I am at a loss for words right now. I just watched the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking documentary called “Little Man.” It is the story of a baby boy born 100 days early, by a surrogate, to two women who are life partners. Ever since the girls were born I am fascinated by anything involving preemies. It’s like a train wreck. I know it will horrify me, yet I cannot NOT watch. And I usually cry the entire time.
The story of Nicholas is…..amazing? I’m not sure if that is the proper word. Heartbreaking. Yet still heartwarming. His weight: 1 pound. His chance of survival: less than 0.00004%. The film did an incredible job of portraying the feel of the NICU through the camera lens. The sights: the dim lights in attempt to mimic the womb. The various machines that surround the isolettes that house these tiny babies that aren’t even really babies yet. They are still considered fetuses. The nurses and doctors coming and going. The traces of home surrounding the isolettes – photos, home made cards, little stuffed animals. The sounds: the beeping and dinging of alarms, the incomprehensible medical jargon spilling from the nurses’ and doctors’ mouths. The film maker, who was also one of the mothers, also vividly captured the feeling of being a NICU parent. The overwhelming feeling of entering the NICU for the first time, walking by all of these little babies who were attempting to thrive alongside your own. Trying so hard to soak in all of the information you are receiving on a daily basis about your baby. The heartbreak of not being able to hold your baby whenever you want.
The cameras follow this family throughout their tumultuous ordeal. One parent has to stay home and run the household and care for their other daughter while the other spends her days and nights at the hospital, not wanting to leave, lest Nicholas not make it through the night. It chronicles Nicholas’ good days and his bad. And there are a lot of bad. There are so many scenes in which the viewer isn’t even sure if this will be the last time they see Nicholas. Watching him go through one medical procedure after another is difficult, yet I was reminded of something a NICU nurse said to me. She said that NICU babies seem to thrive so well – often better than a baby who has been released and later has to be readmitted to the hospital. Although they are constantly poked and prodded, getting shots, having blood drawn, being hooked up to various machines, they don’t know any different. So they just go with the flow. How amazing.
I know I have mentioned several times in the past how fortunate we are to have two healthy girls, even being born 9 weeks early. The story of Nicholas is hard to watch, but it’s things like this only make me count my blessings even more and bask in the miracle of God’s work.