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Twenty Years Ago Today …

November 17, 2011

Molly and Isaac, June 2011

I look at the number and I can’t believe it: 20. Isaac and Molly are 20 years old today. How can that possibly be? How can it be two decades since that day, that day I remember in such stark detail that it has become part of my DNA. I can’t remember most of yesterday, but I do remember almost every minute of November 17, 1991.

I couldn’t possibly have imagined today back then, but the years, the images of my babies tumble in my mind like a time lapse. I can’t isolate one image from another because they scroll past so quickly. I hear snippets of their voices — as babies, toddlers, school aged children and, now, adults. I can’t figure out how they are this close to adulthood when I still feel so far away from it.

In an amazing example of serendipity, November 17 is also World Prematurity Awareness Day, this year being celebrated globally for the first time, as Africa, Europe and Australia join the United States in the observance. For me, every day is Prematurity Awareness Day. Literally not a day goes by without some image, some story, some memory, some lasting or fleeting impact of that day making its way into my consciousness.

Prematurity awareness is a part of who I am. Ironically, it’s really not a part of who Isaac and Molly are anymore. When I tell their tale to someone who has just met them, it’s hard for newbies to grasp. Ike and Molly are just so … normal. The pictures help bring it home, but unless you knew them then, you can’t imagine how far they have come. But even though they have put most of the trauma and drama behind them, little reminders creep up: an achy scar, organizational issues, unexplained illnesses that may (but probably aren’t) related to their early births.

I suppose it isn’t kosher to say that we “celebrate” Prematurity Awareness Day; I think its politically correct to say we “observe” it. Not me. I celebrate it. I celebrate Isaac and Molly’s birthday on this day. I celebrate the doctors and nurses and specialists who helped save them, and those who have cared for them since. I celebrate the work of The March of Dimes and the researchers that came before November 17, 1991, work that gave us the techniques and technology that preserved their lives. I celebrate the friends and family and strangers who hoped and prayed for them.

But mostly, I celebrate Isaac and Molly, not for who they were or how they started, but because of who they are and all they have given me. Twenty years of wonder. Twenty years of joy. Twenty years of being the luckiest mom in the world.

I hope you’ll celebrate with me. Take a minute to learn more about prematurity and the millions of preemies born this year who still have a long way to go. I hope you’ll remember the brief lives of those who did not survive, because their lives should be celebrated, too. I hope you will spread the word on this World Prematurity Day. Or take a look back at where Ike and Molly started by going back to the beginning of this blog, started one year ago today.

Happy birthday, Isaac and Molly. I can’t wait to share the next 20 years with you.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2011 9:49 pm

    It’s wonderful to see grown preemies. I too have boy/girl twins who were born at 24 weeks (23 wks 5 days to be exact). They are now 19 months old and beating all the odds too. I wish I had found this story of hope and survival when my babies were in the NICU. Our blog is http://www.camdyncade.blogspot.com.

    • November 16, 2011 9:53 pm

      Hi, Michelle. Congratulations on your babies. Back when my twins were born, we didn’t have cell phones, blogs or social networking. I think it must be wonderful to be able to connect with others who understand your experience. Best wishes to your and your babies. I’ll check out your blog.

  2. November 17, 2011 7:43 am

    Zowieeee! Hope you and your family celebrate BIG together. So glad you’ve enlightened me on a part of life that I wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t for your stories.

    BTW, you look maaavalous daa-link .

    Congrats and tell them HAPPY B-DAY.
    Lots to be thankful for!
    S.
    PS One of these days I will make it out of my lair. We must catch up.

    • November 17, 2011 4:46 pm

      You mean in the 20-year-old pictures of me? Hah. Thank you for the good wishes and kind thoughts. Let me lure you out of your lair soon. I’ve been missing you. How goes the book?

  3. November 17, 2011 11:05 am

    Serendipity indeed! I think its okay to celebrate today and show how thankful we are to have healthy children because we are also observing the day for those that have either lost a baby/babies or who struggle everyday because of their prematurity. What beautiful smiles your children – adult children! have. <3

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I just wrote a new post for WPD.

    • November 17, 2011 4:36 pm

      Thanks for your birthday (and World Prematurity Day) wishes, Amber. I look forward to reading your new post.

  4. November 17, 2011 3:29 pm

    Happy birthday to your twins and thank you to you and them for participating in that surfectant study way back in the day which may have helped save my preemie! I am forever grateful to you and them.

    • November 17, 2011 4:35 pm

      Thanks, Mandi. Surfactant has certainly changed the world of preemies. Just a few years before my twins were born, they would not have survived, but because of surfactant, we are still celebrating today. How old is your preemie now?

      • November 17, 2011 6:47 pm

        He is 2 and a half years ~ to look at him now, you’d never know he was a preemie!

      • November 18, 2011 12:28 pm

        I’m glad your son is doing so well. I think the preemie experience helped me appreciated even the most difficult of the “terrible twos”. Good luck to you.

  5. November 17, 2011 11:59 pm

    Happy Birthday to your kids… Loved this post. I am a mother of preemies too. 27 weekers, now 3.5. And I too remember the day of their birth like it was yesterday. Every little bit of those 3 months of their NICU stay is etched in my heart forever. But I am doubly blessed to have them home with me today. Good Luck to your kids :)

    • November 18, 2011 12:27 pm

      Thank you. I’m glad to hear your 27 weekers are doing well. Good luck to all of you, too.

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