Wednesday, December 13, 2006

NICU Reunion

Every year, our NICU hosts a reunion. I always look forward to the party. We get to see some of the staff members we grew to know and love while in NICU. Plus, I get to see the beautiful miracles that make each family so happy. Tonight, we attended the reunion again. Grace and Meghan seemed to have fun all dressed up in their Christmas dresses completed by jingle bell hair bands.

When we signed into the party, nurse Debbie, who cared for both Grace and Meghan, greeted us. We always love seeing her since she was the lead nurse for both our girls when they were sent to the "feeder-grower" unit. We love her for getting our kids off to a great start and for helping us as new parents find the strength and courage to take our preemies home without freaking out.

The actual NICU reunion party is usually crowded with parents and children waiting to visit Santa, who happens to be Grace's neonatologist. We love knowing that behind that beard is the face of a man who cared so much for our first born. He also was a saavy enough doctor to know that something wasn't quite right with Grace's liver. He eventually got us in touch with a specialist who diagnosed Grace's genetic disorder.

In any case, I also enjoy meeting other parents of preemies. We are often in a silent club with little space to voice our experiences to our friends and families inexperienced with NICU. Tonight, I met two mothers who I hadn't met before. Guess what?

They both had preeclampsia. One mom had a 27 weeker born weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces, and the other mom had a 34 weeker weighing 3 pounds, 9 ounces. As I spoke to the moms, they both shared how they had sudden onset swelling and that their blood pressure was stroke worthy. One of the moms had even lost her vision for a few months like I had.

So even though these moms were complete strangers to me, we shared a lot in common:
* Preeclampsia
* Motherhood

Even though we lost out on a normal pregnancy experience, we also gained from the preeclampsia journey. We gained our beautiful miracles.

So, here is to the strangers I met tonight, my fellow preeclampsia survivors. May your trip through motherhood be full of enlightenment and support from those you love.