Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Borrowed Week

Dear Ellie,

Every month we've spent in the NICU feels like an eon.  Thinking back to the beginning is like looking back at some prior life.  But sometimes I'll see some object near labor and delivery and I'll remember the first night we came to the hospital, back when you were only 22 weeks in utero.  At those moments, I'm in disbelief that you are here at all.

I read a blog today about a mother and father who weren't as lucky as us.  The mother arrived at the hospital in January like we did and her twins were the same gestation as you were: 22 weeks.  She and your mother were both told that their pregnancies probably wouldn't last much longer.  Her twins were born at 22.5 weeks.  You were born at 24.  I'm not sure if their blog will still be live when you read this, but its a frightening illustration of what could have, or perhaps should have, happened to you.  I think about that week and a half between your birth and their's and it seems like a miniscule span of time.  All those twins needed were nine more days and they'd have had a chance to live, like you.    

It's bizarre to consider how valuable nine days can be when I think back on how many cheap weeks of my life I can't even remember.  I wonder why I can't offer each of those little twins at least one of them.  It was, after all, just a few stolen days that buoyed you to viability.  How arbitrary it all seems.  It makes me recognize how flimsy the barrier between life and death really is.

You seem so tiny and vulnerable when I think of it this way, and again feel like like some phantom in my arms.  That if I don't hold you close enough, if I were to even blink, some tiny thing in the past could shift out of place--- some borrowed week will be returned--- and then you'll disappear.


  1. I had to hold back tears reading this. You captured the area of viability so perfectly. Thank you for writing this. Today is Conner and Benjamin's 3 month birthday, and we're still one month away from their due date. We're buying them new books today to read to them tonight, hoping they can hear us. I am just happy that there are babies, including your little Ellie, that do make it to 24 weeks. Thank you for sharing your journey as well as hers.

  2. Krystal, thank you for commenting. I hope it was okay that I cited your blog. Reading your story and watching the very thing I had imagined and feared unfolding for someone else was very difficult. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you both of you. I sincerely hope that you and your husband achieve the family you deserve.

    1. Of course it was okay that you cited the blog. One of the reasons I started the blog was to make people aware of what is happening to babies everyday. Thank you for your kind words.