When our twins were born 15 weeks premature on Thanksgiving Day in 2006, I remember thinking to myself that it was going to take a “miracle” for our babies to survive and bring them home.
As our journey began to unfold and I started to look at it from a much broader view, not just that of me and the outcome that I wanted, the definition of a “miracle” took on an entirely new meaning.
When I search for the definition of miracle I find:
a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency…
And when I go a little further I find:
a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.
When I start to search again for examples of miracles, I usually find stories of people who’ve survived terrible diseases or accidents – but we actually know that statistically there is always some percentage of people who will survive these types of events.
So often, when I find parents sharing their stories and pictures online the tale they tell is of an outcome not just involving survival but also of an outcome with few, if any, complications. While I wish that for every parent of a baby born prematurely, I know statistically that it is not realistic, and I have also learned from our own experience that prematurity is a journey, not a destination.
Our daughter’s roller coaster ride in the first few years of her life was challenging. There is no way to sugarcoat it. Jenn and I felt like we were in survival mode. We eventually decided to leave our dream home behind on the Pacific Ocean to relocate back near family in Ohio. While we miss our friends and the fabulous weather, we have had the opportunity to reconnect with our family in a way that would have never been possible from California.
And while I wish, to the deepest depths of my heart and soul, that our son Graham were here with us today, no matter the outcome, I believe that his life is a miracle, that he lived the life he was supposed to live, and that the “consequence” of his 45 days of life here on earth was to do the work of Graham’s Foundation.
So how do you as the parent of a premature baby define a miracle? Is it based on the outcome of your baby’s early birth? Have you found new ways to define the word “miracle” that have opened up new possibilities for you, your family, and your baby?