Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Lessons I Learned From The Little People" by Dr. Terri L. Major-Kincade MD MPH

This blog post has been contributed by Dr. Terri Major-Kindcade from her blog, "Lessons I Learned From The Little People"

 “Numbers are just numbers… but life is life.”

It’s August!! We are halfway through the New Year and it’s the time that I like to reset! Reflect! Recommit and Renew. I figure if the kids are starting over with the school year, so can I. Fortunately in the NICU there is always something new to learn and a new miracle to behold. I’d like to share with you what I have learned from NICU parents about strength. Perhaps it’s just what you need to reset your August!

I am often amazed at the strength of the parents of our tiniest babies-- the fighters-- the 1lb hero's and shero's that are often celebrated in the media. What goes through their minds as one physician after another begins to share grim and frightening statistics shortly after birth. At times when parents should be contemplating when the baby shower will be, which crib is best and what color should the nursery be, doctors are saying, "your child has only a 30-40% chance of living. If your child does live he or she may have severe brain damage or may be blind or may develop intestinal or cardiac complications. We will do everything we can, but it does not look good." How do they keep smiling through the tears? How do they persevere to the silver lining?? In 16 years, I have yet to find the answer to this question. But just recently I got a bit of a glimpse through a 410 gram or 14 ounce human being.

    She was only the second smallest baby I had ever taken care of that lived… and boy was she a teeny tiny thing. I looked at her… she looked at me... both of us wondering what on Earth is going on. She was there when I shared those grim numbers with her parents, but like them, she kept on breathing. Like them she kept on kicking. Like them she kept on showing up saying, "What’s next Dr. Kincade?? What’s next?" In one of those rare moments of me the Giant staring at her the not so giant she seemed to say, “Kincade… I heard what you said… but you know what? Numbers are just numbers… but life is life... and I’m here, so keep it moving!! What else are you gonna do? Keep staring at me every day singing the same ole song? I am ready for a new tune!” And a new tune is what she got. It’s been two months since I stared into the eyes of that 14 ounce human and now she’s a whopping 3 lbs!! She didn’t know about the number, she just knew she was here and her drive was to breathe. I think our own lives are very much the same, but sometimes we get side tracked by the numbers. I wonder what would happen if we chose to keep on moving despite the numbers! Keep on breathing! Keep on kicking and gasp, SING A NEW SONG! Who knows, we might find out that we actually like the new song… AND the new numbers. How cool would that be?!? Go for it why don’t ya? If a 14 ounce human can do it, so can we!!!

Newsletter Contributor:
Terri L. Major-Kincade MD MPH
Pediatrix Medical Group, North Dallas
Chair Neonatal Palliative Care Teams THR Dallas and THR Plano

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