How tiny breaths teach us big things


As I got on the elevator at the Ronald McDonald House this evening, a sweet volunteer looked at me and asked if I was alright. I swallowed, smiled and nodded, afraid if I opened my mouth, I would lose it in front of this kind stranger. She explained her inquiry, “Honey, I’ve seen that look on many a mom’s face around here.” Hmm. Now that’s the first time I’ve been called a mom. Identified by an outsider as a mom. Do I look like a mom?

I don’t have a child I’m toting around. I don’t get to plan around feedings or naptimes. I don’t get to take a child home to a halfway done nursery (yet). I don’t get to dress him up in all the cute clothes, swaddle him in the blankets, or hand him the stuffed animals and other sweet comforts friends and family have bought for him. I didn’t even look like I was pregnant and was wearing normal clothes the day I delivered at 27 weeks. So, no, I don’t I don’t really feel like I’m a mom.

This perfect stranger didn’t see any of these outside signs of motherhood, but she saw my soul. She saw the heart of the mom who had been by her son’s bedside all day long. Don’t get me wrong, Struthers is still thriving, but it was just a tough day for both of us. It was a lot of little things, each of which I wished I could take away for him, but none of them overly concerning to anyone but his mom. He was breathing well on his CPAP, just working a little harder for it today. His heart was beating regularly, just a little higher rate than normal. His every 4-hour “cares” seemed to stress him out more than normal, and he practiced using those lungs and cried loud enough for us to hear it outside his isolette. I guess I know I’m a mom when I know that his breathing, heart rate, and general demeanor aren’t his norm. I guess I know I’m a mom when I sit there and wonder whether to let him “cry it out” or soothe him. I guess I know I’m a mom when I just don’t want to leave his side, and my impulse is to sing to him all night long. So there’s no doubt my heart knows I’m a mom, but there’s something about this whole NICU experience that just seems surreal. Because at the end of the day, I walk out without my kiddo.

What mom does that? Straight from the heart, but I promise I’m doing OK. Please keep us all in your prayers– Cami

1 Comment

  1. Cami Bremer

    May 3, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Comments imported from CaringBridge (22 comments):

    Your a super MOM! I just want you to know that I’m praying for y’all everyday!
    —brenda geer, December 4, 2014

    Praying for you and Eli and Struthers! Struthers is a fighter, and so is his sweet momma!
    —Carolyn Norton, December 2, 2014

    Cami, I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but please know that I and so many others are praying for you, Eli, and Struthers daily. Thanks for your honesty and I hope you had a good birthday!
    —Roya Seymore, December 2, 2014

    Praying for you all.
    —Deanna O’NEAL, December 1, 2014

    praying for you…..thanks for letting us peek into your world in NICU……thankful for the privilege of praying for you all!!
    —Laurie Bossert, December 1, 2014

    Cami, the moment you conceived you became a mom and God gives you that natural instinct. Your last question – what mom does that? A mom who knows her precious son is in the hands of the great creator and giver of life, the One that will use the many hands that surround her precious boy to help bring healing and development. You are a mom that knows there is one who loves her son far greater than her mind can imagine. You are a mom that trusts and believes in Our Lord and God! And remember – it is okay to “lose it” in front of a stranger because that stranger might be an angel that God brought to you in your greatest time of need. We continue to hold you and yours close in prayer.
    —Susan Dillard, December 1, 2014

    Cami, you have done what all moms do for their babies and more. You have had emotional struggles that even seasoned moms will never know. So YES you are definitely a MOM! You worry, care, love and soothe your baby! You sacrificed your own health for that precious little boy. You are a fantastic mom and we are praying that he will be strong enough to take home to his own bed faster than we think possible. Love you guys!
    —Kelly Dowling, November 30, 2014

    Your heart is lovely, Cami. I haven’t been in your shoes, but I have relished the
    comments of those who have, who validate you at every turn, every “good night, dear Struthers,” every tear. Praying you through this journey.
    —Sarah Brenner, November 30, 2014

    I don’t know you, but my aunt, Joy Breeden, has talked to me about you and shared this site with me. I understand this exact entry. Four months ago (almost 5 now), I had twin boys at 32 weeks that were in the NICU. I didn’t know how to react because I didn’t feel like a mom, bonding is really hard with a baby in the NICU. You go out in public feeling neglectful and empty because you should be toting around your baby, but there is none to tote. You go home to the empty nursery and feel guilty and empty because your baby (babies) aren’t sleeping in it or the bassinet set up beside your bed. It is hard. And it is hard because no one knows what to say as you go through these times. The thing that ticked me off the most was when people said “It is only for a short time and you will have your baby in your arms.” Those people did not know what it felt like to have never held their baby for over a week after they were born. Not be able to snuggle and smell and be a “mom.” The days are long in the NICU and the hormones and emotions you are going through are crazy. But God is good. He watches over us and he carries us through, somehow we get through. I am praying for your little one and you. If you need someone to talk to, I am here. Every time I went down the elevator and left the hospital I cried, I would cry to go spend the night sitting by my babies’ incubators. It’s hard to feel like a good mom while they are in the NICU, but that is the best mom. That is because you are allowing your little one to get the best care provided. I am here if you need me, sorry for the lengthy post. Praying for you. Oh, and I blogged my way through it, as well, which seemed to help.
    —Lauren Swartwood, November 30, 2014

    A mother’s heart is a wonderous thing! Keep loving and believing. We’ll keep praying.
    —Judith Jergensen, November 30, 2014

    Continuing to pray for you Cami.
    —mary barrett, November 29, 2014

    Ok. That one really got me. Hang in there, Cami. Take it five minutes at a time. And when you need to, call your mommy.
    Coni Grebel, November 29, 2014

    I think about you daily. You are a wonderful mom, I can tell that without a doubt.
    —Megan Gayle, November 29, 2014

    Dear sweet Cami,
    You were a Mom the day you became pregnant with that precious, unique, awesome creation of God! This did not catch Him off guard. He is with you !
    —Jo Cochran, November 29, 2014

    Praying for you!!
    —Kim Goodson, November 29, 2014

    Thanks for sharing Cami. I love hearing how you are doing and know how I can pray for you and family.
    —Tamsey Bremer, November 29, 2014

    Sending you a big (((((hug))))) . Thinking and praying for you daily. Struthers is an amazing little boy. And you are an amazing Mom. It’s a natural beauty and it looks great on you.
    —Lauren Nemecek, November 29, 2014

    You are an amazing MOM!
    —Susan Hill, November 29, 2014

    I love you, Cami! And yep, all of those feelings will be the same, even when you get to take him to his nursery. 🙂
    —Melissa Griffin, November 29, 2014

    What mom does that? A wonderful amazing mom that will do any and everything for her baby boy because she knows in her heart that is the best place for him. Cami don’t you ever think you are not the most wonderful mom on the planet because you are. I love you.
    —Marie Grebel, November 29, 2014

    So many things to being a mom…not just any mom, but you! Being sooo “tuned” in to Struthers is what is important. He is so very fortunate you and Eli are his mommy and daddy to see him through all of this.
    —linda lough, November 29, 2014

    Praying, Cami
    —Ann Alvis, November 29, 2014

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