Monday, November 17, 2014

60 Days

What can you accomplish in 60 days? I posed this question on my Facebook tonight and got a variety of responses:

  • buying a house
  • getting through 8 weeks of a term
  • completing an online course
  • planning a community-wide event at the last minute
  • planning your sister's wedding (been there/done that)
  • surviving
  • working out and losing weight
Whatever you do with 60 days it is safe to say that a lot can be accomplished in 60 days. I will always think of 60 days as the time it took me to bring my little boy home. In 60 days I literally watched him change from a thin skinned (bright red baby) to a "chubby" six pound infant. I watched as the cartilage formed in his ears, as he grew eyelashes, kneecaps, and things formed that most babies are born with.

At three weeks old I called one of my best friends to celebrate the fact that he got to wear clothes for the first time. I watched as his daddy fed him his first bottle at almost one month old. I held back tears as I watched the fear mixed with joy that his grandparents felt being able to hold him for the first time. Day in and day out I prayed that his homecoming date would come soon. I prayed that my little boy would start eating better and learning how to manage his breathing and temperature more regularly so that he could finally come home. A lot can be done in 60 days. 

If I do not count the week prior to Bronson's birth when I was on bed rest in the hospital I can list many of the things that I personally didd in the 60 days after Bronson's birth:

  • What seemed like just minutes after Bronson's birth the doctors allowed Kyle to hand carry him into the delivery room to show him to me without tubes, wires or medical equipment. I will never be able to fully explain that time literally stood still when I realized that this was a very good sign and that although I could only see his little eyes we made eye contact and I knew that he would be okay.
  • As everyone met my little baby in the NICU and his daddy got to accompany them back and forth my sweet nurse took me to a private room to prepare me for a short viewing of my son that was born still. His daddy and I had just a brief moment together to say our goodbyes before moving to the mode of NICU mommy and daddy.
  • My sister spoke out and became my advocate and demanded that they allow me to not only be allowed in the NICU but that I would get to hold my baby. It might have only been less than a minute, but I am thankful that I got to hold my son on the day his was born.
  • The days that passed after his birthday were days that were somewhat similar:
    • Watch baby sleep
    • Change baby
    • Watch baby be fed small drops of breastmilk through a tube
    • PUMP, PUMP, and PUMP...
    • Thank the nurses and doctors over and over again for saving your babies life.
  • Realize as you are released on day five of the hospital that you will not be going back to your home for a long time. My rival town (Eugene) would become a home away from home for the next 55 days.
  • Watch your baby literally grow before your eyes.
  • Celebrate each success...temperature control, weight gain, eating a bottle, taking a bath, first month pictures with Bearson, visits from family, able to poop without medicine (even this is a reason for celebration)
  • Get a call from the local funeral home that your baby is ready to be picked up. Mentally prepare yourself to pick up your son and bring "him" home before your other baby's homecoming is even on the horizon.
  • Have 8 weekend dinners with family that come to see you and try to peal you away from the NICU.
  • Become such a regular at the cafeteria that everyone knows you by name and has your special plate all ready.
  • Complete a punch card at the sandwich shop behind the hospital
  • Form friendships with your NICU nurses that are lifelong
  • Cry with NICU roommates as they hear more bad news
  • Celebrate as your baby moves into an open air crib, but mourn the day that the twins next to you get moved together (there are constant reminders that your baby has a brother)
  • Do kangaroo care EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • Take pictures of handsome hubby doing night time kangaroo care EVERY SINGLE NIGHT
  • Watch your baby code because of some unknown virus
  • Watch your baby smile, coo, and generally enjoy life in the NICU
  • Fall completely and head over heals in love with a 2 lb miracle
 The list could go on and on, but as you can see there is no lack of activities that can happen in 60 days after the birth of a preemie. Every single day counts in the womb. My mission is to see more women experience full-term (more than 39 weeks) pregnancies. Each day in the womb is one less day in the NICU. Instead of celebrating the National Prematurity Awareness day I choose to educate and let you know the importance of making a difference to stop it. I also do this to advocate for those without a voice or those that feel embarrassed to speak out about the babies that were born still. They are still very much your baby and it is okay to talk about your loss. Please join with me in making a difference in prematurity.