I saw Zoe’s brain today… well on a screen anyway.
The last time I saw my girls’ brains, on a screen, they were 11 weeks old, or ‘term’ if you are working on corrected age.
The time before that, was the day I heard the words “they need to be born now, regardless of the dangers, it needs to be now.” And 24 hours later they were born, 11 weeks early.
Back when the girls were tiny, their prematurity and their twin-ness seemed to take over our entire lives.
The giant struggle just to beat the TTTS and have them both born alive, and then the struggle to get them through the weeks in hospital and the legacy of those things when they finally came home… back then it seemed like those things would always be enormous for us. Even as I watched them grow into happy, and more importantly, healthy and ‘normal’ toddlers, the fact that they were born early, still dominated our lives and my thoughts.
When they were little their ‘twin-ness’ was also such a defining factor in their lives. It dominated many many things that they did, in good and bad ways. The fact that they are identical twins seemed like it would always set them apart and be the first thing that people noticed about them and the most major thing in their lives.
When the girls were little I talked about, read about and wrote about their prematurity and their twin-ness a lot. I was one of ‘those mothers’, just a tad obsessed and over the top. I guess it was how I processed things, how I coped. I thought it would always be that way. I couldn’t imagine a day when those two things about my girls were no longer huge, all encompassing and dominant.
Today I chatted with psychologists and paediatricians and research nurses and cardiologists and it dawned on… the fact that my girls were born at 29 weeks gestation is not nearly so important any more. It is not so important when it comes to their health, and it is not so important when it comes to their daily lives. And the fact that they are identical twins, while still obvious, and still important, it is not so scary any more….
My girls have grown up. They are no longer tiny, unwell little babies. They are no longer preschoolers who can’t be apart from each other even for a minute. They are tall, lanky, happy, confident seven year olds and if you met one on the street you would have no idea of their beginnings.
And I have grown up. My world no longer revolves around how prem my babies were. My worries no longer include the fact that they are so very alike, and how that might impact them.
Beating TTTS and being born early will always have some impact on their lives, and mine, but it no longer dominates.
Being twins will always be an amazingly special thing that they have, that we have, but it no longer seems so huge and scary.
I will always walk past their bedroom as they play, or look in on them as they sleep, and stop and catch my breath. I will always be amazed that these two girls are mine, but I’ve walked that path, I’ve done that worrying, and now… we’ve moved on.