We count ourselves incredibly lucky on Parents of Preemies Day to be able to feature a post from the amazing blogger behind Living With Superman.
Fear. Pregnancy is full of it. Are you ready to have a baby, I mean REALLY ready for sleepless nights, raising a little person into a big person. Pregnancy is full of questions and a general sense of ‘what am I doing?’.
But then there is a moment where that rational fear turns in to terror. The moment a premature birth happens. Typically, the moment a baby is born you know your life is going to change forever. The moment a premature baby is born the world you know is gone and every life that child touches will be changed forever. Terror sets in. Life now becomes about life versus death. Breathing. Heartbeats. Just making it to tomorrow.
Life goes from dreams to prayers. Gone are the hopes that your daughter will dance in the ballet recital or lead the school play or your son will be the starting quarterback and use that to get a scholarship to become a lawyer or a doctor. In those small moments you just pray to make it to the next one. Your life becomes dreams of weight bearing during physical therapy, saying their first word after months or even years of physical therapy.
Amazingly, some get those former dreams back. Through persistence, dedication and hard work you can look at many preemies and not even know. Then there are others like my son who are forever scathed by their first moments on this earth. Each road is difficult. Each road is long. The one lesson I have learned through the last two years is that hard is just hard. Everyone’s hard is different, but hard is just hard.
The most emotional milestones for the parents I think are the birthdays. The first birthday is the hardest. Most parents I have talked to met that first year with many tears. Some before, some during, some after and many cried through all three stages.
How do you celebrate the moment your child came into existence when it was one of the worst moments of your life? But we all do it- because they made it and that’s worthy of celebration! Some do it quietly with a small group of family, some do it with friends, some gather with other parents who understand the quiet challenges our lives have come to mean, and some go big.
So today I celebrate you. The parents like me who fought through moments of wavering faith, despite what any doctor or other medical professional said and took a chance, fought for our children and came out on the other side. Being a preemie parent means so much more than just being the parent of a child that was born early. It means literally facing every possible scenario in the face and saying NO I refuse to accept that and running to the ends of the earth to help your baby prove them all wrong.
The lyrics to the song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas got me through our NICU experience and most hospitalizations and just the generally rough times and what I didn’t realize is to me it always referred to my son, but really all of our lives were made in those small hours. As they grew stronger, we grew stronger.
Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away – but these small hours, these small hours still remain.
Let it slide, let your troubles fall around you. Let it shine, until you feel it all around you. And I don’t mind if its me you need to turn to – we’ll get by. It’s the heart that really matters in the end.
So keep going. Keep turning to each other, because this preemie support community is amazing. And together we will all get through these small hours together. That’s what we celebrate on Parents of Preemies Day – support, love and not only the strength of our preemies – but the strength of each other as a collective.
Here’s to you – cheers!