My twin boys Hayden and Logan, by all appearances, look like normal everyday 5 year olds. They are actually bigger than a good chunk of kids in their kindergarten class and developmentally they are right on track with their peers. There was a time 5 1/2 years ago that their future was very uncertain, we didn’t know if they would be “normal.”
Hayden and Logan weren’t due to arrive until September 6, 2008. Yet, due to my fussy liver and a rare condition called HELLP Syndrome, they were delivered by emergency c-section on June 20, 2008. 12 weeks early and weighing 2 lbs 6 oz and 2 lbs 5 oz, respectively and only 13 inches long.
It was the single most terrifying day of my life.
I never even considered the fact that I would give birth before 37 weeks, what is considered full term for a multiple pregnancy. So to say I was unprepared is an understatement. Although, I’m not really sure anyone could prepare for a preemie.
The boys were in the hospital for 71 days and we were blessed to have a relatively smooth ride. No major illnesses or surgeries were required. Since the boys were born just as facebook was taking off – – I actually opened my account in October of ’08, I had to document our NICU stay on caring bridge, which I then transferred over to my personal blog. If you are interested, the story is here – – completely unedited from the time I originally published it, it ain’t pretty folks, but it’s there.
I have residual little quirks from their preemie babyhood – – specifically when it comes to food. Even though they have more than caught up with their peers weight-wise, I still am paranoid they aren’t getting enough to eat. This results in a feeding on demand lifestyle for us, which isn’t the best, I know.
Another residual blessing is their photo albums. You see, when I am having a particularly difficult day with them and my patience is on the verge of snapping, I take out their baby books and remind myself of their precarious start and how very lucky I am that they are here driving me bonkers. What a gift!
As I look back with tenderness on their first year of life, I am able to chuckle at the moments of panic that led to ER visits certain that they had developed RSV despite receiving the Synagis shot. I remember fondly our home nurses and early intervention coordinator. I remember having my hand sanitizer within reach at all times and requiring anyone who wanted to hold the babies to slather it on. Actually, to this day, if I smell the brand of hand sanitizer our hospital used, I am instantly transported back to those days.
It was quite the journey, but one I wouldn’t change.
To read more about Prematurity Awareness Month and the March of Dimes, please visit their website.