On Monday I took a break from Roscoe's room and went to the waiting area, so that I could sit and rest my feet. I sat down and started checking email/text messages that I'd received while I was in his room. Another family was in the waiting room and I overheard some of their conversation. I heard them mention "chest compressions" and it gave me flashbacks of Roscoe's near death on Saturday. They also talked about worries over whether certain organs were functional and I remembered having those same conversations in the days after Roscoe was born. It was hard to hear because I knew first-hand what they were struggling with. I had been in their shoes.
It was time for me to leave, so I walked out of the waiting room and through the thick air of their heavy conversation. As I took steps down the hallway, I couldn't help but feel like they needed something. When I was in their situation, I just felt lost and powerless. My steps down the hallway slowed and then I stopped. How could I keep walking away from their pain, when I had so many people across the world praying for Roscoe? Surely if somebody could send us encouragement and support, I could do the same for someone else a few steps away. It wouldn't be fair to do otherwise.
I stood in the hallway, staring at the floor and making up my mind to go back in the room. I didn't want to, because it would be hard and I don't like crying in front of people (especially strangers). As the seconds ticked by, I realized that me coming back into the room would be more awkward since they just saw me walk out. I formed up some words in my head and walked back in. I started with "I didn't mean to eavesdrop on your conversation ..." and then started to lose it. I let them know that we almost lost Roscoe on Saturday, that he'd been in the NICU for 8 months, and that we would absolutely be praying for them. I encouraged them to stay strong and pray hard. I guess I've been around the NICU too long, because the guy asked me if Roscoe had been on life support the entire time, and my response was "What do you mean by life support?".
I gave them the blog address later in the day when I passed them in the hallway again, so they might even read this post. Their baby was born on Father's Day and is having trouble breathing and maintaining a heartbeat. They worried that continued chest compressions to revive their baby would cause damage to his rib cage or internal organs. Yesterday I learned that their baby probably wouldn't make it, and they'd already had a priest come by. Talking to them brought back so many memories of pain, stress, worry, and struggle that each time I think about it I start to break down.
I wanted to post about this interaction so you'd know that encouragement spreads and replicates. Without the support we've received, I probably would have kept walking down the hallway without ever speaking up. Everyone who has encouraged us has indirectly helped encourage another family who is struggling. Thank you.