To hell with statistics.
The number one question I hear from those familiar with our journey from prematurity through where we are today is, “What are the odds?”
But the truth is – statistics do not matter when you’re living them. All you want is for your child to be ok – whether a 90 percent survival rate or 9.
This week we returned to the doctor for the boys’ high-risk infant follow up clinic. It’s been about a year since we last saw the doctor. That’s right, you read correctly – a medically clear year.
No colds. No wheezing. No pneumonia. No nebulizers. No antibiotics. Not even a broken bone. (Regular followers of this little blog will be seriously impressed by that last one.)
So we headed to our audiology appointment – prepared to fail. Because Search has ninja-like abilities to ignore that which does not interest him. But then something amazing happened. The clinician gave them the “big boy” test. And both little men played along. Mostly.
Therapist: “Show me the school.” <Silence.> “Can you me the school?” <Destroy points at donkey. Therapist points at school picture on page.> “Is that the school?”
Destroy: No. That’s a house.
From there we headed to the hospital for examinations around physical health; cognitive, language and gross/fine motor development; and social-emotional and adaptive behavior.
“Do you have any concerns before we get started?” asked the preemie pediatrician overseeing the process?
“No,” replied Search.
They passed with flying colors. (Ok, technically only the balls and blocks went flying. But they were colored red.)
Search and Destroy have been officially discharged from the follow up program.
Those two 2-pound scrawny versions of Waldorf and Statler, no longer than the length of a standard desk ruler, are now 28 and 33 pounds respectively and just about able to ride the 36’ minimum rides at Disneyland.
The hospital has decreed they will no longer adjust for prematurity. We walked out with smiles, the doctor’s final words ringing loud and proud, “They are doing very well. No signs at this time of any complications of prematurity.”
I had a momentary thought that perhaps it was time to shutter the blog – the chapter was complete. But I quickly remembered it was just that – a chapter. Search and Destroy will always be preemies; there is no switch that simply turns that off.
We are the lucky ones. And it’s with more than a modicum of survivor guilt that I boast while knowing some of the others didn’t come home or still struggle mightily. Every preemie has their own journey – every one is a fighter. To hell with the statistics that make any of them an “other.”
Prematurity has shaped who I am as a person and as a mother. Search and Destroy are my million dollar miracle muppets. And they’re providing plenty of fodder for ongoing tales into the headaches and hilarity involved in raising (not-so) tiny twins.
What are the odds?