I've written about this many times before, in other posts and in other places, but it is worth a re-telling as I'm seeking help with my donations... to share the story that got us here. The story of how Henry, this gorgeous blue eyed boy, arrived in our lives.
Henry was born 6 weeks prematurely just 15 days after my mother died of cancer. I developed HELLP Syndrome and he was born via emergency c-section. His lungs didn't work, and he needed three weeks of care in the hospital before we were able to bring him home.
I can not think of that time in my life without deep sadness. Each birthday Henry has had since then is such a bittersweet celebration. An anniversary of my mother's death, an anniversary of a traumatic birth, an anniversary of nearly losing him and myself. Remembering how awful it felt to have given birth, but to have my tiny child miles away from me every night. How helpless, lost, angry, and confused I was that whole time.
I was lucky that I got to see Henry at least once a day. I was lucky that he lived, and that despite some speech and motor delays he is now 100% *average*, which is all I ever hoped for him. To just be OKAY, to just be normal. And when I think of that guilt-ridden, inhumanly painful time in our lives.... I think about the parents going through it right now. Those who are going through it over the holidays, during a time that is supposed to be filled with family, celebrations, good food and cheer.... not heart monitors, surgeries, brain scans, and that horrible feeling of an empty womb combined with no baby to cuddle.
My mother taught me, through words, and actions, that the best way to get yourself through pain is to help someone else through theirs. So in honor of Henry, in memory of my mother who never got to meet him, and in celebration of how lucky we've been coming through it all... I put my time, effort, and money into this charity project every year. And for those people out there who want to "do something" over the holidays but aren't sure how or who to help, I offer an avenue. Giving gifts to these parents, these parents who feel lost, disconnected, scared and guilty... is rewarding beyond measure. And I'm glad to share that feeling with others who want to help me in my mission.