They told us not to think the worst when we didn’t hear a sound. They said a baby of your gestation wouldn’t have lungs developed enough to cry. That tiny, determined cry as you were pulled from deep within me is etched in my mind for the rest of my life.
They told us you wouldn’t be able to breathe by yourself. They said you would need a ventilator until you got stronger. I can so vividly recall watching your tiny lungs, fighting hard to push out breaths by themselves, under your paper-thin skin. They told us that our contact with you needed to be limited to a short hold a day. They said you couldn’t handle being out of your incubator for long periods of time.
I held you, skin to skin, tucked down my top, your tiny little head resting on my chest for hours at a time. They told us that you were too early to know who we were. They said you didn’t know I was your Mum. But I know that you turned to me when you heard my voice, that your heart beat slowed when I held you, that when I looked into your eyes, there was a connection.
They told us that you would need to be tube fed as you were so early. They said you were not yet at the stage where you would have mastered sucking, swallowing and breathing all at the same time, that these skills were mastered in the womb. I remember watching you in awe as you drank your first sip of milk from a bottle, your tiny mouth barely big enough to take the teat. They told us it was unlikely you would breast feed. They said that I could try and nurse you for the comfort.
For six weeks I pumped for hours a day to have the milk ready for you when you were strong. I knew you were a fighter and I knew you could do it. I was right. They told us you would be in special care until your due date at least. They said they had not let a baby as tiny as you leave the hospital. Four weeks before your due date we carried you out of that hospital. At six weeks you weighed under four pounds. They told us that there was a chance your development may be impaired. They said you might experience delays and to look at things in terms of your adjusted age.
By 12 months, you had not only caught up with any developmental milestones, you were ahead of them. My tiny little fighter, beating the odds from the moment you entered the world. A world you shouldn’t have been in yet, a world you fought so hard to stay in, a world that you weren’t ready for, but thrived in all the same. I know you will continue through life with this same desire and determination to succeed. My little fighter. Don’t ever stop fighting for what you want.
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