Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: It's been 10 years since the scariest day of my life

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's been 10 years since the scariest day of my life

Take a five pound bag of sugar and dump out about 1/4 of it. That's how much my youngest baby weighed when she was born. She was so tiny and more than a month early. I knew she was coming the day before. My doctor told me they had to take her by C-section the next morning, or risk her dying in the womb. I had less than 24 hours to process the fact that my baby was in imminent danger, and the only way to save her was a serious risk in itself.

It's been 10 years since the scariest day of my life. The Unplanned Homeschooler

That was ten years ago today. It's almost impossible to believe that my little preemie has grown into such a rambunctious, sassy, preteen girl.

The scariest thing I'd ever faced

Ten years ago, as I lay in the hospital waiting to be taken back to surgery, I could not stop the tears. The previous afternoon, the doctors had done the most advanced ultrasound workup they could do. They had estimated her weight at around three pounds, but said that her best, and likely her only chance to survive was if they could get her out of my womb quickly. My placenta was breaking down and leaving her there was sentencing her to starvation.

My youngest was supposed to be my easy baby. My healthy singleton. I'd already been through a high risk pregnancy, premature birth and NICU stay with my twins. But things don't always go according to plan. My twins were both born bigger than her and a week further along, and their first few months had been arduous. I was so scared. Would she survive the birth? If so, would she make it through the challenges that surely awaited? There were no guarantees.

My baby girl was born kicking. The nurses all called her a little 3-pound fighter. We wouldn't know for several more days that she had been born with a heart defect, which would force her to fight that much harder. She was such a trooper. I have never known a tougher kid.

Her brother and sister were in preschool when she was born. Their teacher and her aide knew all about what we were going through at home, and were as helpful as they could be. They fell in love with her as soon as I was able to bring her around for a visit. At the time, I hoped my youngest could be in the same class when she was old enough to go to school.

It's been 10 years since the scariest day of my life. The Unplanned Homeschooler

Of course, things changed 

By the time my twins finished kindergarten, I'd already started thinking about homeschooling, for many reasons, not the least of which was a desire to shield my youngest from the constant stream of germs that her brother and sister brought home from school.

By the time they would have started first grade, we were already doing school at home. My youngest wouldn't set foot inside a school again until she was eight years old, and then only for a visit. We'd become full-fledged homeschoolers in the time since she was a baby, and she never knew any other existence.

How time has flown

It's been 10 years now, since the scariest day of my life. I can look back on the weeks that we spent in the NICU getting my little girl ready to come home without a catch in my breath. She's been through broken bones, serious respiratory infections, surgery to take a look at her heart, and more hours of exams than most kids ever experience, but every challenge she's faced has made her stronger.

I think if she had a motto, it would be, "Mwahahahaha!!!" She has definitely developed a take-no-prisoners personality and a wicked sense of humor.

She's made me a stronger mom, too. I can't wait to see what the next 10 years bring!

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