Too Soon

30 weeks gestation seems too soon to be born.

Too soon to meet chicken legged, ruddy, scrunched up beings.

Too soon to be thrust into the NICU after our last baby died.

In the NICU.

Too soon to gaze upon tiny fingers and toes, bruised hands and feet from too many needles and blood tests.

Too soon to take any of it in.

I don’t think about that time very often. The whole nine weeks went in a blur of premature experiences.

Tubes and wires and alarms beeping in some machinery induced chant. Medications and set backs and triumphs and heartache all wrapped into two little people who are just about to turn three.

It’s too hard most days. It leaves me in a state of traumatised disbelief whenever I turn my mind to those first few weeks of Noah and Ivy’s birth.

Ours is a success story, a graduation from being born too soon, to growing and thriving in the outside world.

We were lucky.

Others were not.

Some days we would come in to find parents sobbing, their babies just too small and frail to survive. Their lungs not developed enough, their bodies unable to fight.

Sometimes it was parents that we had come to know. Forced together under circumstance.

Sometimes the air would be thick with grief and the tension high as the other mothers stole secret, regretful glances towards the drawn curtain to the room that we all knew was there for the sole purpose of shielding others from the unimaginable.

I look to my youngest children now and I think, you would never know. You would never guess in your wildest dreams that my kids were born too soon, that they needed help to breathe and chemicals injected into their lungs to force them to expand. You would never know, that for weeks, they forgot to breathe and needed medication to stimulate that natural, primal response.

You couldn’t tell that they had nasogastric tubes for feeding¬†and fortifiers to quadruple their calorie intake, so as to give them the best chance of survival. Now they look just like children who went to term and they act like them too.

In the beginning they were slow to move, their developmental milestones not reached and you could tell to look at them but today they run and jump and talk and I am thankful.

Thankful for the team who worked on those two precious parcels, for the doctors and nurses who knew what to do to sustain their little bodies.

With their third birthday just around the corner and it being prematurity awareness month, more than ever I remember how far they have come.


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