Yesterday was, Parents of Preemies Day: a day of celebration, of miracles, of grace. It’s also a day that comes with a bittersweet tinge, because no matter how incredibly blessed you might feel to have a preemie, it’s a journey that is only truly understood by those who have walked it themselves. One of my dearest friends and I have laughed and cried together through some huge milestones for our children. As our littles approach the glorious two-year old mark that holds so much promise, there are still memories. Someone asked me the other day, “Can you even believe she was a preemie, look at her now?” The comment was spoken fully in love, and I know it was intend to praise the progress that Alana has made, but here’s the thing…of course I can believe it. I couldn’t get away from it, if I tried. I lived it. Breathed it. In the same way that women gush about those glorious moments after labor: the sweet-mother-can-I-please-freeze-time moments, when their newly minted darlings are placed pink-screaming-beautiful in their arms for the first time.
We remember something very different. We remember what it felt like to have empty arms, no warm rush of sweet baby skin. We remember what it felt like to leave the hospital without our babies, day after day after day. We remember bringing them home and being scared to death that after the incredible 24 hour hospital care that they received, how could we possibly measure up. We remember a completely different kind of birthday…one without balloons, flowers, visitors. We remember when they were born early.
Now that my girl is two. I CELEBRATE her, I always have. I love her with indescribable love. I remember her entire story and I will never forget it. I am proud to be the Mommy of a preemie. I think it is an honor to remember how far my little one has come. I am excited for all the moments ahead, but I will never forget what it’s like to look back.