Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Prematurity Day

Tomorrow, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day.

My identical twin girls were born at 34 weeks, 2 days. Three weeks prior to their "twin due date" and six weeks premature for a normal pregnancy. When I tell people this, almost always they will say, "Oh, that's not bad".

(insert sound of my blood boiling)

Not bad?? What is "not bad" about the terror that a new mother feels when her water breaks weeks or months early, knowing that her child's life hangs in the balance? When her newborn baby (or babies) are raced to intensive care moments after giving birth. What is "not bad" about three weeks - 21 fucking days - staring at my new babies through clear plastic instead of holding them in my arms?

Try to cuddle with a tiny baby with tangled cords tethering her to her isolet, knowing that you can't keep her warm enough because she cannot regulate her own body temperature.

Try to breastfeed a premature baby whose instinct to suck in order to stay alive hasn't kicked in yet.

When it comes to the NICU, one day is too long in the eyes of a mother (or father). I know mothers whose babies spent months in the NICU. While the angels disguised as NICU nurses take such good care of the babies (and the parents), it is not a fun place to be. Monitors beep incessantly. Fragile, skinny babies are protected behind clear plastic. Anxious family members pace the halls.

To be discharged from the hospital, preemies take a carseat test. Its heartbreaking to strap a too-small child into a carseat and watch the oxygen monitors hoping they can breathe while seated upright.


There are so many stories of babies born much much earlier than 34 weeks. I cannot imagine the heartbreak those parents must have endured. Surgeries, procedures and the uncertainty that your precious offspring will survive another day in the NICU. But, this isn't a competition. Every single mother-to-be hopes for a healthy, chubby baby to emerge from their womb.

So, go ahead. Try me. Tell me that 34 weeks is "not bad".

I'm stepping off my soapbox now. I know how lucky I am to have healthy daughters that began their lives with a combined weight under 8 pounds. Four a half years and 80 pounds later, they are thriving.

Want proof? The first picture was taken last December. The second one was a few weeks ago. Is it my imagination, or did they grow 8 inches?? 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Years Blogging

Oops, I missed my two-year blog-o-versity. Such has been the proclivity of Tao of Twins in the past year. My urge to write that bid me to keep notepads in my car, purse and on my bedside table has diminished.

Thoughts would gurgle out of my head like water boiling over on a hot stove. Words would seep from my fingertips onto the keyboard effortlessly. I would find myself deciphering my scribbly hieroglyphics on my trusty notepads because I couldn't write out a thought fast enough.

So what has changed? In life, we seek stability, attempting to find ground where our equilibrium doesn't feel threatened and the earth feels solid under our feet. Life is like climbing up a cliff out of the water of our mother's womb. When we start to feel safe, we crouch on our outcropping, waiting for that next wave or gust of wind to threaten our position, however precarious.

Perspective, too, plays a role. From my perch, I see others struggling where I once was, as well as places I never want to be.

I've been asking myself: where is my empathy, my knowledge, my energy best utilized? Having stumbled up the cliffs of postpartum depression, I know I can be a support to other women. And, in the same breath, I remind myself to simply enjoy my precious, sparkly, vibrant daughters and my loving, industrious, handsome hubby. What more could a woman want?

In short, I don't have much to complain about. How can I write about depression when I no longer feel depressed? The memories are fading, and while they will always be a part of my history, I'm ready to move on and take on new challenges. But at the same time, I don't want to rock the boat. I'm waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. The one that will inspire me to write again...

In the meantime, I'm really hoping for some snow. :-)

Playing in the snow with Grandma Starr, December 2008 

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