Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Friday, December 23, 2011

Get a Grip

It's funny how much I used to say this to myself through this whole process with Meagan.  After we got our diagnosis, on days where the information would seem overwhelming, I would say "Get a grip Molly!" ... When I was headed into my c-section and I was freaking out, in my head I was thinking "Get a grip" .... On the drives day after day to the NICU only to have to leave Meagan again at night, and I would feel like crying I'd say to myself "Get a grip."

It was always something I said to myself to hold me back, in a way, during rough times.  Restrain emotion. Keep it together. Just "push through" that moment, and get to the next point in the journey.

Meagan has always loved to grip my thumb or my finger.  In the NICU after her surgery when she was on the ventilator, we couldn't hold her... so I would stand over her bed and put my hand on her chest.  I'd take her hand and wrap it around my finger or thumb so she knew I was there.  She eventually started to react to me and grip my finger tightly.  When we came home from the NICU finally, her favorite way to lay on me was sideways so my arm could be around her and she could grip my finger.  Now, when she lays on her stomach, she grips my finger with one hand, while holding on to my shirt with the other.

Something so simple - a small gesture many of us take for granted - is such a huge thing for Meagan and me.  It was her first reaction after her surgery letting me know she knew Mommy was there.  It was her first way of communicating with me, and the first of many things I enjoyed with her. 

I think in a bigger picture, Meagan reminds me to grasp on to life.  She, quite literally, has had to grasp onto her life from the very beginning... even before she was born.  Sometimes when she holds my hand I feel like she's reminding me to grasp onto my life as well.  We can go through life, and enjoy it, but sometimes we forget to grab it by the horns and really make the most of it.  If we forget this too often, it will fly by.  Not just pass by, but, fly by.  I need to "get a grip" on my life and make sure I'm enjoying every moment.

This week, Meagan has had some seizure clusters flare up again.  I was very disheartened to see this because of course, it makes her uncomfortable, and I thought we had just tackled this issue with the medication.  She also started to sleep a lot more in between seizure episodes or eating, so she wouldn't be as alert.  She wouldn't work as much on tummy time, head control, and all the other things we are trying to help her do to catch up. I was so sad for her because just last week we had that gorgeous smile and her long cooing conversation with me.  I was so happy she seemed to be progessing well.. and then it just stopped earlier this week.

Last night, I was holding Meagan.  She's been so floppy lately when she's sleeping.  I could literally pick up her arms or hands and if I let go, they would just fall.  Last night, though, I took her hand and put my hand in it.. then I felt her little fingers grip around my thumb.  She gripped tightly, and did not let go.  And she just slept. Just like that. Gripping my fingers. Sound asleep on my chest.

And then that phrase crept up again... "Get a grip Molly!" ... she is having an 'off' week... it's to be expected. Why was I getting so worried over just a few days. Perhaps it was a lot of work smiling and cooing.. and then with the seizures acting up, she might need her rest.  So when she's having a week like this, I need to make sure to enjoy the little things - get a grip to gut through the tough moments, but make sure to grasp on to those good moments.. the special times just between Meagan and me.  And her holding my fingers last night was one of those moments.

So now when I look back on how I used to view the phrase, I feel like it has transformed.  What used to be something I'd say to myself to hold back, is now an active gesture between my baby and me representing moving forward. it's representing us holding on to each other.  It is symbolic of how we are dependent on one another in so many ways.  For Meagan, it's a way she says "It's ok mom... it's just a rough week." ... or "please hold my hand, I'm uncomfortable..." .... or .. "don't leave me Mommy.. I'm scared"....  

When Meagan grips my fingers, she seems like she is holding on for dear life ... and that is how I'm going to hold her in return.  Close to me. Tightly. Never letting go.  Her little hand wrapped around my finger is the exact visual image of how completely wrapped around her I am.  Ironically, she is MY rock... she is the center that lets me 'get a grip' on my life. With so many variables, one thing is constant... when she reaches for me, I'll be right there for her to grasp.  She can wrap that tiny hand around my fingers... and I will let her hold on for as long as she needs. And I know she'll do the same for me.


  1. Precious! We can learn SO much from the tiny grip of a baby's hand:) She is sooooo cute! Have a blessed day my friend, HUGS!

  2. She is so precious!!! Love her little heart <3

  3. Hi :)
    I just came over this story because I am writing a paper for school about the phenomenon of handholding. I would like to have different peoples different stories (holding hands in love, to support someone maybe old or dying, and also the mother or fathers experience of the baby gripping its hand around one finger).
    When I read this I was really touched, and if you allow me to, I would really like to use some of your text. You describe your emotions, experience and the moment really well. And your story is amazingly sad, sweet and touching.

    Sincerely, Nina Borgersen (23 years old, from Trondheim, Norway)

    1. Sure that's fine as long as you link the blog. GOod luck on your paper! Human touch is so important for babies, especially ones like Meagan with brain damage!