I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks thinking about my twin’s due date as we are planning their first birthday party. I used to think about how they should have been born with a diamond birth stone, in the beautiful spring time New England weather and about triple their birth weight. I used to obsess about how we should have spent a couple of days in the hospital instead of a couple of months. I used to focus on how we missed so many of those typical firsts- like holding your baby the day that they are born or feeding them in their first hours of life. I think about how much more enjoyable my maternity leave would have been with full-term babies instead of taking home babies that should have still been inside me for another month. It’s taken a lot of time and energy to move passed all that but I think I have.
Now, I think about how I should just be able to say their age instead of their birth age and corrected age. I think about how I should be able to help my children achieve milestones instead of needing Doctors, Nurses, Occupational Therapists and Early Intervention Specialists to help us achieve the next step in their development. I think about how I wish I didn’t have to follow up each developmental question from family, friends and strangers like “Do they walk yet?” with “No, they don’t walk because they were born three months early and are really only 11 months now.” I think about how I wish Grace could just eat solid food without vomiting or crawl across the floor or stand on her own. I dwell on how eventually they may be judged or even made fun of for being behind or not being able to do certain things. I’ve spent a lot of time focused on it and I worry about it all the time. After all, I am a mother.
Today, Cole and Grace should be turning one and instead, they will be fifteen months next week on May 1st. Sometimes, that is still really hard for me to comprehend. I often still have to remind myself that they are three months younger than they truly are, as I see other children younger than they are hitting their next milestone. I also need to remind myself that children do things in their own time, not according to what’s “normal” or “on the curve.”
Most importantly, I need to continue to remind myself that my babies started at a huge disadvantage and have fought tooth and nail to get to where they are. Grace is eight times her birth weight and Cole is about seven times his birth weight… something most kids don’t do until their like ten J. They spent two months in an isolette laying on their back which weakened their muscles. Both struggled with severe reflux which made it impossible to lay them on their stomachs to develop their strength. They have had more shots and blood draws than they ever deserve. They have overcome so much in their first year… more than most babies should ever have to.
They have also done this with a smile on their faces. They are happy, beautiful, resilient human beings. They are a joy in our house. They are little marvels that have defied the odds. To Grace and Cole- Happy Due Date. I am so happy and proud to be your mother. I am also so in awe of watching you for the past fifteen months, especially during those three months where you were out in this world instead of inside me. It has been a privilege watching you learn and grow. You are our miracles and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings!