Becoming a parent is one of the biggest leaps of faith out there, and Friday marked four years since I crossed that threshold for the second time. When you make that decision, you’re filled with dreams. Dreams of who your child will be, and what your family will look like. It doesn’t matter if you become a parent by birth, by adoption, or by marriage, because all the hopes are the same. You want your kid to be healthy. First and foremost, that’s what everyone says.
So what happens when things don’t go according to plan? My little guy was a preemie, and I’ll never forget the panic I felt when I knew he was coming six weeks early. The heartbreak I had when the nurses in the NICU told me I couldn’t hold him yet, because for him the stimulation of touch was too much. Seeing him hooked up to wires, and confined in a little tiny box, wearing an eye mask to protect him from the harsh lights. But I was so lucky, because that fear was short-lived. After ten days, we took our guy home, a whopping 4½ pounds.
That first year and a half wasn’t easy. Our guy had missed out on key development in the womb, leaving him one grumpy baby. He had no internal way to sooth himself, and so he never slept longer than 45-90 minutes at a stretch. The kid had issues; a smile or a laugh was rare, and that’s exhausting and heartbreaking for a parent. Besides healthy, we all just want our kids to be happy….