Jackson & Emerson,
I’ve been writing letters to Neala and Lincoln since they were born. For a while I was on a bit of a blogging roll. But when I was pregnant with you turkeys the nausea was just too much. My creative writing juices evaporated and nothing I typed worked out. Sadly, I have not written you as much as I had hoped.
I was admitted to the hospital on April 18 for preterm labor. My pregnancy was labeled “high risk” because of several factors: there were two of you, I have a history of preterm labor, and well…I’m old). You can read my previous letter about cats and koolaid to learn more about my bedrest at the hospital.
It is now June 19, two months later. I’ve lost count of the days and weeks following your delivery.
I’ve also lost count of all the tears I’ve cried.
I cried lonely tears every single night I stayed in the hospital because I missed your daddy, Neala and Lincoln so much.
Angry and disappointed tears when the doctors told me I had to have a c-section because you were both transverse.
Hot, silent tears fell down my face when I would visit you in the NICU. The doctors and nurses assured me you were doing well for your age. But it was still difficult to see you hooked up oxygen, IV’s and feeding tubes.
However, not all the tears were sad tears.
I cried happy tears when Jackson no longer needed oxygen.
And when Emmy shocked everyone and rocked out her feedings so well they took her feeding tube out earlier than planned.
I cried happy/shocked/scared tears when we brought Emmy home, and she barely weighed four pounds.
You are both home now. We are settled into our new home. You are growing stronger every day. Lincoln is about to start walking. Neala is entertaining us every day with her spunkiness and curiosity. My heart is full to overflowing with thankfulness and happiness.
Yet, I still find myself crying from time to time. Funny how the craziest things can trigger tears.
I went to grab a baggy the other day. Instant tears.
“Why would a baggy make me cry?” I’m so glad you asked.
Every time we came to visit you in the NICU we had to do two things: wash our hands really well and put our cell phone in a small, plastic baggy. The doctors are doing their best to keep all the teeny tinies healthy and away from germs. Since cell phones are covered in germs, you are not allowed to bring it in unless it’s in a hospital baggy. I’d like to think mine is cleaner than most because I sanitize it with a bleach wipe on a regular basis. Nonetheless, I still had to put mine in a baggy.
When we were finally able to bring Jackson home, I walked in to wash my hands. I saw the container of baggies. I started to cry because I realized this was the last time I would have to put my phone in a baggy.
The last time I would have to scrub my hands with hot water and sit next to your hospital crib.
The last time I would spend a night away from my newborn child.
So when I reached for a baggy the other day, it reminded me of all the baggies I went through during your stay at the hospital. I couldn’t stop the tears.
I couldn’t stop the grateful tears when I went to sleep for the first night in our new home thinking of all the friends and family who had helped us.
I couldn’t stop the empty tears when I looked around at all the little projects my dad would have enjoyed doing at this new house.
I definitely couldn’t stop the sleep deprived tears when I realized how much time it takes to feed and change two babies every three hours.
Today, I’m crying again. My tears are a mix of sadness and joy. They feel empty and full at the same time, if that even makes sense.
I just fed you both. You are now swaddled up like burritos and I can hear your content little breaths coming in and out. It’s almost time for Neala and Lincoln to start the day, so trying to go back to sleep now seems pointless. I am scrolling through Facebook and everyone is posting pictures of their fathers.
I will most likely post a picture of me and my dad sometime today.
But I also want to find a “real” picture of daddy and I. You know, the kind printed on paper and not just on a screen.
I want to put the picture in a baggy. The baggy I saved from my last visit to NICU.
It will serve as a reminder that everything is temporary.
Like your stay in the NICU, my sad tears won’t last forever.
As you grow and develop into a young man and woman, my hopes and prayers are for only good things to come your way. But if they don’t, my advice for you is to go get a baggy.
I love you,
My other bit of advice for you is NEVER move right after you’ve had a baby. Trust me.
I’ve done it.