“A big part of me feels like my fear of losing myself in becoming a mom is already coming true. When Oaklee’s awake, I feel guilty trying to get things done. I feel like she’s too fragile to take anywhere, and I’m scared out of my mind to really do that on my own anyway…”
Kevin and I celebrated three years of marriage on the 13th of September. It should not come as a surprise that our third year was our most challenging year. While it was challenging, there was no time for our marriage to suffer – we both knew there was a greater cause to attribute our energy to. But still, I will note that I can see how experiences like ours can make or break a marriage.
In our third year of marriage, our first big decision was to start a family. Our second big decision was to sign for full resuscitation of our baby at 23 weeks. Our third big decision was to get our baby home as soon as possible, come hell or high water. And then all along the way, we had the tiny, daily decisions too. We chose to find humor in some of our worst moments. We chose to celebrate small victories. We chose to focus on goals instead of obstacles.
I can’t tell you there’s a special formula to make your marriage flourish through even the worst of times – I wouldn’t even say ours flourished – but I can tell you that when you have to go through something big, something scary, something that doesn’t even seem real together, you’ll be the better for choosing daily to love your spouse.
So on the 13th, Kevin took the day off work and we ventured out to celebrate with a morning date between our versions of Oaklee’s “Care Times”. We grabbed coffee and blueberry donuts and headed to the beach just to see Lake Michigan one time in our crazy 2017.
I had imagined that on this day I would be nearing the end of my pregnancy. I’d imagined my husband, my almost 9 month pregnant belly and me snuggling on our couch and dreaming of the changes we would be facing when baby girl made her appearance any day now.
Instead, our days were that of new parents adjusting to having brought their first child home. Still, it wasn’t the go-with-the-flow, try-everything-until-something-works process I thought even that phase would be. We approached Oaklee’s schedule and care with rigidity. For crying out loud, I already mentioned we essentially still did Care Times. Every three hours I’d pump, we’d change Oaklee’s diaper and we’d give her a bottle – one that was explicitly measured to the exact amount we’d been told she should be taking. I think we were one step away from taking her temperature at our Care Times.
Our adjustment to home life was nowhere near fluid. We’d lived so long in a world where statistics dictated the care of our baby that we didn’t know how to care for our baby without them.
But still, this day was so sweet. We celebrated three years of marriage, and we got to do so with the person we both love most. We could have still been pregnant, sure, but also could have still been spending our days in the NICU or, worse, we could have still been mourning a loss.
Oh September… you’re sweet.
In the stats:
Birth weight: 2lb, 12oz
Last known weight: 6lb 9oz (9.5.17)
Gestational age: 38 weeks, 4 days
Actual age: 10 weeks, 6 days
Days in the hospital: 69
Days home: 8
Appointments since home: 2