As River and Lydia’s first birthday approaches (7 freaking days), my Facebook memories remind me of how unprepared I was for their premature birth.
A year ago, I was 27 weeks pregnant and had just attended Rick’s work party. I was huge, yet I shook my (then, big) bootie on the dance floor, laughed with friends, enjoyed my husband’s company, and never once thought my life would change in a mere week.
As the flashbacks flood in with every memory made on Facebook via posts or pictures posted, I am happy my girls are in such good health and growing, and but also sad that my pregnancy was abruptly ended and they did 3 month’s worth of developing and growing outside the womb, each in a tiny incubator without her sister, full of monitors, round the clock nurses and doctors, and a lot of ifs and buts.
Had I known that I would’ve gone into labor at 28 weeks, I would’ve changed my whole demeanor towards my never ending back pains, achy feet, swollen limbs, and excruciating double carpal tunnel. I wouldn’t be counting down to see the girls so anxiously as I had been, wishing it was March and wishing for less weight on my tiny body. I would’ve made a point to insist on taking maternity pictures earlier, made sure to dress up in the cutest maternity clothes, pampered myself and rested more instead of always wanting to be on the go.
But I didn’t know. I had no warning, no reason to think it’d ever happen to me. I never thought I’d have to wait 5 days to hold my daughters after their birth. I never thought I’d come home feeling empty, like a failure, while they stayed at the hospital for about 2 months. I had no reason to believe my body would ever fail us three, yet it did. Can’t cry over spilled milk, right? I mean, unless it’s pumped breastmilk, then you can.
With a large number of pregnant friends around me, I try to not envy their healthy pregnancies. Some are on the home stretch, on their 38th or 39th week. Others, just entering the second trimester. Though none of them are having twins, it’s a little hard to not wish my turn had been as smooth-sailing as theirs, or that I could’ve looked smaller and cuter like they do.
I’m hoping that, as the years go by, the month before their birthday doesn’t seem so consumed by memories or wishes. I’m attributing this to the fact it’s their first birthday, so it’s still pretty fresh to me. There’s still some guilt attached to this upcoming date, even though I know very well there was nothing I did wrong or could’ve done to change the outcome. I do wonder sometimes if a cervical cerclage would’ve done the trick and kept them in there for a little longer (that’s when they staple your cervix shut). I also wonder why it wasn’t offered to me. Eh, I digress.
Oh, shit. Speaking of their birthday – I have to remember to set up two tiny cakes for them to smash with our local store that does their first birthday cakes for free.
The girls are bathed, napping, I’m battling a possible stomach bug and feel miserable, it’s snowing outside, and I’m torn between napping or trying to make our house a little more presentable. I may also dress the girls up in their snow suits and let them see snow for the first time outside on our deck. I wonder what their reaction will be, or if they’ll even care to try to eat snow. It’ll be cute, though.