Few people understood the complicated feelings I had about having a baby after delivering a premature baby the first time around as well as my friend JessieLeigh, who also delivered a little girl more than 16 weeks early. Please welcome her as she shares a bit of what she has learned about parenting, preemies and leaps of faith.
Giving birth at less than twenty-four weeks pregnant was arguably the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Do you know what was almost as scary, though?
Deciding to go ahead and have another baby after having given birth at less than twenty-four weeks gestation.
When our second child arrived so terrifyingly early, I remember, vividly, thinking to myself, “Well, I guess I’ll probably only have two children, then.” I wasn’t sure if our tiny preemie would even survive, but, if she did, I couldn’t fathom risking another pregnancy. And, frankly, when all the tests came back inconclusive and they labeled the birth “prematurity/unknown causes,” I felt even more lost. If you don’t know what caused it, it’s very hard to keep it from happening again.
Three years went by and that baby girl born so early grew and thrived. There were challenges, of course, but we felt so very lucky and blessed to have two little ones happily playing side-by-side.
And then we learned there was to be a third little one.
I call my pregnancy with our youngest our “leap of faith.” We were thrilled to be expecting another sweet baby. We loved the idea of welcoming another little life into our family. We knew we could handle less-than-ideal birth circumstances–if a hundred-night NICU stay doesn’t put things in perspective, I’m not sure what would.
But all of that didn’t mean we weren’t scared.
It was terrifying to enter into those “twenties” weeks of the pregnancy. I counted my blessings and held my breath as we crept past the twenty-four week mark. I had to trust that, no matter how the pregnancy played out, it would be okay. I had to believe that it was all part of a greater plan and that, as long as I did my part in staying healthy and taking proper precautions, we could, indeed, have a happy ending.
Just past the thirty-seventh week, we welcomed another baby girl into our lives. Our leap of faith had been more than worth it–she is pure joy, even at four years old, now.
I’d like to say that was the only leap of faith we’ve been asked to make in this journey of parenting…but that would be untrue.
- When we let go of little hands and let them toddle off, it’s a leap of faith.
- When we leave them for the first time with a sitter or a daycare or a teacher or even Grandma, it’s a leap of faith.
- When we try to ignore all the charts and lists and “should be doings” and just watch our little ones grow, it’s a leap of faith.
- When we let go and watch them head off to play with other children who might turn into great friends or might end up hurting their feelings, it’s a leap of faith.
- Every time we kiss our kids and wave them off on the bus, it’s a leap of faith. Living in the next town over from Sandy Hook taught me that one…
The truth is…this parenting gig? It’s a never-ending series of leaps of faith. Some are huge. Some seem minor. But all along the way, we’re asked to put our own worries and fears aside and to let these little people grow and blossom.
Sometimes it feels safer to cling to the edge, safe from the fall.
But, eventually we all learn…it is in the leaping that we experience the full beauty.
A mother of three, including a 24-week preemie, JessieLeigh is a determined advocate for even the tiniest of babies. She can be found celebrating life’s (sometimes unexpected) miracles and blessings at Parenting Miracles.