Today my micro preemie turns 3 years old. This past weekend was filled with a big birthday bash for both Joy and Sean’s birthdays and it was also Mother’s Day.`
Although this week is exceptionally busy each year (and it is getting busier as each of my three boys play lacrosse, hockey and wrestle) with two family birthdays and Mother’s Day, I have promised to take time to reflect on all of the blessings I have been given.
First, this Mother’s Day was my 10th Mother’s Day as a mom and I look at it as a big Mother’s Day anniversary- as any other anniversary of an event. I have spent 10 years wiping tushies and noses, changing diapers (we’re almost done with that!), making bottles, stuffing diaper bags and school backpacks, drying tears, stopping fights, laughing at silly jokes, reading/telling bedtime stories, DOING LAUNDRY, being a motivator, listening to fears, tying shoes, making three meals a day (X4), and last but not least- giving hugs and kisses and tickles to my children. I would not change a moment of that although I do wish I had more time for the latter.
My sweet little “Baby Joy”, as most family members call her, is not a baby anymore. Although the road to her 3rd Birthday has been quite bumpy, we are so happy we decided to take the journey.
This time of year brings back both happy and unhappy memories. Three years ago- the two months leading up to Joy’s birth was fret with fear of the unknown. I was hemorrhaging and had been in and out of the hospital many times- and we almost lost Joy each of those times. The spring air and flowers, while very beautiful, remind me of the view from my bedroom and my hospital room, as I waited still in my bed. Each morning I would pray that I could remain pregnant until 24 weeks gestation. I never made it to 24 weeks.
May 12, 2012 could have been the worst day of our lives as we were unsure if both Joy and I would survive the emergency surgery needed to deliver her. It could have been a day where my boys lost a mother and sister and my husband lost his wife, and a day where my parents lost their only child and granddaughter- BUT IT WASN”T!
So, although the spring air causes me to remember some very unpleasant and scary moments in my life, it also allows me to think of the spring as a renewal of my life and the beautiful beginning of Joy’s life.
I enjoy the memories of the first time a got to meet Joy (which was on Mother’s Day), the days her brothers visited her with pictures to hang and songs to sing their sister, the first time I got to hold her (although I had to wait a month!), the days when her breathing tubes and feeding tubes were removed, the first time she tried a bottle, and the day we took her home from the NICU- 121 days after her birth.
I also remember the generosity that was shown to us by our family and friends, and even some strangers. That spring and summer was filled with people donating their time to make meals for our family and help take care of our boys.
Joy went from 1 lb. and 4 oz. (575 grams) and 11 ¾ inches long to 29 pounds and 28 inches tall. She went from having breathing tubes, feeding tubes, blood transfusions, blood infections, central lines, intravenous lines, a PDA (a heart condition where deoxygenated blood flows through a hole into the aorta and out to the body instead of going to the lungs to become oxygenated), countless X-rays, digestion issues and chronic lung disease to the little girl you see in the picture below- who wanted to wear her Dora the Explorer shirt to her birthday party!
So, today I celebrate all Joy’s 3rd Birthday, Sean’s 10th Birthday (on Thursday) and my 10th Anniversary of being a mom, I use the scent of the spring flowers in the air to do just what that old saying is meant for- I will “stop and smell the roses”!
Happy Birthday to my sweet baby Joy and my son Sean- who made me a mother and Happy Mother’s Day to you all!
Here are a few pictures from Joy and Sean’s Big Birthday Bash:
And if you know a mother with a baby in the NICU next Mother’s Day- here’s some advice on how to brighten up her day: Huff Post Parents