Four weeks from today, we will walk. We will walk for babies. Babies like our Gabby, who are born too early, who live the first parts of their lives in the NICU, who get to come home and keep their mamas up all night long. For babies who never see life outside of a hospital's walls, who will never get to feel the chill of an ocean breeze or a the high of a first love, who leave holes in the hearts of all those who would have done anything to stay up with them all night long.
Sixteen weeks ago, I woke up preparing to spend another day in the hospital, flat on my back, desperately missing my home and my husband and my baby boys. At 4:30 that afternoon, contractions started. Hard contractions. I was 28 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I was terrified. By 7:00 p.m., after several failed attempts to stop labor, there was nothing left to do. Baby girl was breech. Her heart rate was decelerating during ever contraction. With Trevor and my mom and Jeri Belle (my other mom) by my side, it was go time. There was no turning back.
At 7:30 p.m., out she came, and so our NICU journey began.
Over 53 days, our girl had five different roommates. Our girl prefers living with boys. Particularly boys of the Latino persuasion. She knows what she likes, this one. And her two longest roommates - Pablo and Manny - will never, ever be forgotten by this mama. Their mamas and I cried together, and rocked our babies in the same room together, and stared at each other's little ones together and every once in a while, we even laughed together.
In the end, ours was s journey with a happy ending and a journey that forever changed me. As I type, my baby girl is soundly sleeping in her Boppy, her bare feet poking out of her burrito-wrapped blanket.
She has come such a long way.
So in four weeks time, we will don our Yo Gabby Gabby team t-shirts, and March for Babies, all in the name of raising some money to help babies who need helping. Babies like mine. And perhaps babies like yours.
We will walk in the hopes of giving back. To give to those who are now in the shoes we still wear.
To honor our baby girl. The one who has completely stolen my heart.