Thursday, July 25, 2013

225 days old

Yesterday the girls were 224 days old. This number may not seem that significant to most people. But to Rob and I it is a big deal. It meant that the girls had spent as long with us at home as they had in the Royal Hobart Hospital NICU. 

When I posted a celebratory photo on Facebook stating the important milestone, a perceptive friend noted that tomorrow (today) is an even more important day. They have spent longer with us at the hut. Whilst Rob and I have nothing but the utmost admiration and respect for the dedicated and professional team of nurses, doctors, lactation consultants, receptionists, hospital aides, cleaners, pharmacists, and social workers that make up the RHH NICU team, it is lovely to see the days free of hospital tally up.

I follow a few of the support groups for premmie parents on Facebook, and while I appreciate it is helpful for some parents, I've stopped reading their posts. Mostly because it seems some of the parents can't let go of the trauma of a premmie start to life for their child(ren). 

I am thankful every day that Maggie and Elisabeth got through their NICU stay without surgery, serious medication, hearing or visual impairments, or (so far) a physical or mental disability. It could have been so much worse. 

But it would be terrible for my mental and physical health to keep ahold of the pain and fear I felt back there. Yes, I cried and sometimes still do. Yes, I was so scared for them I felt sick, and I'm sure I will feel the same again if they are ever seriously unwell. Yes, it was unfair for them and us, but I've learnt the hard way that life often is. But I am determined not to let those emotions dictate our current life. I try to use those emotions to help me enjoy even the tough moments of being a Mama of twins. When I'm alone and two girls are crying and need me at once. When there are simultaneous nappy explosions. When they are grizzly and squealing because they've forgotten how to go to sleep. When Elisabeth wants to feed nonstop. As soon as I feel a twinge of annoyance or exasperation, I breathe in and see them at day one. Tiny, helpless, red babies. I am transported back to the sounds of alarms, the flashing red signal on the computer screen bringing their nurse running. Or their cries of pain from yet another needle. The discomfort they felt trying to tolerate my milk. Waiting on every brain scan, heart echocardiogram or eye test for a good result. Then I breathe out, and realise my current situation is not difficult or trying at all. 

I hope I can still visualise those moments when they are teething, or in the terrible twos, or refusing to eat anything but macaroni cheese, or asking "but why" for the zillionth time, or not doing their homework, or fighting with each other or giving their parents attitude in their teens. 

I want to enjoy every moment of being their Mama, and be grateful for even the challenging moments as a parent. I would like their premmie start to be a gift for us, not a burden to carry throughout their life.

Right now we enjoy watching them take in the big new world around them. The colours, the light, the textures, the sounds, the smells. We encourage them as they try to roll over, their faces full of determination and concentration as they work on getting their bodies to do what they want them to. We delight in their smiles as they recognise us. We laugh at their crazy squeals and babbling as they practise using their voices. We help them use their tiny little hands to pick up rattles, blankets, or grab at my nose or hair or their own toes. We love watching them sleep peacefully. I want to remember the way they lunge with excitement to feed from me, holding tight onto my top to ensure I don't go anywhere.

I look forward to the next 112 days, and will be cheering them on as they continue to grow up.


nat @ natalia familia said...

Hi Marian. Such a beautiful post, those little cuties are really growing up! They look as though they are very active and alert and must have a great sense of humour. I was joined up to a couple of Preemie FB pages too, and I found the same thing, I couldn't bear to be pulled back into that world constantly, I really needed to be looking forward and concentrating on the future. I love seeing your photos, I'm glad you are finding the time to share them with us. xx

Rebecca Patrick-Howard said...

I can understand what you are saying. I lost my son to SIDS in 2010. I joined several infant loss groups and spent almost all my time in the forums for about a year after his death. Eventually, though, I had to pull back. I just wasn't healing the way I felt like I needed to be because I wasn't giving myself any air. One of the greatest pleasures I've had has been in meeting other infant loss mothers and becoming friends with them and NOT talking about our losses as much. I know that I can go to them any time I'm having a bad day and missing my son and they will understand. But we also talk about "Dancing with the Stars", mommy porn, and chocolate. That has also been healing.

Sarah B said...

They girls are doing so so well Marian. Yes, a very tough start and there will always be challenging times, but then I suppose that's parenthood, whichever way it starts.
As an outsider I look at you and think how lucky you are to have such a wonderful family, living with those beautiful pooches in a gorgeous home :)

The Moerks said...

What a healthy outlook and attitude Marian? I like your style.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this! And those photos are just beautiful. The one with the hats I especially can't get enough of! Great outlook! Love and hugs, Evridiki xxxx

Offer KINDNESS. Choose GENEROSITY. Give LOVE! said...

You indeed have a perfect attitude Mamma.
Being a parent is HARD, simple as that.
We all experience challenges at different phases, that is the only constant.
You and Rob are so very blessed and I'm so grateful to be a fellow blogger and IG to share in your happy and trying moments.
Those girls will bring you more tears and more happy than you can ever imagine.
I love them from across the ponds and smile every time I see those happy photos.
Take good care of you and you!
I love the way you look forward by learning from looking back. I wish the world had more people like you and Rob. You are amazing.
Have a wonderful wknd ahead with your lovelies!

Maria said...

Wonderful outlook you have there. They are just precious! I've followed your story from way before they were born & it is so good to see where you all are today. They are just beautiful, Marian. Praying for their continued good health & for many, many more days with you at the Hut.

CBH said...

your perspective and attitude is a gift. For you and and your family.

Lovely writing as always.


Denise Booth said...

Thanks for the great photos and the updates on their progress. The photo with the pink hats is quite beautiful.

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