Tomorrow, the NICU that was home to Max and Zoey will have its annual reunion. We've attended for the past three years, and each year, we see more and more babies who have survived; but oddly fewer and fewer of those from our group. It's an exciting time because we have a chance to catch up with the doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists who were instrumental in our care. And, they, in turn have a chance to see how Max is progressing. We are incredibly fortunate because Max is doing so much better than any of the doctors and nurses thought he would, considering his fragile beginnings...and yes, the brain bleed (a grade 3/4). But, I often wonder where the children are who are NOT doing so well. In the past three years, we have not seen one child in a wheelchair. In fact, all of the children we've seen, with the exception of Max, were moving about appropriately for his or her age. I would imagine that families whose children are not doing so well choose not to attend, and that saddens me because these children deserve celebrating too.
We have a fondness for our NICU (and, yes, I do consider it OUR NICU) because it was the only place outside my womb where our twins were together in life. It is the only place where people outside our immediate family and close circle of friends knew our daughter, Zoey. In fact, besides my husband and myself, the nurses and doctors got to touch her and hold her more often than anyone else. And, because Max was a NICU resident for so long, many of the nurses are now close friends of ours. It is with them that I feel most free to talk about how much I miss our daughter.
Sunday, October 21st, is the 4th anniversary of the day that I was hospitalized after a routine perinatologist appointment because I was dilated and effaced (in preterm labor) and I didn't even know it! Three weeks later, Max and Zoey were born via emergency c-section because of a placental abruption that required immediate delivery. Max's placenta was tearing away and he was going into distress.
So, over the next few weeks, I anticipate being flooded with memories, and emotions that I can't quite place. Then I'll remember what time of year it is....