Linus was anxious to get here. He must have known how my empty arms ached since his brothers left me a year before.
Feisty! The neonatal doctor attending the birth called him feisty. There was hope.
He was so delicate and fragile at only 1 pound, 8 ounces. His skin was so thin, it was almost translucent. I wasn't allowed to pick him up and hold him. Instead, I was instructed how to place my hands on his small body using a firm touch. I often wondered if he was crying, but was too weak to make a sound.
Strong! The nurses said he was strong. They placed him in his little nest, but he was always struggling to get out. They used beanbags to hold him in place. Still, he managed to scoot and move around.
Every day I asked if it was the day I could hold Linus. Finally, the day came and the sweet nurses helped untangle all of the wires and tubes. I think he was in my arms for less than 30 seconds before he needed to be put back in his incubator. He was already over one month old, and it was the first time I was able to kiss the top of his tiny head.
Linus pulled the vent out twice. Second time was a charm, because he graduated to the CPAP. The nurses and PA were sweet enough take video and then send it to my phone, so I could finally see my sweet boy's face without anything in the way.
My little escape artist was always on the move. One day the nurses found him with his head up against the portholes. They took his picture and framed it for me.
Linus did great with his bottle, and I made sure I was there to feed him at least once a day. There was never a day that I was not at the NICU - even the day Katie had strep and I was told to stay home. I drove to the hospital so I could get his laundry and look at him from afar.
I looked forward to the day when the doctor would schedule "the meeting." When the day came, I could barely contain myself. We were so close to bringing Linus home.
After passing his car seat test, we were ready to go. I took in all the noises and smells, but I knew I would never forget. I could hear those beeps and alarms in my sleep by this point. The smell of hospital soap brings me right back to sitting next to Linus' bed with my hand stretched through the porthole, resting firmly on his back.
On March 10, our family will join with Graham's Foundation and nearly 13 million other families who have traveled a similar journey to celebrate the Second Annual Parents of Preemies Day. This day honors the courageous parents and caregivers of these tiny little ones. Please visit their Facebook page for more information about events in your area and on the web.