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This post may be a tough one for anyone who has dealt with preterm labor, babies in the NICU, and/or pregnancy and infant loss. If you are not in the right space, I apologize, but please do not read this one.
My twins turn five in two days and that is something I never knew if I would be able to say.
Although I was constantly nauseous and throwing up, I had a healthy pregnancy. I may have thrown up in most every bathroom from my office, to my house, grocery store, and roads in between; but everything else about me was healthy and seemed to be normal. Until one day it wasn’t. I went into preterm labor at 26 weeks pregnant with my Di/Di twins and was put on hospital bed rest. I was given medicine that made me feel yucky and steroids for the twin’s lungs. I was in there for a few weeks, sent home for a few days, and ended up back in the hospital until August 19th, 2012 when my water broke in the middle of the night. I had already been fairly dilated at that point and started to progress quickly so they said to prepare for a c-section. They were too small and not in the position for a natural delivery.
Those four weeks of being in preterm labor were some of the scariest in my life. Every day we kept them in was a blessing and a also week less in the NICU they told us. I was in constant pain and scared for their little lives. I felt so guilty my body was rejecting them. I often wondered what I had done wrong or what I could have done differently? I remember laying in the hospital bed crying and crying about it all. How long would I be able to keep them in? What conditions or side effects would they have from being so early? How long would they be in the NICU? What would that mean for our family, for my job, Rob’s job? Did I do something wrong? Should I not have worked during the pregnancy? Should I have tried harder to take my vitamins? The scariest question of all, would they both make it?
Now five years later and in a much better place, I know the answers to most of these questions and I am so thankful to be on the other side. There are many causes for preterm labor, but sometimes the cause is unknown as was the case for us. It took me a long time to get to this place, a place of forgiveness and acceptance for everything I did or did not do. Seeing their smiley faces; hearing them have long, funny conversations with others; and that they are ready for Kindergarten this year because they are fully caught up with their peers makes the pain and guilt of their early birth a little easier to swallow. Sure they are some of the smallest in their classes, but with a 5’3” mom and a not quite 5’7” dad – height will probably never be in their cards.
This is the first year in five years that I have not spent the week(s) leading up to their birthday very emotional and in tears. I did not know if that would ever be the case and I am thankful to see my grief and raw emotions start to heal. I know I will cry on their birthday, tears of joy and gratitude that my babies are okay, and that is fine with me.