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To the Feeding Tubes I Once Saw as an Enemy Instead of a Friend

Dear Feeding Tubes,

The first time I saw you, I cried. You appeared to be hurting my baby, who was still under the influence of the anesthesia required to add you to our life. She screamed in pain and writhed each time the nurse or myself touched her. I remembered her twin sister was back in pre-op about to be seemingly forced to do the same thing. I hated you.

I remembered back to their newborn days when I thought breastfeeding would be my biggest challenge. How did we get here?  How did I go from nourishing my precious twins from my very own breast to adding a medical device to keep them alive? It felt like such a defeat.

When the nurse gently laid one of my very sore post-operative little girls in my arms in order to teach me how to use you, I wept. I didn’t want you to be a part of our lives. I hated you and what you represented. I had fought to keep you away for two whole years, and now, you had won.

A few weeks later, both of the girls became ill. Because of their disease, illness used to mean an almost automatic hospitalization for dehydration. That was before you entered into our lives, my dear feeding tubes. This time around, I was able to keep the girls hydrated and well throughout their entire illness. We made it because of you. In the weeks that followed, I noticed my girls were energized instead of depleted. I watched them climb up the growth charts, eager to play and more likely to rest well with full bellies. I saw their nails and hair begin to grow, along with their ever-developing little bodies. You did this, my dear feeding tubes. I believe you’re God’s gift to our family.

Morgan Cheek the mighty.2-001

This morning, I had a flashback to a mission trip we went on to a third-world country, a place where there may not be the resources to give individuals who need it the gift of a feeding tube. We don’t deserve you any more than the next, but we are so thankful for your presence in our life.

Feeding tubes, I’m sorry for seeing you as an enemy instead of a friend. I’m sorry for being ashamed and embarrassed of your existence. I no longer hate you; in fact, I have overwhelming love for you and how I believe God has used you in our daughters’ lives. Thank you for giving them that which I could not have given them myself.

I won’t be the last caregiver who feels this way about you. There will be others, who, like me, will have a hard time getting used to you. They’ll resent you and probably wish that you weren’t there. That’s OK, too. They’ll one day have a moment in which they see you as a blessing, but these things come with time.

Their moment might be the same as mine, or it might come in a fleeting moment in the middle of the night when they realize your presence is no longer as heart-wrenching as it used to be. So, feeding tubes, I will be a mouth piece today for all of us who’ve had a love/hate relationship with you for so long. Thank you. We may not tell you enough, but we don’t know where we’d be without you.

With love,

A forever grateful mom

Follow this journey on His Hands, His Feet, His Heart.

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