During the closet re-organization project of 2015, I found a picture of one of the twins taken the day she was born.
When I saw it, I stopped what I was doing and put down the boxes of random bits of things that always seem to collect themselves in a closet and the fluffy hat with ruffles that I bought for my first Kentucky Derby party….
….and simply stared at the photo.
There she was.
Tiny and precious and beautiful and hooked up to a million tubes and machines and beeping gadgets wearing a tiny pink bow the nurses made for her on her wisps of downy blonde hair.
Weighing in at 2.2 pounds…..so little my hand almost covered her in the picture.
You see, those amazing, incredible, wonderful twins of mine were born almost three months early.
The pregnancy was a challenging one and I had been in the hospital for almost a month on bed rest. After the twins were born, the morning the picture was taken, the doctors had been full of overwhelming information about what could happen and what might happen and chances of survival and big words and conditions and percentages that made my head spin.
After they left, I remember sitting in a chair and staring at the monitors and the beeping and those two tiny pink bows….
….and praying and rocking back and forth with tears streaming down my face.
What would the future hold?
What would tomorrow bring?
And way deep down in my heart, in the place that holds the darkest fears….
….I wondered if they were going to beat the odds.
Day after day.
Night after night.
Week after week, I sat in that NICU.
I sat through tests and screenings and listened to tiny gurgles and hiccups and yawns and stretches and watched those monitors beep over and over and over again.
I would perch on the edge of a special rocking chair between the incubators and watch and wait as the days and hours passed. I knew all the nurses by name. I knew how much they loved their little patients and how much they cared. I became friends with other parents in the NICU and listened to their stories and shared some of mine. We became almost a family, bound together by circumstances, encouraging and cheering and crying together over the defeats….
…..and rejoicing in each small victory.
And the greatest of victories was the simple “rooming in” paper taped to a door at the end of the hall.
That paper was cause for celebration.
It meant that someone was finally going home.
When a family was about to leave the NICU and return home, the nurses would set up a special room for the parents….to allow them to take care of the baby under nurse supervision, just to make sure they understood all the medication schedules and breathing treatments and special care for a tiny premature infant. You always knew a family was rooming in when you saw the sign on the door.
One by one, I watched as the other families from the NICU roomed-in. I would sit by the window and sigh to myself as they walked by. Happy for them, but full of a joy that was bittersweet.
They were leaving.
We were staying.
Weeks and weeks went by.
Weeks full of two steps forward, one step back.
Weeks of rocking and hoping and worrying and praying.
Weeks of staring at those beeping monitors, over and over and over again.
But those two tiny dancers were fighters. Just when I had almost given up hope they fought and fought and overcame so much and grew bigger and stronger….
…until they beat the odds.
And one day I walked down the long hallway to the NICU and saw it.
There it was.
That simple, plain piece of white paper worth more than its weight in gold.
Just for us.
Because finally, wonderfully, joyfully…..
….those two tiny pink bows were going home. 🙂
PS These are the story blocks from when the twins were younger.
I used to make up stories about princesses and castles and dancers and cats and butterflies.
And every story ended the same…..and they all lived happily ever after.