Preemie Moments

March 28, 2014

Mom and baby by ocean at sunsetI call them my “Preemie Moments.”  Those instances that appear to be just mere coincidence; the moments in time and space where we just “happen” to be there, but the chills running up and down our arms tell us otherwise.

Do they happen just to me, or do you know what I’m talking about?

Some of the moments are subtler than others. That elevator ride where I’m suddenly compelled to share my daughter’s birth history – 25 weeks, 1 pound 11 ounces, 4 major surgeries and my elevator companion’s jaw drops because his or her’s sister/cousin/neighbor/high school best friend just delivered a preemie two weeks ago.  Advice is shared, emails are exchanged and another “preemie moment” is recorded in the books.

Other moments aren’t quite so subtle.

There’s one in particular that stands out in my memory.  It was the late fall/early winter after Andie had contracted RSV and we’d elected to keep both kids (Andie, 3 Tucker, 5) as far away from school and all things germy until spring.  Although our dining room table was littered with construction paper, glue and glitter, and I did my best to keep the kids entertained, there was an underlying loneliness and need for outside connection within us all.

Each week I planned an outdoor field trip – zoos, the beach, abandoned playgrounds. It was close to Thanksgiving when I thought of Plimoth Plantation and The Mayflower for that week’s outing. We spend most of the cold day visiting the recreated pilgrim settlement and the kids even helped out with some of the village chores. Over at The Mayflower, Tucker learned about map making and navigating by the stars and I congratulated myself on another successful outing.  (And then remembered there were still about 120 days left to get through cold and flu season!)

It was late afternoon and nearly dark when we reached our car. I squatted down to boost Andie up into her carseat, but she was turned away from me, pointed to beams of light glowing in the distance.  I closed the car door and we followed the sidewalk down the block, closer to the lights.  Andie held onto one of my hands, Tucker the other, and as we got closer, I  could see that there were two lights, one pink and one blue.  A large group had gathered around the glowing lights that soon I realized were emerging from Plymouth Rock.  We stood at the back of the crowd and watched as a woman about my age stepped to a podium and begin to speak.

“I am the mother of preemie twins,” she began.  “And they were born long before they should have been…”

Plymouth Rock lit up for World Prematurity Day

Once I was actually able to speak, I would learn from the man standing to my right that it was World Prematurity Day and the March of Dimes had lit up our country’s most famous rock to acknowledge the occasion.  I’d introduce him to Andie and Tucker and we’d meet the mom from the podium and her kids and my cheeks would flush with warmth in spite of the cold, and I’d know for sure in that particular “preemie moment” that we certainly were not alone.

What about you? Have you ever experienced a “preemie moment?” Have you been keeping your kid(s) isolated this season? If so, what are some ways you’ve kept everyone sane?