[Trigger Warning: This story is about a micro-premmie twin birth and loss.]
I am strong because I knew, at 26 weeks, I needed to go to the hospital despite not feeling a single contraction. When the doctor told me I was 9cm, baby a was stuck in my birth canal, and we needed to get to the OR immediately, I panicked, and went into absolute hysterics. But I’m strong because when the anesthesiologist told me I had to be strong for my babies because they could sense my fear, I immediately calmed myself.
I’m strong because two days after an emergency c-section, I rode 80 miles to be with my girls, despite the pain. I am strong because they showed me an unimaginable strength. Their will to survive was awe inspiring, even with tubes, wires, and a ventilator, they fought.
I am strong because, at 11 days old, our baby B, Alexandra, contracted NEC, and we had to make the unthinkable decision to take her off life support. I am strong because my fiance and I held her and each other for hours, singing to her, loving her, telling her she was beautiful. I am strong, not because my daughter died, but because, for 11 days, she had lived and fought and showed me exactly the kind of person I wanted to be.
I am strong because we made that trip to the hospital for 97 days, fearing the setbacks, but rejoicing in every gram our surviving twin gained. We watched her go from 1lbs 12 oz to 5lb 14oz. We watched her take out her vent tube, her CPAP machine, and her oxygen cannula, on her own, to keep the nurses on their toes, and to show them that she wasn’t giving up her fight.
I am strong because I pumped for 14 weeks to provide my daughter with the best nutrition I could, and when my breasts stopped responding to the pump, I held my head high, knowing I could still be an amazing mom no matter what Samantha ate. I’m strong because I had dreamed about the amazing experience of a natural twin birth, tandem nursing twins, and all the things I would do with them, but I overcame the overwhelming depression and post traumatic stress when things didn’t happen that way.
I am strong because on day 97, I carried my baby out of that hospital knowing she would need a ton of attention and care, knowing that her extreme prematurity may have caused irreversible damage, but giving thanks to a higher power that I could bring her home at all.
I am not always strong, but I am always finding strength in my weaknesses. I am strong because of the fact that I was and am humbled by the absolute strength and determination of two tiny little girls weighing less than 2 lbs a piece. I am strong because I want to be, so that I can be the best mother and person possible for my two living daughters and my angel baby.