When I discovered that I was pregnant, I marked the July 1st due date on my calendar and immediately started planning. I thought about what I would be doing in the month of July, how I would make freezer meals in June, how I would shop for a car seat and gear in May, and when I would start my maternity leave.
But instead of shopping in May, I had a preemie instead. At 34 weeks, he was 3 lb. 3 oz. and 16 inches long – a lanky and skinny IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted) baby that looked like he could fit snugly in a tube sock for a sleeping bag.
My plans changed. Maternity leave started right away. My mother caught the first flight into town and did all the baby gear shopping and freezer meal making. I spent 16 days by my baby’s bedside in the NICU before he was discharged at 3 lb. 10 oz., tiny but thriving.
One year later, it was hard to know which date to celebrate the most: the day he was born? the day I brought him home for the first time? or his due date that had been marked on my calendar and carefully planned on?
So we celebrated all of them.
And now that he is almost nine years old, and my youngest preemie will turn one within a few days of his brother, we will be eating a lot of cupcakes over the next few months. We have many, many days to celebrate.