The life of a Preemie mom
I get a lot of questions about my twins when we're out in public.
Boy and girl? Yes.
Are they identical? umm....no.
What are their names? Jack and Amelia
And my least favorite....How old are they? 8 and a half months.
I'm sure that question doesn't bother most people but it really bothers me. Not because I'm bothered with sharing how old they are, but I cringe at the looks I'm about to get when I say they're almost 9 months old. Some people look at me with pity, some people look at me like I abuse my children and don't feed them, most people look at me like they don't understand how the itty bitty 14lb babies I'm holding could be much older than a few months.
When people inquire further is when things tend to get even more awkward. "Oh I thought they were just like 4 or 5 months old". I tell them they were born 3 months early and then I get either more confused looks, why this would possibly happen, or more judgmental looks, like I did something wrong and that's why my twins were born so early.
In reality, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely, before 37 weeks. I don't think many people realize it's so common until it happens to a friend, coworker, or even yourself. I never in a million years thought at just 26 weeks pregnant, I'd be so close to having my twins. Luckily, they stayed put for a week after my water broke, but still, 27 weeks is not an ideal time to be giving birth. Good thing we had talked about names earlier and pretty much decided. But I still wanted time to think about it, time to decorate their nursery...or buy their cribs. I hadn't done anything. I was told my pregnancy was going great and I thought I had a few more months to finish preparing for my new bundles of joy. Instead, I was alone in a hospital, my husband across the country, having my babies ripped out of me far too early and wheeled away before I had the chance to even touch them.
I'm not saying this all to scare anyone or to turn this into a PSA, although I think it's really important to get good prenatal care and to be aware of signs and symptoms of preterm labor. When you think something might be wrong, don't be afraid to ask. Who knows what would have happened if I had brushed off my water breaking. Mine was a pretty obvious break, but that isn't always the case. Don't be afraid to call your doctor if you're concerned. Ok PSA over, continue reading about the happy times...
Luckily, our story keeps getting better and better. After just 2 months in the NICU, my babies came home. Soon after that, we finally got the join daddy in California. They're growing and getting bigger and healthier every day. They're developing mostly on time and doing a lot of things a typical 5 month old does. Probably barely anything an 8 month old does, but they're getting there ;)
I have no idea why my water broke, the doctors don't know, and I don't know if it could possibly happen again. It's something we need to think about and be aware of though for any future plans. I'm very blessed with my beautiful little miracle babies. They're such strong fighters and inspire me every day to keep being the best mom possible, even when I'm tired, grouchy, or just sick of packing them up for yet ANOTHER doctors appointment. While my story started out a little sad, I think I've learned a lot from being a mom to 2 beautiful preemies. Almost losing my babies gave me a different perspective on parenthood than most moms get to experience. I appreciate every second I get with them. We celebrate every milestone like it's the biggest and best thing in the world. I feel overwhelmed sometimes with having 2 babies, especially with some of the extra attention they require from medical issues, but when I think that they might not even be here with me, I am suddenly so grateful for feeling overwhelmed.
So kiss and hug your babies every day. Thank God for the miracles in your life. If you're a preemie mom, you're not alone, and I'd love to be friends :)
p.s. I'm doing a fundraiser on my blog for the March of Dimes! It's a great organization that helps preemies, their parents, and the doctors, nurses and staff that take care of the little ones. They do a lot of research and support programs in your community that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. Check it out and possibly win an adorable hat! :)
Go visit Emily and check out more of her story!