Today is a milestone of sorts: it’s the day I knew I could take a breath, knowing that if Tess was born after today she would miss most of the scary statistical possibilities of preemie hood.
Looking back, I was playing games with math, trying to make her safe even though when she was born was entirely out of my control. Not for the obvious adoption reasons, either. Wanting to protect your child starts so far before they’re born. In Tess’ case, it started the second Kat and Spencer picked us. There was nothing wrong at the time; they were so caring and prepared and healthy! Stuff just happens, and I was dreading the weird outlying pregnancy complications. Lo and behold, they happened. And you know what? We’re all okay. Kat was and is a rockstar birthmom. We bonded with Spencer as we all held our breaths and waited to see what would happen with the premature labor. Dave and I were panicked, but realized this was our daughter – no matter what. It really does feel like destiny when an open adoption starts to gel and you form those eternal bonds of shared love for a child. Nothing I know compares to it: it’s messy, beautiful, scary at times, exhilarating and challenging, and most of all, rewarding. But we didn’t know that on March 14. All we knew were terrifying, impersonal statistics that said Tess would struggle, temporarily or permanently.
Today, as we look into those beautiful, curious eyes and soothe her and talk to her, those early hours seem so far away. It’s not that she couldn’t have had all of those issues; she just got lucky. Lucky to have Kat and Spencer, lucky to get great prenatal help in a hospital hat has a ton of experience with preterm labor, lucky the drugs an transfusions have taken easily, and lucky to have us I hope!
We are so fortunate as a family, and that’s clear every day when we hear other NICU stories that aren’t so problem-free. So when my calendar reminder popped up today saying we’d reached the magical 32-week mark, I felt relief and even amusement. We had so little understanding of what the last 5 weeks would hold! As little understanding as we have of the coming weeks. As much as we joke about it, we are learning to take a deep breath and roll with the punches and pleasant surprises. So we’re celebrating Tess’ arrival – not her birth at 26 weeks, but her thriving at 32 weeks; and our thriving with her as our little family grows. Speaking of, Tess weighs 3 lbs, 6 oz tonight! We’re on a roll (pun intended).