Even though I’ve got tons to say about the last 10 days of working, tomorrow is too important not to write about.
November 17th is Prematurity Awareness Day.
Before I gave birth to the twins, I didn’t really know anything about babies that were born early. My first was born 2 weeks early, and spent 1 night in the NICU, but it didn’t prepare me for the twins. Actually, by the end of my pregnancy with him, I was soooooo ready for him to be born. I was relieved that he came early.
I also was relieved when the twins were born. Not because they were born at 25 weeks, 5 days, weighing only 1 lb 7 oz and 2 lbs 2 oz, but because they were both born alive. I had been so scared during my whole pregnancy that one or both would not make it. While I did not have any clue about the journey that was ahead of us in the hospital, I was happy that there would be doctors that would be able to help them on the outside. When they were in my body, I felt like the only one responsible, and that was a huge weight on my shoulders. No one could predict the outcome of my pregnancy. Not doctors, not specialists, no one.
After the initial relief of their birth wore off, I spent most of the next 91 and 93 days of their hospital stay scared, stressed, and exhausted. Even once my twins were home from the hospital, I was still worried. Would there be lasting effects from being born so early? What would those effects be? What would happen if they got sick, since their immune systems were still not fully developed? Could I handle them being in the hospital again?
For most of their first year, I was highly emotional. I was exhausted. I was stressed out. The trauma of the pregnancy, birth, and hospital stay took it’s toll. I cried a lot. I couldn’t sleep. I gained a lot of weight. I fought with my husband and family. I lost 2 of my best friends. I was angry with them for not understanding what I was going through, and pushed them away. They didn’t come back.
BUT, I also gained new friends. I got support from places and people that I didn’t even know. I found strength that I didn’t know I had. My husband and I saw a counselor. My family stood by me, and helped me through everything. I started writing as an outlet for my emotions, which led to this blog, which also led to writing for Metroparent. I found purpose by fundraising and raising awareness for TTTS, SIUGR, and Prematurity.
Which leads me to here, and realizing what is important in my life.
In addition to my 5-year-old, I now have two healthy, wild, active, beautiful, 2-year-old boys. As of their last appointment with the Developmental Clinic, they have no lasting effects from their prematurity. Even though they drive me crazy, I love all three of my boys more than I thought was even possible.
While I would not wish our experiences on anyone, we were (and are) very, very lucky. I say a prayer of thanks every night.
So, I’d like to end this post by mentioning again that tomorrow is Prematurity Awareness Day. Please take a little time to think about all of the babies that are born too early, born too small, and born very sick. If you’re so inclined, visit the March of Dimes website, and read a little more about prematurity, or even make a donation. If you’re local, come join our family team for the Walk for Babies. At the very least, hug your children and be thankful that they were born when they were supposed to. I know I’ll be hugging all three of mine.