A year ago today I started feeling unwell. I was 27 weeks pregnant. I had felt amazing all day. Todd & I went to a course at our church and met lots of great people, we were in good spirits. Around the early evening time I started to feel unwell. I thought it was just pregnancy pain. It was in my back. The pain got worse and I couldn’t get comfortable. In the hours to follow the pain would start to come and go like contractions. My instincts told me to go to the hospital. Todd drove. I knew something was wrong. I remember that when we were driving I knew. I wished it wasn’t but I knew. I had never heard of a baby being born at 27 weeks. I knew nothing of prematurity. I should have done more research with twins to know that it was a big risk. Those things only happen to other people. Thank God we went to the hospital when we did. Thank God we were had an amazing team of Doctors and Nurses. I couldn’t believe it when they told me that my babies needed to be born. Early in the morning on August 12th Josh & Tori would come into this world. Today is the day before their birthday.
I’m sitting at Starbucks writing this blog. I have been feeling like writing this blog but I debated. It was a particularly rough day today with the twins. They wouldn’t nap and they were fussy. I was emotional. When Todd came home I escaped to write this. I need to get the words out on the page.
Tomorrow is Joshua & Victoria’s first birthday. I am so emotional. I hope I can put my feelings into words. I have split feelings.
There is a part of me that is not ready for their birthday. I couldn’t figure this out until now. Every time someone would mention that it’s coming up I would feel sad. It’s because I’m not ready. I don’t feel like they are ready. Since November 9th, 2013 we’ve had two ages for Josh & Tori. Their actual age which is based on their birthday August 12th and then their corrected age which is based on what age they would be if they were born on their due date – November 9th. It’s so hard to explain to people when they ask their age. “Well they are 11 months but developmentally they are more like 8 months”. Generally the question I get is “So, when do you celebrate their birthday?” It’s a reasonable question. We celebrate it on August 12th…but they are more like 9-month olds than 1-year olds. It seems so strange to have their birthday now.
On the other hand I am so emotional because I’m bursting with gratitude. Last night Josh had a tough time falling asleep. He’s teething and he just needed some extra TLC. After he was settled down I sat with him beside his crib for a while. I reached in and he held my hand. Mommy’s here. You can go to sleep. My mind flooded with thoughts of a year ago. I was overwhelmed. This is my little boy. The one I could have so easily lost. I didn’t know at the time how serious a placental abruption was. Many babies die. I’ve read articles that say most babies die when this happens. It’s a huge risk to the mother as well. He lived. I lived. His life is a miracle. He is doing incredibly well. As he held my hand I recalled the night in the hospital when he couldn’t keep his heart rate up. It was about a week or 10 days after he was born. His heart rate wouldn’t stay up. I was so scared that we would lose him. When I got the strength together I went over beside his tiny isolette and held his hand. He improved. He needed his mama. He still needs his mama. Now he is getting so big and strong. He can crawl everywhere, explores everything. He loves wires. If there’s a wire in sight he’ll find it and shake it. He’s quick and smart and he’ll be pulling himself up in no time. I’m so proud of my Joshua. I call him my Joshua bird because I just know that God has plans for him that will soar above my wildest dreams for him. He surprises everyone with his development and I have no doubt that he will overcome any obstacles that come his way in life and just soar like a bird.
I look at Tori and I’m amazed. She is such a strong and brave little girl. I call her my brave little girl in the world. She couldn’t wait to get here. She’s so expressive and happy – smiling and laughing all the time. She loves to hear the pitches her voice can make by screaming with joy in octaves that I didn’t even know existed. When I look at her she just gives me the biggest smiles that light up my heart. She’s a piece of me. She’s so determined and persistent. She loves her “dada” so much. She’s definitely daddy’s little girl. Today she found the bowl of cat food. The little cat food pieces are the same size as a cheerio. Uh oh. I saw her just as her hand was about an inch away from picking one up and eating it. She chatters away with tons of sounds in many different pitches and octaves. I imagine that Joshua tires easily of her constant chatter (just like Todd tires of mine!) She’s also crawling so well. She worked on her ‘technique’ for weeks and weeks before finally taking a forward movement. Now we can’t stop her.
Today is emotional because I look at these two little people and I can’t believe that they are so strong. I can’t believe that we made them and we’ve taken care of them for a year. I can’t believe what good babies they are and how lucky we’ve been (in the grand scheme of things – today aside!) My heart can’t even handle the gratitude that I feel.
It can’t be their first birthday tomorrow. It couldn’t have been a year already. I think that there are dates in life that are pivot points. Dates that change your life forever. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad but they always make us better. August 11th, 2013 was the scariest day of my life. The fear continued into August 12th. The weeks to follow were some of the most difficult and emotional weeks but there is one thing that’s for sure. I am forever changed by becoming a mom to Josh & Tori. I’m forever changed by the experience of helping to take care of my tiny miracles for 3 months in the hospital before they came home. Todd & I are forever changed by the bonding that this experience gave us. I’m blessed by the sense of community I found through writing this blog during their hospital journey and getting support from friends and family and the relationships I’ve re-kindled as a result. I’m blessed to know what it means to be a mother and I know that being a mother means constantly learning and growing just as my children learn and grow.
So I approach this day with reverence. It’s not sadness, its not pure joy, but a deep sense of gratitude for what the depth of last year’s events on this date have meant for me and how they have changed me and my family forever.