This is a post in two parts because it is very long and as it is my own story I can’t edit out any of it. It’s all important 😉 Check out the second part of our preemie journey.
My guys were born preemie.
But two days ago, one of my boys swam four laps of our club pool, one of them with overarms and side breathing. I was open-mouthed. Yesterday, his swimming instructor passed him through two levels after eight half-hour lessons. He even did some butterfly.
If only a crystal ball had been available to me ten years ago when this boy was born. Oh, how it would have saved me a lot of agony and worry. In the absence of a crystal ball, I would have settled for an adult telling me that they were a former preemie of similar gestation and had turned out “normal.” But no-one did.
I apologize now to anyone who is offended by the word “normal.” It’s a word that simply describes what I wanted: children who walked, talked, made friends, passed exams, got jobs. Whatever they would have achieved had they not been born premature.
The boys were born at 32w0d.
Women who have struggled with infertility measure their pregnancies in that way, every day being a triumph. I had been put on hospital bedrest with pre-eclampsia in the hope that I would make it to thirty-five weeks.
I made it three days.
As what was to be the final day of my pregnancy had worn on and things had got more and more dicey, steroids had been administered to help build up the babies lungs, consultations with the NICU staff had been prepared and I had tried to quell the panic that was rumbling and threatening to explode. I remember watching a documentary about Harold Shipman, the English-doctor-turned-serial-killer who murdered more than 215 of his patients.
Anything would do.
It was all in vain however, as suddenly the door to my room burst open and I was quickly moved to a gurney. I was rushed along a corridor to the operating theater, the ceiling lights flashing as they zoomed by above my head.
It was like a scene from ER.
Things calmed down at that point but I was still shaking so much a c-section was performed with me strapped down to a stool. The same thought kept rolling around my mind. “I’m not ready, I’m not ready, they’re not ready…”
Hospital staff tell you all the right things. That they will be fine. That they haven’t lost a baby of that gestation in years. That they are robust and healthy.
None of that was solace to me though; I had wanted to get to thirty-six weeks, the length of a full-term twin pregnancy. I had always been an over-achiever and could honestly say that I had got everything I had ever really wanted in my life to that point because I was determined, single-minded and focused. And now this. This.
The most important thing I had ever wanted in my life.
To say I was devastated was an understatement. I was angry, I was grieving, I was in shock, I was worried beyond belief. A life of uncertainly lay before me, encompassing some of my greatest fears. The thought that I might have not one but two handicapped babies would ping the edges of my brain, only for it to freeze up as it protected me from further anxiety; my brain simply wouldn’t go there…
Continue reading about our preemie journey…
Was I wrong to want ‘normal?’ Did you face disappointment in your not-so-perfect pregnancy? How did it affect your feelings about yourself? Do you feel society sets us up to expect a rosy pregnancy? Let me know in the comments.
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