by Suzanne Diehl
Dear Baby Brave,
I didn’t know you would come so early,
You came in March instead of June.
Our hearts filled with fear and joy hearing your first cry,
We hoped you’d be home soon.
I didn’t know how much I would love you.
The instant that we met, a room full of applause.
How proud I was to be your mom.
In the NICU learning you had beat the odds.
I didn’t know how tiny you’d be
Or how my arms would long to hold you.
My bravest baby,
My love would echo and surround you.
I didn’t know how to come home without you.
My heart filled with guilt and grief.
An empty crib by my bedside
while you slept among wires and beeps.
I didn’t know how my arms would long to hold you
How I would snuggle you in kangaroo care.
I’d keep that shirt on day and night,
Your scent is what I’d wear.
I didn’t know so many precious moments would be stolen from us.
I would feel so unprepared,
Each night, Daddy whispered, “I love you, Baby Brave.”
We had to leave you there, “Don’t be scared.”
I didn’t know the sound of the NICU would haunt me in my sleep
My heart raced with every A&B,
I’d cry because I felt so scared.
At home how would it be?
7 weeks, 51 days, 73,000 minutes
Yearning to be with you behind glass
I didn’t know how fast you’d grow
And that these days would soon be past
Now I know what we’ve been through made us closer
Our bond is so unique
You won’t remember those days we spent waiting
But we look back just to think
What once seemed impossible
Is now the dream we live each day
Endless snuggles, smiles, and laughter
Fill my heart in every way
We’re thankful for this journey
And all the nurses, doctors, family who cared
We witnessed miracles every day
And have hope for the families who are still there.
When you were safe in my womb,
I didn’t know the pain and struggle ahead of us.
That worries and fear would loom.
But nothing could prepare me for this epiphany of love.
This endless love for you.
My Baby Brave.
Suzanne is a mother to two beautiful daughters, Norah, 5 years, and Natalie, 20 months. Norah was born at 28 weeks, 3 days in March 2018 due to pre-eclampsia with severe features. She weighed 2 lbs 2.6oz and her family’s NICU journey was both unexpected and very emotional. Suzanne enjoys writing creatively and found poetry to be very healing throughout Norah’s 51-day NICU stay. Suzanne lives in the Lehigh Valley with her incredible, loving husband Daniel, their daughters, and dog Reese. She works full-time in the field of human services supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism, and mental health diagnoses. Suzanne and her family are very thankful for all of the support they received during their daughter’s time in the NICU and hope to support others throughout their journey. They recently celebrated Norah’s 5th birthday and are so proud of all that she has accomplished!