Paying it Forward: An Impromptu Baby Shower, (of sorts), for an Infant in the NICU
I believe in Karma. I deeply believe that when we put good thoughts into the universe good energy will be returned to us. This doesn’t always mean that things will work out perfectly in life, but every time someone bestows a kind act on my behalf I do my best to pay it forward.
When I was pregnant with my son my husband’s aunt, (who lives a few states away), sent me a very large package. Inside was a plethora of gifts wrapped in polka dots and pastel colored paper.
The gift giver included a beautifully written note explaining the contents of this unexpected package. It seems she received a similar gift when she was pregnant with her first son over 40 years earlier. She told me she was passing on a family tradition and that the gifts inside were intended for our unborn child.
My husband’s aunt asked me to count the number of doctor’s visits that were remaining in my pregnancy. Days later another box landed on our doorstep. Inside were enough gifts to open after each and every doctor’s appointment.
Given my history of medical problems, (that resulted in blood clots, pulmonary embolisms and surgery), I am always nervous around men and women in white coats. Despite the fact that we were visiting doctors for such a happy occasion I still worried every time I walked into the office.
My insecurities and anxieties were further heightened when my obstetrician unexpectedly passed away. I went to the emergency room one morning with strange pains and was told he died hours earlier in the same hospital. At the time I was mid-way through my pregnancy.
My doctor was a gentle man who had been my gynecologist for over fifteen years. He was no ordinary doctor. He sent me a $100 check on the day I got married. He always took time to ask me about my husband and joked at my last appointment that he had been waiting for me to get pregnant for years and wouldn’t miss the birth of my son for anything in the world. I was saddened beyond belief by his passing and by the fact that an unknown doctor would deliver my child. The box of gifts arrived just in time to pick me up, just days after I learned of his passing.
These gifts meant more to me than the gift giver could ever know. I cried for two days straight after learning of my doctor’s death. He was not just a doctor to me. He was more like a friend. These gifts gave me something to look forward to after each appointment at the new doctor’s office. They eased my anxiety and somehow helped lessen my emotional pain.
I always knew I wanted to pay forward this act of kindness and last December I found the opportunity to do so.
When my husband’s friend told us his wife was expecting I began searching for baby gifts to pass on the tradition. I found adorable little outfits and sleepers along with practical items like diapers and changing pads. I wrapped them in tissue paper I received at my own baby shower, (I was told that’s good luck), and asked my husband to deliver them after my friend’s wife passed the 20 week mark of her pregnancy. (I was very superstitious about my own pregnancy and didn’t accept gifts until I reached the mid-way point. )
Two days ago we received news that our friend’s wife unexpectedly delivered a baby boy 14 weeks earlier than expected. At only 26 weeks gestation their child will most definitely endure an extended stay in the NICU.
The new mom was understandably distraught when she was released from the hospital without her infant son bundled in her arms. In an effort to cheer herself up she sat down and opened all of the gifts we provided. (We also gave her two bags of clothes my son had worn from birth through six months.) Her husband told us it felt like an impromptu baby shower and truly lifted her spirits.
I am so glad my husband and I decided to continue this tradition. It warmed my heart to know that our gifts provided a moment of joy during such a difficult time in their lives.
Sometimes in life we touch people in ways we never would have expected. Something magical happened when I opened that box of gifts from my husband’s aunt. I just knew I had to pay that feeling forward.