A Perfect Miracle

As I readied myself for bed last night, watching Robin feed Avery I was reminded of how much we all take for granted every day. When Maddie was born she was a strapping eight pounder. And despite the fact that she had to stay in the hospital for an extra two days due to jaundice, she was very strong from the beginning. When Robin got pregnant I told her to prepare for our baby to be the same way. Then, when we learned that we were having twins, I told her that we were in for double the trouble. But life has a way of throwing curve balls sometimes.

I never thought that I would be the father dealing with micro-preemie daughters and I wish that I had never had to learn many of the terms and procedures that I now know. I was always one that heard the stories and felt bad for those that were enduring the pain, but never imagined that it would happen to me. I wish that it never had. I wish that Robin had not gone into premature labor. I wish that the doctors had been able to stall the labor after it started. I wish that we had not lost Sienna. I wish that Avery had not been through so much. I wish, I wish, I wish. But as my Dad once told me, “you can wish in one hand and spit in the other and then tell me which one fills up the fastest.”

But as I watched the baby nursing I was also reminded of the miracles of the situation. As I wrote before, we were told right before we lost Sienna that we were also going to lose Avery. We were told that she would never have ANY quality of life and that she would NEVER have any normal motor function. It was recommended that we discontinue support.

Unfortunately we did have to make that decision with Sienna. Neither of us has ever shared that on this site and we’ve only told a few people in our real lives. We had watched her little body swell for days due to the lack of urine output, and when it finally got to the point that the nurse told us that she was at the highest dose of pain reliever that was possible, and she was still writhing in pain, that was when we decided that we could not allow her to suffer any longer. I have to remind myself daily, though, that WE did not actually make the decision, all we did was stop her suffering by allowing her to go peacefully.

But looking at Avery we just always had a different feeling. She seemed much stronger and she has continued to prove the NICU staff wrong. She takes all of her feedings by mouth, something we were told would not be possible (and something that our home nurse said surprises her). Avery clearly expresses herself when she is hungry and she sucks on her fingers to pacify herself, both of which I plainly remember being told she would never do. She reaches for things, mainly her mommy or me when she feels like she is going to be dropped. On occassion she rolls over. And during her exercise times I have seen her, more than once, push herself along the floor.

So, as I laid myself down I whispered to Avery that if I could be offered a deal that would erase all of the pain of the past six months, but would also not have her, I would refuse that deal. I then kissed Avery and Robin and I said the first thing that came to my mind. A Perfect Miracle.

Avery hugging her bear.

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9 Responses to A Perfect Miracle

  1. Lily says:

    A perfect miracle indeed–Days will come when all that will be behind you, these little miracles grow so fast…Soon we will be celebrating birthdays…then first day at school! Can only wish you blessings upon blessings to wonderful parents who deserve it soo much!
    Love from Kalela, mum & Dad.

  2. This is such a beautiful post – you constantly bring me to tears with your amazing insight & the lessons you continue to teach us. You are all remarkable and an inspiration to us all. Avery will continue to surprise us all but as I have said before, it’s in the genes. God Bless you all.

  3. Mary says:

    What a beautiful child Avery is and what a wonderful story that you share with us. Thank you for allowing us to follow your miraculous experience through these posts. May God Bless your family always.

  4. Indeed! Avery continues to be an inspiration – as do you and Robin as parents. I still can’t wait to meet her in person, and have her and Andrew play together!

    You did exactly what Sienna needed, the most selfless thing a parent could do which is stop her suffering (while increasing yours). I still think about her all the time – she is not forgotten, my friend.

    I miss you all!

  5. Erin Curran says:

    So happy for you! This post made me think of how “there are no guarantees in life,” and with a preemie, sometimes that’s a good thing! There’s no guarantee that they won’t have x, y, z issue(s) but there’s also no guarantee that they WILL… even when the statistics say it’s likely. I have seen the latter to be very true with my former 26-weeker. Keep on believing in her (as you clearly always have) and prepare for more amazement!!!
    Best to you!

  6. Melissa O'Leary says:

    I’m so pleased to hear your family is together & healthy. I’ve thought of you guys a lot over the last couple months. I hope you remember me…the mom of the O’Leary triplet boys from the NICU. I would love to talk to you as we’ve also had some major changes in our lives since we last saw you in early Nov right before Nolan was D/C’d (our last boy to go home). Either way, so so so happy for you all. Looking forward to talking soon. Email: melissacookoleary@gmail.com or #(703) 343-6838. Congratulations! What a journey its’ been.

  7. Danielle says:

    Your post so closely aligns with mine yesterday – we do so often take too much for granted. I see your calling as one of sharing (as you are doing) to help others recognize the blessings in their lives and allow them not to focus on what they don’t have, but rather on the blessings they do have. Very few are able to walk in each other shoes, but I can tell from the posts of your family and friends that they are carrying you on their shoulders. They are lifting you up. Let them. They want to and it brings them purpose. And several times over the last few months there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. And most of all, keep Faith that Avery will prove everyone wrong and continue to beat the odds. You are driving her success – don’t ever lose sight of how much she loves you for that.

    Love and prayers…

  8. Shasta Brown says:

    I honestly believe that as parents of preemies, sometimes we are the only ones to believe in our preemie kids. Doctors and nurses have to tell us what to expect, even if it is horrible. I believe we have more faith that our kids will do a lot better than what the doctors and nurses think they will do. The word ‘miracle’ is so often taken for granted but I have seen miracle after miracle after miracle as I meet and become friends with parents of preemies. My boys were born at 27 weeks and they continue to amaze me today (14 months later). They are almost walking now and I just can’t believe how far they have come. My oldest daughter was born dead and every time I tell a doctor or nurse that, their jaw drops and they all ask, “Is there anything wrong with her?’ The answer is no. The answer is that all of these preemies will always continue to amaze us, they have more courage than I do.
    I have followed your blog for a really long time now and I must say, Avie continues to amaze everyone. She is so strong and so courageous. You 2 are also strong for having gone through everything you have been through. It makes me smile to see pictures of all you together. Keep up the great work.

  9. Jen says:

    WOW… so well put!! Funny how we learn WAY more from our kids then they learn from us… that is for sure.

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