A version of this was originally published on November 17, 2011.
I remember standing in my hospital gown at Claire’s bedside at 3 days old, staring at her tiny then 2 lb 12 oz body all curled up on her tummy with her bottom in the air, swimming in a preemie diaper. I remember the nurse telling me she wasn’t digesting her food, she was still losing weight, and she wasn’t sure if the doctors were going to try and insert her PICC line a third time to get her more nourishment. She was so tiny they couldn’t get it placed right, and no PICC line meant that they’d just have to keep finding new places to insert IVs in her tiny veins.
I bawled by her bed, another nurse trying to console me. I returned to my room and bawled some more. And I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.
The next day she turned a corner. She was digesting her food, even if it was only 2-3 mLs.
It wasn’t long before the neonatologist started referring to them as boring. And boring was good.
I watch this video now and all I see is a fetus. I living, breathing fetus who came out of the womb way too early. I see a woman who had no idea how to be a mom to these two preemies. If I seem distant in the video, it’s because a) I had no idea how to feel, holding this tiny thing against my body, and b) I was afraid to move a muscle.
Seven and a half years later, I look at my happy, healthy, smart, playful, and insane former featherweights and marvel at the progress they’ve made. I’m so thankful for the hard work and dedication of the doctors, nurses, volunteers, and more who all made that possible. And I’m so thankful for the love and support we received from friends and family when we needed them most.
Today we celebrate World Prematurity Day for all of the tiny heroes out there, both in our homes and in our hearts.