Monday, August 30, 2010

T minus Two

Less than 2 weeks until Bobby and Maya turn a year old.  I still can't imagine it...  Sarah, yesterday, said "12 days away" and I thought that's not right, but it was...  It's that short a period.  A week from this coming Friday will be one year since these precious children came into the world.

Peter and I were talking about things last night, one of which was the Discovery Health show NICU.  I admit: I watch it.  (I DVR it and watch it when I'm holding the kids during naptime.)  And, even though it drives me batty the way that some of these parents complain and how "easy" the NICU is portrayed at times, I usually end up crying and remembering and thanking my lucky stars that Bobby and Maya are healthy.

I truly believed that once I hit 24 weeks and had the steroid injections, that Bobby and Maya would be okay.  I knew we'd have a long, uphill battle, but, to me, 24 weeks was a HUGE goal.  Being a part of this community, I knew that there was no safe place, no time that was perfect for a baby to be born (even full term comes with loss).  But I couldnt look at a place where they would die.  And, once Dr. B., told me that he was confident in healthy outcomes after 26 weeks, I hit that place and breathed a sigh of relief.  And then, less than 2 weeks later, at 27w5d, they were born.

And they were beautiful to me.  They looked so big!  (Keep in mind, their older siblings were about 10 times smaller, so to me, 2 pounders were monsters!).  And they were so rosy, but not red, so their skin wasnt translucent!  And they were breathing!  Hey, the doctors even showed them to us, so they werent that bad off!  And off to the NICU... as expected... and that was okay...

Being taken to see them was such a treat.  They were laying on warming beds and I could touch them and they moved when they heard my voice.  Delicious!  And then, three days later, I was able to hold them and cuddle them.  What joy!

And I knew that they would be okay.  Because, really, those ABCs that they talked about, those were normal.  RIGHT?

I just couldnt see the alternative.  Nor, did I want to.

But now, that gives me a chip on my shoulder.  And, in some ways, I watch NICU to reteach myself.  Prematurity is NOT normal.  Expecting and anticipating a NICU stay is NOT normal.  Hospital bedrest (and bedrest at all) is NOT normal.  The parent of a 35 weeker who is devastated that their child was born premature- that's normal.  The 38.5 weeker who is struggling to breathe and their parents dont understand because they were, technically, full term- that struggle to understand is normal.

And yet, I still find myself thinking "You think a 5 pound baby is small?  Let me show you small!"  "You think that your 35 weeker is a preemie?  Let me show you a real premature baby."  "Really?  You are complaining about two DAYS of bedrest?  Try two months- in the hospital- and 2 months at home!"  And, while I recognize that this is a chip I carry on my shoulder and do so because of my experiences, it is a chip that I want to bust away and get rid of.

Because the one thing we share is the idea of our "perfect" pregnancies, and the realization that the one(s) we had are NOT what we had expected.  So, really, we are alike in a big way.  And, just because (maybe) those parents didnt struggle with infertility or suffer the heartbreak of pregnancy and/or infant loss, doesnt mean their pain at having their child taken to the NICU (regardless of how old they were or how much they weighed) is any less than mine.  In fact, maybe it is greater.  Because I expected the NICU to be part of our early parenting.  I was prepared.  I had read up on what to expect.  I'd seen (if not in person) what a NICU looked like and knew what equipment (most likely) our babies would be hooked up on.  While it was still rough and still a shock, it was something we had anticipated, and that put us ahead of the game of the people who were still trapped in their dream pregnancy/delivery bubble and were taken unaware by their labors and deliveries.

And so, I watch.  And I cry.  For me, but for them too.

Two months til settlement on the new house.  Yesterday was the 29th... We settle October 29th.  Because of the mortgage lock-in thing, I have to bother our mortgage woman on Sept 1st to do our lock in and schedule the appraisal.  Fingers crossed, it will come back favorably (as everything else has).  Our landlord is already showing our current house (and I cant imagine he'll struggle to find a family- it's a great house in a great location) so we cant stay here!  And, once the birthday party is over, I'll be packing hardcore.  Right now, it's pretty light because I dont want the house to look horrible when we have people over.  But there are a number of boxes packed and ready.  We are renting a POD so that we can load up stuff as I get it ready.  It's nice to not have the pressure of moving RIGHT NOW, since I'm the primary packer and do it when the kids are enjoying Kung Fu Panda or playing together or when someone else is here to play with them/watch them.

Two months... It's nuts because it sounds like so long and so short, all at once.  It's also significant in that I was on bedrest at home for 2 months, in the hospital for 2 months, and the babies were in the NICU for 2 months.  And, of course, that Bobby and Maya are TWO babies!  (Everything comes back to that, right?)  But, I'm taking it as a good sign.  That this is a good place to be.  That everything will be alright.

And, on that note, I need to go eat two cookies...  They're made with whole wheat flour!  (and chocolate chips!!!)


trennia said...

Such a het felt post.
Can't wait to see their birthday pictures!

Anonymous said...

Wow - time never ceases to amaze me. GL on the house stuff! That's so exciting!

Reba said...

i give you a lot of credit for watching those shows! (and for being brave enough to move with 2 one-year-olds...whoa!)

one-hit_wonder said...

hear, hear.

i am thankful - beyond words - every day for my full-term and healthy daughter. i know it often does not go this way. when i was pregnant, i expected all the time that things would go wrong. i didn't even make a nursery or buy much in the way of baby stuff (as you recall) mainly because i thought, "well, with my history, something is bound to go wrong."

time has flown by, as the cliche goes. your babies look so healthy and happy. :)


quadmom said...

I have watched NICU a few times. It is hard to watch, it hits so close to home. I haven't seen too many with super small babies like yours or ours, but the ones I did see were the hardest to watch. It brings it all back.

So excited for you guys about the house!!

Christy said...

I found myself nodding so many times while reading this. My babies were only in the NICU for one day, but as for the bitterness/pain, I'm so right there with you. Right after my twins died I had a friend whose baby was born at 35 weeks. He was almost 6 pounds. She was devastated and calling the March of Dimes with a renewed spirit to fight for the cause and I'm sitting there, thinking-seriously? 35 weeks? Honey, you have no idea...
But in reality, her pain is real and her fear is real and I try so hard to not have a "pain war" with her.

Donna said...

One year - what a long journey your little ones have made in that short amount of time! I'm so glad that they are healthy, happy and smothered with love!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

It is so hard to believe that a year has almost passed since they were born. I remember how often I was praying for you. Watching each day for your updates. So you are moving, congratulations.