Wow, the walk is already upon us!! Today is the very final day to donate in the whole world! Please sponsor me if you haven't! And if you have, THANK YOU! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This walk, this cause, it all means everything to me. And I suspect it will for the rest of my life.
The more time passes, the more my goal changes.
The first year, it was about healing. The second year it was about moving on. Now, it's about other people. Sparing them, helping them, in every way possible. Being part of a preemie mommy group and reaching out to other mommies and babies in the NICUs. Raising money for the March of Dimes. And we want to do so much more in the coming years!
I also want to say thanks for sharing your stories and for stopping by and reading mine.
This experience really has changed me.
Before, I was ignorant. I laugh now at how a person changes before kids and after. Even with the best of pregnancies, everything is different. As much as I thought I understood when I was single and kidless, I was wayyyy off.
Then when we decided to have children, I realized how actually very hard it actually is to become pregnant. Who knew this??? You hear about teen pregnancy, accidental pregnancy all the time, but there is actually a very small window to get pregnant! It's crazy! So for us, months and months went by and nothing! Would you believe that!
Then when I became pregnant, it was wonderful. And I learned about everything in the world that can go right and wrong with pregnancy. Tests and analaysises and blood pressures. But everything went perfectly for me. Which was great.
That is, until the 28th week, when I started seeing sparkles. And I turned to Google and thought, uh oh. Something's wrong. Then my blood pressure elevated. And then things got progressively worse. I started to swell. I gained 20 pounds in two weeks of just water. I looked like the Staypuff Marshmallow man. I was on twice weekly appointments and then on bedrest. I stopped working. The nursery wasn't finished. I had preeclampsia.
It was week 33 and I knew we weren't going to make it the whole way. I don't know why I knew this. I just did. And I panicked because nothing was finished. My husband thought I was wacko, he thought we had plenty of time. We fought over it. Terrible arguments over how much time was left. I felt like it was a race to the finish line. Even though I was on bedrest, I remember sitting on the floor in all my puffiness and pregnantness, painting the nursery and my friend Jen helping me, while she's trying to tell me not to do it, but no one can tell a pregnant woman who knows her baby is coming any day not to do anything. That's just the way it is. And she gave in and just sat there helping me paint.
At 34 weeks, my water broke. I told you. I knew.
I spent a lot of time at my other blog, The Mis-Adventures of Captain Poopy, reflecting. I feel like that blog helped me heal. It all started with Finally Burying the Hatchet. A few months later, I found out I was pregnant again, I finished Poops' NICU photo album, and I decided to let it all go, the guilt and the sadness, like a big bunch of balloons, release it all, high into the sky.
I was a new me. I came out of my shell. I started to breathe again. I had a wonderful second pregnancy that went all the way, and I started this blog. A new blog about both my babies, but more about me.
I thanked God for the experience because it has changed me. For the better. I have learned to take every pregnant day and cherish it. To take every day with my children and cherish it or at least to try. (This can be especially hard when there is a lot of whining, screaming and hitting, but sometimes in the madness, I can still stop, look at that angry little head and then focus on his little nose and think to myself, what a beautiful little nose... and then let the madness ensue with an entirely different frame of mind.)
Funny how that works.
It has also made me want to champion for other people. Other babies. And the more I talk about it, the more I find that the people who have had premature babies are the grocery store checkout lady, my child's teacher, my OB doctor, my co-worker, my friend. It happens to anyone and everyone, it doesn't matter who it is anymore. And it also doesn't matter how long it has been, it could be 8 years later and it will still bring a mother to tears. That's how real and raw the experience is and becomes and remains.
So thanks. Thank you for letting me share with you this experience and the experience of others over the past week or so. I have had a riot sharing my big hair, my television experience and my bloggy video-debut, my Guitar Hero fundraising efforts, and meeting all sorts of new people in real life and in bloggy life.
I also continue to pray for the families of Maddie, who lost their precious little angel last week, and Kayleigh Anne Freeman, who underwent surgery this week and may be suffering from complications. Send them your prayers or healing thoughts. Please.
I will have them in my thoughts as I walk tomorrow with my group of preemie moms. And it will be an especially tender day for some of the moms in our group because they haven't yet reached the place I am in. Their experience is still very fresh. And I am blessed to walk with them and be there for them. For us, the walk isn't just a walk. It's a time of reflection. It represents a sort of "finish line" and it represents a new start.
So thank you, all, really. For everything.