Today, #3 turns 2. It is a somewhat bitter sweet day for me. Given that she was an entirely unplanned baby, who nearly died and all that. Not for her though, she is completely oblivious to what day it is. But as I look at her, bumbling about after her sisters, barking orders at them in her own little language, I am struck with this profound sense of awe. She is amazing. She is a miracle. Quite literally, she defied the odds to be here today. And yet here I am, wallowing.
#3 was born at 26 weeks. 26 weeks, 4hrs and 24 minutes to be exact. She weighed 860 grams when she was born, she was about the size of my hand. She spent 73 days in the hospital before she was discharged. For a long time, she looked like an alien, she’s had 4 blood transfusions and one operation. They’re the basic facts.
I have been thinking about writing a post about her for a while. I have a million things I could write about surrounding her birth, her neonatal stay, the subsequent breakdown of my relationship. I have started to write a post a few times, and I keep getting stuck. I thought maybe I wasn’t making it personal enough, maybe I wasn’t giving enough away (I’m good at that you see – don’t let people in), I thought maybe I should write an open letter to the parents going through their journeys right now. Then I thought maybe I would write about what the whole experience taught me. And then it hit me. I am totally over talking about the whole thing.
My ‘preemie’ isn’t a preemie anymore. She’s not a baby anymore for that matter. The person she is today is not the same 860gram scrap of a person that I gave birth to 2 years ago. And neither am I. So why, am I trying to write about the past? Actually, why I am even still thinking about the past? So – I am hereby shaking off the title of ‘preemie mum’, I’m handing back that particular hat. Staying focused on what has been is not productive. Yes, there is a story here. The story of #3 is one that I relive with myself, and with a few others, quite frequently. We marvel over how well she has done, how scary the whole thing was, and how bad the whole thing got with her Bio Donator. And if people ask about her then I will happily talk about it all until I’m blue in the face. But aside from that? Yeah I’ve moved on.
In the two years since #3 was born it’s been a bit shit. It would be so easy to focus on the negative stuff, like my baby almost dying, like my relationship ending. It would be so easy to wallow in all that shit, and use it as an excuse for things still being a bit stressful sometimes. Do you know what? I’d rather not thanks. I am slamming that door shut and throwing away the key. I’m taking some ownership if you will. At some point you have to accept that what has happened has happened, can’t change it now. At some point you have to stand up and say that actually, bad shit happens to everyone. I am not the only person to ever give birth to an early baby, nor will I be the last. I am not the only person to go through a horrendous breakup, nor will I be the last. So yeah, I’m over it all. So I gave birth to an early baby? So what – she’s alive and healthy and thriving. So I ended my relationship? So what – that was definitely for the best. So my life wasn’t fair? So what – life isn’t always hearts and flowers. By staying focused on the past I am effectively letting those things ruin my present, and my future.
We need to be able to say that actually we are more than the bad things that happen to us, we are worth more than the worst thing that has ever happened to us. We are worth everything. We are all amazing, we are all miracles. Too often really good people are destroyed by a bad event. So on this day, I am putting to bed the bad stuff. I am shutting the door on what has happened, safe in the knowledge that while it will always be with me, it is no longer a part of my present.