Today, November 17, the March of Dimes is encouraging bloggers to write about a preemie they love in support of the "Fight for Preemies". So here goes (times two). 543,000 babies are born too small and too soon each year. In 2007 two of those babies were mine.
When I was in college, I volunteered at Shands Hospital as a "cuddler". My job description was to spend time in the NICU and pediatrics wards spending time with the babies. I got to hug them, hold them, and talk to them. It was so peaceful. It made me very happy. It's pretty amazing to me that the lessons I learned then (Don't rub the babies, just lay your hand over them. Speak to them in a whisper. Don't overstimulate.) are lessons that I remembered during the first hours I spent with my own sons.
I've already blogged about the worst day of my life and the happiest of beginnings. I haven't blogged about the times I fall on my knees and thank God for my boys. I have been forever changed by words like "brain bleeding", "blindness", and "mental retardation". I will never take the health of my children for granted. I thank God for it every single day. It goes without saying that I am moved to tears when I think of "what could have been". However, today is the day to say it.
One of our doctors told us that 20 years ago babies under 3 lbs did not stand much of a chance. That means Danny would have been clinging to life and Matthew's chances would have been very, very slim. 20 years ago. I remember 20 years ago.
My babies were healthy from their first breaths. They defeated all the odds. They were considered miracles. BUT they were miracles that could not suck. Miracles that could not eat or maintain their body temperatures. Miracles with bradycardiac episodes. They were tiny, little miracles. 2 lbs 14 oz and 3 lbs 3 oz to be exact.
Beautiful, tiny miracles that I could not hold, or nurse, or take home with me. Miracles that spent their first weeks in this world in isolates with tubes up their noses and IVs in their arms, legs, feet, and tiny heads. Miracles that LIVED, largely because of the research and science that the March of Dimes made possible.
I thank God for my preemies everyday... and especially today. I encourage you to join the March of Dimes in the "Fight for Preemies". Every dollar helps. Every kind gesture and prayer makes a difference to a tiny life (or two).