Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
I am the proud father of a child born prematurely. My wife was forced to deliver at 32 Weeks and 6 days after the artery blood flow in the umbilical cord became diastolic, meaning the flow was starting and stopping. On top of the direness of the situation, I was stuck at work for almost an hour until I could leave for the hospital. I arrived just minutes after my son was born. It was the scariest day of my life. But what might surprise you is that it was also the most wonderful day of my life. I remember the moment I saw him being wheeled out of surgery in an incubator. Tiny and fragile, he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I wept tears of joy. Even full of anxiety and uncertainty, becoming a father has been the single greatest moment of my life.
It's been a little over three years since that fateful day. How I have grown as a dad, as a husband, and as a person is flabbergasting. But not in the way you might think. You see, the experiences I have had in and after the NICU have molded me, but in no way do they define me. Believe it or not there is a distinct difference between to two. First of all, my son, my wife and I are not victims. We do not seek pity from others, nor do most NICU parents. The NICU is not a reason to set the bar incredibly low. While speech and developmental delays are a very tangible obstacle we are dealing with, we meet it head on every day. When people ask how my son is doing, I beam with pride, and why shouldn't I? He has already overcome so much!
When my son is old enough to truly understand the gravity of his early birth, it will not be used as an excuse for shortcomings. His grasp of his story can and will be used as a tool to remind him he can overcome any adversity he stumbles upon. Moreover, every day he will know he has the ability to make conscious decisions on attitude, drive, and accountability. He will understand the importance of hope, gratitude, and most importantly, love. Because we as his parents make a choice every day to mold him that way.
Being the parent of a preemie hasn't defined the person you see today. But I am blessed to know it has molded the father/husband/man I am and strive to be in the future.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Thursday, August 1, 2013
By Meghan Langan-
The theme for my youngest son’s conception, pregnancy, birth, and early infancy was, “It could have been worse”. After struggling to get pregnant, my husband and I suffered a miscarriage. My husband, an officer in the Air Force, was scheduled to deploy and we decided we had no time to lose and sought out professional help. My son’s conception was expensive and painful at times, but after only two rounds of the least invasive procedures I ended up pregnant again. We were so thankful and realized that it could have been worse.
My husband left for his deployment shortly after my first trimester which was filled with bleeding and worry. We didn’t plan on his return until a month after my due date. My older son and I stayed put at our current assignment until we got the bad news at 21 weeks. I had placenta previa which would most likely mean an early delivery by c-section with possible bed rest. And so, alone, I made preparations for the worst. Our families helped my oldest son and I move back home into my parent’s spare bedrooms in Illinois. I was a stay at home mom in a financially stable position with a family that lovingly took us in. It could have been worse!
At 31 weeks I had my first episode of bleeding from the placentaprevia. It was a minor bleed and I was put on “princess bed rest” at home. My mother found an amazing daycare for my son and her front door was a revolving door of family helping take care of my son and me. It could have been worse!
My husband’s commanders understood the delicate nature of our situation and arranged for him to come home early. A week after I went on bed rest my husband came home. I could not relocate back to our station with him and after two short weeks he had to leave us with my parents and go back to our home in Alabama. His plane touched down 12 hours before I hemorrhaged. At 34 weeks I delivered our youngest son, Nathaniel, via emergency c-section. My husband’s plane back to Illinois landed one hour after his delivery. We were overjoyed that I had made it to 34 weeks and my husband was home much earlier than we had ever anticipated when this journey started. It could have been worse!
Our son’s NICU stay was 17 days long. He had some breathing troubles and needed to learn to eat.
My mom’s house, were we were still residing, was 45 minutes away and I could not drive. My husband’s unit arranged for him to be on sick leave, allowing us to be at our son’s bedside every day, all day, and by my breast pump all night. My son experienced only a few minor setbacks and was released from the hospital with a great prognosis. It brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about how fortunate we were because it could have been so much worse.
The man I picked to be my partner and father to my children could not have been better. Every time I fell apart, he reminded me why we had to be strong. Every time I thought we should quit, he pressed on for me. From across the globe he still managed to be the glue our family needed. I hope to never repeat our experience with Nathaniel’s early story, but if I do, he’s the only man I want by my side. After all, he is the one who taught me that it could have been worse.