Today is April 22nd. It’s Earth Day. Today is Quentin’s 1st Birthday.
It was a wonderful day: presents, a picnic lunch in the park, an introduction to goats and of course birthday cake. A warm sunny spring day. No one could ask for better.
But this day also had a twinge of sadness.
You see, Quentin is a preemie.
Born 2 months early his birthday was supposed to be in June. A summer baby like his brother. Not a spring one. A baby that would not be here without serious medical intervention.
I’m not yet ready to tell you the whole story of Quentin beginning to end. It is still too painful and raw. I can tell you that he was conceived with the help of fertility treatments. I can tell you that we fought like hell for years to have him, that we fought again to keep him, and that even though we cried and waited for the worst (which eventually never came) we loved him from the start. Or to be more precise, we loved him from the minute we saw the first confirming ultrasound at 7 weeks.
We have agreed with medical recommendation that Quentin is to be our last. Perhaps the sadness comes from that. Perhaps it comes from the fact that we missed so much with him.
We missed the joy of telling family and friends early, as no one was sure if it was “going to stick”.
We missed the happy glowing second trimester. Instead it was wrought with fetal medicine specialist appointments, bed rest and close calls.
We missed those first days home after delivery when everything is quiet and surreal coupled with chaotic and overwhelming.
We never got to say to anyone “He’s ___ days old.” We didn’t even get weeks. By the time our NICU stay was done those had all passed by, and we were left with odd glances from people when we told them how many months old he was and then fumbling quickly, blurted out something about him being a preemie.
We aren’t going to celebrate the “shoulda been” day in June. That was for something that was never meant to be. And really the sadness only bites when we look back on the year. When we look at Quentin all I can do is smile. And laugh at his weird personality. And hug him. Tight. Because deep down I know that there very easily could have been nothing to hug at all.