It’s Prematurity Awareness Day and I want to cry and celebrate at the same time.
My tears are for every baby who has ever been born too early, for every parent who has unexpectedly welcomed a baby too soon, and for every NICU nurse fighting for these tiny soldiers.
My joy is from how proud I am of my own two premies for being brave and strong, and being a source of pure happiness and inspiration.
My dear Adrian.
My dear Jeremiah.
If only you could understand, if only you would know what I am about to say. I would tell you…
How loved you are
Not only by your papa and me, but by your family, friends, and even strangers you have never met before. They were rooting for you from day one, the minute they expected you to join this world. They sent us support, encourage, well wishes, gifts, and the comfort in knowing we had a loving village right behind us. Someone always has and always will care about you.
How bravely you fought
You almost arrived incredibly early. At 21 weeks, we learned you could arrive at any moment. The doctors warned us to prepare for the worse. But you both refused. You held on tight and stayed in my belly because you knew it was the safest and best place to be. You fought the 50/50 odds of surviving twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) and miraculously pulled through without a scratch. How you did it, we may never know. We are just eternally grateful.
How much heartache we endured
I wish I could tell you how much I cried. I wish I could tell you how depressed I became, how full of worry I was, and how unsure I felt. At some point or another, I was confused, shocked, helpless, terrified, and numb. But you know is funny about all of those feelings? They are all about ME. The game changer was getting a grip and committing my mind, heart, and whole self into YOU TWO. Yes, I want you to know that my heart felt like it was torn into pieces. But you also need to know how you saved me without even knowing it.
How your NICU neighbors’ were fighting their own battles
While you were premies, you were actually big premies! You were each near five pounds, which is REALLY GOOD for being born prematurely. But many of your neighbors in the NICU were much smaller and had bigger obstacles to overcome. Some were born 2, even 3 months early. Some were only 1-2 pounds each. Some were in incubators and couldn’t be touched, only seen from the outside or held through these gloves that protected them from the outside world. We talked to some of their parents. Some of them had been in the NICU for 100+ days. It was incredibly painful seeing them have to fight much harder. But you were all in it together, sharing many of the same struggles of being born too soon.
That a “premie” is what you were, but not what you are
While being premies is something that will always be a part of your life, it does not define you. You boys actually caught up pretty quickly! There were the delays in certain milestones and concerns we had to keep an eye on. But it wasn’t long before your pediatrician didn’t even consider your premature status very much. Aside from gross motor skills, you both passed EVERY developmental area and milestone according to the NICU graduate survey we filled out. I literally cried tears of happiness being able to report your amazing progress to the doctor.
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Read more about Prematurity and World Prematurity Day at the March of Dimes.
If you have a premie baby, tell me about him/her! At how many weeks and days was he/she born? Was there a NICU stay? How was your experience having a premie baby?