the same words to me every time “not anytime soon”. But that did not kill my spirit. I kept praying for a miracle.

One day, 4 weeks into his stay at the NICU, my miracle came. His nurse came to me beaming. Yusuf had made a sudden, unprecedented recovery. If nothing went sour, I could take him home in 48 hours! I cannot recall many moments, if any, in my life that I felt such intense happiness.

Lo and behold, 48 hours later, Mr. Yusuf was home. Watching his tiny little body sleeping on my bed, I kept thanking God that I was able to bring my baby home.

Being a Better Mother - sick baby Yusuf in hospital
Being a Better Mother - Happy smiling boy Yusuf eating donut

This ordeal gave me a whole new perspective on my boys. Now, no matter how angry I get at them, all I do is stop, close my eyes, and remember Yusuf. Remember the excruciating fear of losing my child. Then I remember that he is here with me now. And that I now have the opportunity to hold and love my healthy boy anytime I want.

Yes, I still get angry and frustrated and wish I could have a bathroom break to myself. It feels like a circus at home most days, so yes, I long for quiet moments. But the difference is that now, anytime I want to scream my lungs out (or start doing so), I stop dead in my tracks.

I remember, and hold my boy tight and close to my heart. I whisper I’m sorry, I love you and thank God that my boy is here in my arms. I remember because no matter what my kids do, nothing is worse than losing them.

The lesson I Learned?

Messes, whining, crying and accidents will never come close to mattering more than the fact that my children are here with me. Alive.


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