By: Cori Laemmle
Dear Ezra Asher,
We hope you had a wonderful birthday bouncing in the clouds. Thank you for letting yesterday be your brother’s day. Today is your day- your day to be remembered, thanked, and loved (although this happens every other day of the year as well).
Oh sweet Ezra… What a strong boy you are! You tried to arrive even earlier than you actually did, but you were able to hang on to give Rowan more time to grow. What a wonderful big brother you are, and still living up to the meaning of your name as a “helper,” which we found out so coincidentally after you died. You continue to look out for Rowan, and for us as well in ways we didn’t expect to find you.
You make yourself known and remind us that you’re still here. We see you when we feed Rowan and he looks into space and smiles. We see you in koala bears like on the warm pajamas you were buried in. The first bath toy Rowan chose to play with was a foam koala bear picture- and I knew it was you joining in on the fun. We see you when the mail comes and brings us your footprints or little gifts from you and your NICU angels, and they come on exactly the perfect days (like yesterday on your birthday, for example). We find you with us when we least expect you, but always when we need you, whether we realize it or not.
It’s been a year since we held you in our arms for the first time, and we crave that feeling every day. Instead we cradle you so gently in our hearts, and while sometimes that cradle rocks our emotions, our love and gratefulness for you will never fall out. Happy 1st birthday, Ezra. Thank you for all you continue to do to help us. We’ll see you Earthside again, soon.
Mama, Daddy, and Rowan
Dear Rowan Shane,
You came into this world after only growing 55% of the time you needed in my belly, and here you are now- defying odds left and right. What a year it’s been, sweet boy. You are amazing us each day with every ounce you grow, every bite of food you take, every smile, every laugh, and every movement. Your loving and curious personality shines clear through your eyes, and we can’t wait to help you explore the world even more. You’ve taught us to not take anything for granted and helped us discover how far our strength and love can take us. In honor of your first 12 months, here are 12 of your highlights/fun facts/achievements so far:
1. You came out ready to prove everyone wrong- breech, crying, spontaneously breathing, and able to receive 30 seconds of delayed cord clamping.
2. You were only 11 inches long at birth. Your lowest recorded weight is 15.9 OUNCES. You were 4 days old.
3. You battled (and beat) pneumonia at less than a month old/24-25 weeks gestation.
4. You surprised everyone and came home only three days after your due date without any oxygen or feeding requirements!
5. You are meeting milestones for your adjusted age (and even some closer to your chronological age)!
6. You love to be silly and play games. You explore all of your toys and books so intently.
7. You get so excited when you see it’s time to FaceTime with family.
8. You are defigoing to be a swimmer- you kick and splash in the bath with so much power.
9. You’ve been discharged from the pulmonologist and the nutritionist!
10. Your heart is strong and healthy. The cardiologist said the only limitation you may have is not being able to go scuba diving (but Daddy says even if that’s the case we’ll find a way)!
11. You are beginning to feed yourself some finger foods.
12. You are wearing 9-12 month clothing, rolling all over the place, have two teeth, weigh 16lbs 10oz, in the 13th percentile for your adjusted age, and 30th percentile for height/weight ratio!
You are our miraculous superhero. Happy birthday, Ro. Here’s to many, many more happy and strong years! We love you more than you will ever know!
Mama and Daddy
About the Author…
Cori Laemmle lives in Indiana with her husband, surviving twin Rowan, and parrot, Kermit. She teaches preschool special education in her local public school district and is learning to navigate the parent role throughout the early intervention process. Cori is passionate about advocating for preemies- especially 22 weekers and surviving twins- and helping other infant loss parents as they find their way through the “&” life (simultaneously experiencing joy & grief in day to day life).