Eleven years ago this week I sat in the NICU and watched the monitors.
I was never really sure exactly what all the numbers on the screens meant or understood the constant beeping or the lines that went up and down….scrolling and rescrolling and then scrolling again.
I never really understood any of it.
But that didn’t matter.
Because I knew….that I knew….that I knew.
I knew if I sat and just watched those screens…..
….if I sat in that still, dark room with the lights of the monitors blinking in the darkness….and kept an ever-present watch.
Nothing bad could possibly happen.
I watched because the doctors said the list of the bad things that could happen was endless.
They were twins.
They were born almost three months early.
They only weighed two pounds and some change.
And the doctors talked to us in soft low tones with voices that said, “Brace yourself.”
And “The road ahead is perilous and winding and full of steep cliffs and dark valleys and a long treacherous journey.”
And they bandied about words like kidney issues and brain bleeds and vision problems and on and on and on….
….until I wanted to scream.
I wanted to scream from the frustration and worry and the pressure and the feeling like my heart was breaking in two and all the scary, frightening unknowns.
But I couldn’t.
I was supposed to be strong and courageous and patient and full of faith.
But I wasn’t.
And so I sat.
And watched the numbers and the monitors and the oxygen stats and the endless beeping…..
….and silently screamed in my head.
As the nurse and I sat silently together in the NICU unit….one of the twins slowly raised her leg into the air and swirled it around.
Then she lowered it.
And raised it and swirled it again.
And in that moment….in that brief flash of a second….it felt like that tiny two-pound girl fighting for her life…..
….was trying to dance.
She didn’t know the odds.
She didn’t know about the beeping and monitors and the possible complications and the long journey ahead.
She didn’t listen.
She didn’t worry or fret or care.
She just danced.
They never looked back….those two dancers of mine.
They called them the “baby ballerinas” of the NICU.
The nurses cheered and encouraged and made these signs to hang on their incubators.
And week after week passed…..bringing improvement after improvement.
Each day they grew stronger….and bigger and bigger and breathed on their own and yawned and stretched and opened their eyes.
Until one day they defied all the odds and came home….
…dancing every step of the way.
Happy birthday my wonderful incredible ballerinas.
I love you.