Wedding Day! A Preemie Celebration
A mother celebrates the wedding day of her daughter, who was born premature.
By Becky Hatfield
I am the mother of 3 children, 2 of them preemies... My first child, daughter Alison, former 27.5 week preemie, 98 days in hospital - now 24 years old - just got married. Alison's wedding day was -
THE MOST WONDERFUL DAY OF MY LIFE!
I am still filled with emotion when I think of how perfect it all was. Here goes...
They were married in the Bountiful Temple just south of Salt Lake City. We were waiting in the reception area when they came out. I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful she was. She was in her wedding gown and Spencer was in his tuxedo. The day was perfect. 85 degrees, no wind and not a cloud in the sky.
She was ANGELIC, completely happy and I was so proud... I know that all of you understand that pride. It is pride, joy, and awe ....when our miracle kids reach milestones. Like 1st birthdays, preschool, 1st day of school, riding the schoolbus, loosing a baby tooth, .... for some of us older preemie parents it goes on... sports activities, dance classes, piano lessons, braces, junior high, school plays, first school dance, first crush, high school, ACT tests, planning for college or careers, ... graduation from college... and now a marriage... these wonderful days that you didn't know if you would ever see.
Imagine your most proud "preemie parent" moment... times it by 24 hours and you've got it! A whole day of proud preemie parent moments. That's what it was like for me.
We saw friends and family that we only seem to see at weddings and funerals... We spent a lot of time talking about the past. Most of it centered on Alison, of course. The whole family talked about Alison's birth, her babyhood, her many hospitalizations... we relived our family's whole history. I experienced a TON of flashbacks. To many of Alison's scariest times, from NICU to just two months ago when she was undergoing tests for concerns with her heart.
As I helped Alison get dressed that afternoon in her wedding gown, my hands were trembling. Her dress was elegant, and had 27 tiny bottons down the back. As I tried to control my emotions she pulled me close and said "Thank you mom, for making this the most perfect day of my life." It was for me too.
As I tried to button the tiny buttons on her gown I remembered another time doing up buttons on a dress... with trembling hands... and not knowing which time was the hardest - yet the most joyous. Doing up the tiny buttons on her wedding gown, or doing up the buttons of her tiny dress when I dressed her for the first time ...at just under 2 pounds... both times my hands were not cooperating. I was filled with joy and wonder... because both times I felt as if I helping her dress for the rest of her life.
Our preemie fears are real, but our joys and celebrations with the everyday events and with the major milestones, in ours and our preemie's lives, make us forever grateful for every day.