April 1 - It's my least favorite day of the year. The fact that it also happens to be April Fool's Day makes it worse. It's the day I went into labor 17 weeks early. It marks the beginning of when things went terribly wrong. The day before all was right in the world. Then, unexpectedly, all was wrong. All in a day. It's a lot to process.
For all you moms out there reading this, imagine you are just past the middle of your pregnancy. You've heard your baby's or babies' heartbeat. You've seen their little limbs moving on the sonogram machine. You've felt a few kicks. You get the weekly e-mail telling you about their development that week. It says, "Your baby weighs about a pound. Her lungs are still not producing surfactant. Her eyes are fused shut. Nerve cells are in place and will begin to join together. The pancreas begins developing." In other words, your baby is not ready yet. You haven't set up a nursery. You may have thought of a few names you like but probably have not decided on any. The baby isn't ready yet and neither are you. After all, you have 4 more months to prepare. They have 4 more months to grow and develop. Or not.
The time between April 1 and April 5 every year is strange for me. It's no longer hard on me, just strange. Before April 1 of 2010, I was convinced I would carry my twins to at least 37 weeks since I carried Brenna to 41 weeks and had to be induced. Between April 1 and April 5 of 2010, I was still convinced I would stay pregnant for several more weeks. I would be like those other women I had heard about who managed to stay pregnant for months on hospital bed rest. I would lay there, and they would continue to grow. Or not.
Even after their birthday passes, I continue to think back on their time in the NICU from April to August. When May rolls around, I think about how I was finally able to hold them after a month of only touching them through the isolette opening. As June approaches, I remember Brenna meeting her baby brother and sister for the first time at 3 months old. In July, I recall how frustrated I started feeling that my babies had to live in the hospital. I wanted them home with me. August was the best of times and the worst of times (to steal from literature here). In August, we were told Cade may need a tracheotomy for life. By that point in our NICU stay, I couldn't handle any more bad news. For three days straight, as soon as I got home from the NICU, I just laid in my bed and cried and cried and cried. I finally pulled myself together realizing the only thing I could do to change things was pray. My kids needed me to be present rather than crying in the bed. Then came a day I will never forget - their homecoming day! After 133 days in the NICU, my precious little miracles were able to come home. It was a joyous day!
I've linked my posts for this day for the past two years below, mostly for any new parents of preemies out there. I always hated when people would tell me, "Things will get easier" when they had no idea. I know they were only trying to be nice, but it really bothered me. How did they know? Honestly, it has taken 3 years for things to get easier. The first year was filled with specialist appointments, medical tests, feeding struggles, and therapy. The second year was still full of therapy appointments and insurance fights. As we approach year three, life is so much easier for us now.
April 1, 2011
April 1, 2012
This April 1, I had two cute lunch dates. I watched them eat their big kid sandwiches with such joy in my heart. It's the little things. It's a former tube-fed kid eating a sandwich. It's a sweet little girl who was in speech therapy for 2 1/2 years telling me, "My eat my big kid samich all gone!" How can I dislike a day that allows me to have this pretty awesome lunch date? So April 1 of 2010 was awful, but April 1 of 2013 was a beautifully ordinary day.