Today was a big day in our house. Today we lost the tag of ‘premature baby’. For actual real we don’t have to go back, we are as normal as we will ever be. It’s been a long time coming really.

As parents, as people we are all seeking some sort of validation about something. Whether it be if we are bringing our children up ok, or if we are good partners, or if we are pushing ourselves hard enough in training or at work, whatever it is we are all striving for that little bit of validation that we are in fact, ok. Regardless of whether we admit it or not.

It’s hard sometimes to find or accept validation when you constantly (rightly or wrongly) feel like you have to justify your choices. It’s something I struggle with a lot.

Today, #3 was tested on a lot of stuff. She passed it all. In fact she passed it all well. Her age today was 23 months and 8 days. So as long as she made 23 months on the scale of the tests then we were flying. In most of them she was 27 months. Except for Gross Motor, which she ranked an ‘average’ 23 months. So basically, she’s going to be normal at running and sports. Fabulous, might send her back to her DNA contributor. No time for average here. Her cognitive result though, so how she learns and thinks and processes information and problem solves, was a bit different. In that test, she ranked at 32 months on the scale. So she’s 9 months ahead of where they would have been delighted for her to be. Which in adult terms doesn’t really sound like a lot but she’s only 23 months old. So it’s a pretty big deal. In fact, the doctor said she hadn’t ever seen a baby rank so highly on the chart before. She is nothing short of incredible. Not bad for a baby that was born looking like a skinned rabbit and who nearly didn’t make it.

I have a spent a long time worrying about her, and her sisters. They have been through a lot, especially in the last couple of years and I have spent many a night questioning whether or not I’m doing ok. When the situation transpired that I would be raising her on my own the emotional rollercoaster was pretty intense. Not only did I have to admit that oops I picked a slightly less than civilized bloke to have a baby with but now everyone was going to be sucked into the fall out. But we got through it and today was the final stamp of validation I think I have been looking for. And more and more recently I have been realizing I am no longer looking for any approval over my choices or how we are living. My girls sit on top of the priority triangle and that is an immovable spot.

It is still a very weird feeling to be told that things are ok, and that we are out of the woods.  The mountain that once seemed like an impossible climb has been scaled. I remember day 5 when I knocked the bin over in my bedroom and sat on the floor and howled because I just couldn’t understand how we would ever get through this. I remember the Saturday her oxygen shot up to 78% and I attempted to emotionally detach from her because I thought she was going to die. And yet, here we are. We’re at the summit looking out onto what is well the future I guess. I cried in the hospital today, the label of prematurity has been in my life for nearly 7 years now, it has become part of me, part of our life and has definitely shaped who I am today, as cheesy as that may be. It’s sort of like the rubber stamp into normal toddlerhood today has been the permission to let go of all the guilt and all the uncertainty of whether or not I did the right thing. I no longer feel like I have to justify or explain any of my past thought processes to anyone.

So on we go into ‘normal’ toddlerhood. Whatever the hell that means. She’s currently still awake, although the ‘lets climb out our cot’ game has been replaced by the ‘lets get naked and throw our nappy around’ game so maybe I’m not doing as well as I think I am…