A Month of Mini Miracles
Posted on February 12, 2013 in Adoption, Fulfillment, Gratitude, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski
I’ve always thought there are no coincidences. And while my husband and I love to plan our days, it amazes me how life can toss your To Do list out the window and show you what’s truly important. Any day you wake up, everything can change.
When I woke up on January 11th at 6:30 a.m. my first thought was: I’m so tired. Waking up every 10 minutes isn’t an ideal way to sleep. Giving up, I got out of bed and decided to look for a maternity dress to wear to my baby shower the next day. After rummaging through my closet, I found one. I stepped into the bathroom to try it on and suddenly my water broke all over me and the bathroom floor. I stared down at my feet in disbelief.
So the day began as I called out to my husband Reed and said, “I think we have a problem,” and the day ended for us as a new family.
Our twins are here. We had our minds set on February 1st. That was our plan, make it to February 1st. It was the magical safe zone in our heads … 36 weeks pregnant with twins. But there we were, on a rainy January 11th morning, making our way to the hospital at 33 weeks pregnant. Less than 12 hours later, our girls entered the world, their tiny bodies lifted into the air, born 20 minutes apart—our two mini miracles.
Call it intuition. My mom was going to fly or drive to stay with us and help for three months starting on February 1st. She really didn’t want to miss the birth of our girls, so I called her up one day and asked if she’d come earlier, just in case. The date she chose to fly out? January 11th—the day we welcomed our girls into the world. As we made our way to the hospital, she was making her way to the airport. She had no idea I was in labor until my husband called her at the airport. What makes the story more special is that it’s my birth mom, who I searched and found when I was 26. She never thought she’d recover from having to give me up for adoption when she was a teenager, and here she was arriving just in time to meet her new granddaughters and be a part of their lives from the beginning.
The little things. Going home from the hospital without your babies is awful. Chalk it up to one of my least favorite emotions experienced ever. I knew our girls received stellar care in the NICU (or as one nurse told me: “Think of it as the most expensive babysitters you will ever have.”) and it was just a matter of time before they’d be discharged, but our painfully quiet house filled with all things baby, was difficult to endure. It gave me a brief insight into the pain of what my birth mom must have experienced, going home without a baby, but her pain wasn’t temporary.
My sister made our homecoming better. With her extra set of keys to our house, she decorated our house for a celebration. Pink girl balloons tied to our mailbox, yummy groceries, flower arrangements, homemade soup, and champagne chilled on ice awaited our return. The love from my sister made the first night tolerable. Her touches made me feel hopeful.
While NICU nurses might have a serious job to do, the small touches meant so much as our girls spent three weeks in the NICU before coming home. I was given little bits of cloth to put my scent on as I slept, to place next to the girls tiny faces in their isolettes the next day. The NICU nurses took time to do baby footprints and a volunteer dropped by with homemade guardian angels to hang above their isolettes. Strangers made us blankets for the girls.
Grandparents were already spoiling our new girls. Other family and friends flooded us with baby gifts. Friends stopped by our house with cookies. Love kept showing up in tiny ways to carry us through.
My friend went into labor too. My husband and I went to a Marvelous Multiples class where we met another couple, Alicia and Mike. We both were carrying twins due the same week. Two boys on the way for them, two girls for us. We both went into early labor just days apart and ended up next to them in the NICU. While lots of moms carrying multiples experience preterm labor, there were so many similarities in our stories and we were able to talk, share and support each other through the process. Now they are new and lasting friends and we can’t wait to get together with them for some twin outings.
The name Marie. To pay tribute to my birth mom and explain my adoption story to our girls someday, we used the middle name my birth mom gave me at birth, Marie, as the middle name for our new daughter Riley … Riley Marie.
Two birthdays and two birthday gifts. On my Birthday, Jan. 21, 10 days after the girls entered the world, they were removed from enclosed separate isolettes and moved into one open crib—together. Ever since they were reunited, they turn toward one another. They may start out on their backs, but they always turn to face each other and reach out to touch each other’s hands. And on my husband’s Birthday, coming up March 1, our girls will officially be full-term … a day I consider to be their second Birthday. A day we can all celebrate life’s mini-miracles.
What was originally on my To Do list for January 11th? Writing work for clients, get groceries, get my nails done, call the vet, write a blog … but a different plan was in store for us. A plan of welcoming two new precious lives into the world—surrounded with the love from family, friends, new friends and strangers. In 24 hours, everything can change.