Ask any parent of a baby born WAY too early and they'll tell you-
It's a roller coaster ride... the doctors, nurses, and other parents warn you about that. Three steps forward, two steps back. Four steps forward, ten steps back. You want to think it will be different, but we all pretty much ride similar bumpy roads. The entire time you're in the NICU, you know this... you wait for the other shoe to drop.
What no one does tell you is that you don't get to climb off the ride just because you were able to go home. You've signed on to enjoy this wild coaster for the rest of your life.
Now, for some of us, the ride gets much calmer... you get to just slide along, most of the major dips and drops a thing of the past that you remember but don't have to dwell on. It feels more like a carousel now, or a ferris wheel... fun, at times breathtaking, but largely predictable and smooth.
Until a storm arrives and the whole ride changes again.
You go in for a routine check-up and find out something's wrong... or has gotten much worse. A common cold sends you reeling with panic about RSV and how your chronic-lung-disease-child will fight the virus. You get a call from a teacher or therapist and learn there are still more concerns about your child's development... and that it's time to meet with yet another specialist.
The micropreemie roller coaster is a life-long ride... and one with a very pricey ticket.
But it's also one of the most inspiring journeys one can undertake... there is so much to learn, so much to discover, so much awe to be had as we witness these tiny miracles making their marks on the world. And our hearts. So we just hang on.
Note: We did have a recent event in our own lives that helped to inspire this post- more on that another time- but it was mostly written because this is what I hear all the time from other micropreemie parents. I am blessed to have heard from so many of you... hang in there. You're always in my prayers.