I've never once felt guilty about Brenna, my full-term baby, being healthy. She was born at a nice weight of 7 lbs 3 oz. She stayed overnight in the hospital, and then we went home. It was all so typical. We took her home and continued our lives as sleep-deprived parents of a newborn. I took her for well-child exams and scheduled immunizations. She didn't visit a specialist until she was two years old. Again, it was a completely typical procedure for two year olds. She needed ear tubes. She has only seen one specialist, an ENT, in her six years of life. While I should be singing praises that she is healthy, I take it for granted. Of course she is healthy, why wouldn't she be? Is this how other parents feel? I don't fret over how she will do in school. I never think, "will she have problems learning." Never have I had to worry how a brain bleed or high doses of steroids will effect her cognitive abilities because she didn't have either one.
Having micro-preemies is altogether different. The twins spent their first year of life at over 200 doctor/specialist/therapy appointments. They have seen 12 different types of specialists. Even though they are healthy now, I feel like I still can't let my guard down. I don't want to miss any signs. While I still have minor worries, I know that they somehow escaped so much. They have been released from all their specialists.
I do sing praises that all my kids are healthy, but here is the strange part. I never feel guilty about Brenna being healthy while I always feel guilty that Camdyn and Cade are healthy. I know how strange that sounds. I am ecstatic that they have the outcomes they do. Does any other mother ever feel guilty that their child is healthy? It doesn't make sense to most. I know what could have been, almost what should have been. From a statistical standpoint, Camdyn should have profound neurodevelopmental impairment (61%). From an observational standpoint, I know of only a couple of other sets of twins born as early as ours (23 wks 5 days) who both survived with limited long-lasting effects of prematurity.
I hear people say I shouldn't ask why and just thank God for this outcome. And I do. But my brain doesn't work like that as much as I wish it did. It can't stop there. It feels unfair to all those other precious preemie babies that I know. Why has prematurity affected them so differently? And what about all those babies who sadly didn't make it? I hear people say it was the power of prayer. While I do believe in God and prayer, I have a hard time accepting this. I was in the NICU war zone. I saw all the other parents praying over their babies. Do you think they prayed any less for their kids than we did for ours? Was God to be found at only certain babies' isolettes? I don't think so. When I wasn't praying for my babies, I was praying for theirs. Why can't I let these thoughts go?
Maybe I can't forget because I want to remember. I want to remember what fighters they are. I want to remember how much they have overcome. I want to remember life is precious.
Can any other moms out there relate?