Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tough girls

Before I got pregnant with Zoey, I truly wondered how I might love another baby as much as Tera.  Not only was Tera my first child, but because of all her special needs I felt like Tom and I had a bond with her that might not exist with another child.  Enter Zoey at twelve weeks premature.  Maybe the universe was trying to help me out with my fears and gave me another special child; whatever the reason (and believe me, I keep trying to find one), I am reassured that my love for Zoey is completely equal to that for Tera.  I could have done without the equivalent concerns, but apparently I don't get a say in that particular situation.  

We've decided that for many reasons, it would be best if we tried to not go to the hospital at least once a weekend.  This weekend, that meant Saturday.  And while I shouldn't complain because Tom has had to miss several more than me, I had to admit, not seeing her for an entire day for the first time since she's been born was difficult.  I missed being reassured by just seeing her that she's still real and that she's okay.  

When we did go today, I was able to hold her for only the second time in her short little life so far.  It was one of the best hours of my life just feeling her little heart beat against mine, hearing her breathe and feeling her hand against my chest.  But at the end of that hour I had to hand my sweet baby girl to a stranger and leave her and that is one of the hardest things to do.  

When I was home with Tera later, I just kept looking at her and almost crying with the amount of love I felt for her.  She gave me kisses and hugs and a few times I just watched her movements and realized how far she's come.  With all the struggles that she's had, it's much easier to appreciate all the progress she's made and all the work she's put in to it.  

And at some point tonight I realized, my girls are fighters.  They are tough, they are resilient, they defy odds, they surprise everyone around them with their tenacity, and they don't give up.  As I sat with my own mom this morning, crying once again over the situation and the parts of it that are particularly hard to deal with right now, she said that she raised a strong girl, but that didn't mean I couldn't or shouldn't ask for help when I needed it.  And as the day has gone on and as I sit here and write this, I am reminded once again that the women in my family are tough, we are strong, and we are fighters.  We fight to maintain our sanity, we fight to keep our families safe and healthy, we fight for our children, and we fight to survive when seemingly insurmountable challenges are thrown at us.  We don't always do it calmly or without tears, but we do it.

And that is a legacy I am more than happy to have passed on to my own daughters.  I would never choose these lives and these challenges for them.  Do I think it will make them stronger? Probably yes.  But it doesn't mean I wouldn't take away all their struggles if I could.   I would rather Zoey be at home than in that hospital.  I would rather Tera not have to work so incredibly hard to do so many things.  But shit has happened and there is nothing we can do about it but try to accept it and move on. 

It is most definitely not easy.  These past two weeks have been two of the hardest weeks of my life.  But I know that I love my daughters more than I ever thought possible.  And I am reassured that when the doctors and nurses tell me Zoey is feisty, that that quality is serving her well.  It has served her big sister well too; I'm just a little concerned that Tom and I might never be able to sleep again...

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