You could say that my life turned around the day that my daughter was born. I’m sure it’s a saying that you hear from many parents across the world at any given time. Everyone talking about how different there life was the day that their child was born. How they learned to live and love something more than themselves. And while there is that existential part of it that affects every parent when it comes to welcoming their child into the world, myself and my wife faced a different situation. One that also affects many other parents out there, but isn’t the same instant joy and gratification that most people get to experience.
You see, our daughter was born six weeks premature, and barely made it out of her first twenty four hours. And while many people have dubbed her a fighter, or otherwise, we’re fairly certain it wasn’t a conscious decision. She fought, her body fought, and she made it through the most tumultuous times. The doctors and nurses at the hospital were the real heroes of the story, bringing her all the attention they could afford, continually checking up on her, checking vitals, making sure she was getting the necessary vitamins and minerals, and just keeping her going through the myriad of machines that were hooked up to her.
Myself and my wife were pretty scared through the whole ordeal, and it’s a pretty scary situation to be in when you don’t know whether or not your child will make it through another night. There was a lot of sleeplessness, sitting there beside her little incubator looking crib, and watching all these machines responsible for allowing her another breath. We felt helpless, there was so much we wanted to do, but there was nothing we could. So we sat and talked to her, and we shared the dreams we had for her, and prayed for the strength for all of us to endure. And slowly, over time, we did.
After the first few weeks inside the machines, she began to have her own movements, her own awareness. She could raise her arms and legs, and grab onto things with small and still weak hands, but she was making improvement. The eyes would stay open a little longer, and the cries would have a little more strength to them. We used to joke that we were the only parents out there who loved to hear our baby crying. But through it all, there was still something that seemed a little off. She was still a little, confused looking. And it can be easy to chalk that up to a baby seeing the world for the first time, but it was a little more than that. Which is when the doctor’s hit us with the news that her brain was underdeveloped. She would have some disadvantage growing up, such as learning and other things that required a lot of brain activity. It was part of what pushed us into our major changes.