It’s almost Mother’s Day…the day exactly one year ago you girls made your grand entrance into this world. You should have been safely inside my belly at just 31 weeks, but you never did read that book you were supposed to… so out you both came to make the world a better place, and me, “Mommy”. You stayed 28 days in NICU, confined to those sterile walls… 28 of the hardest days of my entire life. You spent the first two weeks apart, not even being able to be in the same room because you needed such critical care. Your daddy and I stayed in the hospital that whole time with you. We would each spend time in one of your rooms and then switch.
I prayed. and prayed. and prayed. I prayed you would get stronger. I prayed your tummy could handle my breast milk. That your lungs would get stronger and heal. They wouldn’t have to intubate. We wouldn’t have to hold your hand through another IV stick in your head. You could get off cpap. I prayed you would forget. forget all of it… every tube. every stick. every bili light. every alarm. every IV. every time I cried over your little isolette praying I could hold you and couldn’t. every night you spent alone in your little plastic box.
As I have had time to process those 28 days of being on that roller coaster they call NICU, there are some things we have learned together and I don’t ever want you to forget.
You were ready. 9 weeks. 9 weeks too early. I wasn’t ready and I didn’t think you would be, but God had other plans. You had to fight but you made it. There will come a time, girls, that you might feel like you aren’t ready… But trust in the Lord’s plan.. And I can assure you, you are ready
You were strong. You are strong. You always have been. You made your presence known and fought hard to have space in my belly… And that feistiness served you well in NICU. Every time I walked into your room, your nurses would say, “You have two strong and feisty little girls”. Lila, you should have had a chest tube when your lung collapsed, but you had that one doctor who said he thought you were strong enough to handle it. And you were. I literally stood and stared at you through your isolette, unable to touch you and watched your chest move up and down fighting through retractions… fighting for every. single. breath. You fought so hard, Lila. Piper, you scared me more times than I could possibly count when you would stop breathing. When you ate, when we moved you, when you were tired. You just forgot you had to breathe. The alarms would go off and nurses would come rushing into your room. You weren’t supposed to be breathing air yet so you had to learn that you were supposed to… and you did. You over came that. You both fought through more in your first weeks alive than most do in their life time. And you are strong. Remember, you were once 2lb 10oz… And you two, well, you two are overcomers.
Your daddy and I love you two. I didn’t know I could know a love like this, let alone doubled all at once. We celebrated every gram of weight you put on. Even the days when all you did was breathe… That was enough. I stood up and fought for you two more times than I ever wish I had to in those first few months. We slept in the hospital and did every single thing we could for you. I pumped in your rooms and did your oral care with my milk. We washed our hands for two minutes thousands of times and made everyone else scrub in to just look at you through a box. We were dilligent about taking your body temperature and changing and weighing your diaper. We did skin to skin time and watch videos on how to care for a preemie. Isolation was hard… hard on your family and people who loved you so, but we kept you healthy and away from germs so you could grow. We are your biggest cheer leaders and will be by your side, no matter what.
The power of prayer. You two will never know the number of people who prayed for you and supported us throughout your journey. We are blessed to have so many people who love you, both near and far, and we’ve seen it before with your cousin, Parker… there is power in His name. Remember this. He knew every single hair on your tiny little head and created you perfectly for your daddy and me. He is good.
You will always have a best friend. From when I could very first feel you move, you two would play together. Ducky, you would be flailing all over and sis would give you a good jab to quiet you down for a moment…only to start again. When you were born, it broke my heart you had to be on Level 2 NICU in such critical care because that meant you had to be in seperate rooms. I’ll never forget the night we came back from eating dinner and were going to show you off to our friends…The night nurse asked if we were ready to have you meet each other and I cried. I was so excited and nervous. Piper, you were stable enough to transport to Lila’s room, and I was terrified. I got to hold you for the first time together and you got to meet each other. I have hundreds of pictures. You both turned in towards each other, swaddled, and snuggled. Heavens, I was so proud of how far you two had come. We took our first family picture and my heart exploded. Above all you two have been through it all together… there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like a sister love.
You’re almost one, my sweet, sweet babes. This Mother’s Day will be a little less ‘exciting’, but girls.. I couldn’t be more proud to be your Momma and I will forever be grateful for the gift of life you gave me on Mothers Day 2o15. I love you Lilabean and Ducky.