Life isn’t fair.
On Christmas Day, an acquaintance gave birth to twin boys – so obviously I was immediately partial. Then I learned her precious gifts were initially scheduled to arrive in the Easter Bunny’s basket instead of Santa’s sleigh. They were 24 weeks gestation – the minimum considered to be viable outside of the womb.
My friend called her little miracles “the pirates.” Having seen preemies encased in wires and tubes, I can see where the pirate reference came about as they work to pillage and plunder the NICU supplies in their never-ending quest for health. A captive on the roiling waters of emotion, when they were well she was a peace but when her little ones were struggling she was in the deepest of despair.
She was not able to hold her sons for the first time until they were almost two months old. Like all preemie parents, life was a constant prayer for the journey home.
Her boys were fighters – fitting for her little pirates. One pirate is now almost five pounds, and he has been through the ringer with infections and setbacks. Did you know that five pounds is the standard for “normal.” Car seats are rated from 5-40 pounds. Newborn clothing is sized 5-8 pounds.
Sadly, the five-pound pirate’s brother buccaneer fought as long as he could. At only 75 days old, the baby buccaneer said goodbye to this world. The muppets came home after 73 days. Our lives were just beginning as this family became forever changed. Both pirates elicited many smiles and warmed all hearts touched by them.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a muppet. The family must now try to heal and figure out where to go from here. Fellow friends shared that they are handling the situation well – far better than I think I could. But perhaps it is the primal parental instincts to put your own heartbreak behind you and celebrate the five-pound pirate’s ongoing victories while continuing to honor their fallen buccaneer.
I imagine that the buccaneer will look over his brother, providing support from above as the pirate carries on the fight for his life. I know that he will forever be a shadow, standing behind his brother. Twins are siblings with a very special connection. The pirate will always know he has his own personal guardian angel standing beside him.
Prematurity is rough. Too many babies are born too soon. And my heart breaks for those who say goodbye even sooner.
At the start of the new year, I told you about our upcoming March of Dimes walk (team: March with the Muppets). This event raises money in support of programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. And it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies. Please join us. Show your support of the muppets, the little pirates and any babies who need this research so no twin will have to say a premature farewell to a life not yet lived.
Join our Team
Officially join our team at http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/MarchWithTheMuppets