This time last year was a place of uncertainty. Full of unknowns. I was afraid that I would go into labor at any given second. That my baby wouldn't pull through her medical crisis. This time last year is a place I keep going to without even trying. But the sight of Anastasia takes me back there before I know it.
I look at my tiny, strong, very serious baby girl.
I think of how many times we came close to loosing her before she was even born. Then about all the times in the NICU where I feared I might not see her again when I left the hospital.
I hear her babble away from the next room. She is my loudest baby by far.
I go back to the time when she was intubated and couldn't even let out a proper cry. You could see her trying to cry but no sound would come out for nearly 2 weeks. When she could raise her voice, it was the smallest mewing sound. Not a proper cry at all.
I watch my Anastasia fall asleep for a quick nap.
I think of all the times the monitors went off, showing she was having apena or bradycardia spells in her sleep. I remember she came home with those monitors. How annoying but comforting they were simultaneously.
I feed her lunch, which is messy, and full of smiles from both of us.
I remember how she was feed by IVs and a NG tube for weeks. Her milk was measured by the millitliters (MLS) and with medical precision then slowly feed over an hour through her NG tube. Later she was bottle feed but each MLS was accounted for. I remember months later we began to measure her food in ounces and what a huge deal that was!
I cuddle my little one, Anastasia tries to squirm away, she really wants to play on the floor and be mobile again.
I'm transported to the first time I touched her fingers right after the c-section. How I wanted to stay right there beside her forever. But I could only remain for a few minutes because I, too, needed medical attention. I recall getting to help with her "cares". For many days all I could do was just touch her tiny hand or foot. Holding her for the first time took weeks. Then came the skin to skin cuddles. Oh, I would just sit in a little corner, holding my preemie Anastasia, content as could be and wishing time would stand still.
I think of the actual date of her birth.
It's not only her birthday but my late Granddad's birthday, as well. (Oh, can't forget Aunt Marylou's birthday, too.). I miss him and my Granny so very much. Honestly, what are the chances Anastasia would be born 3 months early? And on his birthday? Since she shared Granddad's birthday, I wanted her to share Granny's name. That's where her middle name Sonia came from. Although they never meet Anastasia, I like to think she has a special connection to them.
Anastasia gets weighed once a week. She's currently 16 pounds 4 ounces and 27.5 inches long.
I see my tiny girl, 2 pounds 5 ounces and only 13 inches long. Heidi Anne has baby dolls that are taller (and maybe even weigh more). I remember calling nightly to get an update on how many grams she had gained that day. Yes, the updates were in grams.
I chat with a friend via text or Grandma comes to visit.
This time last year family rallied around us to help tend to Rory or watch Heidi Anne. Strangers, who became my friends, came with meals since I couldn't cook dinner. Or they would care for Rory while I had yet another doctor appointment in Ogden.
I see her toothy grin.
This time last year wasn't all bad. We made new friends, drew closer to old ones and family members helped in our hour of need. Anastasia had many crosses to bare, but she overcame each and every challenge. For 3 months the hospital was her home, where nearly every nurse greeted me warmly. I knew she couldn't be home but was reassured that the nurses genuinely cared about my tiny girl. Once she could be held I asked them to hold her as much as they desired since I wasn't able to be there as often as I wanted to be.