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Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30th

Every day for the last three months I have had some version of the following conversation with someone:

Them: How's Josh?
Me: <insert latest details>
Them: Great! Any idea when he's coming home?
Me: Hopefully somewhere around his due date!
Them: If not before!
(And then we would high five each other.)

But when May came along, that conversation changed. My answer was no longer so confident. We knew Josh most likely wouldn't be home by his due date. No one could say for sure but it was fairly obvious.

And just like that, May 30th didn't matter to me anymore. I still counted how many weeks Josh was and the doctors used that to set goals for him. But May 30th, a day I had been waiting for since September, wasn't important. It was just another day. 

So today when I woke up and remembered the date, I was surprised to realize how sad I was. I didn't expect to be sad. I've known for weeks that May 30th didn't mean anything anymore. But I guess a part of me still held out a little hope. I thought maybe I would arrive at the NICU and the nurses would tell me that a miracle had happened and Josh was totally ready to leave. That is so ridiculous that I'm embarrassed I even thought it. But I couldn't help it.

When Josh was born and the doctor was telling us the game plan, I kept thinking, "We just have to make it to the end of May." I counted out the days - 97. 97 days and we could pretend this never happened. Now May 30th is here, and Joshua is definitely not going home, and I'm kind of at a loss. What do I hope for now? Do I keep counting days? How much longer will I sit in that NICU day after day after day, waiting to hear the doctors say when we can leave?

A lot of people want to remind me how far Josh has come. Do me a favor and don't. I don't want to be rude and I sincerely appreciate all of the encouragement; I truly do. I know how far he's come. I of all people have seen the immense progress and the incredible steps my little micro-preemie has taken and I am so proud of him. He's done an amazing job.

But I just want him home.

I have been wearing my "I'm a Mom!" button every day for 97 days. If I leave my button at home my mistake, I get another one at the NICU. I wear it because I like it and I am proud to be a mom. But I also know that if I don't wear it, no one will know I'm a mom. I don't have a baby with me; I'm not carrying a car seat or pushing a stroller; I don't even have baby things in my diaper bag yet. No one would know I'm a mom without talking to me. That makes me sad. Josh has never even seen his room. He's never seen all the toys I have for him or the funny frog towel my sister gave him. I know he will. I just don't know when. 

May 30th is a bittersweet day for me. I'm so proud of Joshua and all that he has accomplished. And it breaks my heart every single day when I have to leave him behind. So I guess I'll just wait for today to be over and see how May 31st goes.


  1. You are beautiful, inside and out. And I hope today can be a good day. And tomorrow. And all the days to come. When noobs post about "woman power" I want to tell them to take a look at you and all you have kept faith through, because THAT is the power of women, not just saying congrats or making each other feel special. It's your innate ability to smile and progress and nurture even when faced with opposition. Hear you roar.

  2. If I had to guess, saying "look how far he's come" falls into the same category as telling a woman who is disappointed by a cesarean, "well at least the baby is healthy". People don't know WHAT to say because they're not sure why, exactly, you're upset, so they say the first thing that comes to mind that sounds comforting. And since you can't look well-meaning people in the face and say, "I hate it when you say that", they think they actually helped. The fact of the matter is that he HAS come a long way--but I'd imagine it would be very hard to look back along the path you've traveled when the finish line is so tantalizingly close--and yet so unreachable.

    I've been walking back and forth to my kitchen for half an hour trying to decide if I wanted to share this part or not. I'm gonna go for it :) Three years before Josh was born (on Feb, 22, 2010), my friend April became a mommy. Her son Noah was 27 weeks, but due to a placental issue related to an implantation problem, he was about 4 weeks behind developmentally. When they attempted to intubate him, they punctured one of his tiny little lungs, and he was so small there was nothing they could do to help him. He went to be with the Lord when he was just 2 1/2 hours old. And every year I wish Noah a happy birthday, and I wish April a happy mother's day. She is a beautiful mother. You do not stop being a mother when your baby is not with you. It is hard, when you want everybody to see this beautiful little person you created, but you are no. less. a. mother. There are 1400 people online who know you are a mom. And most of all, Joshua knows you are a mom, and you are the person he wants most of all. You've faced challenges that most moms can't even fathom, and you've met them beautifully. Every stranger in the street should give you a high five because you deserve one, lady (except, of course, that would expose your preemie to an incredible number of germs!).

    P.S. I told April about Joshua back when he was a few weeks old. She asked, in a hushed voice, if he was still alive. I said yes, and then admitted I wished he had been born on any possible day except Noah's birthday. She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "no, I think it's kind of perfect". Just like your little guy is kind of perfect :)

  3. A big hug to you and your baby.