Aside from May 4th being Star Wars day, it’s also Parent of Preemie Day. Now, it seems like every day is National day of something, but today hits home as a Mama of preemie girls.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 117 days since our girls were born 11 weeks early. We’ve come so far, but the beginning of their lives will forever be like a scar on my heart, a reminder that whatever happens, we’ve survived much worse.
Of course, our preemies are the real stars; the fighters, who at two pounds were still feisty enough to pull out oxygen tubes and survive when they were given little chance. But, it’s the parents who will teach them to wear the preemie badge with honour. We start out as onlookers at the beginning, parents in name only, as since they no longer were in their mum’s tummy, nurses and doctors took over to ensure their safety and well-being. As preemie parents, we stand idly by as tubes are inserted, blood is drawn, medication given. We ask every day when we can hold our babies, and when we finally do, their small bodies placed against us, we finally feel like their parent, and then, too soon, they’re put back in their isolets, and we’re saying goodbye through a plastic window.
We pass other parents in the hall, see tears and sometimes smiles, we hear snippets of conversations, about surgeries, transfers, feedings. We nod to each other, knowing that the journeys we’re both on are terrifying, amazing, and wonderful all at once.
Even once we’re home, other preemie parents understand the anxiety and know how overwhelming the doctor’s appointments are, the exercises, the worry, and the exhaustion from months of being separated from the babies who should have gone everywhere with you, safe in your belly.
We will forever be parents of preemies. We will love, we will laugh, we will cry, we will teach, and we will learn. Our children will grow up knowing how strong they are, how they faced the impossible and how they can do anything they set their minds to. Eventually, the wounds will heal and our time in the NICU will seem so long ago, but we will always remember, and we will continue to be amazed by our preemies.