Actually, that picture was taken a little over a week after Sydney's precipitous, premature birth. We didn't bring a camera on that quickie weekend road trip to visit some of Matt's relatives, and it simply never occurred to me to ask Matt's extended family for a camera so that I could take photos of our unexpected baby girl.
Some dear friends of ours drove ten hours to bring us some things from home, using a house key that Matt overnighted to them the day that Sydney was born, digging around in our basement for the Rubbermaid bins of baby clothes that I hadn't even begun to sort through. When they stopped by to visit us, they brought their camera! It was the kindest, most thoughtful, most generous thing that's ever been done for me.
Sydney took a turn for the better right before our friends arrived (oh, the turns that a preemie will take! Better, then worse, then better, then much worse...I was terrified to leave her alone), so they didn't have to see the CPAP that took up her whole face, and in this photo you can't see the needles stuck in her body or the wires glued all over her. I regret not having photos of my labor to show her now, but I don't miss having those first days of her life on film--having the memories haunts me enough.
five and a half years later
Is it indulgent to have a surprise half-birthday party for a five-and-a-half-year-old? Sure.
Is she worth every simple pleasure, every indulgent little surprise, five and a half years after she needed a machine to help her breathe, and a tube down her throat to feed her, and a team of neonatologists to treat her, and a $200,000, three-week NICU stay?
Oh, you bet she is. I'd give that kid a flying pink unicorn for her half-birthday, if only I could get my hands on one, I'm so thankful to have her.
Today is World Prematurity Day. Who are you thankful to have?