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Being a preemie mom wasn’t something I thought was in my near future when I first found out I was pregnant.
However, that was the outcome as I gave birth to identical twin girls at only 25 weeks.
Since having an early delivery I didn’t have a lot of time to process that I was a preemie mom now or what that meant for the future. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted from delivery I could only focus on the hours and days ahead. I didn’t realize being a preemie mom would impact my life forever.
Being a preemie mom watching my baby grow, move into a crib, get her breathing tube removed, learn to take a bottle, and come home after 5 months has been an emotional journey. One that has defiantly changed me.
Now that my daughter Emerson is over a year old I’ve looked back on my preemie journey and thought of the 3 things I’ve learned since having a preemie.
1.I know loss.
I know the loss of losing my sweet daughter, Finley. It was the most painful feeling in the world. It’s a pain that I relive often. She passed away in the NICU after four days of fighting.
There are sounds and smells that will take me back to that moment. A moment I will remember my entire life. Watching your baby pass away is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s not something that you can move on from. Ever.
It’s with you for life. I will always grieve for my baby I lost. I had a lot of different emotions going through me at this time. Here I just became a new mom to two babies and yet only a few days later I had to say goodbye to one of them.
My feelings of loss weren’t only for losing a baby. I had to deal with the loss of having a normal pregnancy. There wasn’t a lot of joy during my pregnancy. What I mean by that is of course I was excited and blessed to be pregnant with twins. However, I found out early on in my pregnancy that there were serious complications which could possibly result in losing both my daughters. What was once joy was now replaced with fear and grief.
I didn’t get to decorate the nursery, feel kicks, plan maternity photos, attend my baby shower, have a successful full-term birth and bring two babies home. I got the complete opposite. The decorating of the nursery came months later when I knew my daughter was stable in the NICU and had a strong chance of coming home. I had a baby shower months later that instead of showing off my pregnant belly I showed off pictures and updates on the progress of Emerson.
As a first-time mom, those were memories and traditions I had always looked forward to.
Instead, I felt a loss.
2. I am grateful.
I’ve been questioned before how I can possibly still be grateful after what I went through.
But how can I not when my daughter who was given only a 60% chance to survive delivery and who bypassed several health concerns is the happiest baby as well as healthy. Yes, I will forever grief my daughter I lost. That is something that will never go away no matter how many years have passed. But I also have a kick ass daughter who reminds me everyday how grateful I am to be her mom.
I’m grateful that I got to spend hours with my daughter, I held her hand, I watched her open her eyes for the first time, and talked to her before she passed away. Those are memories I will cherish forever because I know I brought her peace as she was surrender with love by my husband and me.
I’m grateful for the countless strangers who helped us in any way during our months in the hospital. The amazing doctors and nurses who loved and cared for my baby when I couldn’t. It was overwhelming the amount of love that was out poured by so many for our family. Emerson was in so many families prayers and thoughts as they watched her journey as if they were alongside us the whole time.
I know loss but I also know gratitude.
3. I’m strong
This is one thing I didn’t feel at first. At first I actually felt like I failed as a mom.
Here I gave birth premature then watched one daughter pass away while my surviving daughter still had a lot of fighting to do.
I didn’t know if I failed at motherhood and if I could continue on this path.
But instead of giving up I pulled all my energy into watching my daughter in the NICU. She was so tiny but had the strength of a full-grown man. Now it was my turn to be strong.
I needed to be strong for her. I couldn’t give up now our story was just beginning.
Motherhood tests you. But being a preemie mom not only tests you, but it also breaks you, patches you back up, and strengthens you.
I’ve become one strong mom since becoming a NICU mom.