We are on the mend. The boys are in bed asleep with their vaporizer on and I can hear them snoring over the monitor.
There was a time that just hearing them breathe was like hearing my heart beating. The idea of them not being able to breath at a time in their life is still amazing to me. It haunts me still. Tomorrow (today if you are 3 hours ahead of me) is World Prematurity Day and all the posts and pictures from my dear fellow NICU friends sprinkle my news feed on Facebook like the top of a cupcake. All these miracles and heartaches summed up in pictures.
The farther time gets from the day they were born the more I can deal with it but there are those moments it creeps up on me and I just lose it. I cry and flash back to those days and those moments. I remember the fear I had. It was so overwhelming that I became numb. Just typing that makes me sob.
One moment I am big and happy. I didnt know that the rapid weight I had put on in less than 2 weeks was the tale tale sign that I was having complications. I could barely wear shoes. I had jumped from a 14 to a 16 in maternity clothes in a week. But before the bad news, I was happy. Scared but happy.
I knew that my pregnancy was high risk and I knew to be flexible with everything. I read all I could to prepare but nothing prepares you for prematurity. Nothing prepares you for the moment you have no idea if you will be taking two babies home or planning a funeral. A funeral for a person that you would never know what would become of them. A person whose kicks and movements you felt for months but would never hear them say "mom". The thing is, I know moms who know what that is like. Its not fair and it never will be.
I saw a video tonight that was like watching myself but it wasn't my face. You see, there was no one there the first time I got to hold Ayden and then Graylen. It was just me. It was just me most of the time. My pictures are self portraits and I wish I got more and I wish I videoed more. But if you want to know what it was like for me to be a mom in the NICU for a total of 92 days....this is the closest I can find.
Ward Miles - First Year from BenjaminScot on Vimeo.
When I watched this I cried like it was the day they were born. I remember the first time I held my boys and I cried like she cried. When I drove home after holding them I cried because they weren't in the back seat in their car seats going home with me. This moment in the car played out every day for 92 days.
I learned quickly that prematurity doesn't end at the NICU doors. I learned how that title would follow them all the way home and through 2 years...and more.
Gray would be dependent on oxygen for 13 months....13 months of carrying a tank with my diaper bag. Thirteen months of him being tethered down.
During the first two years it was impressed upon me...nailed into my brain, by doctors that I couldn't allow them to get sick. I couldn't allow them to be near anyone who could possibly be exposed to anything. Constant hand washing, sanitizing, notes on my door reminding visitors of these rules. I was so scared to lose them...I was so scared to go back to the hospital that when I had to I had anxiety. Had I not had them with me I would of had a panic attack. This would be a regular thing with every doctors appt we had and I would just hold my breath looking at all those people in the waiting rooms...I couldn't go in. I always made sure the elevator was empty before I would walk the stroller in there. I would cover them so much I think people questioned if there was even a baby or two in there. People are naturally curious especially with multiples and I would go grocery shopping late at night to avoid people. I was becoming scared of people.
Now we are past the 2 year mark and I still get anxiety about them getting sick but now what it means is that they are around kids their age. They are playing and having fun. It means we are closer to being normal. We are farther from the fear I had and the numbness I held on to until I knew they were going home with me. But I will always remember like it was yesterday.
That moment in our lives at the NICU was the most horrific and wonderful thing that has and will ever be. It taught me about courage and I do not mean my courage...their courage. Their will to live and their fighting spirit. I need to go there in my mind once in a while to remind me that it could of all been different. To remind me that I am grateful and to never take them for granted.
To my fellow NICU moms, you are brave, you are special, you are courageous.
To the nurses in the NICU, you are brave and you are wonderful, you are life savers.
To the doctors in the NICU, you are life savers and heroes.