May 9, 2013

#CourageStory – Share Your Stories of Courage to Inspire Others


Bad things happen every day to good people. It’s not fair, and it makes no sense, but unfortunately that’s the way the world works.

Rather than focusing on negativity, I want to talk about courage. Take two recent examples of tragedies – the Boston Marathon bombings and the three girls who were held hostage in Cleveland for nearly a decade. While those are sad, scary and tragic stories, there are also many examples of heroism and courage amid the darkness. I think if we find ways to highlight strength, perseverance and courage when bad things happen, it makes those difficult pills a little bit easier to swallow.

What about you? Maybe you never survived a bombing or escaped a kidnapper, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have your own courage story (or know of someone who has one). I know I’m supposed to be taking a break from blogging (and I have for 2.5 months!), but I’m inspired every time I hear stories from people who have overcome something really difficult and came out stronger as a result of a challenging experience. So, that’s why I want you to share your courage story. You never know who you may help or inspire by telling your story. If you don’t have one or don’t feel comfortable sharing a personal story, share one about someone you know. Put someone else in the positive spotlight.

Here’s one of my courage stories:

MAL and I were ecstatic when we found out I was pregnant in early August of 2012. We were even more excited (OK, we were a combo of shocked, freaked out and excited) when we found out I was pregnant with identical twins. Everything was going great until at 16 weeks, I was diagnosed with a condition called vasa previa. There were a lot of “what ifs” and “maybes” that left me holding my breath every day and praying the symptoms the docs told me to watch out for never became a reality.

The plan was for me to go into the hospital at 28 weeks and deliver around 32 weeks. I went in at 28 weeks on January 18, 2013. I was partly relieved to go because I knew I would be in good hands and keeping me pregnant as long as possible was critical, but I was also terrified because I hate hospitals and needles (and who wants to be cooped up in a hospital alone for a month?!). Well, it turned out better and worse than I expected. Worse because I had more needle pokes in the 5.5 weeks I was there than I had my entire life. I also developed gestational diabetes, so I had to have my fingers poked multiple times a day for testing. Again, I was terrified every day and tried my best to have faith that all would turn out well with the pregnancy.

One of my nurses asked me in the very beginning what my goal was for the day, and I told her it was to be brave. She wrote that on the white board in my room, and it stayed there the entire time. It served as a constant reminder that I needed to be strong and have faith in order to get through this difficult experience.

After a long month, I came to the 32 week mark. Me and the babies were doing great, so my doctors decided to extend my pregnancy to 34 weeks. Part of me was thrilled because that was two extra weeks for the babies to grow, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed (and of course guilty because I felt that disappointment) that I would have to deal with another 2 weeks in the hospital.

Jumping to the end, I ended up having the twins at 33.1 weeks because I started having contractions and my docs wanted to avoid me going into labor on my own. Nolan James (4 pounds 2 ounces) and Evan William (4 pounds 11 ounces) were born on February 22. After a 13 day stay in the NICU (which was shorter than we expected because they were little rock stars), we took the little dudes home. Then started a whole new courage story that I’m planning to write about at a different time.

It’s been nearly 11 weeks, but every day I face some sort of new struggle or challenge, even though I couldn’t be happier with them and how well they’ve grown and developed.

Being brave and courageous is hard. Sometimes it downright sucks because you know you have to do it, yet some days it seems impossible. But, you push forward, find coping mechanisms and you get through it.

There’s one of my courage stories. Now, I want to hear yours. Share yours in the comments. Or, write your own post and post the link in the comments. If you share this post or your story on Twitter, use the #couragestory hashtag so we can track these tales of triumph. Like I said before, you never know who you may help or inspire by sharing your story!

** Special shout out to all the nurses and doctors in the antepartum, postpartum and NICU units at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of specialists to take care of me and the #littlebabies!

Photo Credit: Rowena Waack via Compfight cc