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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Waiting...Reflections on Prematurity

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Even though you were born 12 weeks early, I was waiting for you. I had been waiting for you for years.

Waiting for over 3.5 years for something that seemingly came so easy for others. A life on pause, because this might be it...the answer. Waiting through appointments, failed cycles, unsuccessful treatments, and disappointments. Waiting through the unknown and the unexplained. Hoping for my turn.

Waiting for confirmation, needing some kind of a sign. Waiting (unsuccessfully) before I could test. Preparing for the worst and finally seeing the YES! Looking at the fuzzy image on the ultrasound screen and hearing two heartbeats. Wanting to tell the world how grateful and joyful I was, but waiting instead, full of fear.

Waiting and resting for 8 days in the hospital. Looking forward to meeting you, but hoping it wouldn’t be soon. Preparing myself and you the best we could, in case you had to be born early. Planning on going home, only to hear that you just couldn’t wait.

Waiting in recovery, to see you. More waiting to hold you. What would our future be? Stopping time, putting everything else on hold. Right now we just needed to survive.

Waiting through each traffic light on the way to the hospital, trying not to miss a feeding, and crying when I did. Washing my hands, peeking into the NICU to see how you were doing today. Waiting and watching the clock, as it counted down the four hours between feedings. Pumping and pumping and pumping some more. Waiting for nurses to help so I could cradle you in my arms. Relishing every diaper change and weigh-in. Waiting for progress, and witnessing strides forward and back again. Waiting for the roller coaster ride to end. Waiting for the alarms to quiet as you snuggle on my chest. Celebrating every tiny milestone, never taking for granted how far you have come. Waiting for the days, weeks, and months to pass so you could come home. Witnessing not just one, but two miracles.

And without hesitation, I can were worth the wait.

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