122 days later we walked out of the NICU doors for the last time—this time with our precious miracle in our arms. It was a hard fought battle, won. There were plenty of emotional scars, and some physical. But, we were so full of gratitude and so grateful for each and every one of them—each a step in helping our 26w4d premature little boy get better, get stronger, and make strides towards that coveted place—HOME. One scar in particular, the “Big Kahuna”, was the result of the amazing medical team literally saving his life after he developed NEC. (Necrotizing Enterocolitis—a complication where a portion of the bowel dies and can perforate, resulting in the body becoming septic.) We were there long enough to know and to see first hand that a lot of others are not so lucky when it comes to NEC, so we’d take this scar ten times over. With a little luck and a lot of medical miracles along the way, we came out on top.
Fast forward three years, Henry is happy, healthy and rocking pre-school. One day, his teacher told me about a small part of his day at pick up. She told me that they were reading Madeline, and got to the part where Madeline shows the scar on her tummy to her friends. She said Henry stood up on his chair and pulled his shirt over his head, and very proudly showed his scar to his own friends. They all came up and were touching it, in awe.
We want Henry to be proud of his scar, and to know he earned it by being brave and strong, and have often thought about how to explain it to him in a cool way that will help him embrace it whenever he might ask about it. It had never come up, so I didn’t even know he’d noticed it or knew what it was—or that it was different. I had plans of telling him he’s a brave knight that won a battle with a fiery dragon, or some other grandiose explanation to help him stand a little taller should anyone notice it or ask him about it.
I guess he didn’t need us to be the ones to tell him it is something to be proud of for a battle fought and won...he somehow already knew. No grand fabrications needed.
Memories of our journey will fade and soften as time passes, and so will his scar. But it will always be there, and will always be a part of him. We certainly don’t view his scar as a blemish, or of something broken or once broken—and I already know he doesn’t, either.
Scars tell a tale, a story...often of brave heroes. Henry is our hero, and he has quite a story to tell.
Always rock your scar and stand tall and proud, little one!
- Preemie Mama Elizabeth