Well, today is National Fight for Preemies day and I joined last week to blog today. I've spent a lot of time figuring out what I should write about. And today, on what would have been 32 weeks and my main goal when all of this first began, it struck me how our perspective changes based on things that go on around us. Sometimes, this can be for the better. Sometimes not. It really depends on our choice.
For instance, now at 3 lbs, we look at Elisa and think of how BIG she is. I look at full term babies and think of how gigantic they are compared to Elisa. To me, she's become just the right size. I don't see her as little anymore. I don't see her as a "preemie" and I won't label her as one. She may have issues when she gets older because of her prematurity, but I will not allow the circumstances of her early birth to be the definition of who she is. She's just mine, and she's gorgeous.
While trying to figure out what to write for this, I ran across a lot of stories of preemies who were born around the same gestation as Elisa or later. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a success story, only heartbreak. One died after 11 weeks. Another ended up with lifelong issues that will never allow him to grow up. Now, both of these parents decided to use this tragedy to spread awareness and to fight for preemies. But what about those preemies, like mine? Who are perfectly healthy, just early. Where is the hope stories for her, the success stories? My heart breaks for these families and I am in awe of their amazing attitude and desire to turn their heart break into a positive. But I would like to see, and hear, about those babies who were born early but grew up to live normal lives.
I guess that's where I differ from a lot of people. I can't focus everything on the negative. I have to believe that God has something for me out of this. Which is actually a change for me, as I used to always err on the side of "safety" and assume the worst, rather than hope for the best. I had a choice to choose my perspective. I probably have many reasons to be mad at God and rail at Him for where I am now. After all, all I wanted was a normal pregnancy and a healthy child. Instead I got two failed pregnancies and a preemie - born in a city thousands of miles away from home and a forced long separation from Andrew. We missed all the exciting times of bringing a new child into this world. The celebrations, the flurry of activity when it's "time." And I won't say I haven't had many arguments with God about all of this. I've screamed, I've yelled, I've questioned. But in the end, I only come to one conclusion. I can stay angry at God or I can see the best in this. And you know what I see? I see a pregnancy that lasted 3 weeks longer than it should have, thanks to the skill of the medical staff here. I see a healthy 29 week baby, who acted more like a 32+ weeker at birth. I see excellent medical care for my baby. God performed more than one miracle in my life since I've been out here. And through it all, my perspective has changed.
In the end, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that Elisa is healthy. I'm thankful that I ended up in Phoenix. I'm thankful that I have the option of continuing to work while she's in the NICU. I'm thankful for a job that has worked with me throughout these last challenging weeks. I'm thankful for a spouse who dropped everything when it was necessary to come to me. I'm thankful for a family who also dropped everything to be a support for me when Andrew had to return home. I'm thankful for new friendships who graciously offered support and a roof over my head.
It could have been so different. She could have been sick. But she wasn't.