child is graduating pre-school this spring. Next year, he'll be entering Kindergarten. I know, I know. You're thinking, "Your baby is growing up!" Most moms get teary at this revelation. In fact, the other moms in
my son's class gets glassy-eyed when we talk about the end of pre-school. Especially those moms, like me, whose youngest child is the upcoming pre-school graduate.
I get it: Time
is going too fast, those baby years are behind me, and I'll never smell that
baby smell again.
But you know
what? I'm happy about that. I'm ready for my son to start the next phase of his
life. While every other mother will be crying at this year's pre-school
graduation, I'll be the only one who isn't.
Both of my kids
were preemies. I went into preterm labor with my first son at 32 weeks, giving
birth to him at 34 weeks. He spent 12 terrifying days in the NICU before
coming home. And the one
who's graduating this year? I went into preterm labor with him at 28 weeks. The
first neonatal doctor I met with, after I was admitted to the hospital, did an
exam and told me, "There's a chance he
might be able to go to college."
I didn't even understand what he was saying to me. Of course he would go to college. My husband and I both graduated
from college—and from graduate school to boot. Why would there be a question about
whether or not our kid would follow our path?
The uncertainty, the waiting, the fears that kept me up throughout the night. Doctors weren't sure if my baby would live and, if he did, they didn't expect him to have a normal life.
So my husband explained it to me: The doctor was telling me that our
child would have some sort of disability. But, depending on how long I could
forestall labor, I might pass a developmental milestone or two, and there was a
chance our child could live a normal life.
I spent three
weeks in the hospital on bedrest, unable to sit up fully in the hospital bed for fear of bringing on labor. It was the scariest time of my entire life. The
uncertainty, the waiting, the fears that kept me up throughout the night.
Doctors weren't sure if my baby would live and, if he did, they didn't expect
him to have a normal life.
He could be brain-damaged, he could be blind, he
could be deaf.
I gave birth at
31 weeks, and my son was immediately shuttled off to the NICU. He spent the
first 33 days of his life in a plastic bassinet, in a room filled with other