Going through difficult times really make you appreciate the good times. Five years ago, Rocky’s condition remained uncertain. Born after just 28 weeks in the womb, he was a tiny 3 pounder who required surgery when he was two weeks old. Several blood transfusions and 2 months later, he came home. Though at risk for everything from cerebral palsy to eye problems to learning disabilities, he has now reached an age where we can confidently say that he doesn’t have any of these issues. This weekend we attended a preemie reunion party given by his birth hospital to celebrate life.
With this joyous event came a remembrance of darker days. It wasn’t just our baby my hubby and I worried about in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). It was ALL the babies we worried about. Every time we walked in and saw a child had been moved, we were concerned. We witnessed loss of life (we remember you, baby 5), along with the many setbacks suffered by those preemies in their early days. We weren’t allowed to stay 24 hours and it really wasn’t practical after an emergency c-section. Leaving my baby in the hospital day after day was hard but at least I had the comfort of knowing he was surrounded by specialists. Not so when we finally brought him home. We were afraid to take our eyes off him and, at one point, even longed for the monitors we became accustomed to in the hospital that would warn us if there was any change in breathing patterns or heartbeats. The slightest cold could mean doom for a preemie so I hardly left the house for about 8 months. Whew, thank goodness those days are over.
It was so heart lifting to see so many survivors at the reunion, many of them multiples. I was in awe of one mom I met, she had 5 month-old quads and she and the babes looked amazing. Just imagine going from no babies to four at once! Delicate preemies at that! Did you know that Octomom’s kids were born at the same hospital? Her babies, too, were in the good hands of Rocky’s doctors. On this day, she spared the spotlight by staying away.
We were happy to reunite Rocky with one little boy who was born just a week after him. Facing even more hardship than my child, Junior was only 1.5 lbs at birth. The first time we saw him you could barely make out his body under the ventilator. Seeing the emotional state his mother was in at the time was like looking in a mirror. You wonder how you could’ve changed the outcome and then realize you sometimes have no power over what your body does. All we could do was hope and pray for the best. We were forced to put a lot of faith in Rocky’s caretakers. Our prayers were answered and on this day, before us, stood two healthy (and rather tall) 5 year-old boys. We cannot thank the NICU staff enough for their part in helping our miracle children thrive. Amen.
***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at: