With world prematurity day tomorrow my featured post today is one of my best friends, Callie. Callie and I met through work. We both teach in the same district and were both expecting twins. Our friendship started when Callie reached out asking how I was holding up. We decided we needed to have a pre-twin coffee date. The day we were supposed to meet up I went on bed rest. I was put on bed rest at 31 weeks and 5 days. Our twins were born soon after at 32 weeks and 2 days.
It wasn’t long after our twins were born that Callie arrived at the same hospital. Our post-poned coffee date was later had, but looked much different. Callie was on bed rest and I had twins in the NICU.
I’ll never forget the morning I received the text message from her saying, “The Girls are here.” I knew it was too soon and didn’t know anymore than that at the time.
Callies families journey is truly inspiring and I couldn’t be happier to share it below.
It’s an exclusive club. The kind of club you hear about, but you know you’re never going to be a part of. Then one day you join the Preemie Mom Club and your life is never the same.
When I found out I was pregnant with twins I knew complications were a possibility, but I had no reason to think I would have anything to worry about. I was cruising along with an uneventful pregnancy, and one big belly, when my anatomy scan appointment at 23 weeks went downhill fast. I was in preterm labor and dilating. My babies were healthy and growing, but my body was not cooperating. I was rushed to a larger hospital with a level 3 NICU and was put on bedrest. Thanks to a modern medical cocktail of magnesium and steroids, nurses who became friends, and a saintly husband, I was able to stay pregnant for two more weeks.
My beautiful baby girls were born at exactly 25 weeks, and I officially became a preemie mom. A micropreemie mom to be exact. And I had no idea just how life changing that title would be.
You learn a new language. Within hours of the girls being born we started learning the medical terms that would be used daily for the next 88 days. First up, micropreemie: a baby born before 28 weeks gestation and/or under two pounds. Next, an entire medical dictionary. Not only were we first-time parents and had a million things to learn, but we also had to figure out what all the doctors and nurses were saying at every round. I had to balance my Google searches with simply searching to learn terminology and falling down the endless rabbit holes of everything that could go wrong.
You make new friends. Any preemie social media group you join will tell you to select a primary nurse early in your adventure, but you don’t realize just how important your NICU staff is until you aren’t seeing them every day. We spent 88 days in the NICU, and I was in the hospital with my girls for nearly all of them. That meant I spent my days with dozens of men and women who cared for my babies but who also cared about me. I learned their stories and they learned mine. I heard about their kids and arguments with husbands, and they saw me at my highest of highs and lowest of lows. Our time at the Ronald McDonald House also brought life-long friendships with people who understood what we were going through because they were living it too.
You mourn. At first I thought it was selfish to feel this way, but time has told me it is okay. When you have a baby early, there are a lot of things you miss. Some may seem silly, but if you have experienced it you understand. We only had a week where we could really feel the babies kicking. I didn’t get to hold my babies until they were a week old, and then it was with a million wires and tubes. I had to cancel our Christmas/maternity pictures because I was on hospital bedrest. I never packed a hospital bag. I am infinitely jealous of women complaining about those end-of-pregnancy troubles. Some days were easy, and others are still hard.
But most importantly, you love. You love those 1 pound, 12 ounce and 1 pound, 10 ounce baby girls with more force than you never knew possible-and then you still weigh them periodically just for fun because you went months with weight being a deciding factor for so much (26 pounds last week, if you’re curious). Each milestone they reach makes your heart explode because you know the statistics against them from birth. Each milestone they don’t reach scares you, but you remind yourself they’ve always had their own schedule. You watch them grow, and every day you are in awe of the miracles you created (and science helped keep alive) and wonder how you’ll ever be able to love them more.
The Preemie Mom Club isn’t a place you want to join, but if you do end up here, welcome. We’re an army, and one of the strongest you’ll ever find.
Please reach out if you need us!!